So, let’s see. I mentioned that I wanted to talk about the intolerance of people toward Christians. This post linking to another post written by a woman who was dismayed (horrified? discomfited?) to be attending a barbecue with a bunch of Christians (who had the nerve not to serve alcohol) sparked my reaction. That, and the Joan Rivers “Before Melissa Pulls the Plug” comedy special I paused on while channel-surfing the other night. (Then again, Joan Rivers says outrageous things about everyone, so how can anyone be offended by that?)
I understand about being uncomfortable around people who are different than you, so the woman who spent her afternoon at the barbecue feeling out of place gets my sympathy. After all, I live in one of the states where more people do not attend church than do.
“The idea that Seattle or this part of the country is a bastion of liberalism and tolerance and open-mindedness is baloney,” Gallant says. “It is just self-absorbed and trendy. These people are, in fact, very intolerant to anyone who doesn’t agree with them. They want people of faith out here to be silent about their beliefs.”
The Rev. Bill Keeton, 48, pastor of the tiny, yellow-frame Chapel of Grace in Olympia, dubs secular Washington “downright anti-religious.”
“Charting the Unchurched in America,” (USA Today) says:
The majority of Americans, 81% according to ARIS, still do claim a religion. They represent a counterargument to the theory that the more developed a country — in education, occupations, science and technology — the more its people move away from religion, says Ronald Inglehart, who heads the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.
Americans break the mold. Inglehart says, “Even if you look at the easiest measure of religiosity — church attendance — the USA has 30% to 32% per week depending on which poll you look at, but comparably wealthy countries in Northern Europe have 5% to 15%.”
So, eighty-some percent claim a religion (all religions, not just Christianity), but only thirty-some percent go to church. (Far less than that in my region.) I’m one of them.
I am accustomed to being mocked on television, on the internet, in print media. Christians are accused of intolerance (and downright stupidity) by those who refuse to tolerate Christian belief systems. It’s kind of funny, really, that those who claim to be tolerant of lifestyles and differing beliefs cannot tolerate Christians because of their perceived intolerance.
At least I find it funny. And offensive on occasion.
However, I try not to take offense at the illogical meanderings of people who don’t realize how intolerant they are. I assume those people have no idea what they are talking about, since most people are frighteningly ignorant of the overall message of the Bible and what a Christian is really like. Joan Rivers wouldn’t know a beatitude if it hit her upside the head, after all, so we can overlook her insensitivity to Christians. (Blessed are the meek.)
I really do believe actions speak louder than words, so I figure I don’t need to defend myself or other Christians. But every once in awhile, my eyes roll so far back in my head that I have to say something lest my eyeballs get stuck in that position. That explains this post. My eyeballs were lodged way up under my eyelids. This ought to shake them loose.
Some of you mentioned in comments that Christians are also very intolerant of other Christians. That’s true, I suppose, though I think there’s probably a better word than “intolerance” to describe the differences between various Christian denominations and factions. Sure, there are vast disagreements between Christian groups, but disagreeing with something doesn’t imply intolerance (“unwillingness to recognize and respect differences in opinions or beliefs”.)
(Yes, I quibble about semantics quite often. So?)
I have been in Christian circles my whole life–my maternal grandfather was a preacher, my uncles are ministers, my mother met my father at Bible college–I attended church three times a week until adulthood . . . and seven times a week in college (mandatory chapel every weekday and mandatory attendance at church on weekends). So, I have church-cred.
And I’m telling you that the view from here, from the life of a pastor’s wife–who never, ever mentions that fact to strangers lest they suddenly begin to censor themselves and apologize for their language and start to look for an emergency exit–from here, it sure looks like those who champion tolerance can barely tolerate me.
Which, you have to admit, is irony at its finest.
You can accuse me of a lot things–setting back the feminist movement, for instance, by ironing my husband’s pants–but please don’t accuse me of intolerance or assume that because I’m a Christian I’m a party-pooper. (I’m a party-pooper because I’m an introvert, which has nothing to do with my religion.)
The tolerant among us should have no problem with my assertion that I am right because doesn’t tolerance demand that you tolerate me, even if you disagree with me? Otherwise, that makes you intolerant, huh?
I could go in circles forever, pointing out that people who cry “intolerant!” and point an accusing finger are intolerant of the intolerant . . . but it’s boring me. So it must be boring you.