When Belgian Archbishop Andrè-Jozef Leonard sat down at the University of Brussels, he was only planning on giving a conference on blasphemy and freedom of speech.
What he wasn't planning on was giving a first-person example of what to do when your freedom of speech is trampled on and you're faced with blasphemy.
But that's what happened. A group of four pro-gay FEMEN protesters burst into the auditorium with blasphemous messages painted across their topless bodies, leaped onstage, and doused the archbishop with "holy" water bottles.
He didn't run. He didn't shout bloody murder. He simply waited. And once their water bottles were empty and security had carted them off, the sopping wet prelate calmly continued his conference. But he also could have finished right there and then. Nothing could have been more eloquent than his example of dignity under fire.
Under fire is precisely where many people find themselves in today's "tolerant" world. Calling a spade a spade, actually preaching what you believe, is off-limits at best. It doesn't matter how respectful you are. You're a bigot, and that's that.
Our society's idol-worship of tolerance has one huge side-effect: we've lost the ability to accept others' criticism and ask ourselves if they just might, possibly, be right. Instead, we take the easy way out, label them bigots, douse them with water, make the front page for our devotion to tolerance, and go our merry way.
Meanwhile, the "bigot" gives an example of patience, forgiveness (no charges were pressed), and aplomb.
You can disagree with Archbishop Leonard. I'm sure he'd be happy to sit down and let you go at him hammer-and-tongs. That's what he was doing in the university in the first place. After all, what his church cares about is the truth, not "their" position. But don't call him a bigot. The bigots weren't the ones getting insulted, screamed at, and drenched. They were the ones being forgiven.
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