One of the problems I've experienced with UU is that it seems to be a religion for the middle and upper classes.  I thought my experiences with the two local UU congregations was unique until my mother in Florida saw the same thing at her local UU congregation.

Have others noticed this phenomena?  Is it being addressed or ignored?

Tags: Classism, UU

Views: 82

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I am a member of an UU congregation in South Jersey. It's only about 11 years old and they already built a new church (they call it a Center) from the ground up about 2 years ago. I am 1 of only 3 black members in a congregation of about 100. Classicism is an issue with UU. They are aware that there is a large percentage of well do do members. The National and some congregations are concerned about it. They want prospective members to be aware that all are welcome. The reason why it's like it is because it's a very liberal religion. Liberal minded people tend to be more educated and more educated people tend to be better off financially. You will find that the hard core evangelicals tend to be less educated. Like with all denominations, no 2 churches are exactly alike. The same goes for UU's. Some are more welcoming than others and some are more tolerate of people from all walks of life than others. But the National organization very much emphasize a policy of diversity.

 

~eddie

Before you saw my reply you said basically the same thing. That shows UU's are aware of this issue. Location of the church does make a difference. I joined less than a year after the congregation formed. We met at a public school until some school officials felt it wasn't appropriate and I didn't disagree. For about 9 years we held our services at 5 different places like the Lions Club and a Catholic Neuman center near where we are now. When we were searching for a place to build our church, many thought it was important to build it in a diverse area. But I don't think some of the members were comfortable withn some sites that were in more diverse towns. We ended up building a beautiful Center in a beautiful wooded area near a college. The only downside is if you don't drive there is no way to get there. There is public transportation to the college but the bus stop is a very long walk from the Center. So that situation makes it more difficult for many people to attend. See http://www.uucsjs.org/ 

I've not gone to my closest UU church in a few years and went back last Sunday for the adult discussion group.  I was hoping it would be a Humanist group, but it was just socializing and political discussions which would be fine.  But most of the hour was taken up by one member explaining how he didn't pay income tax on his multimillion dollar business this year.  I kid you not.  I'll try again this Sunday because at the very end of the meeting the one atheist arrived.  Maybe he will have some local contacts.  Of the three Nexus Atheist members near me, one is a mother and two were college guys.  One's picture looks like it was taken on Halloween with costumes and bottles of alcohol.  The picture of the looks like he's vomiting mustard.  Some college students enjoy the shock value of being an atheist I guess.  Prospects are slim.  I'll try contacting the mother atheist.  

I would gladly help the congregation with ideas on addressing the class issue, but I'm not a member and no one seems to consider it a problem much less ask for input. 

I'm a member of a UU congregation in a city that is 70% Hispanic, but Hispanics comprise less than 10% of the UU membership.  It is definitely a problem.  As Eddie points out, there are structural reasons for this, in most cases -- the discrimination is not explicit, but rather institutionalized and self-perpetuating.  Even if most of the group holds anti-racist and anti-classist views, social effects and positive feedback loops can lead to increasing homogeneity, unless that tendency is proactively countered.  Greta Christina has a wonderful talk about this: "What Atheists Can Learn From The LGBT Movement"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YxdM1WChHc .  I fear that any skeptical organization is going to face the same kinds of diversity issues that UUism does.   We really need to pay attention to this issue.  (WTF, Atheist Nexus flags "classist" as a spelling error? Yeah, we REALLY need to pay attention to this issue!)

I'm late to this discussion, but the UUA president is Latino, and race and class are very important issues to them - at least the leaders who are trying to inform others. I'm in one of the most integrated congregations in the UUA - they say there are only 4 truly multi-racial UU congregations. The UUA bookstore has a new book on classism and lots of books on racism. We have a long way to go.

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