Generation X-Tract: The Tolerance Patrol

tolerance-patrolThis article originally appeared in my Generation X-Tract column for Broadside, the George Mason University student newspaper.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Captain Anthony. Captain Anthony was a born-again Christian and he took his beliefs very seriously. One day, when the Captain was walking around his college campus, he began sharing his faith with two students who happened by.

“Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven,” he said as he handed the students two small pamphlets. The students, at first puzzled by the man’s statement and small gifts, quickly backed away, reached into their pockets, and pulled out two shiny whistles.

“We are members of the Tolerance Patrol,” the students said. “And you have broken the Tolerance Law.”

As the two students blew their loud whistles several times so that half of the campus turned to look their way, the stunned Captain Anthony weakly repeated, “Tolerance Law?”

“Yes. It so states in the Tolerance Law that every person shall respect the religious views of all others, for all religious views are equally true. You have made an attempt at forcing your bigoted, hateful, homophobic, intolerant, and narrow-minded religious view upon the two of us, thereby breaking the Tolerance Law. The punishment for such action is a public flogging by the Tolerance Beast.”

“Tolerance BEAST?!” exclaimed Captain Anthony as he quickly glanced over his shoulder for any sign of an on-coming large animal. Relieved at finding no sign of anything beast-like in appearance (although it was quite difficult to see through the large circle of students who had gradually gathered around him), the Captain calmed himself and responded, “I have heard of no such Tolerance Law. In fact, the very idea is absurd. All religions cannot be equally true. It is illogical to think that Christ is the only Way to Heaven, yet not the only Way at the same time. Someone has to be wrong…” Then, suddenly and without warning, a giant stone beast leaped from somewhere in the crowd and landed right on top of the Captain, pinning him to the campus sidewalk.

“It is the great Tolerance Beast!” the crowd shouted in ecstasy as the two members of the Tolerance Patrol stepped away from the beast and joined the other students in their cheering and clapping. “Kill him! Kill him! Kill him!” they shouted in joyous unity, for they were all firm believers in the Tolerance Law.

The giant stone beast held Captain Anthony down with one of his enormous hands and lifted the other in a clinched fist high above the Captain’s head. Among the riotous cheering of the students, Captain Anthony managed to lift his voice and scream, “Someone has to be wrong!” And as the crowd shouted back, “Yeah, YOU are!” the great fist of the Tolerance Beast landed hard upon the Captain’s skull.

Following the abrupt end of Captain Anthony’s life, the great Tolerance Beast bounded away and the crowd of students quickly dispersed (for they were all late for their afternoon classes). The two members of the Tolerance Patrol placed Captain Anthony’s Bible and pamphlets into a campus recycle bin and headed straight to the Student Government office to tell of their recent victory.

Several weeks went by, and the Tolerance Patrol received many new recruits and pledges. The group flourished on the campus as a mighty force, and Tolerance Law was eventually spread throughout the entire nation. The Tolerance Patrol (as well as many college students around the world) eventually purged the land of intolerance, and thus, they tolerated one another and lived happily ever after.