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Why do we tolerate evil?


Last updated 10/20/2006 at Noon

With Halloween approaching, thought turns to the subject of evil; both the horrid as well as the subtler forms. I see a problem with society’s willingness to put up with both forms.

Like children in Halloween costumes, evil wears many masks. It can parade as an addiction to anything from food, to gambling, to alcohol, to hallucinogens. It can masquerade as hatred. Sometimes even terrorism can wear the most innocent-looking mask, from behind which it will be shaking hands with the right hand and stealing all the treats in the bowl with the other. It can show up as revenge, theft, infidelity, poor sportsmanship on the playing field or in the stands, extramarital affairs, corruption in the business place and politics. Its milder form might come knocking on the minds of our children who, under the guise of being cool, call their friends by degrading and derogatory names.

Society can be tricked into thinking evil is harmless, and thereby be tricked into accepting it. We have a discussion with it, accommodate it, coddle it. We also might indulge it, because it might bring temporary pleasure or excitement. We even make excuses for it. And most importantly, we avoid it, because avoiding evil is easier than getting rid of it. But as evil gains admittance, it can also gain the upper hand in our lives.

No matter what mask evil is wearing, it is still evil. It may seem harmless, but the harm comes when we start to accept these dangerous behaviors as “part of life,” as “normal.” Evil is not “normal.” It is not “OK!” We need to be able to draw a very distinct line between right and wrong, good and evil. They are opposites. Apathy on this subject can only encourage. Alertness, individual thinking and taking a stand all take courage. But as for me, the less evil in my life the better. When evil rings my doorbell, I am not opening the door.

Laurie Huber


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