A View From the Cheap Seats

July 18, 2007

Tolerance

Filed under: Local,Religion — trzupek @ 8:55 pm

EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – JULY 18, 2007
A VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS

Tolerance

By Rich Trzupek

Just so we’re clear: Wiccans are stupid. Or perhaps it’s better to say that anybody who practices the Wiccan “religion” is behaving stupidly. They may be intelligent, caring individuals who contribute a lot to society, but this particular aspect of their existence is rock-solid dumb.

Now that this has been said, the question is up to you dear readers: Is the above paragraph intolerant? Your opinion here is sincerely desired and, if you’d care to contribute, will be published in a future column (assuming we’re not swamped by hundreds of responses – which seems unlikely – but in which case we’ll only publish the most thoughtful of thoughts).

Your humble correspondent recently expressed the above opinion, perhaps in more colorful language, but you get the jist. My audience– people I respect and care for–told me in no uncertain terms that I was horribly intolerant in my views. And that got me thinking, what exactly does “intolerant” mean?

I understand–indeed I appreciate– the fact that the Constitution guarantees freedom of worship. I do not advocate outlawing Wiccan beliefs, or denying adherents employment on the basis of their beliefs. I don’t think that Wiccans should be stoned to death, or burned at the stake, which would probably be more appropos, come think of it.

I’d gladly invite a Wiccan to a party, or buy him or her a beer, provided he or she was an interesting guy or gal (which most people are). But I reserve the right to believe that they believe in something really dopey.

And, for the record, allow me to say that I don’t think that every religion other than my own (Catholicism) is stupid. I respect the beliefs of Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Protestants and Muslims (assuming they’re not of the “let’s blow people up to get our way” Muslim variety). Hell, I even respect atheists. I think they’re wrong, but there is a certain intellectual honesty to atheism. Atheists demand absolute proof, and that’s fine. If you can’t handle the idea of faith, at least be honest about it.

But Wiccans? They embrace a mish-mash of cruddy, long-discarded tenants that manage to discard both the best of faith and science. It’s a Harry Potter religion; entertaining and comforting–in a sense anyway–but without any real intellectual or spiritual basis. It’s a waste of both brain and soul and therefore is, in my view, entirely stupid. Or, as a buddy of mine observed: “Dungeons and Dragons is a game, not a religion.”

Wiccans will tell you that they are part of the fastest growing “religion” in the United States. As if that means something. We’re a nation of fads. At one time or another, we embraced pet rocks and we thought hula-hoops were the coolest form of entertainment ever. Hell, “Baywatch” was a mega-hit at one point of time. Popularity defines neither spirit nor intellect.

In that context, what’s wrong with calling Wiccans “stupid?” Where is it written that tolerance equals acceptance? Tolerance means that you will grant everyone–even the stupid–the same rights that you, yourself enjoy. When we try to define tolerance as the practice of pretending that we agree with everybody, all of the time–even when we don’t–it’s not tolerance at all, it’s pandering.

There’s a parallel of sorts in race relations. For some insane reason, it’s only OK–in some quarters–to dislike a white man these days. If you dislike a particular woman, you’re in danger of being called sexist. If you dislike a particular person of color, you’re a racist.

Well no. Doesn’t that attitude degrade both women and minorities? It presupposes that only white males should be judged as individuals. If we’re all equal, and I believe we are, than doesn’t that mean that we enjoy an equal distribution of jerks? Isn’t it racist to believe that a person with a particular skin color can’t be a jerk?

Yet, I’ve lost count of the number of times that some well- meaning, guilt-ridden white suburbanite has accused me of being a racist for slamming jerks like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

It’s hard to swallow the criticism. I’m a guy who grew up on the south side of Chicago, who rode the Dan Ryan L to an inner city school and who tutored in the projects. And I’m taking pipe from some suburban white bread whose black experience has consisted of inviting a black doctor who dared to move into his privileged subdivision to the summer block party? Puh-lease.

Everyone has the right to have their opinion, no matter how ridiculous that opinion may be. That’s part of what makes America great.

But the rest of us get to have our opinions too. And some of our opinions may be that their opinions are just stupid. It’s OK to say that Wicca is a joke religion. It’s OK to call Al Shapton a waste of hair spray.

It works both ways. Deal with it. It’s not intolerant, it’s America.

Or do you disagree?

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7 Comments »

  1. Dear Cheap Seat:

    First off let me say I am neither a Wiccan, nor a Christian. I am not a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Sikh, a Hindu, a Zoroastrian, a Maoist or a Free Market Corporatist. I am a Cub fan, however, which requires a suspension of reason and logic, along with a busload of faith – sort of like a religion.

    Was your first sentence intolerant? That was your question, wasn’t it?

    Yes, quite intolerant, among other things.

    It may be hard for me to fathom the cognitive dissonance necessary for a seemingly intelligent person to declare an entire group of their fellow citizens to be “stupid,” while at the same time pretend he is a tolerant and fair-minded individual, but you have clearly demonstrated this ironic disconnect is entirely lost on you.

    Of course, as an American citizen you have every right to be as intellectually bigoted and spiritually intolerant as you please. The Constitution requires only that our government tolerates all religious practices, as well as tolerate no religious practice at all, and Constitution requires that our government not endorse any religion, but the Constitution obviously does not require you as an individual to tolerate or practice any religion.

    The issue of tolerance and intolerance is quite irrelevant anyway: you are not required to “tolerate” the “stupid” Wicca believers, and I am not required to tolerate your silly occult superstitions, (a.k.a. christianity).

    Let us dismiss for now the irony (and cognitive dissonance again) of a person who believes in virgin birth, miracles, angels, devils, spirits, holy ghosts, divinely-inspired texts, and physical resurrection of the dead to be mocking the Wicca religion as “stupid.”

