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In "A Chorus of Faiths," a Tapestry of Faith program
Participants learn how to transform religious conflict by retelling a story using the lens of religious pluralism.
Set up this story in your own words:
In 2009, the first Muslim was elected to Congress, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota. When he announced that he planned to take his oath of office on a copy of the Quran, the holy book of his faith, he was verbally attacked. In particular, Virginia Representative Virgil Goode claimed that taking the oath of office on a Quran was a threat to American values.
Ask if the youth know or can guess what happened next. If they know part of the story, draw out the details. Then, finish the story in your own words:
Ellison contacted the Library of Congress and requested to use the Quran that was once part of Thomas Jefferson's personal library. As Ellison's spokesman, Rick Jauert articulated, "Keith is paying respect not only to the founding fathers' belief in religious freedom but the Constitution itself." He made his point, but did not allow the situation to devolve into an "Ellison vs. Goode" fight. He changed the conversation.
Share the strategies to "Change the Conversation" you have posted on newsprint. Then ask:
How did Keith Ellison's use of Jefferson's Quran change the conversation from religious conflict to religious pluralism?
Ask participants to role-play how they might change the conversation in these situations:
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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