my UU elevator speech – for what it’s worth…

Dan Harper’s “Yet Another Unitarian Universalist” blog entry at called for UU elevator speeches. 

(During Saturday’s debate the two Presidential candidates Peter Morales and Laurel Hallman were also asked to give one. Check it out online. I have to warn you though: Laurel’s speech was apparently designed for the elevator of the Empire State Building.)

So at first I explored some ideas about comparing our relationship between UUs and the Seven Principles with those of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs but that went nowhere. A next attempt to start with history had my imaginary elevator compagnera yawning instantly.

And all in only ten seconds? Impossible! More like fourty (think: tall buildings).

Anyway, here goes:  

(since the embedded video image (above) is so ugly, below a screen shot, the T-shirt reads: When Religion Ruled They Called It The Dark Ages. I bought it from Denver anthropologist David Eller, author of Natural Atheism. I’ll write more about the book at a later point. Until then: Details are at


Here’s the transcript:

“It’s a progressive religion with Christian roots. There’s no one holy book, instead, we find useful ethics and wisdom among many religious and humanist traditions. For us, real spirituality shows itself in what a person does for others, not in what they believe about God or no god. For instance, many UUs do not believe in a God, but practically all believe that you should try to be a good person regardless. So our focus is on social justice, on tolerance, on listening, on empathy. But also on joy. Sex, for example, is seen as a wonderful thing. What was your room number again?”


6 Responses to my UU elevator speech – for what it’s worth…

  1. Curious says:

    Wonderful elevator speech!

    I can just imagine most of the speech being delivered in an earnest, declarative manner, except for the last two sentences which are blurted out as fast as possible after she’s gotten off on her floor and the elevator doors are closing… 🙂

  2. alex says:

    Could I suggest looking to the Sources instead of the Principles…they seem to better describe how we “do religion” and arrive at The Principles. It might even show people how they’re already One Of Us.

  3. juuggernaut says:

    Alex, here’s another one I came up with, but please be clearer on the “Sources” (text only)

    Q: I noticed that bumper sticker on your car: Unitarian Universalist. What’s that about?

    A: Right, Unitarian Universalists – we call ourselves UUs for short – is a largely humanist religion that grew out of two 19th century Christian traditions.
    The unitarians said there’s nothing in the Bible to claim a three-headed god, aka the trinity, and the Universalists thought that God couldn’t possibly be a racist jerk who loved white plantation owners but hated black slaves.
    People who join UUs today often come from a religious home but no longer believe the narrow dogmas of their upbringing. They still have that sense of awe and wonder, and like the social setting, the justice work, thoughtful sermons and the singing that makes church life meaningful.
    There’s no holy book but ministers draw from many worship traditions to reflect on how to live a decent and ethical life. If you want I’ll show you our secret hand shake 🙂

  4. juuggernaut says:

    Oh, and if the requirement really is TEN SECONDS and not a second more only a joke will do:

    Unitarian Universalists? We love to describe ourselves by what we are NOT, but here’s a joke that may give you an idea:
    What will UUs do if you piss them off? They might burn a giant question mark in your yard.

  5. juuggernaut says:

    Dan Harper just uploaded another elevator speech at

    I was so impressed, I just had to transcribe it. Ben’s focus on human dignity in combination with ‘religious mysteries’ works. Who knew you can fit so much into a nutshell!

    Transcript of Ben Borton, Staten Island, NY

    Q: I heard you say you’re a Unitarian Universalist? What does that mean?

    A: That’s a big mouthful. But it means that we are a movement of diverse people who unite around the idea of human dignity. And we figure that religious mysteries should be determined ultimately by each person. You can be Humanist or Theist, Christian or Non-Christian but so long as we’re committed to the dignity and worth of every person we believe that we can be in a religious community together.

    Q: Sounds like a pretty cool church. So where is your church?

    A: [gives address]. We meet at 11 o’clock, and let me know when you are coming, I’ll be there to greet you.

  6. Tracey says:

    That was great 😉

    Thanks for the info about the canidates forum – I was really disappointed it wasn’t at the UUA’s site.

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