Rev. Ben Bortin.
Over the centuries, Unitarianism, and to a large extent, Universalism have been characterized by an “f” word — freedom. “…no one shall be reviled for his (or her) religion by anyone…” stated a decree by the Unitarian king, John Sigismond of Transylvania in 1557. Being free “to be me,” religiously and in general, is still a struggle in 2021. Freedom continues to be in extremely scant supply in our world. There is another related issue of concern, however. Some who celebrate the worthy aim of individual freedom also hold that each of us, free human beings, have no responsibility toward one another. That, as the ancient Hebrew prophets have reminded us, is also ethically misguided.
Rev. Ben Bortin served eight years as minister of First Unitarian Church in Duluth, Minnesota, and 21 years as minister of the Unitarian Church of Staten Island. He also served as Membership and Volunteer Coordinator at the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, New York, for 12 years. He is past President of the UU United Nations Office Board.