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INASMUCH AS, the General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association
of 1962 affirmed that segregation and discrimination, wherever practiced,
continue to be a matter of major national and international concern and reflect
attitudes contrary to moral, religious and ethical commitments;
UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISTS PLEDGE THEMSELVES TO:
In spite of the passage of Civil Rights Acts in 1957 and 1960, the
comprehensive Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965,
inequalities of treatment and opportunity continue to exist in American society.
While these inequalities affect members of all minority groups, attention has
been focussed on the special problems of the Negro minority in the United
States. Negro citizens and other persons engaged in the civil rights movement
find themselves at the mercy of individuals who hope to prevent progress toward
full equality of the races by resorting to physical violence and acts of
terrorism, and the victims are often denied justice when they face all-white
courts and juries.
A double standard of justice exists in some communities and states. All-white
police forces, court officials, judges and juries, and segregated courtrooms and
jails have operated to deprive minority group persons of the equal protection of
the laws in violation of the United States Constitution. In everyday terms this
means, at the least, harassment and discourtesy from law officers and, at the
most, summary trials without adequate counsel, and severe and unreasonable
sentences or fines meted out, especially where the offense may be committed
against a white man. Conversely, whites accused of crimes of violence against
minority group persons or civil rights workers of any race, are acquitted by
prejudiced juries or otherwise treated leniently, especially in the South.
Members of the minority races and ethnic groups find much public school
education still segregated in defiance of the landmark 1954 Supreme Court
decision. They find doors to fair employment opportunities still closed in many
places, face uneven compliance with the public accommodations part of the 1964
Civil Rights Act, and see authorities in some places closing rather than opening
public facilities to all groups.
Probably the most difficult hurdle, aside from jobs and education, continues
to be housing where the Northern Negro especially finds himself confined to the
decaying neighborhoods of the central city and the avenues of escape to the
white suburbs effectively blocked by restrictive real estate practices. The
federal government, though possessing the power under the Civil Rights Act of
1964 to cut off the flow of federal funds to programs and activities in the
states which are administered in a discriminatory manner, has not chosen to
exercise this power to any significant extent.
A whole private area of American life, including club association, fraternal
memberships, and shamefully, church membership, remains almost totally
segregated. Several states maintain laws forbidding racial intermarriage, thus
arbitrarily interfering in the most sacred of human relationships.
Much remains to be done to implement the concern of Unitarian Universalists
for the supreme worth of every human personality and the dignity of
The Justice Department should press with renewed vigor the prosecution under
existing law of those guilty of the beatings, the shootings, the bombings and
the killings. The President is urged to recommend and the Congress to enact new
federal legislation at the earliest moment to protect the security of the
individual from assault or threatened assault upon his person or property, where
that assault has a racial purpose or effect, and to provide civil damages for
the victim of such assault.
State and local officials are urged to curb police brutality, to institute
human relations programs in local and state police departments, and to end the
use of unwarranted curfews wherever they exist. Support is also urged for
federal legislation to protect individuals against unreasonable use of force by
law enforcement officers and to make such law enforcement officers and their
civilian superiors liable for civil damage suits for unnecessary and
unreasonable use of force resulting in physical injury. Enforcement officers
formally charged with unlawful violation of the rights of persons should be
suspended from their duties pending trial. Local civilian review boards to hear
complaints on police brutality should be established.
The Department of Justice should enforce existing laws such as the 1875
statute making jury discrimination punishable by fine of up to $5,000 and seek
new legislation making for a uniform system of choosing jurors which will fairly
reflect the racial composition of the court's jurisdiction. Also, legislation
forbidding discrimination in appointment of court officers and police is needed.
The Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation should make
on-the-spot arrests where constitutional rights are being violated by local law
enforcement officers or other persons, as they are empowered to do under
The President of the United States should appoint men to the federal
judiciary who are free of racial prejudice and who do not owe their political
careers to the system of white supremacy.
Other needed reforms to assure equal protection of the law include support
for public defenders for the indigent, installment paying of fines, and limits
on excessive bail.
