If you haven’t already seen Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary about the life of Fred Rogers, cancel whatever plans you have for tonight and go see it. I need to warn you though — if you don’t cry, at least a little bit, you may not have a pulse.

A few of the tears, I’m sure, will be during touching scenes where this gentle, kind man deals so sensitively with young children, helping them to navigate through the challenges of childhood. But I think they will flow even more freely when you think about how little, if any, progress our culture has made toward his goal of treating every individual with respect and dignity, whether or not we agree with everything they do.

The movie treats objectively the criticisms of Mr. Rogers, the belief that he was personally responsible for the raising of a generation of kids who thought they were entitled, whether they put forth any effort or not. Pardon my unwillingness to hear an opposing point of view, but that’s just silly. If young people have felt privileged and entitled, that’s on us parents. All Mr. Rogers tried to do was to teach us to love unconditionally, not parent irresponsibly.

Fred Rogers began his program, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, during the Vietnam War, when our country was deeply divided. I remember that time very well, but I believe that, if it’s possible, we’re even more divided today. The rhetoric is more vitriolic, the cultural divide deeper, the unwillingness to hear another point of view more intransigent.

There is a poignant scene near the end of the movie. It takes place as Rogers’ funeral is being conducted inside a church. Across the street from the church is a group of protesters, some with placards avowing that Fred Rogers, perhaps one of the most decent human beings ever to live, would spend eternity in hell because he accepted gay people. A friend of his went across to talk with the protestors because he believed that’s what Fred would have done. And as he reflected on that conversation later, he said that he realized that the protestors were simply intolerant of his tolerance.

That’s where some people are today. They cannot stand someone who would love unconditionally, especially if it is someone doing anything they cannot endorse. To put it very plainly, they cannot tolerate anyone who would act as Christ would act.

I don’t think, however, that there will be many people who can walk away from this documentary without being chastened. What I saw about myself in viewing the movie was that, while some people are intolerant of tolerance, I am equally intolerant of intolerance. I make snap judgments about anyone who isn’t willing to accept others for who they are — and ultimately I’m one of those people, since I have little interest in getting to know these who are so intolerant.

It just shows we’ve all got a lot of growing to do. There isn’t much I can do about “the culture,” or about our leaders, or, for that matter, about any other individual. But I can resolve that, as a Christian, I will treat everyone as a member of the neighborhood, a person of worth, deserving of my respect and love. If enough of us resolve to do that, who knows? Maybe the tide will turn. I certainly hope so.