On hot-button issues, UCC is anything but reserved

"Jesus was not about excluding people"
When it comes to volatile political issues, the United Church of Christ is not often content simply to issue statements.

Its new general minister and president, Geoffrey A. Black, delivered 17,000 petition signatures this fall to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that urged health-care reform—including coverage for all and access regardless of ability to pay.

Black’s predecessor as UCC president, John Thomas, was arrested at the White House two years ago, trying to deliver 100,000 petition signatures against the war in Iraq.

“The church has a long tradition of being involved in the large public issues of the day,” said Thomas, 59, of Shaker Heights, Ohio. “Going back to the 19th century, we supported women’s rights and the abolitionist movement. Today, we’ve been active in issues ranging from rights for gays and lesbians to ending the war in Iraq.”


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