Where Do You Stand on Taking a Stand?

People are social creatures, and this is one of our greatest strengths and one of our greatest weaknesses, all at the same time.

As a strength, it allows people to work together to bring about incredible things—not only works of engineering like the Hoover Dam, the Great Pyramids and the Great Wall, but world-changing on a philosophical plane, like the Greeks who laid the foundation for democracy, the Dutch who changed the entire world of art, the Italians who contributed immensely to music and architecture, and many others.

Being social creatures, we want to fit in; it’s part of our basic makeup. Hence, one of our greatest weaknesses: the inability to step outside and take a stand when doing so goes against the general “consensus” of our group.

I was watching a video on the internet the other day in which two people on different sides of the political spectrum were going at each other in the middle of the street. One person was trying to make a point while the other was refusing to listen and spewing curse words, hate and bigotry.

The interesting thing to watch was the crowd gathering around them. Most of them just looked uncomfortable. They could see this was getting out of hand, but none asked the spewer of hate to chill a bit, to be civil, to tone it down. None wanted to stand out to take a stand.

It is this lack of courage in defending others, even if you don’t agree with their stand, that allows oppression, hatred and discrimination to continue. The most evident example is the Holocaust. I am sure there were guards, railroad personnel, soldiers and others who disagreed with killing people just because of their religion. But, they didn’t take a stand. And people died. Many, many people. A very small, insane group got an entire country to cooperate with its hateful agenda. Yes, there was a German Resistance, but like the French Resistance, it was very small.

I know that in the safety of our living rooms it is easy to say that we are tolerant and all for diversity. But that isn’t where it matters. Where it matters is out on the street. Where it matters is with your friends. Where it matters is in the world.

Most agree that religious tolerance is a good thing. They support diversity and allowing others to believe what they want. But, when it comes right down to it, very few will take a stand. They don’t want to “go it alone.”

I know that in the safety of our living rooms it is easy to say that we are tolerant and all for diversity. But that isn’t where it matters. Where it matters is out on the street. Where it matters is with your friends. Where it matters is in the world.

In this country, you don’t usually have to put yourself in harm’s way to take a stand, but you do have to speak up. For everyone. Christians, Mormons, Scientologists, Jews, Wiccans, Hindus and Muslims are all worthy of your protection because what you are really protecting is human rights and our civilization itself.

So, where do you stand on taking a stand?

Photo by: Hadrian / Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

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