13 December 2009

Top Ten Reasons U/Us aren't identified as U/Us by historians, when Quakers are almost always identified as Quakers.

. . . (With apologies to David Letterman because this is his shtick.)

10. General cultural prejudice against U/Us.

9. The term "Universalist" carries almost no recognition.

8. The term "Unitarian" started out as an insult, and probably still is to some.

7. Some of our churches bear nondenominational names. (Examples: King's Chapel, All Souls, First Parish, Church of Our Father.)

6. Some of our churches carry the names of other denominations. (Examples: Unity, Congregational, Non-Subscribing Presbyterian, Polish Brethren.)

5. Our well-known forebears are confused with Congregationalists, Puritans, or some other religious movement.

4. Our well-known forebears are identified with nonreligious movements. (Examples: Priestley is often labeled a scientist, not a Unitarian minister; Emerson is often labeled a Transcendentalist.)

3. Biographers may lack specialized knowledge of religious history and may therefore avoid mentioning the subject's religious affiliation.

2. Being Universalist or Unitarian is simply not considered relevant. (One prominent biographer, David McCullough, whose massive best-selling biography John Adams makes no mention of Adams' Unitarianism, stated that being a Mennonite or Quaker is "historically significant" but being a Unitarian isn't.)

And, the number one reason historians often identify Quakers by their religion but seldom identify U/Us:

1. The Quakers have a line of breakfast cereal and we don't.

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