CBC Vancouver's morning host, Rick Cluff, launched this rhetorical question into the airwaves yesterday: "are we kidding ourselves that Vancouver is a 'tolerant city'?"
The question arose from an alleged gay bashing incident in a Davie Street bar a few days ago. Rick was interviewing a witness -- a friend of the victim -- who told the whole sordid story and went to great pains to describe that the assailant kept calling the victim a "fag".
Vancouver Police are investigating to see whether this should be investigated as a "hate crime".
The notion that Vancouver is a "tolerant" city is based on such things as Gay Pride Week and the fact that there is "hate crime" legislation, which mandates a minimum sentence if a crime is motivated out of hatred for a person's race, religion or sexual orientation.
If we're a "tolerant" city, why do we need hate crime legislation? If we're any more "tolerant" than, say, Surrey or Prince George or Nanaimo, wouldn't it be self-evident in the deeds and thoughts of the people? I'd say those who think that legislating tolerance will make people more tolerant are seriously deluded.
But here's the rub -- and it relates back to my previous posting on how God has been officially barred from Canada: Jesus Christ calls on us to love our neighbours as ourselves. It follows, then, that whacking someone upside the head for ANY reason is an act of hate. Indeed, Jesus tells us that if we even call someone a fool, we've as good as murdered that person (because we're saying that to someone made in the image of God).
But -- oh, look! -- we don't talk about Jesus in public forums as if His Word were anything more than The 10 Neat Little Suggestions because some people might have to change their preferred lifestyles. So we treat Him as Just Another Great Teacher, make His teachings optional, and then try to bring in legislation to accomplish what we think is the same end result.
Then, with events spinning out of control like a border collie on a triple espresso, we wonder why people still hate one another and why they seem so "intolerant".
"Tolerance" is predicated on one person doing whatever they want and another person being forced, through legislation, guilt or the fear of being called a nasty name, to not be offended.
"Love" is predicated on each of us loving God and remembering that if we love Him, we keep His commandments. This means not just that people cannot whack someone upside the head if they behave in a way that offends them ... and that people committing such behaviour are responsible for -- if it violates God's commandments -- renouncing that behaviour and getting their own walk right with God.
It may sound complicated, but ultimately, it's a lot more peaceful than what we've got now. And ... it comes with God's blessing.
What then? Pass more legislation? Increase minimum sentences? Introduce a "social justice" course for 12th graders?