Sunday, March 06, 2011

Questioning the moral authority of the UUA and leadership

Sunday's post on "Boy in the Bands" begins, "I’ve had many misgivings about the UUA over the years: its direction, its leadership, its poor service providence, its continuing exclusion of Christians, its culture of preciousness, its old boys and girls networks, its relevance in today’s world." What moved him to write was a guest post on Musings and Essays by the former District Executive of the Clara Barton District, describing how she'd been forced out of her position. Coming as it did after the controversial firing of the Pacific Central District Executive- over the objections of the PCD board- it's easy to understand why Scott says, "...but now we have the suggestion of a plan."

I imagine that Scott was reminded, as I was, of the way Boston mishandled the disaffiliation of the Independent Affiliates, something that has left lasting resentment and bewilderment... and they seem to have learned nothing from it. It's especially ironic when you consider how we try to lecture our political leaders about transparency in governance, even to the point of our previous Association President praising Iranian President Ahmadinejad for meeting with him and answering questions, something he presumed that our own President would not have done. (Not that he had actually asked) And yet our own Association leadership is scarcely a role model to emulate.

When you think about it, "Do as I preach, not as I do," seems to be our motto. We are busy right now lecturing everyone through open letters and a "Standing On The Side Of Love" campaign about how collective bargaining for public employees is a human right, and yet this summer we will, for the fifth time in sixteen years, hold our General Assembly in a state where it's forbidden by law. We are always lecturing others about class, race, and racism, and yet our own experience with racial issues begins with the Black Affairs Council walking out of the 1969 General Assembly, and disaffiliating from us the following year... and since then, we've been the only mainline church in America to actually get whiter and richer over the years. We are always faxing Washington about wages, immigration, even minutia like transportation policy, and telling them that our policies are the way to future growth and national prosperity... and yet our five decades of stagnation and failure to thrive have resulted in Association layoffs recently. It's a wonder that every Congressman we've emailed hasn't replied with a link to this song:

I may start referring to such things as "mote" issues in the future- as in, " canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me cast out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

1 comment:

Elz Curtiss said...

Thanks for mentioning the disaffiliation of the former affiliates. What a strong contrast to Roman Catholicism's response to such initatives, in the founding of the various religious orders. Instead of condemning them, they cut deals establishing mutual loyalties, and agreeing that service to these groups constituted a good Catholic practice -- provided it didn't interfere with attending the Mass. And their interlocking clergy are a model we can only hope to emulate.

Oh, wait -- did I say something GOOD could come from coming Roman Catholic history and polity? Isn't that one of the few things we know about how our association deals with Christianity -- that we stick with what's in the Bible, and avoid the mistakes of the Church? Well, yes, and I'm certainly happy with those two statements. I'm just trying to add a third leg to that stool -- let's learn from what even the Roman Catholics have done right!