Another UU Minister Resigns From the UUMA

Published with permission of the author. (Edited 07-29-2021)

TO: UUMA Board of Trustees

Greetings to you all,

I remember all too well the arguments I had with the people who brought me up in rural Maine

during the ’60’s. They weren’t pleasant and often I’d say variations of “you just don’t get it!” Now, it’s my turn to be an out-of-touch old person. I don’t get it. Get what?

The focus of the UUA and UUMA on Critical Race Theory is admirable in its revolutionary thrust. It’s bold, brilliant, and will likely be transformational to whatever the UU world becomes in this country.

So why am I leaving the UUMA after 30+ years?

It’s certainly not that I’ve ever been treated unfairly by the UUA or the UUMA. The lessons have been wise ones. The staff have given me wisdom and insight to my own growth. I admit that I tend to be contrarian and stubborn and that’s a part of my cultural heritage as a northern New Englander. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of several projects: the addictions ministry, GA chaplain and Co-lead chaplain, an officer in the old Interim Ministers Guild, and so forth.

I am leaving because I cannot accept the ways in which CRT (and, I suppose, ARAOMC) is being interpreted and carried out in the UUMA as well as the UUA. There seems to be a strong partnership between the two organizations now that is new. The UUMA walks in lockstep with the UUA staff and institution. It appears to have little or no interest in supporting ministers who disagree with the current model of CRT.

The letter by respected colleagues sent to the UUMA board of trustees on September 15, 2020, expresses far better than I can the intolerance that has become part of UUMA and UUA ‘values’.

Two things bother me a great deal:  shaming, and the future of congregational polity. They both arise from my own lived experience as well as others.

I loathe shaming. I was a victim of it in childhood and beyond. Why shaming in the UUMA? It serves no purpose other than to scapegoat ministers who have devoted their lives to liberal religion and the principle of a free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Rev. Eklof was just one example when he was censored and then thrown out of the UUA and UUMA in the last two years. There are others who have been condemned for speaking their minds.

Yes, I remotely signed that 2019 GA letter attacking Rev. Eklof for his book passed out at GA. I later regretted it when I learned more about the reasons why the letter was published. I apologized to Rev. Eklof and he graciously accepted my apology.

I also think of Rev. Rick Davis who has been a friend and fellow Buddhist practitioner for many years. There are others as well who decided that injustice disguised as a new form of justice wasn’t acceptable.

How can there be useful dialogue and debate when two utterly different languages and views of the world are being spoken? In a few short years, the ‘rules’ (so• called ‘guidelines’) have been radically changed to fit a new norm of covenant and accountability that seems to forget the foundations upon which they were based.

Maybe that was necessary in order to speed the work of CRT quickly. I wonder, though, how many religious professionals and laypeople will be thrown overboard in order to create such a brave new denomination.

My second worry is about our centuries-old congregational polity where congregations were vested in their authority to hire professional staff, to manage their own budgets and buildings, and to be involved in their communities that worked best for them.

I note that verbiage from the UUA website talks about ‘denomination’ rather than ‘association’.  That implies a very different understanding of authority and hierarchy than in the past. Standard ministerial contracts tell us now to affirm a focus on ARAOMC in our work.

Some years ago, the board of an interim congregation and I made a difficult staff termination decision. The congregational support person from the region wrote to the board president and me to express concerns about external voices interfering with an internal congregational process.

They wrote, in part “…I tell you this because I have never seen an internal situation be made the business of UUA leadership or area ministers in this way.  I’m concerned with the implications of our congregational polity and want you to know that I’m bringing that up with everyone who is not directly with UU who has an opinion as to what is going on. I’m feeling protective of your faithful leadership and the freedom of your congregation to make its own decisions. (And yes, acknowledging that or polity is interdependent and mutually accountable as its core, as well, and it is in that spirit I assume others are wanting to get involved.).”

Is that the future of a centuries-old model of congregational independence? Who is accountable to whom? What is the role of the UUMA now compared to five years ago? Does the UUMA even care about those who have raised their voices critiquing what feels like a sin-and-salvation approach to justice?

I don’t know the answers, but I do know that I cannot in good conscience be part of an organization that speaks of accountability and covenant on one hand but punishes those who disagree on the other.

It’s time for me to walk away. I will continue to focus my parish ministry on what I consider essential priorities: pastoral care, planning for the 200″ anniversary of this congregation, and being the best minister I can be to an old and proud congregation.

This is therefore my official resignation letter from the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association effective immediately.

Rev. Alex Holt, Accredited Interim Minister

Contract Minister Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville, PA

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Joyce Francis
Joyce Francis
1 month ago

Thank you for your honesty and sincerity. I can hear your great sadness, something many of us share, yet we are too much in isolation. Your testimony helps us connect with one another. If our congregation had found an interim minister like you, I suspect we would not be in the crisis in which we now find ourselves.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Joyce Francis

Your view is not shared by all. Polarization of these issues causes harm in many different directions.

