By John Thiessen Elmer
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Respect for persons must also be expressed positively in terms of reaching out to the persons one is tolerating. For example, it is not enough for me simply to bear, endure, or put up with Hindus living in my city, or even to do my best to respect them. Nor is it enough simply to refrain from forcible means to stop the spread of Hinduism, or to refrain from objecting to their building a temple. A question remains. If I otherwise ignore Hindus living in my city and refuse ever to associate with them, am I then really a tolerant person?
These schools served both a preserving function and a transforming function, and ultimately facilitated the assimilation of immigrants into American life (27–8). 18 Here an obvious counter-example needs to be considered. It is often maintained that the deep religious divisions in Northern Ireland are in part a reflection of a long-standing system of denominational schooling in that province. But, as Margaret Sutherland argues, in a helpful essay entitled “Religious Dichotomy and Schooling in Northern Ireland,” caution is in order in interpreting this conflict (1988).
The person described as tolerant must care a lot about that which she is tolerating. It matters to her. This also rules out cases where one is uncertain about the objectionableness of the item implicated. Religious tolerance, therefore, only exists where one is quite sure that one strongly disapproves of the religious beliefs, attitudes, and behaviour of those being tolerated. The way we should respond to what we disagree with or do not like brings us to another essential feature of tolerance. Newman puts it thus: “Tolerance involves tolerating, that is, accepting, enduring, bearing, putting up with; it involves acceptance in the sense of refraining from any strong reaction to the thing in question” (1982, 6).
In Defence of Religious Schools and Colleges by John Thiessen Elmer