These were the words I read in response to the firebombing of the Community Unitarian Universalist Church of Plano, Texas, which occurred July 23, 2023. I felt my heart sink, not just at the devastation wrought on a sister faith community in Texas, but the nonchalance with which this act of sectarian violence was minimized and dismissed. It presupposes that in places in our country which lean politically conservative, particularly conservative Republican, or favoring at times radical right-wing politics, that such violence should be expected as the normative response to outliers. It nearly brought me to tears.
We, as Unitarian Universalists, are members of what I have heard described as “a quiet faith.” We usually don’t evangelize, proselytize, or seek to convert others. We do, regularly, engage in social activism in alignment with principles. But, generally, we pass under the radar of our society’s notice or expectations of what it means to be a member of a faith community, but when they do see us, they see our steadfast commitment to our principles. It is hard enough to be a progressive congregation in an atmosphere of mistrust and even hate in a ‘conservative’ community, and harder still in times where the rhetoric becomes ever more divisive, and at times violent, stoking incidents of this kind. It isn’t that it’s “just Texas,” it’s that in places like this community in Texas being a beacon of progressive values and of welcome is increasingly a flashpoint for some. It must be so very hard to feel alone, and now, unwelcome in your community.
Fortunately, no one was physically harmed, and the damage sustained to the building was quickly contained. The Unitarian Universalist congregations in their area ask that notes and cards of support be sent. I would encourage us, here, to send our written words of support and care, to let them know they aren’t alone; they are one light among many. To let them know it isn’t that it’s “just Texas”; it’s just bad people with bad intentions. That with our collective light, we can change the world, be steadfast, welcoming, and that we will go on.
The congregation will also be collecting donations to help offset the cost of repairs. The mailing address for the congregation is:
Community Unitarian Universalist Church
2875 East Parker Road
Plano, TX 75074