A debate in the UU subreddit over the 2017 hiring controversy.

For some background, read these:

What integrity in leadership looks like

Stop whining about “censorship”!

A Critical Mistake in the UU World

Reopening Old Wounds Among Unitarian Universalists

Now, the issues dealt with in those blog entries are being rehashed yet again in the UU subreddit.

And here’s a link directly to the criticism of what Rev. Eklof wrote and published:

https://www.docdroid.net/yN9HaVY/gadfly-critique.pdf

It seems that UUs are abandoning his church, if that debate is any indication. But some have a problem with that idea.

People will agree with this who want to and people who don’t want to agree it with it won’t. We don’t know who wrote this, but I am skeptical this was written by a former UUCS member. They say very little about UUCS, have zero personal anecdotes, and the only references are to information that is publicly available on the web.

 

The point of the essay isn’t as much about whether you agree with Todd’s arguments as much as it is about showing how poorly sourced and intellectually problematic the Gadfly Papers are.

And it is written by a former member. If you are part of UUCS, you would know her. But believe what you want.

Click to access gadfly-critique.pdf

Then it started to get insulting.

Regardless, gadfly struck a nerve with many across UU because it spoke to our experiences. People like the author of this paper can continue to deny the validity of those experiences and respond with more sarcasm and defiance, but they do so at the expense of trying to make UU a healthier environment. I wasn’t persuaded by this piece because it reads as preaching to the converted. That’s all.

 

To me, that was a STRAWMAN that deserves to be burned down. When did anyone deny the validity of anyone else’s experiences? And there was very little, if any, sarcasm in the critique in question. And how healthy is it to continue to ignore or defend racial biases among UUs?

It sounds like you don’t care about the accuracy of the Gadfly Papers arguments because you need someone to speak up for what you see as flaws in the UUA. I hope you get what you seek. I am in favor of challenging orthodoxy. Gadfly papers simply failed to do so. Here is another essay about why that is so.

Then I stepped in.

Gadfly struck a nerve because it was badly written. I’m only on page 8 of the critique and I can clearly see already why that book of Rev. Eklof was such a disgrace.

I’m not saying we should persecute those who defend the white supremacy that was a problem in the UUA before 2017. But we do NOT have to harbor such nonsense anymore either. If you can’t live consistently with the Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism, why even be in a UU church? There are other religious groups that won’t challenge your prejudices…..like the Southern Baptist Convention. They are even more white dominated than the UUA.

I’m not saying we should persecute those who defend the white supremacy that was a problem in the UUA before 2017.

If you are referring to Rev. Eklof, that is quite a slanderous statement. It’s not in alignment with the traditional UU Seven Principles (though it is in alignment with the upcoming 8th Principle).

She’s a real person. She really did attend UUCS.

How do I know? I’m also a real person who attended UUCS for 5 years and worked closely with Rev. Eklof. I received a copy of this from current UUCS members.

Was I surprised that Todd wrote this? No. It’s consistent with things he said to me over our time together.

I can’t speak directly about the Gadfly essays because I haven’t read them (and I am not buying a copy, for obvious reasons) but as far as I am concerned, Rev. Eklof stabbed the rest of the UUA in the back with that stunt he pulled at the GA. I hope the UUA never has another GA at Spokane, Washington.

The attitude of “you condemn my racial biases, therefore you threaten my freedom”, is the whining of a pathetic crybaby, not a genuine stand on principles. To those who refuse to own up to their shortcomings and those of the UUA prior to 2017, I say, “The door is THAT way, hypocrites! GET OUT!”

Here I was merely expressing my opinion of what I think UUs who cannot purge themselves of racism should do, but even I would not expect the UU leadership to outright EXPEL such people from our ranks.

