General Assembly Booth Denied

On March 24, 2021, we received an email from the Director of the General Assembly & Conference Services indicating that the Fifth Principle Project’s booth application at the June virtual General Assembly had been placed “on hold.”

The email indicated that the hold was motivated by the receipt of three emails “expressing concern about the presence of the Fifth Principle Booth.”  The three emails were generally non-specific criticism of the Fifth Principle Project and the projection that the booth would be a “disruptive presence.”  See a review of that letter by Jim Aikin, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

We later discovered more critical emails had been received.  We ask, therefore, that supporters send emails expressing their support for the Fifth Principle Project booth at General Assembly.  See Make Your Opinion Known (below).

Zoom Meeting

The issue of the booth’s application was discussed at a Zoom session held on April 7 with the Director of the General Assembly & Conference Services, the UUA Executive VP and an Assembly Planner.  The Zoom meeting was professionally conducted, but it was clear that the booth’s application was not moving forward due to the booth’s name, Fifth Principle Project.

It did not take much to read between the lines that there is a cabal of individuals wishing to silence the Fifth Principle Project.

That effort may have succeeded if it had not been for Jay’s candidacy for a UUA Board of Trustees position.  We requested the booth (a) to inform GA attendees of the Fifth Principle advocacy group and (2) alert GA delegates of Jay’s candidacy.

We were “invited” to change the name of our booth. We declined the invitation.  The objections to the booth’s name were based solely on the criticism raised in emails we never saw or had an opportunity to dispute.  Nonetheless, it was implied that such a position would most likely negatively impact our booth’s application.

At the time of the posting of this Discussion, it is not known if our GA booth application will move forward.

We took an action item from the meeting to devise a solution that would both satisfy the UUA and preserve the intent of the booth.  See Letter to UUA and General Assembly Staff below.

Make Your Opinion Known

Since a number of detractors have deemed it appropriate to contact GA and UUA officials, we ask that supporters of a Fifth Principle Project equally share their opinions.  It is important that a balanced view be presented to decision makers with emails from supporters.

Contact

Letter to UUA and General Assembly Staff

April 8, 2021

We very much appreciated the opportunity to meet on April 7, 2021 via Zoom regarding your concerns about our General Assembly booth application. We have discussed your request that we change the name of our booth, currently the Fifth Principle Project, as a condition for granting permission for the booth application to move forward.

Our understanding is that your strong preference is for us to ignore any reference to our advocacy group, the Fifth Principle Project. You have requested this booth name change, as we understand it, because you have received some objections to our presence at General Assembly. We have tried to allay your concerns by reiterating our purposes for requesting the booth—to advocate for a renewal of our Fifth Principle within our denomination and to support Jay’s candidacy.

We remain mystified as to why such advocacy has been met with any objection at all, much less the level of objection you described during the meeting. This advocacy is, however, the rationale for Jay’s putting himself forward as a candidate for the UUA Board. It is the platform on which he will run his campaign. While this has been described by us as the reasons for our booth, the two are unified by Jay’s rationale for running. During his campaign he will articulate the Fifth Principle Platform. It is because of this that we want to follow LaTonya’s suggestion that the name be changed from the Fifth Principle Project to Jay Kiskel, Fifth Principle Candidate for the UUA Board.

Please kindly respond quickly to this suggested change and tell us if this meets your demands and allows for our booth application to move forward.

Sincerely,

Jay and Frank

Join The Fifth Principle Project

Join the Fifth Principle Project (it’s free) so you can stay connected with others who want to reinvigorate the right of conscience and renew the democratic process in the governing of our denomination.

Used to Be UU

Our book Used to Be UU is available on Amazon.com (search by the book title).

Painstakingly researched and engagingly written, Used to Be UU is a vitally important book for all of us who feel we’ve found our spiritual home in Unitarian Universalism.

This book is a remarkable analysis of the dangers to Unitarian Universalism (UU) by the increasingly authoritarian governance by the leadership of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA).

