As we witness ideological divides and xenophobic, inflammatory rhetoric in the news, the need for collaborative work between groups from different faith traditions to heal our ailing society is growing stronger every day. We Who Defy Hate: An Interfaith Preparation for Social Justice Action supports this vital work.
The curriculum is a companion to the PBS documentary Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War, co-directed by Ken Burns and Artemis Joukowsky. The film, which has been viewed by more than 20 million people around the world, features an American Unitarian minister and his wife, Waitstill and Martha Sharp, who left their children behind with congregants to conduct multiple life-threatening missions in Europe. Over two years, they helped save hundreds of imperiled political dissidents and Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi occupation. Today, Unitarian Universalists carry on their legacy.
We Who Defy Hate, co-written by social justice educators Dr. Jenice L. View and Fahs Collaborative Director Dr. Mark A. Hicks, is designed to support people of different faith traditions who want to find places of common ground and solidarity in the service of social action. Hicks notes, “Today, we see lots of evidence of how difficult it is for faith communities to reach across cultural gaps. We have found that good intentions are not enough; faith communities need specific strategies in order to re-learn how to bridge those gaps.” View adds, “While the Sharps were truly heroic, they were also regular people, capable of the same courage and contradictions as we. The work that is to be done—interfaith social justice action—is available to all of us if we choose it.”
The curriculum’s detailed, experiential exercises model how faith communities can reassess their commitments in order to act—and challenge others to act—each day, from a place of moral courage and goodwill.