I’ve read the Gadfly papers and while I don’t agree with everything inside the book (I do agree with the majority of it though), I stand with Reverend Todd Ecklof. Why? Because of HOW the UUA and the UUMA has handled the situation. Ignoring his due process, the censure, the letter signed by 500 ministers who hadn’t had time to read the book, and so much more. They’ve handled this very poorly and refuse to answer to their actions and I for one wants answer for their actions.

At this point, I decided to step things up by combining various comments made by others in one larger comment of mine and respond to them all at once.

Did the organizers of the 2019 GA merely kick Eklof out, or did they ask him to meet with them first and he refused, forcing them to ask him to leave? If he had not been made to leave, the result would have been a badly fractured GA in the end. People of color were ANGRY about what he did! He was reopening wounds that were not even fully healed yet!

In 2017, black and hispanic UUs finally got tired of being slighted by the racially biased hiring process in the UUA and so they stood up to it and made a compelling case for changing how things were being done. If you were a UU person of color that year, would you have not done the same?

By default, members of races favor their own kind, so in a group with a white majority, a white person would naturally be picked for an open position of leadership 99 times out of 100. The only way to change that is to publicly SHAME those that are unconsciously biased, and thus open their eyes and force them to stop being blind to their own self-imposed ignorance. That’s human nature.

Do things like THAT make you feel uncomfortable? Too bad, get over it! The UUA is not merely a social club, it is a religious community that is supposed to function according to the highest principles of justice among themselves. And we were simply not doing that before 2017.

We don’t know who wrote this, but I am skeptical this was written by a former UUCS member. They say very little about UUCS, have zero personal anecdotes, and the only references are to information that is publicly available on the web.

uutemporary, that is straight up denial on your part and I don’t appreciate it. It is also a variant of the ad hominem fallacy (“If she’s not a member of that church then we should dismiss her arguments.”). Don’t do that again.

If you are referring to Rev. Eklof, that is quite a slanderous statement. It’s not in alignment with the traditional UU Seven Principles (though it is in alignment with the upcoming 8th Principle).

Actually, AlmondSauce2, you are wrong. I always thought the FIRST and SECOND UU principles covered perfectly the need to end white supremacy among UUs. We don’t need an 8th Principle, we just need to more consistently enforce and live up to the seven principles we already have.

They’ve handled this very poorly and refuse to answer to their actions and I for one wants answer for their actions.

What answers would you accept? I suspect that if it’s anything other than, “We are sorry for not letting Rev. Eklof keep promoting his divisive propaganda at the GA and will adopt his standards for the entire UUA from now on, no matter who it hurts”, you won’t be satisfied. So why bother to answer you?

Rev. Eklof and I have one thing in common: We were both originally Southern Baptists. The Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845 by pro-slavery Baptists who wanted to resist the increasing pressure from northern Baptists who were firmly anti-slavery. Then in the 1960s, many Southern Baptist ministers were opponents of the civil rights movement. Then in the 1980s, they supported the “Religious Right” that helped Reagan and both Bushes become President, with all the consequences thereof. As an ex Southern Baptist, I am painfully aware of the racism that still is an issue even today. If Eklof converted to UUism, that doesn’t mean he left his racial biases behind. I have an ex-wife among UUs and also a former Baptist, who is STILL racist!

Maybe I should be called “Dale the Hammer”!

In 2017, black and hispanic UUs finally got tired of being slighted by the racially biased hiring process in the UUA and so they stood up to it and made a compelling case for changing how things were being done.

By default, members of races favor their own kind, so in a group with a white majority, a white person would naturally be picked for an open position of leadership 99 times out of 100.

Do facts matter in this discussion? The person at the center the hiring controversy, leading to the Morales ouster, should have never been considered for the position; because she was a member of the Board of Trustees, her pushing for this was a clear conflict of interest and a violation of good principles of non-profit governance. This was an issue irregardless of her ethnicity/gender/etc.

And in 2017, at the time of the controversy, the percentage of UUA staff comprised of POC (people of color) was 20%, significantly higher than the percentage of UU congregations. The percentage of POC managers was 9%, again higher than the percentage of congregation membership. POC were already well-represented among UUA staff, and today are even more so.

