Letter to the editor published today
Neal Humprey has it wrong in his Top of Utah Voices column of May 29, “Boy Scouts have lost their way.” The Scouts are instead, starting to discover their moral compass.
He says that by accepting gay youth, that the BSA will decline just as his denomination has. They may in fact decline, but it will be because they are changing too slowly. Limiting their policy change to those under 18 was a mistake.
Change is part of life and both organizations and people need to adapt or they become dinosaurs. This is what is happening to many religious denominations. The fastest growing religious group in America is the “nones.” The “nones” include atheists and agnostics, but most are those who identify as “spiritual but not religious.” When asked, they say that they do not believe the traditional dogma and are offended by the moral hypocrisy and bias they have seen in churches.
My own faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism, is a liberal one. Our historic roots in this country go back to before the American Revolution, but we change and adapt as new information and new truths are revealed. We started supporting gay rights in 1970, shortly after Stonewall, because we considered it a religious imperative to do so. Now, the majority of Americans and the vast majority of those under 30 agree with us on that issue. God’s love has always been inclusive. We should try to live that way, too.
Unlike the sharply declining numbers of most mainline denominations, our national membership numbers are fairly stable. In the last eight years, a full 30 percent of our congregations grew by at least 10 percent, and half of those by more than 30 percent. Our churches that are growing the fastest are the most innovative in their worship and the most active in social justice causes.
We are welcoming the “nones” with our “spiritual but not dogmatic” approach to living religiously. The holy did not stop speaking 2,000 years ago. If conservative churches want to be around in 50 years, I would suggest they start listening.
Rev. Theresa Novak
Unitarian Universalist Church