Unsung Hero of An Uncommon Denomination: Abner Kneeland, Heretic


Some know him as “The Last Man Jailed for Blasphemy.” Abner Kneeland was a Universalist  minister and social reformer who spoke out against strident religion, and who advocated equal rights for women and blacks, supported interracial marriage and birth control – in the 1820s, mind you! No wonder he was said to be 100 years ahead of his time! Given the rise in  fundamentalist religion (Christian, Islamic and otherwise), and with it, rigid labeling of believers and heathens, and renewed calls for banning  blasphemous books, artwork and ideology, what might we modern-day UUs learn as a cautionary tale from Kneeland’s crusade and its price?



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