Our Readers' Opinions
June 16, 2006
The notion of tolerance is open to egregious abuse


EDITOR: In recent times the notion of tolerance has been popularly used. If tolerance were being used in relation only to behaviour or inanimate objects it might generally be acceptable, but it is applied to persons.

I find this repugnant, even obscene. To suggest that a human being made in the likeness and image of God should be tolerated suggests that human being is worthless. Human beings no matter our creed, race, nationality, gender, or political persuasion are not to be tolerated, we are to have our rights respected. We are also in turn to understand our responsibilities to society.{{more}}

Human beings have a right to life from conception to natural death. We have a right to be born of a mother and father. We have a right to identity, nationality, shelter, education, and food. Many of other the rights are covered under the Right to be Wrong.

If as suggested by Kevin Sheamus Hasson in The Right to Be Wrong we remember each of us has the right to be wrong then all we really need is to respect that right. The right to be wrong means we should have the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association and not be un-justly harmed or prevented in their lawful exercise.

The notion of tolerance is open to egregious abuse. For example in 1923 in the Florida, USA, the tolerance of whites toward blacks broke down. As a result the Black Township of Rosewood was simply wiped out. Again in 1933 in Hitler’s Germany tolerance of those considered to be non-Aryan broke down. The end result was that more than six million Jews and countless Catholic clergy and intellectuals were tortured, experimented upon and killed.

If peoples’ rights had been respected none of this would have come to pass. One catholic priest who died at the hands of Hitler’s Nazis was Saint Maximilian Kolbe, (Google Him). He wrote, “The most deadly poison of our time is indifference”. It was true then and regrettably it is even more apt now: Bosnia, Rwanda, Dafur, the war on Iraq. Need I say more?

In our context acting out of tolerance for persons can be deceptively dangerous when it is done by scientific, medical, and legislative bodies. These must be particularly careful that in the haste to show well-meaning tolerance, they do not do away with objectivity, and undermine legitimate rights. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. In trying to make one group feel more tolerated, could it ever be logical or lawful to place tolerance ahead of anyone’s rights as a human being? Particularly where children are involved shouldn’t the children’s rights and welfare be placed above all other concerns? Where those in authority give into the pressure of “political correctness” to show tolerance they fail in their duties.

Those being shown special tolerance would indeed be held apart and not have their rights and membership in the human family affirmed. Other parties would also have their rights unjustly curtailed or stripped away in an effort to afford this tolerance.

Our Lord exhorted us to “do unto others as we would have them do onto us”. We must insist upon the respect for and protection of the Rights of All.