Southwestern University Statement on Religious Diversity
Southwestern University is a crossroads for a range of communities. We are a meeting place for and home to a wide array of cultures, generations, academic disciplines, and perspectives. Consonant with the educational mission of The United Methodist Church, our United Methodist heritage, and Southwestern University’s Core Purpose – fostering a liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions toward the well being of humanity – we recognize that diversity in one category is impossible without diversity in others. We are a meeting place for differing religious beliefs and practices as well as spiritualities, and we encourage, and are committed to providing institutional support to a diversity of such traditions, and we understand that an enlightened model of religious diversity also encourages the presence and perspective of humanists, agnostics, and atheists.
We are committed to making it as easy as possible for students, faculty, and staff to participate in the celebrations and observances of their respective faith communities. We facilitate participation of Southwestern students in religious communities beyond the campus, and welcome our neighbors to religious practices and celebrations on campus.
Our goal is to be respectful and appreciative of our various religious and non-religious traditions. We seek to provide educational opportunities for each of us to learn about one another’s cultures and practices. Dialogue can sometimes be painful; the legacies of intolerance run through the histories of almost all religious and secular traditions. Respectful dialogue, nevertheless, is the first step in modeling a peaceful world, in welcoming what is strange, in making new friends, and in deepening our lives. Indeed, no position should be imposed from one person on another. We welcome dialogues based on mutual consent in which the explanation of each person’s secular or religious position is offered.