Friday, 14 June 2013

Zero Tolerance

Okay, so here's another thing that I can't understand. Why is it that in this day and age of 'tolerance' we simply do not understand the word tolerance?

To tolerate something means to put up with it even when you do not agree with it. The Oxford English dictionary defines it as:

allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one dislikes or disagrees with) without interference.

As a Christian I have been accused of being intolerant because I believe sex before marriage is wrong, believe that homosexuality is wrong, believe that there is only one way to Heaven and that all religions do not lead to God etc etc...and yet, I have friends who live together, have friends who are homosexuals, have friends of different faiths...I am willing to tolerate what they do even though I do not agree with them. I am still able give them space to continue in what they do, even though I do not believe it is okay. I am still able to remain on speaking terms with these people and respect their life choices.

Yet look what happened today...

I belong to a facebook discussion group where a group of CODA's (children of deaf adults) get together to discuss - well, to discuss life as CODA's . As you can imagine we have lots of things in common and can laugh and cry together over things that people outside of our group and life experience may not be able to understand. We were all getting along nicely until a guy published a (very) short video clip about his work as an interpreter in a church and woaaaaahhhhhhhhh ... suddenly the group are all claws, their fur is standing on end, they have arched backs and they're walking sideways!

A light had been suddenly switched on and everyone was running for cover! There was such an outcry. People were saying the clip was 'inappropriate', that it was 'preachy' and just 'too much'. The offending poster was told that this 'wasn't the place' and then someone added that his work had nothing to do with us being a CODA. Well for him, and for me (as it happens), it had everything to do with being a CODA. He was raised as a child of deaf parents and he is now using his sign language skills in church as an interpreter to make church accessible for deaf people. The same is true of me.

There were plenty of CODA's in the group who had become interpreters in schools, hospitals, courts etc - and this was all fine. There were plenty of CODA's who published short video clips of jokes or songs that they had signed...this too was okay. One guy spoke about getting interpreters in for his civil partnership ceremony and no one blinked an eye, but to discuss your work in a church was 100% NOT okay. Someone said, 'lets leave politics and religion out of this - it only causes arguments.' I was amazed. During my time in the group we had discussed whether or not Obama was a good president, we discussed the current American elections, the riots in London England, we had discussed the way society (government in particular) doesn't understand deafness...there had been plenty of politics! Whilst I did not agree with everyone on every topic I was willing to listen to other opinions and be polite where I disagreed, it was all very grown up - but when the name of Christ was raised the reaction was not one of tolerance. It was ZERO TOLERANCE.

These people think they are tolerant because they 'tolerate' sex outside of marriage, they 'tolerate' homosexual sex, they 'tolerate' swearing and getting drunk etc - BUT THIS IS NOT TOLERANCE - what they really say is 'I find nothing wrong with it so its okay by me.' You only need tolerance when you DO NOT AGREE with something.  The first time these people come into contact with something they do not agree with - in this case Christianity, or talk of Jesus Christ, we find out exactly how tolerant they are!

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I do not wish to be INTOLERANT - I may not agree with you over certain issues, but I should do this with kindness and gentleness.

To tolerate something is not to agree with it. To tolerate means to love or respect someone even if you don't agree with them.

So whilst I am practicing tolerance - but being called 'intolerant' - I am being attacked/shut down/silenced by those who claim to be tolerant.

I thought I'd test my theory...I posted a bible verse to the CODA group. My verse came at the end of a long list of comments on the site where people aired their views about the inappropriate Christian who had 'spammed' their wall with his offensive video. I wrote: Ephesians 4 : 2 we should live 'with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love' 

They deleted me from the group.


No comments:

Post a Comment