Helpers among the community of Pittsburgh area UUs. Link to the main Sunnyhill site.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Religion and Politics

From Lynn and the September edition of The Drummer

We still have time before the presidential elections. I feel strongly that the results really matter, but it's not clear what will happen. This is just the time to talk a bit about religion and politics.

Many of us feel very strongly about the upcoming elections and about other current political issues. Unitarian Universalism encourages us to be involved in politics and to use our religious values as we take political stands.

In our country, though we have a strict separation of church and state. This means it is never appropriate for the minister, any service leader or a guest speaker to advocate from our pulpit for particular political candidates. It is also not appropriate for members of the congregation to advocate for certain candidates during a church service. If we start to do these things we will risk losing our tax exempt status.

However, expressing your views in conversation after a service or at social events is just fine. When you do have political discussion, it is important to keep in mind that one of the gifts and the strengths of Unitarian Universalism is our diversity. Some UUs assume all of us are Democrats. It's true that many are, but we also have Republicans, Green Party members, Independents, Libertarians and probably more.

Sometimes I wish everyone would vote the way I plan to vote in November. But I catch myself when I begin to think this way. After all, if everyone voted the same way, we would have an autocracy, not a democracy. Democracy and Unitarian Universalism thrive on diversity of perspective and healthy, respectful discussion and debate. If we all agree, that can never happen. In the coming months I encourage you to celebrate our diversity and rejoice that not everyone thinks exactly the way you do.

(For further reflection on the subject of diversity, please note the upcoming Diversity Dialogues.)

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