Friday, February 13, 2009

Morning Meditation - Resisting what needs to be known

“The ugly analysis says the cure for America’s sickness of soul is to lock up more criminals, make the poor fend for themselves, shut the doors to immigrants, remove the social safety net, roll back women’s rights, and silence the arts.”

Rebecca Ann Parker, Blessing The World, p. 124

I wonder at the meanness of spirit which has invaded the United States since the Reagan years. Reagan with his sophistry of “trickle down economics” and “government is not the solution, but the problem” which the gullible working classes loved as the cinematic cowboy with the Howdy Doody smile and jocularity with his plutocratic buddies raped the nation. Then there was George H.W. Bush and Clinton with the Newt Gingrich congress which developed its “contract with America” or better said by the cynics, “Contract On America” and then 8 miserable years with W which has done us all in.

And Americans loved it all and ate it up while they watched their country and livelihoods get stolen from them as they were terrified by their leaders with gay marriage, abortion, and terrorists under every bed. And as Thomas Frank wrote in his book, “What’s the matter with Kansas?” or to use the phrase, "What in God's name is wrong with Americans?"

How do you get people to vote against their own self interests? How do you manipulate them to your political will and then screw them over? Well, as Goering said, the architect of Nazi theology, you inject fear which is quickly followed by hatred and then you have them in the palm of your hand.

And where were the churches when all of this was going on? As with the Nazis, the churches supported it because they hate gays and abortion and Islamo-fascists too. A perfect marriage, the church and the state. And where was Unitarian Universalism in all this?

They are a small part of the dialogue being a fringe religion and a liberal one at that even though in the waning days of this era, they were literally attacked and killed by a gunman who acted out what he heard on the radio every day, a concrete manifestation of what has been going on for decades.

And so, like a mosquito on an elephant’s ass, Unitarian Universalism got its Andy Warhol 15 minutes of recognition in the cable network news cycle and then has dropped off the radar relegated to invisibility once again.

I wonder what the rightful place of Unitarian Universalism is in community life and on the world stage? Does it have anything of value to share with the world? What is its source of power and authority to speak to its members and the people on planet earth? I think its uniqueness is in its perennial wisdom and its values. This is what it needs to preach to the world in a prophetic voice and yet it has been mostly silent as the economic oppression and subjugation and rape and pillage has been underway. Like the other churches it has overlooked Jesus' vast concern for the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden. Economic justice has not been elevated to primary concern while the issues of race and sexual orientation have held sway.

Rebecca Ann Parker says:
“A prophet is one who is able to name those places in our lives where we are resisting what needs to be known, closing our eyes to what is really happening, silencing what the world is telling us. Silence and denial create an environment in which violence and evil flourish.”

Blessing The World, p. 125

It is simple really. Those who have eyes to see, let them see, and those who have ears to hear, let them hear, and those who have a voice to speak, let them speak, and those who have arms and legs to do, let them do. Keeping our light under a bushel may keep us safe but does a disservice in the long run to ourselves and to the world.

Unitarian Universalism claims to value justice, equity, and compassion in human relations and yet the suffering that we are now witnessing in our country and around the world has been largely ignored as the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer. Unitarian Universalists have been largely unable to name those destructive values, opinions, beliefs, and practices that need to be known, and we have closed our eyes to what is really happening, and silencing what the poor have been telling us.

Where are the prophetic voices of Unitarian Universalists? I want to hear them. Who will stand up with the poor and working classes? It certainly has not been UUs who are known as the religion of the Middle and Upper classes. When Unitarian Universalism becomes a religion of the working classes and the poor we might grow, until then we are part of the problem, not the solution.


  1. Thanks Dave.
    Leadership is what we need within the UU, from local churches to the halls of 'Boston'. Maybe the leadership is there but hidden and only needs nourishment.
    As Ferlinghetti says in his poetry ... "I Am Waiting" ... for a birth or rebirth of wonder.
    My best.

  2. "Maybe the leadership is there but hidden and only needs nourishment."

    My experience of U*U "leadership" gives me plenty of good old fashioned Unitarian Reason to doubt that their is much responsible leadership in "the halls of 'Boston'" aka 25 Beacon Street, hence this plagU*Urized Ben Sargent political cartoon. . . To say nothing of this plagU*Urized Mike Luckovitch cartoon. ;-)