Tolerance Must Not Become Silence

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.

– Elie Wiesel

Silence encourages the tormentor. If we allow bigotry to go unrebuked, then we are emboldening the bigot. It is not enough to be tolerant and open-minded yourself if our goal is to make the world more compassionate and just. We must stand actively against bigotry in all forms. We must not only not be racist, not be sexist, not be homophobic; we must be active in breaking down racism, patriarchy, and the oppression of the LGBTAQ community. It is not enough not to mock those who are different from ourselves, we must be ready to defend them.

We must not be neutral in our actions and our words. We must not let our silence be mistaken for one moment as permission. We must never be silent when our words or deeds can defend the rights, the dignity, or the humanity of another. It is not enough to claim to be egalitarian while others in our community or indeed our world are being actively oppressed.

We are called to be more than quietly tolerant. We must stop merely standing by and make Love our verb of choice. We are covenanted to affirm and promote the worth and dignity of all people, and that cannot be a passive pursuit. We must stand visibly and speak boldly against oppression, marginalization, and bigotry.

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