08 November 2009

Diversity is not to be tolerated--It is to be Celebrated!

There is a perverse streak of ugliness in the current political and cultural wars waging throughout America. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it is new or particular to the issues of our day such as health care reform or attitudes toward people of differing sexual preferences. Mistrust of strangers and intolerance of difference and demand for conformity have always been a source of violence and ugly behavior in the quest for national unity.

These things have always been there. Strong feelings coming out of political or cultural conflict have been by expressed acts of violence throughout our history...witness H. Rap Brown saying, "Violence is as American as apple pie". But, there is something new and frightening about how these things get expressed in today's climate. And, the level of acceptance of that which should be abhorred and shunned,

With utter impunity people show up carrying sidearms at Presidential events, letters to the editors of newspapers carry barely veiled calls for violence against strangers who represent a point of view which differs from that of the writer. Decent people are shouted down, threatened and intimidated by ugly displays of hatred and threat. Fear and loathing, once kept to one's self, now are trotted out and put on display as though they were merit badges or medals of achievement. And, those with the vilest and most extreme displays are venerated and looked up to as "leaders" of those afflicted with mob mentality. Again, this is not especially new. It has always been there. But what is new is the level of acceptance of such behavior by people who should know better, people who call themselves Christian.

I would suggest that differences are not to be resolved by one powerful group--particularly those groups who choose Christianity as their base. For in their worldview is it not true that we are all created by "God" and if this should be true, would not our differences be gifts from that "God"?

Oh yes, there are those in that crowd who would hurry to claim that they are "tolerant" of differences. I would suggest to them that differences are not to be tolerated, but rather, to be celebrated! I fear that what they do not realize or are unable to grasp or accepts is that unity comes not from conformity but, rather, from reconciliation and understanding.

All of which, of course, is damned hard work.

But, remember this. Remember this and grasp it to the bosom of your soul as carefully and with as much nurturing as you would a newborn: When we welcome and celebrate strangers, we may very well be welcoming angels.

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