Regarding the Dec. 20 commentary by W. Bradford Wilcox, “Keep faith in value of religion’s benefits,” I would like to offer some additional thoughts.
The case for religion or religiosity is compelling. From the beginning of time, in my understanding of history, our struggle for unity and safety has driven us to seek affiliation. The greater the threat, the tighter the cohesion and the less leniency for deviance. One might argue that there has been an abundance of success as evidenced by the current sweep of various cultures. The problem, it seems to me, is the seeming incapacity of those claiming the strongest ties to their faith, for tolerance to others.
Locally, Emanuel AME Church was certainly evidence of a departure from that intolerance. The example of Emanuel AME was within the context of a community with a Nobel-worthy 40-year mayor who has stressed tolerance to a level rarely seen anywhere.
The gracious acceptance of another’s deviance from our collective faith can reasonably be viewed as an expression of strength. Strength may well be viewed as the capacity to endure, overcome great odds, or endure beyond human imagination.
However, I would posit that a more precise and comprehensive definition could be the capacity and willingness to be vulnerable. For in that position is an inherent belief that despite the risk of tolerance, there is a faith that I can survive and endure, whatever occurs.
John W. Craig