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Huff on American tolerance

September 24, 2010

Editor’s note: The following is an opinion article.

On Friday, Sept. 17, Mr. Wesley Teal argued that ignorant Americans are desecrating the founding principles of our nation by publicly demonstrating their frustration with Muslim communities. Pastor Terry Jones was the particular example cited, but we also heard about how Obama, Clinton and our government are promoting the idea that Islam is a religion that is quick to anger and violent in nature. The argument is sound and I thank Mr. Teal for promoting tolerance in America.

But alas, I am left wondering if perhaps we can go even further with our tolerance of the myriad peoples of our country. Perhaps we should be more tolerant of those who stand up for their values, like the assailants on California’s proposition 8. Or maybe our tolerance needs to encompass the patriots who truly take it to heart when America suffers an attack such as the one on Sept 11. Should we tolerate Pastor Jones, who after all is only practicing his freedom to exercise a version of Christianity that many of us are uncomfortable with?

Tolerance is a beautiful thing, and it can move mountains when put in the right hands. But there are legitimate arguments to be made when enough is enough. Is Islam really an institution of peace, as former president George W. Bush professed it to be? Or is Osama Bin Laden right when he quotes the Quran and recruits young minds to his cause? Perhaps Pastor Jones is burning the holy books of other religions because he has been instructed to by his own God.

My point is that it is a very dangerous game to label people as ignorant. Many times, when we label a decision someone has made (or more often the decision-maker) as ignorant, we simply have not taken the time to understand their motives; and while we may not agree with those motives once we understand them, we can elevate the discussion to a point where somebody can learn from the experience (maybe even you!)

Contributing Writer

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