Monday, October 06, 2008

If it's any consolation for those upset with Rev. Sinkford

for playing straight man in Iranian President Ahmadinejad's carefully scripted dinner with Religions For Peace, the fears that we would be quoted in foreign papers and played for propaganda purposes have not been realized. I've been following stories about the dinner from international newsgroups , Iranian newspapers , even information from occupied Iraq , and there's no mention of us anywhere. Despite the glowing words, and the gratuitous dig at President Bush, the quotes weren't used. All attention was reserved for the bigger, more influential churches, such as the Mennonites and Zoroastrians.

What profiteth a man to stain his soul for publicity, and not get the ink?


Chalicechick said...

Whew. I'd been keeping an eye on them too, and also hadn't seen anything.


ms. kitty said...

I've had several responses now to my second query on the ministers' chat and all of them have been positive about his participation in this meeting. Some responses were passionately positive.

I don't know how much you looked into the FOR's website and articles about the meeting but I found them informative and encouraging.

Robin Edgar said...

I am not all that surprised that, after some prodding from Rev. Ketchum, there have been a few "passionately positive" responses to President Sinkford's participation in the "carefully scripted" Fellowship of Reconciliation meetings Iranian President Ahmadinejad from a few U*U ministers on the closed U*U ministers' email list. What would (pleasantly) surprise me is if there were any *passionately negative* or even moderately negative responses posted by U*U ministers, with the exception of those who have already spoken out rather passionately on their personal blogs of course. I have seen too many times how the code of silence imposed by the UUA and UUMA works to suppress well deserved criticism of U*U ministers from their colleagues. I do believe that there are some significant, and possibly growing. . . chinks in the rather tarnished armor of the UUA and UUMA, but it is clear that a good number of U*U clergy are still quite beholden to, if not enthralled by, the tacit and explicit code of silence that strongly discourages U*U clergy from publicly, or even privately, criticizing the unbecoming, unprofessional, or otherwise questionable behaviour of their *fellowshipped* colleagues. Who would have thought that there might be a handful, or even considerably more than a handful. . . of Sinkford Psychophants on the U*U ministers email list?

"the fears that we would be quoted in foreign papers and played for propaganda purposes have not been realized."

Well not quite Joel. UUA President Bill Sionkford was "played" for propaganda purposes in the one propaganda organ he has some control over. Like Bill Baar I have little doubt that a primary motivation of President Sinkford was to "play" to the home audience of his "tiny, declining, fringe religion." The fact that the Iranian propagandists, as opposed to the UUA and FOR *propaghandists*, totally disregarded the role that President Sinkford played in their evidently manipulative charade only underlines just how irrelevant Unitarian*Universalism is on the "stage" of world religions. There is little doubt in my mind that President Sinkford did also hope to gain some "ink" for U*Uism in the international press and I am quite gratified that he failed in that regard. To be honest I was somewhat surprised that his participation in the FOR meetings with Ahmadinejad did not even rate passing mention in the Tehran Times. Of course there is nary a mention of the Fellowship of Reconciliation meetings with President Ahmadinejad for some reason.

OTOH Thanks to the dismay and condemnation expressed by a good number of U*U bloggers, including a couple of U*U ministers who clearly chose to disregard the UUMA's code of silence, it would appear that the "Fool" of the U*U World received a bit of a drubbing on the U*U World blog today. I would love to see this U*U World blog post titled 'Reactions to Sinkford's meeting with Iran's president' repeated verbatim in the U*U World magazine that is distributed to thousands of U*U U*U Worldwide but I am not holding my breath on that unlikely scenario. . .

I can't help but wonder if the overwhelmingly and indeed *passionately* negative response of several U*U bloggers, including a couple of outspoken U*U ministers, had anything to do with the fact that the Iranian propagandists apparently decided not to mention President Sinkford's participation in their charade. I consider this scenario to be somewhat unlikely and expect that it had more to do with the fact that U*Uism is a) tiny, b) declining, and c) fringe, when compared to most of those other "obsolete religions, created for another time" as candidate for next UUA President Rev. Peter Morales put it.

BTW I am not sure that "Religions For Peace" were involved in these particular meetings with President Ahmadinejad. Do you mean the WCRP i.e. World Conference of Religions for Peace? Are you confusing the WCRP with the FOR perhaps?