Always Crazy, Always Fun, Always Love

Ray Romano once compared life with twins to living in a frat house. As he put it, "no one sleeps, there is a lot of noise and a lot of throwing up." I find this very true with 4 young children, including twins. However, though things are always crazy, we always try to have fun and, most certainly, always love each other.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On Tolerance

Disclaimer: my family will likely roll their eyes when they read this because I have been talking a lot about it, so they can feel free to skip this post. But, the fact that I have been talking a lot about it, tells me I need to write about it.

A couple weeks ago, a small and somewhat humorous & embarrassing event occurred that ended up becoming quite a controversy among some extended family members and really got me thinking.

We took our kids to the nearby science center for an evening of fun on New Year's Day. At one point, we passed by a group of Muslim women walking by with the complete head covering, with only their eyes showing. (I have since learned this head covering is called the niquab.) They were similar to the image below, except dark blue.
As the women walked by us, both girls cried out in fear and clung to my leg. Ellie yelled out, "Mommy, a ghost!" One lady for sure heard her. I was mortified! The lady was very nice, though, and just kept walking and said "It's okay, I'm just a mom too!" I realized this is one of those classic moments of an innocent child, who doesn't know any better, embarrassing their parents.

When I came home, I posted the brief story on my facebook page, figuring my "friends" would find it humorous and relate similar stories. One person did- relating the story of when his son first saw an African-American and asked "Daddy, who painted that man?" However, the next comment was a shocking one by a certain relative that I have always cared about. (Not saying specifically who, not wanting to embarrass any relatives who stalk my blog that I am unaware of). She basically said that she didn't blame Ellie for being scared- that Ellie knew when something wasn't quite right. I was shocked and almost deleted the whole thing, or at least her comment; partly because I have another distant relative who converted to the muslim faith several years ago and I feared she would see it. I ultimately decided to leave it though, figuring that she would have to deal with the consequences of saying what she did on a public page. I did however post a comment that I did not approve and that they lady was actually very nice.

Well, sure enough, a long debate occurred on my page between several family members- mostly speaking of how we should all be more tolerant to other faiths, and that this relative should not have said what she did. Eventually, the cousin who is of the Muslim faith chimed in as well, with her opinion on things- but she kept it informational- trying to teach why she feels as she does. I found it interesting, since I do not know about the Muslim faith at all. I have no desire to be apart of it, but I respect it and realize that their faith goes very deep. Despite all of this, the negative relative stood her ground and said other things that just weren't very nice.

This got me thinking about the lack of tolerance in this country sometimes. Especially with the many forwarded e-mails I get that basically blame the Muslims for the 9/11 attacks. I think it is important to remember it wasn't the Muslims that attacked us, but evil extremists with their own adgenda. The majority of Muslims are normal people, simply trying to practice their faith as they believe. There has certainly been many Christians in history who have done evil things in the name of Christianity- Should we assume then that all Christians are bad and not to be trusted? Of course not! As a Christian myself, I know this is rediculous. And, so it is also rediculous to criticise others because their faith is different than ours.

I feel that maybe it is a little easier for me to be accepting of others faiths because, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints, I know what it is like to be persecuted, misunderstood, and treated differently because of my religion. I don't expect others to believe what I do, just to respect it and try to understand that I believe what I do for a reason.

My church has published a set of "Articles of Faith," (click to read them all) which is a most basic description of what we believe. I really appreciate the 11th one, which states:

"We claim the priviledge of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience and allow all men the same priviledge, let them worship how, where, and what they may."

As citizens of this country, we claim to be the land of the free. If we are going to claim that, we need to practice it. If we claim freedom of religion, then we need to let others worship freely, despite the fact that we disagree. We will never move forward as a country, or as humans if the hate does not stop.

Thanks for listening.


Autumn said...

Oh my gosh, I couldn't believe the exchanges on that comment. I chime in on things that I feel strongly about on facebook myself. I rarely let an opportunity pass to talk about anything I have feelings about. But man people feel a need to really go on and on sometimes! (I'm talking about status' in general.)

I'm glad the one lady was so nice at COSI. And I think its great that the one relative was great to just teach about it.

Autumn said...

ps, you're right about the extremists. There are of course extreme Christians who do wacky things as well-mormons alike. Not the faith, the person interpreting it sometimes!

Lauri said...

Well said!

Benjamin Vogt said...

I'll go one step farther and really cuz some rumblings--all of the major religions are actually based on the same things (I won't say same god, but I think this might be true if you go back far enough). In fact, every religion is so incredibly similar that the similarities have to be more then coincidence. And I'd love to see someone study how the evolution of language might coincide with the advent of various religious beliefs.

As I study just the last 200 years of my Mennonite ancestors and their different denominations, they split over silly things (not so at the time I'm sure). So, multiply that by millenia, and you have where we are today: islam, christianity, hinduism, judaism....

Breezi said...

Good thoughts!
There are so many intolerant people in this world. It drives me nuts. I grew up in a certain potato state.. in a little po-dunk town. It was right outside of an Indian Reservation. There was absolutely NO respect for the Indians.... and the Indian people had no respect for us whites.
Everyone was a threat who was different.
We had no diversity in this town, other than the Indians. there wasn't hardly any difference in religion either, everyone was some form or another of Christian.
Living in a diverse city makes me appreciate the world at large. I never knew how different people could be, until I lived in a big city.
We all just need to be more accepting of one another... and then world peace will happen :)

Katie said...

Interesting topic. I definitely agree with everything you said. I make sincere efforts to teach my kids love, tolerance and do you. Despite that, their curious comments are sometimes awkward. But it's always a good opportunity to teach them.