The Closed-Mindedness of Open-Mindedness
“I have seen great intolerance shown in support of tolerance.” – Samuel Taylor Coleride
It is a plague, a plague that was greater than the “hope and change” of 2008; greater still than the “four more years” of 2012. Let us spare ourselves the embarrassment of partisan dribble and become better than the dividing political lines that face us and shake hands with those whose views we hate with fervor. It would be nice if everyone got along. But we do get along, too well in fact. We’ve gotten along so well we’ve disguised our contempt against others as tolerance. In some cases, we’ve even forgotten what’s right and wrong and stand on nothing more than the mushy quicksand of tolerance and multiculturalism.
Leyla Hussein, a resident of London, decided to see how far we’ve come in the advancement of tolerance. According to a report from the London Evening Standard, Leyla, “who suffered female genital mutilation [FGM] has warned that political correctness is hampering the fight to stamp it out…she decided to conduct an experiment to see ‘how crazy political correctness has become’ but was left in tears by the end.” The experiment involved a petition which people signed in support of FGM, claiming justification of “it’s just mutilation.” But somehow the tolerance of London only extends to genital mutilation. They showed no tolerance to anti-Islamic spokes-persons Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller as the U.K home secretary banned them from the U.K. for having an opinion that was “not conductive to the public good.”
It’s a good thing we still have America, the beacon of freedom of speech, heralding the ability to “agree to disagree” and love each other anyway. It’s a good thing we don’t throw jars of urine, bricks, tampons, and condoms at pro-life supporters. It’s a good thing we don’t punch people for asking questions at a right-to-work protest. It’s a good thing we don’t let professors who, after the September shootings that killed 13 people in Washington D.C., tweet, “The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you,” and still continue to work.
Yes, it’s a blessed thing to not be hated and despised for what you believe.
Even Kristen Powers, a commentator on Fox News, wrote an article on Christianity Today about becoming a Christian and she had this to say:
“Then he [her boyfriend] said the magic words for a liberal: ‘Do you think you could keep an open mind about it?’ Well, of course. ‘I’m very open-minded!’ Even though I wasn’t at all. I derided Christians as anti-intellectual bigots who were too weak to face the reality that there is no rhyme or reason to the world. I had found this man’s church attendance an oddity to overlook, not a point in his favor.”
I also think back to my glory days on the Facebook debate world where I got into a discussion about free birth control with particularly Liberal friends. That discussion ended with them saying, “Take your small minded ideas and shove ‘em,” and “have safe sex and stop making war!”
I love the smell of tolerance in the morning.
But Liberals aren’t the only ones to blame, there are those Conservatives who called Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) a “ni**er” and Rep Barney Frank (D-Mass.) a “faggot.” Then again, evidence was never found for that…well, we’ll let those Tea Partiers off the hook this time. I mean, who listens to them anyway? Let’s join the “Big 10” party where everyone is accepted. But as Jon Stewart shows, maybe the party of inclusion is a little more intolerant than they let on.
I digress; let’s take a step back. What defines “intolerance?” If Webster’s dictionary has anything to tell us, it’s that “intolerance” is defined as “unwillingness to accept views, beliefs, or behavior that differ from one’s own.” If that’s true, then I’m the most intolerant person ever. I believe the Bible is the only source of truth, I believe the Jesus of the Bible is the only way to eternal life, I believe anything else falls short of the glory of God and deserves damnation. Not very “tolerant” am I? I don’t want to be. I don’t want to accept ideas that will ultimately lead other people astray. I don’t want to accept cultures that want to kill me, accept genital mutilation or repress people. In essence, intolerance has become common sense. At least for Christians it has. As an article on Counter Punch poignantly said, “Intolerance has become a standard ‘Christian’ teaching in conservative circles and is now a badge of honor.” If by “intolerance” you mean that we believe that everyone is a sinner and deserves hell but God, who loves us so much, sent his son to die for us and we must reject the way of the world, take up our cross and follow him to eternal life and any other way leads to damnation, then yes, Christians are very “intolerant.”
Now friends, before you become enraged and fire off a snarky comment on Facebook or quip and entire novel below in the comments, I urge you to understand that not everyone who is Liberal or Conservative is intolerant. That would be a broad stroke I don’t wish to paint. I know many people with whom I disagree with immensely, but we still remain great friends. How? We respect each other. We agree to disagree. We talk with conviction about our beliefs to each other and we don’t attack, we discuss. This is the way it should be. Instead the majority of people have bought the ideologies of their parties and never ask the question of “Why do I believe this is right?” The sad reality is we’ve forgotten we’re all sinners and in need of the grace of God. We’ve become so scared of being called “intolerant” that we crumble at any opposing ideas and accept everyone yet we don’t tell them they’re wrong and need Christ. The idea of “tolerance” is something I despise because it presupposes the idea that everyone is right. Don’t get me wrong, I fall short of being right every day. I don’t want people to walk away from this and judge every un-believer. They need Christ just as much as we do and we need to be humbled by that fact. In reality, as Christians, we need to be the most “intolerant” and not be scared of that label being attached to us for standing up for what we believe in and spreading the light of the world into the hearts of darkness, never forgetting we deserve hell just as much as anyone else but we have been saved by the glorious grace of Christ.
Jesus was called a ‘demon’ at one point in his ministry, why should we be afraid of the same?
“The word ‘tolerant’ means ‘liberal,’ ‘broad-minded,’ ‘willing to put up with beliefs opposed to one’s convictions’ and ‘the allowance of something not wholly approved.’ Tolerance, in one sense, implies the compromise of one’s convictions, a yielding of ground upon important issues. Hence, our tolerance in moral issues has made us soft, flabby and devoid of convictions. We have become tolerant about divorce; we have become tolerant about the use of alcohol; we have become tolerant about delinquency; we have become tolerant about wickedness in high places; we have become tolerant about immorality; we have become tolerant about crime and we have become tolerant about godlessness.” – The Sin of Tolerance by Rev. Billy Graham.