Media roundup: Saskatchewan boy urges Unitarians to support transgender children

Media roundup: Saskatchewan boy urges Unitarians to support transgender children

A weekly guide to stories about Unitarian Universalists from other media sources.

Rachel Walden


When Anthony heard "stand up, stand up, people of grace" in an anti-trans rap, he was offended. This is not, in his opinion, what religion is for.

Anthony James, an 11-year-old Saskatchewan, Canada, resident created a YouTube video to respond to a rap video’s negative messages about transgender people. James takes particular issue with the rapper’s use of religion as a basis for criticism because, he says religion was “one of the first places that I was safe, where I can feel myself.” He urged other Unitarians to send messages in support of transgender people, and children in particular. ( Global News– 4.13.16)

Congregations celebrate milestones

Public radio station KUER took the opportunity of the 125th anniversary of First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, Utah, to explore the origins of Unitarianism in the state. In an interview with the Rev. Tom Goldsmith of First Unitarian and former Unitarian Universalist Association President the Rev. John Buehrens, they note that the Unitarian faith provided an important progressive religious option for Utah residents. (KUER – 4.11.16)

As First Unitarian Church of Rochester, Minnesota, marked its 150th anniversary, interim minister the Rev. Fritz Hudson shares some of the early activist spirit of founding members of that congregation. Almost from its founding, church leaders were filling lead roles in state and local governments and school boards. For these early members, church and civic duty were intertwined. ( Post-Bulletin– 4.9.16)

The founding of Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Durham, North Carolina, started in response to the tragic deaths of civil rights martyrs the Rev. James Reeb and Viola Liuzzo in 1965. The congregation has grown from an original group of 45 to more than 600 active members. ( The News & Observer– 4.13.16)

UUs speak out against immigrant family detention

In Pennsylvania, members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County in Reading have been attending public meetings to question county commissioners about the treatment of children in the Berks County Residential Center. Commissioners have repeatedly referred church member Dennis Williams to federal immigration officials for information, but those officials have been unresponsive. ( Reading Eagle– 4.8.16)

In Texas, the Rev. Chuck Freeman of the Texas Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry, has testified against the licensure of Texas family detention centers in three public hearings. He has asked both the state and the private company that runs the prisons to listen to the public’s overwhelming opposition to family detention. ( Texas Observer– 4.14.16)

More Black Lives Matter banner activism

The Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, Wisconsin, held a public ceremony to display their first Black Lives Matter banner. Although Brookfield Mayor Steve Ponto was unable to participate, he offered a statement of support for the congregation, noting that he and the congregation’s minister, the Rev. Suzelle Lynch, both know that the congregation has the best of intentions in displaying the banner. ( Brookfield NOW– 4.12.16)

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Luis Obispo, California, is putting up its third Black Lives Matter banner on the side of their building. The congregation’s minister, the Rev. Rod Richards said that the banner is meant to engage people and help them learn about the experiences of others. ( KEYT– 4.12.16)