Where does one’s belief system or sense of faith stop and one’s call to action on matters political begin.
I’ve grappled with this question for the few years that I’ve been a Unitarian Universalist and it still antagonizes me. It still pokes me and pushes me. The question recently smacked me on the forehead like one of those V-8 commercials when I learned of yet another UU leaving the fold. I don’t know about other UU’s but it bothers me to hear of someone leaving the faith.
And I think the reason this one is hitting me so hard is because the person leaving is making a declaration that this belief system is wrong for him… or perhaps just wrong. So it hooks and jabs at that soft spot on me (that I think we all have) where sometimes you doubt yourself and the choices you’ve made. That little place you try your best to keep smothered and out of earshot or eyesight.
As a young boy that place is where questions brewed like, “does God really exist? Was the crucifixion just a parlor trick to keep the flock in line? Why can’t I just pray to God instead of these middle men saints?” I hated to even think those questions in fear of getting slapped down by a bolt of lightning thrown down by God’s hand himself.
So if UU-ism wrong for Will… it could it be wrong for me, too, right.
His main reason was because speakers at his congregation routinely referred to political action from behind the pulpit… particularly liberal/Democrat-leaning political action. Par for the course in a UU congregation as a majority of its members are left of center, if not jumping on the end of the board trying to make the see-saw fall all the way to the left.
I’m kinda like him though. I don’t like nor do I want to hear about politics in the pulpit. My eyes glaze over. Start talking to me about gay marriage rights, oil drilling on protected lands, the war, illegal aliens, buying earth friendly products and say it from a financial or political point of view…. you may as well put smelling salts under my nose because I am out. Deliver it from a spiritual angle and you have my attention.
I’m not a politics kind of guy. I’ve said it before… it just doesn’t get me off. But as participating citizens in this republic what is it that moves us to vote… what is it that moves us to voice our opinion… what is it that moves us to take action on political issues. From the militant fundamentalist on one extreme to the militant atheist on the other, something visceral drives that conviction to say yes or no to ________________ (insert your particular cause de jur).
I can’t help but think the line between what you believe to be Truth (capital “T” moral, ethical Truth) is going to affect and drive how and what you believe our government should do or say. And I think the belief that is in your heart of hearts and in the marrow of your bones is reinforced by being with like-minded people.
So then, how does one reconcile political beliefs and spiritual beliefs? There it is again jabbing me. I feel for you Will. I’m sorry you couldn’t find what you were looking for at your UU congregation.
I can’t imagine not being a UU. I can however, imagine not being affiliated with my congregation. So when I hear of one of my sincere, like-minded UU’s leaving (unlike disgruntled, angry pirates, the whining y’all-don’t-like-UU Christians, give-polyamory-a-chance, what-about-the-pagan-IA’s… fiddle-playin’, cryin’ little bitches) (said with all the UU love in my heart) it sure does make me think twice.
This one’s for you Curtis… I struggle with faith, too.