February 18, 2007

"Embrace Our Differences"

Here are some excerpts from an op-ed piece written by someone who is clearly an expert on diverse cultures:

.....our own globalized era is regrettably marked by rising intolerance, extremism and violence. Closer proximity and improved communications have often led not to mutual understanding and friendship but to tension and mutual mistrust.

.....the misconceptions and stereotypes underlying the idea of a “clash of civilizations” have come to be more and more widely shared. Some groups seem eager to foment a new war of religion.

Demonization of the “other” has proved the path of least resistance, although healthy introspection would better serve us all. In the 21st century we remain hostage to our sense of grievance and to our feelings of entitlement. Our narratives have become our prison.

Unlearning intolerance is in part a matter of legal protection. The right to freedom of religion, and to freedom from discrimination based on religion, has long been enshrined in international law and incorporated into the domestic law of many countries. Any strategy to build bridges must depend heavily on education, not just about Islam or Christianity, but about all religions, traditions and cultures, so that myths and distortions can be seen for what they are.

The writer of the piece is Kofi Annan, the former secretary-general of the United Nations. With his approach of inclusion, education, and tolerance of differing views, it's no wonder he was not embraced by the Bush administration.

This piece is not about homosexuality, but it could be. The principles that Annan eloquently wrote about sure do apply to not just the tolerance but the ultimate acceptance of the GLBT community as full-fledged human beings.

1 comment:

  1. Jim, thank you as usual for the daily dose of sanity and reason. It helps my mind stay calm, focused, and it keeps me grounded. Bless you and Pastor Brenda, do keep it up because there are many of us who appreciate it :)