Tolerating Michael Coren

Via Colby Cosh, I read an article that appeared in the Toronto Sun by Michael Coren. Coren apparently admits to having re-converted to the Roman Catholic Church. Which is all fine and dandy. But Coren ought to know better than what he wrote in his article.

First, he bemoans the fact that someone “outted” him as a Roman Catholic. And because of that, an appearance he was scheduled for at a Protestant evangilical church was cancelled:

“In fact one major speech, booked long ago, has already been thus treated. Let me emphasize that the person who contacted me from this particular Protestant organization was embarrassed by the cancellation and could not have been kinder.

What hurt me was that none of what I had planned to say was in any way specifically Catholic and I had written the speech long before my conversion. I shall not say that the decision was sectarian, but I will say that it was highly regrettable.”

Well, that’s all fine and dandy, Michael.

As he goes on in his column, he talks about his “reasons” for this latest conversion away from Evangelical Protestantism, and how a “spiritual journey is part intellectual, part emotional, part visceral, part supernatural.” Much agreed. I’ve had my own spiritual journeys, having been brought up in a mostly Evangelical but Calvinistic background, have had the equivalent of a Bible College education, and as I grew older in life, decided I had to face head on the questions I’d always had, even when I was a child. And I faced them head on. And I’ve looked in many many places for answers because I couldn’t get answers in the places I had been looking. In fact, I still don’t have all the answers to questions I have. But I’ve studied and read different philosophies, spiritual texts, including Hinduism, Buddhism, the Bible many times over, Objectivism, Hume, Kierkegaard, Scientific Spiritualism, to name a few.

So I can empathize with Coren to some degree. I’ve had family members seeming to want to pray for my soul, some who have seemed to have decided to not have contact with me because of my scary questions they couldn’t answer, and at the same time, have had great support as well. Truly, a spiritual journey is everything Coren says. And the problem with such journeys is that new information that comes along can influence beliefs. Or at least it should, if you think you are a thinking person.

But where Coren seems to go with all this is absurd. Let’s first realize that in his column, he is bemoaning the fact an Evangelical church cancelled his appearance after discovering his umm… conversion or whatever, to RCism. But then Coren ends his article by writing:

“I’m a miserable sinner. But at least I know it. Please pray for me. Or, if you can’t, try to tolerate me.

Come on Michael! You sound as if you’re part of the loony group that is trying to change the meaning of the word “tolerate.” Toleration does NOT mean to get all happy clappy with anybody and everybody, no matter how sincere they are in their beliefs, when they disagree with mine. Tolerate means that I’m not going to go out and hunt you down and kill or harm you because I disagree with your beliefs. Toleration has NOTHING to do with cancelling speaking engagements when it’s discovered that you now have beliefs that are at odds with mine, that you didn’t divulge to me, and the engagement was booked with good faith that you did share those building blocks of our beliefs.

And I’ll tolerate you myself, even though on many issues I disagree with you, some issues I agree with you on, and on some issues, I don’t understand your logic whatsoever. Whether it was in your Pre-Evangelical or Evangelical days.

Tolerate you? I never would have expected Coren to use this term the way he has. Tolerate does not mean I have to accept you, or should not cancel engagements especially when you have booked those engagements full well knowing that a local priest, even though the priest might have the same stand on some issues as Evangelicals, would not have been booked.

Yes, it probably does feel bad, emotionally, to have an appearance cancelled. But this has nothing to do with toleration. In fact, Coren, if he was truly principled as he claims, should have advised those Evangelicals that indeed, he had converted to another form of Christianity, which holds beliefs about salvation, God, the Virgin Mary, praying to Saints, heaven, hell, and purgatory, the hocus pocus of the Lord’s Supper, etc. that are completely different from the religion he has now converted from.

Or he could have become an Anglican.

Sorry Michael, but you sound as if you are whining now. But I’ll still tolerate you. No worries about that. Just like I tolerate Linda McQuaig but disagree with everything she says. Does that help you, emotionally, Mike? Stop crying now?

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