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Tolerance

TOLERANCE
Strange as it may seem, this came to mind while pondering the subject of religious tolerance. Religious tolerance is broadly defined as recognition and respect of others’ beliefs and practices without sharing them. That sounds good, but I have sometimes wondered if in practical terms it’s often closer to my bare tolerance of artichokes.
TOLERANCE
That date was June 14, 1965. Years before I was born and many years before I became a Scientologist, on that day Scientology was declared by its founder to be free of any political allegiance.
TOLERANCE
On October 24, 1945, the UN was founded with the atrocities of World War II still emblazoned on the world’s collective consciousness.
TOLERANCE
In 1963, Martin Luther King had a dream. A dream of freedom and equality for all. He got shot for it. The bullet which killed him is what one could call the essence of “unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.” This is the exact definition of “intolerance.”
TOLERANCE
Change won’t happen unless you and I stand up for what is right and demand that our beliefs—whatever they may be—are respected as they should be.
TOLERANCE
While there is no rote answer to that question, I believe that upholding free expression has two sides. One side, of course, is keeping it free. The other, perhaps not as obvious, is insisting that expression contribute positively to society or at least not weaken the social bonds that make freedom possible.
TOLERANCE
The meaning of the call remains the same, however. The end of a year and the beginning of a new one are a time for reflection, remembrance and, many hope, redemption. In contrast to the festivities and jollity of January 1, the Jewish New Year traditionally is the date that God decides the fate of mankind for the coming year. For 10 days after Rosh Hashanah individuals have the chance through good deeds and prayer to change God’s decision, which isn’t made final, sealed and complete until Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
TOLERANCE
The news reminded me of my own visit to Stonehenge some decades ago. Like so many others, I was very curious about what drove a people lacking any sort of technology to haul 20-ton rocks many miles and place them in a precise order. The people who built it in multiple stages between 5,000 and 2,600 years ago left no written history of themselves, so we can only guess.
TOLERANCE
When any label about someone else is offered, peel it back. Find out what’s actually underneath. Free them from the cage in your mind and talk to them honestly. Keep your own counsel. Find your own truths. You don’t need to agree. You don’t have to join them. But having another friend is never bad, even if he is (or especially because he is) from another religion.
TOLERANCE
Interestingly, the two “discriminations”—racial and religious—have historical intersections in this land of the free. They stem from the same root, after all, the root called bigotry.