Is saying the truth Slander ?
Issues of Tolerance
Balancing on the point of a sword

First a word of what does tolerance mean ?
"The capacity for, or the practice of, recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others."
So to be intolerant would mean, not to believe or have the capacity for respect for the practices of others.
So says the dictionary, but where does the rights of anothers "beliefs" end ?

I have always maintained, "your right to swing your arm about, stops at your neighbors nose." Up to that point
swing away, but the second it crosses the line into doing another injury, then ones right, ends.

Now, the reason I bring this up, is a few people have called me intolerant of others, for some of my views.

Now the accusation of intolerance, is due, I assume, to a few pages of mine that call down challenge on the behavior of others
who swing their arm just a bit too far, and pointing out some fallacies and mis-conceptions that cause much harm.
In my own defense let me say ...

Yes, it is true, I do decry certain behaviors and social trends on the part of others, you could not read this site and not see that,
in particular those that use their power and position to harm others. Or, use "facts" against me and mine that are not in fact, "facts"
but supposition and often the propagation of, lets be honest here, out and out lies.
None of these things any rational person can or should accept.
As it's outside of reasonable, and acceptable behavior.

Nor do I take the stand regarding only "other" groups actions in such a light, but even against our own group, who are,
in my opinion, and in the opinion of many of our fellows, acting in error or unwisely, to our collective detriment.

We have the right to believe as we will, until the moment happens we step over the invisible line,
and our behaviors start causing damage to others. Any others, but most certainly, those we call our own.

So, no one group is being held accountable here, for the problems we face as current day Pagans,
as it's never a matter of being one sided in any dispute, all must hold themselves accountable.
You are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. Neutrality is not an option.

Further, I try and point out yet other unpleasant facts, to hopefully prepare others for some harsh reality
if they choose the Pagan pathway. I would be doing my readers a disservice if I did not.
To paint the image that  to be Pagan in our current day is all rosy and light,
would be a lie of the worst order, as facts are facts, there are risks one will run in their day to day life,
for making such a choice.

I would be negligent, if I did not point this out, so that those who come here, to learn of the way,
can make an informed choice, knowing full well the very real risks they run.

Things have gotten much better in recent years, but they are by no means perfect.

Now, given the very good reasons I have for putting such things up, it distressed me to be so accused,
but none the less, knowing myself to be fallible, I took yet another look, A very hard look, at my own words
and tweaked a few things here and there, to make absolutely sure
that I could not be mis-understood, by anyone.

Since I was doing a site wide update anyway, this just became one more thing to really pay attention to.

Now back to the idea of Slander Vs the Truth

In the process however, I had to re-think again, of what are my motives here ? Am I speaking out for the right reasons ?
Am I speaking the truth ? This was not something I just ran by quick like, I read and re-read pages of mine
and honestly tried to find anything slanderous in them. 

Or even anything that could even be taken as slander,
taking things apart line by line, in an open and honest appraisal. I spoke to others and gathered outside opinions
Just to be certain I was not seeing things, colored through only my own perceptions.

And had to come to the conclusion, that no, my intentions were, and are honest, and done with as much honor as I can manage,
but most importantly that I have told no more than the truth, from my personal perspective

As it is just that, my own thoughts, often studied over for years, from many many different perspectives,
to come to the understanding I hold, but are, none the less, my own personal perceptions on the matters at hand.

Which is all any of us can really ever say :) No matter how much we study, it always comes down to, it's our personal opinion.

But  there is one fact that is unavoidable,
To say a thing "against" anothers actions who has done harm, is not Slander, if it's the truth.

What is slander ?  To quote the dictionary again "Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation.
A false and malicious statement or report about someone." Notice, the key words here are, that it's false. 

Technically speaking, since it is the written word, by rights it would be called libel, but I think you get the idea here.
As both such things, require that a thing be false ( meaning a lie ) and done with full intent to do harm.

Could I say my opinion better ? Perhaps, and made a special point to check that, but I did not change the basic truths
I have presented. And I will likely do so again, just to do a reality check on my own actions.
As I should. I can make mistakes just like anyone else :)

Truth is often painful and unpleasant, as it's a direct challenge to our behaviors and often, some deep seated prejudice.
And we never really like the messenger who points out such things to us, things that are less than honorable,
that we would rather not think about. So being shot down for being the messenger, doesn't really surprise me a whole lot.

But, is putting out such a message in and of itself, harm ? Some might think so, however I personally think not.
It would be harm in my opinion, to allow the injustice to continue without such a challenge.

