Intolerance: unwillingness to accept views, beliefs or behavior that differ from one's own (definition from Oxford Dictionary on-line). Note the word "unwillingness" — it does not say unable or incapable.

Intolerance is the nucleus of the atom of racism. It feeds racism, giving it the energy to survive. A nucleus is also defined as: the central and most important part of an object, movement or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth.

Intolerance feeds racism and division (racism is on both sides). Each of us must be willing to change our hearts and our views of those who are not the same as we are. (This includes me personally).

We can bring up our children to have the same values and views that we do, but we cannot change others. We cannot change them anymore than they should expect us to change our views to be more like theirs. Change your heart -- agree to disagree. We are able and capable of changing ourselves.

We need peace in this country. Insanity has taken hold. Each of us needs to rethink how we see others. That includes those on both ends of this chasm of different lifestyles and all those people in between. All the statues can be removed and history books altered, but the intolerance will remain if we don't start within our own hearts.

Violence and destruction are never the solution. You don't have to like a person and their lifestyle and behavior, but you must love them, God says. Be kind. Be willing and be tolerant; and pray for them and for yourself for strength.

Mary Howell



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