Unitarian Universalists Elect New President, Take Stand Against Torture
The Unitarian Universalist Association's 2009 General Assembly concluded yesterday with the installation of a new president and the passage of several social justice resolutions.
Rev. Peter Morales, of Golden, CO, has been elected the eighth president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Morales, 62, won with 59 percent of the vote, defeating Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman of Dallas, TX. Morales, who succeeds popular outgoing president Rev. William G. Sinkford, will serve a four-year term with the possibility of running for a second term.
Morales campaigned on a promise to make Unitarian Universalism more racially and culturally diverse. Morales believes that national demographic shifts present this liberal, non-dogmatic denomination with both a challenge and an opportunity to become “the religion for our time.” To accomplish this goal, he said, "Unitarian Universalism needs to reach the millions of people who share our theology and values.”
Morales becomes the first Latino president of the UUA. He was born in 1946 in San Antonio, TX, into a family with Mexican-American and Spanish heritage, and he is bilingual. Before hearing a call to ministry, Morales had successful careers in academia and publishing.
The General Assembly passed several social justice resolutions, including a demand for "Clean, Honest, and Fair Elections in the United States," a commitment to work for "U.S. Ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty," and a "Call for a Commission of Inquiry into U.S.-Sponsored Torture." The torture resolution concludes with these words: "Nothing less than the soul of our nation is at stake in confronting U.S.-sponsored torture and completely renouncing its use."
The UUA launched a new public awareness campaign, called "Standing on the Side of Love," to counter acts of exclusion, oppression, and violence based on the perceived identities of victims. The campaign promoted several related public events. Attendees at the General Assembly, along with interfaith partners in the Salt Lake City religious community, organized a rally on behalf of immigrant families. The Unitarian Universalists also hosted an intergenerational "Prom for All," to show support for Salt Lake City's bisexual, gay, lesbian, and transgender community.
For more information about Peter Morales, please visit his campaign website. A color photo of Morales is available for distribution, courtesy of Peter Morales.
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