Re: Cultural Consistency
From: Gordon (weilepivax.epi.umn.edu)
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 94 14:38 CDT
Hello,

> Our community has always had an incredibly wide diversity of 
> religious beliefs living compatibly together.  From pagans to Christians, 
> Jews to atheists.  Some devoutely go to Mass every Sunday, others are 
> solid in their atheism.  The diversity has never included fundamentalists 
> of any religion.

I think fundamentalism of any kind is difficult to tolerate in a living 
situation of diverse people.  It probably doesn't matter whether it is political
or religious, or whether it concerns how recycling gets done or how often the 
garbage gets taken out.  In our Co-op the rule has always been that religious 
and political dogma cannot be used to determine who can or cannot become a 
member.  Since we started in 1968 when dogma of the left was rampant in co-op 
housing, that was a major distinction and probably one of the reasons our 
commune survived when most others did not.  I don't think it matters what a 
person believes, as long as they do not use belief as a criteria to reject 
others. It's a little easier for that to happen when religion is concerned, 
since religious choice is often a very private matter as well as a personal 
heritage.  Politics, by its nature, is often quite public and divisive.  There 
is much less political diversity (e.g. "No Republicans need apply") than 
religious diversity in co-op living situations.  But it should be the attitude 
and not the ideas that make someone fit in co-operative groups.

The same goes for co-operative purists.  Some of the most intolerable people I 
have lived with had an extremely strong and informed desire to live 
co-operatively.  And most of the best people I have lived with also had an 
extremely strong and well informed desire to live co-operatively.  Good 
intentions are important, but the road to hell is paved with them, too.

- Gordon Weil
Weil [at] epivax.epi.umn.edu

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