The amazing thing is how well the authors succeed in laying out what is happening: the gradual grabbing of institutional power by the few and the gradual movement which turns a body whose purpose is to serve individual churches with their own self rule into a body that increasingly controls the churches and deprives them of the means to access one another and work together apart from oversight from above

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David
David
10 days ago

This, of course, merely makes them look worse and, basically, serves to “prove the point.”

The irony, of course, was folks saying “Don’t read this book” only served to make The Gadfly Papers a bestseller. I know members at my congregation who bought the book specifically because they were told not to read it. Many have said the GA et al reaction to his book proved as accurate many of the arguments in the book.

Last edited 10 days ago by David
Mariah Springstead
Mariah Springstead
10 days ago

I copied and pasted this entire email to my entire congregation. I’ll catch “hell” for it I’m sure, but I’m really upset that the minister and a handful of powerful congregants are suppressing any mention of this.

David
David
10 days ago

When in doubt, speak to the congregation. That’s my practice and congregants have thanked me for it.

Mariah Springstead
Mariah Springstead
10 days ago
Reply to  David

Yeah. Right now I’m getting a few (quite) “thanks” and some very loud, very public, condemnation. We’ll see what this looks like tomorrow.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
10 days ago

In response to what?

Mariah Springstead
Mariah Springstead
10 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I sent this article about the booth denial to my congregation. One person said thank you and that he had sent the emails asking that the powers that be reconsider. Another person said I was spreading hate and now she’s scared because she’s LGBT+ (It’s worth noting that she and I are, or were, friends and she’s babysat my kids.) There is now a row going on about what a terrible person I am because of that. Then there’s the other friend who is screaming into the internet that no one should talk about any of this publicly and it… Read more »

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
10 days ago

I’m grateful for your bravery.

David
David
10 days ago

Another person said I was spreading hate and now she’s scared because she’s LGBT+” A most curious response. Does she also believe FFP eats babies, tortures puppies and perform Satanic rituals?

Mariah Springstead
Mariah Springstead
10 days ago
Reply to  David

This is a friend of mine. I don’t want to laugh at her, I want a real conversation that fixes this.

Sally G
Sally G
9 days ago
Reply to  David

No, she read about the death threats that people have received, even among UUs—I was a virtual observer at a UUA board meeting when one was received; it was scary even from hundreds of miles away. The hate is real, and as we try to combat it without swinging the pendulum to the other side, I think we must be gentle with the fearful

Last edited 9 days ago by Sally G
Sally G
Sally G
9 days ago

I have had a trans individual express concerns for their safety in being included in e-mail chains with individuals whom they do not know. So I understand to some degree your friend’s concern, but I believe that it is excessive. OTOH, as a cis woman, I have never felt such fear (maybe some sexist remarks, but not actual concern for physical safety)—I am sure that there is a lot of tension, especially after 4 years of Trump and only a narrow repudiation of same. Look at all the voter-suppression laws being passed—people are sensitive, perhaps overly so (perhaps not), and… Read more »

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
10 days ago

I don’t have a good idea of who 5PP people are and what they stand for because they’ve denied my request to join their closed FB group. It’s hard for me to take seriously a concern that they’re being denied a chance to take part in the conversation when they’ve denied me a chance to take part in the conversation.

David
David
10 days ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

You’re taking part in it right now. This section is literally called the “discussion section.” You’ve visited this website numerous times and don’t know what 5PP stands for? There’s an ‘about’ link at the top of this page.

Last edited 10 days ago by David
Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
10 days ago
Reply to  David

What is the reason for the closed FB group?

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
10 days ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

I already told you. You’re not listening. And I must inform you that your persistent whining about that FB group is getting tedious. I urge you to just drop it.

Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
8 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I re-read the thread from earlier, but I still don’t know what would be lost from opening the FB group. What would be lost by opening the FB group?

