Rev Dr Daniel Kanter
As part of our periodic UUWF key issues survey, we invited participants to name UU ministers who have done exemplary work to advance justice for women and girls. We did not restrict these kudos to one gender, and indeed we received the names of male identified ministers whose congregants appreciated and wanted their contributions to be recognized.
Reverend Dr. Daniel Kanter, Senior Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, was named numerous times. And it is not surprising given , as described in an article in the UU World (December 2015), “the long and storied history” of this congregation with regard to reproductive justice, going back to the major role its Women’s Alliance played in working with Texas attorney Sarah Weddington on the historic U.S. Supreme Court Roe V. Wade case in 1973.
Daniel uses his pulpit, and most frequently his public prophetic witness pulpit including Facebook, to speak out about reproductive injustices. He posted recently following the passage of a bill in Oklahoma that would have criminalized physicians who performed abortions in that state, which was vetoed by Governor Mary Fallin:
“What does making abortion services illegal in Oklahoma do? Pushes women to other states to get care, increases poverty levels of women especially women of color, and puts lives in danger as home remedies will be used. Sad that governments make ideological decisions over protective ones.”
Reverend Kanter serves on the Planned Parenthood’s national Clergy Advocacy Board — which is celebrating its 75th anniversary in June — and also on the local affiliate board. He is working to organize as many interfaith clergy and leaders to have respectful conversations around reproductive rights, and to be with the women seeking abortions and contraceptive services.
Following the killings last year at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, in the UU World interview, Kanter advised against further division or demonization of anti-choice protesters who march outside Planned Parenthood clinics. “We would do well to hold them accountable but also to respect their dignity,” he said. “We can’t be ‘Standing on the Side of Polarization,’” he said. “We can’t repeat the hostility of the religious right with regard to things like this shooting. We have to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves in our approach,” and “a lot of grieving has to happen.”
— Rev. Marti Keller