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Unitarian Universalists Denounce White Supremacy, Make Leadership Changes



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now a opposite take on believers struggling to adjust to this impulse in America. Earlier this week, one of a many magnanimous churches in a country, a Unitarian Universalists, met to re-examine how their decades-long joining to amicable probity might be undermined by a miss of farrago in their membership. NPR’s Tom Gjelten reports.

TOM GJELTEN, BYLINE: A high indicate in a Unitarian story of ancillary polite rights came in 1965, when hundreds of Unitarian ministers from opposite a nation assimilated Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala. The black people they marched with were impressed.

MEL HOOVER: And we said, there’s some white people who unequivocally wish justice.

GJELTEN: Reverend Mel Hoover, who leads a assemblage in West Virginia, told that story during a Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in New Orleans this week. After that Selma march, he said, thousands of African-Americans assimilated a church. He removed one such public behind afterwards where a third of those people attending were people of color.

HOOVER: And we couldn’t hoop it in this association. We weren’t clever adequate afterwards to find a approach into attribute with one another.

GJELTEN: Today, a Unitarian Universalist Association is one of a slightest different denominations in a country. Over 80 percent of a members are white. It’s an annoying record for a church long-identified with on-going causes. An bid is now underway to change it, though it’s been difficult.

Some Unitarian congregations welcome a Black Lives Matter movement, others did not. Faced with a rebellion over employing policies that seemed to preference whites, several tip church leaders were forced to resign. Sofia Betancourt, one of 3 co-presidents who took over, told a public representatives that their church’s problem is a genius of white supremacy.

SOFIA BETANCOURT: That extends and spreads to a enlightenment of mastery that impacts everyone.

GJELTEN: At a time when so many courtesy is focused on white jingoist extremists and a alt-right movement, a thought of Unitarian Universalists as white supremacists might seem far-fetched. But in an interview, Sofia Betancourt pronounced she’s articulate about a unequivocally H2O we float in.

BETANCOURT: It’s not about either an particular chairman considers themselves a white supremacist. It’s about how we’re all shabby by a bland messages we accept in a culture, by decisions that we make but even unequivocally meditative about it.

GJELTEN: Betancourt told a public that her house has consecrated what they’re job a injustice audit. Among those white church leaders who will have to understanding with a conclusions is Rob Eller Isaacs.

ROB ELLER ISAACS: That means not timorous when I’m fearful I’m going to be called a racist, patriarchal, aged minister.

GJELTEN: One of a hurdles that come with a care position these days in what’s substantially a many magnanimous description in America. Tom Gjelten, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF EL BUHO’S “CINDER”)

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