Have you noticed the big emphasis in recent years on tolerance? It's everywhere -- on the radio and TV, in print media, and it is taught to our kids in public schools.
I can understand an emphasis on tolerance to prevent mistreatment of those whose culture or faith may be different from our own, but things have gone too far, and tolerance is no longer defined as it used to be.
I consider myself to be pretty tolerant, but I still hold to my own religious beliefs and values, speak freely and persuasively in favor of them, and even point out and criticize the falsehood and errors in the beliefs and values of others. Yet, I still count myself tolerant because I afford others the same rights and don't attempt to persecute, punish or silence those who disagree with me. After all, isn't that what the First Amendment guarantees us in regard to religious freedom and freedom of speech and of the press?
But, the word tolerant has taken on a whole new meaning in recent years. Now, to be tolerant means to accept all beliefs and value systems as equally valid and not to speak out or voice an argument or opinion against any except, of course, the intolerant. Thus, it doesn't matter if one is a Christian, a Buddhist, an Islamic, or an atheist; all views and teachings are equal. And, to speak out against one set of beliefs, or to speak in favor of one set of beliefs and values over against another, is considered intolerant!
That pretty much means, according to the new usage of the word, that one who holds firmly to the Bible and all that it teaches is counted as intolerant.
Thrown into the mix are a variety of issues, including sexual orientation and marriage. Those who hold to non-traditional views have cried out for tolerance and then that their views be accepted and taught as equally-valid lifestyles. And, of course, any who now speak out against such aberrations or alternative lifestyles are counted as intolerant. The pressure is on to have them silenced.
And, to a large degree, it is working. Even in the news media, which has long championed First Amendment rights, many have succumbed to the pressure to be politically correct and say and publish nothing which might be viewed as contrary to ever-changing public opinion. Social media platforms seem to consider it their duty to silence or ban anyone who dares to say what the Bible teaches regarding the new social norms of our day. Even a reference to John 3:16 can be enough to receive warnings or have accounts permanently suspended.
Apparently, it's no longer enough to love and help those who hold to different beliefs and values and grant them the same liberties guaranteed to us in the Constitution; we have to accept their beliefs and values as well or, at least shut up about our opposition to them. If we are convinced that certain activities and lifestyles are morally wrong, we dare not voice such convictions lest we be counted intolerant, bigoted, politically incorrect, and possibly criminals.
I guess that makes me more than a bit intolerant in the new sense of the word.
And, have you ever noticed how those who cry the loudest for tolerance are terribly intolerant of people who publicly express Biblical beliefs and still hold fast to the old usage of the term "tolerant"?
Randy Moll is the managing editor of the Westside Eagle Observer and can be contacted via email at [email protected] Opinions expressed are those of the author.