Recently, UNC-Chapel Hill de-recognized and froze funding to the Alpha Iota Omega Christian fraternity over its refusal to sign a diversity clause, which would require it to abandon its orthodox beliefs. Their decision to do this not only violates the First Amendment rights of this organization, but also clearly demonstrates their commitment to a new and radical view of tolerance.
Traditionally, tolerance values, respects, and accepts the views of others without necessarily approving of or participating in their beliefs or behaviors. It differentiates between what a person thinks or does and the person himself. This view of tolerance, however, is no longer the popular view. Instead, today's tolerance advocates that all truth claims are equally valid. Words like "diversity" and "multiculturalism" are often used interchangeably with the word "tolerance" in advocating this perspective.
It should be noted this is an extremely dangerous trend, especially in the field of education. American Federation of Teachers president Albert Shanker stated his concerns about this approach to education, when he opposed a policy adopted by the New York State Regents, which said: "Each student will develop the ability to understand, respect, and accept people of different races; sex; cultural heritage; national origin; religion; and political, economic, and social background, and their values, beliefs and attitudes [italics added]. Shanker wrote: "Do we really want [students] to 'respect and accept the values, beliefs, and attitudes' of other people, no matter what they are? Do we want them to respect and accept the beliefs that led the Chinese leaders to massacre dissenting students in Tiananmen Square? And what about the values and beliefs that allowed the Ayatollah Khomeini to pronounce a death sentence on Salman Rushdie .... Is exposing unwanted children to the elements and certain death, a custom still widely practiced in some countries and Asia, to be respected and accepted because it is part of somebody else's culture? Is female circumcision? Must we respect the custom of forcing young children in the Philippines or Thailand to work in conditions of virtual slavery? And must we look respectfully on Hitler's belief and actions?"
Someone once said: "A good education not only teaches its students how to make a living. But it also teaches them how to live." Yet if followed to its logical end, the new tolerance essentially creates a climate in which people can no longer judge what is right or wrong. Students no longer learn how to live; they just learn how to assimilate.
The most frightening aspect of the new tolerance, however, is that it sounds the death knell for justice. Apologists Josh McDowell explains: "In a society dominated by the new tolerance, justice will be increasingly overshadowed by the competing demands of every special-interest group, from environmentalists, human rights activists, and farmers to gays and lesbians, abortionists, and the gambling industry. The deciding factor in any decision will no longer be a question of justice but simply a question of which group can yell the loudest, lobby the longest, and inspire the most fear and outrage. Court cases will be swayed more and more by public opinion. National leaders will base their decisions on polls rather than law or ethics, aided increasingly by a media that reports public sentiment instead of news .... As a result, justice -- the ethic that gave birth and success to the antislavery movement, women's suffrage, and civil rights struggles of past generations -- will die. The word will still be used, of course, but it will no longer mean that which is just .... It will mean that which is most popular or pragmatic."
Indeed, where is the justice for Alpha Iota Omega? Where is the respect for their values and truth claims? Could it be their rejection of the religion of relativism is anathema in one of the great Temples of Tolerance -- UNC-Chapel Hill? Could it be their rejection of certain lifestyles, faith claims, and the requirement their members profess Christianity be intolerable to the so-called tolerant? How ironic the proponents of "diversity" are so inept in their support of it. How revealing, the hypocrisy of the new tolerance in dogmatically rejecting the dogma of Alpha Iota Omega!
One might rightly suggest the University's decision to no longer recognize this Christian fraternity is tantamount to a rejection of Jesus Christ, who treated all men with genuine dignity. Today the advocates of tolerance claim we must validate and affirm the perspectives of all people. Jesus would respond by doing something harder. He would speak the truth because the truth sets men free. The proponents of "diversity" say we must seek to be inoffensive. Jesus would respond by loving those who deeply offended Him. Today's view of tolerance essentially costs nothing -- at the heart of it is indifference. Jesus was anything but indifferent to the lifestyles of others. In fact, he died on the cross to pay the price for the "lifestyle choices" of others, and paved the way for everyone to "go, and sin no more" (Jn. 8:11).
Perhaps UNC-Chapel Hill ought to realize they have officially ousted the cornerstone of true tolerance. In what can only be adequately described as bazaar, the High Priests of tolerance have snubbed the very people -- the followers of Jesus -- who are best equipped to show a "more excellent way," a way to really accept others without compromising the truth.