The efforts of private citizens in voter-registration campaigns should be
supported and the Department of Justice should be vigilant to extend the
protection of the law to these workers so that intimidation of any kind will not
delay, hamper, impede, of pervert the exercise of the franchise.
Federal voting examiners should be used in every county in which
discrimination still exists. Federal authorities should also observe voting
subsequent to registration to make sure that once registered, persons are not
prevented by any device from voting, and that their votes, once cast, shall be
Since passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is no longer necessary for
the executive branch to rely on the federal courts for implementation.
Therefore, the Office of Education should move speedily to require desegregation
and integration of the nation's public schools, north and south, and to use the
powers granted under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to withhold
federal-aid funds from school districts which continue to segregate white from
minority groups pupils. "Freedom of choice" plans achieve only token integration
and leave minority group parents who exercise "free choice" exposed, in many
localities, to intimidation and reprisals.
De facto segregation of schools is as unconscionable and harmful as formal
segregation is unconstitutional. Citizens and government on all levels should
work to correct discriminatory racial imbalance and improve the quality of
education in the public schools.
We urge adequate preparation of teachers in the field of human relations so
that they may give meaningful instruction in human relations and we encourage
federal and state authorities to work towards that end.
Preschool education for socially disadvantaged and culturally deprived
children should be a necessary preparation for school
Furthermore, members of our churches and fellowships should support such
legislation at the state and municipal levels. In order to make such legislation
effective, individual Unitarian Universalists should introduce into every phase
of the requisition, purchase, building, financing, and occupancy of real
property the banning of discrimination due to race, religion, or nationality.
Legislation should be encouraged, consistent with the objectives of open
occupancy, to curb panic selling or block-busting.
Our churches and fellowships and individual members should undertake efforts
with others in their own communities for the integration of their own
neighborhoods and our members should scrutinize off-campus or sorority and
fraternity housing in colleges and universities as it affects minority students
or foreign students and other students and seek to eliminate discrimination.
Our churches and fellowships should call upon their individual members to
make all housing, urban and suburban, new or old, which they control as owners,
dealers, brokers, builders, or mortgagors, available to any qualified person,
without regard to race, color, creed or national origin; and should call upon
all real estate dealers, brokers, and mortgagers, to do the same. Educational
programs and other activities should be encouraged to promote equality of
opportunity in housing.
Churches and fellowships should take the initiative in their communities to
use funds provided in Section 221(d)(3) of the Federal Housing Act. This enables
nonprofit groups, including churches and fellowships, either to build
low-cost-housing open to all groups or to renovate slum dwellings.
There is promise in the proposal of some urban authorities to slow down the
building of mass low-cost public housing in or adjacent to racial ghettoes, thus
reinforcing patterns of de facto segregation and instead to scatter new low-cost
housing in upper and middle-income white residential areas, thus integrating
both neighborhoods and schools. To be commended also is the new federal program
to subsidize the purchasing and rental of a percentage of publicly subsidized
middle-income housing for low-income families. Plans for the renewal of present
ghetto areas should ultimately include provision for their integration.
Unitarian Universalists should be involved in helping to win acceptance and
support of such programs.
The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, activated in July 1965,
should be given the power to issue cease and desist orders against employers who
practice job discrimination. In the meantime, the Department of Justice should
move to use its power under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 of filing suits to
secure equal opportunity, where it finds a pattern or practice of
discrimination. The Department of Defense and other government agencies should
be urged to use, whenever necessary, the powers granted under Title VI of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, to bar bidding on contracts, or otherwise withhold
funds, from those who practice racial discrimination in employment.
Unitarian Universalists as employers, should practice equality of
opportunity, both in private enterprise and in public positions they may hold;
and churches and fellowships are encouraged to hire members of minority races or
nationalities in their institutions.
Members of Unitarian Universalist churches are urged to use their personal
influence in their local communities to secure service without discrimination in
all places of public accommodation.
Progress has been made since the first student sit-ins of 1960 and since
passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in generally opening to all races,
hotels, motels, restaurants and lunch counters, public libraries, museums,
hospitals, parks, sports arenas, and theaters. However, in the 1964 Act, retail
businesses, as such, are exempt from coverage, unless they have eating
facilities, and clothing stores and barber shops are exempt unless they are part
of a hotel facility. Spectator sports are covered, but consumer sports such as
bowling lanes, swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, and golf ranges,
privately owned but open to the public for profit, are also not covered.
Legislation should be enacted at all levels of government to correct these
weaknesses in the federal law.
A powerful weapon for enforcement of civil rights is Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination in all federally-assisted
programs. This section should be used less timidly and sparingly. Unnecessary
delays in compliance are countenanced by the regulations issued by a number of
departments and agencies. This part of the Civil Rights Act should be
The use of executive orders to direct all federal agencies to administer
federal programs without discrimination should be extended; the federal
government should withhold the expenditure of federal funds from such state or
local programs and agencies which discriminate against persons on the basis of
race or religion in the granting or disbursement of their facilities, property,
finances, or services.
Federal hospital and nursing home construction funds provided under the
Hill-Burton Act should be withdrawn from institutions that practice
discrimination against minority group persons.
Individuals should be defended in their right to engage in nonviolent
demonstrations and should be supported in the exercise of their moral choice to
engage in responsible civil disobedience for greater racial
Adoption agencies are evidencing a more open attitude regarding the adoption
of children of races other than that of the adoptive parents. This new attitude
is commendable, especially in view of the pressing need of adoptive homes for
children of mixed or minority races.
Individuals should work in human relations councils and similar groups formed
to further better understanding among people and should improve their practices
in all areas of human relationships.
The Unitarian Universalist ministry should become integrated as rapidly as
possible. This goal is essential for the denomination as a whole, for the
individual churches, and for individual laymen as well as for the clergymen
involved. This goal can be reached through special efforts in the recruitment,
training, and settlement of Negroes and members of other minority groups. The
denomination — its departments, churches, and agencies — should give this goal a
high priority. The denomination needs the services of trained Negro ministers as
much as, and probably more than, these ministers need opportunities within the
Integration of our congregations is a continuing goal. Efforts beyond the
mere declaration of open membership may be necessary if congregations are to
become truly inclusive: use of the communications media, including the ethnic
press, personal invitations to friends to attend services and meetings, and most
importantly, the active involvement of the congregation and minister in the
human rights movement.
The sincerity of our commitment to racial justice will be proven by our
response, as a denomination and as members of churches and fellowships, to a
variety of tests. Congregations are urged to include members of ethnic
minorities in leadership positions on church boards, committees, religious
education and youth programs, and other church activities. The content of
programs for youth and adults should reflect our concern for human brotherhood.
Particular attention should be paid to the religious education curriculum so
that textbooks and instruction promote the goal of integration. Exchange
programs with Negro churches, groups and individuals should be encouraged.
Employment of staff, purchase of supplies, contracting for building, purchase,
sale, rental, or use of property, should all be done with the church or
fellowship always making the stipulation that it practices integration and that
it does business only with firms which practice integration in their hiring and
other policies. Each church or fellowship should examine its investments and
loans and do business only with firms which are non-discriminatory and
integrationist in their employment practices. Churches and fellowships should
patronize places of public accommodation which are open to all.
This consensus is adopted by the 1966 General Assembly of the Unitarian
Universalist Association, consisting of a broadly representative group of laymen
and ministers. This consensus reflects a substantial preponderance of opinion,
although not necessarily unanimity on all points, of the majority of individuals
present at the General Assembly and presumably of a substantial majority of
members of our local churches and fellowships. Since this denomination cherishes
and recognizes the freedom of individual members, this consensus does not
presume to speak for all delegates to the General Assembly or all members of our
Unitarian Universalist churches and fellowships. We recognize that strong
differences of opinion may exist on specific questions among sincere and
thoughtful Unitarian Universalists notwithstanding their common religious
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Wednesday, August 24, 2011.
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