Tim McGraw and Religious Tolerance

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Some religions teach that there are many paths to God, and some teach that their path is the only way.  America has modeled unprecedented tolerance for religious faiths, no matter what they believe.  But this is no longer a given.My friend, Mark McKinnon, said that “America’s commitment to religious freedom and tolerance should not be conditional.”  However, the recent shooting in Orlando by a Muslim and the subsequent call to ban Muslims from entering the country remind us that for religion and tolerance to flourish together, we can’t qualify either.In the face of religious conflict here and abroad, we desperately need pictures of what a religiously tolerant society looks like.  It is one of the most important contributions the American experiment has offered to modern society in which modernity and faith often find themselves in tension.Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 4.00.48 PMMany of my conservative friends equate tolerance with postmodern relativism while my liberal friends believe that any truth-claiming faith inevitably leads to intolerant oppression.  The recent meeting of 1,000 evangelicals with Donald Trump to discuss, in part, religious liberty took place just days after the Orlando victims cried out to God for answers and comfort in the immediate aftermath of the shooting in Orlando gay nightclub.  Both of these events present pictures of the opportunities and challenges of affirming faith with the shifting norms of modernity.I don’t have the answer to turn our challenges into opportunities, but I know that how I conduct myself with those I differ with is part of the answer.  I was moved by a recent video Tim McGraw produced for his song “Humble and Kind”, and I’ve held onto it in the face of growing intolerance and increasing incivility in society.Take a breath, take a minute, and let the picture Tim paints remind you of our commonalities rather than our differences.   For those of you sitting out the election this November, maybe his is the name you should write-in.You know there's a light that glows by the front doorScreen Shot 2016-06-30 at 3.47.51 PM Don't forget the key's under the matChildhood stars shine, always stay humble and kindGo to church 'cause your momma says toVisit grandpa every chance that you canIt won't be wasted timeAlways stay humble and kindHold the door, say please, say thank youDon't steal, don't cheat, and don't lieI know you got mountains to climb butAlways stay humble and kindWhen the dreams you're dreamin' come to youWhen the work you put in is realizedLet yourself feel the pride butAlways stay humble and kindDon't expect a free ride from no oneDon't hold a grudge or a chip and here's whyBitterness keeps you from flyin'Always stay humble and kindKnow the difference between sleeping with someoneAnd sleeping with someone you love"I love you" ain't no pick up line soAlways stay humble and kindHold the door, say please, say thank youDon't steal, don't cheat, and don't lieI know you got mountains to climb butAlways stay humble and kindWhen those dreams you're dreamin' come to youWhen the work you put in is realizedLet yourself feel the pride butAlways stay humble and kindWhen it's hot, eat a root beer popsicleShut off the AC and roll the windows downLet that summer sun shineAlways stay humble and kind Don't take for granted the love this life gives youWhen you get where you're goinDon't forget turn back aroundAnd help the next one in lineAlways stay humble and kind