A Letter From A Unitarian-Universalist

I am a Unitarian-Universalist and came to your site looking for information about UU’s.  What I found was a lot of hate speech against us.  Why can’t you accept that the meaning of Unitarianism has changed, and it no longer stands for this backwardness?

– Emily
[no location]

Firstly, Emily, we would take exception at labelling Unitarian Christianity “backwardness,” particularly in a letter about hate speech. 

We also are unable to find anything resembling “hate speech” in our discussion of Unitarian-Universalism.  We have been honest about our points of agreement and honest about our points of difference.  There’s nothing hateful about a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and such a search requires honest criticism, both positive and negative.

Timidity cripples dialogue; there is plenty of middle ground between condemning dissenters to eternal damnation (which AUR, as a matter of theology, does not do) and engaging in the sort of vague mutual back-patting that typifies a lot of inter-faith dialogue in the 21st Century. 

This latter variety of content-free ecumenism, glossing over core ideas and principles to achieve superficial cooperation on political and economic projects, often serves to undermine the idea that ideas, truth, and meaning actually matter.  We believe that they do matter.  What we believe, and how/why we believe it, have consequence in our actions.

AUR certainly has its disagreements with other religions.  For example, we disagree strongly with the Nicene theology of Roman Catholicism.  However, we also see much that is good in the Catholic Church, as when they played the more generous role toward Unitarians in a recent dispute over Women’s World Day of Prayer in the UK.   Most importantly, we trace the good actions of these British Catholics back to their ideas, specifically that there is much more to Roman Catholicism than merely Trinitarianism.

So, it is possible to disagree without demonizing, despite current cultural attitudes that certain groups should be immune to criticism, or that certain forms of criticism are out-of-bounds.  The only form of criticism that should be considered unacceptable is unfounded or dishonest criticism.  Like… calling people backward and hateful without providing evidence or argumentation to that effect.

Similar agreements and disagreements exist between AUR and all religious groups, including the UUA.  Pointing out differences is not necessarily an indicator of “hate” any more than pointing out similarities is an indicator of love.  It is simply a matter of being forthright and honest.