As to do so,  I allow the other party to do harm to others by their actions, and harm to themselves for the Karma they will reap for it
and I can not, in good faith, stand still and do nothing at all, without at least trying to do something to rectify the situation.

So, I challenge such things, as I feel I must challenge any injustice. Of any kind.
It is only when good men and women are silent, that such things can gather power.
Therefore, I have a moral obligation to at least try to do my bit to remedy such matters.

We have ample precedent for this in our history as a whole, issues of race, gender, sexuality, and of course ... religion.
Even a fast glance at our history books, shows the effects of social changes. And in each and every case
it took people willing to speak up and speak out, to make those changes, for us, on the Pagan pathway, it is no different.

If I were to lie and just heap abuse on anothers head, out of anger at them for their acts, or their fostering of mis-conceptions
then yes, I would very much be guilty of harm.

But is it harm to point out the truth, truths that I can, to at least my own satisfaction
and to the satisfaction of most others, prove to be the truth ? Even in court of law, truth is an absolute defense.

Now, It's tempting in the extreme to indulge in "bashing" others, in particular if we have been the recipient of harm at their hands.
But is it right  ? No, but very human, and difficult to avoid. Do a country wide attitude check over 9-11 and you can see that in action

Heck, watch the 6 o'clock news, and we see it in action. But, even in the face of such extreme provocation,
we still do not have the right to do harm. Demand redress for injury, certainly,
but not to take that truth and use it as a reason to do as bad or worse, ourselves.

We all have our bad hair days, when we are upset with the world and what is handed out to us at the hands of others,
and often speak before we think things out very clearly.  We all do it, and I'm just as guilty as the next person.
All we can really do is try very hard to avoid doing this. As it doesn't resolve the problem, it only adds to it.

Now, there are some on the Pagan pathways, who don't seem to try and moderate themselves in this fashion,
and as a result,  their missives are full of anger and rage,  ... and that's unfortunate.
As that is using the same club others try and beat us with. But do I understand them for doing it ?

Again, yes, it's hard ... very hard not to want to fight back and give hurt for hurt.

I do not agree they are right to handle it that way, as it causes a backlash of harm, against not only themselves,
but of others, which is what caused this page to be written, as the ones who accused me of intolerance
sited the sites of others, who are this vehement, and made a blanket condemnation of us all, for intolerance on account of it

So such a stance does and can cause harm to another, in this case, me. Which is not to say such a sweeping generalization was right
 however there is no getting around the fact, they would not have been able to make such a statement,
if such immoderate missives were not out there. This also, is no more than the truth.

But I do understand how they can get into such a state of rage. Oh yes.

We are given more than ample reason to our minds, on any average day for wanting, desperately, to fight back.

There is not a one of us, who has not experienced or knows of others personally, who have suffered at the hands of others
for no other reason than the faith we hold. Even to the point of extreme bodily harm and even death.
As with those who fought against injustice on the matters of race, gender and more before us,
and sad as it is to say it, we are not without our Martyrs.

And we are not talking about old history here, as in the Witch burnings,
we are talking in the current day, of what happens even now, as we speak.

However,  to just lash out in rage is not wise, as it just perpetuates the very thing we are trying to stop,
hate does not conquer hate.

But it's a fine line to walk between the need to speak out about injustice, and correct mis-information,
and yes, even to try and rein in the foolish, to stepping over the line into the same bigotry we are often trying to stop.

The oppressed can easily and often do, become as bad as the oppressor
often using the same tactics when the power is now in their hands. On many pages of mine you will see warnings
not to indulge in this kind of, all too human behavior. As it's not helpful, it's damaging, plain and simple.

This does not mean however, to be silent and allow mis-conceptions, prejudice and deliberate injury, to continue without challenge.

We must try to balance on a swords point, ever mindful that to fall from that difficult stance of honest and well intentioned truth,
is to be cut, badly. So we must, as a people, strive to act with responsibility,  to speak the truth,
and decry injustice, but to learn from the mistakes we see in our history.

That to lash out in anger, even over injustice, will put what we seek, peace for all of man kind, forever out of our reach.
Say your truth, work for justice, but ever and always, mind the only real law we all agree on, and the only one we really need.

"Least in self defense it be, harm none"

Such a law demands a moral decision from us, for almost every action we take, we are responsible for what we do
how we think, what are our intentions, for whom do we act, and so very much more.
I am content I have not willingly or with intent, harmed anyone.

But in the meantime, I will continue to challenge injustice and mis-conceptions, and will run a front line action against my own attitude
to be as certain, as it's possible for me to be, that what I offer for your viewing, is always done for the right reasons,
and in as far as it's possible for me to know
... is the truth ...