American Unitarian Conferenceô
Promoting the American Unitarian Tradition
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President's Letter 12/2005
Dear American Unitarian:
This is the time of year for celebration and thankfulness, for reflection about the year past and contemplating the year to come. Allow me to share some thoughts with my fellow American Unitarians on what we must do in the year and years to come.
American Unitarians for two centuries have held to a world-view that nurtures a deep faith in God, embraces the core Christian message of loving God and our neighbors, loves science and learning, regards faith and reason as partners in pursuing truth and supports religious tolerance as a key component of creating a liberal society where people can live, prosper and seek the truth peacefully and progress is both assumed and comes to pass. It is, I think, fair and accurate to say that this Unitarian ethos came to pervade much of American society because of the effort of our American Unitarian ancestors. Even if they failed in making a great many of their fellow Americans into explicit American Unitarians, they achieved something of a consensus among the leadership of this country around American Unitarian values.
That ethos is now very much under attack from religious and secular enemies both foreign and domestic. It is our job to ensure, to the best of our abilities, that this American Unitarian ethic survives and flourishes. From abroad, we find continued challenges to liberal society from both Islamic fanaticism, communist secularism and secular postmodernist nihilism. The so-called culture war rages on domestically as if the only two choices are Christian fundamentalism and secular atheism.
We need to work hard to make it as clear as we possibly can that there is an alternative to both religious fundamentalism and atheism, that faith and reason and science can be partners in the search for truth rather than adversaries, that liberal tolerance emphatically does not mean blind acceptance or moral equivalence, that faith does not mean pursuing extremism, exclusiveness and hate but embracing love and respect for others and acknowledging Godís role in our lives and the greater universe. We need to work to make sure that this important point of view, the point of view we all hold dear, the point of view that, I believe, helped to make this country great, does not perish as a meaningful participant in the struggle for the hearts and minds of the inhabitants of our planet.
I wish you and yours a happy near year. May Godís peace be with you always.
David R. Burton
© 2005 American Unitarian Conferenceô