The following is a typo and spelling error corrected, but otherwise verbatim, version of a comment that I left on the Peter Morales Opening Speech at UUA Presidential Candidate Forum post of the jUUggernaut blog about 4 months ago. It was initially "memory holed" by the blog owner Martin Voelker but I resubmitted it and he has since allowed it to remain visible.
UUA Presidential candidate Rev. Peter Morales said -
"It’s a perfect storm - and a fabulous opportunity if we take it."
It’s also a "perfect storm" that may well sink the U*U "ship of fools" if you don’t mind me using that term too much. If you find it offensive all I can say is that U*U clergy, including Rev. Peter Morales it seems. . . use fairly offensive, to very offensive language, in their public and private statements about other religions. It is refreshing however to see Rev. Morales leveling some fairly strongly worded blunt criticism at the U*U "religious community" itself. All too often U*U clergy stridently point the finger at the failings or problematic aspects of other religions will conveniently ignoring serious failings of the U*U community, sometimes failings that are all but identical to the failings they are railing about in other religions.
Rev. Morales has declared that unspecified other religions are "obsolete" "created for another time" and contributing to "the darkness" of fear, prejudice, and hatred etc. etc. Although he does not actually name these "obsolete religions", it is clear from the context of his "stump speech" that he means Judaism, Christianity and Islam, if not some other major world religions. Does Rev. Peter Morales really believe that Unitarian*Universalist "society" is free of forces of fear and ignorance and greed that lead to hatred, marginalization and other injustices and abuses? Does Rev. Morales have the moral courage and conviction to responsibly acknowledge that U*Us themselves quite regularly contribute to "the darkness" in their own way?
I call upon Rev. Peter Morales, Rev. Laurel Hallman, other U*U clergy and UUA Trustees to "come out" and responsibly acknowledge the skeletons that clutter U*Uism’s "closet" and then take steps to responsibly and adequately redress any and all injustices and abuses that have been perpetrated and or perpetuated by Unitarian*Universalists. The UUA has a terrible track record when it comes to dealing responsibly with clergy misconduct of all kinds, including clergy sexual misconduct, and it has abjectly failed or even outright refused to provide genuine restorative justice to victims of clergy misconduct, again including victims of clergy sexual misconduct. This is but one example of the injustices and abuses that Unitarian*Universalists are responsible for, but refuse to accept responsibility for and adequately redress. Most people can smell hypocrisy a mile away and, until U*Us responsibly clean up their own act, they are not in a position to pretend that other religions are "obsolete" or that U*U do not do their own fair share of contributing to "the darkness".
If Rev. Peter Morales is serious about U*Uism "housing" the "religiously homeless" and feeding the "spiritually hungry" Unitarian*Universalists are going to have to deal seriously with the anti-Christian and more broadly anti-religious intolerance and bigotry that is found in too many U*U "churches". The vast majority of Americans believe in God and I expect that this is especially true of what U*Us call "people of color" if U*Us want U*Uism to grow in any significant way they are going to have to actually live up to their seemingly empty, if not outright fraudulent, "covenants" to "affirm and promote" "acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations." That means that U*Us must not only "accept" God believing people in any and ALL U*U congregations but must genuinely encourage their spiritual growth within a theistic framework.
This does not mean that atheist U*Us need be unwelcome in U*U congregations but atheist aka Humanist U*Us must be genuinely welcoming towards God believing people in any and ALL U*U congregations. Those "Humanist" U*Us who can be justifiably described as "fundamentalist atheists", and even Atheist Supremacists, who quite regularly make God believing people feel anything but welcome in U*U congregations are disregarding and violating U*U principles on an ongoing basis. The anti-Christian, and more broadly anti-religious, intolerance and bigotry of Atheist Supremacist "Humanist" U*Us is a serious problem within the U*U World that significantly contributes to U*Uism being "a tiny fringe, relatively elite, and sadly declining part of American religious life". In fact, in my informed opinion, it is one of the top three factors that has caused U*Uism to become "a tiny, declining, fringe religion" if not Suspect Number One. This problem that "repels" no shortage of visitors to, to say nothing of God believing members of. . . U*U congregations, must be firmly and forthrightly addressed by UUA leadership including the current and future President of the UUA, the UUA Board of Trustees, and other UUA staff. The anti-religious intolerance and bigotry of Atheist Supremacist "Humanist" U*Us must similarly be firmly and forthrightly addressed by U*U clergy and individual U*U congregations even though it is glaringly obvious that some U*U clergy, some "Humanist" dominated U*U congregations, and indeed some UUA leaders. . . are themselves guilty of either perpetrating or perpetuating the anti-religious intolerance and bigotry that causes the marginalization of God believing people in U*U "churches". Please forgive me for being blunt again, but U*Uism hasn’t got a snowball’s hope in Hell of becoming "the religion of our time" until this serious problem is responsibly resolved and U*Uism deals seriously with the concept, and indeed reality, of God. Unless Unitarian*Universalists, including atheist U*Us, learn to "swim" with God the U*U "Ship of Fools" will sink in the "Perfect Storm" that Rev. Peter Morales prophesies is coming to the U*U World in the foreseeable future.
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