Love and Tolerance

Christine - Carol Stream, Illinois
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: love, tolerance
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For my eighth grade year of Religious Education (RE), I was assigned to Frank’s classroom. I don’t remember his last name; frankly, I didn’t care enough to bother to call him “Mr.” anything. I was only present to laugh and goof around with my friends- and to please my mother. About two months into the year, Frank began class, as usual, with his monotone voice and his pointless announcements. Then, he began teaching the course, and threw in a little side comment that ruined any faith I had had in my church.

Frank told us, thirteen year olds, that all homosexuals were evil and going to hell. My friends and I disputed him immediately. We argued that gay people did not choose their lifestyle or who they liked, and all of the other commonly heard arguments. As thirteen year olds, we did not know many of the complex issues regarding homosexuality or how to defend it. All we knew was that there was nothing wrong with it. When I went home that day, I told my mother what had happened, and she called the RE office to report the incident. She felt it was an untrue statement, and even regardless of its authenticity, an inappropriate discussion for thirteen year olds to be having in RE class. When the office replied by saying “Well, Frank is right. Gay people are evil and destined for hell,” my mother became furious. She called my friend’s mothers, and their combined complaints got Frank removed from the classroom, even though the “office” agreed with him.

Ever since that day, I have been skeptical of any religion that I come across. It is not that one subject that makes me skeptical, or the closed mindedness of the few people I have come across. It’s the intolerance. If someone believes that a perfectly good person needs to be “saved” just because he believes in Buddha, or is dating a man, or watches Charmed, then that person needs to step out of her box and take a look around at the world. It is filled with different lifestyles, religions, and yes, even television shows that we can learn from and gain a better understanding of the world from. Frank did not even stop to think that maybe society can see some extremely powerful examples of love through gay couples. With all of the resistance and criticism they endure, it is a miracle that they can maintain even a functioning relationship. But to have a flourishing relationship despite these obstacles shows true passion and devotion that is rarely seen in society today. I believe that they are the ones blessed by God- whereas Frank is crippled by his intolerance of anyone who is slightly different.