This I Believe

Sarah - Olathe, Kansas
Entered on November 8, 2006

I believe in tolerance. Not the kind of tolerance that surrounds us today in which the majority is obviously oppressing the helpless minority into believing whatever they want, but the kind of tolerance that truly allows people to live out their lives as they are—not just as a puppet of political correctness.

True, even as the Pilgrims were fighting for religious freedom in the New World, they dismissed the rights of the Indians, and we look back today on their mistakes and wonder how they could have possibly been so blind, yet today we rob ourselves of the very rights they were fighting for. Robbing ourselves? “How in heaven’s name could we rob ourselves?…I am so sorry! I never should have said ‘heaven.’ That must have offended you greatly. I didn’t want to force religion on you! What a crime to admit that I do believe in a higher power!” You can say that the above doesn’t happen, and that I am just a girl forcing some steroid-fed hyperbole, but isn’t that exactly what we are doing today?

“One nation under God” obviously needs taken out of the pledge of allegiance because it offends any atheist. The Ten Commandments being displayed in public places is clearly forcing other religions (and the atheists) to believe in Christianity. B.C. and A.D. are no longer acceptable time periods because they acknowledge the existence a man whom many believe is God. The new standards for this should obviously be based on the same timeline, and circumstances, but god forbid that we actually say that! “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” are no longer acceptable in the retail store—but somehow Santa Claus is okay. He is too jolly to be disposed of quite yet. Children actually believe in Santa Claus, so we cannot possibly get rid of him. As for the other things, who believes in God?

We are quickly losing all resemblance to toleration, and even worse is the fact that we are convincing ourselves that what we are doing is right. There will always be a majority, a minority, and a group of people that seems to stick out the furthest even though they are not in either of those groups. Bringing the current majority down by stripping them of their heritage, their beliefs, and even their basic rights simply because they are the majority will never create equality—just a lower majority.

I believe in tolerance. The kind of tolerance where people truly are allowed to profess whatever faith they may be without worrying whether they are offending someone that may or may not care. The kind of tolerance where it is okay to have an opinion that is not all for the minority. The kind of tolerance where people really are equal—and no people are more equal than others. Without this kind of tolerance, we will become so incredibly sensitive to everything that “bless you” will be outlawed as a way to pardon someone when they sneeze.