How Intolerant 'Tolerance' Is Hell's Mockery of Mercy


Hell cannot create anything. As much as we may speak of certain things or actions or ideas coming straight from Hell, what Hell actually inflicts upon the world is mere perversion. God alone can create, leaving Satan and his legions only the diabolical art of taking created goods and twisting them, distorting them, inverting them, mutilating them, and turning them inside out, so that the created good is almost impossible to recognize — almost absent, one might say.

In a recent article, we examined how Hell has operated this principle upon “equality.” While the Christian principle of equality sanctifies distinctions and differences — between male and female, for example, or between one nation’s culture and another’s — so that all souls might be equal in loving God, the leftist view of “equality” eradicates distinctions and differences, thus destroying the dignity embodied therein, in order to achieve its own miserable imitation or depraved mockery of heavenly equality. This devilish operation is also performed on — or perhaps through — another of the chief tenets of leftism: tolerance.

Tolerance is not a Christian virtue; it is rather an earthly shadow or purely social mirroring of the fuller virtue of mercy. As is made abundantly, almost appallingly evident in the form of Christ crucified — that bloodied and mangled God-man hanging upon a broken tree — mercy is forgiveness of some evil.

It was, after all, sin which so brutalized Christ, but it was love — not merely nails — which pinioned Him to the cross. Mercy is the handmaiden of that other and greater virtue, charity, but mercy’s twin is charity’s manservant, justice. Mercy and justice balance one another out in the service of charity, with those twin virtues finding their fulfillment and completion in charity.

Justice without mercy to encourage it towards charity would be no virtue at all; it would, at best, be cold legalism and, at its worst, approach cruelty. Just so, mercy without justice to guide it towards charity becomes simply indulgence, indifference, and even “tolerance.”

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While Christ, in His mercy, forgave mankind its sins and evils with His arms outstretched upon the cross, justice demanded that those sins be called evils; if Christ’s mercy were simply forgiving sin by calling it some other name, by declaring that sin was no longer evil, His sacrifice would have been an act of mere and almost superfluous indulgence; it is the twin virtues of both mercy and justice, working hand in hand, which were operative in the crucified Christ, who is Himself the zenith and indeed source of all virtue.

It is this truth, preserved throughout the centuries by Christianity, that leftism so viciously assaults with its proclamation of “tolerance.” Mercy is twisted and warped so that all manner of sin and degeneracy demands to be tolerated — not as a man may tolerate a few lumps or a twisted branch in his back beneath his sleeping-bag on a camping trip, but rather as a man may simply “tolerate” a malignant cancer growing in his organs, when the tumor could easily be removed.

Instead, the leftist ideal of “tolerance” insists that the cancer also must be “tolerated,” though it will inevitably kill its host.

This degradation of the virtue of mercy naturally and even necessarily impacts the leftist’s perception of both justice and charity. The Catholic archbishop emeritus of Philadelphia Charles J. Chaput once declared, “Evil preaches tolerance until it is dominant, then it tries to silence good.” This is where “tolerance” moves beyond brutalizing just mercy and proceeds to mangle its twin, justice.

For while mercy may call a thing an evil but choose, in obedience to love, to forgive it, justice demands, also in obedience to love, that that thing still be called an evil. “Tolerance” reverses this process: that which is evil is, in a Satanic mockery of mercy, called a good, while justice is turned on its head, so that the only thing not tolerated by “tolerance” is true justice.

Even as Christ hung on the cross, weighted down with all the sins of the world, He cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Though crushed beneath the weight of untold hundreds of millions of sins, beaten and broken, bloodied and bruised for the sake of forgiveness, Christ still declared sins to be sin; His mercy demanded His suffering, His justice demanded His clarity.

Leftism carves these dual virtues open and turns them inside out. The diabolical parody “tolerance” eliminates real mercy: for if there is no real justice to declare something an evil, how can that evil be forgiven? Instead, the inverted justice — the injustice, as we might call it — turns its cold, stern countenance away from charity. It turns its wrath upon those who are, truly, just.

The 21st century, and the past decades or so of it in particular, is rife with examples of this malicious maxim. Those who dare to speak the truth that abortion is the slaughter of unborn innocents are jailed, any who have the gall to call cheating “cheating” are targeted, those with the temerity to call a sin a sin are persecuted, all in the name of “tolerance.”

If the cancer is no longer called “a cancer” but simply a part of who someone is, then would not a surgeon be mad for saying the cancer must be removed? In the leftist’s “tolerant” view, this would be tantamount to calling for an arm or a leg to be cut off.

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Indeed, in a sort of horrific irony, that same “tolerance” which forbids the metaphorical surgeon of the soul from calling the cancer of sin a “cancer” and urging that it be removed also commands that healthy breasts and penises are chopped off from little girls and little boys. Any efforts to prevent or curtail this blatant butchery and abuse are deemed by “tolerance” to be bigoted, hateful — in fact, intolerant.

This is because, after Hell subdues and lobotomizes both mercy and justice, the demons turn their prowling, hungry eyes to charity. Is it any wonder that LGBT activists take as their mantra the phrase “love is love”? Is it any wonder that those would-be surgeons of the soul who have the wisdom and the courage to call a sin a sin (and to share with the afflicted world a wondrous remedy) are deemed not loving but hateful by the very world to which they seek to minister? It is no wonder at all, for “tolerance” does not tolerate love.

Once again, Christ crucified is the very icon of this warped reality. He who is Love Himself, He who is Truth Himself, is calumniated as a heretic and denounced as a liar. In a semi-fictional reflection upon the image of the crucified Christ, C.S. Lewis once explained that Christ crucified is not so much an image “of the Straight or Normal or Wholesome,” but rather, “It was a picture of what happened when the Straight met the Crooked, a picture of what the Crooked did to the Straight…”

Mercy inspires justice to charity out of obedience to charity, just as justice guides mercy — with a firm hand, as it were — to charity out of obedience to charity. Christ was not merciful to man for the simple sake of being merciful, nor was His justice a mere matter of legalistic pedantry: both were born out of love.

The leftist’s anti-virtue of “tolerance” promises the same thing that Christ’s virtues of mercy and justice do — love! — but one is the “love” that is practiced in Hell, the other is the love that is perfected in Heaven. Christ is Love Himself because He loves the unlovable, because He takes the wounds and blemishes and stains and sins of the human soul and forgives them, heals them, and suffers Himself for their sake so that we do not have to.

“Tolerance” achieves its barren “love” by saying that only its definition of unloving is unlovable, by taking the wounds and blemishes and stains and sins of the human soul and simply saying that they are lovable attributes, instead of wounds and blemishes and stains and sins.

In short, “tolerance” achieves a sort of annihilation of love through merely ignoring or even outright celebrating that which makes love a virtue in the first place.

To quote again from the Colombian philosopher and aphorist Nicolás Gómez Dávila, “The cultured man has the obligation to be intolerant.” Christ was not tolerant of evil: He forgave sin, but He did not excuse it. Just so, charity, mercy, justice — and, indeed, all the virtues — demand an intolerance of evil.

Cancer cannot be called a finger or a liver or a lung, it cannot be tolerated. This is not love. The cancer of sin must be boldly declared to be such — and then amputated.

This article appeared originally on The Washington Stand.

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The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview.