Archive for the ‘Peter’s Platform’ Category

A Message from Peter Morales

June 27, 2009

Dear UU Friends,

As many of you know, I have just been elected President of the Unitarian Universalist Association. But this victory belongs to all of us. I may have been the candidate on the ballot, but we were all in this race together. The real candidate has been our shared vision of what is possible.

I have trouble expressing how profoundly the generosity of people in this campaign has touched me. I can only say, in the Spanish phrase, mil gracias, “a thousand thanks.”

When a small group of us launched this campaign more than a year and a half ago, we made two promises to one another. The first promise was that we would conduct a campaign we would be proud of when it was finished. We committed ourselves to focusing on our vision and never to allow ourselves to be drawn into personal attacks.

The second promise sounds frivolous, but it isn’t. We promised to have fun. What we meant is that we would take time to enjoy each other’s company and to celebrate what is good, joyous and life-enhancing in our faith.

We have kept both promises. They are good promises to remember as we go forward. We have won the election, but we are only beginning our campaign to make Unitarian Universalism the religion for our time.

We are only beginning our growth, not just in numbers but in spirit, vitality and diversity.

Fortunately, we are continuing and building on the great achievement of President Bill Sinkford in social witness. Ours will be a presidency passionately engaged in the great moral issues of our time: economic justice, peace, and human rights.

And we pledge together to work for open and accountable governance in our Association – above all, one that is sensitive to the diversity of our districts and congregations and is truly useful to them.

These great projects are nothing that I, even as UUA President, can do alone. They are our continued campaign. Over the past year and a half, as I have traveled the country I have had a chance to talk with – and listen to – many of you. As president, I will continue to listen. I plan to travel, to meet again or for the first time as many of you as I can. I also want to use 21st century technology to make this a democratic, interactive presidency.

I would like to thank and praise the Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman for her deep insights and inspiring contributions to our faith. Over these many months, as we have campaigned together, we have almost learned to finish one another’s sentences. Her concerns for spiritual depth, covenantal relationships and stewardship are values I share.

To Laurel’s supporters, I offer my warmest welcome. There are no divisions in our movement, only complementarities. Your call for spiritual depth has always been a call that leads us to work together to make a better world. Together, we are answering the same call heard by Servetus, Ballou, Channing, Parker and Susan B. Anthony—a call to leave behind what is outmoded and to let compassion guide us as we shape a future together.

So, as we bring this unforgettable electoral campaign to a close, we begin our campaign to govern together. Our goals to transform our movement are ambitious. In the hard days ahead, let us remember that we have already achieved what seemed a distant dream. You have my heartfelt thanks. You hold in your hands our shared hopes for what is to come.

In gratitude and faith,

Peter Morales


Morales Answers FAQ

June 25, 2009

At the Morales booth at GA we’re having a blast meeting UUs from everywhere!

In response to some Frequently Asked Questions, we’ve updated the FAQ page of Peter’s web site with some important answers.

Changing the climate that’s feeding hate crime

June 20, 2009

Revs. Laurel Hallman and Peter Morales issued a joint statement on hate crime that appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on June 20.

The article states, “It is clear our nation is suffering through an epidemic of violent hate crimes. Our response to these heinous acts must not only be legislative or political, but personal as well. Unitarian Universalists choose to stand on the side of love, in solidarity with those who are targeted with violence, oppression and exclusion based on identity.

This week in Salt Lake City one of the two of us will be elected the new president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Regardless of who is elected, our community recommits itself to promoting the inherent worth and dignity of all people — including those with whom we disagree strongly. We will confront violence, oppression and exclusion based on identity.”

Read the full text here.

Will Morales Move to Boston if Elected?

May 25, 2009

In answer to the persistent rumor that, if elected, Peter Morales will not move to Boston, a few weeks ago Peter sent the following statement to the UUA Board of Trustees and senior staff:

I have had several people contact me in the last week or so with concerns that if elected I would work from Colorado. This is simply not true and has never been my intent.

I want to be clear about my plans. You have a right to know what they are and, hopefully, you can clear up inaccuracies when you hear them.

If elected, I plan to get an apartment in Boston. I would spend approximately the same amount of time at UUA headquarters as the past two presidents. I intend to be as available to staff as is humanly possible. It is also true that the position of the president involves a great deal of travel. This is true regardless of who is president.

However, my wife Phyllis and I plan to keep our home in Colorado. Here is where the confusion has come in. There are many reasons for this decision. Phyllis has her career as a bilingual special education teacher and a deep attachment to her school. It would be a financial disaster to sell our home now. Also, we hope to retire in Colorado and live in our current home. Phyllis and I have been married for 41 years. We have maintained a long distance relationship before.

I do expect that there will be a few times when it saves both time and money to stop in Colorado for a day or two as I travel. Boston, as you have all experienced, is in a far corner of the country. If there are back to back trips to the west, it makes sense to work from Colorado for a couple of days. With modern communications this is not a problem.

