Is it just me or is the world slowly becoming a shittier place? When terms like "social justice warrior" and "feminist" are pejorative, know that you are living in a world that is in regression. I am exhausted by the casual yet subtle racism, sexism and homophobia I see every single day, and frankly I am tired of ignoring it for the sake of grace. What does tolerance and diversity really mean? And how do these concepts shape our ideas and communities?
I know, I know, the best way to treat attention-seeking people like Britain First is to ignore them. Don't give them and their disgraceful campaign any oxygen and hopefully they'll eventually go away. But when something that is deeply important to me is being so monumentally misused, I can't keep it zipped any more.
I've written about a whole host of different topics in the past. I've written about marriage, sexuality, success, the future, and a whole host more, but yet I've never discussed religion, despite it continuing to be a large part of our society. I had a conversation with a friend a while back, in which we talked about lots of big issues, eventually getting into religion, which sparked some more of my thoughts on the subject.
The British values debate has refused to look with the open mind it claims to be shaped by, upon Islamic values and honestly ask why such a wide range of Islamic practices and views have been seen as a problem for life in Britain. This is not tolerance, but a sweeping wave of intolerance in the name of security, instead.
The image of the US as the Land of the Free is being put into question. Ferguson, plus the cases of Tamir Rice, Darrien Hunt and Eric Garner, exposed America as an intolerant country where many are not free. The Prosperity Index shows this is true not only for African Americans, but for all citizens across the board..
It is this debate that secularists, both religious and otherwise, are fighting for. The movement doesn't aim to destroy or dismantle religion, but to create a society where no one group is granted special privilege or power. A society which ensures that all beliefs are protected and welcomed equally. But this debate can only be had once you stop using "secularism" as a slur.
Personally, I tend to be less bigoted than I used to be, but when I do get on my high horse, which happens more than I like to admit, I tend to direct my anger towards the people I perceive to be ignorant, stupid, naive or socialist. The problem is that when I do this, I stop thinking of the person in question and start thinking of a group.
The word 'tolerance' in fact does not do enough justice to the largely subscribed-to notion in Britain that all men are indeed created equal, and so too women, gays and Jehovah's Witnesses. The word I'm looking for is 'acceptance'. It is an accepting culture, an embracing culture, a friendly, open culture.