From Rev. Peter Morales, President, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
The current hysteria and rancor in the debate over health care policy are profoundly disturbing. The issues here go far beyond normal public policy debate. Religious principles central to our shared Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith are involved.
The first religious principle at stake is compassion. We must be a strong, persistent voice that reminds our nation and our leaders that compassion is central to all major faith traditions. We must insist that health care reform protects those without political clout: children, the poor, the disabled, the elderly. To stand on the side of love is to stand with those who are on the margins.
The second principle of our faith we must affirm today is our commitment to the democratic process. We are witnessing cynical demagoguery that plays on fear in order to defend privilege. There is no place for intimidation in our public discussion. Demagogues foment fear and panic that lead to violence. As religious people we must oppose intimidation.
True democracy can only exist where each voice is heard, where debate is open and civil, where people can disagree without being threatened. Good people can and do disagree about health care policy. However, we must all join together to demand open, respectful debate.
As religious people, let us insist on two things: We must create a health care system that protects the most vulnerable, and we must insist on a democratic process that is open to all.