Tolerance and Respect

Tolerance and Respect

I recently touched on a subject, in a post, that has been on my mind a lot lately.  It’s something that has progressively gotten worse over the years.  It’s about tolerance and respect of others.  No, I’m not talking about racial issues or gay rights.  I’m talking about the bashing of Christians and attempts to silence anything that has to do with Jesus.

Tolerance and RespectWithout going into all the problems with the twisting of the original meaning of separation of church and state, I want to focus on the twisting of the words tolerance and respect.  Tolerance is defined as a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions, beliefs, and practices that differ from one’s own.  Respect is defined as deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment.

These seem to be the words of the current times but, ironically, they don’t apply to everyone.  We are to have tolerance and respect for everyone regardless of sexual orientation, the way people choose to live, ethnic origin, gender and even religious affiliation.  It doesn’t seem to apply to Christian expression, though.  This is a timely matter.

If you look up “legal battles for displaying religious articles” (which I did on my phone), I found pages of battles. In all the pages I looked through, they were all against Christian displays, expressions of this faith or Scripture references.  Many of the battles in court are over people merely speaking or sharing what they believe.  Others are over statues and inscriptions that have been in place for years.  Many are a part of history.

A few examples of those who were merely showing what they believe are:

  1. A cadet posted a Scripture verse on the white board outside of his room.  It was his space.  It wasn’t defamatory or hateful.  Yet the ranking officials took it down because it was Christian.
  2. Another is over an elementary school student who created an art project, as assigned at school, where what he made was expressing his Christian view of the world.  The teacher wouldn’t display it for fear of someone looking at all the displays,  finding this one with Jesus included and getting upset.
  3. The last example I will give is a boy who wasn’t allowed to hand out candy canes at a holiday party because there was a poem attached to it about how the candy cane can be a representation of Jesus.  The teacher told him “Jesus isn’t allowed at school”.

Tolerance and Respect

Why did the possibility of someone getting upset trump anyone’s freedom of expression?  There have been extremely hateful comments and articles written which aren’t contested or have anyone trying to shut them down.

Christian worldviews are a part of this country’s history just as Jesus is a historical figure.  If someone objects, they can tell their kids and others they don’t believe in or agree with something and why.  It’s a teachable moment.  My children have been exposed to countless views and actions I don’t agree with, so we always talked about the reasons why and even did some research  if they had further questions.

There are also numerous battles over statues, words inscribed in stone on and in buildings, pictures hung in hallways and many over holiday displays.  I read of one holiday display where everything Christian had to be removed but a Menorah was allowed to stay (it wasn’t even contested – and it shouldn’t have been).  If Kwanza and Hanukkah can be represented as well as Santa Claus, why can’t the nativity?  It’s just freedom of expression.  It’s now called the holiday season to cover all the different holidays and ways people celebrate during the season.  This also includes many who celebrate the birth of Jesus.

None of these things were hurting anyone. They were expressions of the person who created or commissioned them. They weren’t crude or sexual in nature.  They were just representations of the melting pot of America, where tolerance and respect are touted loud and strong.

Everyone in the USA is supposed to be able to say and create what they believe *.  There will always be someone who disagrees.  The historical and other displays and inscriptions of Christian faith are the same as any other expression of beliefs found in the country.  A person who complains about a statue causing them harm because it is of Christian origin doesn’t get physically or even mentally distraught when they pass a Christian church that have one or more displays of faith on or around their church.  They would be sick all the time if they did.

The same is true for spoken or written professions of faith.  I remember hearing about the Dalai Lama, Buddha, Ghandi, Malcolm X along with their beliefs in school.  I also remember being told by a teacher that God did not exist and to think otherwise was stupid.  However, if something Jesus said or did was presented in the same way, there would likely be a problem.

Freedom of speech and religion are constitutionally given to all Americans, but it clearly is not what is being practiced.  The feeling of oppression and attempts to control and quiet people of faith is growing.  Where is the tolerance and respect for those of Christian faith?

~ Joanna Lynn

* I am in no way condoning hateful comments and actions toward anyone. There is no place for this to ever happen. I know there are Christians who spout out how God hates someone because they are doing something that is upsetting them. I’ve also read countless comments and article condemning and attacking Christians with the same vehemence.


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