The Bridge of Tolerance

I’ve seen the following quote by actor George Takei pop up in various forms on Facebook a lot lately.

“Each of us bears a responsibility to reject hate, whatever its form, whatever its justification. A soul filled with hate can devastate a community. A nation filled with hate can devastate a people. It must start and end with each of us.”

Who can argue with this logic, right? Hate is obviously something that needs to be taken seriously in a civil society. However this strikes me for whatever reason as an overly simplistic statement that makes for a nice bumper sticker due to one important thing: it doesn’t define hate. So what is the definition of hate?

According to Merriam-Webster:

  • 1a: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury
  • 1b: extreme dislike or antipathy: LOATHING <had a great hate of hard work>

Google:

  • Intense or passionate dislike: “feelings of hate”

Dictionary.com:

  • 1. to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy; to hate bigotry.
  • 2. to be unwilling; dislike: I hate to do it.

Thefreedictionary.com:

  • 1. a. To feel hostility or animosity toward.
  • 1. b. To detest.
  • 2. To feel dislike or distaste for: hates washing dishes.

Macmillandictionary.com:

  • to dislike someone or something very much

Some will go further by saying that hatred stems from fear. Ok, so what is the definition of fear? I won’t go through all the above sources again in the interest of time, but Merriam-Webster defines fear as:

  • 1a: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
  • 1b (1): an instance of this emotion (2): a state marked by this emotion
  • 2: anxious concern: SOLICITUDE  (which is a state of being concerned or anxious)
  • 3: profound reverence and awe especially toward God
  • 4: reason for alarm: DANGER

Can you see where this is going? By being loose with our definition of terms, even the most serious of them, we open a can of unintended consequences. (Or are they unintended?)

For instance, if I say that I’m for profiling certain groups who have had an inordinate number of their members commit horrific acts of terrorism against innocent men, women and children due to my fear of such atrocities happening again in the future I must obviously hate every single member of that group.

If I use wasp spray on my patio to kill a nest of wasps because I’m allergic to their stings and have a fear of being stung? I’m a hater who must be rejected.

If I avoid walking through the jungles of Africa at night to avoid being eaten by lions? I hate lions.

If I have an aversion to the beliefs or tenets of a faith held by over 1.2 billion people as it has existed for over 2000 years because I find them backwards and a crutch for the ignorant? Yes ma’am, you are a hater.

If I don’t want a dog as a housepet because the thought of stepping in a pile of poop in my backyard with shoes or barefoot is something I find repugnant? I hate dogs. Or dog poop.

I’m concerned that our nation has become numb to the realities of what an abortion doctor does to both the woman and her baby, and believe that we see this crassness and disregard for our fellow man’s humanity reflected in our actions as a society. Ergo, I obviously hate abortion and the Culture of Death. (Ok, this one is actually true.)

A people who believes in everything, believe in nothing. What used to be known as common sense is eradicated. No one will voice their opinion or take a stand on an issue.

Why? Because of fear and the hatred of the oh so tolerant that will reign down upon their heads before  the can cross the Bridge of Tolerance and avoid being cast into the Gorge of Reeducation.

The trouble with tolerance is that there is always someone deciding what to tolerate. A free society does not tolerate people; it allows them to live their own values. And a tolerant society is not free. It is a dictatorship of virtue that is intolerant toward established values in order to better tolerate formerly intolerable values.

Ask yourself: who really benefits from a nation of people afraid of speaking out? Who gains from the persecution of those who dare to speak? Who makes the rules and who will be left when the rules are once again redefined? History contains the answer…if you’re not afraid to seek it.

*****

With apologies to one of my favorite and most beloved things in this world: Monty Python.

bod01

ARTHUR: There it is! The Bridge of Tolerance!

ROBIN: Oh, great.

bod02

ARTHUR: Look!! There’s the Director of Tolerance and Diversity from the Department of Moral Relativism!

BEDEVERE: What is he doing here?