Sally G
Sally G
8 days ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Agreed, I was not part of what was presumably a private conversation. I am not a fan of doing things on Facebook, but its one feature for me (others may differ, of course), is its wide reach, not its use for closed discussion. (Possible exception being a place for administrators of a public Facebook group to chat; I have that situation in one of my groups). Actually, I just thought of the other, exemplified by a secret group that I started years ago when the institution that was carefully alluded to, but not named, in the secret group’s name, refused… Read more »

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
8 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

The members of the FB group have been adamant about membership only for supporters of 5PP. The group will not be opened to those who only seek to impede or oppose our purpose. This is non-negotiable.

Sally G
Sally G
8 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

O.K., that is clear, and I guess I understand, though I find Facebook an odd choice for such a group. In any case, that is a rational method of defining group membership, regardless of platform.

Last edited 8 days ago by Sally G
Tom Clowes
Tom Clowes
8 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

You decided to keep the FB group closed because it is the popular thing to do? I just don’t understand how it aligns with your values. I guess I never will.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
8 days ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

I want to thank Tom for supplying a first rate example of just why that FB group is closed to people like him who cruise for every opportunity to twist and pervert what people say. There’s plenty of opportunity for that on the other UU FB groups. Join them. If you do it again here, I’m going to drop you from this page.

Sally G
Sally G
7 days ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Not about popularity, about a group with a specific purpose deciding what works for their goal, not wanting to be distracted.

David
David
7 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

Candid discussions amongst members of a group may sometimes require it be closed. It often also requires confidentiality. Nothing odd about that.

Sally G
Sally G
6 days ago
Reply to  David

Agreed, I do not see the rationale as odd just the choice to host that on a platform such as Facebook, which is so accessible to so many. I would probably choose something like slack for such a discussion group, but I have no problem with the closed group given the reason that it was established as private.

Marian Elizabeth Hennings
Marian Elizabeth Hennings
5 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

Sea lions have invaded some other FB sites in the past, so there was a need to have some sites closed.

Donna Templeton
Donna Templeton
9 days ago
Reply to  Tom Clowes

Read my post which explains who I am and why I joined the Fifth Principle Project.

Robert South
Robert South
10 days ago

I read this book. It agreed with my own instincts and troubled me. I have been reading further, including Cynical Theories. “What to do” was a big skimpy. I think it may be too late. We’ll become the Church of Social Justice Theory. After COVID the General Assembly delegate population will consist of the well financed and highly motivated who can travel across the country to play for a week. Evolution over time may change things, and congregations may survive with some degree of independence, but perhaps it’s time to start designing a better equivalent of association for congregations to… Read more »

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
10 days ago
Reply to  Robert South

Thanks Robert. Excellent remarks, particularly your view that you’d prefer pluralism as opposed to a church for agnostics. I would add atheists, but I get and support that view.

David
David
10 days ago
Reply to  Robert South

What you describe is interfaith. Interfaith isn’t just people having different religions and respecting that, but finding areas of common ground, of which there are usually many including spiritual.

Lee N.
Lee N.
5 days ago
Reply to  Robert South

It is possible that my background and experiences are too far from yours for me to understand easily, but I am trying. I Googled “Social Justice Theory takeover” and found a book by Critchlow. Reading the blurb on Amazon.com it seems to be trying to cast progressives as malicious actors. However, a sign that my background is very different from Critchlow’s is that many of the supposedly damning points sound like positives to me. To me it sounds like progressives have successfully persuaded others of the merits of their ideas and many of those ideas have been implemented. I suspect… Read more »

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
5 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

Allow me to strongly suggest you read our book. It would help greatly with your contributions here.

Lee N.
Lee N.
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Unfortunately, there is a sort of a Catch-22 here. If there is a chance that the book is supporting intolerance then I do not wish to financially support it any way. But how can I know the extent to which it supports intolerance if I haven’t read it?

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
4 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

Well then, you could say that about most any book or essay ever written about theology, religion, and politics. Seems like a good way to derail a good liberal arts education, not to mention your own capacity for discernment and sound judgment. One other remark in response to that key piece of information you say is missing. It’s missing because UU leadership has not supplied it. They never supplied any specifics to Todd Eklof, or to Kate Rohde. So, if you find information about the specifics of offending language missing, that’s because it is in fact missing.

Lee N.
Lee N.
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

There is a lot of mention here of how people, groups, and ideas were suppressed by other people, groups, and ideas, but little to nothing that allows me to evaluate for myself what happened. What did Todd Eklof, Kate Rohde, etc. say or write? And if the UUA gave a response longer than “no”, what was it?

Although I have almost nothing to go on, I suspect it is a language difference, much like our discussions of “accountability” here; that the members of the first group used words that mean racism to the second group.

Sally G
Sally G
4 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

I am not sure why you would presume that a book that purports to support democracy would support intolerance? That seems counterintuitive to me.

Lee N.
Lee N.
4 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

Yes, you are right, the reason is outside of that. There is a group of characters, some of whom I trust, who have advised me to be wary of the 5PP. I want to see for myself, but not at the risk of enabling harm.

Sally G
Sally G
9 days ago

Are there others running for the UUA board? Do they have booths under their name or that of their organization?

David
David
9 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

There has not been a Board Election is over a decade. This is the first such candidate in all that time.

Donna Templeton
Donna Templeton
9 days ago

This is the letter I wrote to Carey Richardson and LaTonya McDonald. I also sent a copy to members of my women’s circle who will be meeting Monday night to discuss the 8th Principle. It will be interesting to see what reaction I get. I am writing to voice my support for having a Fifth Principle booth at the 2021 GA and also expressing my concern that there seems to be some reluctance to allow it. I am a member of First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR and also a member of the Fifth Principle Project. I would like to… Read more »

WebMaster
WebMaster
9 days ago

Donna, thank you for your thoughtful comments. In 2022 there is a scheduled vote at GA regarding changes to our Principles. Those changes are being drafted by the Article II Study Commission. We requested that the Fifth Principle Project be a stakeholder in the planned spring conversations. Will update all on this website when we learn more about the ability of members of the Fifth Principle Project to participate.

Sally G
Sally G
8 days ago
Reply to  WebMaster

Is there a booth in support of the Eighth Principle? If so, by analogy, there should certainly be one in support of any of the principles (though I guess once established, there is not a perceived need?).

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
8 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

My understanding is that will be a group for both the eighth and the first principle. But at our recent meeting with those in charge they could not confirm that. But it doesn’t matter. There is no earthly reason for UU authorities to ban groups advocating for any or all of the principles.

Sally G
Sally G
8 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I agree; did not mean to imply otherwise—this just makes it if anything less defensible. I am probing for weak spots in their positions and in my potential arguments.

Lee N.
Lee N.
7 days ago

Thank you, Donna Templeton for thoughtfully expressing your thoughts. They help me to understand the Fifth Principle Project. I like the Eighth Principle. I don’t represent the Eighth Principle Project but nonetheless I will write my thoughts here in case you find them helpful.   You express concern about “by our actions that accountably dismantle racism” and ask to whom are we accountable and how is it measured. I would say that the answers are as with the other seven principles. Ultimately, there is none but myself to hold me accountable to the principles, and likewise it is up to me to measure myself by… Read more »

David
David
7 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

I believe the concern of many is that their idea of dismantling racism requires dismantling Western ideas such as liberalism, democracy, freedom of expression and conscience, dissent, and traditional UU values. You may not read of see that into the Principle, but others do or worry that is is part of the overall thinking. The UUA’s White Supremacy Culture theory (which is an adaptation of Critical Race Theory) specifically talks about these things. The 8th Principle appears to be a result of the WSC theory (and, thus, CRT). The recent history of national UU leadership censoring views (UU World), seeming… Read more »

Lee N.
Lee N.
7 days ago
Reply to  David

@David, thank you for you helpful words. Here are my additional thoughts in case they help to bridge the gap of understanding. Indeed, dismantling democracy would be something to object to. Having talked with others who support the Eighth Principle, I do not see anyone who would dismantle democracy. “Freedom of expression,” to choose one example from your list, is one of those phrases that means very different things to different people. Freedom to be a transgender person is very different from freedom to express intolerance of transgender people. The latter quite literally leads to death in terms of suicides… Read more »

David
David
6 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

“Freedom of expression” often leads to slippery slope arguments and extreme unrealistic examples (“Are you saying Nazis are allowed to quote Hitler in a UU congregation?” The answer to that is obviously not. Freedom of expression has limits in UU and certain ideas are now allowed in UU). The concern is the UUA and UUMA now suppress and punishes even legitimate ideas and theories that do not conform to their strict orthodoxy. UU World does not publish legitimate, unharmful ideas of UUs that differ from its perception of orthodoxy.

Lee N.
Lee N.
6 days ago
Reply to  David

Thank you for “The concern is the UUA and UUMA now suppress and punishes even legitimate ideas and theories that do not conform to their strict orthodoxy” — it helps me to understand your position. I am not aware that the UUA or UUMA has any power to punish or suppress my congregation or any member of it. Yes, they do have power over their own publications. I don’t actually read them much — which I suspect is the norm — but I am guessing that some article was rejected on the grounds that it was deemed hateful — do… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
5 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

The concern is that the accountability language would provide that power, which you are right does not currently exist. Tim Bartik gave a really good explanation recently in a post further down the list.

Lee N.
Lee N.
4 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

Even without the Eighth Principle, the UUA has control over its own staff, publications, and events. Is it your belief that the ratification of the Eighth Principle will enable the UUA to control my congregation’s staff, publications, and events?

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
7 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

Lee, if you read our you’d know that your notion here of holding yourself accountable is not at all what leadership has in mind when they use the term “accountability.” What they mean is contained in the COIC report and we already have numerous examples of what it means in terms of some of its victims. So contrary to your views here, the word accountability makes the eight principle not a principle at all, but more a directive that carries punitive consequences.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
7 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Sorry. Dropping the word “book” from my first sentence.

Lee N.
Lee N.
7 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Thank you @Frank Casper for your reply. I don’t have the book and so I don’t know precisely what you are getting at. I do have Widening the Circle of Concern and see the word “accountability” used multiple times there. I didn’t examine every occurrence, but the general pattern is that the report urges us to not merely be passive non-racist bystanders but active anti-racist advocates. So, yes, in addition each person’s thoughts about each principle, there are also thoughts from that report and multitudes of other sources. I agree that it is wise to consult multiple sources, but ultimately… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
6 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I wonder if the wording would work better in the purposes section, as has been suggested by others, including Rev. Craig Moro. It is not really a principle as a goal we want to accomplish, and in that location would be between a statement of special responsibility to promote the full participation of all persons and a statement of support for individual freedom of belief. This would keep it active and clearly state our intention to be antiracist, but would limit, or even eliminate, the potential for punitive use.

Tim Bartik
Tim Bartik
5 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

Lee: You might interpret “accountably” as being accountable to your individual conscience, but that is NOT what is intended by the people who have written and promoted the Eighth Principle. My understanding of their intent is that the UUA, and individual UU congregations, should be accountable for dismantling racism to particular race-based groups. Here is what the 8th Principle Project says at one of their explanatory pages: “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ACCOUNTABLE? White UUs hold themselves accountable to communities of color, to make sure whites do what they say they will do. In practice, that can mean having a… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
5 days ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

Tim, thank you; that is a really good explanation of the concerns.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
5 days ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

Thank you Tim. That is as good a summation as I’ve seen of the intent of UU leadership. This is well covered in our book, which is among the reasons I urged Lee to read it. What you summarize here is contained in an explicit series of recommendations of the COIC report, so there is no denying the intent of the word “accountability” when it is used by UU leadership and the eighth principle.

Lee N.
Lee N.
5 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Thank you @Tim Bartik, that is very helpful. Maybe it boils down to … I think that you are using “accountable” differently from supporters of the Eighth Principle. From the language you quote, the power that the People of Color Caucus has is merely “to discern and express needs and concerns.” That’s a far cry from dictatorship, stomping out democracy etc. Yes, the UUA would listen to these reports. Yes, the UUA is also accountable to other groups and UUs in general in the same way. It is much as with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” where the implicit but… Read more »

Tom C
Tom C
5 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

Here we are, on this website, a website created as a response to concerning behavior by the UUA and UUMA. Here we are, commenting on a post, about how the UUA is in the process of denying the Fifth Principle Project a booth at GA. So how is it that diversity of opinion is not being squashed? And as for the 8th principle, language matters. I don’t find it comforting that supporters don’t really mean “accountable” as defined. After witnessing how Mel Pine, Richard Trudeau, Kimberly French, and Todd Eklof have been treated, I can guess what accountability will look… Read more »

Lee N.
Lee N.
4 days ago
Reply to  Tom C

Thank you @Tom C for raising these questions. My attempt at a response: As stated in this space already — including by supporters of the 5PP — freedom of expression does have limits. We don’t tolerate suggestions that Jews should be gassed; we don’t tolerate verbal abuse of transgender people; and so on. It is intolerance itself that the UUA, UUMA, and UUs generally do not tolerate. The proposed Eighth Principle is not the only principle that guides us to this end. So, a key factor here is the extent to which the rejected Fifth Principle Project article for UU… Read more »

Tim Bartik
Tim Bartik
4 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

You are using a straw man argument. The fact that UUism should not tolerate anti-Semitism does not mean that UUism should therefore not tolerate Todd Eklof. What I mean by this is very straightforward: I think UUism should be a “big tent” religion which tolerates many opinions that are broadly consistent with our principles, including opinions that I might disagree with. From reading the stories of Mel Pine, Richard Trudeu, Kimberly French, and Todd Eklof, I think that in these cases, their opinions should have been “tolerated” by institutional UUism, even though I do not think I am in full… Read more »

Lee N.
Lee N.
4 days ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

I will Google their names.

Indeed, diversity of opinion is not only to be tolerated but celebrated, because it leads to deeper understanding, EXCEPT when that opinion causes harm; such as the various examples already given in these postings. I hope to find out what Mel Pine, etc. said or wrote so that I can judge for myself whether it falls into this exception.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
4 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

I’m going to insist now that you supply specifics about the harm you allege in these postings. I want quotes from specific posters.

Lee N.
Lee N.
2 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I see nothing in this present discussion group that causes harm. I Googled Mel Pine and found https://meltingpotdharma.com/2017/04/12/my-faiths-crisis-my-faith-crisis/. My take: he was critical of people at the UUA using the power that is afforded their positions to do what they think is right. He called that a “coup.” He was critical of people who used their democratic voices to advocate for what they thought was right. Although the right to protest is fundamental to democracy he implied that it was wrong because it led to the resignation of elected officials. He claims further that the “faction” in control (by which… Read more »

Lee N.
Lee N.
2 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

I omitted the punchline. From the white supremacy playbook is: when disenfranchisement of marginalized communities is no longer sufficient then disempower democratic institutions.

Following this white-supremacy tactic will get you a heightened response from those trying to dismantle racism. I don’t know Mel Pine’s motivations … but he stepped into some very treacherous territory.

Sally G
Sally G
2 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

We learn and grow in treacherous territory, it seems, at least sometimes. I read Mel’s post and then the one written 4 days later: https://meltingpotdharma.com/2017/04/16/my-white-privilege/
I quote his closing words:

Racism is real. White privilege is real. Systematic white supremacy is real. But until we can all share our pain and our suffering and our imperfection with each other in compassionate and mindful ways, we are doomed to staying where we are.

How do we accomplish that sharing?

