Sunday Service Recap from Rev. Sean
This past Sunday we continued our series No Stupid Questions tackling some core questions about Unitarian Universalism. This week’s question was: Can you be a Unitarian Universalist and a Conservative?
As I explored on Sunday, there is an easy answer to the question: Yes. We UUs affirm a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, which can and does lead people to affirm conservative political beliefs.
As Mark Morrison-Reed wrote in his recent book Selma Awakening:
During the first half of the twentieth century, prior to the rise of McCarthyism, Unitarianism had included outspoken Socialists like John Haynes Holmes on the one hand, and on the other a strong contingent of Republicans, including President William Howard Taft and Senator Leverett Saltonstall. On the Universalist side, Clarence Skinner represented the progressive wing, while several congressmen who attended [Universalist] National Memorial [Church] in Washington, D.C., were Dixiecrats. (197)
We are a liberal religion not a religion for liberals. Religious liberals hold fast to three fundamental truths:
- We Don’t Know Much
- We Can Know More
- It will change.
Which means no matter your politics you cannot be a religious liberal without a great dose of humility, with no trace of fundamentalism, and have an opening for dialogue and relationship across difference. There is much to be gained by the tension between different political and theological differences.
The impulse to conserve and the impulse to progress. Held in the tension create the possibility to the deepest forms of transformation.
However, as is the case for most easy answers to questions, it’s not complete. As Tom Shade contends that when UUs in the 1960s affirmed the reality of systemic racism and aligned themselves with the civil rights movement, it began a rift that just gets wider and wider with the current republican party who has worked to resist and overturn the progress for racial justice.
Missed worship or want to review?
- Life of Theodore Parker
- The controversial sermon preached
in 1841 by Theodore Parker: A Discourse on the Transient and Permanent in
- Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg’s reflections on conservatism