Thankful for Unitarian Universalism

Sussex SSL

Photo by Robin Pacella/Delmarva Media Group. From Delawareonline.com.

Being true to the promise of freedom and justice

I had a quiet half-hour earlier this morning to read today’s Wilmington News-Journal. The photo above caught my eye on page A15. Yea! I thought to myself—Standing on the Side of Love. Then I read on, thankful this day that Unitarian Universalism is finding its voice across Delaware, engaging with important public issues and fighting for justice.

The article, “Support mounts Against Indian River’s LGBT stance,” told how residents of the Indian River School District were continuing to protest the school board’s proposal to exclude definitions of the terms lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered from the high-school health curriculum.

According to the paper, the meeting was “dominated by people speaking against board member Shaun Fink, who wants the material to be removed.” In addition to being a member of the Indian River school board, Fink is pastor and founder of the Cornerstone Bible Church in Millsboro.

UUs were there, standing on the side of love. The Rev. Michael Smith, minister for the Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware, spoke eloquently about how pushing LGBT youth “back into the shadows of misunderstanding and prejudice and bigotry” would strip them of their inherent worth and dignity. Reporter Rachel Pacella writes:

Smith talked about the values portrayed when Indian River High School’s color guard presented the flags and the audience said the pledge of allegiance at the start of the meeting. The district’s board would not be staying true to that promise of freedom and justice for all if they cut the LGBT material, he implied.

“We put our hands over our hearts. Some warm hearts,” he said, focusing on Fink. “Some very cold hearts.”

It’s worth reading the rest of the article, if only for the incredibly articulate comments by Bryce only, a junior at Sussex Central High School. I don’t know whether Molnar is a UU, but maybe he ought to check us out.

So give thanks this day for Rev. Smith and all of the UUs of Southern Delaware for their continued courage and truth-telling. Warm hearts indeed!

—Jeffrey Lott

 

We Marched for a Culture of Peace in Wilmington

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About 25 members of First Unitarian Church participated in yesterday’s March and Rally for a Culture of Peace in Wilmington. These photos are by Elizabeth Siftar, who described the march as “a powerful experience.” Leave a comment on this post to describe your experience.

Click on first photo to enlarge into a slideshow.

Stand on the Side of Love

Standing on the Side of Love: Suzanne and Helen

Standing on the Side of Love: Suzanne and Helen

How many members of First Unitarian Church are also “members” of Standing on the Side of Love? Pretty much every Unitarian Universalist I know stands theologically and socially on the side of love—it’s inherent in our First Principle, which asserts the worth and dignity of every person. Our commitments to GLBT rights, same-sex marriage, and the rights of immigrants all stem from this principle. Our local involvement with the people of Wilmington who face daily risk of gun violence is also a First Principle concern. They represent all Unitarian Universalists and Standing on the Side of Love (SSL).

No doubt you’ve seen the attention-getting yellow shirts. That’s the public face of SSL when we come together to witness for love, as many of us did at the 2012 General Assembly in Phoenix and again at GA in Providence this year. Standing on the Side of Love is also an organization—an important initiative of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) to spread love and stand for justice for all oppressed persons. This is why I “subscribe” to the Standing on the Side of Love emails and give occasional contributions to support its efforts.

Today I received an appeal that was a little different. It asked for contributions for bail money for 35 Unitarian Universalists who tomorrow, July 31, will commit unlawful acts of civil disobedience on behalf of families who are being separated by our nation’s immigration laws and policies. They will seek to be arrested in front of the White House as they urge President Obama to stop the pain and family separation caused by deportations.

Here’s a link to the appeal. Even if you don’t write a letter to our representatives in Washington or make a specific contribution, think about subscribing to SSL emails. I learn a lot about what our UU movement is doing for human rights and justice through Standing on the Side of Love.

In peace,

Jeff

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