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Tolerance Means Dialogue

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?”

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