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Some Things Must Not Be Tolerated 09/14/2007

No Tolerance

"Tolerance" sounds good, but must everything be permissable?

The Bible teaches us to have a forbearing spirit, so I have deep convictions regarding this virtue. This means that there will be things in life that we do not like, but we do not set out to destroy. It also requires a willingness to hear and consider other points of view. We should not fear disagreement, but welcome healthy debate as we pursue truth in all areas.

Possessing deeply-held principles while practicing forbearance results in a range of reactions to situations and ideas of which we disapprove. For example, I would have never allowed my daughters to go out in public dressed like the two young women who were recently reprimanded by the airlines, but I would not throw those two girls off of the airplane. It is not a matter of moral compromise on my part, it is just a recognition of the fact that I cannot and should not dictate that everyone else live according to all of my standards.

There are, however, some things that a sane society must not tolerate if they are to remain stable and secure. An obvious example is pedophilia - the act of preying on vulnerable children for selfish, sexual gratification. This must not be tolerated, which means that we should use everything within our power to prevent it. Society and law enforcement must act quickly, firmly and severely to stop these predators. Abusers must be incarcerated. Of course, programs that might lead to their total transformation should be encouraged, but protecting our children at all costs must remain the primary objective.

I also support activism and certain legislation that protects children from things that prey on their minds through a barrage of sexually explicit messages and images. Yet, I understand that in a society that embraces free speech, this presents a challenge. We believe in privacy, which makes it impossible to control everyone's thoughts and actions. This means that some things we disapprove are tolerated, but not passively. Instead of imposing some Orwellian system of thought control, we actively communicate our ideas and convictions to inspire others to live better lives. Ultimately, each individual has the right to choose their course of action in most areas. While we deem certain decisions foolish or destructive, there is room for people to pursue their own course within societal limits. We need not judge them personally, because their own actions will judge them.

Somewhere between the extremes of totalitarianism and anarchy lies this balance of freedom and tolerance. At the same time, we must not tolerate either extreme. We must do everything necessary to stop both chaotic ends.

An example from the side of anarchy is the specter of racism. We must never allow the organization and perpetuation of hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan or any other form of physically dangerous hate mongering. We must identify these groups (even if it requires so-called "profiling") and eliminate them as a threat to peace and security.

On the other end, we face the powerful and deadly threat of Islamic totalitarianism. Through intimidation and outright terrorism these groups seek to impose their beliefs on others, demanding that we follow their dictates or die. In their minds, there is no room for disagreement -- even from those within their religious and racial group. They have no respect for freedom, innocence or life itself. They are disrespectful, disruptive and willing to sacrifice any life, including their own, to assert absolute control.

This cannot be tolerated. Free nations must rise up to fight with better ideas and, if necessary, with force. All other concerns, such as party affiliation, sectarian belief or religious association, cannot overshadow this goal or we will lose everything.

"Come let us reason together" is the order of the day. "Do it now or die tomorrow" may be the prophetic message for this very moment in human history. We can disagree in many areas, while standing firm on issues based upon our faith and world view, but if we are to continue exercising that marvelous privilege, we have to recognize that some things must not be tolerated.


Author: James Robison

Word Count: 688

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and his wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.