In the Winter 2017 issue of UU World magazine, there is an article that asks six Unitarian Universalist leaders four questions relating to whether you have to be an activist to be a Unitarian Universalist. I encourage you to read it.
My friend the Rev. Robin Bartlett is a Christian-identifying UU minister serving a congregation that is both UU and United Church of Christ. She answers the question with a succinct “No.”
Her congregation has a larger presence of political conservatives than the stereotypical UU congregation, so focusing effort on political policy can be a challenge. Yet her congregation works to live into their principles, though not by taking to the streets. From the pulpit, “Pastor Robin” preaches the subversive gospel of love. Her congregation responds by working to bring love to life. But not every congregation is shaped like hers.
Is the UUFW an activist congregation? Some members are activists, people who join marches, who lobby elected officials for specific legislative and regulative action, who try to reshape public opinions. We have a racial equity class that meets once a month, out of which I hope leaders for racial justice will emerge to lead the congregation. The times we live in challenge us to do more than stand on the sidelines.
We face the challenge of finding meaningful action after the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, inequity in UU hiring practices, KKK recruitment flyers, draconian enforcement of immigration law, the #MeToo campaign to no longer allow perpetrators of sexual harassment and sexual assault to pretend they have done no harm – these are recent challenges we face.
Do you have to be an activist, taking to the streets in response to each challenge, to be a UU? No. Of course not. We support the cause for justice in many ways, not only by marching. We will not always agree on specific policy changes. Yet, in our many ways, we must act to bring our values into the world.
In what way will you join the challenge?
Peace and Blessings,