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II. Unitarian Universalism and Peacemaking (A)

A. Unitarian Universalism

Christian Non-Resistance, by Universalist Minister Adin Ballou, Blackstone Editions, 1846.
Ballou is generally acknowledged as influencing Leo Tolstoy, who then influenced Gandhi. His Christian language may not suit some, but he presents quite a radical argument of total non-cooperation with evil. He refused to vote in National or State elections as that was a form of co-operation with a system wherein the chief executive was commander of the military, (as well as the US constitution allowing slavery). It is a fascinating look at our faith's integral involvement in the development of this way of life.

Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us, by Rebecca Parker and Rita Brock, Beacon Press, 2002.
Brock, a feminist theologian, and Parker, president of the Starr King School for the Ministry, have written an intensely personal and provocative book. They aim to show that the theological assertion that God required the death of Jesus to save the world sanctions violence. This is not a theological text but more of a dual memoir in which the authors alternately tell the stories of their lives, emphasizing the violence that they have encountered. The most telling indictment of the harmful effects of traditional Christian views comes from their stories of women who have stayed in abusive relationships ecause they felt that the church taught them to accept suffering passively, if not gratefully.

Theological Basis of Social Action, by James Luther Adams, Chapter 7 of On Being Human Religiously, Beacon Press, 1976.
Straightforward discussion of how James Luther Adams, widely thought to be the most famous UU theologian of the last century, applies his theology to the UU tradition of social witness. This essay is regarded as a definitive discussion of our sources and historical involvement in acting to achieve justice using interpersonal connections and group definition of meaning in the responsible exercise of power.

My Gandhi, by John Haynes Holmes, Harper, 1953.
Holmes (1879-1964), minister of Community Church of NYC for 57 years, was a pre-eminent Unitarian pacifist and social activist. This tribute to Gandhi describes Holmes' personal views of Gandhi and the few direct encounters between them. His descriptions of why he considered Gandhi a saint and why the world mourned Gandhi's death are especially poignant. He wrote of Gandhi "It is not often in human history that men join at once the inner and the outer life, and thus make saint and statesman one. But when they do, they shake the world, and turn the tides of destiny." (p. 160)

After Empire: The Art and Ethos of Enduring Peace, Sharon D. Welch, Fortress Press, 2004.
Unitarian Universalist social ethicist Sharon Welch draws on three traditions, Engaged Buddhism, contemporary Native American philosophy, and Western political philosophy to describe the process by which citizens of the United States could develop a peace mandate for our contemporary world.

Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Statements
The UUA has adopted statements outlining our stance on a wide variety of topics over the past 40 years. For a better understanding of the history of UUA stances on areas related to peacemaking view the statements on Peace, International Relations, Disarmament, War Resisters, and Immediate Witness.

For more information contact web@uua.org.

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Last updated on Friday, May 3, 2013.

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