Kit McCarthy begins a new column, and is concerned by the community’s attitude towards the Holy Empire of New Israel.
I would like to draw some attention to quite a disturbing issue I notice arising in the community. I am talking about the attitude some users hold regarding the Holy Empire of New Israel.
Because I know this is the immediate point others will raise, allow me to say this: I do not agree with many of the views the Holy Empire holds. To me and others, some of them violate basic human rights, and there is no excuse for this.
However, some users have a considerably hostile attitude towards the Holy Empire. Now, if this was solely in response to the views of the Holy Empire I suspect I would understand.
What I feel though is that this attitude is not in response to New Israel’s views. To me, it seems more like a personal attack against one user. Quite frankly, it seems like bullying, and that’s inexcusable.
Either that, or people are holding a grudge, which I think is similarly unacceptable. Forgiveness, for both Christians and non-Christians, is a very important human trait.
We have situations now where on Skype people are using New Israelis as objects of ridicule. Criticisms are no longer regarding views, but on people. This needs to stop. People get frustrated, I understand that, but please, keep it under control.
The question must of course be asked (as I do not deny that this stemmed originally from New Israel’s sometimes controversial views), how far should religious tolerance extend? I am in favour of great religious tolerance.
Many, I’m think, would agree with me there. Like freedom of speech, religious tolerance is to many a great civil liberty, but most wouldn’t want to see it used to condone violence, or oppression. I think, however, that there’s a problem with this.
I see a difference between religious tolerance, and acceptance of behaviour. You can be tolerant of a religion while not accepting its actions. Imagine saying, ‘I respect and tolerate your religion, although I do not agree with it.’ It’s almost the dictionary definition of tolerance – accepting a view that you disagree with.
I believe that religious tolerance (or perhaps respect is a better word), should be infinite and unconditional. Religious acceptance need not be.
Coming back though to the original points regarding New Israel, I would say tolerance should be extended fully by and to both sides. We cannot retain much credibility as a community without this.
Also, I’d make the requisite point about civility. Sure, disagree with people, but at least do so in a civil manner. As above, we cannot retain much credibility as a community without this.
We’ve seen a bit of a trend recently with community members becoming stigmatised (e.g. Dallin Langford). This isn’t on.
I’m not asking for people to be completely forgiving and laidback about major issues, but I’m asking for people not to drag issues on and on and on. It does no one any favours – instead, it shows the rest of us that you’re incapable of being mature and letting things go.
I’ll say again – I do not agree with the views held by New Israel, and do not wish to see them become actionable, nor used to incite further violence, but I respect New Israel’s right to those views.
Fine, disagree with New Israel, but stop making them out to be ignorant and violent. With the greatest of respect, I might say the same about you…
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