OPINION – Said Mahatma Gandhi, “Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause.”
Intolerance is like a Halloween party. It shows up with many different masks. Too often the mask is a mask of the mask itself. What?
A mask is intended to disguise the wearer’s identity from those who would routinely recognize him. The mask allows the disguised person to act outside their normal restraints and daily conduct.
St. George, Washington County, and maybe the entire state of Utah are still predominantly Mormon (the slang name for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its adherents). The Church has some interesting if not unique doctrines. To “active members,” those doctrines are held in the highest esteem.
Due to the “Mormon” culture, this region of the country is often viewed as possessing a clique mentality. Another way of stating that is to use the phrase that “Mormons are intolerant.” This implies that the Mormon culture seeks actively to shun others and close them out.
One of the more offensive ways of saying this is the repetitive commentary on Facebook and Twitter posts, and responses to news stories, criticizing “Mormon control” of this area of Utah. To me that is simply a silly, uninformed, and naïve reaction. Who am I kidding? It’s just plain stupid.
The LDS Church and its adherents (of which, in full disclosure, I am one) wear no masks. There is nothing in their values that is hidden. The conduct of some members is possibly questionable, but that is as it is with all people. Does the LDS Church attempt to hide from the doctrine of The Word of Wisdom? Not at all. The LDS Church openly teaches it and openly preaches it. No mask there.
Similarly, does the LDS Church advocate against behaviors which they deem detrimental to society. Again, the answer is yes, and without a mask.
My intolerance surfaces toward those who misrepresent the LDS Church and the historical values of this region, under the guise (mask) of tolerating different religions and values. Rather than simply coming forward and saying “I want more bars so I can drink without discretion and without having to drive a long way,” they pretend to speak about openness.
Take off your mask of deception and state what you are really after. To this observer these pretend efforts are the truer mark of intolerance. I use as an example one St. George City Council Candidate who recently said “St. George has a rich history, with great people. Deep local roots and folksy personas have historically been desirable traits in elected leaders. However, …”
That “however” hides the fact that this particular candidate has repeatedly been critical of the custom, culture, and community of St. George. She has advocated an essential need for betterment of the community through constant intolerance of what is this community.
That approach of “tear it down at any cost” is just another extension of the intolerance shown in the hypocrisy of a few national mouthpieces for hatred. Rather than accepting that any system may make a mistake 1 percent of the time, these advocates of anger ignore the 99 percent of the time that it does work. And that ignorance happens 100 percent of the time. We are not escaping that ignorance living right here in “Mayberry” – as the local hatemongers are so fond of calling St. George.
Yet, the majority of the people, and it is a significant majority, politely tolerate the incessant harping by the intolerant. Now, why would they do that? It is because they are in fact the truly tolerant people. They desire to be neither masters nor controllers of others. But, like any other person or group of people they attempt to influence people towards what they deem to be a good lifestyle. The critics, with their own intolerance, simply oppose any positive message that does not propagandize their own self-righteousness.
We have become a society of “fazebook fanatics.” We find something tolerable to become intolerant toward. But it is only a “faze.”
Tomorrow will bring a new egregious event for us to howl at the moon over. This is especially true of wannabee waifs; those that run for office using their own “Good Ol’ Boy” group of naysayers to beat down the incumbent’s so-called “Good Ol’ Boy” network. They have no steadfast issue. They only offer intolerance toward one “faze” after another.
The question this coming Tuesday, August 13, in the primary election is really whether you the voter will tolerate more intolerance. The ballot is the truest expression of tolerance or intolerance. So, go out and express yourself. It is as important this year as in any previous year.
That is the Way I See It.
William Way is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News. Additional writings may be found at wwwjr.wordpress.com.
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