Monday, June 18, 2007


    To those of you who shared your thoughts on tolerance, thanks for weighing in, and not only did you offer up some great thoughts, you also confirmed that I have some pretty damn cool people reading this blog.

    I think Gaz and Terry summed it up best with their comments, but, as if often the case, Cinzano's comments spun my mind in a completely different direction when I found myself thinking that perhaps familiarity could do quite a bit to aid in creating tolerance.  And, let's face it, this world really could stand to stop bickering over silly little things for a good long time. 

    The problem is, there are a great many intolerant people out there who, rather than take the time to learn about what they are hating and why they are hating it, would chose to remain in ignorance for no good reason whatsoever.  And, I've always felt that ignorance leads to assumption and that lack of understanding  subsequently leads to fear and hatred. 

    Anyway, the reason why tolerance is on my mind is the result of an odd story involving a friend of mine who I'll call "Chuck." 

    Chuck's a nifty guy.  He's unbelievably smart, and he's one of the nicest people I've ever met.  He's got a good career, a great apartment in the city, and good family with whom he's remained close over the years through any number of typical family struggles.  He's a patient guy, and he's also gay. 

    The only perceptible difficulties in life for my friend Chuck come from his brother's wife --a very Christian woman I'll call "Marge"-- who has all but exiled Chuck from his brother's life based solely on the fact that Chuck is attracted to men.

    In my dealings with Marge, she's always been incredibly kind and an all-around wonderful human being toward me.  In fact, she's shown probably more patience and tolerance for me and my antics than I'm sure I really deserved.  I mean, let's face it, sometimes my actions could be proof that God doesn't exist since I'm pretty damn certain he'd have struck me down a long time ago. 

    However, this isn't about me.  It's about my buddy Chuck who, though I have no idea how, can actually sit there and suffer this relentless display of hypocrisy and this sort of "conditional tolerance" and shrug off the actions and animosity of his sister-in-law with the sort of apathy one uses to shrug off a rainy day or a piece of burned toast.  And, he does so without uttering a single bad word about her.  I don't know how he does it, but he's always amazed me at how he is able to show more tolerance than a woman whose beliefs are based upon a religion that's supposed to promote tolerance. 

    Now, as Cinzano pointed out, maybe there's hope for Chuck and his sister-in-law.  It's been several years since she's been a part of their family, and perhaps if they spend more time together, they might accept one another as a result of simply understanding one another better. 

    Who knows, huh?



  1. It'd be nice if Martha could learn to accept the person, her beloved's own brother for crying out loud, and if she choses to believe homosexuality is wrong, then dislike the action, not disown the person.  I like the idea of them spending more time together, actually, especially as Chuck is so gracious.  

  2. Wow... that never fails to amaze me... these kind generous Christians, who draw the line at 'something'.  For Marge it is being 'gay' apparently.  So sad.  

    Being a true follower of Christ, a true Christian, should be about total INCLUSION and ACCEPTANCE, as Jesus demostrated, time after time, regardless of the ridicule, scorn or personal danger, it put him in.

    However, then you have Chuck.  A walking example of how to WALK the WALK, as he turns the other cheek and forgives and accepts the shortcomings of Marge without skipping a beat.

    He is the example of TOLERANCE that 'Marge' should be learning from, the bitch.

    be well,

  3. Or Chuck might just offer to do some yardwork around his brother's place. Yardwork that needs a rented woodchipper.

    "Tolerance" is a nasty word, I think. religious neighbors "tolerate" me. They smile to my face and then my kid gets the real truth of how they feel from their kids.

    I tolerate swarms of mosquitoes when I am fishing on the lake because it is worth tolerating the bloodsuckers to get to the good fishing. But I do not hesitate to SQUASH the bugs that land on me. Know what I mean? --Smooches, Cin

  4. Dan, it's such a sad situation when one family member tries to keep someone away from a loved one.
    As for Chuck and his tolerance, when he came out he knew he was going to come across people who would not except him for what he is. He made a choice to be true to himself, no matter what the cost might be. Good for him. His willingness to let this roll lke water off a duck's back and give her beliefs no relevence can only in time, show Martha how foolish she is. The one I feel sorry for in this situation is Chuck's brother. I  suspect Martha will be learning about unconditonal love from him.

  5. I agree...I don't like the word Tolerance! It is called LOVE that we should be giving & then you receive. Obviously your sister in law has no clue what LOVE means & thus why her heart is so cold. Your brother needs to be a stand up guy though & not just cave into his wife's behavior & desires. I say the whole rest of the family should do to her & your bro for a bit to learn. Yes, they should be the example of love but just a bit to let them feel what it is like. Like Jane Elliot's experiment in the 60s with the little grade school kids based on blue or brown eyes! I show that to my students!