Diversity, Inclusion, and Tolerance
Where do they fit in Christianity?

A lawsuit was recently filed in Federal court in Houston, Texas to have a Bible removed from public display. From interviews with the plaintiff, we learn that she was motivated by what she perceives as "growing religious fundamentalism." New laws have been passed in California that authorize government investigations and harsh penalties of $150,000, without a trial, upon people who do not hire cross-dressers. And the list goes on. Expressions of Christian values--indeed of historical American and world values--are slammed today by a secular minority (and an even smaller religious minority) that openly rejects the notion that any person can adopt, express, or live by a set of values that might offend the sensibilities (or lack thereof) of that minority. This minority hides behind the rhetoric of "diversity, inclusion, and tolerance," but in fact is actively engaged in prohibiting and persecuting any activities that might not conform to the minority's own system of uniform, exclusive, and intolerant philosophies.

The truth is that Christian values promote diversity, inclusion, and tolerance to a degree that today's social activists cannot or will not recognize. I want to take just a few moments to share with you how I understand this from my perspective as a Christian.

It is no secret that Christianity was originally a religion of Jews. Jesus Christ was a Jew. His Disciples and Apostles were Jews. The early church consisted of Jews. The people who had come to worship in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost following Christ's ascension were Jews. Yet, Christ called disciples from diverse walks of life to follow Him. He called fishermen and tax collectors, pacifists and zealots. He met and ate with religious leaders, and also with people in the "red light" districts. During His ministry, Jesus healed Jews and Gentiles alike. One of Christ's most famous parables tells the story of "the good Samaritan," who would have been outcast by the Jews. On another occasion He spoke with a Samaritan woman and shared the good news of the water that satisfies the soul. He commissioned His Apostles to teach in Jerusalem, in Judea, and throughout the world. No one was excluded from His life or His love. Even a shallow understanding of Christ teaches us that God's love extends to every person everywhere. There is no broader definition of diversity.

Diversity did not stop with Christ's ministry, though. The Apostles carried through with Jesus' commission to go to all of the world. Large congregations formed throughout Judea and the entire Roman world. Salvation was shared freely in messages to every known society and culture. It was carried from the Middle East into Europe, Asia, and Africa. Centuries later it spread to the Americas and Australia. The blessing continues today, reaching individuals of every race and walk around the world.

In contrast, today's social activists want to shut down the message of Christ. They would have the world believe that it is somehow "more diverse" if all public expressions and actions associated with Christianity are prohibited. This is not diversity. Diversity is found in the Christian walk.

John 3:16. Perhaps this is the most recited verse in the Bible. Jesus said it as plainly and simply as He could. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Talk about inclusion! "Whosoever" is a huge word. It means that anyone who wants "in" just has to say the word. No one is left out.

How about today's social activists? If they had their way, the Boy Scouts would be prohibited from camping in national parks. Businesses will be fined unless they reject traditional values that expect men to dress as men and women to dress as women. Anyone who would utter a public prayer would be silenced. This is not inclusion. Inclusion is found in the Christian walk.

John 3:17. This follows the verse that is perhaps the most recited verse in the Bible. Jesus was still talking in plain and simple terms. "For God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." In his letter to the Romans, Paul carried forward with the same theme: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." Christianity does not carry a message of intolerance or condemnation, but a message of reconciliation and salvation.

Christ exercised tolerance in ways that amazed the people He encountered during His years of ministry. A woman "caught in the act" of adultery was brought to Him. It was all a ploy. Christ had said He came to fulfill the law. Jewish leaders thought they knew the law, so they decided to confront Jesus with a "simple" case. Under "the law," a woman "caught in the act" had to be killed. (Keep in mind that the people doing the "catching" took her to Christ. They didn't bother following their own interpretation of the law.) The trick was obvious. Romans occupied Jerusalem and applied Roman law. Roman laws allowed people to be executed, but only for reasons allowed under Roman laws. Capital offenses under Jewish law didn't count. If Christ followed "the law" (i.e., the Jewish law as interpreted by His antagonists), He would violate Roman law and could be executed for that offense. On the other hand, if Christ honored Roman law, He would fail to fulfill "the law," right?

WRONG! Christ demonstrated the message that God had shared since the days of the prophets. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" Christ turned the tables on His antagonists. He made them consider their failures to act justly. To the woman he showed mercy. As she turned to walk away, He told her to go and sin no more. It is another way of saying "walk humbly with your God."

Today's social activists seem to have lost the message. They continue to challenge Christians with the very same ploy used on Christ. Under Jewish laws, homosexual conduct also led to execution. Homosexuals confront Christians today, challenging Christians to stone them to death. Why? Do they feel that they are more deserving of death than the woman caught in adultery? You would have to ask them. As for me, there can be no doubt that Christ would have addressed a homosexual person in exactly the same way that He addressed the woman caught in adultery. He would act justly and show mercy. He would tell the person to go and sin no more. He would leave a message of love and tolerance.

Where is tolerance? It is not in today's social activism. It is in the Christian walk.

If you would know true diversity, inclusion, and tolerance, embrace Christ. Be Christ-like. Be Christian.

God bless you--