I started thinking what a wonderful world we would live in if we could all be more tolerant of people with different viewpoints from our own. Why can’t we “agree to differ”? So many difficulties are caused by bigots of all beliefs, whether they be religious, political, moral, racial or any combination of them all, trying to force their own beliefs on everyone else.

In the 1960s and early 1970s I worked as a practice nurse in a GP surgery. The doctor was an orthodox Jew the receptionist was a Methodist and I was Anglican. The first assistant we had was a Hindu from India, the second was a Roman Catholic who had been educated at Ampleforth and the last one was a Buddhist from Sri Lanka. We were all the best of friends and respected each others beliefs just as we accepted each others differing political views. Many of our patients were Irish some Protestant and some Catholic and, even though “The Troubles” were occuring in NI at the time, they all mixed quite happily in the waiting room.

If we don’t have these bigots stirring everyone up most people seem to get along together very well. Unfortunately too many people are easily led and follow the most vociferous leader and too often they allow their unfounded fears to be aroused.

The old doctor shook his head sadly once and remarked, “I wonder what the great religious leaders think when they look down on us and see what is being done in Their names”

Perhaps our intolerance should be saved for the real ills of this world, Poverty, Disease and Inhumanity and our energy and resources should be channeled into resolving these instead.

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