EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – AUGUST 1, 2007
A VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS
Tolerance – The Readers Speak Out
By Rich Trzupek
Two weeks ago, I asked you faithful readers to send me thoughts on tolerance. Thanks for everyone who played along. The best three replies follow, unedited.
One comment (and only one): the question posed dealt with tolerance, not about Wiccans per se. Some of you got that, some didn’t. But, in the interest of fairness, we’ll kick off with a defense of Wicca, although the religion wasn’t really supposed to be the point. So, without futher ado, the readers respond:
Siobhan M. wrote:
I just read your article on the Wiccan faith. Now, before I continue, know that I do not consider myself a “true” Wiccan, as I do not follow all of the beliefs. I was, however taught that all gods are one god by different names, so in that respect, I have taken small bits of various religions or faiths and decided on something that I feel is true.
I was taught much of the Wiccan faith growing up, and do feel that some of the beliefs are true. What needs to be understood is that Wicca is an individual’s religion. Everyone who follows it takes from it what they will and goes from there. Not everyone is into the chants, rituals, dressing up, or anything else.
I personally do not do any of the above, but have chosen to take the belief that nature is the earthly equivalent of a god(dess). What is there that is more pure or perfect? I hope that you can agree with me on this point. Nature is the basis of the Wiccan/Pagan faith, not crazy dancing around a fire or sacrificing goats to a heathen god.
Simplicity is what they strive for. Wicca, historically, is based off of the Pagans of ancient times, which, if you follow history through, gave birth to Catholicism. Whether you choose to accept it or not, this is the way history flows. There are many earth-based religions, and if you choose to say that Wiccans are stupid, is that not the same as saying that the Native Americans are stupid too?
They also followed an earth-religion until the White man came and told them that they were wrong. Wicca is far more wide spread than you might think; many choose not to speak out because they are so afraid of being judged. When I went to a private high school, there were rumors spread all across the school that I was a crazed lunatic who liked to sacrifice small animals and burn things. This is, by no stretch of the imagination, true, yet this is the way society looks at something that is different.
We are taught to fear what we do not understand, but we are also taught that understanding something makes us enjoy or like it, and when society looks at something with a closed mind, who wants to be the one being looked at?
I know how hard the pressure can be to not be racist or judgmental, and I respect the fact that you are willing to speak out about your views, but before you jump to a conclusion about Wiccan being a “Dungeons and Dragons” religion, maybe do some reading? Learn about what you’re talking about before you speak up. All you do is look ignorant.
Jeffery Miller wrote:
We are not as tolerant about an idea so much as we are to be tolerant of people and their actions. When a person crosses the preverbal threshold of abusing ones space, tolerance is most needed at that time. In saying that tolerance is subjective, it means that it is an attitude towards someone affecting you, your life style, your family, your time.
Even though the beliefs of certain people can be labeled “Dumb”, they may not impose that belief; therefore there is no necessity for tolerance between you and that person until they cross that line. That point of conflict may arise, however it may be, by peddling, imposing, pushing, and making a situation uncomfortable and so on, at that point we may have to ask ourselves how much we will tolerate this person who is affecting me.
We are free to believe, live, and to speak whatever we want, a great freedom we have here in the United States of America. The only down fall to this great freedom is that we have to live with those who we may oppose in thought and ideas and beliefs. As long as they do not infringe upon my freedoms I have no reason to even really know who and what they are. We do however have a God given right to oppose anyone who we know, think, or feel is wrong. This is a matter of opinion not tolerance.
If I may, let me give you one simple example of the summation of my ideas: extreme jihadist bombers, they impose upon my freedom and what I understand to be normal and logical; therefore this can only be tolerated for so long before action is taken. Let me assure you that because I will not tolerate such outlandish actions that have resulted from a belief does not make me intolerable, but makes me logical. What these actions really say is that the extreme jihadist bomber is intolerable, who can endure these ideas other than the one acting them out.
As for the Wicca, they have not affected me as much as they may have affected you. The closest encounter I have had with a Wicca was a near miss of an auto accident as I stared at their bumper sticker “My other car is a broom”. Rich you said that these people may be “Intelligent”, yet they hold to these ridiculous ideas of the world and nature. It is an illogical belief system that offers nothing to the society as far as we can tell. I do not see intelligent people following these beliefs. Most of us have not had interaction with these people because most of them are closet believers because society as a whole has relayed the message that this is stupid and useless.
This of course is my opinion, and as long as my opinion does not infringe upon someone else’s freedom and life I have every right to do so. This is not intolerance this is freedom. Just as well those who oppose your opinions Rich have this right; this does not mean they are intolerable. The Wiccans have the right to practice their forest hippy dances as long as they do it within the standards that have been set by society (keep your cloths on), which insures that they will not cross that line of imposing things upon others and their rights. The Wiccans have the right to oppose those who oppose them; this is a great country we live in! We have a right to oppose or have an opinion about what they believe, again this does not make us intolerable, but opinionated, which is to be an American.
We do however tolerate many things of this day and age, why, because they affect us and our families. We should not just have opinions about these things that affect us but we should move to change them. This does not make you intolerable, it makes those things intolerable! Thanks for the article and a chance to respond.
And finally, Jacqueline E. wrote:
I agree with you 110%.
My car license plate frame says “Truth not Tolerance” and one day a “yute” (My Cousin Vinny reference to a youth) asked me what it meant.
I explained during the red light that everyone cannot be right, that we cannot accept everything in the name of tolerance. Right and wrong must be defined. Murder is wrong, so we cannot just tolerate the murderer’s who are biologically or psychologically prone to murder.
There is no tolerance to murder, we must explain, support, and enforce the truth that murder is wrong and must not be tolerated. That is an extreme example – but it applies in other areas. Tolerance does not mean we should be blind to the truth. Tolerance = accept Wiccans as a group of people who want to practice a religion. Truth = It is a stupid religion.
Tolerance = Darwin had a theory it should be taught in the schools. Truth = it is and was a theory and has not been proven, there are other viable theories with just as much science behind them, as well as loopholes, and they should be taught too. [intelligent design]. This listing examples could go on and on – our society is loaded with them.