March 16, 2004

On tolerance

I have removed a recent post due to controversy over it. I think I was having a hard time expressing myself clearly. I am not a hateful or intolerant person. I simply want the right to teach my children that there is such a thing as right and wrong. I do NOT believe all "multicultural" studies are bad - as a matter of fact we try to study and learn about and respect all different kinds of cultures. We read books on all sorts of cultures and try to meet different kinds of people - we have an interracial family and friends. Anyone who knows me knows I am not an intolerant or hateful person. I am sorry if I have offended some people - perhaps I was not expressing my views clearly.

The best I can explain is I teach my children to love ALL people irregardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, matriculation and even level of kindness. I do so because I believe all people are created in God's image and deserve respect and we are called to love everyone. I teach my children that there are differences between people and we need to accept and respect those differences. I try to show them how different people live and discuss the benefits of those choices. We read stories and non-fiction books about a wide variety of people, we treat all people we meet with the same level of respect and honoring. We seek out legends and traditional stories from a wide variety of cultures and I try my best to expose my kids to as much as I can and to be intolerant of intolerance.

However, I believe it is acceptable to teach my children that there is a right and a wrong. I want them to have a solid moral foundation and to be able to make moral judgments for themselves. I think there are things that people do that are wrong and that it is acceptable to say so. I do not however think that an individual choice is a reflection on an entire group of people or culture. I try to teach my children to disagree with the choice or belief but still love the person. Now that is a hard lesson to teach, to learn and to live out - but that is our goal and that is the way we approach education and life. I am a dying minority of people in our postmodern culture who believes there are absolute morals on some issues and I believe there is a way to determine right from wrong.

I believe in tolerance and I believe in love and I am tolerant and I do love people. However, I do not believe in tolerance as outright and unconditional acceptance (which is often how it is taught) and some say that makes me intolerant. I find that ironic as they do not "tolerate" me or my beliefs.

I teach my kids about a variety of cultures, I teach them that we all need to get along, we all need to be respectful and mindful of one another's differences, try to be kind to that person in a way they understand and that NOONE is "better" than anyone else because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, matriculation, culture or other classifying category. And even if they don't like the person they need to love the person Even if they disagree with the action or decision made they still need to love and respect the individual and not pass judgment on them or their culture.
So NO I am not intolerant, racist or hateful. But I don't accept and embrace behavior and choices I believe are wrong as right in order to be tolerant.


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