Can Unitarian Universalism Speak To #Ferguson? (Thoughts One Month After)

With the news that the grand jury investigating whether charges should be levelled against Officer Wilson has been extended until January (not a good sign) and polls showing the wide chasm between how African Americans and whites view both the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent events in Ferguson has got me thinking.

Can Unitarian Universalism speak to #Ferguson? Or is Unitarian Universalism, as MLK said in his critique of liberal religion:

[I came to feel that liberalism had been] all too sentimental concerning human nature and that it leaned toward a false idealism. I also came to see that liberalism’s superficial optimism concerning human nature caused it to overlook the fact that reason is darkened by sin…

From the time of the Controversy, Unitarian Universalism has been tepid in its response to things racial. It’s not as if these issues haven’t presented themselves before. Let’s not forget that the reason that there is a “Journey Towards Wholeness” is because of asking people to dress in period dress at the Thomas Jefferson Ball at GA in Charlotte in 1993.

So…does Unitarian Universalist theology have anything of substance to say on the issues that have been laid bare by Ferguson? (assuming that you believe that there is something resembling Unitarian Universalist theology)

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2 thoughts on “Can Unitarian Universalism Speak To #Ferguson? (Thoughts One Month After)

  1. For such a short post, this raises quite a few tough questions. I consider myself a pretty good historian of the various theologies that cluster under our big tent, and each one has its moments for fitting my moods. But when it comes to serious reflection — what you’re asking for here — I accept Dr. King’s critique and return to the more strictly Christian views of both Unitarians and Universalists at the nation’s dawn. Unitarians subscribed mostly to something called “moral neutrality of the soul,” while Universalists believed that the atoning love and work of Jesus had been required by the universality of original sin. Despite the very different images each one evokes, they seem pretty equivalent to me. Because if the atoning power of Jesus was as fully universal as original sin, then each person, by whatever power, had both the power of good and evil. Yet in each case, free will was the necessary final determinant of whether a person developed one way or the other.

  2. Well, Unitarianism left me way behind as they fluttered off into the prevailing breezes, and that was apparent when I was told that I wasn’t relevant to the future of the “church”. But since some of them , I trust, still claim committment to the leadership of Jesus their reaction to Ferguson must be what scripture teaches. In the middle of what seems to be a global whirlwind of anger and violence it’s hard to get one’s bearings except locally. What are the nearby UUs doing? In my dear Quaker meeting here one member is Palestinian…. Grew up on Quaker schools there and now is nearly immobilized with grief and anxiety over that atrocity. Another member speaks in meeting to say “God weeps”. Each of us is trying to be kind to the other old folks here. We preach to people at lunch. We send money to Peace Teams. We try to figure out what we can do.
    What should we do, Kim ? I love you, Bunny

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