Three years in Payson is long enough to see that the attitude we deplore in the Taliban fanatics is sadly alive and well here as well. Fortunately, those souls here in Payson who are intolerant of any opinion or belief system contrary to their own don't use guns to force their beliefs on others. Only their words, bad enough.
The Taliban feel strongly about their religious beliefs. Strongly enough to beat, mutilate and murder anyone who doesn't agree with their interpretation of their gospel (the Koran). Remember that their words and actions are based on their interpretation of the will of Allah or God.
Unfortunately, the image they have of God is one of justice and retribution, not a God of love. The results of their belief system their unwillingness to tolerate any viewpoint but their own has resulted in crimes against women, children and other men of tragic proportions.
How sad to see that same intolerance demonstrated here in Payson people who blame and condemn others who don't subscribe to their own particular lifestyle or belief system. People who mask their judgment and intolerance of others by invoking the name of God or Jesus.
Two recent examples from the Roundup Opinion page. "I'm not judging anyone. I'm just saying these kids are immoral." "All roads do not lead to our Lord God. Wicca will only lead you to the god of this world Satan." Both of these gentlemen are sincere in their beliefs. They both mean well. They're just intolerant of others who don't believe like they do.
Remember, God created all things. And God is a God of Love. Jesus' entire message was of Love of God and our fellow man.
Love does not exhibit itself as judgment or intolerance.
Who among us has the divine imperative that gives us the right to condemn and judge the opinions, lifestyle of belief system of others?
The Taliban felt they had that right along with the right to mete out punishment to the offenders. From reading the Opinion page of the Roundup, it's obvious that Payson has its share of those who would rather criticize and judge than practice the love, tolerance and forgiveness as taught by their Master.
I'd like to second the Roundup's admonition that all of us resolve to be more tolerant this year.
And, I'd like to hope that those who profess and confess a belief in God and Jesus will have the courage to demonstrate that example of love in their own lives.
Including their "Letters to the Editor" here in the Roundup.