Unitarian Jihad

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On 8 April 2005, humorist Jon Carroll wrote a piece on "Unitarian Jihad" in the San Francisco Chronicle. "Jihad" refers to a struggle for a principle or belief[1]. As of 12 April a Google search on "Unitarian Jihad" found over 900 pages with that term on it. That increased to 36900 by the end of the first week.

Carroll's use of humorous names in the essay is delightful. The names incorporate weapons (signifying passionate engagement) with peaceful epithets. May the Pepper Spray of your Passion interdepend with the Web of your Warm Humanitarianism.

Here are some more pointers to this amazing phenomenon:

And some links on Unitarian Universalism:

Unitarian Universalists: Radically diverse. Spiritually alive. Justice centered. Our journey starts here.

On Wikipedia

Here is the old Wikipedia article, from before it got deleted.

Unitarian Jihad is a satirical religious/humanist movement which opposes religious extremism of all kinds through peaceful means.

The concept of the Unitarian Jihad originated in a column by writer Jon Carroll which was originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 8 2005. The column intentionally juxtaposed the Unitarian Universalist principles of a creedless faith and rational discussion with the militant Islamic concept of Jihad, and used the concept of having received an anonymous communique from the then non-existent group.


Greetings to the Imprisoned Citizens of the United States. We are Unitarian Jihad. There is only God, unless there is more than one God. The vote of our God subcommittee is 10-8 in favor of one God, with two abstentions. Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation noted the possibility of there being no God at all, and his objection was noted with love by the secretary...
...We are Unitarian Jihad. We are everywhere. We have not been born again, nor have we sworn a blood oath. We do not think that God cares what we read, what we eat or whom we sleep with. Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity notes for the record that he does not have a moral code but is nevertheless a good person, and Unexalted Leader Garrote of Forgiveness stipulates that Brother Neutron Bomb of Serenity is a good person, and this is to be reflected in the minutes.

Both links to Carroll's column, and the text of the column, were distributed on the Internet. Some people who read this proclaimed themselves to be members of the Unitarian Jihad.

Following Jon Carroll's satirical lead, the people who have declared themselves members of the Unitarian Jihad talk about committees, a model common in Unitarian Universalist congregations. They also follow Carroll's lead in using names like "Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation", a combination of Title + Weapon + Common Unitarian Noun, in order to parody both the language used by Islamic militant groups and the principles of Unitarian Universalism.

After this initial flurry of activity, the "movement" stablized some. The most active "cell" is the Livejournal community. The movement caused quite a stir amongst various UU congregations, and several sermons have remarked on the movement. The most recent notable event was Jon Carroll himself attending a sermon about the movement, dicussing his motivations in writing the article, and his perspective on Unitarian Universalism in general.

External links