Letter to the Editor

An insulting caricature of Unitarian Universalism

What a shock to start the day with Lisa Miller’s contemptuous On Faith column about my faith, Unitarian Universalism [“Polyamory puts a dent in Unitarian solidarity,” March 23].

It began with her derisive introduction of us as the faith “where you go when you don’t know where to go,” the religion of “last resort” for those who can’t abide rules. To the contrary, for many of us it has been the first and best fit, the alpha as well as the omega.

Our rules require us to respect all people and faiths, to call ourselves to the best and highest that is in us, to make our decisions communally, to be responsible stewards of the earth, to ensure the safety of our children in our programs and with our religious professionals.

Polyamory is a non-issue in every congregation I am aware of. I know of no Unitarian Universalist ministers who are anguished over this issue. We each have the right and responsibility to set our own guidelines for weddings we will or will not perform. Knowing what those are, and honoring them, is part of the job — and, frankly, not the hardest part.

And Miller got our name wrong. We are not Unitarians; we are Unitarian Universalists, a merged faith from two different and deep American traditions. Unitarian is not acceptable shorthand.

I can see why the press jumps on this empty polyamory bandwagon from time to time. Controversy sells. But from a newspaper of The Post’s caliber, I expect better.

Liz Lerner Maclay, Silver Spring

The writer is senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring.

The fact that a polyamorism group exists within Unitarian Universalism shows that we truly have a big tent, compared with other organizations, both religious and political, that claim that characteristic but don’t have it. However, I’ve been a Unitarian Universalist for more than 40 years, and I had never heard of this splinter group, and I don’t know any UUs who subscribe to its beliefs.

The absence of a set dogma is one of the features that attract people to UUism and gives it strength. Members develop their own theology and find their own path to truth. They can draw from whatever sources that speak to them. This means that unusual or even countercultural movements can exist within UUism. Yes, maybe “many UUs wish polyamorism activists would just sit down and be quiet.” But it doesn’t make the “whole denomination look silly.” In fact, it speaks to our inclusiveness, understanding and acceptance.

Raoul Drapeau, Vienna

Lisa Miller began her column, “The joke about Unitarians is that they’re where you go when you don’t know where to go.” To support her claim that polyamory divides our congregations and that this “debate makes the whole denomination look silly,” Miller referred to a six-year-old sermon, a nine-year old article and the Unitarian Universalists for Polyamory Awareness, a group of which very few have heard.

I expect better sourcing from The Post. I don’t expect unsupported generalizations and jokes about an entire faith.

Unitarian Universalism is about respect — for others, for their choices and for the world. I invite Miller to attend a service at our congregation as my guest. If she were to accept, I think she’d gain a better idea of why we’re there and a bit of respect, which her column sorely lacked.

Teagan Kutz, Sterling

 
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