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Quincy and Charleston Unitarian Universalists Continue Pattern Of Christian Dominance

A month ago, I looked at a library of religious books in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, and I realized that what I was seeing wasn’t in accord with the promises that Unitarian Universalism makes about providing people with a diverse experience. Almost all the books were Christian. Most of the world’s religions weren’t represented in that library at all.

I talked to a few of Unitarian Universalists about this problem, and they told me that it was probably just a matter of that particular library, that there had been a bias in the purchasing of books a few years ago, but that if I looked at Unitarian Universalism in general, I’d find the diversity I was looking for.

So, the next week, I went looking at Unitarian Universalism in general – specifically at the Unitarian Universalist Association, the administrative organization that represents Unitarian Universalism. I conducted several different forms of searches of all the material the UUA has made accessible to its members online, but no matter how I looked at things, the same result kept coming back: Christianity dominates the material to a tremendous extent. There isn’t any other religious tradition that comes anywhere close to the position given to Christian doctrine.

As an example of the data I found, here’s a chart that represents the results of my search for mentions of particular religious leaders by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

unitarian universalist association diversity chart

At the UUA, whenever religious talk gets specific, it’s Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. In a distant second place comes the Buddha. Buddhism seems to be brought in as a token of diversity every now and then, as the default non-Christian perspective.

In response to this analysis, Unitarian Universalists objected that the Unitarian Universalist Association couldn’t be expected to represent the diverse experience of Unitarian Universalism, because it’s only a central administration. These UUs advised me that, if I were to look at specific congregations, I would find the religious diversity I was looking for.

So, yesterday, I looked to a specific congregation – to the largest Unitarian Universalist congregation of them all, the All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I looked through all the sermons delivered there this year, and found that only one religious text was ever spoken of: The Christian Bible. Muslims were represented as scoundrels. The only time atheists were spoken of was to insult them. This wasn’t the Unitarian Universalist diversity and tolerance I was told I would find.

This morning, a Unitarian Universalist once again advised me that I was looking for diversity in the wrong place. Maybe the Unitarian Universalists of Tulsa weren’t offering a diverse religious environment, but other Unitarian Universalist congregations were. He specifically advised me to look at two Unitarian Universalist congregations he had attended himself. The Unitarian Universalists in Quincy, Massachusetts and Charleston, South Carolina, he told me, “have gone out of their way” to offer the religious diversity suggested by the official Sources of the Unitarian Universalist Association. “Congregations vary quite a bit in their orientation,” he said, so it wouldn’t be fair to characterize Unitarian Universalism by just the content offered by a single congregation.

So, I went over to the web sites of the Quincy Unitarian Church and the Unitarian Church in Charleston, prepared to discover, at long last, the Unitarian Universalist diversity that I had been seeking. That’s not what I found.

The charts you see below represent the results of my searches through the Quincy and Charleston UU online material. I used the same search technique I had with the Unitarian Universalist Association, to produce the chart near the beginning of this article. For purpose of comparison, I also made a second, identical search through the site of the Tulsa All Souls Unitarian Church.

The results from Quincy, Massachusetts:

a chart showing lack of diversity

As with the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Quincy UUs deal with the Christian Jesus at a level far beyond any other religious leader from the world’s many traditions. The Buddha is an extremely distant second, and every other leader is left in the dust.

What about down in Charleston, South Carolina? Have a look:

a chart showing lack of diversity

Once again, it’s Jesus dominating the available materials, a wee bit of the Buddha mixed in, and religious leaders from other traditions with extremely little or no attention.

Let’s wrap it up with a look at the Unitarian Universalists of Tulsa:

chart showing lack of diversity

Once again, it’s the Christian religious leader, Jesus, who gets the attention. Buddha comes in as a small gesture to suggest diversity every now and then, and all the other leaders of all the other religious traditions put together would barely be noticed.

There’s a repetition in my experience studying the lack of diversity within Unitarian Universalism. Every time I uncover evidence for this lack of diversity, Unitarian Universalists insist that the specific evidence I’ve found isn’t valid, and that I should look elsewhere. I look again, and once again, the facts I find are ignored, and Unitarian Universalists insist that reality in their congregations is something different.