Paul Alan Thompson
Paul Alan Thompson
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

“Harm”? No, it doesn’t cause harm. This is the kind of SJW garbage that is pushed by the UUA. Disagreement is not “harm”.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago

You missed the point.

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I believe K. was saying that polarization and resulting strife hurts both sides

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Hrc

True.

C. Townsend
C. Townsend
1 month ago

I am shocked & offended that you an outsider, claim to know more about how my congregation feels than we know ourselves. You don’t have the right to dictate our feelings with your dogma.

Jim Aikin
1 month ago

I made a couple of comments on this post yesterday, but in the process of getting a new version of the post online, my comments were deleted. Jay, can you retrieve them?

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Aikin

It’s odd yours were removed but that of Joyce Francis was not. I apologize, Jim for the problem. I hope you can recreate your comments.

Jim Aikin
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I didn’t save the text. What’s gone is gone.

Paul Avery
Paul Avery
1 month ago

Thanks for writing this strong piece which follows up on the original 2020 letter criticizing UUMA signed by a number of ministers (including yourself, though at that time you elected to remain a UUMA member). But I wonder how many UU congregational members are aware of this controversy even two years after the 2019 GA. I myself found out about the Eklof affair only a couple of months ago. Although I have read a large amount of material since that time (five books, multiple articles, voluminous commentary), it’s been difficult to determine whether others in my congregation know anything about… Read more »

Paul Alan Thompson
Paul Alan Thompson
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Avery

This is a serious problem. There are thousands of UUs who have NO IDEA that there is a controversy, no idea that the very roots of UUism are under attack by the ARAOMC wackadoodles, and that proposals to pretty much gut UUism are currently being considered. Few understand the existential threat of the racist “8th Principle”. Of course, the main way that UUs are contacted is through institutional communications. These channels are completely unwilling to host discussions of the problems with ARAOMC, CRT, the mythological “white supremacy roots of UUism” and the like. Instead, once a month, I get the… Read more »

Jacques
Jacques
1 month ago

What’s wrong with resources for dismantling racism?

Frank Casper
Admin
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacques

There’s nothing wrong with resources for dismantling racism if that is really the agenda. But can you dismantle racism by telling white people they cannot help being racist? No, we don’t think so.

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I doubt that those are the only resources on the UUA site; we must pick and choose what works for our individual and group purposes. Groups will likely vary in preference, based on a variety of factors.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G.

I understand they are not at all the only resources for anti-racism on the UUA website. Although I haven’t looked, it is my understanding that people in Todd Eklof’s then-congregation (since split in two) did look into this and found many different resources available. My recollection is that Thandeka is one of the people listed there, but again, I have not looked myself.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

Sure. There are multiple suggested anti-racism resources from the UUA. But the approach preferred and promoted by the UUA is contained in the COIC report. That contains the claim of a theological mandate to follow the plan laid out in some detail. It never suggests or encourages congregations to evaluate different approaches on their own. And the very idea of a mandate involves conformity and consequences for failure to conform. That is the path the UUA is on.

Sally G
Sally G
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

From various experiences in UU groups, I do see a pressure to conform, a litmus test, and that bothers me. My personal instinct in such cases is to resist, but if I am part, especially a leader, of an organization and I resist too visibly, that could have an effect on the organization.

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G

And a minister’s employment.

A question is how many ministers “go along with the program” because their livelihoods depend upon it.

One congregant said about the unministerial actions of a “newly minted” minister: “Her actions were occupational, not ministerial. She invested a lot of money in her seminary education, so she acted to preserve her job prospects.”

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Hrc

“One congregant’s” anonymous speculation about a derogatorily identified but also anonymous “newly minted” minister is of little value IMO.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

What path is YOUR congregation on, Frank? Because in mine (which is also David Cycleback’s), I don’t see us on any such imposed path. The differences in opinion, perceptions and approaches is wide and I believe genuinely formed on both (all) sides. No one is the stooge of the UUA or any other entity that I can see. Our minister who replaced Alex Holt may be new as minister, but is hardly new to UU. I belieev the wide range of opinion and potential conflicts on marginalization issues and how they might be approached was already fully present in our… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by K. Lusignan
Frank Casper
Admin
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I’m not quite sure what path my congregation is on. Covid has interrupted so much. The last I heard they had formed a commission to explore how to implement AROMAC, but I do not know what specifically they have proposed if anything. When something specific is proposed, particularly if it is to be institutionalized in our bylaws, as will the COIC report in the UUA’s bylaws, I will no doubt have something to say. As to your perceptions of what is happening in your own congregation, I cannot comment. Maybe David will chime in. He certainly has been vocal about… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Personally, as long as everyone is reasonably respectful, I think the strife is healthy, and the issue needs to be aired fully to arrive at a policy that works for the full group.