Lee N.
Lee N.
2 days ago
Reply to  Sally G

Yes, yes, yes, how do we accomplish that sharing? That’s the hard part and there are bound to be mistakes made. Again, I don’t know Mel Pine’s motivations, but the appearance is that he attacked the legitimacy of a democratic institution because he didn’t like a legitimate decision that it made. I think Mel Pine has something important to say and it would be good to hear it without that misdirection. Maybe he in fact did that in his later writings that have not read … but perhaps this explanation helps to explain why his initial writing met such resistance.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
2 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

Thanks for that. I want everyone privy to this exchange to grasp what Lee N. Has said here, that democratic institutions are a tool of white supremacy. This is what we argue that UU leadership and their supporters are in fact saying. It is why we write our book. It is what we’re asking all UU’s to understand and ask themselves if they can support. We at Fifth Principle Project find this to be fundamentally contradictory to Unitarian Universalism, not to mention the foundational values of our country.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
2 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Sorry. Wrote, not write.

Lee N.
Lee N.
2 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Ah, perhaps this is another one of those places where we are using words differently. Let me try again to see if that helps. In situations where white supremacy has had the upper hand by disenfranchising members of marginalized communities, but then the marginalized get a significant amount of voting power, a common next step for white supremacy is to then disempower the institutions that they no longer control. I am not saying that white supremacists control the UUA, the Fifth Principle Project, or any other democratic institution. I am saying that if Mel Pine’s words undermine the legitimacy of… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
1 day ago
Reply to  Lee N.

I don’t know that there is anything in the by-laws that provides for a presidential resignation, particularly so soon before the end of a term (and at a time of incredible turmoil: Peter Morales resigned in March, Moderator Jim Key in May [dying less than a month later, just weeks before GA]). Yes, policies were broken: a board member was considered for a staff position; hiring practices were not followed; severance payments were made in secret. Would there have been such chaos if everything had been done by the book in the hiring of the southern lead? Maybe not; but… Read more »

Tom C
Tom C
4 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

In a previous comment, you compared Todd Eklof to the Holocaust. What if I feel that comment is harmful? Should I not tolerate you?

Lee N.
Lee N.
2 days ago
Reply to  Tom C

Possibly, yes, though that wouldn’t be the very first step in all likelihood. How to go about it is up to individual preferences, but I’d start with telling the offender what happened — sometimes called an “ouch” response. Then if you have the energy, a dialogue can begin. If the dialogue is unsatisfactory then agreeing to call each other intolerant might be the outcome.

Tom C
Tom C
2 days ago
Reply to  Lee N.

I think you have it wrong. First you air your grievances on social media, make sure you make physical threats to that person who harmed you. And when they try to defend themselves, you insist they are inherently racist and you use your power to have them canceled.

Katie S
Katie S
1 day ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

I, too have concerns about the emphasis on accountability. It appears that a mechanism is being proposed for congregations to have periodic checks to see if they are “in covenant” or not, based on a particular anti-racism theory. This is part of a new mechanism based on the principles where accountability is mentioned. Instead of the UUA serving the congregations, the congregations would be accountable, or would be held accountable ultimately to the UUA. A covenant is something entered into willingly, not a mechanism for judgment. “Covenant” is another term that appears to be re-defined. As a decades-long UU I’ve… Read more »

Lilith Marie Haas
Lilith Marie Haas
7 days ago

The book is great. We are dealing with some very radical people. I would like to share a blatant lie of revisionist history that blames the United States of inventing slavery I just found on the UU 8th Principle web page https://www.8thprincipleuu.org/why-the-uua-usa
It states:
Whiteness, and chattel slavery (structural racism) were invented in the US, at the same time that modern Unitarianism and Universalism were being created.”

This really is something everyone should be aware of before it is cleaned up and scrubbed. Who would write such a thing?

Sally G
Sally G
7 days ago

My understanding is that what is unique to USAmerican slavery is its multigenerational nature; that while many other cultures had slavery, it was more often as a “spoils of war” situation, and the children of slaves were not seen as the property of the slaver. On whiteness, I think that the intention of the elite class to prevent freed slaves and poor whites from joining together after the Civil War had a large part in that; it gave the poor white folks the chance to see themselves as better off that someone, and the illusion of the possibility of advancing… Read more »

Last edited 7 days ago by Sally G
David
David
7 days ago

It’s a pretty bad sentence, IMO. Basically associates, and intends to associate, U & U with chattel slavery. Yes, they are radicals.

