Monday, July 14, 2008

elevator speech

i support Unitarian Universalism with time and money because i believe in liberal religion. that’s the simple way to put it, yet the spirit that underlies my simple statement has so much more meaning for me.

liberal religion holds many implications for our civilization, way too many to allow for justice on the topic in a single sitting. yet i would like to highlight three important tenets of liberal religion: no single source of revelation or inspiration can lay an exclusive claim on truth, every person should be free to act upon their conscience without fear of retribution, and finally every person must accept responsibility for their actions.

at risk of seeming harsh, i must say it appears to me that the current state of religion in our culture is unequivocally opposed to such wisdom. it seems like standard, garden variety religion in our country teaches exactly the opposite! it is taught with a veneer of supreme authority that there is, in fact, a single source of truth; that the conscience has been scarred and, short of divine redemption, is incapable of goodness; and finally, that no individual is ultimately responsible for their actions, other than an act of acquiescence to the truth as presented in the King James bible.

now i’m quite certain that any of us could stand up a case for argument. and, to be sure, these themes have been debated for time out of mind. to discover this, one need only make a cursory reading of the history of the colonies in the 17th century new world. but ever the spirit of free peoples is envied and despised by minds in bondage; today, no less than those of our forebears. and now it seems the malady is as insidious as ever being woven with the threads of patriotism and fear of despotism.

as for me, today, i will stand on the side of liberal religion. i support the international causes of personal integrity and human dignity, and i support our denominational unity, the Association of UU congregations. but mostly, i believe our little church, right down the road, provides a voice of sanity and hands of healing in our community, our home. i can imagine no more rewarding endeavor, and no greater honor than to contribute to the life and growth of the congregation.