Today, I’ve looked at two congregations that have been identified as good exemplars of Unitarian Universalist religious diversity, and found that they have the same undiverse pattern of Christian dominance as is found elsewhere in Unitarian Universalism. I didn’t choose these congregations in order to cherry pick results that fit a hypothesis of low diversity. These congregations were chosen for me by someone trying to disprove that hypothesis.

The congregations I’ve searched have been demographically diverse. They’ve been small and large, from New England, the South, and the Midwest. They’ve come from congregations with different histories.

Nonetheless, these congregations all promote one particular religion – Christianity – over all others, in just about the same ratio. There’s not just a lack of diversity within Unitarian Universalist congregations. There also seems to be a lack of diversity between UU congregations.

Unitarian Universalism insists that it isn’t promoting any creed, but these results show that it is promoting a particular creed – a special blend consisting mostly of Christianity, with a drop of Buddhism mixed in.

There’s a significant gap between what Unitarian Universalism claims to be and what it actually is. That’s a problem, both for Unitarian Universalism, and for the people who listen to Unitarian Universalist promises of diversity, expecting to actually find it in practice. It’s a bait-and-switch deception, and it’s going to leave Americans who are looking for exposure to genuine religious diversity feeling burned.

The number of Unitarian Universalists is in decline. If Unitarian Universalists want their congregations to survive, they need to choose between two possibilities:

1. Come clean and admit that Unitarian Universalism is a form of Christianity, and stop pretending that UU congregations will offer religious diversity and tolerance.

2. Work to correct the cultural problems and mechanisms of unstated creed by which Christianity has gained dominance within Unitarian Universalism, so that the promise of Unitarian Unversalist diversity and tolerance can be honestly delivered.

13 comments to Quincy and Charleston Unitarian Universalists Continue Pattern Of Christian Dominance

  • Thomas

    For what it is worth, and I doubt it will be much as you feel you have something to prove, there are UU congregations that are predominantly Pagan, Buddhist, and Humanist. This isn’t just about CUUPs groups in congregations, but whole churches with an Earth Centered focus, like Sacred Journey near Dallas.

    My own home congregation has a Buddhist minister. He talks a lot about Jesus, but it is a historical Jesus and not a supernatural being. It is a message of reform and being nice to people. It isn’t about worship, or even emulation, but about a cultural icon that all of western civilization is familiar with and how he fits into our separate, non-creedal religion and how we might fit him into our own spiritual practice.

    I say “how we might fit him”, because our minister doesn’t tell us what to believe. He doesn’t tell us how to think. He offers advice and thoughts to ponder, and we are encouraged to work them into a theology and a code of ethics that fits our lives, our place in the community, and the world we hope to create for future generations. The minister is allowed to say things that he knows some of us won’t agree with. He’s allowed to say a few things that none of us will agree with. And we are encouraged to come to him later to discuss it.

    So, yes, we talk a lot about Jesus. That’s the culture in which we all live. We talk about who the real Jesus might have been. We talk about the parts of his message that survive. We talk about the reforms he promoted and what they meant in his time, and what they might mean now. We evolved from 2 Christian denominations, and we live in a culture that is still largely Christian. We promote books about other subjects, but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore those facts.

    • Thomas, I’m exploring what is, not what I would like to be.

      I’ll take a look at this Sacred Journey congregation you’re talking about. If you would name your congregation, I’d take a look at that too.

      You, and many other Unitarian Universalists say that Unitarian Universalism comes from “2 Christian denominations”, and leave it at that, as if that’s the entire story, and all that there’s supposed to be. That’s not what the promise that Unitarian Universalism makes when it purports to be of many sources, including “world religions”, “humanism”, and so on.

      To reduce Unitarian Universalism to the outgrowth only of two Christian denominations is to break the promise of many sources, and of diversity, and of genuine acceptance of non-Christians. It seems to me that Unitarian Universalism is trying to have it both ways – saying that it’s a welcoming community for people of all faiths and of no faith when that’s convenient, but then acting like a Christian denomination, and citing the Christian history of Unitarianism and Universalism when anyone protests the Christian dominance.

      I really don’t see the point in having Unitarian Universalist congregations, if what they’re going to do is emphasize Christianity so much. Christianity, as you point out, is already prevalent in the culture. It’s all over the place, and there are plenty of Christian churches, some of them quite liberal, as Christianity goes.

