The article (May 27), "Unitarians: Oneness in Diversity," was both interesting and informative. It is comforting to know that, in an age of disillusionment and skepticism, religion still makes suitable front-page copy. It is unfortunate that religion writer Russell Chandler had to resort to a lead-in paragraph describing a striptease, but sex sells and we all know it.
Despite the usefulness of the article, however, several misleading statements beg for clarification, not the least of which is labeling the Unitarian Universalist Assn. "the nation's most liberal Protestant religion." Suggesting that Unitarians are Protestant because they make occasional reference to God is like saying that our President is a clown because he smiles a lot. Ronald Reagan is not funny; neither are Unitarians Protestant.
Unitarians cannot be considered Protestant either historically or doctrinally. As the article states, "the Unitarian religion was first established . . . in 1568," 51 years after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg. Granted, both religious movements began in the 16th Century, but beyond that few truly common features exist.
The critical difference between Unitarians and Protestants, however, concerns the doctrine of the Trinity. As "A Handbook of Christian Theology" points out, "Since the early centuries of the church it (the doctrine of the Trinity) has been considered the primary and distinctive aspect of the Christian conception of God, and even as the central 'mystery' of Christian faith, both as enshrining the deepest truth of Christianity, the root of all others, and as being the most difficult to state adequately." Unitarians can hardly be considered Christian, much less Protestant.