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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When Tolerance Isn't Tolerance

The drama over the 'Natalie Grant leaving the Grammys early' kerfuffle has served to bring another issue that really, really frustrates me to the fore.  It's not her decision to leave early that's at the heart of the problem. . .it's the poopy, frenetic aftermath (excuse my language!).

Despite her graceful and non-accusatory early exit, she's been absolutely caked with accusation after ugly accusation. . .some of which are so ridiculous they defy understanding.  People don't seem to care about the truth when they believe they are self-righteously safe-guarding what they believe is right.

It's just another example of when 'tolerance' only flows one way.

And it makes me kind of sick.

How can we expect another person to respect our beliefs, values, lifestyles, and faith preferences if we look down condescendingly on theirs?  If we expect people to embrace new concepts because they are OUR beliefs, yet slam another's at the same time, haven't we weakened our argument?

Tolerance isn't tolerance if it flows only one way.

So when a person can't act, in a markedly respectful and graceful way, on their own beliefs or values without igniting a firestorm of accusations and criticism, there is something seriously, seriously wrong.

I have a whole set of beliefs and values that are central to who I am.  I've considered them all carefully and thoughtfully and am comfortable with my choices, though I reserve the right to continually examine and refine those beliefs and values as I age and, hopefully, wizen.  Clearly, we all believe we've acquired the 'right set' of beliefs and values, or they wouldn't be ours in the first place, now would they?

But I don't believe I have the right to tell you that your belief set, when it veers from mine on any point, is wrong.  Politely or rudely.  Period.

If asked, I should be able to thoughtfully and clearly articulate my own personal convictions WITHOUT the use of derogatory, condescending, judgmental or accusatory language toward yours.

And, honestly, I would appreciate the same back from you.

Natalie Grant isn't getting that consideration at the moment.  Despite not singling any particular person, performance, or reason for her early departure, people are putting words into her mouth, assigning her beliefs and motives, assuming the worst, and then trying to crucify her for those things she did not say, do, or mean.

How is that tolerance?  How is that remotely common, decent human behavior?

It isn't friends.  Not even a little bit.

Tolerance is NOT tolerance if it flows only one way!


(photo courtesy of publicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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