Rev. Millie Phillips
Rev. Millie Phillips
24 days ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I tend to agree with you, which is one reason I don’t feel comfortable on “either” side, though one side right now affects me more personally. Whenever there become entrenched sides in an organization and tolerance of competing views is not respected, the organization is in trouble, no matter what it believes.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Avery

Paul,

I believe others have written leadership about this ministers behavior. We haven’t heard that there was ever a response by them, much less any action. We doubt leadership is interested in applying their own standards of behavior against a minister who supports their agenda.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

This seems irionic in light of the sustained outrage over all the efforts made with Todd Eklof, frankly.

You don’t think this minister also has the right to absolute free speech?

Last edited 1 month ago by K. Lusignan
Frank Casper
Admin
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I don’t know from where you’re getting this notion of absolute free speech. Maybe from Rev. Chris Rothbauer, who used it at last years GA as some kind of strawman for advancing his view that in the name of the “beloved community” there needs to be some form of censorship within UUism. This was thoroughly covered in our book, chapter 8. There is no such thing as absolute free speech and no one from Fifth Principle Project has ever said there was or argued that there should be. Neither, for that matter, did Todd Eklof. Further, to my knowledge, no… Read more »

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Freedom of speech or freedom of the pulpit or freedom of thought is often opposed to the idea of covenantal relations and/or accountability, especially in the ministerial context, by pro-Gadfly supporters, including by Todd Eklof himself. Personally, I don’t think the extremes of either of the principles or approaches can work–I doubt anyone suggests absolute free speech such as a minister organizing racist hate rallies or allowing strangers to barge into the church hall and rant and rave (although there is an interesting discussion in another group about whether members of hate groups should be turned away at the door… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by K. Lusignan
Frank Casper
Admin
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

You’ve got it backward. It is leadership that advances covenantal relations and accountability against freedom of speech and freedom of the pulpit. That was the whole point in Rev. Rothbauer’s program at the 2020 GA. This is all well covered in our book, chapter 8. To summarize, according to leadership, harmful/hateful/violent speech is to be excluded from the beloved community. This is a matter of covenant. Rev. Dr. Eklof’s book was repeatedly condemned as that kind of speech, even though no one ever specified what in his first book qualified as such speech. Then they used this accusation as a platform to… Read more »

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

No doubt we could debate on and on about who’s “got it backward,” but I see no reason to. You really didn’t address much of what I said–but that kind of proves my main point anyway.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I addressed the most important point, which concerns free speech and a free pulpit. I believe it’s clear that leadership is opposed to free speech because it they view it as a ruse for harm and hate.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I agree that you addressed the point most important to you.

Last edited 1 month ago by K. Lusignan
Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

You were the one who brought it up, first with your mistaken notion that 5th principle folk advance some notion of absolute free speech, then by accusing us of using covenant against free speech. If because of these two errors of yours I got the idea that free speech was important to you I apologize. It’s clearly not.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

On second thought I want to correct myself. I’m sure free speech is important to you. Again, my apologies.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Thanks. Yes, freedom of speech, or rather, freedom of thought and free exchange of ideas, is important to me, among other things. But when we say freedom of speech in the legalistic sense, we are talking about governmental suppression of speech. Perhaps one of the FPP’s concerns is roughly that a decrease in congregational polity with an emphasis on “right relations” comes across as a legalistic control being exerted on what people can do or say within a congregation. I actually have a similar concern, but it is a concern I had BEFORE the Gadfly etc. controversy began, when I… Read more »

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

Thanks. Yes, freedom of speech, or rather, freedom of thought and free exchange of ideas, is important to me, among other things. But when we say freedom of speech in the legalistic sense, we are talking about governmental suppression of speech. Perhaps one of the FPP’s concerns is roughly that a decrease in congregational polity with an emphasis on “right relations” comes across as a legalistic control being exerted on what people can do or say within a congregationbut without the many (though imperfect) processes and tools used in the legal context to try to ensure fairness and a factual… Read more »

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I think I read the edited version in my e-mail in-box. Thoughtful comments; heading to a meeting now, but this seems a reasonable, if difficult, direction in which to head.

Tim Bartik
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

No one who is at all realistic is in favor of “absolute freedom of speech” in the sense that any social community must tolerate or encourage ANY speech. No society or organization operates with absolute free speech.This is separate from government regulation of speech, which should be far more limited than what SOCIETY or certainly ORGANIZATIONS within society can do. This is not a new idea. John Stuart Mill’s classic book, “On Liberty”, from the 19th century, has an extensive discussion, well worth reading, on the various issues with how SOCIETY may implicitly sanction certain speech. Mill was very worried… Read more »

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

The editing function for comments seems to be off or glitching. My second comment below is the edited one.

