Tolerance Isn't Something That Comes Easy These Days

Article excerpt

Being tolerant of others is a message that gets dispensed all the time in America.

Some people make a good living out of preaching this message. The thinking is simple enough. The world is a better place when you are tolerant of those who are different from you.

You hear this sentiment expressed all the time on the daytime talk shows.

After the freak of the week is trotted out, Sally Jessy Raphael or Jerry Springer or one of the deep-thinking gabbers encourages the audience to see the person as a human being.

The audience is usually pretty good about it, if not tolerant, even if the person can't justify why he slept with his wife's potted plant. These things do happen, it is explained. People do make mistakes, you are reminded. You have to live and let live. You have to understand.

Or as St. Rodney King once said, "People, I just want to say, you know, can we - can we all get along?"

Mark Dewey, a pitcher with the San Francisco Giants, probably has been asking himself this question the last few weeks. He probably is wondering if being tolerant applies only to certain groups and individuals.

Dewey is a fundamentalist Christian who leads his team's weekly chapel services. As a fundamentalist Christian, Dewey believes in certain truths. That is his fundamental right as an American. You don't have to believe what he believes. You just have to accept his right to practice his beliefs.

Of course, fundamentalist Christians are not one of the sacred groups with the mainstream media. They sometimes appear to be easy targets, perhaps because they believe in the power of prayer and family and other unsophisticated tenets.

Not surprisingly, Dewey does not believe in the gay lifestyle.

Normally, with Dewey being a baseball player, this would not matter. Usually, baseball players are limited to giving their opinions on pennant races and the like. They rarely are placed in the crossfires of a political-religious tempest, as Dewey was in San Francisco.

Once a year, since 1993, the Giants hold "Until There's A Cure Day" at the ballpark. For each ticket sold, the team contributes $1 to AIDS care and research. …