We too often find tolerance in short supply at the intersection of faith and other important societal values, like non-discrimination and child welfare. For example, some people reflexively believe that any response to LGBT discrimination is a losing proposition for people of faith. In this winner-takes-all mentality, the rights of some are pitted against the rights of others. What gets lost: mutual respect, justice, and how all people need to be able to live with dignity.

It can take courage to engage someone you may disagree with. But these are the most important conversations today. We have three choices: we can continue to avoid them and remain in our echo-chambers; we can shout each other down, convinced we’re right; or we can approach each other with a spirit of humility, believing that we can grow together toward a better future.

Tolerance is deeply-ingrained in Millennials and Gen Z, which means they have a unique opportunity to be role-models for our entire society.

The Tolerance Means Dialogues are public discussions designed to bring together students and thought leaders to find more constructive approaches to living together in a pluralistic society. As the most diverse generations, Millennials and Gen Z are already navigating these issues, so they are uniquely situated to chart the way forward and break through impasses.  

As part of the Tolerance Means Dialogues, undergraduate and graduate students compete for two Tolerance Scholarships. The students submit 500 word essays on what tolerance means to them and how their experiences could help forge a better society, summarized in a closing hashtag #ToleranceMeans that crystallizes their idea.  The two winning essayists will each receive a $750.00 scholarship and take center stage at the Dialogue.

All students who attend can join in, too, by tweeting questions and comments to @ToleranceMeans.  One will randomly be selected to receive a Social Engagement Prize of $250.00.

The inaugural Tolerance Means Dialogue took place in 2017 at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law with Professors Robin Fretwell Wilson, William N. Eskridge, Jr., and Mary Crossley to discuss “Religion and Gay Marriage: Do They Have to Be At Odds?”

In the News

The Daily Universe, “BYU students discuss tolerance in Religious Freedom Annual Review”

BYU Radio, "Equality Act, Muslim Advocate, The Lost Gutenberg"

The Daily Herald, “BYU Column: Students to define tolerance at Religious Freedom Review

Deseret News, “What’s next for religious freedom in 2019? Faith leaders and policy makers weigh in”

The Crimson White, “Professors to discuss issues with faith, sexuality and families”

Odyssey, “America Divided: Tolerance Means Dialogues: Can our generation make a difference?”

Deseret News, “'We're not living as one American people': This campus event asks college students to help solve culture wars”

The News Gazette, ‘DWS News Hour’ Podcast

WEFT 90.1fm, “In the Know”

The News Gazette, 'Penny for Your Thoughts' Podcast

Balkinization, "Tolerance Means Dialogue"

Decorah Newspapers, "Luther junior Green wins 'Tolerance Means Dialogues' essay contest"

Forbes.com, "By Hosting Dialogues On Religion and Tolerance, These Students Are Using Free Speech The Right Way"

Telegraph Herald, "Loras event will look at LGBT rights vs. religious liberty"

Indy Week, "Can Religion and Gay Rights Get Along in North Carolina? A Dialogue at UNC Seeks Common Ground"

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, "Thinking like millennials"  

University of Illinois, "Wilson launches #ToleranceMeans Dialogues, a new lecture series that directly engages millennials"

The Spokesman-Review, "#ToleranceMeans Dialogues come to Idaho, with Boise session tonight"

Canton Rep, "Forum to address religious liberty, gay rights"

Boise Weekly, "Religion and Child Welfare: Do they Have to be at Odds?"