Thursday, June 25, 2009

The UUA has announced a new campaign against hate crimes, "Standing on the Side of Love." Hate crimes are definitely something we've had enough of in the last year:

July 27, 2008: Jim David Adkisson enters the Tennessee Valley UU Church and kills two people and wounds more. He says in his manifesto, "This was a hate crime: I hate the damn left-wing liberals."

May 31, 2009: Scott Roeder enters a Lutheran Church and kills Dr. George Tiller. He is quoted as saying on a blog, "Bleass [sic] everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp."

June 10, 2009: James Wenneker von Brunn enters the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and kills a guard. Von Brunn ran an anti-Semitic website and had connections to hate groups.

What is striking about these three, in comparison to all the other horrible hate crimes that happen, is that they all took place in places that should be places of peace, where we honor people's inherent worth and dignity. That is no accident. The location was part of the point in each of these. These crimes are about denying the inherent worth and dignity of different groups of people.

Current UUA President Bill Sinkford said, in response to the Holocaust Memorial Museum shooting:

Hate crimes strike against our nation’s highest values—equality, justice,
and diversity. People of conscience must answer ignorance and anger by standing
with the victims on the side of love and tolerance. As a nation we have to get
beyond violence as our first response to difference. We need to find a way to
move toward the beloved community, not in spite our differences but in
celebration of them.

I've been searching for a way to respond individually, and a way for our church to respond to this increase in violent hate crimes. Our monthly commUnity forUm series may provide an opportunity, if we can find the right spin that makes this make sense for a forum. Meanwhile, I'll be looking to the "Standing on the Side of Love" campaign for ideas.

1 comment:

Robin Edgar said...

Allow me to slightly reword UUA President Bill Sinkford's words to send a clear message to Unitarian*Universalists U*U World-wide -

Hate speech and other bigotry strikes against *your* religion’s highest values as expressed in the Seven Principles and other claimed ideals of U*Uism including —

(Respect for) the inherent worth and dignity of every person;

Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in U*U congregations;

The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

just for starters. . .

Unitarian*Universalists of conscience must answer the ignorance and anger of their fellow bigoted U*Us, including intolerant and abusive U*U clergy, by standing
with the victims of U*U "hate speech" and bigotry on the side of love and tolerance. As a religion U*Us have to get
beyond verbal violence as a knee-jerk response to difference. Unitarian*Universalists need to find a way to
move toward the beloved community, not in spite our differences but in
celebration of them.

Sadly, and to the shame of the UUA and greater U*U religious community, UUA President Bill Sinkford and his UUA administration of 2001-2009 abjectly failed, if not obstinately refused, to practice what he preaches here and elsewhere by "standing on the side of love" and "waging peace" with me and other victims of intolerant and abusive U*U clergy. Based on the public statements that both UUA candidates have made about this issue and clergy misconduct I hold up some hope that the next President of the UUA will ensure that the UUA does significantly better than the Sinkford administration did on these important issues. God knows that they cannot do a whole less than nothing aka *love". . .