Media roundup: Providing a moral voice on health care, immigration, and racial justice

Media roundup: Providing a moral voice on health care, immigration, and racial justice

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

Rachel Walden


In Silver Spring, Maryland, religious, medical, and political leaders spoke out against efforts in the United States to undo the Affordable Care Act. The Rev. Abhi Janamanchi, senior minister at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, affirmed, "Health care is a fundamental human right," prompting applause. (Frederick News-Post  – 9.20.17)

Faith leaders prayed, sang, and chanted at Rep. Devin Nunes’ office in Visalia, California, to voice concerns about federal policies regarding immigration and health care. Clergy members were told that Nunes was out of the country and wouldn’t be able to meet with them until next year. “I’m sad that he feels he has to hide from us,” said the Rev. Tim Kutzmark of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno. “If he strongly believes the way he votes, he should at least have the courage of his convictions to speak with us.” ( Fresno Bee – 9.19.17)

A coalition of ten local churches in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, recently led an anti-hate prayer vigil to draw attention to health care, transit, parole reform, and immigration issues in the county and the broader region. Unitarian Universalist minister and leader in the multifaith group the Rev. David Kraemer said the vigil was "a response to the hate we have seen surfacing throughout our country, from the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville (Virginia) to the injustices against young immigrants by ending DACA." ( Journal Sentinel – 9.21.17)

In Ohio, Edith Espinal left the sanctuary provided by Columbus Mennonite Church to apply for a stay of deportation from the U.S. federal government. The church is one of many across the country providing physical protection from deportation through offering sanctuary on church grounds. “The need is just there,” said Church World Service national grassroots coordinator Noel Andersen. “There [are] also more and more congregations that are joining. It’s stopping someone from being deported and they can be with their family. That’s a big deal.” The Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus is preparing to vote to become a sanctuary congregation. ( Columbus Dispatch – 9.21.17)

When protests erupted in response to the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley in St. Louis, Missouri, for the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, two downtown congregations stayed open late into the night to provide a respite for the protestors. Central Reform Congregation and First Unitarian Church of St. Louis both provided safe havens for protesters free from threat of arrest. ( Huffington Post – 9.20.17)

Man dies from injuries during break-in at New York congregation

Police were called to the scene earlier this week when a 24-year-old man broke through the glass near the entrance to First Unitarian Church of Rochester, New York. He later died from significant lacerations from the broken glass. "We don't believe he broke into the church to steal at this point," Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said. "We believe this was part of a mental health crisis." ( Democrat & Chronicle – 9.21.17)

More coverage:

“Man who broke into church overnight dies from injuries” ( Spectrum News – 9.21.17)

“Man smashes Rochester church door overnight, dies hours later” ( WHAM – 9.21.17)