Slander on Unitarian Universalist - 02/26/2003
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing about your website and what it says about Unitarian Universalists. While being utterly incorrect on many points, I realize much of what you have to say is a matter of opinion. For example, when you write 'The UU says, “Everyone is okay, so just live life the way you want to.”', you egregiously misrepresent our faith. We think everyone has inherent worth and dignity, but we choose to live by values that do place ethical, moral and spiritual claims on people. While you are correct we are non-creedal, we are not without our beliefs. We are pilgrims of the spirit. That church of the pilgrims at Plymouth Colony is a Unitarian Universalist church. We have a long and noble history as a liberal faith in America.
What I am writing about is a statement however that does not fall into the category of opinion - it crosses a line that is offensive and probably could be interpreted as slander. Your web site states;
"Our research into the UU’s (taken from their own sources) has revealed a church without a creed -- one that espouses Buddhism, Paganism, and Satanism as readily as Christianity."
The reference to Satanism is abhorrent, even for a group trying to paint my religion in the poorest possible light. There is a movement in the U.S. that proudly carries the name of Satanism - it is a faith of depraved indifference to God, life, love and common humanity. This faith in any form is not, never has been, nor ever would be tolerated within the Unitarian Universalist Church. We may differ over matters of faith, but I do believe that God did call us all to truth without exception. I ask you respectfully to take this outright falsehood from your site, and make your case against liberal religion on honest terms.
The Reverend Jeffrey ****
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Greetings Rev. ****, and thanks for contacting Contender Ministries. We value everyone's opinion, whether we agree with them or not. I'd like to address a few things you brought up. First, you state that you "live by values that place ethical, moral, and spiritual claims on people." The website of the UUA states, "We believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason should be the final authorities in religion. In the end religious authority lies not in a book, person, or institution, but in ourselves. We put religious insights to the test of our hearts and minds. We uphold the free search for truth. We will not be bound by a statement of belief. We do not ask anyone to subscribe to a creed. We say ours is a noncreedal religion. Ours is a free faith." To me, this sounds like the UU places very little claim to an individual's belief, so the analogy we used that "everyone is okay" seems to fit well into the UU model.
Second, you stated that the church of the Pilgrims at the Plymouth Colony was a Unitarian Universalist church. The Unitarian and Universalist movement did not unite until 1961, so that seems highly unlikely. The Universalists were organized in 1793, and the Unitarians organized in 1825 - both long after the pilgrims set up shop at Plymouth. While Unitarian theology has been around for a long time, the Unitarian church has not. The fact is, the UU church of today is far removed from the Unitarian Church of yesteryear.
While Unitarianism has always been non-Christian - in that it denied the deity of Jesus Christ - it used to place far higher importance on God Almighty and the Bible than the UUA does today. The UUA website lists some famous UU's. One of them is John Adams. On February 22, 1756, John Adams wrote in his diary, "Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Ever member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God...What a Eutopia, what a Paradise this region would be." John Adams placed high importance on the Bible, unlike the UUA of today.
One other Unitarian of note on the UUA website is John Quincy Adams. After negotiating the Treaty of Ghent, on December 24, 1814, John Quincy Adams wrote the following:
"I perceive that the Trinitarians and the Unitarians in Boston are sparring together....Most of the Boston Unitarians are my particular friends, but I never thought much of the eloquency of the theology of Priestly. His 'Socrates and Jesus Compared' is a wretched performance. Socrates and Jesus! A farthing candle and the sun! I pray you to read Massilon's sermon on the divinity of Christ, and then the whole New Testament, after which be a Socinian if you can."
"I find in the New Testament, Jesus Christ accosted in His own presence by one of His disciples as God, without disclaiming the appellation. I see Him explicitly declared by at least two other of the Apostles to be God, expressly and repeatedly announced, not only has having existed before the worlds, but as the Creator of the worlds without beginning of days or end of years. I see Him named in the great prophecy of Isaiah concerning him to be the mighty God!....The texts are too numerous, they are from parts of the Scriptures too diversified, they are sometimes connected by too stron a chain of argument, and the inferences from them are, to my mind, too direct and irresistible, to admit of the explanations which the Unitarians sometimes attempt to give them, or the evasions by which, at others, they endeavor to escape from them."
If the UUA wants to claim John Quincy Adams as one of their own, perhaps they should revise their belief on the deity of Jesus Christ, for that is something of which he was convinced. The UUA of today is not the Unitarianism of that day. The Bible (that John Adams revered) tells us that there will be a judgment and damnation of the lost, and that Jesus Christ will be the judge.
You claim that we slander UU's by suggesting that they would welcome Satanists. What is a Satanist, but one who worships Satan? Does someone have to KNOW they're worshipping Satan? I don't believe so. The UUA makes a point of welcoming "earth-centered religious traditions." One of the earth-centered religions is Wicca. Wiccans practice what they call "white magic." What does the Bible say about practitioners of magic? In Revelation 21:8, it says, "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur."
If you believe in the Bible, which we do, we must conclude that those who practice magic are not worshipping God, but Satan. For something to be slanderous, it must meet two criteria. First, it must be provably false. Second, it must be stated with intent to defame or cause harm. Nothing on our website meets either of these two conditions. We have presented the truth with love. Truth can, at times, be a bitter pill to swallow. Our prayer is that the truth shall be evident to you, and shall set you free.
Ben and Jennifer Rast