LETTER: Tolerance is a must in society

To the editor,

As a society we are rightly taught to value tolerance, respect and acceptance of others. We are taught to value our individual freedoms in Canada and to respect others in theirs. This is important and necessary in order to have peace, freedom, safety and mutual respect in our world, but I see too many double standards around us and I find it very disturbing.

Tolerance in our society, seems to be only for those who hold to what certain people groups hold to as acceptable behaviours and choices, or what is popular at the time. Anyone who disagrees or doesn’t take part is made to feel second rate, out of touch, outdated, or even ignorant or hateful. That is a double standard and it’s very hypocritical, damaging to our freedoms, our country and children and harmful in the short and long term.

A recent example is in the election campaign we had last Fall. Andrew Schreer was practically harassed one day by a reporter, because he refused to take part in a gay pride parade. It was almost an act of shaming him (Andrew), because of his choice to not take part in it. The reporter was trying to force Andrew to explain himself as to his decision. It bordered on bullying. This is completely unacceptable behavior by anyone! With all the noise about tolerance for others, there should have been a huge outcry on behalf of Andrew Shreer and his rights!

As a free human being, it is his and everyone’s right to not take part in any occasion, if they choose to do so. This is especially true when the occasion goes against one’s own faith beliefs and convictions about right and wrong, which they/we have every right to hold to. Andrew Shreer (or any Christian, for that matter) doesn’t have to explain, apologize or justify himself to anyone about his beliefs and practices or lack of them! He has a right to live out his faith and convictions as he chooses, without the approval of the media or anyone else! He has a right to do this regardless of whether he is in a public role or not. He has a right to do this without scorn, shaming, bullying, contempt, and so on, every single day of his life, and so do we all. He has a right to wear a cross (or 7 of them all at once) if he so chooses, without having to explain himself to anyone! And that shouldn’t be a cause to not vote for him either.

In fact, to pressure someone in any way to go against their conscience, or to prevent anyone from doing something that their conscience and spiritual and moral convictions call them to do, is very disrespectful and intolerant, and a terrible violation of their freedom, principles, soul, dignity and personal human rights, and I would even say it is abusive and maybe even evil. Let’s consider that when we think we have the right to criticize someone for not being ‘politically correct’ or liberal enough to please us and our so called ‘enlightened ideas’! Our so called ‘enlightened ideas’ are frankly getting this nation into great spiritual trouble.

Another example I wish to mention is this: Our schools, colleges, and universities are fast becoming painful places for people of faiths who dare to believe in creation as opposed to evolution, or God’s plan for marriage as opposed to whatever the world decides is okay, or even to have higher standards than most, is often offensive to others. Why?! These are all areas where Christians in particular are barely ‘tolerated’ (if at all) simply because they don’t go along with the status quo. This is wrong. Christians too deserve the same kind of respect and acceptance that any other people group demand, without being called names or accused of ‘hate speech’ simply because they disagree with the status quo. We have a right to our own beliefs, activities and convictions! We have a right to disagree and to be “politically incorrect”. We believe it is far more important to obey God and to be right with Him than to adapt to the standards of mere men and society as they think is best.

Bullying, control, manipulation, peer pressure, intolerance and so on, are not just on the school grounds either. It is everywhere! Families, media, friendships, marriages, workplaces, churches, the medical system, government officials, you name it. It has to stop! We need to open our eyes people, and start thinking clearly about what kind of values we are holding to as individuals, parents, teachers, pastors, government officials, you name it. The choices we make today will affect our kids and grandchildren now and down the road, and they will pay for them much more than we will. They already are!

We don’t have to agree with each other, but we should respect everyone’s beliefs and convictions, even if they are not “politically correct”!

Thank you for your time.

Debbie Roy,

Vernon

See Debbie Roy’s full letter online at vernonmorningstar.com

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