Twice, in fact: Overheard at GA and most especially: Including "God" . I once heard an expert defined as one who has mastered his subject from B to Z, and forgotten A... and those few of us who attend a UU church for religious reasons often feel like the forgotten A.
Why would one choose UU in the first place- what is it that one can get at a UU church that cannot be gotten elsewhere? The Washington Office of Advocacy? Puh-leeze... There’s not one issue they address that isn’t covered by another organization with far, far more influence. For all the discussion, debate, and effort put behind our Statements of Conscience, I fail to see any evidence our lobbying has ever changed the mind of a UU congregate, let alone a congressman. If one really cared about issues, a single dollar sent to GLAD or NARAL or NAACP or whatever would be more effective than all we do. Many of those organizations can even provide a rich social life as well.
The one thing the UUA does that no other mainstream organization in America does is welcome those who do not worship the God of Abraham. For many of us- yes, a minority, but a large minority- we joined a UU congregation to pursue spiritual growth. And I proudly proclaim my congregation has been invaluable in my own personal search for meaning- but that doesn’t mean my experiences have been totally positive. Being a believer in any sort of Divinity can be something of a trial for a UU- if you use the Riddle scale of tolerance , substituting “theist” for “gay”, where 8 is good and 1 is bad, I would rate the UUA as a whole between 3 (tolerance), and 4 (acceptance)- with a minority at the 1 (repulsion) or 2 (pity) level. At least I hope it’s a minority; there were plenty of truly hostile comments during the debate Rev Sinkford called for on the language of reverence- I noted four separate instances of being told that the proper term for “transcendental experience” was actually “psychotic break”. And you’d think any UU would understand that just because I’m Pagan does not mean I welcome anti-Catholic or anti-Baptist comments; an attack on anyone’s genuine beliefs is an attack on mine.
Ask yourselves this: if you applied the standards used to become a “welcoming congregation” to believers rather than gays, would your congregation be welcoming?