“One of the best lines I’ve heard from a political speech was from President George W. Bush: “I’m not tolerant in spite of my religion, I’m tolerant because of it.“
Announcing one’s own tolerance is a helpful campaign strategy in our pluralistic society, but real tolerance goes way beyond rhetoric. Tolerance is defined as “indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.”
James and John, (Luke 9:53-56) asked Jesus, “Do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, (Samaritans,) just as Elijah did?” Jesus rebuked them, “You do not know what spirit you are of. The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”
Real tolerance: not killing or jailing someone for their beliefs or speech, is a uniquely Christian virtue. Jesus went so far as to say, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for them.” We who’ve grown up in Western Democracies, which have been enlightened and countenanced by scripture, take for granted these freedoms and protections; but the days of taking anything for granted are over. “Hate speech” laws have been crafted to take aim at free speech and are precursors of Christian persecution if they are not blunted.
Implicit in our free speech laws is an acute awareness of two powerful and competing realities: a) There are always evil people who are ready and willing to control the flow of information, and use the levers of government, (at whatever level,) to crush and silence their opponents. By mere words Jesus was under the threat of death. The same was true for His disciples and b) on the opposite side of the spectrum is the awareness that most people are capable of discerning truth if they are exposed to it. Moreover, the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth,” brings conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment to bear when God’s people speak as oracles.
At the outset of facing down the “whole fury and might” of Nazi Germany Prime Minister Churchill said, “upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization.” Almost fourscore years later Christian civilization is again imperiled in the West; but today the existential threat is from within. Our media and academic citadels are aggressively choking constitutional freedoms from a gasping nation, but they will only prevail if we stop breathing.
“Real tolerance: not killing or jailing someone for their beliefs or speech, is a uniquely Christian virtue. Jesus went so far as to say, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for them.”
– Pastor Herb Rubi
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