an attempt to tolerate the intolerant

Since graduating high school and moving away from my family and the church that I grew up in I have drifted further from the church and have begun taking a more active role in critically thinking about my beliefs. Not to go too far into the specifics of what I believe in, I associate less with the church as an institution, and more in the idea of living a moral, kind, and generous life.

A big part of that for me is trying to be tolerant and accepting of those that are different from me. But my question is, if we are preaching tolerance, does that mean that we should also be tolerant of those who are intolerant?

I know that this is not exactly a popular opinion, and there are so many examples in mainstream media of people responding to intolerance with more intolerance. Think Donald Sterling (the clippers owner who made racist remarks and is likely going to be removed from his position) and the Westboro Baptist Church (the group who pickets military funerals, and believe that all natural disasters are God’s way of punishing us). Though I don’t condone anything they stand for, responding to them with name calling and demanding social punishment becomes the pot calling the kettle black.

So what should we be doing to the intolerant. How can we successfully show them that their actions are not acceptable without stooping to their level.

Is reacting to their hateful actions with more hate helpful? How do you treat someone who is so hateful with tolerance? What is a productive way to show the intolerant that their actions are not accepted, without being hateful? What is the proper reaction?

-A

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