There is no more tragic figure in Talmudic literature than that of Acher, the Other. Destined for greatness, the teacher, colleague and friend of Rav Meir left the path of Torah, becoming perhaps the most famous apostate in Jewish history. Yet despite, or perhaps because of, his rejection of Judaism he was figure of great interest to his colleagues. They implored him to return but he was unwilling or perhaps unable, to return. "Return return my people - all except for Acher." (Chagigah 15a)
One of the hallmarks of the Western world is its inclusiveness. Great attempts are made to make all feel included, no matter their ability or their lifestyle. This is a most beautiful sentiment. Society has become more sensitive to the needs of people who not so long ago were shunned.