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U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

The official governing body of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, it is made up of bishops, archbishops and cardinals. The USCCB adopted this name in 2001; note that U.S. is abbreviated, not spelled out. USCCB is used on second reference.

Filed in Catholicism

ultra-Orthodox

A term sometimes applied to strictly observant Jews such as the Hasidim who are distinguished by their style of dress, physical appearance and attention to religious ritual. Some Jewish communities described as ultra-Orthodox, such as the Lubavitch Hasidim, find the term offensive. Agudath Israel of America, an umbrella group that includes other Hasidic and many non-Hasidic Orthodox Jews, also objects to the term. Other groups do not. The term is also commonly used to describe right-wing religious parties in Israeli politics. Haredi (or Charedi) is another term sometimes used as an alternative to ultra-Orthodox, though it is not widely known. Haredi is treated under a separate stylebook entry. Be aware that Modern Orthodox is a separate category of Orthodox Judaism, and it is an acceptable term that is also treated under a separate stylebook entry. See also Modern Orthodox.

Filed in Judaism, Orthodox

Ummah

Pronounced “OOM-mah.” The worldwide community of Muslims.

Filed in Islam

unchurched

This term can be offensive to non-Christians. When using it, put the word in quotes.

Filed in Religion and culture

Unification Church

The formal name of this organization founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon is the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, but Unification Church is acceptable in all references. Moon launched it in 1954 in South Korea, six years after the Presbyterian Church of Korea excommunicated him for beliefs it said were incompatible with traditional Christianity. Among other beliefs, followers reject the Trinity, saying instead that God is a single being with male and female aspects. Members are often called Moonies, but the term is considered derogatory; they call themselves Unificationists. Use Moonies only in direct quotes.

Filed in Christianity, Other faiths, Protestantism

Unitarian Universalist

The Unitarian Universalist Association encourages a wide spectrum of belief. Many members believe in God, but atheists also find a home in this denomination. Unitarian Universalists do not believe Jesus was divine and are not considered Christians, although they would welcome Christians — or just about anyone — in their churches. They employ a congregational form of government.

Filed in Atheism/Agnosticism, Other faiths

United Church of Christ

A mainline Protestant denomination and the largest of the Congregationalist denominations. The word church is applied only to individual, local churches. Clergy members are known as ministers. Pastor is used if a minister leads a congregation. On first reference, use the Rev. before the name. On second reference, use only the last name.

Filed in Christianity, Protestantism

United Methodist Church

The largest Methodist denomination and the second-largest Protestant body in the United States. Officially, the denomination is The United Methodist Church, but the Religion Stylebook follows Associated Press style in not capitalizing “The” as part of the name. See Methodist churches.

Filed in Protestantism

Unity Church

A denomination that says it promotes “practical Christianity.” It is the primary church in the “New Thought” movement, which teaches belief in monism, the universal presence of creative energy, or God, within the world and within all people. Some adherents accept traditional Christian beliefs about Jesus, but many do not.

Filed in Christianity, Protestantism

untouchable

The traditional English term for members of the lowest rung of the caste ladder in India. The term is increasingly being replaced in common usage by other terms, and some now regard it as offensive. In the early part of the 20th century, Mahatma Gandhi began referring to members of the lowest caste as Harijan (“children of God”), while the Indian government adopted the term Scheduled Castes. Since Indian independence, the government has gradually increased the benefits it provides to members of the Scheduled Castes, as well as the Shudra caste of servants and menial laborers, known collectively as the “Other Backward Classes.” See caste system.

Filed in Hinduism

Upanishads

Pronounced “oo-PAAN-ish-ud.” The Upanishads are the final sections of each of the four Vedas, or Hindu scriptures. These texts are spiritual dialogues in which teachers and students discuss ultimate questions of human existence.

Filed in Hinduism