Finally, someone raised the question of travel costs between Boston and Denver. If I choose to travel to Colorado for a few days off (e.g., Christmas, after GA), that would of course be at my personal expense. I would never charge that to the Association. That would be unethical.

In sum, if elected I will have a residence in Boston. Staff at the UUA, the Board, and others will not see a change from current practice.

Morales Answers Query on Independent Affiliates

May 18, 2009

On May 13, Peter Morales posted this message to the UUA Election-l list, in response to a question posed by George “Kim” Beach of Madison, VA: “Where do you stand on the highly controversial question of the UUA Board’s decision to disaffiliate ALL Independent Affiliates (a category authorized in the UUA By-laws–see Art. III, Sec. C-3.8) from the UUA? How is this action compatible with our repeated affirmations of “diversity,” or with our commitment to the principle of voluntary association as fundamental to a democratic institution?

Peter’s response follows:

I have thus far declined to respond directly to this list, mostly because it would be impossible to respond to all questions. I make an exception here because this question has come up dozens of times on the campaign trail. Below is the essence of my position:

One of the rules I live by is that if I am doing something that makes my friends angry, I need to stop dead in my tracks and reevaluate.

The UUA Board of Trustees action to disaffiliate organizations is such an action, and as president I’d reevaluate. We have damaged relationships with friends. Beyond this, we clearly need to reach out and heal our relationships with a number of important groups in our movement. As a former member of the Board of Trustees, I understand the board’s position. The number of affiliates had grown unwieldy and board is not equipped to manage all those relationships. The board was correct in concluding that it is ill-suited to overseeing independent affiliates. The mistake was to cut everyone off before an alternative was put into place.

Fortunately, in the new governance model the board is adopting, the task of managing relationships with independent organizations will be the work of the administration. I will welcome the assignment.

While the details of how this will work still need study and planning, in that independent organizations fall into several categories, here is a broad outline of how I would proceed:

First, my administration would begin with the belief that independent organizations can play a critical role in our movement.

Second, we would begin with the realization that relationships have been damaged and need repair.

Third, I believe the most effective way for most organizations to relate to the UUA is through the Association’s existing staff groups. These liaisons need to be worked out in conversation, organization by organization.

In summary, I have long believed that the way our independent affiliates were treated was a mistake. I am committed not only to healing relationships, but to finding new ways of working together to advance our faith.

Audio of April Candidates Forum Posted

May 13, 2009

The audio of the forum conducted at UUA headquarters on April 17 has now been posted. See the link under the New! heading on this page of the UUA web site.

An Important Decision: A Video Testimonial

May 8, 2009

“The futures they represent would be very different,” says Paula Reed of the two UUA Presidential candidates.

Every delegate — in fact, every UU — should watch a concise and compelling new You Tube video “Important Decision”
to find out how members of Peter Morales’s home congregation, Jefferson Unitarian Church of Golden, Colorado, see him up close. What are his priorities, his spirituality, his record as a minister?

Watch this video to learn more from a member of the community that knows him best.

Morales Addresses “Humanist/Theist” Question

April 9, 2009

Three hundred UU’s from Prairie Star District attended the district meeting in Duluth last weekend. The Candidates’ Forum held on Saturday April 4 included video statements from both candidates and statements from their representatives. Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs spoke for Laurel Hallman; Rev. Carol Hepokoski spoke for Peter Morales. Peter’s answer to an importantof the the questions submitted in advance to candidates addressed the “philosophical shift” of our denomination.

Conversation at the Morales Booth at PSD

Conversation at the Morales Booth at PSD


Our denomination seems to be undergoing a philosophical shift. Twenty years ago in our congregation, the concept of a “Christian UU” seemed nonsensical. Now our congregation has a Christian UU minister and many of the secular humanists of previous generations, despite the acceptance of diversity that we say we believe in, are feeling bereft – bereft of a sanctuary from the world of deity (Christian or otherwise). The UU church was the one place in many UU’s lives where those who lived to a different drummer, theologically speaking, could live without the expectation that they subscribe to a divine being. Where they could go on a spiritual or religious journey without having to subscribe to the supernatural. How will you lead us as we struggle with this fundamental challenge?

Peter’s response:
Religion is not ultimately about what we believe. Religion, literally “that which binds us together,” is much more about what we love, what we share and what we aspire to become. A congregation is a religious community of memory and hope.

(Only in modern western society are religious groups defined by what they believe. What do Buddhists believe? Nothing—and they are a great religious tradition.)

The humanist/theist debate is the wrong discussion. It creates division and distraction. It is a debate no one wins and everyone loses.
The questions we should address are these:
• What do we long to create together?
• How do we want to be with one another? What is our image of beloved community?
• How best can we join hands and work together for compassion, justice, peace, freedom, and a planet that will sustain life?

If you and I share a commitment to compassion; if you and I want to create a place where children are raised in a loving community and where elders are honored; if you and I want to end war and oppression; if you and I want to preserve life on earth, then you and I have the same religion.

Compassion, community, justice, peace. These are good humanist values. They are also the teachings of Jesus. Let’s join hands and bring these values to life.