MAGA Trump-supporters have embraced the culture of post-truth, and willful ignorance of facts and the truth. Unfortunately, so have many UUs, abandoning our 4th UU Principle in favor of the 8th. For some insight into why this is, I recommend Ken Wilber’s book, Trump and a Post-truth World.

Interesting. I’d never heard of these issues before. Why were they not brought up in the spring of 2017? Because…..they were NOT real?

Do facts matter in this discussion? Absolutely! But let us remember that a fact actually is: ” a piece of information presented as having objective reality”. It is NOT an assertion claimed to be a fact.

The person at the center the hiring controversy, leading to the Morales ouster, should have never been considered for the position; because she was a member of the Board of Trustees, her pushing for this was a clear conflict of interest and a violation of good principles of non-profit governance. This was an issue irregardless of her ethnicity/gender/etc.

Show me in the UUA rules that say “Members of the UUA Board of Trustees are not allowed to apply for and accept other positions they want later.” If there was no such rule, she did nothing wrong. You just stated an OPINION about her aspirations.

And in 2017, at the time of the controversy, the percentage of UUA staff comprised of POC (people of color) was 20%, significantly higher than the percentage of UU congregations. The percentage of POC managers was 9%, again higher than the percentage of congregation membership.

Where did you get those figures? And how do you know the percentage of POCs that are members of UU churches? Was some census taken some time before 2017 that clearly showed these percentages?

MAGA Trump-supporters have embraced the culture of Post-truth, and willful ignorance of facts and the truth. Unfortunately, so have many UUs, abandoning our 4th UU Principle in favor of the 8th.

Did you just call me and others on my side LIARS? When you resort to that, you invite ME to question what YOU say in turn.

As for willful ignorance, how about that Peter Morales willing RESIGNED once his shortcomings as UUA President became clear to him? He didn’t have to do that, and he certainly was NOT fired. (Indeed, I think it would have been better for him to merely apologize for misstatements he made during the controversy, but that’s my OPINION). He wasn’t any victim of aggression. CRITICISM of mistaken actions or words is not something to make the objects of the criticism into VICTIMS.

Nor were Mel Pine or Rev. Eklof victims. Pine chose to QUIT the UU church he was attending rather than listen to others and possibly change his attitude and Eklof is still minister of the UU Church of Spokane, WA. Neither of them were EXPELLED and SHUNNED by all other UUs for what they expressed in public. When that starts happening, then we have a real intolerance problem among us UUs. What you, Pine, Eklof and others are defending is WHITE PRIVILEGE (including the persistent desire to NOT be criticized for things you do to maintain or defend White Supremacy) that should have been challenged and overthrown DECADES ago.

I expected my opponent as a fellow UU to then support his claims with clear documentation of some kind. He did NOT! Instead, he wimped out!

What you, Pine, Eklof and others are defending is WHITE PRIVILEGE (including the persistent desire to NOT be criticized for things you do to maintain or defend White Supremacy) that should have been challenged and overthrown DECADES ago.

Please stop with the slander.

 How disappointing!

Please stop with the slander.

No, I am stating what I clearly see. If defending White Privilege in the UUA was NOT what they have been doing since 2017, WHAT WAS THE POINT of their criticizing the way the hiring controversy in 2017 turned out?

And for the record, I am a white person who is just sick unto death of seeing other white people’s racism being casually maintained and defended among whites in general. I was SHOCKED to discover it was still also a problem among UUs! We need to do better.

You see, if you had said in response, “I don’t believe that it was their intention to promote White Supremacy. Maybe you misunderstood them,” I’d be more inclined to take you seriously. Instead, you insulted me with an outright accusation of dishonesty (which can only make sense if both of us can read minds across the internet) and thus degraded the discussion.

