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I think the “Creating Peace” statement of conscience is the inclusive, respectful, and theologically encompassing statement that we need to create room in our Unitarian Universalist (UU) tent for the spectrum of beliefs on these important matters. As I look at my own trajectory from soldier to pacifist, had I been a UU in the beginning, it would have allowed me to be in community with UUs throughout the journey. So I congratulate the commission on the creation of a statement that recognizes the evolutionary nature of our individual beliefs.
Charlie Clements, Executive Director, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Former President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
Some may be tempted to regard “Creating Peace” as a compromise document—mdaa compromise between strict pacifism and hard-edged realism. But it is not that. It is a full-throated articulation of the most responsible position possible: a preferential option for peace grounded in solid progressive theology coupled with the recognition that the world is not a simple place. In light of that complexity, a pluralistic faith simply cannot exclude those who reach different conclusions from conscientious application of the same first principles
Instead, such a faith must attempt to shape those disparate responses into a creative whole.
That is what “Creating Peace” does and does admirably. If we are discomfited by it, it ought not be because we do not see our own biases reflected in it; it ought to be because it challenges every one of us to re-think those biases and come to grip with alternative views of the human condition. “Creating Peace” is brilliant, gracious, generous and practical. It deserves our support.
William F. Schulz, Acting President, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Former Executive Director, Amnesty International USA, and Former UUA President.
When I was first a peace activist, the choices facing us seemed clear: the limited violence of just war or the renunciation of violence in any form. Now, however, our options are greater and our choices more complex. Since the early 1990s, the world of peace activism has been transformed by a focus on the vast areas of concern shared by proponents of nonviolence and by supporters of just war. The debates that divided us are now overshadowed by a recognition of what we share - the need for a third way: joint efforts to prevent war, stop genocide and repair the damage caused by armed conflict.
I endorse the "Creating Peace" statement of conscience for it asks a new set of questions, and asks us to confront a new set of challenges: if war is the last resort, what are the first, second and third responses to aggression, domination and exploitation? And, if war is not the answer, what is the answer? In answering these questions, we act in humility, knowing that we have much to learn from each other as we work together with depth, persistence and creativity to create peace in our congregations, our nation, and our world.
Sharon D. Welch, Provost and Professor of Religion and Society, Meadville Lombard Theological School
So here we are, my sisters and brothers of the liberal religious tradition, standing on the side of peacemaking, mired in ambiguity, lacking a simple "elevator speech", challenged to find a consensus that will give our beloved UUA voice, strength, clout. We love to talk but, after years of very hard work by the Commission on Social Witness and many of you, now it is time to vote. I will vote "aye" and hope you will join me.
UUA Moderator 1993-2001
As a committed pacifist, I first came to Unitarian Universalism because I admired the prophetic witness of Adin Ballou, John Haynes Holmes, and other religious liberals for whom nonviolence was both a way of life and a practical strategy for building a just and cooperative world. At the same time, I recognized that there was another Unitarian and Universalist tradition of peacebuilding, embodied by such leaders as William Ellery Channing, who worked fervently to end unjust wars without embracing pacifism as such. The proposed Statement of Conscience honors both traditions and invites all of us-pacifists, war resisters, members of the military, congregational and denominational leaders, elders and youth-to think deeply about what we can do individually and together to create peace. Grounded in our theological heritage and fully affirming our diversity, the Statement calls us to a transformative blend of prophetic witness and constructive action.
Ralph Waldo Emerson Unitarian Universalist Association Senior Lecturer in Divinity at Harvard Divinity School.
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Last updated on Friday, May 3, 2013.
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