From the Ministers’ Desk — September 2020

You don’t have to agree with our Unitarian Universalist seven principles to consider yourself a UU or even to be a member of a UU congregation. It’s the congregations, not individual members, that “covenant to affirm and promote” them. On the other hand, if you firmly disagreed with them or totally rejected them, why would you want to be one of us?  But you don’t need to answer that.

The point I wish to make is that we (we citizens of the United States) now face the real and present danger that our mostly democratic system of government will be replaced with an authoritarian form. This is obviously in direct opposition to our principle in favor of “the use of the democratic process,” not only “within our congregations,” but also “in society at large;” that is, the United States.  Authoritarianism also denies “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and conflicts with the goal of “justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.”

I won’t try to present a brief in support of my fear of authoritarianism. The attack on the postal service, just prior to the election, with the pandemic endangering the old-fashioned system of same-day in-person voting is hard to understand otherwise. (And, of course, I’m writing this about two weeks before you’ll read it, and a lot could change during that time.)  My point is that it is our religious duty (as well as our moral and political duty) to oppose the authoritarian threat.

What can we do? Though it may be tempting to hide from frightening news, keep yourself informed–from multiple reliable sources. Share your views with others–family, friends, neighbors, the person next to you in line at the Wawa. How you do this will, of course, depend on who the others are–with some, the best approach might be reasonably modest and innocent questions. And don’t forget letters to the editor and to elected officials. And, then, there are social media. Support organizations–UU and others–working on this, with your time, your talent, your resources.

We live in a difficult time. Take care of yourself, and your family. Eat, sleep, exercise, read something distracting, listen to (or make) music, keep a diary. Be available to others in our fellowship, and be willing to reach out to others. And, remember that your ministers are here for you, probably not in person, but phone and email work.

I almost forgot prayer. How could a minister forget prayer? Share your feelings with God (belief in God not required)–your anger, your fear, your frustration, your hope, your thanks.

Love, Dave

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