Luther junior Rebecka Green from Decorah, Iowa, won a scholarship essay contest through the organization "Tolerance Means Dialogues" with her essay, "Seeking Intentional Pluralism."
Green, the daughter of Todd and Tabita Green of Decorah, is a 2015 graduate of Decorah High School. She will graduate from Luther in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and religion.
Her essay posits tolerance as something that should be the first, bare minimum step on the path to creating a society that is intentionally pluralist. "Tolerance should go beyond 'allowing' people to exist; it should be encouraging people to exist, helping them to exist, and being in solidarity with their existence. Tolerance means intertwining with pluralism," said Green.
The organization creates "host" institutions that choose an undergraduate and graduate winner for each essay contest. This particular essay prompt challenged applicants to complete the phrase #ToleranceMeans with ideas about what fostering constructive dialogue looks like. Topics of these dialogues range from LGBT+ rights to rights for religious minorities.
In winning this essay contest, Green took part in a panel titled "Religious Liberty or Unjust Discrimination? How Students Can Make a Difference in Culture Wars" at host institution Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, Wednesday, April 25, with another essay winner, a guest speaker and a faculty member.
Encouraging students to engage in civil dialogue with others, especially those whom one may disagree with, "Tolerance Means Dialogues" has hosted similar panels across the country, from Minnesota to Pennsylvania.
The organization was founded by Robin Fretwell Wilson, the Roger and Stephany Johnson Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law. It is sponsored by several political and religiously affiliated organizations extending across the ideological spectrum.
In an essay with two other law professors, Robin Fretwell Wilson stressed the importance of establishing tolerant communities as an organization; "With real dialogue comes understanding — each side recognizing the other's legitimate needs and their sometimes very different beliefs."
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,050, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.