Lessons in Tolerance

Ignorance, fanaticism, and intolerance are the great enemies of mankind. Throughout history, there has been a basic conflict between those who seek to suppress others and those who seek to free them. The conflict has usually been bloody. 

In a civil society, our duty is to enlighten our souls and minds; to share that light with the people; and to defend the interests and honor of our country so that its freedoms may be preserved and extended.

We are in a battle with the forces which seek to enslave the spirit of men and women. And it is a battle fought just as really with truth and justice and virtue as it ever was with sword or gun.

The problem of toleration is especially difficult because it is so easy to “feel good” about being intolerant. The highest price we are called upon to pay for freedom is not in taxes. The highest price we must pay for freedom is to allow others to be free.

Religious tolerance means that we must allow others the same right to freedom of worship we demand for ourselves, even if we find their practices wrong or repugnant.

Intellectual tolerance means that we must allow the free and full exploration of every idea, even if we think it wrong.

Social tolerance means that we must allow others to live their own life - even if a particular lifestyle we find strange or uncomfortable.

Of all the lessons a man or woman must learn to be truly human, tolerance may well be the hardest.