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UU Infidels Newsletter
Spring 2004
From the Editor

Thank you for your interest in the Unitarian Universalist Infidels (WI) Newsletter. This is the first of our twice-yearly publications. The UUI is a Unitarian Universalist Association “related organization.”

The purpose of the UUI Newsletter is to provide a meaningful forum for humanist, agnostic, atheist, and non-religious Unitarian Universalists. The UU World, the official magazine of the UUA, does not represent the full interests of UUs who are skeptics and non- believers. According to the 1997 UUA survey, humanists made up 46% of UU membership. It is also true that upwards of 15% of the U.S. population does not subscribe to the supernaturalism of religion; among UUs, it is likely that percentage is even higher. For example, in the 1997 UUA survey, only 25% of respondents replied that they significantly sensed God's presence, while 96% attached great importance to human reason and knowledge.

Though there is a large audience for rational, skeptical discourse, the UU World seems to be somewhat biased against expressions of non-belief. The January/February 2003 issue, for instance, published an article by Dan Kennedy, concerning the annual conference of American Atheists. In the article "Are You With the Atheists?" Kennedy left no doubt that he
wasn't. He observed Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, giving her conference address, and said that Johnson was "unsparing" and that she "seethed." Of the AA conference itself, Kennedy wrote: "I couldn't help but sense a forced, brittle quality to the weekend's proceedings." The weekend was not fun: "No, not fun at all." Kennedy admits: "To be sure, I didn't find a whole lot in Johnson's message with which to disagree. But my attitude tends to be: Who cares?"

Many people care! In fact, we care a lot!

We also care about another thing: that the position of skeptics and non-believers remain strong within Unitarian Universalism. We worry that, currently, the UUA is overly concerned with "reverence" and "religion" while it marginalizes those who are unwilling to make "the leap of faith." We hope you enjoy reading our newsletter, and let us hear from you!

Timothy Travis, newsletter editor, is a founding member of the UU Infidels. Thanks to Ken Michel for publishing this newsletter and to Bryan Woodhouse for copy editing.