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Principles & Purpose

 

  

 

 

freedom of the pulpit & freedom of the pew

 
These two freedoms are at the center of our understanding of how religion is created.
We believe that each person has the capacity to have, in the words of Emerson, an original experience of the universe. And so we desire to hear each person's voice in the quest for the truth.

Our church is led by the membership and governed through a democratically-elected Board of Trustees.

 

 

You can see UUCA activities listed in
our monthly events calendar.

 


What is a Unitarian Universalist? by Chaplain Candidate Eric Johnson, USNR

 

A Unitarian Universalist can be described as a religious "Independent." In politics an

 "Independent" is an individual who is not bound by any political party. Similarly, a religious "independent" is not bound by any creed, dogma, or belief. Unitarian Universalists are non-creedal. There isn't anything you must believe to be a Unitarian Universalist. Your religious faith, your religious beliefs are left up to you. You may have grown up Catholic, Protestant, or even Jewish or Hindu, and still find these beliefs relevant and an important part of your faith. Or you may have abandoned religion because of these beliefs. You may even be a secular humanist or possibly an atheist. These, too, may define your religious journey for truth and meaning.

Whatever your current beliefs, or lack thereof, you can be a Unitarian Universalist.

"But how can this be a religion if there are no set beliefs?" you might be asking yourself. It's a fair question. To answer it, let's go back to the first analogy that was made -- the analogy that Unitarian Universalists are similar to political "independents." In politics a similar question could be asked of a democratic government. "How can you rule a people when politicians have differing political beliefs?"

The answer for both questions is the same: by covenanting -- by making an agreement to work together, to dialog, to learn from each other and, most importantly, to love and respect each other. This is the way that a democratic government works and gets things done despite, and even because of, the diversity of political view. A Unitarian Universalist church or community thrives in religious diversity. Actually, Unitarian Universalism many times is called the "Democratic Religion." It is no accident that four Presidents of the United States as well as almost a third of the architects of the constitution, which you are sworn to protect and defend, were Unitarians.

To achieve community within religious diversity, Unitarian Universalists hold two concepts dearly. The first is called the 'freedom of the pew'.  That is your right as an individual "in the pew" to hold your own religious beliefs.
"Freedom of the pew" does not mean, however, that your beliefs will not be challenged. You can expect a challenge, and a hard one, if your beliefs are discriminatory, hateful or do not affirm the dignity and worth of another individual. You can believe what you want but that does not mean that others will want or accept what you believe. For example, a neo-nazi is not welcome in Unitarian Universalist congregations.

The second concept which Unitarian Universalists hold dearly is the 'freedom of the pulpit' or the right of the minister to preach whatever truth he/she holds. This does not mean that those in the "pew" have to believe it. They only have to allow the minister to state his/her case.

The combination of these concepts creates a kind of "religious boxing ring" where debate and dialog, learning and mutual respect, can "duke it out." From this free exchange or 

"intercommunication" as Reverend Roy Phillips calls it, comes dynamic truth, religious truth. It is a religious truth that can be continually reshaped and formed to fit our current day and age, our current problems and situations.  

To return to the analogy of politics & democracy -- what if we had to abide by laws that were thousands of years old -- laws, for example, like the Code of Hammurabi? I can tell you there would be a lot of stonings. Instead, our laws, derived through the framework of our constitution, are constantly readjusted and changed to fit our time & our situation.

This is exactly what Unitarian Universalism does with religious truth. It constantly updates and readjusts it to fit our time.

 

Many religious truths such as 'do unto others as you would have done unto you' don't need to be changed and fit all times. But many truths that were once valid are hopelessly false in our time. 'Democratic religion' seeks to constantly renew religious truth. Some of the religious truths that Unitarian Universalism has renewed can be found in our Principles and Purposes. These are the principles that guide Unitarian Universalists and bring them together into community.

 

You can see UUCA activities listed in
our monthly events calendar.

 

 

Have you moved away from the faith of your upbringing?
Are there elements of your current faith
that you aren't comfortable with?

  

If you want a religion that grows with you
but doesn't tell you how you should grow,
Unitarian Universalism may be right for you.

 

Explore your unique religious journey with people
who are in the same boat.
We are seekers too.
Unitarian Universalism offers acceptance & community
without controlling what you have to believe.

 

 


 

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