You’re Welcome

I’m a member of a Unitarian Universalist congregation. It’s just about the only church I could belong to, as I’m an atheist. The core principles of Unitarian Universalism are progressive, and in general I’m in agreement with them. But I’m struggling a bit today. Bear with me while I explain.

UU ideals embrace acceptance and diversity. UU congregations are trans-friendly. There’s an active effort to root out unconscious racism. Our current minister went down to the border a couple of months ago and risked arrest to support immigrant rights. “The worth and dignity of every human being” is made much of.

But are we required to respect the worth and dignity of Republicans? I find it difficult to imagine how one might do this.

I know we have a few Republicans in the congregation — maybe as many as three or four. I have my suspicions about who they are, but of course we’re all being very polite. Confrontation and debate are not UU principles (unless you’re confronting the fascist border police, I suppose).

When it comes to spiritual ideas, everybody in a UU church is welcome to believe or disbelieve whatever they like. I may have to grit my teeth when the minister leads a non-denominational prayer, because prayer is not part of my personal arsenal of nonsense — but at least she doesn’t mention any particular deity. If anything, a UU service seems designed to gloss over differences. One seldom hears a “we must” or even a “we should always” from the pulpit.

The predictable result of this broad-based, egalitarian approach is that Unitarian Universalism lacks any sort of rigor. Sure, we send half of the cash proceeds from the offertory to help the homeless. We’re good at small things. But when it comes to the elephant in the middle of the sanctuary — oh, my, let’s not talk about that, shall we? We might offend somebody.

I want to be clear about this. The Republican Party is profoundly evil. This isn’t even open to debate, and requires no nuance; it’s just right there in your face, every day. That being the case, anyone who would support the Republican Party in any way at all is directly complicit in evil. If you’re a Republican, you are actively supporting a vile, anti-human, morally despicable agenda. I don’t need to list the particulars (firearms, women’s rights, racism, pollution). The vileness of the Republican agenda is a fact. Only an idiot would attempt to disagree with this fact or weasel around it.

If we would not welcome an unrepentant rapist or mass murderer into our congregation (and I hope we wouldn’t), how can we possibly welcome Republicans? Well, okay, I guess we could welcome them, subject to a vigorous deprogramming and re-education effort. Republicans who aspire to join a UU congregation should be required to attend classes until they agree that Republicanism is evil. They should not be allowed to vote in congregational balloting, nor should they be allowed to serve on the board of trustees, until they have renounced and denounced Republicanism.

That, it seems to me, would be the wise and compassionate thing to do. Failure to do it amounts, it seems to me, to an alarming display of spinelessness.

What’s the good of having admirable principles if you abandon them the moment you face a real challenge?


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1 Response to You’re Welcome

  1. Matt Buckley says:

    There is a really interesting documentary film entitled “Accidental Courtesy”. It is about an African-American musician named Daryl Davis, who befriends Ku Klux Klan members in his spare time. As a result of him doing so, quite a number of them are no longer bigots and have subsequently left the Ku Klux Klan.
    In regards to the Republican Party, assuming it is as evil as you claim (I am Australian, and have never been to the U.S.A.), I suspect the best course of action would be for the churches to welcome Republicans into their congregations while also raising awareness both within and outside their congregations about social justice topics (eg. poverty, pollution, human rights violations, etc.). I figure that would much more likely to change the Republicans’ beliefs and behaviour than shunning Republicans would.
    Also, I find the practice of churches shunning and excommunicating people to be ironic, because Jesus hung out with no befriended society’s outcasts. Thus, I figure if He were around today, the very people He would hang out with and befriend would be the people who are shunned by, and excommunicated from, their churches.

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