Back in the early to mid 1990s (I think), I used to live in the Lebanon, PA area.
There used to be a funky little shop which sold crystals, “paranormal”/metaphysical/”new age” type books, incense, candles — you get the idea.
Anyway, the woman who owned the place was leader of an organization which called itself something like “Pagan information exchange”. Basically, this was an “umbrella” organization which catered to the (vanishingly few) Non-Christians/Jews in that area.
The membership was ridiculously small, and the shop itself was almost continuously targeted for pickets and protests by a particularly fanatical married couple who also did things like chain themselves to the entryway pillars outside of the local community theeater (when we decided to put on shows like Nunsense or Best Little Whorehouse in Texas).
At any rate, the guy who ran the local role-playing game store (who I swear to you was a dead ringer for “Comic Book guy”, from The Simpsons) just happened to consider himself as a “Laveyan Satanist”.
He was not “allowed” to join Pagan information exchange.
The “reasoning” for this? “Well, if the Fundies knew we allowed a Satanist to join, they’d make our lives hell!”
Now, keep something in mind, here: According to the “Fundies”, there IS no difference between Wiccans, Satanists, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, etc.: they are ALL tacitly treated as — interchangeable — “snares of Satan”. So, allowing the guy to join the organization would have made exactly no difference, with regard to the level of boycotting/protests, etc.
(The “Fundies” already thought the “pagan information exchange” were a bunch of “Satanists”, anyway.)
I wasn’t a member. Hell, I was barely even a semi-regular customer. I was however on (semi)-speaking terms with both the bookstore woman, and the role-playing game store guy.
Thus, I got suckered into the whole mess.
TL;DR: the woman eventually “permitted” him to join — at which point pretty much all of the other members quit the organization, and started actively boycotting her store, to the point where she eventually had to close.
Their reasoning? They didn’t want to be “associated” with a LaVeyan Satanist.
Now, I bring this up because it illustrates a fundamental problem with “eclectic” faiths such as Unitarian Universalism:
Even “eclecticism” has limits. Every “community” necessarily defines itself (at least in part) in opposition to some OTHER community.
Given the fact that UUism is approximately 89% “white”, there can’t really be that much racial/ethnic “diversity” going on.
Also, there’s THIS kind of thing:
Put bluntly: At least one congregation was panicking over whether or not their hymns would be “offensive”, or not, merely because they mentioned the word “God”.
But Mendes, a neo-pagan lay member who led the service, feared that a reference to God in “Once to Every Soul and Nation” might upset the humanists in the pews.
“I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable by reciting something that might be considered a profession of faith,” said Mendes, 52, after the service. “We did say ‘God,’ which you don’t often hear in our most politically correct hymns.”
Welcome to a typical Sunday in the anything-but-typical Unitarian Universalist Association, a liberal religious movement with a proud history of welcoming all seekers of truth — as long as it’s spelled with a lowercase “t.”
Dramatic readings from the biography of 20th-century labor leader John L. Lewis? Sure. An altar crowded with Christian, Buddhist, Islamic and Jewish symbols? Absolutely. God-talk? Umm, well …
Talk about “symbolism over substance”. 😦
So here’s the thing: IF UUism is something other than an utterly empty “husk”, then it should (theoretically) be possible for any given individual who accepts their “seven principles” to practice those principles on their own, WITHOUT bothering to either affiliate with Unitarian Universalism, or even attend their “services”.
Quite simply, UUism strikes me as a sort of “religious” exuviae: