Sunday 11 Dec 2011

Tolerance

Chalice Lighting

We light this candle as a symbol of our faith.
By its light may our vision be illumined;
By its warmth may our fellowship be encouraged;
And by its flame may our yearnings for peace, justice and the life of the spirit be enkindled.

UU Principles

Joys, Concerns, Sharing

Readings

In a world with so much hatred and violence,
We need a religion that proclaims the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
In a world with so much brutality and fear,
We need a religion that seeks justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.
In a world with so many persons abused and neglected,
We need a religion that calls us to accept one another and encourage one another to spiritual growth.
In a world with so much tyranny and oppression,
We need a religion that affirms the right and conscience and the use of the democratic process.
In a world with so much inequity and strife,
We need a religion that strives toward the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
In a world with so much environmental degradation,
We need a religion that advocates respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
In a world with so much uncertainty and despair,
We need a religion that teaches our hearts to hope, and our hands to care.

– Scott W. Alexander

Joseph, being seventeen years old……3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a long robe with sleeves. 4 But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him. 5 Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they only hated him the more. 6 He said to them, “Hear this dream wich I have dreamed: 7 behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright; and behold, your sheaves gathered round it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him yet more for his dreams and for his words. 9 Then he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10…..his father rebuked him…..and his brothers hated him more.

– From the Bible, Genesis 37

King John Sigismund and the Act of Religious Toleration

In 1561 John Sigismund (1540-1571) became King of Transylvania, the first and only Unitarian king in history. John was frail and artistic, an accomplished linguist and a superior monarch. Above all, he was deeply interested in religion, and sought to pacify the conflicts between Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Lutherans, Calvinists, and Unitarians in his realm. Out of personal conviction, therefore, and practical political considerations, he fostered a policy of open discussion and broad toleration of all viewpoints which made Transylvania the freest country in Europe in religious matters. Transylvania’s first decree of religious toleration came in 1557. It was renewed in 1563. Five years later, after the Diet had voted unanimously with a request that John “declare and strengthen” the prior decrees, the young King issued his famous Act of religious Tolerance and Freedom of Conscience.

-The Epic of Unitarianism, Compiled by David Parke

Hatred and conflict are often rooted in differences between people of different races and religions. We all need to respect people of different races as well as people of different faiths and religions. We need to unite by recognizing our common desire and need for a harmonious society – a society in which we and our children and families and friends and communities can all live our lives in peace and harmony. Regardless of our race or religion, we all want and need such social harmony.

– Jagad Guru

How do you want to create peace, if there is no peace inside yourselves?

– Thich Nhat Hanh: Buddhist monk and peace activist

#584 – A Network of Mutuality

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied to a single garment of destiny.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
There are some things in our social system to which all of us ought to be maladjusted.
Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear, only love can do that.
We must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love.
Before it is too late, we must narrow the gaping chasm between our proclamations of peach and our lowly deeds which precipitate and perpetuate war.
One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.
We shall hew out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Music: Abraham, Martin, and John
Thomas Keating

Political Tolerance and Intolerance

Political tolerance means accepting and respecting the basic rights and civil liberties of persons and groups whose viewpoints differ from one’s own. All citizens, including political leaders, have a responsibility to practice political tolerance in their words and actions. As a clear rejection of “might makes right,” political tolerance is a key principle of democracy.

As an ideal, democracy upholds that members of the society should treat each other, and be treated, as equals. Underlying democracy is the acceptance and respect of the other. Democratic life is both the right to differ as well as the acceptance of such difference by all. Democracy implies respect for the plurality of view and virtues of dialogue as a means of resolving conflict.

Political intolerance is engendered by a willingness to restrict the rights of a disliked person or group based on their differing views. It represents a threat to democracy since it discriminates against and may even silence certain parts of the population. Intolerance creates a conformist culture and a closed society, which narrows citizens’ perceptions of politics and shapes their subsequent behavior.

One of the precepts of democracy is that the majority rules but the minority has rights.

 Charter for Compassion

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating every body, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others – even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity.

Discussion

Each member asked what he/she found difficult to tolerate.

Closing prayer

From arrogance, pompousness, and thinking ourselves more important that we are,
May some
Saving sense of humor liberate us. For allowing ourselves to ridicule the faith of others,
May
We be forgiven.
From making war and calling it justice, indifference and calling it tolerance, pollution
And
Calling it progress, may we be cured.
For telling ourselves and others that evil is inevitable while good is impossible, may be
Stand
Corrected.
God of our mixed up, tragic, aspiring, doubting, and insurgent lives, help us to be as
Good in
Our hearts (as) we have always wanted to be.

– Harry Meserve

Service leader
Kathy Sprowls