Tolerance: something for you to do…not me.

Please explain something to me.

When people, offended by an Islamic mosque being built near Ground Zero in New York, loudly voice their objections, they’re told they need to be more tolerant of the Muslim religion. Their emotional outrage and angst is cast aside in favor of diversity and a quest for a better understanding and acceptance of Islam as one of our nation’s religions. You’re over reacting. You have no reason to be offended or uncomfortable. We all need to embrace our multicultural backgrounds. After all, it was radical Islamic terrorists who committed the heinous acts on 9-11, not the majority of peaceful Muslims.

But….

When Somali immigrant families in a Head Start program in St. Peter, MN voice their objection to having Santa come for a 30 minute visit with the children, the school pulls St. Nick from his traditional visit…citing respect for the religious wishes of those families. I guess they should change the name of the town while they’re at it. We certainly can’t have a town named after a patron, Christian saint. How offensive is that?

And…

TheĀ Kensington, MD city council bans Santa at the annual tree-lighting ceremony because non-Christmas-celebrating residents say Santa doesn’t fit with the “secular event.” Instead of a Christmas theme, they opt for a patriotic theme. Really? I suppose a December tree-lighting could be a secular event, but I don’t think this is the case since it was coupled with festive holiday lights and had previously been a “Christmas” event.

And…

The “German Christmas Village,” set up by a private organization, every year in Philadelphia is asked to remove the word “Christmas” from their sign because it offended some residents. The Christmas-theme village is near the city’s “holiday” tree and vendors sell items such as tree ornaments, Santa decorations and nativity scenes. This is not a government display…but a private company’s merchandising area.

Why is tolerance demanded of some and not of others? You don’t celebrate Christmas? I’m okay with that. Don’t visit the German Christmas Village that sells Christmas decorations and related novelties. Pull your kids out of class for a half hour at school and let those who want to see Santa continue to do so. And what is it with the ban on Santa as a religious symbol anyway? In my many years of church attendance, I’ve never once seen an image or statue of Santa in the sanctuary. Let’s be honest. For many people, Christmas is anything but a religious event.

I don’t celebrate Hanukkah, Ramadan or Kwanzaa, but it would never cross my mind to object to a symbolic public display during their seasons. As for the atheists who simply can’t tolerate anything religious, I have no solution to their angst. The fact is, the majority of people in this nation adhere to some type of religious belief in God. So, the best I can offer is…be tolerant.

And let’s be honest here as well…Ground Zero is viewed by the vast majority of the nation as a memorial to those who died in the 9-11 attacks. I can totally see where putting an obvious Islamic mosque building so close would be unsettling. It would be akin to putting a Japanese Shinto shrine close to the Pearl Harbor memorial; or a German cultural center next to a Holocaust memorial. It’s simply inconsiderate to do so. So if those who object to the mosque are referred to as close-minded, intolerant bigots, what does that make those who are won’t tolerate other religion’s symbols and traditions? A person who truly embraces the idea of building bridges would understand this issue.

If I’m expected to be tolerant of other religions and faiths (or lack thereof), then shouldn’t they be equally tolerant of things that differ from their worldviews?

Please explain it to me.

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5 thoughts on “Tolerance: something for you to do…not me.

  1. I agree with you that we should all be tolerant, that we should all be willing to accept differences in beliefs and values. I think we’ve gotten a bit carried away in this country, perhaps taking ourselves more seriously than is really necessary. And I understand the emotions surrounding the mosque in New York, but reality is that it is blocks away from Ground Zero. The mosque would be attended by a variety of Islams, I imagine, some of whom might have Al Qaeda leanings, but then doesn’t that same possibility extend to churches and synagogues?

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  2. Political correctness is a slipperly slope. We can’t ban all symbols and discussions of religion, and a lot of the time, we can’t or shouldn’t have to include them all either. I can’t see banning Santa, as he isn’t an entirely religious symbol anymore- he is more secular than any other decoration… I can see not wanting Merry Christmas at a city function- Happy Holidays includes more people. However, when a private company or person wishes to decorate for the holiday they celebrate, it is their right! No one has a right to tell them no. How stoooopid. I’d be pissed if someone said I couldn’t wear my pentagram because it might offend someone, or my friend couldn’t wear her star of david- or my other friend her cross- we have a right as a private citizen to decorate our lawns or ourselves any way we wish- and it is not an offense to others around you, it is an expression of self.What our country was built upon. I do wish people at stores would say “happy holidays” to me- but I understand that Christmas is an actual day people celebrate and that their “Merry Christmas” is a well meaning gesture.

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  3. I’d like to know the explanation also. Could it be that those who put up the biggest stink get their way? Generally, Christians don’t put up a big protest…it would take all of the Christian relgions coming together to stand up. I am surprised that Santa is banned since he is secular not religious. When my kids were in elem. school. They had a study around Christmas that focused on all of the holidays except Christmas and then held a Winter pageant. I liked having my children learn about Jewish traditions etc., but thought they should have included Christmas as well.

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