Sally G
Sally G
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

“I don’t think the overwhelming support for the winning candidate should be overlooked.” Not entirely, but I wonder whether that ratio was affected by resources, advertising, etc. For instance, at one point I commented on the ad for the ultimately winning candidate that appeared repeatedly, was told that it was a choice that one candidate had made but the other had not, and have no information as to cost, etc. I do believe that the UUA GA planners were wrong to accept that ad, though I am not suggesting that they would not have accepted Jay’s. Given my general stance… Read more »

Karl G.
Karl G.
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

Who here or anywhere said anything concerning curtailing her freedom of speech? And what does reporting her to the UUMA for conduct unbecoming of a minister have anything to do with freedom of speech?

It seems clear Rev. Sarah is unfit to be a UU Minister, and it doesn’t surprise me her tenure was so short. But that has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

Last edited 1 month ago by Karl G.
sandra rudd
sandra rudd
1 month ago

The last I felt connected to my ex-congregation was when Alex was interim minister for my congregation. Times were becoming more turbulent. It was a hard assignment. But he held us together. I liked his sermons and our friendship. Since he left, we have been in a downward spiral for the reasons he has spelled out.

I asked Todd if anyone had apologized for signing the document of condemnation. He said, “Only one.” I guessed right, it was Alex. That is the true measure of Alex.

He deserves the congregation who respects and values him.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  sandra rudd

Not all at WSUU share Ms. Rudd’s perception (though I’m sure many love her on a personal level). Some found the period towards the end of Rev. Holt’s to be a most turbulent and divisive time in our congregation. In my own view, there is a clear through line between how the issues in question at the time were handled then and more recent troubles at the congregation. As noted above, I believe the polarization of these issues causes harm in many different directions I find it unfortunate that he named our congregation publicly in this context, since our congregation… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by K. Lusignan
Jim
Jim
1 month ago

Well, I suppose this is good news. The weathervane appears to be pointing in the direction of Rev. Dr. Eklof and the 5th Principle project. I am sure Rev. Holt is skilled at interpreting the winds. I think this is a positive development and reason for hope.

But winds are changeable. Does the weathervane believe it has changed of its own accord or has it merely rationalized its moral inconstancy and its primary goal of self-preservation; will it eagerly justify its move in the opposite direction if the winds change?

Beverly Seese
Beverly Seese
1 month ago

Thank you Rev. Holt for sharing the process you have gone through concerning our UUA’s reaction to Rev. Todd Eklof and other outspoken ministers. As a minister of a small congregation that doesn’t get very involved with regional or national issues, especially since the district disappeared, I struggle to know how much to inform congregants of these institutional conflicts. I wonder if it will just scare people away from our congregation if they hear what’s going on. It would be nice to have people leading our association who could navigate these troubled times with strong 7-Principle values and who were… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
1 month ago
Reply to  Beverly Seese

I would not worry about scaring anyone—they may prefer to have the CFS* stay isolated from the larger association, but people surely have personal relationships that would not be so easily rejected. I think that it is important to have this discussion be far and wide, to be as inclusive as possible.

*congregation/fellowship/society

Susan McWethy
Susan McWethy
1 month ago

Yet again we have a well-articulated, cogent statement of the angst we share as “traditional” UUs. Thank you.

Jacques
Jacques
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan McWethy

How do I know if I am a “traditional” UU?

Sally G
Sally G
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacques

For me, it is about more focus on diversity of opinions, respect for all thoughtful searching, and less on looking to a hierarchy for an opinion that must be followed to be acceptable, making outliefs of others with different perspectives, especially on strategies to implement a common value or to reach a shared goal.

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G

Sounds good to me.

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacques

I think “traditional” (not a word I use) UU, and in fact UU itself, would be a liberal religion. As UU itself is a liberal religion, some folks trying to move away from liberalism are trying to create different religion. Trying to remove the liberal from liberal religion is like trying to remove Jesus Christ from Christianity.

Last edited 1 month ago by Hrc
George Kimmich Beach
George Kimmich Beach
1 month ago

The text(s) came through this time–thank you for making this discussion available. In fact I think that one dimension of this issue (I almost said “scandal”) is the lack of general communication in the UUA and its congregations about what is happening and what folks think about it (the FPP excepted). James Luther Adams (well, I would have to quote him, wouldn’t I?) called the liberal church a “community of communication” and idealized a “radical laicism,” in which a central role of the clergy is to facilitate lay participation in governance and moral leadership. In regard to the Todd Eklof… Read more »

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago

Thank you George. Your first paragraph aptly establishes the primary reason we wrote our book. The UUA has complete control of the leavers of communication to the congregations and they do not share them. They also do nothing whatever to facilitate the congregations independently talking to one another. This is principally why the large majority of UU’s have no idea what is going on denominationally.

Sally G
Sally G
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

When the UUDistrict of Metro N.Y. was disbanded (my society president and I were 2 of the few who voted against it), there was lots of talk of “clusters” and other interconnection options. Maybe some folks set it up themselves; maybe other disbanding districts and their regions were better (I do know of some folks reporting active clusters), but we saw nothing.

