The commitment of Unitarian Universalism to religious tolerance dates back to
the first guarantee of religious freedom in Europe, issued in 1568 by the
Transylvanian King John Sigismund, a Unitarian. Today, we accept others' rights
to their own religious beliefs. However, our acceptance does not extend to
tolerance of actions flowing from those beliefs that violate individual human
rights and dignity. Acceptance thrives only where mutual respect exists,
understanding is encouraged, and dialogue is nurtured among people of different
faiths and philosophical traditions.
Contemporary Unitarian Universalism is a pluralistic faith, drawing its
strength from its openness to many different sources. While religious
interdependence is an integral characteristic of our living tradition, we are
not immune to religious intolerance. There is still hard work to be done within
our ranks to ensure that Unitarian Universalists with different theological and
philosophical beliefs feel equally at home in our congregations. We need to grow
beyond the stereotypes, symbols, and semantic barriers that divide Unitarian
Universalists from one another.
We try to advance our Unitarian Universalist principles through our social
justice agenda. We try to bring about mutual understanding, appreciation, and
respect among people of faith--all people of faith. Recognizing shared values
may help us avoid either accepting the intolerable or unquestioningly embracing
interfaith cooperation. We want to foster cooperation among people of faith as a
way of discovering shared values. These shared values may become a workable base
on which to build a better world.
Interfaith cooperation sets a high standard of thought, feeling, and action
for each individual and for each community that by its nature goes beyond the
boundaries of self. It invites us to reach beyond ourselves into the world to
confront fear, ignorance, and hatred wherever we find them. It also invites us
to reach deep within ourselves to assess our own prejudices. This work begins
with living our principles, thereby modeling what is possible in the broader
Therefore we are called to:
Educate Ourselves. Let us commit ourselves to increasing our own and
our children's understanding and appreciation of other faith traditions. Let us
search for deeper meanings and shared values that underlie our common humanity.
Let us come to know who we are in a world of many different beliefs. Let us use
our long-standing commitment to liberal education to overcome fear, ignorance,
Honor Our Internal Religious Pluralism. Within our congregations, let
us come to understand that the identity of our evolving faith is rooted in the
free expression of our varied religious beliefs and deepest yearnings. Let us
celebrate our differences as contributing to our creativity and to the unique
fabric of our Unitarian Universalist heritage.
Converse with Other Faith Communities. Let us find the courage to
explore through dialogue the values and goals we share with others. Let us
listen to others carefully, avoid premature judgments, and speak only for
ourselves. Let us speak out about who we are and be sure we are heard. Let us
build from our conversations a network for collective action. Let us become
involved as individuals, as congregations, and as a faith community in
cooperative interfaith activities.
Participate in Interfaith Service Projects. Let us recognize and
encourage those among us who reach out beyond themselves to take part, as
Unitarian Universalists, in cooperative interfaith service projects and who
embody our principles in their involvement.
Work for Social Justice. Social justice work, in addition to its
intrinsic merit, can bring faith communities together and provide opportunities
for personal transformation. Through the discovery of mutual interests, let us
help build personal and institutional alliances that open channels of
communication for further cooperative work.
Celebrate Diversity. Let us go beyond tolerance to build mutual
understanding with respect, appreciation, and love for people whose religious
traditions, symbols, and beliefs may differ from our own.
The Unitarian Universalist Association dedicates itself to the challenges of
interfaith cooperation and calls upon its member congregations and individual
Unitarian Universalists, within the dictates of conscience, to accept these
challenges. May our commitment to building a better world begin with ourselves
as we work with others to make the world awaited a world
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.
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