WHY I AM NOT A UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST by Larry Reyka, Humanist Chaplain Humanist Society o
WHY I AM NOT A UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST
by Larry Reyka, Humanist Chaplain
Humanist Society of Friends
This was my last sermon preached from a Unitatian Universalist
pulpit, it was delivered in 1985 or so at The First Unitatian
Universalist Church of Columbus (OH), and in it I share my, shall
we say, misgivings about the Unitarian Universalist movement.
Around that time is when I resigned from membership in that
The reasons for NOT being Unitarian Universalist may be as diverse
as the reasons for coming here in the first place.
I've been told by a Unitarian Universalist minister acquaintance
of mine that the average "stay" within the Unitarian Universalist
church is about five years.
In that sense, it seems to me the church is like a train station,
a place to be between where you're leaving from and where you're
going to. This led me to a working title for my talk today,
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM, THE TRAIN STATION RELIGION, OR PARDON ME
BOY, IS THAT THE CHATTANOOGA U-U?
My personal stay as a MEMBER of the church was approximately two
years. My doubts began, in reality, about the time the ink was
drying on my name in the book, but it took me a number of
experiences, some of which I detailed in my sermon on my religious
odyssey, to realize that I am, in fact NOT a Unitarian
The historical roots of the Unitarian Universalist Church have
produced a religion with a unique flavor. The combination of
residual Christianity and disguised Humanism found in this
denomination is to be found nowhere else. The hospitality to
atheists as well as to believers in mysticism, flying saucers,
pyramid power and all manner of foolishness is amazing. You do
provide a church home for a lot of people who simply would be
without one otherwise. I am attracted to many things, and most of
the people here. Hence, my reason for still being about as a
However, as a Humanist, I find certain aspects of Unitarian
Universalism to be frustrating. The principle of affirming no
creed is, I believe, less than forthright. Agreeing to disagree
is an appropriate principle for our pluralistic society as a
whole, but it is not appropriate for a religious community
dedicated to celebration and action as a community. Groups that
stand for everything stand for nothing or else they deceive.
The alliance of convenience between residual Christians and Closet
Humanists is inhibiting - to both groups. Neither theists nor
atheists may act boldly or creatively on their convictions out of
fear of offending the other. For Humanists, the result is a timid
humanism that spends more time keeping peace with the god
believers in the church than meeting their own needs as Humanists
and reaching out to other Humanists in the larger community.
The Unitarian Universalist Hymnal - a hymnal for both Protestants
and Atheists - is not a miracle; it's a disaster. This hymnal to
me is a symbol of the watered down religion so often offered in
the U-U church.
The willingness on the part of the Unitarian Universalist Church
to TOLERATE my Humanism is far from enough for me. My need is for
an organization that AFFIRMS my Humanism.
So, while I will remain a friend of the Unitarian Universalist
Church and of all of you, as long as you'll have me, I cannot for
reasons above consider myself a member of your congregation.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank