Religious Intolerance

The precept of fraternal charity is transgressed by practical civic intolerance, which in more or less detestable fashion transfers intolerance of the error to the erring persons. With complete justice did the sarcastic Swift write: “In religion many have just enough to make them hate one another, not enough to make them love one another.” . . . The intolerant man is avoided as much as possible by every high-minded person, both in society and in daily intercourse. The man who is tolerant in every emergency is alone lovable and wins the hearts of his fellowmen. Such tolerance is all the more estimable in one whose loyal practice of his own faith wards off all suspicion of unbelief or religious indifference, and whose friendly bearing towards the heterodox emanates from pure neighborly charity and a strict sense of justice. It is also an indispensable requisite for the maintenance of friendly intercourse and co-operation among a people composed of different religious denominations, and is the root of religious peace in the state. It should, therefore, be prized and promoted by the civil authorities as a safeguard of the public weal, for a warfare of all against all, destructive of the state itself, must again break out (as at the time of the religious wars and of American Knownothingness) if citizens be allowed to assail one another on account of religious differences. A person who by extensive travel or large experience has become acquainted with the world and men, and with the finer forms of life, does not easily develop into a heretic-hunter, a sadly incongruous figure in the modern world.