Alternate Activity 1: Religious Intolerance
Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint and marker
- Materials for making bumper stickers, including Bumper Stickers Vinyl Sticker Paper, broad tipped permanent markers or paint, and permanent protective spray coating
- One site that sells such materials is paper-paper.com. There are online websites that can help you create bumper stickers, either by hand or using computer software. eHow has short, simple instructions on how to make them by hand.
Preparation for Activity
- Write "Truth, Not Tolerance" on newsprint. Those who are artistically inclined can draw a clenched fist to the left of the words and a cross to the right.
Description of Activity
Youth discuss religious intolerance as a justice issue.
Pointing to the newsprint, tell youth that some people have bumper stickers on their cars with these words. The bumper sticker shows a clenched fist on the left side and a cross on the right.
- What do you think this bumper sticker means?
- How does it make you feel?
- It is fair to say the bearer of this bumper sticker is religiously intolerant. The cross being the symbol of Christianity, it would appear that the bearer is a Christian who is intolerant of other religions. Are some Christians the only people who are intolerant of other religions?
- Have you witnessed religious intolerance in your congregation? What about other places?
- Do we have an official, state religion in the United States? What is our government's stand on religious issues?
- Some schools-both here and in other countries-have tried to restrict students' rights to wear religious symbols or otherwise express their religious views. The American Civil Liberties Union list several such cases it has been involved with, that range from a Rastafarian fourth grader who was suspended for wearing dreadlocks to a Christian student whose yearbook submission included a Bible verse to a high school student forbidden to draw Wiccan symbols. Does your school have such a policy? What do you think about this policy?
- Why do you think religious intolerance is a justice issue?
- Who is hurt by religious intolerance and in what ways?
- What are some ways you can oppose religious intolerance?
Ask participants how they might counter the "Truth, Not Tolerance" bumper sticker. Invite everyone to create their own bumper sticker that celebrates religious diversity. Bumper stickers can be put on the family car, stuck on notebooks or book bags or sold in the congregation, with proceeds going to the Interfaith Youth Core (which trains young people in interfaith work) or First Freedom (an organization that seeks to increase understanding and respect for religious freedom). In 2009, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations entered into a one-year initiative with the Interfaith Youth Core to nurture youth leadership in the field of interfaith service work.
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