In my younger days I was a member of Liberal Religious Youth (LRY), part of the Unitarian-Universalists.
We can explore the Unitarian religious beliefs some other day. For now it is enough to know that I was called to be a member because of their strong stand on behalf of social justice and peace.
And so this letter from Unitarian ministers in North Carolina on behalf of the Moral Monday movement is not a surprise.
Call to Join the “Most Massive Moral Rally in the South Since Selma!”– North Carolina UU Clergy Arrested for Civil Disobedience Call for Your Help
Come to March & Rally in Raleigh – Saturday, February 8th, 2014
“We are going to have to really take upon ourselves a continuing and disciplined effort with no real hope that in our lifetime we are going to be able to take a vacation from the struggle for justice.”
~Reverend James Reeb in one of his final sermons at All Souls Church Unitarian, Washington D.C.
Here in North Carolina, we have known no vacation from the struggle for voting rights. And now, we find ourselves in the midst of an ugly battle for democracy.
As ministers and citizens of North Carolina, we’ve felt compelled to respond to this threat. We have borne witness to a movement across our state that is resisting the immoral and undemocratic actions of our legislature and governor. With many from the congregations we serve we’ve taken part in Moral Mondays, led by Reverend William Barber II, President of the North Carolina NAACP.
On Saturday, Feb. 8th, the Forward Together Moral Movement, is calling on all people of faith and conscience from Southern states and across the country, to join us for a Mass Moral March on Raleigh. Will you join us? Please sign up here!
As part of our commitment to this movement, we each decided to engage in civil disobedience, which resulted in our arrest.
Why did we go?
We went because we knew that to suppress the vote is to suppress the spirit of a person. We knew that any attempt to erode our democracy is rooted in a desperate history of paralyzing, painful politics that would serve none of us. We knew that our own history, and the sacrifices made by those before, called us to this struggle. And we knew that democracy is not simply a type of governance, but is a spiritual value. We went, standing in our tradition, spiritual co-authors of this American dream.
We have continued to show up in Raleigh and across North Carolina. We are committed to resist laws that aim to suppress the voice of the people by reducing early voting, requiring unnecessary government-issued identification (in a state with no evidence of voter fraud) and ensuring that our students are penalized for voting on campus. It’s unconscionable. It’s immoral. It’s dangerous.
We know North Carolina is being viewed as a test state to unleash these regressive chains of injustice across the country.
That is why, at the request of the NAACP, and your Unitarian Universalist partners here in North Carolina, we ask for you to join us in Raleigh on Saturday, February 8th, when the NAACP will host the “Mass Moral March on Raleigh” as part of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (known locally as HKONJ). The NAACP has a vision that this will be the most massive moral rally in the South since Selma. And we need it to be. We write to you to ask you urgently to come join us, UUA President Rev. Peter Morales, and partners from across the country as we respond to the spiritual call to engage in the struggle.
Will you join us in Raleigh on February 8th? Please register here, find out more about the march and rally, welcome and orientation events, and housing information. Our congregations in Raleigh and Durham are preparing to welcome you.
While we focus now on this one day, we know this is not just one moment. We hope to form partnerships across the country that will last more than just this day. We are also asking for your spiritual support in this movement. Please hold us in your hearts and in the prayers of your congregations. May our children’s children be proud of how we walked on this earth and whom we chose as our spiritual companions.
For we know from the generations before us, there is no time to take a vacation from the struggle for justice.
Reverend Ann Marie Alderman
Developmental Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro
Reverend Lisa Bovee-Kemper
Assistant Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville
Reverend Deborah Cayer
Lead Minister, Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Durham
Reverend Maj-Britt Johnson
Community Minister in Chapel Hill
Reverend Patty Hanneman
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Hillsborough
Reverend Jay Leach
Senior Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte
Reverend Tom Rhodes
Community Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh
Reverend John Saxon
Lead Minister, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh
Reverend Robin Tanner
Lead Minister, Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church
p.s.: To learn more about the Moral Mondays Movement view this video!