Who said tolerance is easy?
A few years ago, I visited the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. The museum bills itself as "a human rights laboratory and educational center dedicated to challenging visitors to understand the Holocaust in both historic and contemporary contexts and confront all forms of prejudice and discrimination in our world today."
I have always been sensitive to the horrors of the Holocaust. But it amazed me that the museum's antidote to the hate that fuelled the Holocaust was not more hatred, but tolerance. The thought that teaching people to appreciate differences could halt hatred is a massive challenge in a world full of evil.
I thought about the challenges of tolerance in Canada recently after watching people who should know better - some of our political elites - demonstrate that their mantra seems to be, "We will not tolerate the 'intolerant.'"
I'm not surprised that our oh-so-politically correct Official Opposition in Ottawa, the federal New Democrats, have taken a run at "ex-gay" Christian groups. Delegates to the NDP's convention unanimously passed a resolution calling on the federal government to revoke the charitable status of groups that "prey on vulnerable members of the gay community" by offering services that seek to lead such individuals away from a gay life.
Whatever I may think about these ex-gay groups and their attempt to "re-wire" gays and lesbians - and I'll be up-front in saying that I think this kind of "ministry" is bogus - cutting off the charitable support for any group that expounds a point of view that is not about "hating" is not only dangerous, it shows the NDP's true intolerant colours.
I am proud to count many gays and lesbians as friends and colleagues. Many of them get very upset about these ex-gay groups. But so do my Jewish friends when it comes to Messianic Christian groups trying to convert Jews. If the NDP gets its way on groups that loosely fall under the "advancement of religion" category used by Revenue Canada for granting charitable status, then it will be open season on just about any group that the politically-correct elite do not approve of.
Pro-life groups offering counselling to pregnant women? Gone. Conservative Muslim organizations whose views on the role of women don't fit with the NDP's views? Not allowed.
What the NDP does not get is that groups within a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-faith society like Canada will compete for their view points. You don't have to like it. You may even be offended. But you tolerate the melting pot of ideas even if the pot smells because to go the other way (the NDP's way) is to encourage Iranian-style secularist Mullahs who will dictate what's in our heads.
Thus, I tolerate the NDP as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition on Parliament Hill because the voters have spoken. This despite the fact that the socialists have an interim leader who may be a closet Quebec separatist. Disgusted I am. Tolerate it I do.
I would rather let people decide for themselves whether or not they will support any group that espouses a particular viewpoint. Thus, Willow Creek, the American mega-church, voted with its wallet when it disassociated itself from ex-gay group Exodus International.
There are lines of tolerance. Espousing hate against an identifiable group is always wrong. But an employer has a right to get rid of an employee who espouses in a public manner personal views that don't jive with the corporate mantra. Case in point was the firing of Toronto broadcaster Damian Goddard by Rogers Sportsnet. Goddard, a well-known sportscaster, tweeted his support for a sports agent who used Twitter to oppose same-sex marriage.
Many Christians decried the firing. But an employer has a right to insist you keep your views to yourself when you are in a public role. That's not intolerance. That's the line between personal and professional. If Goddard wants to go lobby against same-sex marriage, stop being a broadcaster and go work for a lobby group. Otherwise, stick to sports.
It was Aristotle who wisely said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." The NDP is held hostage to an outdated, intolerant, secularist philosophy that is every bit as biased as those religious groups who want to impose "my way or the highway" on everyone else. But it is certainly right for my employer to have me stick to my job and keep my private and professional sides in their place.
Who said tolerance was easy?
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