Tag Archives: West Midlands

“The Intolerance of Tolerance” and the Porcine Problem

Piglet (Winnie-the-Pooh)

Piglet (Winnie-the-Pooh) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is an example of intolerance from D. A. Carson’s book, “The Intolerance of Tolerance.”

The rising number of Muslims in England has prompted subtle (and not-so-subtle) eviction of pigs and their stories. In some schools, the story of the three little pigs is now banned, as Muslim school children might be offended by stories about unclean animals. The trend reached its silliest moment when the Council of Dudley, Worcestershire (West Midlands), banned all images or representations of pigs from its benefits department, on the ground that Muslims coming in for benefits might be offended. Calendars with pigs, porcelain porcine figurines, even pig-shaped stress relievers (spongy things you squeeze in your hand to relieve stress), all had to go, including a tissue box depicting Winnie the Pooh and Piglet—all this in a part of the country that traditionally has grown a lot of pigs. When pressed as to why pigs have to go, Mahbubur Rahman, a Muslim Councillor in West Midlands, explained, “It’s a tolerance of people’s beliefs.” Stunning doublespeak! What about tolerance of those who think differently about pigs? In the name of tolerance toward the beliefs of Muslims, intolerance is imposed. In this instance, as one media outlet has put it, “Tolerance” has on the lips of Mahbubur Rahman and in the decisions of the Dudley Council become confused with “Islamist supremacism.” No one should doubt that Muslims ought to be free to express their dislike of pigs and pig representations; the problem, rather, is that Mr. Rahman thinks that getting rid of pigs and pig representations is a moral obligation that upholds the virtue of tolerance, whereas he senses himself under no obligation to uphold the virtue of tolerance and permit those who rather like pigs and their representations to keep them. 

So, the players in this story are supposed to tolerate the Muslims dislike for pigs, but the Muslims in this story are not prevailed upon to tolerate other people’s porcine appreciation!

From, The Intolerance of Tolerance, by D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Eeerdman’s, 2012) 24-25.