An Arkansas Unitarian Universalist church received a racist, anti-LGBT note after an area newspaper published a letter to the editor from a minister from the congregation. The letter to the editor, penned by Rev. Alice Hurley, expressed support for marriage equality and the separation of church and state.
The angry response came in the form of a typed, typo-ridden note that ranted against Communists, Muslims, and Socialists, and suggested that the recipient “move to Ferguson, Mo. … since you like [n word]s and queers so well.” It concluded with “We true Southerners know where you live asshole!!!!!”
According to the Arkansas Times blog, someone also shot a pellet gun at a church window; it is not certain whether the same person shot at the window as left the anonymous note.
The congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mountain Home, posed this note on its Facebook page Wednesday:
“Recently information has been posted online regarding the racial aggression that was directed towards our fellowship. Unfortunately this is a true incident. We appreciate your concern. The note was apparently in response to a letter to the editor by our Lay Minister Alice Hurley. As far as I know there has been no further action and all of the congregation is fine. We still welcome everyone to our fellowship.”
Here is an excerpt from Hurley’s letter to the editor, which was published in the Baxter Bulletin, as reproduced on the Arkansas Times blog:
“While the Arkansas Supreme Court considers their position on same-sex marriage, let's take a moment to reflect on the importance of the separation of state and church. Arkansas state, as a representation of all people contained within its boundaries, cannot dictate the conduct of a church or fellowship of any religion or philosophy. It has a responsibility to ensure all citizens are treated equally under the law. Conversely, individuals and private organizations, religious or otherwise, do have the right of discrimination. …
“We at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mountain Home choose not to discriminate. Our Fellowship Hall is open to all truth-seekers, regardless of race or sexual orientation. Please feel free to visit our fellowship and consider becoming part of our family. We respect the right of people to choose their marriage partners for themselves, and are happy to perform, for members or non-members, commitment ceremonies and same-sex marriages, as soon as the state of Arkansas realizes it cannot discriminate and must ensure that all of its citizens are equal under the law.”
The Unitarian Universalist Association website says that UU congregations “work to promote acceptance, inclusion, understanding, and equity for LGBTQ persons of all ages, abilities, colors, and genders, both within our denomination and in society at large. We are committed to protecting the civil and legal rights of LGBTQ people and families across the country.”
The issue of marriage equality is before the courts in Arkansas, where a state court ruling struck down a ban on marriage for same-sex couples in May. Soon after that ruling, the state Supreme Court halted marriages for same-sex couples when it said that the ruling against the state constitution’s ban did not overturn all Arkansas marriage laws and a statue limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples remained in play. The Arkansas Supreme Court will hold a hearing in the case November 20.