Cynthia Townsend
Cynthia Townsend
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

94% of the June 2021 GA delegates voted to Dismantle White Supremacy & your co-author UUA Board candidate received only a few votes. And don’t say it’s because the delegates didn’t know, because GA this year was focused on Unitarians fighting racism together with only one workshop a day, so delegates could have days of discussion & deliberation. And it was consciously, slow, deliberate, transparent and DEMOCRATIC. UU’s have spoken!

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago

That may be true, in fact is demonstrably true, but I thought that having so many “on demand” programs and so few actually scheduled diminished the experience. As always, conflicts were an issue.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago

Yes, they have spoken. And if we have anything to say about it, they will again, through elections, not appointments, and progressively less of a UUA thumb on the scales.

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago

Only 1.7 percent of UUs vote at GA, so clearly not.

The 2009 Task Report to the UUA Board of Trustees stated that the UUA and GA are undemocratic and unrepresentative of national laity, and that the delegates themselves tend not to be representative of the members of their own congregation.

https://www.uua.org/files/documents/boardtrustees/5thprinciple/0912_report.pdf

Lee
Lee
1 month ago

The proposed Eighth Principle is about calling people in, not about calling people out. Yes, there can be uncomfortable conversations when a cherished tradition, a heartfelt story, or a good intention turns out to be (inadvertently) racist (or sexist, ableist, etc.) in impact, but those conversations are about learning from each other and moving forward. The goal is to find an approach that maximizes the good and minimizes the bad. The goal is to do this together. The word “shaming” supposes that the goal of these uncomfortable conversations is to push people apart. This is absolutely not the case. Please… Read more »

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

“The word “shaming” supposes that the goal of these uncomfortable conversations is to push people apart. 

Shaming is an impact word, as in impact > intent.

Similarly, if something polarizes, it is polarizing.

Lee
Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Hrc

I agree that the impact is polarizing to some audiences. I agree that that is bad. So, the next step in the recipe (see above) is to have the uncomfortable conversation: how can we maximize the good (anti-racism) and minimize the bad (the polarization effect). After we together get an understanding of everyone’s goals, hopefully we can piece together something that gets us there. I hope that that is what we are doing here.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

I agree that this should be one of our main goals.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

So much emphasis on the goal and the intent when describing the 8th principle and all the while it’s impact that matters, almost exclusively. It simply doesn’t add up. It’s “intent” when describing the 8th principle but it’s “impact” when it’s applied. Ask any of those who have so far been targeted by this “calling in.” They will all tell you they have really been “called out.” What’s more, the “impact,” what they’ve been “called out” for, is not for the most part named or explicitly identified. They must first submit to being “called in” and are punished for refusing… Read more »

Lee
Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

> They must first submit to being “called in” and are punished for refusing to submit.

It does take two to Tango. Regardless of which side(s) we are on, it is my hope that we accept the “call in” invitations often and have the uncomfortable conversations. These conversations will be hard and people will be tempted to give up. I find that reasonable for short breaks, but it is my hope that we then muster up the courage to go back to it.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

Yes, that is what leadership keeps telling us. They level accusations, won’t reveal the details, then punish people for refusing to acquiesce. That’s what they, and you, call a Tango. It’s not a dance. It’s abuse, pure and simple.

Lee
Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

I don’t believe that the UUA (or the UUMA, Rev. Eklof, you, me, or anyone else who has posted in these forums) is responsible for “abuse, pure and simple.” Nonetheless, I thank you for your words. Their strength clearly signals how important this is.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

Then you don’t believe the testimony of those who have suffered this “calling in” and accountability” of yours as documented in our book. And as to Rev. Eklof, you be sure and let us all know, will you, when someone, anyone, supplies specifics that establish the harm leadership has so often accused him of?

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

call in, call out, to me that is semantics

Let’s simply have conversations about our beliefs, our actions, where we agree and disagree.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G.

Semantics that clearly matter to those using the language. I’m merely clarifying the meaning when it comes to the “impact.”

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Agreed that it matters to them, but as the audience, it matters little to me. If their goal is effective communication, as I am sure it is, I offer that as feedback. (I do realize that I am often an outlier with opinions different from the majority, so it may be useless feedback.)

Lee
Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G.

> I do realize that I am often an outlier with opinions different from the majority, so it may be useless feedback.

I find your feedback useful, thank you.

I also thank Frank, Jay, and others; your participation is helping me to understand your perspectives.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

Hmm… “calling people in.” We live in a myth that white people are innocent and rational and logical. It’s hard not to be paranoid as a Black person, because you have white people who say, “I would never do that; I’m one of the good ones”—and you want to believe them. But history shows us that when it comes down to it, a lot of white people will coalesce around whiteness.For example, there are little offshoots of people who are protesting our Unitarian Universalist emphasis on racial justice. Well, that’s fine—just don’t call yourself UU. Go be something else. I’m… Read more »

Stephen Caldwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim wrote: -snip- It looks much more like hypocritical gaslighting with the goal of maximizing power and money. Did you know you can schedule a “VIP” day Zoom video conference with Dr. Takiya Nur Amin: 6 hours for $1500? Jim, I am not an academic consultant but it’s possible to Google and find out what typical hourly rates that academic consultants use for their work. It seems that your comment is implying that Dr. Amin charging $1,500.00 for a six hours of Zoom conferencing is excessive. The workshop fee comes out to $250.00 per hour. That $250.00 per hour figure… Read more »

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago

In other words, Jim, none of the rest of what you posted matters in the slightest.

