The Pride of Intolerance
in·tol·er·ant \-rənt\ ; not willing to allow or accept something
There is much talk of guns and hate, terror and injustice. Religious belief systems are in question, and humanities morality appears to be in severe decline.
We hate the guns, those behind the guns, and those who refuse to stop the guns. We hate the terror, the terrorists and the beliefs that drive them to acts of violence. We hate the violence and the violent, the injustice and the obstructers of peace. We hate the intolerance that leads to hate.
And amidst it all she tears into me as I hear her say, “it is this hate that makes some of us still hide.”
I remember every persecuted minority.
Humans were not made for this kind of hate; we were not made to hide.
I can’t help but think of all those who are more fearful, more hateful of themselves because of this. And I can’t help but wonder what possesses a human to unflinchingly rob someone of life for holding different beliefs. Maybe we don’t have guns pointed, but what difference does it make when in our own hearts we possess the same intolerance towards various people who are different to us?
There is no measure to intolerance – there is only willingness or unwillingness to allow or accept another person for their beliefs.
There are those who call it a higher power, God, Yahweh, Allah, Krishna, Selassie, mother nature, or science. There are the singers, the dancers, the poets and the drummers, who envision a different meaning to the word worship. There are the Sunni’s, the Shi’ite’s, the Sufi’s and the Baha’is. The evangelicals, Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics, the Orthodox and all those who refuse to go by a name. There are the liberal and the fundamentalists. There is creation, and there is evolution. There are homosexuals, heterosexuals, transgender, bisexuals. There are those whose birth determined their hair, skin color and the shape of their eyes. And there are those who like guns, love guns, believe in the right to a gun, and there are those who have known the searing loss caused by a gun.
We live in a world of diversity, and diversity should neither threaten nor scare us. Diversity was never made to cause this kind of chaos.
But maybe amidst the chaos and the ache we can all fight for something. Maybe we can fight the intolerance in our own hearts and refuse to let the same darkness take hold of us. Maybe we can fight the pride of being offended when others don’t agree with us, and forsake the supremacy of our own thoughts. Because intolerance is pride. Intolerance is believing that our own beliefs make us greater than others. Intolerance is the unspoken disgust, disdain and disregard of another person because of what they believe or how they choose to live their life.
Maybe instead of pointing the gun we can reach out our hands to understand one another better.
Maybe instead of slashing others with the sword at the tip of our tongues we let kind words make a warm home between us.
It is time to consider what makes us pull the trigger.
It is time to disarm.
It is time to stop hating.
It is time to walk in love.
We all belong to each other. That is plenty, that is enough.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
– Mother Theresa
Photo courtesy of Maria Dryfhout