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Quotations about religious tolerance by
persons whose names begin "E" to W"

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Albert Einstein

"The wiser you are, the more you believe in equality, because the difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to all that is unknown."

George Eliot

"The responsibility of tolerance lies with those who have the wider vision."

Walter Farrell, "The Looking Glass"

"Tolerance does anything, embrace anyone, champion any issue.  It wipes the notes off the score of life and replaces them with one long bar of rest.  It does not attack error, it does not champion truth, it does not hate evil, it does not love good."

Robert I. Gannon

" the lowest form of human cooperation.  It is the drab, uncomfortable, halfway house between hate and charity."

Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese artist & poet (1883 - 1931)

"I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers."

Goethe, "Maxims and Reflections"

"Toleration ought in reality to be merely a transitory mood. It must lead to recognition.  To tolerate is to affront."

Senator Barry M. Goldwater, 1981-SEP-16

"The great decisions of government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions.... We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now. To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic."

David Grayson

"Commandment #1 of any truly civilized society is this: Let people be different."

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John F. Kennedy:

"Tolerance implies no lack of committment to one's own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others."

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Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I have a dream...that some day my children will be judged not by the color of their skin but rather by the content of their character."

Dr. Thomas Klestil, President of the Federal Republic of Austria:

"The more people come together, the more borders will be opened and people and opinions get together, the more unrenouncable tolerance will be a fundamental part of our social life. Without tolerance there is no religious liberty, no freedom of conscience and no freedom of thought."

C Everett Kopp, former U.S. Surgeon General

"The American ideal is not that we all agree with each other, or even like each other, every minute of the day. It is rather that we will respect each other's rights, especially the right to be different, and that, at the end of the day, we will understand that we are one people, one country, and one community, and that our well-being is inextricably bound up with the well-being of each and every one of our fellow citizens."

Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, "Principles of the Portland Declaration"1

"19. Tolerance can be exercised only by those who have well-grounded convictions (although it will not always be exercised even by them). For such people tolerance is an act of self-abnegation; although they are convinced that those who differ from them must be wrong, they nevertheless will protect their rights."

Hans Kung, Theologian

"There will be peace on earth when there is peace among the world religions."

Joshua Liebman, social critic:

"Tolerance is the posture and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them."

Martin Luther

"Peace if possible, but truth at any rate."

Richard D. Mohr, "A More Perfect Union"

"Religious belief is a fine guide around which a person might organize his own life, but an awful instrument around which to organize someone else's life."

Bill Moyers

"If being tolerant of differing opinions, if believing that America has to make it as a pluralistic nation, if being civil, if that makes you a liberal, I plead guilty."

Prophet Muhammad: Riyadh us-Saleheen Volume 1:632

"You have two qualities which God, the Most Exalted, likes and loves. One is mildness and the other is toleration."

Prof. Fritz Muliar, Austrian actor

"Tolerance is obvious, but tolerance alone is not enough. Tolerance means more than toleration. I want more."

National Conference of Christians and Jews: Statement on Religious Freedom and Mormonism

"It is not the policy of the National Conference to promote one religious faith over another or to champion the views of any religious group. However, it is our intent and our very purpose to oppose vigorously the actions of any group, religious or secular, that would enhance or engender religious prejudice."

Martin Niemoller

"In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I did not speak up, for I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up, for I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up, for I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak up, for I was a Protestant. And then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up."

From the home page of -- this web site -- on 2002-SEP-11:


A time to look backwards and condemn the religious intolerance that drove (and drives) religious fanatics to murder innocent people in New York, Washington, Oklahoma City, Sudan, Bosnia, etc.

A time to look forward and dedicate ourselves as individuals to the creation of a just world, free of religious hatred.

A time for us to hold our faith groups to a higher standard of love and justice.

A time for us to realize that our perception of God's light can guide us or can blind us."

REL Guy, posting on an forum "What is wrong with Christians?" on 2008-MAY-05:

"I find tolerance based on the intolerance of intolerance intolerable."

Senator Warren Rudman

"The millions of Christians in this country reflect just about every conceivable political point of view. For one highly conservative group to proclaim itself 'the Christian Coalition' strikes me as decidedly un-Christian arrogance.... We reflect countless races, religions and lifestyles, and we often differ on questions of morality and behavior. The only way so diverse a nation can survive is by all of us practicing a high degree of tolerance. But tolerance is not the way of the Christian right. Its leaders want to impose their one-size-fits-all morality on everyone. It won't work. When any group tries to impose its values on everyone else, the result will inevitably be resentment, hatred and violence."

John Shelby Spong, Episcopal Bishop

"When the dust settles and the pages of history are written, it will not be the angry defenders of intolerance who have made the difference. The reward will go to those who dared to step outside the safety of their privacy in order to expose and rout the prevailing prejudices."

Brian Trent: (from his historical novel "Remembering Hypatia:"

"What matters," Synesius [of Cyrene] said excitedly, "is the actions of any given people. Suppose you were a Babylonian, and you worshipped Marduk, and the way you worshipped him was to dance around a fire, throwing spices into the flame. . . or suppose you worshipped Dionysus. . . but suppose that whoever you worshipped, you were kind to your neighbors, loving to your children, respectful of the elderly. It wouldn't matter what God or Gods you bow before!"

Simon Wiesenthal

"Tolerance and human rights require each other."

Wendell Willke

"No man has a right, in America, to treat any other man TOLERANTLY, for TOLERANCE is the assumption of superiority."

Zain Winter

"The idea that a country or a people could somehow be ordained by heaven to commit unspeakable acts in God's name is insane. Unfortunately, history is full of inhuman acts by religious leaders in the name of their dogma or holy war. Only when the world accepts there are no chosen people and no chosen religions will we earn the right to call ourselves human beings."

Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. "The Principles of the Portland Declaration," at:

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Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Copyrights for the individual quotations held by their creators
Last updated: 2012-JAN-11
Compiled by: B.A. Robinson

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