      If Unitarian Universalism keeps on teaching about Jesus and Christianity because that’s what most churches do, then isn’t it just following along in the culture, rather than offering something distinctive? What use is that?

      Among the principles that Unitarian Universalism purports to be dedicated to is “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations”.

      How is it accepting to merely repeat the dominant Christian culture, when increasing numbers of Americans do not come from the Christian culture?

      How is it encouraging spiritual growth in the congregations of Unitarian Universalism for only one religious tradition to get significant attention, and for most of the religious traditions of the world to be ignored? It seems more like keeping people comfortable about where they already were, and keeping them protected from the full world of ideas.

      On a purely aesthetic note, it’s also boring. Talking about one religion, over and over again, when it’s the religion that most people in the culture are already discussing, is just plain uninteresting, uninspiring, old hat, predictable, dull, dull, dull. Is Unitarian Universalism a religious tradition dedicated to helping people rehash what they already know about?

      As you’re speaking of “books about other subjects”, you should know that I’ve looked at the bookstore of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and conducted a statistical analysis of its contents. Once again, there’s the Christian dominance there, and a complete lack of books of any sort to represent most religious traditions.

      • Thomas

        Again, I will state that what we speak of is not Christianity. It is about Jesus, but not the mythical figure that is taught in Catholic, Protestant, or LDS churches. We do not worship men, even great teachers whom we do have factual accounts of, much less those who may have dozens of real men (or women) at their core.

        What we are “teaching” is not what others teach, any more than what you learn in a Mosque, were the character of Jesus also comes up, is the same as what you hear in a mass. We are a different religion. We draw from many sources, but primary among them, at least for most congregations, is Christianity in that most of our members are westerners who grew up in a Christian dominated culture. Even for many UUs I know who have no room for God in their theology, they like the comfort of a protestant-inspired service. with predictable order and even well-worn melodies to rewritten hymns.

        We evolved out of Christianity. We are still evolving into something. I for one, wish there were more of a push. But, again, it does us no good to ignore that you need to know the stories of the Bible to get through any literature class or to understand cultural references. We also talk about Siddhartha, Brahman, and Coyote.

        As for Books, we sell what people ask about. People in our culture read more books about Jesus, and there is a lot more scholarly work to read on him than on Humanism or Paganism. We are trying to change that, though. Our publishing arm, Beacon Press, has a book coming out by Havard Humanist Chris Stedman about his interfaith work.

        We are clearly not a Christian denomination. That doesn’t mean that we won’t welcome those who wish to follow Jesus’ teachings as their primary source. If enough such people make up a single congregation, as might happen in a place like Tulsa, then that is the character of the congregation.

        As for my congregation, our minister is old fashioned, and there are no recorded sermons to hear or even read. Our website stinks, and I’m a bit ashamed of our on-line presence. I’ll keep it to myself.

        • t ball

          Still evolving is a good way to put it. The UU churches I have visited in the Dallas area host Buddhist meetings, talk about pagan traditions, educate children emphasizing tolerance and including information about all faiths (and non-faiths), and talk in a very open-minded manner about faith and spirituality in general. Though each congregation has its own emphasis, there is no dogma. What’s being preached and talked about is certainly not Christianity, even though much of the discussion still includes Jesus. Studying the Bible and talking about Jesus does not make one Christian, or impose Christianity on those listening.

          I find this campaign against UU puzzling and pointless. How many major religious groups are this tolerant and open-minded? You are making the perfect the enemy of the tolerant and open, and your articles paint a picture of UU that I don’t recognize from my visits and reading.

  • Hi J.,

    What, specifically, would satisfy you of UU inclusionary practices? I think the questions you’re raising are important ones, and–since web pages are now the front door of any organization (including religious ones)–it’s reasonable to look at UU web pages for a guide to what they’re about.

    There’s an active, and (it seems) endless, discussion about what UU is, and inside this discussion there’s often a lot of finger pointing about how UU does or doesn’t properly welcome people of its own core traditions (both explicitly Christian and explicitly Humanist, with Unitarian and Universalist and atheist flavors among others). So it’s not surprising to find references to this Christian heritage in the conversation you’ve been hosting. It’s not that Christianity has “gained dominance” (since it’s always been central) so much as it’s difficult to move Christianity from the center of the stage. The UUA formed, in part, because American Christians refused to accept the claims of Unitarians and Universalists that they were, in fact, Christians–which is generally how they saw themselves (especially Universalists). It’s been less than two generations since the UUA formed–there are still people around who remember the debates about consolidation. (By way of comparison, by this point in the Jesus movement, people within the movement were still arguing about if they were still Jewish.)

