by Reverend Evan Young
We Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. It’s the third of our seven principles. We believe that no one should be dehumanized through acts of exclusion, oppression, or violence because of his or her identity.
A simple enough idea — but as evidenced by a hate-motivated shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in 2008, not a universal one. In the wake of that shooting, the Uni-tarian Universalist Association created Standing on the Side of Love, an interfaith public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. Standing on the Side of Love (SSL) elevates compassionate religious voices to influence public attitudes and public policy, harnessing love’s power to challenge exclusion, oppression, and violence based on sexual orienta-tion, gender identity, immigration status, race, religion, or any other identity.
This month marks the fourth year of “30 Days of Love.” Created by SSL, this event grew out of an inspiration to reimagine Valentine’s Day as a social justice holiday, and now is a month-long spiritual journey and commitment to sustained action and service. Individuals, groups, and congrega-tions throughout North America “make love real in the world” by engaging in community service and work for social justice, by proclaiming their commitment to inclusive community and compas-sionate public policy, and by putting into practice the ideals that have long animated and distin-guished our faith/community/tradition/movement.
In the contentious and vitriolic public square, UUs are called to stand on the side of love. In the face of shocking acts motivated by fear and hate, we aspire to stand on the side of love. Wherever peo-ple are excluded, oppressed, marginalized, and dehumanized, we stand on the side of love. Check out www.standingonthesideoflove.org. How will you stand on the side of love?