March 2021 Touchstones Theme: “Respect”

Our March Touchstones theme is “Respect.” Our religious journey to respect has, in some ways, been slow. Tolerance has been a core religious value for us since 1557. Yet, Unitarian Universalist minister Forrest Church wrote in a sermon in 1998, “Acceptance trumps tolerance.” In another sermon a decade later in 2008, he proposed that Unitarian Universalists “upgrade the condescending virtue of tolerance to a ‘true respect.’” And we are.

It has been a long road to respect, embracing tolerance first and then acceptance: both worthy, but insufficient. Some suggest that respect is more important than love. Respect is fundamental for deepening connections and it can be expressed and reciprocated in many different ways. By contrast, disrespect severs connection and evokes negative interactions. Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker writes, “Reverence and respect for human nature is at the core of Unitarian Universalist faith. …’Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy,’ the great 20th century Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote. Unitarian Universalists affirm the inherent worth and dignity of each person as a given of faith—an unshakeable conviction calling us to self-respect and respect for others.”

Join us during the month of March as we explore the role of respect in our lives!

Exploring Respect

Touchstones Journal

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