Religious Tolerance and Religious Intolerance

This ‘rant’ could easily fall under the subject of manners.  
I have, this summer, been exposed to a couple of interesting examples of religious intolerance or what we minimally could call ‘bad manners’. 
The first was when a Sikh man came to my booth with his wife while I was working at the Calgary Stampede.  He started to chat with me as his wife was finding out about our skin cream from one of the other sales people.  Somehow the subject of religion came up and I mentioned mine  He immediately made a comment ridiculing an aspect of my beliefs.  I was taken aback and was a bit slow to respond.  After this he started to pitch me on his religion – Sikhism.  I was really sorry I did not call him out on this – he was actually a pretty nice young guy and I’m quite certain he would not have done this again if I had pointed out his hypocrisy.  
The second incident occurred more recently with a devout Christian friend of mine.  There was a Sikh man near us with a turban.  My friend made some very denigrating remarks about this man and his beliefs.  Thank god he was too far away to hear her.  At least I hope he didn’t hear.   My friend was quite vehement in her comments.  Saying things like ‘those people should dress like us when they come to our country’ and ‘they make their women cover their faces’ and similar comments.  (I will clarify the difference between Sikhism and Muslims and Hindus in a moment.)
First of all, I really don’t care how a person worships or what they believe as long as they don’t propagate fear and hate.  From anything I have read, Christ, Siddhartha, Nanak and Muhammad all preached tolerance for others and the beliefs of others. This was a very big part of their teachings – all of them.  It is only the subsequent teachings and interpretations that create hate and intolerance for the beliefs of others and their cultures.  
It is always a very small part of any group that promotes hate and fear.  The majority of people that I interact with in any group or culture or religion are good, decent people.  It is all to many people that criticize another culture or religion without actually finding out about it first.  I have been guilty of this in the past and generally feel like an idiot when I realize what I have done.  
As to the comments by my Christian friend about the Sikh, let it be known that the Sikhs are not Muslim or Hindu.  As one example, the Sikh religion allows for women to be equal to men in all aspects of life.  And there is no caste system in the Sikh religion.  There are many more differences and there is a link below if you would like to find out.
I have my own beliefs and religion.  But I respect that another person can have those different than mine.   But I do hope that even if you are a complete atheist(and that is OK if you are) that you will respect and allow me and others ours.  

To find out a bit more about the Sikh religion check this out:
http://www.sikhs.org

Posted by Martin Jones

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