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Religious Tolerance logo

Religious Tolerance Day:

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An article written by Sandie_Leavell (Sandie_Leavell@mail.utexas.edu). It was posted to the Healers mailing list (healers@mcfeeley.cc.utexas.edu) on 1996-DEC-10.

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Yule. Winter solstice. In my tradition, Yule signals the coming of the light. With the light comes new life, new growth, and new harmony. I only hope it can be so.

I hope the light of understanding and tolerance will be born this year, stronger and brighter than ever before. On February 8th, Religious Tolerance Day will be celebrated for the first time. It is a worldwide event, and though the number of people who know about the day is small, the celebrants are scattered far and wide over the face of Gaia.

What is Religious Tolerance Day? It is a day to share and to learn about various spiritual paths. It is a day to extend our hand to our neighbors, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or anything else. I hope that, by sharing with each other, we can begin to erase some misconceptions and let the light of truth shine in the dusty corners of ignorance.

At the University of Texas, we're having an open forum of campus religious leaders; each one will be discussing their religion and teaching a song. Some people will be writing letters to their paper. Some people will be posting flyers. Others will be sponsoring workshops, discussions, and demonstrations. The possibilities are endless.

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of being open about their beliefs. Some people will light a candle in the name of religious tolerance, and some will perform spells. Hopefully, a few people will make an effort to learn something about another religion and open their minds. Being forced to stay in the closet about your religious beliefs doesn't mean you are powerless to promote tolerance. Tolerance begins with each of us.

We need people to help. We need people to spread the word. We need people to print flyers. We need people to support those who are willing to stick their necks out and host an activity. We need people to support religious tolerance every day of the year, not just on the first Saturday after Imbolc. If you are interested in learning more about Religious Tolerance Day, please contact Tiger Eye at (512) 625-9724 (digital pager) or at Sandie_Leavell@mail.utexas.edu. Also, feel free to visit the Religious Tolerance Day web page at: http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~leavell/TigerEye/religtol.htm

And this Yule, when you celebrate the rebirth of the light, give a thought to the birth of religious tolerance. Blessed be!

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OCRT Note: The "Imbolc" mentioned above is one of 8 annual days of celebration shared by many Neopagan groups. It is perhaps significant that Religious Tolerance Day be associated with Neopagan faiths because the latter are heavily discriminated against in North America. On a per-capita basis, they are probably the most frequently victimized; they lose their children to social workers; they lose their jobs, and their homes; they are shot at, firebombed, assaulted and ostracized...even lynched...because of their beliefs. The perpetrators are usually sincere, devout people, who are terribly misinformed about the nature of Neopaganism.

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