(Used by permission from the UUA website; all links are to that site. Photo of UUA President Rev. Peter Morales below.)
Since 1961, Unitarian Universalism has followed in the footsteps of its Unitarian and Universalist heritages to provide a strong voice for social justice and liberal religion. Some Unitarian Universalists of whom you may already have heard include Tim Berners-Lee, Paul Newman, Christopher Reeve, May Sarton, Pete Seeger, and Kurt Vonnegut.
Within a very few years of the new religion's forming, Unitarian Universalists' voices were already heard nation-wide advocating for the rights of conscientious objectors to the war in Vietnam as well as for voting and civil rights for people of color in the south.
Many members of our faith responded to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to witness and participate in the voting rights march in Selma, Alabama in 1965. Unitarian Universalists James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo were killed because of their participation in this protest, and ended up becoming martyrs of the movement.
Unitarian Universalists deepened our social justice work in the 1970s by actively supporting the rights of gay and lesbian people, publishing the Pentagon Papers, working within our denomination to support feminism and to combat racism and oppression.
The 1980s began more than a decade of denominational spiritual reflection which resulted in reframing our religious principles and acknowledging the shared sources of our faith.
Unitarian Universalists spoke out against our country’s aggression when the first Gulf War started in 1991 and again ten years later when the US entered hostilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Unitarian Universalists continue to protest unjust wars and unnecessary violence today.
2001 marked the point when there were more female Unitarian Universalist ministers than male ministers. Unitarian Universalism continues to encourage women’s leadership in our congregations and larger community.
Another issue which remains at the forefront of the Unitarian Universalist community is marriage equality (i.e. same-sex marriage). Unitarian Universalism fully supports the right of all committed couples to marry. Unitarian Universalist congregations, individuals, and the UUA staff continue to work to have these marriages legally sanctioned in every state.
In addition to working on these and other social justice issues, Unitarian Universalism has grappled with a number of spiritual changes over the years since its founding. Some of the major debates have included reframing our religious principles, understanding the changing role of Christianity in today’s Unitarian Universalism, acknowledging the sources of our faith and making room in those sources for earth-based spirituality, and coming to understand what religious and spiritual language works best in our congregations.
Unitarian Universalists will undoubtedly continue to work to deepen our faith and improve the world.
© Unitarian Universalist Association