Sally G
Sally G
6 days ago
Reply to  David

I am a radical, too! That is not a bad word in my book.

Lilith Marie Haas
Lilith Marie Haas
1 day ago
Reply to  Sally G

Are you so radical you would destroy everything about white American culture until they force you to give up your freedom, your business and destroy your society? Over 2 Billion $$ damages from the marxist BLM movement last year directed at mom and pop stores, not corporate stores. This is not a theory that is only occurring in our church. The victims are all of us. I recommend The Self-Confessed “White Supremacy Culture” emergence of an illiberal left in UU by Anne Larason Schneider 2019. It really opened my mind.

Sally G
Sally G
1 day ago

I don’t see anyone destroying my culture, and I generally support the BLM movement, at least as represented by the Movement for Black Lives platform. From what I have seen, most of the violence at BLM rallies is started by police and infiltrators, as was the case with Occupy as well. Once things get out of control, definitely there is damage to property that would not happen in calmer times. Still, I would rather see a lot of glass broken rather than people killed (stolen line from someone else, but resonates with me—and I am not a fan of violence,… Read more »

Katie S
Katie S
1 day ago

Interesting take on where slavery was invented! The word “slave” comes from the word “Slav” since the Slavic people and others from that region were sold as slaves by many countries, including Italy and northern Africa.

The history of slavery is a complex one, with human trafficking being the face of it in the present day.

David
David
15 hours ago
Reply to  Katie S

The curiosity in my home of Seattle is its King County changed its name from William King County to Martin Luther King Jr County because William King was a slave owner. However, the city’s namesake Chief Sealth (Seattle) also was a slaveowner. No one talks about changing the city name . . . Relatedly, the complicating situation of the Trail of Tears is many of the Cherokee had slaves and brought their slaves with them . . . The answer is life and history and things are complex.

Last edited 14 hours ago by David
Lilith Marie Haas
Lilith Marie Haas
7 days ago

I do find it absolutely incriminating the way they want to silence you. I put my comment below on the wrong page accidently.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
5 days ago

Dear Frank and Jay,   Thank you for meeting with us last week to discuss your application to exhibit in the General Assembly 2021 virtual Exhibit Hall. As we noted in our discussion, the GA Exhibit Hall has been a space where campaigns for UUA elections have been promoted in the past, and this remains an important use of the space as part of our democratic process. We also seek to ensure that the content our exhibitors choose to provide is consistent with the overall purpose of the event and with the values, principles and commitments of our Association. We… Read more »

David
David
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Good deal. Kudos to Ms. Richardson and GA. Seems like a reasonable compromise, all things considered.

Tim Bartik
Tim Bartik
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I think you should take the deal.

But it is ridiculous that they will not let you promote the book.

Tim Bartik
Tim Bartik
4 days ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

But you should take the deal because, frankly, I don’t think you need the virtual booth at GA to promote the book.

WebMaster
WebMaster
4 days ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

Tim, the booth was requested to (1) alert people to our Fifth Principle Project advocacy group/solicit new members and (2) alert GA delegates there is a vote for a board position (the first in many years) / promote my candidacy.

Sally G
Sally G
2 days ago
Reply to  WebMaster

and it sounds to me that what they suggested allows you to do both—I take it on faith that the “GA Care team or other GA event leaders” also operate under UU principles and not use “concerns”—frivolously? if I may express it that way?; i.e. that differences of opinion will be worked out in a reasonable and open manner.

Sally G
Sally G
4 days ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

I think that is because of Spokane and the Eklof controversy—on the other hand, it could be to try and contain controversy. Absurd either way, but less important than presence, I think. As you said below, promoting the book is not needed—the discussion and promotion of candidacy is enough, especially at a virtual GA.

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