Saturday, January 29, 2005

The New Intolerance...

I don't often link to a Counterpunch article- they're often quite far gone- but in this case, I thin they're dead on:

Do you consider intolerance a bad thing? A sin or a hostile trait, perhaps? Something that sounds like the opposite of Jesus' loving, thoughtful attitudes and behaviors as he talked, feasted and prayed with prostitutes and shady characters? Did you take from the parable of the Good Samaritan the lesson that you should be tolerant and accepting of, even go out of your way to help, those who don't believe as you do?

If you answered yes to these questions, you're in for a rude awakening. Conservative Christianity has morphed into Old Testament rigidity and eternally enforced morality, not guided nor even tempered by the interpersonal acceptance, tolerance of social outcasts, and deeper spiritual understanding that Jesus taught and modeled.

Rather than throw up our hands at this ominous glorification of intolerance in conservative churches, sometimes preached on a spiritual level but nearly always enacted at the physical/political level, we'd better discover and understand how their leaders are persuading people to promote curbs on freedom and perpetual "culture war". Only then can we appeal to the moderates within those churches who've gotten swept up into a tide of political antagonism with which they're not really comfortable.

There's a new code for intolerance, and it's not always in-your-face the way James Dobson so often is. Here's an example from the promo for a book by his son Ryan (whom I always pitied after reading about the terrible whippings he endured at the hands of his father, who whipped their tiny dachshund with a belt, as well): Featuring an angry-looking white man on the cover, it's titled simply, Be Intolerant:

Are there times when Christians shouldn't be tolerant? Dobson says yes---if "tolerance" means "willing to accept any version of right and wrong because there is no absolute truth." Find out why this impassioned youth speaker believes Christianity and moral absolutes go hand-in-hand---and why the church must communicate this to the up-and-coming generation.

This is behind their attacks on science: when science contradicts their "absolute truth," their recourse is to attack science.

It's sick.

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