Then someone else responds with:

No, I am stating what I clearly see. If defending White Privilege in the UUA was NOT what they have been doing since 2017, WHAT WAS THE POINT of their criticizing the way the hiring controversy in 2017 turned out?

This seems like an argument from incredulity.

You see, if you had said in response, “I don’t believe that it was their intention to promote White Supremacy. Maybe you misunderstood them,” I’d be more inclined to take you seriously.

If I understand you correctly, if I say “I don’t believe that Eklof, Pine and AlmondSauce2 are not defending White Supremacy,” you would take me seriously?

HUH???

 u

5 thoughts on “A debate in the UU subreddit over the 2017 hiring controversy.

  1. UPDATE: Another member named JAWVMM finally gave me what I asked for!

    {{{For a national research organization’s figures on ethinc/racial composition by denomination, see here:
    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/07/27/the-most-and-least-racially-diverse-u-s-religious-groups/

    For the UUA -specific figures, see here
    https://www.uuworld.org/sites/live-new.uuworld.org/files/morales_staff_diversity_controversy_20170327.pdf }}}

    {{{Employment of Trustees

    A UUA employee may not approach a member of the Board of Trustees regarding possible employment on the UUA staff. Without prior approval of the Board, a trustee may not apply for or accept employment with the Association within one year after the end of the member’s service on the Board.
    https://www.uua.org/uuagovernance/manual/limits/appendices/183779.shtml
    It is my understanding that the Board allowed not one, but two, Trustees to apply for the position.}}}

    It is so annoying that AlmondSauce2 didn’t bother to do that from the start. Why am I one of the few that try to prove my points consistently?

    My first answer:
    {{{THANK YOU! That’s exactly what I was asking for! It is infuriating that people keep asserting questionable stats without backing them up with clear documentation. NEVER assume something is already common knowledge!

    [[A UUA employee may not approach a member of the Board of Trustees regarding possible employment on the UUA staff. Without prior approval of the Board, a trustee may not apply for or accept employment with the Association within one year after the end of the member’s service on the Board.]]

    Click to access GadflyReview2.pdf


    [[The Southern Region Lead was a “plum” position, which drew multiple applicants. Among them were two sitting members of the UUA Board of Trustees…. According to UUA policy, ​neither ​should have been eligible without full Board of Trustees approval. UUA Board members were supposed to be off the Board for a year beforeemployment as UUA staff, to avoid conflict of interest. UUA Director of Congregational Life, Rev. Scott Tayler, who ultimately made the hire, solicited an agreement with Moderator (Board Chair,) Jim Key, to waive that policy for this hire. The full Board was not informed until after the fact, and there was never a proper vote to suspend the rule.

    Eklof also does not mention that one term of employment was, logically enough, for the successful applicant to be located in, or at least near, the Southern Region. Furthermore, in the interview process, ​multiple ​applicants left their interviews feeling as though they had secured the position. This was inexcusable clumsiness on Tayler’s part, and invited thecontroversy that followed. Eklof mentions only one, the “Latina,” but other candidates were also given the same impression. Thus, flawed process pretty much guaranteed bitter feelings.Eklof also fails to mention that Rev. Andy Burnette, the person Rev. Scott Tayler chose,lived far away from the Southern Region, in Phoenix, Arizona. What’s more, after choosing Burnette, ​Tayler agreed to Burnette remaining in Phoenix, even though it was two states awayfrom the nearest Congregation he would be advising—and thousands of miles from most of them! ​Logistics (and expense pertaining thereto) aside, it should have been obvious this decision would provoke resentment and controversy.]]

    My conclusion: NONE of that crap should have happened! And both Rev. Scott Tayler and Jim Key should have been FIRED over this. Rev. Andy Burnette should never have been considered for the position and someone else actually living in the region (not necessarily the “Latina” UUA trustee in question) should have been chosen, period. But the “good ol’ boy” system worked to mess things up.

