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 Martin Luther King Jr addresses a crowd from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Difference of opinion has been with us throughout the history of mankind.

Intolerance and conflict in family situations and business matters can have serious consequences. Peaceful demonstrations which become violent have disastrous outcomes.

Jacinda ArdernJacinda Ardern meeting with Muslim community members in the wake of the Christchurch shooting.
Photo courtesy of Christchurch City Council Newsline/Kirk Hargreaves
Whilst peaceful demonstration is permitted in many countries including our own, it is unlawful in many other countries.

With few exceptions, violent public demonstrations are usually put down by the ruling authority wth the intervention of the police or the military.

Instead of compromise and tolerance of other points of view, we are now also being subjected to an increasing degree of dishonest argument, such as personal insult, confusion, sarcasm and even lying.

Intolerance offends against the principles of scripture and is contrary to the spirit of charity, which in the beautiful language of the King James Bible ‘suffereth long and is not easily provoked.’

Intolerance can only be subdued by habits of just reflection.

Martin Luther King Jr, who gained the title ‘king for all ages’ emphasised the virtue of tolerance and respect for the view of others in his majestic oration in 1963, ‘I have a dream’. King spoke eloquently against racial intolerance. His dream was ‘one day people will be judged not by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.’

King asserted ‘we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.’

People world-wide will long remember the powerful words of the New Zealand Prime Minister following the recent act of terrorism in her country. With a brilliant display of leadership, Jacinda Ardern denounced the religious intolerance which led to the shocking act in her country and encouraged her nation to show unity, harmony and compassion in the face of intolerance and racism. In effect, rising to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force as so eloquently advocated in 1963 by Martin Luther King Jr.

Article extracted from Freemason magazine, June 2019, page 12.

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