While I am a Christian, I am one of those who also believes in religious tolerance. I believe in setting a good and faithful example, yes, but I am not a proselytizer. If you are curious, I will share my faith with you. If you have a faith of your own, I am eager to discuss where we might agree or have differences. While I plan on raising my children in my own faith, I don’t expect that they will maintain that belief as adults. Even my own children should eventually have the right to choose. I am probably among the minority in this expectation, but I think it’s a good minority to belong to.
Elsewhere the same kind of tolerances have been coming under fire. A book burning that may have happened accidentally highlights the tensions and restrictions on religious action in modern day Israel. Though the original initiative was simply to collect Messianic and Christian literature distributed in the area, it ultimately included a large number of New Testaments that were burned. But the question comes as to why these documents were collected in the first place. Should Christianity have no place in a mostly Jewish community? Were the local people simply trying to protect their own faith, with results that spiralled out of hand?
It is one thing to protect your children and your home from influences you don’t want. It is another to bar these same influences from a community. Raising a child means educating them to the extent that they can make wise decisions for themselves. It does not mean sheltering them with the idea of protecting them their entire lives. In some cases, the protection might be necessary for awhile, but should ultimately be eliminated. Take China for example, and the government’s laws against proselytizing. When I’m accosted on the train by someone handing out leaflets who sees my cross and wants to talks, I wish we had a similar law. I wonder if that’s childish of me, and whether I by now should simply be able to deal with people on my own, or at what point my right to privacy and my right not to listen should outweigh another’s right to speak or advocate for what they believe.