In "Building Bridges," a Tapestry of Faith program
The youth learn about two different ways Evangelicalism acts in the world and consider their own, faith-based potential responses.
Say, in these words or your own:
We have seen how every religion has variety in terms of how followers live and show their faith. Here are two stories that show two very different expressions of Evangelical Christianity.
Share the story "Feeding the Hungry — an Interfaith Story" by Greg Damhorst.
Now invite the youth to hear the second story. Explain that this story is called "Combating the Hate of Westboro Baptist Church."
If you have decided to show one or more video clips, do so immediately after the story.
Then lead a discussion with these questions:
Distribute Handout 4, UU Response to Westboro Baptist Church. Explain that the Westboro Baptist Church in 2010-11 traveled to many states to stage anti-gay demonstrations, and this handout tells how some UUs in Virginia responded. Invite the youth to read the handout to themselves or have volunteers read aloud.
Distribute the handout or indicate the poster of the UU Principles. Encourage youth to apply phrases in the Principles to the UU action against Westboro Baptist Church.
Tell the group Becca Daniels is not a UU; she is Episcopalian, which is a Protestant denomination—so, she and the members of Westboro Baptist Church share a Christian identity. If you have time, share this self-description Becca provided to Building Bridges when she gave permission to share her story:
I graduated from Henry W. Grady High School, in Atlanta, GA, on May of 2011. I am now a freshman at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. I am undecided in my major but I am considering majoring in Sociology and minoring in Religious Studies. I was raised Episcopal, and as an adult I am choosing to stay with the Episcopal Church. I have learned a lot about my faith not only from church, but from an Episcopal Church camp in Toccoa, GA, called Camp Mikell, and youth programs and weekends through my diocese. Socially, I am a very liberal thinker, so I consider myself very lucky to have grown up in the Episcopal Church, where open-minded thinking and all walks of life are welcomed. My home church's, St. Luke's Episcopal in Atlanta, slogan is "Where ever you are on your spiritual journey, St. Luke's welcomes you". As Episcopalians we focus on God's eternal and unconditional love, which has shaped me to view humans that way. I learned as a child that we are made in the image of God, so discriminating against someone is discriminating against God's work.
Invite the group to share ideas for how they might respond, in faith, to different kinds of encounters with Evangelical Christianity. Use any of these prompts that seem right as the conversation develops:
Ask the youth to consider:
What if we encounter someone from another religion who says our religion is wrong? An Evangelical Christian believes that you were born a sinner, and will spend eternity in Hell unless you accept Jesus Christ as your savior. Suppose another youth were to tell you this. How would you feel? What would you say?
There is a slogan on tee-shirts and bumper stickers that jokes, "If there's one thing I can't stand, it's intolerance." As a UU, do you have to tolerate intolerance?
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Last updated on Tuesday, November 26, 2013.
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