Tom C
Tom C
1 month ago

You are comparing consulting a statistician to a career coach?

Ok, maybe some career coaches can pull in the big bucks but $300 an hours to help students pick a graduate program seems like a lot.

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago

Stephen is correct on this one. She is free to charge people who want her services as she wishes. There is no indication that her fees are unusual, and, obviously, people are to not hire her or hire her.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago
Reply to  Hrc

He may be. But that was not the point of the post he replied to. His post avoided and by that trivialized the post to which he replied.

Stephen Caldwell
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank Casper

Frank,

If Jim wanted to comment on Dr. Amin’s work and be taken seriously, why would he include a cheap shot that implies she is running a get-rich-quick scheme?

After all, Jim making an attack like that trivializes his own argument before I had a chance to respond to it.

Frank Casper
Frank Casper
1 month ago

It may have been a cheap shot and a poor choice. If you want that point it’s yours. But he could have excluded any such reference and the substance of his post would not suffer. I think you chose to dwell on Dr. Amin as a cheap way to avoid grappling with that substance. But I’m done with this particular line. It wasn’t worth it to make the original remark and it isn’t worth dwelling on.

Tom C
Tom C
1 month ago

From Widening the Circle of Concern

We also understand that the imposition and institutionalization of white-supremacist, patriarchal, colonialist capitalism, which dictates and celebrates excess and resource hoarding, has led us to ecocidal behavior and the risk of our own species extinctions following the mass extinction already under way.

Isn’t capitalism was part of white supremacy culture. Is Dr. Takiya Nur Amin living her values? If I make market based decisions, am I still dismantling white supremacy culture?

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom C

I don’t think that capitalism is necessarily exclusively white supremacist; think about the Black community during Reconstruction, the community that was destroyed in Tulsa 100 years ago, arguably because it was succeeding in a capitalist economy (or just as an over-the-top, irrational response to a single triggering incident—but that single event triggered pent-up outrage against Black folks succeeding, so I believe that the racist motivation of ending that success was real, not just in-the-moment rioting). Yes, USAmerican capitalism is extreme, is exploitative, etc. It is, but need not be, racist. However, to a certain degree, we must operate within it;… Read more »

Tom C
Tom C
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G.

From the UUA President: It matters that we support the uprisings whose goal is the liberation of Black people and communities who for too long have been crushed by white supremacy, militarism, and capitalism. The 2017 Statement of Conscience: The current statement also calls out white supremacy and capitalism as key factors. From the BLUU Website: We are not replicating a capitalist consumer transactional model of organizing. BLUU is here in service to Black UUs, but this relationship with Black UUs is built around co-created space and leadership. It seems your views on whether capitalism as white supremacy is in… Read more »

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom C

I never said that I was procapitalist, I think we can do a lot better—but I also don’t think that the white supremacy that is inherent in many (most? all?) institutions in this country can be laid exclusively at the door of capitalism, or that switching to another system will cure racism. I do a lot to avoid the big corporate vultures—total boycott of Amazon and WalMart, used CREDO Mobile for my cell service until they upgraded technology to where my old phone would not work (going through that again, as it happens), avoid credit-card use as much as possible,… Read more »

Tom C
Tom C
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G.

My point is that the UUA/BLUU is promoting the idea that capitalism is white supremacy. A prominent person of BLUU uses a capitalist model to set prices while promoting the idea that capitalism is white supremacy. It seems to me she doesn’t practice what she preaches. The recommendation for a white person is to support black businesses instead of using market forces because capitalism is white supremacy. But a Black person doesn’t have to set prices that help other Black people. I find this whole thing hypocritical. I am not making an argument on whether or not capitalism is white… Read more »

Sally G.
Sally G.
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

I want to hear directly from someone whom I have injured about what I have done and how I can fix it, if I can. I do not want a third party setting itself up as an authority to police my interactions.
I understand that sometimes the injured party will not choose to address me directly, and if that party chooses per own go-between, I will listen and participate in the discussion. When it is a self-appointed authority, though, my hackles raise. Maybe it is just me (note outlier comment from earlier).

Last edited 1 month ago by Sally G.
Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G.

Your view is normal.

Lee
Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally G.

