Dear Unitarian Universalists,
The American experiment in democracy is difficult. It is filled with imperfections, serious inequality of access, and is too often captive to the existing power structure.
This week’s election has startled many in its outcomes. For the second time in recent memory, the election did not go to the Presidential candidate with the most votes. For many Unitarian Universalists, hopes and dreams have been dashed. For many Unitarian Universalists, our values of respect, love, justice, and equity seem at odds with the nation’s choice.
For many Unitarian Universalists, there is fear that the blistering, misogynistic, xenophobic, bellicose and condescending rhetoric of Mr. Trump will carry over and become the policy drivers of President Trump. The election campaign has magnified the many divisions and disagreements in our country. It has been an exhausting time and an anxiety generating experience. Many are just glad it’s over.
The Southern Region staff team takes this moment to reach out to our readers and leaders. As UUA President Morales suggests, let’s guard against our reactivity to the outcome, whether pleased or disappointed. We all need to rest a bit and regroup.
The ministry of the free church is best when we take the long view. As Theodore Parker once said, “The moral arc of the universe bends toward justice.” This election painfully reminds us there is work to be done, much work to build the world we dream about. We need to keep our eyes on the prize.
Across the Southern Region, we are called again to affirm the worth, the dignity of every person – and to resist those forces that would marginalize and denigrate anyone or declare bigotry as OK. We join a faith community because the work of love and justice can never be done alone. We need each other.
Recently, I asked a congregation, “What gives you hope?” I ask each of you. For myself, I take comfort and inspiration just now in a few lines from Holly Near:
There is hurting in my family / There is sorrow in my town
There is panic in the nation / There is wailing the whole world round
I am open and I am willing / To be hopeless would seem so strange
It dishonors those who go before us / So lift me up to the light of change
The SR staff are here to lend a hand should you need it. Otherwise, let us commit anew to be the church of the open mind, the caring heart, and the outreached hand. Let us work ever more diligently to create more hope, more love, more justice and more joy in our world.
Holly Near pleads:
May the children see more clearly
May the elders be more wise
May we be clear and wise. Blessed be.
With affection, gratitude and hope, Kenn
Natalie Briscoe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Charles, email@example.com
Reverend Dawn Cooley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Curren, email@example.com
Connie Goodbread, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reverend Kenn Hurto, email@example.com
Kathy McGowan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christine Purcell, email@example.com
Reverend Carlton Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
UUA President: This is a time to take a deep breath and a long view
Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), offered the following pastoral message as he reflects on the election:
“The election is finally over. Most of us are shocked, even horrified, by the results. We live in a nation whose deep divisions have been exposed. The wounds of this election will not heal soon. Many of us are emotionally exhausted and deeply offended by what we have experienced.
This is a time to take a deep breath and a long view. Our role as religious progressives committed to democracy, compassion and human dignity is to help bend our culture toward justice. Think of issues like marriage equality and civil rights. The laws change when attitudes change. Our role is to help change attitudes, to lead by example.
Fear, anger, racism and xenophobia have created fertile ground for demagogues. Our voice is going to matter in the coming years. Our role, as always, will be to be a powerful voice for compassion and civil rights. Perhaps, at times, we may even be called upon to join with others to resist flagrant injustice.
For now, let us reflect and draw strength from one another. Together we can recover. Together we can shape the future.