Sunday, April 20, 2008

Can we tolerate intolerance?

In the movie Goldmember, Nigel Powers (Austin's father) says "There are only two things that I can't stand: people who are intolerant of other people's cultures and the Dutch". The blatant hypocrisy of the joke makes us cringe as we laugh; it's offensive and yet uncomfortably insightful into human nature.

I guess I see myself generally as being on the side of tolerance: I enjoy the diversity in our multicultural society, am involved in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, and have been outspoken in the defense of gay and lesbian people in the church. At the same time, I am deeply bothered by narrowmindedness and prejudice. Yes, it seems that I have little tolerance for intolerance!

It's not that I'm a slave to political correctness but simply that I have seen too many people who have been deeply hurt by the bigotry of others. Because of this I can't uncritically claim tolerance as a virtue - in fact to do so would be naive at best. Perhaps there are some inconsistencies that we have just have to live with.


Anonymous said...

As I was leaving the Brunswick salvos yesterday, a car parked out the front, back door open, revealed a gentleman lighting up what appeared to be a pipe for smoking drugs.

That's diversity.

JDK said...

Hi David,

Yes, it's true: people get up to all sorts of diverse practices - though this obviously isn't limited to the Brunswick area. We see a lot of people in our drug and alcohol counselling program, but I'm sure we only touch the tip of the iceberg.



Temijin said...

And as a Christian or possibly even a Salvo apparently concerned about a gentlemen using did nothing...

JDK said...

Hi Junior,

I think you may be misreading David on a number of levels, but your point is valid: it's all very well to talk about faith but what we do to make the lives of others better is the ultimate test. (Matt 25:31-46 leaps to mind)