To the Editor:
Sadly, Christians continue to be shamed for not being “tolerant”. But what is tolerance anyway? Do we have to “tolerate” someone giving us money or performing kind deeds for us? Of course not! By definition, tolerance means “to endure what is difficult or disagreeable without complaining.” (Merriam-Webster). In other words, to accept that which we find objectionable and offensive.
At some point in the recent past our nation began to embrace the practice of “political correctness” – a synonym for tolerance. At the beginning, and on the surface, this seemed all well and good. After many hard years of seeing blacks and other racial minorities striving for much needed (and Biblically sound) equality, “tolerance” incorrectly became the watchword. But other, not so noble (or Biblically correct), causes quickly jumped on the band wagon of political correctness/tolerance with a harsh, even violent response to those who did not follow suit.
Ironically, the very groups that criticize Christians today for being intolerant are THEMSELVES incredibly intolerant of Christians! Evidence for this abounds: no more prayer in schools, nativity scene issues, 10 commandments removed from public buildings, “Merry Christmas” is now “Happy Holidays”, cross necklaces forbidden in workplaces, etc. (who is really being persecuted for their beliefs?)
Now, are Christians called upon in the Bible to be a tolerant people? No, we are called upon to be a people who stand for, speak and practice God’s truth as outlined in the Bible. Notice I said “God’s truth.” Not mine. Not yours. Lack of clarity on this point has led to a lot of misconceptions. As Christians we are commanded to hold fast to these truths regardless of whether they are “politically correct” or we get labeled “intolerant”.
As good parents, we don’t tolerate everything our child does. We have standards of behavior to which they are held, but we still love them dearly. That’s how God is, and Christians are one of the mechanisms God uses to communicate this truth to the world.
Sadly, many mainstream churches have turned their backs on sound Biblical doctrines in favor of cultural relativism. Even more sad is that many of their congregants have not bothered to read the Bible to see what God has to say about today’s issues. To them, God=love=tolerance. Add to that the fact that the media often gets the most hate-spewing people to represent the “Christian” viewpoint, making “tolerance” all that more appealing.
Being a Christian was never meant to be easy. Speaking up against that which God finds objectionable in the face of a society holding an opposite view is NOT easy. But it is what we Christians are instructed to do.
Donna H. Longton