Saturday, August 28

How much tolerance should we have for offensive practices?

In view of the controversy over the Ground-Zero mosque, the gifted Vanderleun was trying to define or identify a standard by which the West could coexist with Islam. He noted that people could tolerate something without having to agree with it, which led to the "live and let live" principle.

That's a good idea, and I think things will usually work best if everyone follows "live and let live." However...

Some belief systems are *so* antithetical to ours that we may not even be willing to tolerate. Polygamy, for example--I'm not sure that any level of government has a sound legal basis for outlawing it, but if having only one spouse is the law of the land, how do we respond when Achmed enters the country with 4 wives?

If they're just visiting, tolerating might be viable. But how about if they stay and want to become citizens? Tolerance is wonderful, but if applied in this case it creates a new class of citizens who get the benefit of special rules.

Same problem applies if some sect pops up which has no problem with an adult marrying a 10-yr-old: tolerating this will create a new class of citizens with special rights.

Of course this doesn't mean we *can't* choose this path, but are you sure you *want* to?

We've already seen the nose of this particular camel in our tent: A New Jersey woman accused her Muslim husband of raping her. His attorney countered that such a thing wasn't a crime in his culture, so he shouldn't be held accountable for our crazy laws.

Judge bought it and the guy got off free.

So while "live and let live" is a wonderful principle, making that the standard will eventually bump up against a case that you won't be able to tolerate with a clear conscience.

Why not a different standard: Americans are a very tolerant people, but if you absolutely insist on the right to stone adulterers or flog women who appear in public without a male family member...well, it's a really big world so we trust you'll find a spot more attuned to your tastes--because you're not gonna stay here.


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