Unitarian Universalists have made historic contributions to society by playing the role of first responders to oppressive agendas. Historically, first responders have taken bold stances against a wide range of controversial social issues: slavery, segregation, sexism, homophobia, you name it. For generations Unitarian Universalists have effective responded to oppressive agendas. Now is the time for Unitarian Universalists to align our collective assets to become the ethical agenda setters of our time.
Play with that distinction for a while in your mind: "first responders to oppressive agendas" vs. "ethical agenda setters". That's very provocative and inspiring, and points the way to a rethinking of UU public theology. I look forward to reading/seeing/hearing the sermon once it is available.
I've got a pound of bacon here that tells me that Rev. Nate and I would probably disagree about what is next on ethical agenda of the 21st Century. That's OK, and best left for another day.
But I wonder about the issues on which Religious Liberals and UU's in particular have not been first responders.
It is not hard to imagine the present economic situation as a long-running, slowly unfolding mugging, in wealthy thugs are systematically ripping off working people. (A recent study shows that 121% of the income gains since 2009 have gone to the wealthiest people -- poor, working and middle class people actually losing income).
UU's have not been first responders to exploitative and oppressive system that is the finance-driven economy. We're standing in the back of the crowd of onlookers watching a mugging, saying that it's probably true that both are at fault and that the victim probably asked for it. UU's have historically been diffident about issues economics, class, and labor.
We still need to put those issues on our agenda, and by doing so, put them on the agenda of those who look to us for ethical leadership.