The word tolerance is used as often as the phrase "politically correct." For me, a Christian, neither term contains Biblical truth. Often folks think that bigotry is the opposite of tolerance; and it well may be for the average person. Jesus however; endured the sin around Him, He did not tolerate it. Look in your Bible, the word tolerance is not there in most translations. The Lord spoke about sin and the consequences of it. He used parables and confronted it face-to-face. He jumped right in and loved those around Him, but He did not condone sin. He promoted a personal relationship with the Creator, one with eternal value. Jesus spoke of moral rules; absolutes. He did not debate their validity either. Nor did He entertain other religions, or other principals. He was straight with the woman at the well. A time is coming He said... you can read the story in John 4.
America, my country, was founded on these Christian principals. I don't think that the founding fathers ever intended that religious freedom would include persecution of anyone for their faith. I believe they intended for religious expression to be public and personal, while allowing all men to have their own expression. But they did not intend for the moral code of the Bible to be eroded in such a way that it simply became a debatable philosophy akin to pop-psychology.
So, here we are faced with many social challenges and no moral compass that works. How do I know? I can read the FBI stats for violent crime, see the number of unwed mothers, homeless families and divorce grow. But we are still winning for now, unlike most of Europe. As you'll see in the following letter from Senator Kennedy, we are a long way from where started. The issue is not allowing people to have their own beliefs or not. It is allowing the country to slide into political correctness which in itself is intolerant of many Christian values. America and Israel are the only countries founded for God the Creator.
I personally complained to Senator Kennedy that I did not think it was a good idea to have a Muslim sworn in using the Koran. Why? Because it is not a symbol that is understood in this country and it erodes our cultural foundation. I am not against other cultures at all, I love them. But this is America where we require people to speak English and drive on the right side of the road. Not because we are arrogant, but because this is our culture; the American culture blended from many others. So, then why is using the Bible as the text for swearing in our public servants a problem? I guess I could use an example from church, do you think it would be a good idea to use Coke and potato chips for communion? It is amazing how we can see the use of a book as an issue but miss the motion of our Christian culture to move towards destruction. Just one little book... then what happens when the language changes? Maybe Spanish will become more popular then English. You see where I am going and here is a letter from one is accelerating that day.
Dear Mr. Johndrow:
Thank you for your letter on the oath of office that all Members of Congress must take. Religious freedom and tolerance are among our nation’s founding principles. The first settlers of Massachusetts, the Pilgrims, arrived in this county seeking the opportunity to follow their faith, free from persecution. That freedom is so important that it is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The First Amendment, with its freedoms of speech and assembly, has helped guarantee the rights of all Americans for over 200 years.
Requiring Members of Congress to swear an oath using a text that is sacred to a faith other than their own would violate the basic principle of religious liberty. The Constitution clearly states that all Members of Congress “shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support and uphold this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to an Office or public Trust under the United States.” No mention is made of using a particular text for the oath, and no Member of Congress can be disqualified because of his or her religious beliefs.
All Members of Congress promise to uphold the Constitution, including freedom of religion. If Members are required to place one religious text over another, they violate the very oath they take as they take it.
My colleagues and I take our oath of office very seriously, and I will continue to uphold and defend the Constitution, and all that it stands for.
Edward M. Kennedy