The story of our Unitarian Universalist faith is written in our lives and in the lives of our predecessors. It’s what we do, large and small, on a daily basis. A rather challenging task, but one for which there is help at hand. As our congregational covenant states: Our life together declares that the future of each depends on the good of all and the future of all depends on the good of each.
Need a boost, a pick-me-up? Check out the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society website – UUHHS.ORG. You’ll find biographies of Unitarian Universalists who have lived our faith.
When it comes to speaking truth to power there is nothing like The Rev. A. Powell Davies for inspiration. In rallying public support against the governmental abuses of the McCarthy era he stated “. . . I have criticized the untruths and injustices of the investigating committees . . . I am what is called a controversial person; that is . . . one who does not keep quiet in the presence of evil.”
Davies was outspoken against the abuse of police power and judicial authority. He said, “If I believed an injustice was being done I would make whatever protest I believed I should and all the courts in America would not stop me.”
In 1952, Ross Weston, the Unitarian minister in Arlington VA was judged to be in contempt for criticizing a controversial court decision from his pulpit. This contempt citation threatened to gag ministers from speaking out against court abuses. Davies contributed to a successful defense of Weston and freedom of the pulpit. He stated, “The right to criticize is necessary in the case of public servants of every sort. Only so can we insure that evil is not entrenched, and prevent intimidation and tyranny.”
In speaking truth to power some use the arts. Rod Sterling, one of television’s most prolific writers, believed that the role of a writer was to “menace the public conscience.” He saw writing as a “vehicle of social criticism” and with science fiction opened minds to deeper humanity.
When speaking truth to power some organize. Mary White Ovington spent her life combating racism. To do so she became a founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. And as she said, “just because no one else sees fit to do anything about it is no reason why I won’t.”
And our predecessors guide us spiritually. May Sarton in her Journal of a Solitude wrote, “There is really only one possible prayer: Give me to do everything I do in the day with a sense of the sacredness of life. Give me to be in Your presence, God, even though I know it only as absence.”
May it be so.
Kay Aler-Maida, UUCA Board President