Thursday, November 9, 2017

Should We or Shouldn't We?

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last Sunday which followed closely on the heels of the mass shooting in Las Vegas last month, and which are only the latest incidents of this type of violence in our country, the issue of gun control is once again a hot topic.

On a Unity minister’s discussion Facebook page on which I participate, a minister posted the question, “So, are we in Unity yet ready to stand in opposition to legal access to assault rifles?” The post has generated a great deal of activity. The responses range from simple “NO” or “YES” to more lengthy dissertations on why we should or should not take such a stand.

Some people believe that we in Unity should not take a stand on any issue that even hints of being “political.” They say that it is not the role of the church. Further, some worry that getting involved in “political issues” might threaten our federal non-profit status.

Others assert that it is not a “political” issue, but a moral one and that the church not only has the right, but an obligation to speak out in favor of laws that limit access by private citizens to assault weapons.

Many who know me might assume that I would come down solidly on the side of those who say, “Yes, Unity should absolutely take a stand for gun control.” However, I find that it is a more complex question.



Personally, I cannot understand why any civilian should need or have ready access to an assault weapon. It is unfathomable to me that anyone would desire to own one, especially since killing is their only purpose. Yes, I personally favor limiting legal access to assault weapons. Ultimately, I wish it were not necessary for us to legislate weapons, drugs, or behaviors that endanger life, but it seems we must, at least for now.

While this is my personal perspective, I do not assert that Unity, as an organization, should take such a stand. Unity is a spiritual movement comprised of people from diverse backgrounds, races, nationalities and beliefs. Freedom to choose is paramount for us. We believe in our God-given right to think and speak for ourselves and to stand for what we believe. It is not the purview of the leaders of the Unity movement to speak for the whole when it comes to these issues.

Additionally, affecting public policy it is not the stated mission of Unity. While many religious organizations spend millions to support candidates for political office and public policy that reflect their biased views and prejudices, to do so is not in alignment with who we say we are and what we profess to be about.

It is our mission in Unity to inspire spiritual awakening and personal transformation. If we work diligently to live our mission, we will do more toward ending the cause of violence than could any law enacted to address the symptoms.

I repeat: It is our mission in Unity to inspire spiritual awakening and personal transformation. If we work diligently to live our mission, we will do more toward ending the cause of violence than could any law enacted to address the symptoms.

None of the foregoing means that I do not fully support individuals within Unity, or groups that form from their associations in Unity, who choose to take a stand for gun control or any other issue they feel is important. I encourage us all to seek Spirit’s guidance and to follow the direction given. My prayer is that whatever action any of us chooses it will be spiritually motivated, and that we will do so with love, zeal and courage.

I will do what is mine to do toward helping to create a world that works for all people, one in which every life matters and where we come together in mutual respect, love and equanimity.

I will do so, not as a Unity minister or as a member of the Unity movement, but as a member of the human race who cares about the welfare and safety of my fellow human beings.

I invite you to search your heart and follow where it leads.


Please join us on Sunday, November 12, for our 10:00 service. Gun control will NOT be the topic of my lesson. This is simply what I was inspired to share in this forum.

My lesson will be entitled, “Gratitude on the Journey.” I will be sharing some thoughts about the power of connecting with gratitude in every moment. 

3 comments :

  1. Thanks David for the courage and honesty to look at this life and death issue. Steve W.

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  2. I believe that all guns should be illegal, even in the military. Good luck with legislating that. But I also believe in majority rules so I will go along with the majority until some such time as I change my mind. or making guns illegal is no longer one of my goals.

    My church, well, not so much. Churches are not people. Corporations are not people. I don't care what the Supreme Court says. The Supreme Court is not infallible either. I don't want my church taking a stand for me politically, morally, ethically or otherwise. I want my church to tell me what the church believes is true. Then I will decide what I believe is true based on my church and other opinions. Like our beloved President, I gotta a good brain and so I can figure out things for myself.

    I believe I am totally agreeing with my much reverred Rev friend! Thank you David, for wading into waters not many want to wade into.

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  3. I appreciate that you have written publicly on the question of whether anyone, speaking for Unity, should take a public stand on political issues that have their roots in moral decisions. I am aware that our congregation has recently lost someone who was frustrated with your silence on a similar question or perhaps a whole slate of related issues. Others have left because they felt you were saying too much.

    It is painful to see our congregants leave in frustration, but, at least from my own experience, I have found that it has been important for me to plant myself in a community that best supports the growth I am ready for at any given point in time, and that has meant that my journey has taken me from one community of faith to another from time to time. I'm glad that it has brought me to USCD
    now.

    The civil rights movement in the United States was led, in part, by Christian pastors, most notably Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who organized together and led their congregations in peaceful protests and resistance. It is my belief that they were inspired to do so. They changed millions of lives for the better.

    However, I appreciate that the stated mission of Unity is significantly different than the missions of the churches that took the lead in the civil rights struggle of the 1960's. Unity, as least as far as I have seen, is not weighed down with a great deal of bureaucracy and patriarchy, as many of those churches were. It is a movement that exists to empower each adherent to seek personal inspiration and utilize the powers we each inherently embody to do the work that members of other churches lean on their pastors to do. Standing up, speaking out, organizing, working tirelessly to bring about change that will improve and/or save lives is scary and challenging work. Most of us would rather that someone else do it.

    I accept that I must find the work that I am here to do, and I am grateful that I have found a spiritual community that is guiding and supporting me in discovering and developing the powers I need to do that work. I appreciate that you, David have accepted your role in helping me, and the rest of us in this community to build a spiritual foundation that will carry us through the arduous tasks we have to do in order to build a better world.

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