Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Tolerance.

Webster's defines tolerance as: "A fair, objective and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc. differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry."

Lately it seems that the meaning of the word as been hijacked. The definition of tolerance is not: "You are a bigot unless you agree with me." I think it's fair to have honest, thoughtful disagreement on any issue. Even if someone isn't breaking the law, or somehow hurting another individual, we should be free to disagree with their beliefs (or actions) and even pass judgment without being called a fascist or being accused of "imposing one's belief" on someone else. In other words, I think it takes things too far to ask someone to openly embrace a practice or policy at the risk of being called intolerant (or something worse).

My thoughts on this issue are incomplete, but I marvel at how hostile (and how quickly that hostility manifests itself) some people in our society get when it comes to discussing morals, values, and religion. It's been "out there" for some time now, but I'm reminded of it again with all the coverage of Pope John Paul II's passing. I'm a little short on time today, so I'm going to leave it like this for the moment.
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