ARTHUR: He is the keeper of the Bridge of Tolerance. He asks each traveller five questions…

GALAHAD: Three questions.

ARTHUR: Three questions. He who answers the five questions…

GALAHAD: Three questions.

ARTHUR: Three questions may cross in safety.

ROBIN: What if you get a question wrong?

ARTHUR: Then you are cast into the Gorge of Reeducation for tolerance and diversity training.

ROBIN: Oh, I won’t go.

GALAHAD: Who’s going to answer the questions?

ARTHUR: Sir Robin!

ROBIN: Yes?

ARTHUR: Brave Sir Robin, you go.

ROBIN: Hey! I’ve got a great idea. Why doesn’t Launcelot go?

LAUNCELOT: Yes, let me go, my liege. I will take him single-handed. I shall use faith…and reason…

ARTHUR: No, no, hang on hang on hang on! Just answer the five questions…

GALAHAD: Three questions.

ARTHUR: Three questions as best you can. And we shall watch… and pray.

LAUNCELOT: I understand, my liege.

ARTHUR: Good luck, brave Sir Launcelot. God be with you.

bod03

KEEPER: Stop! Who would cross the Bridge of Tolerance must answer me these questions three, ‘ere the other side he see.

LAUNCELOT: Ask me the questions, bridge-keeper. I’m not afraid.

bod04

KEEPER: What is your name?

bod04a

LAUNCELOT: My name is Sir Launcelot of Camelot.

KEEPER: What is your quest?

LAUNCELOT: To seek the Truth.

KEEPER: What is your favorite color?

LAUNCELOT: Blue.

KEEPER: Right. Off you go.

LAUNCELOT: Oh, thank you. Thank you very much.

ROBIN: That’s easy!

KEEPER: Stop! Who approaches the Bridge of Tolerance must answer me these questions three, ‘ere the other side he see.

bod11

ROBIN: Ask me the questions, bridge-keeper. I’m not afraid.

KEEPER: What is your name?

ROBIN: Sir Robin of Camelot.

KEEPER: What is your quest?

ROBIN: To seek the Truth.

KEEPER: Are in favor of the designated hitter rule?

bod11a

ROBIN: What? Oh, I hate that rule! Auuuuuuuugh!

bod06b

bod06a

bod07

KEEPER: Stop! What is your name?

bod05a

GALAHAD: Sir Galahad of Camelot.

KEEPER: What is your quest?

GALAHAD: I seek the Truth.

KEEPER: Are you in favor or against gay marriage?

bod05

GALAHAD: For. No against — Auuuuuuuugh!

bod06

KEEPER: Stop! What is your name?

THREE-HEADED KNIGHT: A three-headed knight of Camelot.

KEEPER: What is your quest?

THREE-HEADED KNIGHT: We seek the Truth.

KEEPER: Do you believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?

3-headed knight

Left Head: Well, no, that’s absurd. The very idea of eating the flesh of Christ is disgusting and unenlightened…

Right Head: Not to mention unsanitary.

Center Head: But what about John 6? Or 1st Corinthians 10 or 11? Or the writings of the early Church Fathers?

Left Head: He does have a point.

Right Head: Oh, do shut up.  — Auuuuuuuugh!

bod07

KEEPER: Heh heh. Stop! What is your name?

bod08a

ARTHUR: It is Arthur, King of Common Sense.

KEEPER: What is your quest?

ARTHUR: To seek the Truth.

KEEPER: What is the definition of fear?

bod08

ARTHUR: What do you mean? The fear that absolutes may exist or the fear of someone who thinks differently than I do?

bod09

KEEPER: What? I don’t know that! Auuuuuuuugh!

bod10

BEDEVERE: How do know so much about fear?

bod08b

ARTHUR: Well, you have to know these things when you live in our modern society you know.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Bridge of Tolerance

    • Me too! It just popped into my head out of nowhere (scary what’s rattling around up there) and seemed to fall together nicely. 🙂

      As to your answer to who benefits? I agree.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s