Unitarian Universalist Voice for Justice of Greater Houston

Why we have formed a Unitarian Universalist Voice for Justice network

• As Unitarian Universalists, we have a demonstrated long history of over 40 years of acceptance and inclusion in areas that are often controversial in religious congregations—these areas include LGBT support, Women’s health and reproductive rights, and Interfaith cooperation and support.
• Too often the voices of the religiously conservative are the only religious voices heard on these issues
• When instances of intolerance or discrimination occur in the Greater Houston area around these issues, we want a clear religiously progressive voice in response so that people better understand the breadth of religious perspectives on complex issues.

Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights

• Differences in religious beliefs about sexuality, contraception, and abortion exist. There is no one religious perspective on these issues.
• Women and their families should have access to safe reproductive services that are in alignment with their own religious values.
• Sexuality is a natural part of the way humans have been created, and sexuality education and health care help men and women to behave morally in the context of that truth.

Interfaith Cooperation

• Freedom of religion requires mutual respect so that all people of faith may worship according to their conscience.
• The Golden Rule: Love your God and treat one another as you wish to be treated. We need not think alike to love alike.
• Most of our fear of other religious traditions comes from not taking the time to get to know other people and their religious faith. Sincere friendships bridge hostility and create a peaceful world.

Racial Justice (Talking Points)

• Our Unitarian Universalist faith affirms the inherent worth of all people—that we are equal in the eyes of God—and therefore we strive to create a society where this equality is affirmed at every level.
• Racism and continual exclusion of people of color from equality and justice have been a serious evil in our society and we are called to address racism specifically because of this reality.
• It is part of our religious calling as a people of faith to recognize this discrimination in both personal and institutional settings, and work toward a more fair and inclusive society by interrupting racism and calling out racist practices.
• The struggle for civil rights and equality is as real today as it was decades ago. As Unitarian Universalists, we commit to working with local organizations to promote a more just and equitable society. We rise in solidarity with those who have been marginalized, brutalized and systematically oppressed by government agencies and people of our nation.

Justice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning People

• Unitarian Universalism affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person. The human family is one, and the fears and hatred that divide us must be overcome.
• Human loving and human sexuality are sacred gifts of life when shared between members of the same gender or opposite genders.
• We believe that love should guide how we live together. Discrimination, harassment and oppression against LGBTQ people violates our religious calling to treat our neighbors as ourselves.

Employment Discrimination for LGBTQ people

• Discrimination against LGBTQ people goes against our fundamental religious and moral values because we believe all human beings are loved by God/all people have inherent worth and dignity and a sacred place in the universe.
• Employment decisions should be based on a person’s qualifications and work ethic and a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity have nothing to do with their job performance.
• Discrimination affects all our prosperity because it perpetuates the image of our city and state as an intolerant, closed-minded place. Nearly 90% of Americans and 90% of Fortune 500 companies support workplace protections for gays and lesbians.

Marriage Equality for LGBTQ people

• We stand for marriage equality for all people, not just “gay marriage.”
• All people deserve justice and equality. Legal marriage, and all the rights and responsibilities that go along with it, is a civil right that must not be denied to couples of all sexual orientations.
• Our laws should serve to support and strengthen all families, including same sex families. Legal recognition of relationships offers protections including economic benefits, medical rights and parental recognition. To deny families these protections simply because they are formed by same-sex couples is unfair and inhumane.
• Unitarian Universalism has celebrated marriages between same-sex couples for over 40 years. To deny gay and lesbian couples access to legal recognition of their marriages is a threat to freedom of religion.

Bullying/Violence toward LGBTQ people

• Violence against others based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is a hate crime.
• Unitarian Universalists strongly denounce violence and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Everyone deserves to live with personal safety and freedom from persecution.
• Bullying and harassment in our schools creates an unsafe environment which denies students their right to an education and hinders academic success.
• History shows that federal, state and local laws which explicitly offer protected status for vulnerable groups are effective in decreasing violence and discrimination.