    As I said before, Rev. Peter Morales didn’t have to resign because that did not help matters. He could have said nothing in public about the matter until the GA that year and brought together ALL of the people involved in the controversy to sit down face to face and work things out. His failure to do so damaged the UUA and ruined his own legacy.}}}

    • Continuing….

      {{{JAWVMM

      Thank you. I always try to give sources when I make factual statements, and am glad to try to find them for others. I agree that the entire process was a problem. Board members should not have been considered, and it seemed clear at the time that the process was a mess. The problem as I saw it was that, instead of going back to the people responsible, it was taken straight to social media and to religious professionals all over the country. I saw it as a classic case of triangulation – which I learned about in UUA leadership training, and it comes from family systems theory which is taught in seminary. (Triangulation is when person A has a problem with person B, but goes to person C to get them to talk to person B. In churches and other organizations, it also takes the form of someone gathering a group of people to pressure person B.)

      I think the facts about the racial balance in UUA staff, and particularly the improvements over Morales’s term, argue against the idea that hiring was systematically racially biased. The process was a mess, but I don’t think it was race.

      And I can’t agree with

      [[By default, members of races favor their own kind, so in a group with a white majority, a white person would naturally be picked for an open position of leadership 99 times out of 100. The only way to change that is to publicly SHAME those that are unconsciously biased, and thus open their eyes and force them to stop being blind to their own self-imposed ignorance.]]

      Shaming is not only not the only way, it doesn’t get good results, and it is wrong, too boot.

      [[Neither of them were EXPELLED and SHUNNED by all other UUs for what they expressed in public.]]

      Pine was the subject of a widely circulated vile YouTube rant by a person who is now a UUA Board member. Rev. Eklof was censured by UUMA, which does threaten his vocation and livelihood. We as UUs, and parts of the larger culture, operate on a double standard. Until we can learn that nobody deserves to be sworn at, dismissed, disrespected, or shamed, we haven’t grasped the Principles.}}}

      {{{Seeker_Alpha1701

      I respect your position. At least you gave me honest and clear dialogue here, unlike some people I have encountered over the past two years that come across as arrogant pricks.

      The UUA, and UU churches all over the world, need to focus not only on eliminating white supremacy, but also teach both kids and adults how to argue with clear facts, documentation and consistent logic and stop with the fallacies I see way too often! I think they carry that tendency over from whatever religious backgrounds they came from, where assertions and personal biases rule the order of discussions. We UUs must do better.}}}

      {{{JAWVMM

      Again, I agree. One thing that distresses me is that I think the way the white supremacy claims are framed, and a whole spectrum of issues around multiculturalism are based on faulty logic and cherry-picking. ANd I don’t think religion has as much to do with it as a lot of built-in bias in the way people think. Another thing that I am distressed about is that we really are not working at being empathetic/compassionate with everyone, and especially are constantly questioning people’s motives and sincerity.}}}

      {{{JAWVMM

      I don’t know where the idea that Eklof is in any way saying “you condemn my racial biases, therefore you threaten my freedom”came from, but it is not at all where he is coming from. The stats on UUA hiring I posted elsewhere; to condemn the UUA as white supremacist is to condemn its leadership, which includes a Hispanic President and a black President before him.

      Free copy of the book here. Do him the courtesy of reading it before condemning him. https://gofile.io/?c=AguF0k }}}

      {{{Seeker_Alpha1701

      [[to condemn the UUA as white supremacist is to condemn its leadership, which includes a Hispanic President and a black President before him.]]

      That’s a good point. William Sinkford, the Black UUA President you mentioned, took part in the Black Empowerment controversy within the UUA in the late 1960s, and actually left it for a while when he didn’t get what he wanted from it. He eventually returned, served as UUA President, was made a UUA co-President after Peter Morales resigned, and with two others made changes. He was exactly the person I expected and wanted to take charge until the next GA.

