If You Must Go To Church

First Unitarian Church Here’s where, and here’s when.

Homer Simpson once said of the Unitarian Church “If that turns out to be the one true religion, I’ll eat my hat.” According to the UUA website, Unitarian Universalism is “a religion that celebrates diversity of belief . . . Our congregations are places where we gather to nurture our spirits and put our faith into action through social justice work in our communities and the wider world.” No fire, no brimstone, no saints, no sinners, nothing terribly specific (some wonder, why not just meet at a good restaurant?).

Still, for the members of the First Unitarian Church of Providence to invite an outspoken atheist to speak to the congregation on a Sunday morning speaks to remarkable open-mindedness, which is to be admired. According to the Providence Phoenix (“An atheist’s Sunday sermon”) Steve Ahlquist — President of Humanists of Rhode Island and frequent contributor to RIFuture.org — will discuss human rights advocacy and progressive politics in the absence of the religious underpinnings some people deem so necessary. Says Ahlquist,

I’m of the opinion that voicing strong moral positions is not an exclusively religious undertaking.

I’m trying to speak with moral authority on a wide range of issues without any reliance on God, and the first thing I have to convince people of is that such a thing is even possible.

(Steve Ahlquist is the uncle of the heroic Cranston high school student Jessica Ahlquist who recently received the Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award out in California. We have written about her before, here and here.)

And don’t miss Mr. Ahlquist’s excellent piece on the church/state separation issue in the Providence Journal — “The Age of Enlightenment formed our government” in which he handily dismantles the flawed logic of a previous contributor.

10am, Sunday, August 11, First Unitarian Church of Providence, One Benevolent Street (at Benefit)

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