If a person of color (and likewise a trans person, etc.) tells me (or you) something that is affecting them directly then in some sense I am lucky. Unfortunately, too often the response when someone speaks up is that they are told that they are overly sensitive, wrong, trying to turn the table upside down, etc. So instead, sometimes, the more timid of them become shy and, sometimes, the less timid of them become angry. But suppose I am lucky enough to get the feedback. What do I do with it? After I get past the impulse to dismiss the… Read more »

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

“If anybody tells me (or you) something that is affecting them directly then in some sense I am lucky…”

With that small edit I’m totally in agreement with your first two paragraphs. See! Something we agree upon!

As for your last paragraph about “documents from the UUA on racism” I would say those documents are mostly, in themselves, the cause of serious “ongoing problems” not the descriptions thereof. See for example the already quoted document from BLUU: https://www.uua.org/braverwiser/coalescing-around-whiteness

Tom C
Tom C
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

The goal of shaming is to get people to submit. I don’t think the UUMA censured Todd Eklof as a plea for help.

I don’t agree with your pollyanna view of this situation. I can’t be part of an organization that uses shaming to get people to submit. It’s not about giving up Flower Communion because it’s ableist.

Lee
Lee
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom C

My view of this situation is not that it is easy and fun nor that everyone has behaved in a saintly manner. At the other extreme, nor is it my view that the way to deal with other parties is give up on them or push them away. My view is that it is about deep listening, understanding, synthesizing ideas from multiple sources, and ultimately action together. And it is hard, painful work.

Tom C
Tom C
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

So a bunch of people on this blog have indicated that something is affecting them directly. And you have suggested these people are overly sensitive and wrong.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tom C
C. Townsend
C. Townsend
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

Lee you have my deep gratitude for all your wise & loving counsel, in various posts here.

Joyce Francis
Joyce Francis
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee

Lee,
In my humble opinion, UU Minister Sarah Skotchko certainly sought to shame with her infamous McCarthesque video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FK64P4cTjBw&t=4s

Daniel G.
Daniel G.
1 month ago
Reply to  Joyce Francis

Careful, you might end up on her “list”: https://www.facebook.com/sarahskochko/videos/155370176656562

Paul Avery
Paul Avery
1 month ago
Reply to  Daniel G.

Thank you for posting this FB video. It is absolutely shocking that an ordained UU minister would talk in this outrageous way about fellow UUs, calling them names, questioning a democratic vote because 12% of people voted against the UUA Board-nominated candidate, and, unbelievably, recommending that they be asked to leave their congregations. It’s pretty clear that this behavior (along with the other video) needs to be reported to the UUA as “conduct unbecoming a UU minister”. I am willing to do this if others can point me to a resource where it can be done. We need to save… Read more »

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul Avery

The UUMA would be the place I would think. Though there’s no indication that they have an issue with her. I’ve been shocked to see other young ministers who support her antics and ad hominem name-calling of fellow UUs.

She’s the worst advertisement for the new UUA theology because UUs I know who watch her videos are completely appalled and wonder how she ever became a minister.

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Hrc

What, no absolute free speech argument here?

Tanner (he.him)
Tanner (he.him)
1 month ago

I apologize if this has already been brought up, but I would like to make a quick point of clarification. CRT (Critical Race Theory) is a way of analyzing the US legal system, generally in graduate level law school courses. Students and professors use it as a framework to discuss how race and the legal system have intersected over the decades in the US, debate whether or not it is a useful framework in various contexts, and use it as one potential tool in a much larger education to better understand the American legal system. The way I see it… Read more »

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago

CRT originally was used merely as legal analysis, but has moved far beyond that.

The UUA itself on the UUA website states that its “White Supremacy Culture/”ARAOMC orthodoxy is based on CRT. So the use of “critical race theory” to describe the UUA/UUMA orthodoxy and methodology is accurate.

The Right and Republicans do sometimes use CRT as an umbrella term for many unrelated things, but that is another topic.

Tanner (he.him)
Tanner (he.him)
1 month ago
Reply to  Hrc

If the UUA is using the term CRT to define what they’re doing, they may need to use a more accurate term. If they are saying that some of their new ideas, initiatives, and resources are inspired by or based on CRT … well, they probably still need to use a more accurate term, honestly, but that’s more understandable. As to the last point, there are specific people on the right who are very deliberately (and have been very deliberately) trying to make the phrase “CRT” a thing, when it hasn’t been a thing this whole time back to its… Read more »

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago

I think the labels are semantics, in particular here. The minister didn’t criticize CRT or ARAOMC, but the UUA/UUMA’s intolerance and punishment of UUs and UU ministers who have different viewpoints.

Tanner (he.him)
Tanner (he.him)
1 month ago
Reply to  Hrc

I wasn’t speaking to Rev. Holt’s main points, as his lived experiences aren’t mine to argue. I just wanted to point out that there are more precise and accurate terms to use than CRT.

