Tolerance is a vital bond that reinforces American cohesion - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Tolerance is a vital bond that reinforces American cohesion

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Posted: Sunday, September 28, 2003 1:34 am | Updated: 1:15 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

From colonial days, the glue that has kept America from coming apart at the seams is tolerance. Sure, we have our share of intolerant cusses within our borders, and we darn near came apart during the Civil War, but for the most part this is a live-and-let-live land.

We're prompted to bring this up by two news items on Thursday. One was about two lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging religious discrimination by two East Valley businesses. The other was about East Valley high schools moving their varsity football games to Thursday night this week so Jewish athletes could celebrate Rosh Hashana on Friday.

The EEOC cases are far from settled, so we mustn't assume guilt. But the charges are uncomfortably familiar. In one case employees charged they had been passed over for promotions because they weren't Mormon. In the other case, an employee charged she was fired because she refused to violate a tenet of her Mormon faith by working on Sunday.

We've all heard disparaging remarks about this religion or that. Such remarks subtly corrode the glue of tolerance that blesses this great nation and helps keep the peace among an astonishingly diverse populace.

Those who make such remarks should be ashamed.

Meanwhile, East Valley school officials who changed the athletic calendar to accommodate students of a particular faith should take a bow. It's not easy to accommodate every tenet of every faith, but it's gratifying when such efforts are made. It reinforces the glue of tolerance.

Those who scoff at tolerance as weakness that undermines faith should take a look around this troubled world, where seas of blood are shed in the name of religion. No, tolerance is not weakness. It is a strength and a blessing.

We should nurture it lovingly.

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