Unitarian, John Adams, the second president of the United States, labored for religious liberty until his death at ninety. His home state of Massachusetts prohibited Jews or Catholics from running for elective office until 1833. Religious bigotry and ignorance dominate the civic conversation of this country. The progressive and conservative divide and its dogma obstruct our ability to care for those most in need. Promoting ideological justifications for indifference to those who suffer grinds against the grain of what our founding fathers wrought. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams political perspectives often differed. They believed in the Unitarian’s call to use reason in their private and public discourse. This perhaps is most evident in the letters they exchanged until they both died on July 4, 1826. They shared an expansive vision of what this country was and could be. Their approaches to help this country achieve the best for its people and nation sometimes diverged, but they devoted much of their genius to understanding and promoting what advanced excellence in this country. They sacrificed much of their private lives and wealth to give life to a vision where demagoguery did not oppress the people.

I am deeply saddened that the Manhattan Day Care facility has closed. One more service for children, often poor, shut down. The repeal of the human rights ordinance protecting LGBT people in housing and the work force still alarms me. The Manhattan Art’s Center cuts programs so they can keep their doors open. There are moments when it feels as if we have slipped into a nightmare—some surreal version of the dark ages. The foundation for encouraging the best in a person, family, community, and civilization requires that people’s basic human needs for food, shelter, and good health care must be a priority. Equal opportunity for excellent education naturally follows as does the acceptance of diversity.

There are small victories for gay youth at the Manhattan High School and our fellowship remains a beacon and sanctuary for progressive action, universal discourse and the practice of inclusion. We celebrate what is best in humanity and the possibilities for a better world. With the upcoming visit of Mary Gleason , the Unitarian Universalist Stewardship Consultant, the first weekend in May, we have a tremendous opportunity to examine what we do, how we do it, what works well, what doesn’t and how we might do it with more power and shared vision!

We need to open our doors wide—doors of perception, compassion, and good works. Lifting up the best in life becomes increasingly important. We have the capacity and the will, but we need a vision that elevates us into the realm of profound commitment to those values of friendship, as with Adams and Jefferson, that guide us to see and live beyond those differences that sharply polarize. We can all learn to give ourselves more fully to work synergistically to do what we can to make this a country a haven where equality and the pursuit of happiness brings love and good works to all its people.

Please participate in helping us to clarify and empower our highest aspirations.


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