Kindness, Tolerance And Mutual Respect


Every now and then intolerance rears its ugly head in newspaper ads, and I feel embarrassed for the people who write them, the churches that sponsor them, and the papers that publish them. I used to get angry and attempt to fight contempt with contempt. Not anymore. As I learn to love my neighbor as myself, I’m quicker to forgive. I’m learning to love people who act intolerantly, regardless of their faults.

Because I also love the victims of intolerance, and I want to speak up for the oppressed, I submit this open letter to everyone here in Cannon County and beyond. I write it in the plural, trusting that good people everywhere will add their hearty amen:

Dear (say your name):

You are our neighbor, and you are welcome in Cannon County.

Your skin color or nationality is not an issue here. We like you just the way you are.

Your political leanings are not a problem here. In liberty and equality, we honor your right to think for yourself.

Your sexuality is not an issue here. We accept you and your family. We consider you our friends.

You may take the Bible literally or metaphorically or not at all. That’s Okay here. In kindness, tolerance and mutual respect, we’d like to hear what you have to say.

We’re not perfect here in Cannon County. In fact, we’re all too human. We’re at different stages of progress, constantly learning to live more virtuously and love more perfectly. If someone here slips and says something unloving, that person needs all the forgiveness and compassion you can give. We need your good example and your kind words to remind us of our highest calling: to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Yes, friend, we need you. We accept you. We love you. We invite you to join with us in our efforts to become better neighbors. Just the way you are, friend, you are our neighbor, and you are welcome in Cannon County.

Kyle Williams
215 W. High St.
Woodbury, TN 37190
(615) 464-7558