Unitarian Universalist Association
Arrested As An Act of Moral Obedience - A Reflection on the Healthcare Debate from Rev. Robin Tanner
The Rev. Robin Tanner, minister of worship and outreach at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Summit, NJ, joined the Revs. William Barber, Traci Blackmon, Jennifer Butler and others outside of Senator Mitch McConnell’s office to protest the deep cuts to Medicaid included in the most recent version of the Republican healthcare bill. Rev. Tanner joined the group as a representative of the UUA and she shared this reflection on her participation:
I was arrested today as an act of moral obedience, a day after the 200th birthday of Thoreau. Below is my testimony. We need people of faith to rise up now. More details are coming soon if you are also called to moral obedience or civil disobedience as some call it.
As a Unitarian Universalist minister, I've served in parish ministry for seven years, but before that ministry I served as a hospital chaplain. Hospitals are filled with complex decisions, and at times, medical teams disagree about the best course of treatment or action. But there is one thing we were always clear on:
Health care is a fundamental human right.
My faith is clear—health care is a fundamental right. To care for the body of a human to ensure that they can live is a fundamental moral obligation in a just society and a moral obligation commanded by our constitution. Some things are complex—string theory and just war theory. This is simple: we have a moral imperative. Eroding and eradicating Medicaid is denying life to 22 million Americans. It may be done in the back room bargains of congressional offices instead of under the bright lights of an emergency room, but anyone who supports this—who supports the idea that care of the body is a privilege—has blood on their hands.
On my way here, I was stopped at the train station by a woman, Darlene, who asked me to pray for her because she is having back surgery to alleviate extraordinary pain. I'm here praying with my body and faithful witness that the only worry upon Darlene and millions of Americans will be recovery and healing not whether they have been deemed worthy by this Congress to receive care.
Our constitution and moral consciousness is clear:
No one deserves to die because they couldn't afford medical care.
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
Let America breathe, Congress.
Rev. Susan Frederick Gray Selects Carey McDonald to be Acting COO of UUA
The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), today announced the appointment of Carey McDonald as Acting Chief Operating Officer effective August 1. McDonald succeeds the Rev. Sarah Lammert who served as Interim Chief Operating Officer following the resignation of the Rev. Harlan Limpert in April.
In announcing McDonald’s appointment, Frederick-Gray said, “There are significant strategic questions alive at the UUA about how to best organize ourselves for impact. I look forward to the creative and strategic leadership that Carey will bring to the position of COO and the work we can do to nurture the vitality, health, and mission-focus of the UUA for years to come.”
Frederick-Gray said the appointment was as Acting COO “so that we may use this time to think flexibly and creatively about how to build collaborative anti-oppressive leadership and practices into the UUA.”
McDonald, 31, joined the UUA staff in 2011 as Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Since 2014, he has served as Outreach Director. “I’m thrilled to be serving alongside the UUA’s first elected female president in this time of great transition and imagination for our faith,” said McDonald. “The call to be fierce advocates for Unitarian Universalist values and for justice inside and outside our congregations has never been stronger, and I look forward to helping Unitarian Universalism answer that call.”
Lammert, who will remain a member of the UUA’s Leadership Council, said, “Carey McDonald brings enormous creative and strategic talent to his new leadership role. He is a seventh generation UU with deep roots in our faith, but his focus is on a vital and relevant future for Unitarian Universalism.”
McDonald, who identifies as a person of color, is a member of First Parish in Malden, MA, and the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Ohio. He was active in Columbus as a youth leader in the Ohio Meadville District Youth Adult Committee and with Diverse and Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) and is a former lay member of the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee and the Skinner House Books Board. He holds a bachelors degree in Economics from Pomona College in Claremont, CA, and a masters degree in Organizational Leadership from Wheelock College in Boston, MA. He lives Medford, MA, with his wife Sarah and son Julian.