    But, to get back to today, and your points. I think you’re right that UU could do better acting on its Principles and exploring the Sources. But… How? To responsibly use those Sources (one of the Principles involves a ‘free and responsible search for truth and meaning’ where responsible weighs equally with free), UUs have to have access to someone really conversant with a given tradition to make sure they’re getting it right. The translation used for foreign-language texts has to be a good one, how to judge? Even then there’s the hazard of appropriation and mis-use.

    Yes, there are books, translations, and all like that for these traditions available in the world for congregations to acquire. But the fact the UU book store doesn’t stock them and Beacon doesn’t publish them isn’t proof that they aren’t important within UU congregations. It’s as easy to attribute it to congregational polity and simple human failings as it is to see it as a ‘bait-and-switch.’ How should a congregation demonstrate inclusion (simply upping words on its web page won’t do it); what should the UUA do to build this capacity across the Association?

    You’re right that there’s a lot of Jesus talk, and a lot of Christian talk in UU circles. Your statistical analysis seems to lean on word searches, but I suppose you’ve read a healthy sample of the sermons you’ve analyzed, and that characterizing them as overwhelmingly Christian is fair. I wouldn’t make such a characterization about the podcast sermons I’ve listened to from the UU congregations in Concord, MA, Cambridge, MA and San Francisco, CA or of the services I’ve been to in Muskegon, MI and Petoskey, MI (neither of which, alas, have particularly deep web sites). But these are just anecdotal, and my perception of them.

    But these experiences of mine aren’t evidence that UU does a particularly good job institutionally supporting the claim of welcoming all of any or no faith or tradition. I think you’re right that we could do better, but I don’t think it’s in the realm of ‘bait-and-switch,’ I think it’s in the realm of needing to work on fulfilling our aspirations more visibly within the Association’s institutions and in our congregations.

    • Shannon,

      I appreciate your attitude, which is a great deal more open to questioning that what I’ve typically encountered. Unitarian Universalists are used to questioning OTHER people’s religious organizations, and aren’t used to being questioned themselves.

      I think that at the heart of the problem is the assumption that Christianity is “central” and “core” to Unitarian Universalism, whereas other traditions aren’t. Along with that goes the sense that Christianity is the native religion that’s easy to understand for people, and so a natural point of reference to use over and over and over again, whereas other religions are foreign to Unitarian Universalists, and difficult, and need tricky translation.

      This is a reflection of a Christian-centric view, and it doesn’t match the emerging cultural reality in the United States. For many Americans, Christianity is not the religion of origin. When these people enter a Unitarian Universalist congregation, and see that Christianity is used as the central, and nearly exclusive, reference point, they’re encountering a situation that’s foreign to them as Shinto might be to you. Why, in an increasingly multicultural nation, presume that everyone’s coming from a Christian background?

      The result of this approach is to replicate the same limited sphere of exploration that’s found in Christian churches all over town. Why, if a person wanted Christian references all the time, wouldn’t that person just go to a regular Christian church? There are plenty of them, and some of them, like the Episcopals, are fairly liberal, at least as far as that can go within Christianity.

      Another problem is the Unitarian Universalist propensity to create the huge, undistinguished category of “Humanist”. That category contains many Christians, people of other theist religions, as well as atheists, agnostics, and just plain unaffiliated people with many different particular beliefs. You might as well ask Christians to simply identify themselves as “theists” and get lumped in with Muslims and Hindus and neo-Pagans. The official word is that atheists are welcome in UU congregations, but when they enter, they find themselves expected to take on the vague label of “Humanist”, as if “atheist” is offensive. Then, they hear sermons like that one in Tulsa in which they’re lectured that atheists are just as simple-minded as fundamentalists. Not friendly. Not welcoming.

      When Unitarian Universalists adopt the approach that Christianity has a privileged place within their congregations, it’s a contradiction of the promise of a welcoming attitude. It’s a contradiction of the promise of no creed. It’s a contradiction of support for the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. I call that bait and switch.

