Wednesday, September 6, 2006
The plight of the Unitarian Republican.
Two things to ponder today: The statue honoring Thomas Starr King, the dynamic pre-Civil War minister of the Unitarian church in San Francisco, has been booted from the U.S. Capitol's National Hall of Statuary to make room for a statue of Ronald Reagan. Starr King was a devout Republican in his day, but my, my, how times have changed. Californians who aren't students in the GTU no longer know who he was — and Unitarian Universalists don't have the clout to defend him.
Meanwhile, the only UU Republican currently serving in Congress — 12-term Rep. Nancy Johnson from the 5th Congressional District in Connecticut — is fighting to keep her seat in the midst of her state's ferocious Lieberman-Lamont war. I'd love to hear from Connecticut UUs about Johnson. Does it matter to how you vote that a fellow UU is on the ballot? Are you a moderate Republican? A moderate independent? A political conservative in a liberal church? A Lieberman supporter? An antiwar anti-Republican? A lifelong Democrat tired of "moderate" Republicans siding with the Right?
(The only other UU in the House of Representatives, by the way, is Pete Stark, D-Calif. Kent Conrad, a moderate Democrat from North Dakota, is the only Unitarian Universalist in the Senate.)
And for the rest of us: Would a candidate's Unitarian Universalist affiliation have any impact on your likelihood to vote for them? What if their party affiliation differed from your own? I'll confess that, although I can't recall ever voting in an election where a Unitarian Universalist was on the ballot, I don't think a candidate's Unitarian Universalism would make much difference to me. But if Johnson loses, I do feel that a very old chapter in Unitarian Universalist culture will finally close: The old Yankee Republicanism, which used to dominate New England Unitarian Universalism, and which Thomas Starr King championed when he moved to California in the 1850s, will have run out of steam.
(Reagan wins another vote, to a place in Congress, Jesse McKinley, New York Times 9.5.06, reg req'd; Lieberman's run shadows House campaigns in Connecticut, Jennifer Medina, New York Times 8.27.06, reg req'd; Election Guide: District 5 in Connecticut, New York Times)
Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 6 September 2006 at 7:59 AM