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UUA President Releases Statement on Occupy Wall Street Protests

2009 UUA General Assembly 2041 Candidates Forum: Peter Morales

The Rev. Peter Morales, President, Unitarian Universalist Association

UUA President the Rev. Peter Morales has released the following statement regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement:

"The Occupy Wall Street movement that has now spread to other cities across the country is a public outcry of frustration and anger. The protestors have taken to the streets to draw attention to the fact that our economic system has not only failed to protect the most vulnerable among us, it has preyed on the majority for the benefit of very few. The Occupy protests are a wake-up call that the American people are in great peril, and we have been for some time.

"It is not surprising that Americans have had to take to the streets to get the attention of our leaders. For too long, we have seen attention paid to banks that are 'too big too fail' while the plight of the poor and the working class goes unaddressed. For too long, we have been pitted against each other by those in power, by a corrupt economic system that pushed us to consume more and to 'get ours' at any cost. Now we know: The cost is too great, and is ultimately without satisfaction.

"Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to join the Occupy Boston protesters in this city's financial district. Unitarian Universalist ministers from several of our Massachusetts congregations came together to organize an evening vespers service at the Occupy Boston encampment, offering spiritual support and encouragement to the hundreds of souls gathered there.

"I was honored to bear witness to this historic event, and grateful for the chance stand side by side with Unitarian Universalist ministers showing such passionate devotion to our Fourth Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. And I know that our ministers and congregants have played similar roles at the other Occupy events across the country.

"Unitarian Universalism embodies a long tradition of working for economic justice and workers' rights. Today is another opportunity for us to live our faith, and the Occupy protests are a first step on the road to repairing our country.

"I reach out to Unitarian Universalists everywhere to consider how you might be of service to any among us who are struggling to provide for their families, those who have been cheated and abused by financial institutions, and all those whose backs ache under a burden of debt, unemployment, and fading hope. Let the world see the power of our faith in action.

"And if these protests are truly planting the seeds of a reformation – even a revolution – may those seeds be nurtured by love. May the change come from a place of compassion and good will. And may all those involved know this: We are with you."