Mr. L can be a bit of a bump on a shelf, preferring to sit in his home watching old TV shows. Thus, most Monday and Wednesday afternoons are filled with continuous episodes of the old television mainstay, Gunsmoke.  Considering the show used (The Simpson’s now do) to hold the record for number of years (20) on the air, you would think I’d have a while to go before we hit repeats, but that’s just not the case. Mr. L prefers this show to just about anything else on television and until I can convince him to go or a car ride, here I sit, getting wrapped up in an old program that doesn’t appeal to me in the least. 

Yet, I am constantly amazed how these morality plays written 40-60 years ago, still reflect the norms and social mores of today. Take for instance, the episode we viewed earlier today concerning religious tolerance.

A Jewish family was harassed and bothered by hooligans, while praying. Finding their practices odd, the hooligans threw a rope around a young man’s waist, while in the midst of prayer, pulled the rope taut, then rode off dragging the boy along; which eventually led to his death. Not long ago, in Quebec, Canada, a man offended by Muslim prayer, entered their place of worship shooting and killed six people, wounding eight more. 

Different religion, same intolerance, same misunderstanding, same sad unnecessary loss of life.

In the episode, the matter was settled when the hooligan, under pressure of being found out, finally admitted he had been drinking and didn’t mean any harm when he roped the man. Then the most remarkable thing happened, the Jewish family forgave him. 

I read a portion of what the Iman from the mosque said at the funeral, which  roughly said, do not hate the man responsible, but pray for him and pray for those who are being taught hateful, divisive language that they may see through the lies.

Tolerance, understanding, acceptance and respect. 

Imagine that! A TV show about the old Wild West, offering a valuable lesson on keeping your mind open and not judging others by your preconceived notions. Who knows, maybe if we’re willing to practice tolerance, acceptance, understanding and respect for one another, we might actually find we have more in common than first thought. Why we might even enjoy watching a little Gunsmoke TV together… 


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