This week, I attended a discussion meeting of Unitarian Universalists, set to talk about the growth this summer of anti-Muslim campaigns here in the United States. One of the ideas that came up over and over again was that violence and fear were the result of making Islam The Other – categorized as separate from the rest of us.
Unitarian Universalism thinks of itself as an inclusive religious community, and is supposed to follow the principle of imposing no creed on its members. That’s a fine sentiment, but do Unitarian Universalists actually follow that principle?
Consider the “Sources” of Unitarian Universalism formally recognized by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Among those sources, “Jewish and Christian teachings” are specifically listed. No other particular religious traditions are mentioned at all. Islam and Muslims aren’t present in these sources, except in a vague reference to “the world’s religions”.
Placing Christianity and Judaism ahead in line of Islam – isn’t that an example of the kind of othering that I heard the Unitarian Universalists warning about this week?