Report to the 1987 General Assembly

From the report of Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz
UUA President, to the 1987 General Assembly:

We Unitarian Universalists have been the religious leaders in [the area of gay and lesbian rights]:  in our establishment of a denominational office; in our support of ministers who perform services of holy union. But at the moment our values and principles are being sorely tested: not just by prejudice from outside our doors but by homophobia from within. Let me put it as directly as I can:  far too many of our congregations are choosing not to call or even to consider gay or lesbian ministers solely on the basis of their affectional orientation. When we hear questions like these posed about gay or lesbian candidates — “But will she talk about anything other than homosexuality? But will we become a ‘gay church’? But will he be able to counsel heterosexuals? But will the community accept her?” — when we hear questions like these, we know we are in the grip of a profound terror. Now I do not want to be self-righteous here. The fear of same-sex love runs deep in Western culture. But I beg us to understand that if such fear is permitted to control us, we will be in violation of everything which Unitarian Universalism stands for in the world. It is not enough to say passively and self-contentedly, “Why, of course gays and lesbians are welcome in our congregation if they choose to come.” What is required is the recognition that gay and lesbian people are already members of every single congregation on this continent. The issue is whether they feel supported enough to make their presence known. What we require is the courage and wisdom to acknowledge our own fears, both gay and straight, and to take active steps to make the welcome known to the gay and lesbian community.