      Imagine a club that promises to offer discussion about all ethnic backgrounds, and says that it welcomes people of all ethnic background. But then, leaders of that club keep on saying things like, “our European heritage”, and claim that “our club developed from European roots”, and give European ethnicity a “central” position. Imagine how it would feel to non-Europeans when, week after week at that club, they heard lectures that always centered around the European experience, only mentioning non-European experience as a point of comparison.

      Would you characterize that club as welcoming to people of all ethnicities? Would you say that club is being honest in saying that it’s welcoming to non-Europeans?

      I think it would be no excuse for the behavior of that club to say that the majority of Americans are of European descent, or that it was people of European heritage who founded the club. If the club is going to be truly welcoming, then it has to give equality to all heritages, not a privileged place at the table to Europeans.

      Unitarian Universalism is in decline, and it’s declining even as fewer and fewer Americans are identifying themselves as Christians. Religious diversity is on the upswing in the USA, but Unitarian Unviersalism isn’t benefiting from this trend because it offers a two class system: First class for Christians and second class for everyone else.

      What can Unitarian Unviersalism DO to solve the problem? Abolishing the current scheme of “Sources” would be a good start. Replace it with a simple statement that Unitarian Universalists come from a variety of backgrounds, and base their ideals on the wide range of human experience, past and present.

      Second, get rid of the name “Unitarian Universalism”. First of all, it’s awkward. Secondly, it gives the impression that Unitarian Universalism is just Unitarianism plus Universalism, when that’s not what is promised.

      Third, do away with the Sunday service and its Christian design. Stop using the old Christian hymns. If some people who are Christian want to continue such a practice, fine, let them do so as a separate club within the organization, but don’t make the Christian form of worship the central meeting of the week for everybody.

      Fourth, set up a diversity committee within each congregation, and within the broader organization, with the task of ensuring that no single tradition or source of insight is dominating the experience.

      It’s clear what needs to be done, but you know what? I don’t think that the leaders, and many of the members, of Unitarian Universalist congregations want a diverse experience. I think that what a lot of Unitarian Universalists really want is a traditional Christian church experience, just with all the most offensive bits taken out, and an occasional reference to the Buddha thrown in.

      These people are former Christians, or hereditary Unitarians, or hereditary Universalists, and they’re not interested in growth or diversity so much as they are interested in the comfort of the familiar. They like things the way they are, and view non-Christians as peripheral to the core of Unitarian Universalist experience, people who are allowed to be there, but shouldn’t expect to be treated as equals. They wouldn’t put it that way, of course, but to be honest, that’s the attitude I’m reading in the sermons I’ve gone through.

      If that’s how Unitarian Universalists are going to be, then they ought to just throw out the non-Christian parts of the “Sources” and stop promising to be diverse. It’s worse to make a broken promise over and over again than simply to accept one’s limitations.

      The UU identity needs to piss or get off the pot.

      • Thomas

        Where do you want us to start? Just throw out all commonality and muddle through creating a whole new lexicon and perspective?

        We start from where we are, and, as I mentioned, we try to expand from there.

        It is like going into a foreign language class, you have to relate everything back to English. People don’t become fluent over night; they have to translate to understand.

        We don’t preach Christianity. We do teach about it, but in a way that would upset many fundamentalists. We talk about how Jesus and Buddha said many of the same things. We talk about how much of the Bible fails to be historically accurate according to other sources and archeology. We have to talk about the dominant faith, but most of what we end up doing is debunking it because it is so dominant. Did you actually look at the synopses of the books, or did you just look at the numbers and leave it at that?

        Americans don’t have to have their misconceptions about Buddha confronted. They don’t have a lot of cultural baggage related to Krishna. Humanism is grounded in science, which makes almost any text book a humanist tome.

        But we are told a lot of false things about Jesus. We have to learn to move beyond the myths and the misinterpretations. They need more facts about Jesus, because they are surrounded by so much bad information.

        So, again, yes: we talk about Jesus. In many congregations, we talk about Jesus more than any of the other world religious leaders. But we do not preach orthodox Christianity, and we do not push people into a “relationship” with Jesus.

        • Interesting language, Tom. “We start from where we are.” YOU start from where YOU are, maybe. A whole lot of people in America, more and more of us, never ever were Christian.