    Calling any religion or group of people “stupid” (or silly) is just plain rude and mean-spirited. As far as I know, there is no law against being rude or mean. So feel free to be as mean and rude to Wiccans as you want if that’s what makes you happy and fulfilled. I think it is sad that a person is so insecure in their beliefs that they feel it necessary to insult others to justify his own irrational faith and boost his waning self-esteem, but that is the path you have chosen. Unfortunately, you will not walk that path alone.

    And that’s where I’ll leave it, your comments are just rude and mean-spirited and nothing more. And I fully support your constitutional right to be as rude and mean-spirited as you wish.

    Blessed Be.
    Allan Benson
    Streamwood

    Comment by Poindexter — September 27, 2007 @ 11:11 am | Reply

  2. Allan, lighten up. It was a joke.

    Comment by Wild Bill — January 12, 2008 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  3. Dear Mr. Bill:

    I guess I missed the punchline. Was it the “Wiccans are stupid” crack? Yeah, that was a real riot! I’ll bet you love fart jokes.

    That seems to be the excuse for every mean or insulting comment these days: Hey, lighten up, Dude, it was just a joke! So, your logic is that I can say any disgusting thing about you I want, maybe true, probably not, and as long as I follow what I say with “I was only joking,” it’s all just ducky with you?

    My observation has been that almost always when some smarty-pants deploys the juvenile “It Was A Joke” defense, they are really saying the following: “I know what I just said (or wrote) was [choose one: mean / a lie / racist / sexist / disgusting / all of the above] but I meant it to be and I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think – now I will just dismiss you and your thoughts by saying, “Allan, lighten up. I was a joke.”

    I suspect had references to Wicca in Cheap Seat’s rant been replaced with Christianity, your response would have been a little different.

    Comment by Poindexter — March 24, 2008 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  4. I completely agree, with the original post. I gave Wicca a good run, 17 years to be exact. During that time, I communally bought a house with 3 other Wiccans, got screwed over on bills by one of them because they thought I was stupid (which, being Wiccan, I was) and almost married one of them. I recently came to my senses, got out of the whole retarded communal house arrangement, subsequently put a couple of people out of a cheap residence and was therefore demonized by the entire community.

    To put the icing on the cake one of the people I was putting out of a house, my ex of 6 years, just died of cancer and not one of the idiots in the community bothered to contact me to tell me, most likely because they didn’t want to see me at the funeral. Maturity is definitely the rule of thumb in this religion (that was sarcasm).

    I am actually hoping to publish a book in the next couple of years that is a step-by-step deconstruction and satire of the entire religion. Wicca takes itself too seriously and its members are power hungry jerks and bitches who have nothing better to do with their lives. And yes, I used to be one of them. I grew up.

    This so called mystery religion is no longer any mystery at all. It is a sex cult that the good part, the sex, has been taken out of in order to make it more “family friendly”. I could go on for pages but will save it for the book.

    Oh, and tons of people will respond to your article. They will spout seemingly intelligent statements that they have heard from other people, because most don’t have the intelligence of a retarded flea. They will talk about how they are proud pagans, happy Wiccans, and the religion is extremely viable. Wicca is a community of mentally ill and gullible people with shared delusions of belonging to a valuable religious community. Give it up people. I did and I am much happier for it.

    Best Regards,

    Angela West
    (Yes, that is my real name. Feel free to look me up and throw your insipid arguments my way – they will probably end up in my book at some point so I welcome them).

    Comment by Angela West — April 29, 2008 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  5. See this is the exact problem I’m having. I have a friend who thinks she’s a witch, and whilst I respect that she’s entitled to go through childish phase’s (although she got there a bit late), I just can’t stand hearing about it. How can I get her to see that I think this religion is about as awesome as Scientology, without actually saying “I can’t believe you expect me to believe that you actually believe this garbage”.

    Were you intolerant? I want to say no…but I guess you kinda were. But then again if you have to say that every religion is great and not even a little stupid, then you can’t be honest…. This is a “religion” for little girls and absolutely nothing more.

    Comment by Lol — July 11, 2008 @ 2:05 am | Reply

  6. Hello duh, people. He corrected the statement “Wiccans are stupid” by saying they are acting stupidly in this one aspect. He is not intolerantly saying all these people are stupid, defining them as such by one narrow aspect of their lives – he is, however, making a comment on one consistent aspect of their lives. Which only makes sense. I mean, what – he’s supposed to say one person’s “wiccanism” or whatever is stupid while another’s is not? Anyway – different things draw different people to their belief systems. It’s not always based on logic, evidence, historicity, or anything else. I know people who choose their religion simply because they think it is beautiful – despite the fact that many of it’s claims contradict history….but they aren’t focused on that, they’re getting their kicks from what they find beautiful.

    Comment by indrani — October 27, 2008 @ 12:21 am | Reply

  7. okay, why not try to learn about the wiccan religion? because you might find out just how un-stupid it is. were you being intolerant? yes, i think so. but that is your right. when you think of magick, which most wiccans practice, it may seem stupid, until you actually take time to STUDY what it is. and then, if you actually tried it to discover it worked, you could throw away any stereotypes. there is, however, a stupid fad side to wicca. us wiccans call these the “fluffy bunnies”. wiccans dislike the fluff as much as anyone else. just please dont mark the fluffy bunnies as everyone. we are a real religion. we have deities, we have a place of worship (nature), we have our 13 wiccan principles and our wiccan rede, we have our covens and beliefs, so we are a religion, you see. it may not be the kind you like, but we are. i am wiccan, i am not vegetarian, goth, and i was never rebellious and i never played geeky video games. so throw away your stereotypes please!

    Comment by crimson — August 3, 2010 @ 7:38 am | Reply


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