Who Are the Unitarians and Is This a New Religion?
By Gail Bogossian
For people unfamiliar with it, Unitarian Universalism may seem like some new-fangled anti-religion, probably developed by a couple of non-traditional thinkers in the 60’s, maybe originally from the West Coast or something.
Believe it or not, Unitarianism and Universalism began as liberal religions, grounded in Christianity, in the 16th century in Europe. Unitarians believed in the “unity” of God, rather than the “Holy Trinity,” and in rational religion and Jesus as a human. Universalists reacted against the belief that God was a punisher of evildoers and believed instead in “universal” salvation and a loving God. Unitarianism and Universalism came to the United States in the 18th century and merged into Unitarian Universalism in the early 60’s.
There are numerous well-known people from all walks of life who have been UUs. Here is a small sampling and some links to other sites where you may find more information if you wish to tackle the subject in more depth.
Politicians, Activists, Jurists:
George Washington – 1st President of U.S.
John Adams – 2nd President of U.S.
John Quincy Adams – 6th President of U.S.
Thomas Jefferson – 3rd President of U.S. and author of Declaration of Independence
William Howard Taft – 27th President of U.S. and Chief Justice of U.S. Supreme Court
Dorothea Dix – for the mentally ill
Henry Bergh – creator of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Clara Barton – founded American Red Cross
Susan B. Anthony – women’s right to vote
Elizabeth Cady Stanton – women’s rights
James Reeb – his death was the catalyst for passing the 1965 Voting Rights Act
Roger Baldwin – founder of American Civil Liberties Union
Mary White Ovington – founder of the NAACP
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. – U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Artists, Architects, Musicians, Entertainers, Authors:
Josiah Wedgewood – a potter
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Louisa May Alcott
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
e. e. cummings
Irma Rombauer (The Joy of Cooking)
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Rod Serling (The Twilight Zone)
Mary Shelley (Frankenstein)
T. Berry Brazelton
Julia Ward Howe – Battle Hymn of the Republic
Frank Lloyd Wright
Henry David Thoreau
P.T. Barnum – circus owner
Joseph Priestley – discovered oxygen, nitrogen, ammonia, hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide.
Alexander Graham Bell
Samuel F. B. Morse