A drum makes a great noise because it is hollow inside. It contains nothing but air. When struck, it makes no music. All that it has is the ability to be loud and intruding. No substance and no joy.
I was brought up as a Christian. As a child, I attended Sunday School every week. In high school I was active in the Youth Fellowship. My religiosity has cycled through the years from strong to weak to a seeking of the truth. I still seek. My beliefs today, are a far cry from those I had in my youth fellowship days.
In my journey through religion, I learned many things. One of the most important things that I learned was tolerance. Not the complete blind tolerance that accepts moral equivalency. Nor am I willing to accept bad behavior because some people have had hard times in their lives. Each of us is responsible for our own behavior and history gives out no "Get Out Of Jail Free" cards.
The reason that I am more willing to be tolerant of people more than groups is that when group leaders put forth ideas that, if they are generally accepted by the group, they can be harmful to those that live those ideas. But the leadership takes no responsibility for their followers actions. This is where my acceptance level goes down. Al Sharpton is a perfect example of my meaning. He will stand on the dais and stir up the mob, but when blood starts flowing, he is long gone.
Individuals with radically different life styles from mine bother me not at all. If someone decides they want to worship palm trees, I'm willing to lend a hand to help them plant that palm tree. I'd even be willing to sit down and share a coconut. If they want to light up a palm tree on the city square in honor of Summer Solstice, that is fine.
At least those people have a belief. They have something inside. They have substance.
What I cannot tolerate is the people that are so in fear of ideas that they don't understand or just don't accept, that they are offended by the very sight of them. One of these pitiable creatures tried to prevent school children from attending a live performance of the Nutcracker because there was a Christmas Tree on the stage during one segment. People like that are hollow. They have no joy in their lives and wish others to be as miserable.
But worse than these people are the weak kneed bureaucrats that are so quick to bow down when threatened. Certainly minorities have rights. But so do majorities. This bullying needs to stop. Those responsible must stand their ground. There is joy to be found in the world but lately it has been well hidden. People willing to share should be encouraged. If you are unable to take part, don't. But suffer your small minded misery privately. The rest of us don't feel the joy of nothing.