Originally created 09/07/00

Church strives for spiritual tolerance



Larry Kirkland, the author of an Aug. 22 letter questioning the credentials of the Unitarian Universalist church, obviously knows something about Unitarian Universalists - for example, the history of the early Unitarian church and the fact that the Unitarian Universalist church is heavily engaged in social action.

However, as a current member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, I disagree with several of his statements.

Not all members are "agnostics or atheists;" some of us believe strongly in God, although perhaps not the typical Judeo-Christian figure found in most organized religions in the Southeastern United States.

Nevertheless, one of the principal tenets of the Unitarian Universalist church is religious tolerance, and members are not required to believe in God. What about other representations of the divine? How can so many other different religions, representing the majority of the Earth's population, be ignored? Instead, one of the key components of the Unitarian Universalist church is the search for the spiritual and a continual striving for learning, whether through study of the Bible, other religions, the humanities or the sciences.

Also, contrary to Mr. Kirkland's assertions, Unitarian Universalists have central religious tenets: the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalists include beliefs in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the right of each person to a free and responsible search for truth and respect for the interdependent web of all existence.

Thus, while our lack of enforcement of a specific set of rules from one holy book may seem like a failure to Mr. Kirkland, I believe that the inclusiveness and sense of community of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta appeal to the members.

Another attraction is the integrity of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta congregation and minister: The members of this church, this "social action group," live their ideals, rather than just talk about them.

Wendy Bollinger Bollag, Martinez