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One$More$Thing,$One$More$Time$ Tolerance.$How$does$one$even$begin$to$define$it?$It$sounds$like$a$wonderful$idea,$ everyone$getting$along$with$each$other,$without$any$conflict$at$all.$But$when$the$very$ definition$of$tolerance$is$boiled$down,$what$does$it$really$mean?$Tolerance$is$the$act$of$ putting$up$with$something$or$someone,$without$protest$or$obstruction.$Religious$tolerance$ is$essentially$just$unspoken$permission$for$people$of$different$religious$to$live$and$interact$ around$each$other.$It’s$not$coexisting.$There$is$no$intertwining$of$faith$or$ideas,$no$mixing$ of$beliefs,$no$flow$of$communication$and$understanding.$There$is$nothing$more$than$mere$ happenstance.$Rather$than$actively$seek$to$learn$of$others’$pursuits$in$life,$we$ignorantly$ pass$by$people$every$day,$never$wondering$the$story$behind$any$of$the$faces.$$ In$one$of$my$favorite$TV$shows,$Bones,$one$of$the$interns$at$the$Jeffersonian$crime$ lab$is$Muslim.$At$first$he$chooses$to$fake$a$thick$accent$and$let$others$infer$that$he$is$a$ recent$immigrant,$rather$than$admit$that$he$is$completely$raised$in$America$with$no$accent,$ because$he’s$afraid$of$the$any$possible$backlash$Afraid$of$being$accused$of$being$a$terrorist,$ he$believes$it$might$as$well$be$better$to$just$go$ahead$and$completely$live$out$his$new$ persona.$At$first,$he$actually$is$made$fun$of$for$being$a$terrorist;$his$fear,$though,$is$what$ actually$keeps$him$from$being$fully$accepted$by$the$crime$team.$His$odd$hours$of$prayer$ don’t$offend$them,$but$they$feel$awkward$because$of$it,$even$though$they$do$tolerate$him.$ He$finally$comes$clean$when$his$faked$accent$slips,$and$he$admits$to$faking$an$accent$to$ avoid$questions$about$his$faith;$the$team$reassures$him$that$they$never$distrusted$him$ because$of$his$faith,$but$because$he$appeared$to$be$hiding$something.$He$and$the$team$ leave$on$better$terms$than$before,$having$known$the$truth.$We$shouldn’t$let$people$be$ afraid$of$expressing$their$religion$due$to$fear$of$acceptance,$even$if$they$know$they’ll$get$ their$tolerance.$Sometimes$it$takes$a$nudge,$or$a$big$push,$for$people$to$truly$feel$ comfortable$with$themselves.$ Each$and$every$one$of$us$is$too$afraid$to$take$that$extra$step,$to$go$the$extra$mile$ towards$getting$to$know$someone,$towards$extending$relationships$beyond$tolerance.$Why$ does$it$have$to$be$a$social$stigma?$Why$must$we$be$satisfied$with$mere$association$rather$ than$strive$for$understanding?$It’s$in$our$nature$to$keep$our$heads$down$and$avoid$ questions;$we$would$much$rather$ignore$that$which$is$different.$Tolerance$sets$the$bar$too$


low.$Adapting$Josh$Sundquist’s$mantra,$why$shouldn’t$we$push$for$that$one$extra$moment,$ one$more$time?$$ What$I$see$as$the$inherent$limitation$of$religious$tolerance$is$evident$in$its$name:$ tolerance.$It’s$easy$to$tolerate,$yet$still$feel$hostile$or$resentful$towards$someone.$And$with$ the$plethora$of$religions$and$cultures$in$our$society$today,$encouraging,$enabling,$even$ breeding$such$sentiments$should$not$be$allowed.$While$it’s$true$that$we$obviously$can’t$ hold$hands$and$sing$kum+bay+yah$all$day,$we$should$at$least$strive$to$beat$the$minimum$ baseline$religious$tolerance$implies.$That’s$a$minimum$requirement$for$peace;$if$two$ people$of$different$religions$can$live$alongside$each$other$without$conflict,$that$is$religious$ tolerance,$and$that$is$the$first$step$towards$understanding.$It’s$a$huge$step$from$the$days$of$ the$Catholic$Crusades$in$the$early$second$millennium.$I$believe$that$we$should$take$ advantage$of$the$society$in$which$we$live$today,$rich$with$diversity,$taking$advantage$of$ every$opportunity$we$have$to$get$to$know$more$of$another$perspective.$$ The$next$step?$Respect.$Understanding$cannot$exist$without$previous$respect.$ Respect$isn’t$always$necessarily$applied$with$tolerance.$Ideally,$it$is;$realistically,$it$isn’t.$ Many$people$today$are$able$to$hold$their$tongues$and$live$silently$alongside$those$of$ “opposing”$religions,$but$they$are$still$are$not$able$to$personally$respect$them.$It’s$not$ possible$to$ask$for$respect$of$everyone,$but$encouragement$should$at$least$be$implemented.$ If$we$fight$for$equal$rights$for$all,$what’s$the$difference$of$fighting$for$understanding$for$all?$ Why$can’t$religious$tolerance$be$considered$a$necessary$right,$a$need?$Religious$tolerance$ is$already$essentially$underlined$in$the$Bill$of$Rights,$but$what’s$to$stop$us$from$taking$it$to$ the$next$level?$What’s$to$stop$us$from$doing$one$more$thing,$one$more$time?$

Embracing tolerance 2013 Pham  
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