Religious Tolerance and the Crusades

This morning began slowly, partially out of cold-winter morning inertia, partially due to my weekend lesson-planning and work-checking avoidance measures, which were highly successful. After checking my older’s math, we sat down together over my cup of coffee to discuss his weekly work on his Connect the Thoughts Religious Intolerance unit study (http://www.connectthethoughts.net/upper–current-events.php#course-21677). Four the last four weeks, he’s studied definitions of religion, information about a variety of belief systems, and the general issue of religious intolerance.

The study ends with an exploration of the United Nations’ declaration on elimination of religious intolerance, a sweeping document challenging countries to speak and act with respect to those of all belief systems. We spent about twenty minutes discussing the ramifications of befriending a country intolerant to other religions and possible ways to avoid war when neighboring countries have opposing views on religion. While we didn’t solve the world’s problems, we had meaningful dialogue about the issues, starting at the level of individuals, gradually moving to communities and nations. The course complements his world religions study at our UU as well, a big plus.



While my older and I were having a fairly erudite conversation about the advantages of religious tolerance, my younger built a costume from duct tape and fleece for his passion of the week: the Crusades. The day brought us his incarnation of a Teutonic knight, complete with armor and shield. His outfit was his own design, and it shows the versalitity of duct tape as well as his creative side. Toward the end of the costume making, he asked, “Why do the crusaders wear all those crosses?” Somehow he missed the crux of the events — religious intolerance. I reviewed the basics again (my version being why the wars were fought in the first place), he nodded in understanding and then proceeded to his reinactment portion of the program. Obviously our conversations are just beginning.

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