People and their religions, however, should not only be tolerated.

Students and clubs on campus should be doing more to understand and respect those with differing beliefs than simply putting up with them.

Tolerance is less virtuous than learning to live with and celebrate each other’s differences, which binds people together.
Randy Neilson/UVU Review

Tolerance is generally welcomed as a positive, noble characteristic in a person. The mind can easily picture a selfless hero or reverent churchgoer exemplifying this trait through their worthy deeds.

Examine the word tolerance. It is the state of being tolerant.

An older brother tolerates his annoying kid sister. A commuter tolerates construction delays that cause them to be late. A cancer patient tolerates the pain that comes from their treatment.

People and their religions, however, should not only be tolerated.

As part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration, several Muslim faculty members held a panel discussion to debunk stereotypes and faulty generalizations regarding Islam. These incongruous clashes of reality and perception cause many Americans to feel justified in denying others the constitutional right to freedom of religion.

The words of these faculty members served to differentiate radical Islam from the core values and beliefs of the world’s Muslim community. Attendees learned about how the Quran centers on central peace and charity, which is reminiscent of Judeo-Christian beliefs.

The introductory speech presented the idea that “our perceived needs and threats call out our actions” and that these perceptions were “often based on unclear understandings.”

Many of the religious clubs on campus do not see an abundance of bigotry or adverse reactions from students. Groups including the LDS Student Association and the Baptist College Ministry feel that the atmosphere here is one of tolerance.

“We’re definitely in the minority, but people are still pretty friendly and very cordial,” said Russ Robinson of the Baptist College Ministry.

These religious clubs have worthwhile goals in mind as they strive to improve the lives of students that choose to become involved. But each club is also singularly concerned with their own beliefs and agendas despite opportunities to cooperate and have mutually-beneficial exchanges.

Linda Walton, an advisor to the Interfaith Student Association, believes that more should be required than mere tolerance of others’ beliefs and opinions.

“Tolerance is a bad word,” said Walton. “It’s the absolute minimum.”

The purpose of the Interfaith Student Association is to expose students to a variety of religions and members of those faiths with the hope that factual knowledge and understanding can change “tolerance to love.”

Friday, Jan. 28, distinguished members of the Canadian Muslim community arrived on campus as part of a program “to promote interfaith dialogue and moderate discussion of religious differences” as stated in their objectives.

This interfaith discussion was just one opportunity for students to shed ignorant beliefs gathered from hearsay and stereotypes. It is only through this manner of cooperation and exchange that religious persecution or divisive politics will cease.

Simply tolerating another’s beliefs can no longer be an acceptable method of interaction in this community. It is well overdue that, at least here, finding common ground to build a framework of cooperation becomes the standard approach.