“There are only two things I hate in this world. People who are intolerant… and the Dutch.”
That’s a quote from actor Michael Kane when he was playingthe father of Austin Powersin the film of the same name.
I opened with it because it makes me laugh and I think it is important to remember that intolerancecan be quite funny.
Unfortunately, itcan also do harm. More often, though, intolerance just reduces the joy of living for intolerant people and those around them.
I heard a story the other day that demonstrates that kind of thing. My friend tells me a lady she knows got a tongue lashing for going outside to enjoy the sun.
This happened in England where a sunny day is a big event.
The woman didn’t say she was going to worship the sun, she just told another lady she was thrilledthe clouds had cleared and she wasgoing out to soak up some rays while she could.
Evidently, the other woman found that offensive and told the sun-seeker in no uncertain terms that she was not behaving like a good Christian.
Compared to what has been coming out of the White House that may seem rather tame, but I still find it disturbing.
People can believe whatever they want to believe if it helps them cope with life, but that doesn’t mean they have a right to expect others to think the same way.
My friend says the lady who was happy to see the suntold her she is now worried about mentioning that fact because she doesn’t want to offend anyone.
That is very kind of her but I think it is a shame. No one should have to worry about doing things they enjoy that don’t harm others.
I believe all the major religionsshare a core set of values that help followers live good, kind, productive lives.
And I think that core can be summed up by a Christian saying which is commonly known as The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
As rules go, I must admit that is a good one.
I’m not so sure aboutmany of the other ones that religions, political parties and other groups lay down for their followers and for society in general.
There are many ways to do pretty much anything.
Buddhists acknowledge that fact when they say there are many paths to the top of the mountain and it doesn’t matter which one people choose to take because once they reach the top, everyone is in the same place.
Maybe the way to keep all the rules in perspective is to treat them the way Captain Jack Sparrow treated the Pirates’ Code inthe film, The Pirates of the Caribbean.
He didn’t see the code as binding,it was merely a set of guidelines.
I like that because at the end of the day it means we are still responsible for ourselves, and it leaves room for doubt… which helps us be to be more tolerant of others.