There’s a new entry in the controversy about the UUA and its illiberality regarding the growing resistance its imposition of a kind of ‘groupthink’ in our anti-racism attitude and work.
A few days after my sermon last Sunday about the UUA’s dogmatic attitude and punitive actions toward dissent, a book titled Used to be UU, came out, authored by Frank Casper and Jay Kiskel, both from the Atlanta area. (So much ferment in Georgia these days!)
The following is from a review of the book by Dr. Kenneth Christiansen, a member of the UU Multiracial Unity Action Council, the group I have joined because it was the only UU group that was as alarmed as I was about the drift toward authoritarianism within the UUA:
“A question comes to mind, what do the terms antiracist and antiracism mean? These terms have two quite different meanings in common experience. The classical meaning refers to stopping discrimination based on race. It has always required broad coalitions of people and institutions from all racial backgrounds working together over time to effectively change unjust laws and institutional policies. This is the antiracism approach of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s as well as the approach of Rev. William Barber, Stacy Abrams, and community organizations identifying needed changes and working effectively to get them.
The alternative meaning of antiracism capitalizes on white guilt. It involves an assumption that only white people can be racist. White guilt is amplified in books like White Fragility published by the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Beacon Press in 2018. The author, Robin Diangelo, writes on page 149, “a positive white identity is an impossible goal. White identity is inherently racist; white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.”
The path toward redemption as proposed in the 2020 report of the UUA Commission on Institutional Change is for all Unitarian Universalists to submit to a system of accountability and monitoring by an “an independent body … to consist of one Representative and one Alternative from identity-based groups.” No group that admits white people as members is included in the list of identity-based groups to be charged with this monitoring [and ‘accountability’] process. By-law changes and an Eighth Principle that will codify this kind of monitoring are in the discussion stage with possible final approval possible in the summer of 2023.”
So, in addition to Unitarian dogma, and Unitarian heresy we are looking at a Unitarian Inquisition. This book is available on Amazon. I have ordered two copies.
Rev. Leland Bond-Upson
Urie Bronfenbrenner, an American developmental psychologist and father of ecological systems theory, pointed out that none of us can escape the influence of the multiple contexts (family, peers, culture, etc.) in which we are embedded. I suspect that it is in this sense that Diangelo argues that “white people do not exist outside the system of white supremacy.” The real question is how does one engage in effective action to dismantle such a system? The Dalai Lama suggests that a starting point is the practice of compassion.
P. D. Seu
Rev. Bond-Upson was an interim minister at our Vancouver WA church. He did great job and was very thoughtful. It was only for the short time.
His comment about the new Unitarian Inquisition hit me hard. My research on where the UU’s are going has just started and his assessment was startling. I fear my conclusion will be similar. This is my religious home and don’t want to leave.