          Unlike many commenting here, I’m not UU. I’ve gone to UU services aplenty, and it’s just not my thing. I don’t think it speaks to me. Unlike J. Clifford (I think) I don’t expect it to, really. At some point after dabbling with UU services in 3 cities, I realized that UU was churchy and sermony and I didn’t want a church or a sermon. For people who want a church-like experience, I guess they’ll enjoy that. All power to ‘em, but I’m not really going to choose to be part of that.

      • Hi J.

        Thanks for the detailed reply. I don’t plan to respond point-by-point, since I see them as, generally, improvements with respect to the problem we’ve been discussing.

        I think I’ll return to my own blog for some extended yammering on that problem and some hurdles which your suggestions might face. (I had taken your previous posts on this problem as a jumping-off point for an earlier post over there.)

  • Bob

    Excellent discussion! I’ve been a UU for nearly 20 years. My main reaction to everything posted here is, meh, you’re right. The denomination (both parts–U and U) has its roots in Christianity. The flaming chalice symbol was modeled on the cross. I’ve probably taken part in the services of 6 different churches, and those services are all modeled on standard Christian church services: pews or benches all facing on direction, collection plates that are passed, hymns sung from a hymnal, a sermon preached from a pulpit. That’s all very Christian and churchy. It is all true. Maybe there’s just too much history than can be overcome by words in a brochure.

  • Laela

    What an excellent blog. I’m an African American atheist in Atlanta who was initially delighted to find the local UUs(UUA), but ultimately ended up wondering what hell I was allowing myself to be subjected to. I attended a handful of times, witnessing mostly the same thing each time. Ethnic minorities are virtually non existent in an area that is more than 50% African American and only 35% White. Bait and switch is the only honest way to put it. One does marvel at those 7 principles and all the hee hawing about equity and equality. Could it be true? A church that accepts and fully trust atheist….BLACK atheist?

    The UUs pretend to “get” diversity, but the irony is that they may get it least of all. Diversity is fucking difficult, particularly when you’re a member of a dominant class. It requires you to give up comfortable and workable status quos. Status quos which place you at the helm must be left behind. Indeed, you must cease even in your de facto claims to superiority if you’d like to remain consistent and be taken at all seriously. It’s not about working within the box, or even outside of the box, but creating new spaces altogether, and not necessarily in the shape of a box.

    And then again, perhaps the UUs do “get it” when it comes to diversity and its implications and are truly a deceptive bunch. I can’t name how many I’ve seen that proudly hoist the Rainbow Flag, online and at the steps of their churches, arms so wide open to the LGBT community that hands could clasp behind the back. It seems as though the message has gotten through, LBGTs come, and when they come, seem to be intentionally hosted and courted as welcomed prospects. It’s likely the LBGT community does not threaten to shake up the ethnic or theological status quo for most UUs.

    I have not experienced UUs as being the types interested in giving up their class protected status as largely wealthy, educated, Euro-centric, Christian types, even if they do put their toes in the muddy water every now and then for “diversity’s” sake and all. Furthermore, I think it’s easier to fool a room full of people who may not be used to this type of duplicity and are simply happy to be accepted for their own quirks. Most ethnic minorities beyond the age of 5 can call this type of patronizing head patting from afar. It’s no surprise that UUs have trouble attracting African Americans in particular, many of whom are well versed in the art of diciphering false advertising.

    I get it UUs. You find me well spoken for a black and nice enough for an atheist, and so long as there’s no angry black atheist woman lurking in the recesses of my psychology, you’d love for me to return to your congregation so that I can better witness how diverse you actually are. I should be proud of your personal growth, and how against all odds, you’ve managed to extend yourself out to someone such as myself. Now, if I don’t mind, could I please take a seat in that there pew whilst you, a white man and woman of religious authority, stand before me in your decorative robe and tell me how much like an irrational fundamentalist creationist I am for not buying into even your concept of spirituality?

    In short, no thanks UUs. Extending your lukewarm, middle of the road, so called tolerant and open minded spirit of love and graciousness is no great compliment to any element of my being(and few others with self-esteem above ground level). And while you may still have a friend in Jesus, you have completely lost me. I’ll be sure to inform my diverse set of friends and associates: Christian, atheist, Muslim, black, white, Asian, and Latino in origin too, in order that they not make the same lapse in judgement.

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