Tim Bartik
1 month ago

While it is true that CRT, narrowly defined, is a set of scholars in legal studies and education studies, it is also true that there is influence from some of these CRT scholars on DiAngelo, Kendi, and Okun, who are often used in ARAOMC trainings. It is not clear yet that we have a clear label for what to call the DiAngelo/Kendi/Okun approach — “CRT-adjacent”? “Extreme wokeness” — and it is hard to come up with a term that is neutral. Obviously folks opposed to this approach will object to calling this “anti-racism training”, as this implies that this is… Read more »

K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

I found the “DiAngelo” and “Kendi” approaches very different, at least based on the book I read by each. That is another problem with trying to lump all these ideas, people, approaches, and terms together.

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I agree. CRT is a useful lens, but it caught be considered dogmatically as the only lens and also taught poorly.

Tim Bartik
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I agree with that! DiAngelo and Kendi are very different. I don’t think DiAngelo has much to offer to help anyone, frankly. It is embarassing to me as a UU that Beacon Press is associated with her. Kendi is sometimes interesting. He examines and questions himself, which is refreshing. But Kendi’s policy ideas are very bad. His “Department of Anti-Racism” is ridiculously anti-democratic and utterly politically infeasible. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2019/how-to-fix-politics-in-america/inequality/pass-an-anti-racist-constitutional-amendment/ . His idea that the Black-white test score gap is a “racist idea” is of no help in actually trying to bring about educational and economic equity, including by efforts to try… Read more »

Tim Bartik
1 month ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

I agree with that! DiAngelo and Kendi are very different. I don’t think DiAngelo has much to offer to help anyone, frankly. It is embarassing to me as a UU that Beacon Press is associated with her. Kendi is sometimes interesting. He examines and questions himself, which is refreshing. But Kendi’s policy ideas are very bad. His “Department of Anti-Racism” is ridiculously anti-democratic and utterly politically infeasible. (You can find this proposal by googling Kendi and Politico) His idea that the Black-white test score gap is a “racist idea” is of no help in actually trying to bring about educational… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

I just started reading The Sum of Us, and agreed; excellent, recommended to all interested in the topic.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sally G
K. Lusignan
K. Lusignan
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

I haven’t looked into Kendi further than the one book, so can’t comment on your perceptions. But I’ll add The Sum of Us to a future reading list, thanks.

Tim Bartik
30 days ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

Kendi’s recent interview with Ezra Klein of the New York Times was interesting, and reveals both the strength and weaknesses of his approach. I think he often is self-reflective. On the other hand, he often is quite contradictory in what he says — he veers between saying very sensible things and then making some strange suggestions. Eric Levitz at New York magazine had a good discussion of interview. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2021/07/how-anti-racist-is-ibram-x-kendis-anti-racism.html

Rev. Millie Phillips
Rev. Millie Phillips
24 days ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

Thanks, I will check it out, too.

Rev. Millie Phillips
Rev. Millie Phillips
24 days ago
Reply to  K. Lusignan

Agree that DiAngelo and Kendi are very different. I like Kendi and despise DiAngelo. The problem isn’t CRT, it’s self-righteousness, academic career-building competition, and hostility to honest discussion. DiAngelo claims to agree with Kendi that racism is systemic and based in early colonialist mercantile capitalism rather than in any innate bias, with which I agree, too, but then she only focuses on individual emotional reactions by white people, especially women, to being criticized. Wake up call to Robin – no one likes being verbally jumped on and defensiveness is a natural reaction to it, though men, socialized to be more… Read more »

Sally G
Sally G
24 days ago

In reading The Sum of Us (Chapter 5, page 183 of the e-book), I found an anecdote in which the author describes a conversation with Robin DiAngelo about Robin’s childhood—she was apparently raised by racists, remembers being told “don’t eat that food, a Negro might have touched it”; “don’t sit there, a Negro might have”—racism I cannot imagine in my life, though of course I am aware that it exists. That may help explain why I cannot relate to her; I never had to unlearn what seems to have drilled into her.

Tim Bartik
23 days ago

Kendi varies between making some sensible points, and then making really bad policy proposals. Read his proposal for a Department of Anti-Racism constitutional amendment, published in Politico a few years ago. Here is how it reads, in its entirety: “To fix the original sin of racism, Americans should pass an anti-racist amendment to the U.S. Constitution that enshrines two guiding anti-racist principals: Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials (with “racist ideas” and “public… Read more »

Tanner (he.him)
Tanner (he.him)
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

I appreciate this link. She goes into the specific guy I was talking about and his “deliberate strategy” to use CRT as some bogeyman term in the culture war, so if anyone was wanting more information on that, you can check out that link. I disagree with a lot of what Cathy says – she seems to see the problems and issues, and she asks good questions, but she seems to just sort of leave it there. There are a lot of good, researched answers to the questions she raises! You raise a good point about trying to find a… Read more »

Hrc
Hrc
1 month ago
Reply to  Tim Bartik

How about ‘racial essentialists?’

larry lunt
larry lunt
28 days ago

Thank you. I felt alone.

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