A Primer on Hatred and Intolerance

What hatred and intolerance look like:

The charred remains of four-year-old Melissa Morrison, recovered from the ashes of the Branch Davidian complex in Waco, Texas, after the inferno of April 19, 1993 ended the FBI’s 51-day siege. Apostates and anti-cultists convinced the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI that the Davidians could not be reasoned with, and that force was the only alternative. Helicopters, tanks, automatic weapons, and toxic tear gas were then used to surround and eventually kill 82 of the Davidians, 20 of whom were children like Melissa Morrison.

What hatred and intolerance sound like:

Man with two children

A family mourns during the Bosnian genocide, 1992–1995. Roughly 8,000 Muslim Bosnian men and boys were killed, and many thousands of families forcibly displaced from their homes by Bosnian Serbs who referred to their atrocities as “ethnic cleansing.”

What hatred and intolerance smell like:

Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc is doused with gasoline and then consumed in a deliberate act of self-immolation during protests against anti-Buddhist suppression by the government of South Vietnam, 1963.

What hatred and intolerance feel like:

An Iraqi mother caresses her dying son. He was shot by a sniper while they were riding together on a bus during the fierce sectarian violence that swept Iraq in September 2007.

What hatred and intolerance produce:

Mary Turner, one of the victims of a Lowndes County, Georgia, lynching spree that inspired the Billie Holiday song “Strange Fruit.”

A Primer on Love and Tolerance

What love and tolerance look like:

In 2014, Australian Grace Forrest inspired Pope Francis and other world religious leaders to sign a pledge to cooperate in the eradication of slavery.

What love and tolerance sound like:

Martin Luther King

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivering his “I have a dream” speech on August 28, 1963.

What love and tolerance smell like:

Two women serving soup
Photo by Africa Renewal/Flickr.com

In honor of Nelson Mandela International Day, July 18, 2012, 15 UN and South African UN mission and consulate staff prepared food, washed dishes, sorted supplies and served meals at the Bowery Mission Soup Kitchen in New York.

What love and tolerance feel like:

Black boy hugging white officer

Twelve-year-old Devonte Hart and police sergeant Bret Barnum, taking a different approach during a racial protest rally in Portland, 2014.

What love and tolerance produce:

Two parents and a baby
Photo by JGA/Shutterstock.com


Leland Thoburn
Leland has been a Scientologist for 45 years. His writings have been published in numerous magazines and literary journals, including Foliate Oak Review, Writers’ Journal, Feathertale Review, Calliope, Vocabula Review and others. Formerly an executive at EarthLink Inc., he works as a business consultant.