Why merely cope, when you can accomplish?

I’ll keep this brief.

I don’t know what to make of the kind of political and social liberalism that Unitarian Universalists so typically dwell in. And because this includes some friends, I don’t particularly enjoy pointing this out, but not saying something isn’t at all helpful.

But I already can feel the news cycle pivot away from Ferguson and Staten Island; perhaps United States torture practice will have its turn. And the Monday night demonstration here in D.C. was smaller than the one before. Impatience and cold weather are not friends of a demonstration-based response to a network of evils.

I’m left wondering what the end game was supposed to have been? Surely, there was (and is) a hurt that needed (and needs) to be be dignified through public expression, and it’s right to gather an empathetic companionship. But then what? It’s hard to see us moving beyond that before moving on. Activity internal to Unitarian Universalism, to my mind, counts for little or nothing. What do we have to gain by (what amounts to) an exercise in collective holiness? Less, I contend, than we have to offer by participating constantly in the nitty-gritty of public policy.

And I think we avoid this opportunity because we have grown unaccustomed to political power, and perhaps find it awkward or distasteful as a religious people. And if that’s the case, we need to get over that. So many people view governance and public policy with suspicion, but in doing so surrender their power to those who are left claim it.

I have a couple of ideas about practical actions, at least one of a scale that a group as small — another hard truth — as the Unitarian Universalists can tackle.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

1 comment

  1. I agree, Scott, that something beyond demonstrations need to be done. Nice beginning but when and where do we have a national conversation such as SA’s Truth and Reconciliation? It’s Human Rights day today and the torture report is out with Dick Cheney calling it a “bunch of hooey” yet torture is not/ should not be an American practice or value. So where do we discuss these things intelligently. I started a fb page called Black Ribbon as a prelude to a website that will track cases of police brutality around the nation. Things done in the dark should be exposed. It will also have star section where cops who do good can be lauded. What does that do? Don’t know until I get it up. Maybe it can become a legitimate resource; who knows but something beyond holding a candle on 16th Street, which I will do in any case. Cheers… all best

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