Intolerance as defined by dictionary.com is as follows:
in·tol·er·ance [in-tol-er-uhns] noun
1. lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.
2. incapacity or indisposition to bear or endure: intolerance to heat.
3. abnormal sensitivity or allergy to a food, drug, etc.
4. an intolerant act.
Coming from a background in LGBT activism as well as being a pagan, I can honestly say that I have seen my fair share of intolerance. From shouts on the street to my car window being busted out to even actually losing a job over my religious views, I have found that many in our society today are completely intolerant.
I've spent a great deal of my life blogging and attending events to share information about both of the areas of my life that seem to attract intolerance. I've found that for the most part, people will listen and if they disagree, they tend to go elsewhere to voice it.
I've not had to deal with direct attacks on my person unlike Balpreet Kaur a baptized Sikh who was publicly attacked on Reddit for her appearance. As a Sikh she does not alter her physical appearance. She does not shave or cut her hair, which would include facial hair. A Reddit user took a picture of her in an airport and she found it from the help of a friend. Her reply to the hateful post about her appearance was eloquent and amazing.
One quote from her entry is as follows:
“Yes, I realize that my gender is often confused and I look different than most women. However, baptized Sikhs believe in the sacredness of this body - it is a gift that has been given to us by the Divine Being [which is genderless, actually] and, must keep it intact as a submission to the divine will. Just as a child doesn't reject the gift of his/her parents, Sikhs do not reject the body that has been given to us. By crying 'mine, mine' and changing this body-tool, we are essentially living in ego and creating a seperateness between ourselves and the divinity within us. By transcending societal views of beauty, I believe that I can focus more on my actions. My attitude and thoughts and actions have more value in them than my body because I recognize that this body is just going to become ash in the end, so why fuss about it?”
Wow. If only I could look at myself in the mirror and feel the same peace. The original poster did reply back and apologize for making such a horrible judgment against her. But we can see that his intolerance to her appearance was so strong that he felt it was completely acceptable to put her picture on the internet and run her down.
People in our society today believe it is ok to attack what they don’t understand. Take Kyrja Withers for example. Kyrja is author of a set of children’s books for pagans called Rupert’s Tales. Last month Kyrja’s house was shot at by someone driving by her home. As if that were not enough on the 15th a blue car drove by her house and threw out two bottles with fluid inside. Kryja tried to get away before the bottles exploded but she could not. She is being treated with steroids and an inhaler from the swelling of her lungs due to the event. She’s being physically attacked by her “neighbors” for her beliefs. Even her Youtube Channel – Friends of Rupert is considered fair game for these folks. Kryja has had comments left with profanity and name calling. The Lady Liberty League has recommended she update her security around her home, The Glitter Dome, in order to protect herself and her family from these attacks. She’s started a fundraising protect to assist with the expenses.
Intolerance is all around us. We only have to look at our news feed to see bits and pieces popping up around the world. We have the power to stop the bullying. To stop those people who feel they can threaten and pick on those people who they see as different.
Today I light a candle on my altar to send energy out to those who are being victimized but also to those who are the aggressor. I want to send positive energy to them so that maybe one day, their eyes will be opened and they will see the error of their ways. Much like the poster on Reddit, they’ll understand that they are judging others way too harshly and their words, and their actions were indeed intolerant.
Namaste and Blessed Be