Tolerance for Intolerance: Burning Down Your Own House

It was the spring of 1917, late in World War I. On the German side, General Ludendorff, Kaiser Wilhelm’s top military official, knew the Americans were on the way, and he had to make a war-winning punch on the Western Front fast. His problem was that he had two million solders tied up fighting Russia. If he could destroy Russia as an enemy, he could rush those soldiers to the West… and win the war.

So, on April 10, 1917, he sent Vladimir Ilyich Lenin from Switzerland into Russia on a sealed train. His purpose was to infect Russia with the virus of communism.

Like setting your neighbor’s apartment on fire, it worked; but as historian Dan Carlin points out in his Blueprint for Armageddon VI, burning your neighbor’s apartment can set yours on fire too.

A house on fire
Photo by U. S. Air Force

Ludendorff got his gain from infecting Russia… but it didn’t last. Quickly, communism spread to Germany’s troops, forcing the eventual defeat of the Central Powers.

These days, commercial interests incite ordinary people to violence against religions. Take Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology “reality” show on A&E, which has inspired death threats and acts of vandalism and violence.

Leah Remini hasn’t targeted Jews. She hasn’t targeted Muslims. She hasn’t targeted Catholics. But attacking any religion attacks all religions.

Predictably, Leah Remini, like Lenin, is diversifying. After airing a special episode on the Jehovah’s Witnesses, she stated: “Now we’re being reached out to by people who are asking us to look into the Mormons.”

Between 2016 and 2017, anti-Mormon hate crimes doubled. A good reason, perhaps, for Remini to follow suit. Where emotions run high, ratings will naturally follow.

When deliberately slanted propaganda is aired, not against one or more individuals, but against a whole class of people, hate crimes result.

The Jews know this lesson well, having faced centuries of discrimination, violence and murder.

Anti-Jewish incidents jumped about 37 percent between 2016 and 2017. Last year’s slaughter at the Tree of Life synagogue was one of these, claiming the lives of 11 at a morning service.

Leah Remini hasn’t targeted Jews. She hasn’t targeted Muslims. She hasn’t targeted Catholics. But attacking any religion attacks all religions.

Undermine the religious freedoms of one religion, and there go the freedoms of all.

Every person of faith must come down hard on haters, even if they are spewing about a religion that is not theirs.

Because, as Ludendorff learned when he injected the “Lenin Virus” into Russia, depending on a bad idea to destroy your enemy can end up destroying you, too.

T. Riggs Eckelberry
When I was growing up, we lived everywhere, and to this day I can number my friends from school on one hand. I have served as a commercial ship captain, wine importer, film production manager, and above all, technologist. Today, I’m the CEO of a public company that licenses a unique technology for treating water. I believe that technology has the potential to save the world, but also to undermine our rights and our independence. The many people working in the spiritual arena are the vital counter-balance, and I’m proud to be one of these, with my wife, Sigrid.