Tolerance

It seems impossible to ignore what’s going on in the world today. It began on the 11th anniversary of 9-11. It was supposed to be a day for remembrance, paying respects, and for Christians; to refocus our attention on the sovereign Lord of all creation. After all, He is in control, no matter what the situation around us appears to look like.

Do you remember where you were on September 11th? I was napping; cuddling with my 1-year old son on my bed when I heard my husband yelling from the living room. At first I thought it was a horrific accident, but we soon learned otherwise.

I had to go to work that afternoon; I was a restaurant manager at a popular BBQ joint. It wasn’t popular that night however. There were few customers, and those that came in were serious and all took their orders home to eat in front of their televisions.

We were watching television in the restaurant as well. I vividly remember all of the immigrants that worked in our kitchen; they were as shocked and as angry as all of the rest of us. This country that was desecrated was their country as well. For the most part, we were all united that night.

Not this year. Under a turbulent election season, the unwelcome and violent attacks on our embassy were just one more injury and insult to heap upon a tired country. And the pretense that precluded the incident wasn’t true.

Whomever you want to blame; the media, the countries’ spokesmen, the claim was that the original attacks were because of an anti-Muslim movie that was released in America. The Muslims were outraged we were told. We insulted them we were told.

There were a few inconsistencies with those stories however. The first inconsistency was that this movie was released in July. The second inconsistency was that these attacks were coordinated well in advance; they were thought out and planned perfectly to correspond with the anniversary of our national sorrow. They used an excuse to brutally attack and kill our own.

What has stemmed from those original attacks in Egypt and Libya is a full-fledged assault in over 20 countries. Perhaps these people in other countries are rioting over their perceived notion that we are insulting their prophet and their religion.

I think about it and I think about it and I can’t help but come back to my original thought; what gives them the right?

I am a Christian. I did not become a Christian until my late 20s. Jesus Christ saved me from hell and quite truthfully He saved me from myself. I owe my life to Him. Millions of Christians love and worship Jesus.

That doesn’t stop people from attacking Christianity on a constant basis. A few examples:

Piss Christ – A crucifix floating in urine, considered a work of art.
Blasphemous art – an art exhibit mocking Jesus and Mary

I could list dozens of portrayals of Jesus in a variety of forms, positions and variations; but I will spare you the pain I felt while researching this subject. To say that these artists were being blasphemous would be putting it gently.

And yes, while you’re researching the subject you will find indignant Christians; ones that want the displays shut down, that react in horror to their Messiah treated in such a degrading manner. You will find that a print of Piss Christ was attacked with an icepick.

I didn’t find any in my search, but perhaps there are a few errant ‘Christians’ who decide to attack artists as well. But if there are, there are few. (We are sticking in this century by the way. I’m not interested in debating the Crusades)

There are no fatwas issued by angry Christians. Atheists aren’t dragged in the street and lit on fire or tortured. Buildings aren’t burned and police and military aren’t killed. We don’t demand the actual heads or perceived enemies and we don’t shut down cities in massive protests.

Instead we grumble to ourselves, lament society and if we’re really angry we boycott. The media doesn’t help us either. When those cartoons depicting Muhammad were released years ago, the media said, “We have standards about language, religious sensitivity, racial sensitivity and general good taste.” … But they don’t exhibit those same standards when it comes to showing ‘Chocolate Jesus’ at Easter time a few years ago.

British artist Grayson Perry, whose work has mercilessly mocked Christianity, is candid about why he has steered clear of Muslim themes: “The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.”

The point of all this is: This story is not about tolerance. Tolerance would be exhibited by all sides or it can exist for none at all.

Jesus told His followers that we would be hated because He was hated first. He told us, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:20)

It’s not our fault that another group of people are insulted. We were founded on the belief that everyone could have their own beliefs. The false indignation of a group of people who have hated us since the beginning of time gives them no right to kill innocent people in the name of their god (again, I’m staying in this Century) anymore than insulting Jesus gives us the right to kill. Believe it or not, the Quran has rules against killing in it just like the Bible does.

As Christians, I believe our job right now is to pray for our nation to humble itself to God. We need to ask forgiveness of our own sins, and to pray for His divine protection and will to be done. After all, we know the end of this story.

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