      Barack Obama served as the first Black President of the United States, but did almost nothing to break down the white supremacy still infesting the federal government and American society in general, as shown by the election of Donald Trump, himself a racist, to be Obama’s successor. Too many white men still thought of the US Presidency as for THEM ONLY.

      I don’t want a future leader of the UUA to be our version of Donald Trump….and that’s exactly how I viewed Rev. Eklof.
      I have downloaded his book and will study its contents, finally! This should have been made available to me a long time ago!}}}

      • {{{JAWVMM

        I’m not going to read and critique the whole thing, but just a page or two in, there is this “I doubt most modern historians would deny that the First Amendment was conceived by men who passionately believed in white supremacist hierarchy” which I think exemplifies the kind of thinking that has gotten us to the polarized and untenable situation we are in. First, it is a guilt by association (ad hominem) attack – like the attacks on reason by the UUMA (derived from postmodernism and critical race theory). Even if the founders were white supremacists, and the defenders and interpreters were mostly white men, it does not follow that therefore the principle of free speech is wrong. But the larger problem is the frame that white supremacy pre-existed the European settlement of North America and was a central principle and motive. I think most modern historians would deny that Madison and others responsible for the Bill of Rights were passionate white supremacists (see for example this essay on Madison and racism: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/28/opinion/sunday/james-madison-racism.html ). We tend to have views that vastly simplify history and people’s motives, and also not to have a grasp of what actually happened in the past. We then attribute intentionality, and even conspiracy, where there is none. I am aware of the tenet that intention doesn’t matter, but we follow that at our peril, because our responses to protect ourselves from intentional harm should, practically, be very different from our responses to unintentional harm.}}}

        {{{Seeker_Alpha1701
        [[ like the attacks on reason by the UUMA (derived from postmodernism and critical race theory).]]

        I wasn’t aware that “reason” as a means of figuring out truth and justice was being denied by anyone in the UUA. Really???

        [[ Even if the founders were white supremacists, and the defenders and interpreters were mostly white men, it does not follow that therefore the principle of free speech is wrong.]]

        It was my understanding that it was the very principle of “free speech” that was being used by critics of the UUA hiring practices of 2017. And later by critics of a flawed article in the UU World about transgender issues.

        People who are criticized about such matters may be commended for being willing to listen to critics and to either defend their actions and positions with logic and facts or to change if the need to do so is understood. Including myself. If I am proven wrong about something, I own up to it and don’t defend a previous position. I don’t whine about being criticized like a wimp!

        And yet…..

        [[ “I must say what I believe is true and do what I believe is right, even if I’m wrong…”]]

        NO, Rev. Eklof, you should say:

        [[ “I must say what I believe is true and do what I believe is right, unless and until I am proven wrong…..”]]

        You cannot be trusted if you are not willing to listen and change, period! Both Eklof and Mel Pine can kiss my @$$ about this. They were wrong, period.}}}

        {{{JAWVMM
        From the UUMA censure letter “we cannot ignore the fact that logic has often been employed in white supremacy culture to stifle dissent, minimize expressions of harm, and to require those who suffer to prove the harm by that culture’s standards.”

        https://www.uuma.org/news/466020/UUMA-Board-and-Executive-Team-Issues-Public-Letter-of-Censure.htm }}}

        {{{Seeker_Alpha1701

        I understand. It seems the misuse of logic without using empathy and taking all facts into account instead of cherry picking to make a case you already assume to be true is the issue, not logic itself.

        For example, if I were a racist defending slavery in the early 19th Century, I would have used logic like this:

        “When we encountered the blacks in Africa, they were living a primitive lifestyle. Isn’t that proof enough that they are inferior to us highly civilized whites? That we should rule over them forever?”

        Uh, no. We should be judging people as INDIVIDUALS, not by their skin color or any other issue, period.

        Reason is not useless, but it is overrated, which is why Ayn Rand’s Objectivism is not acceptable to me. She was a damned racist against both Native Americans and Arabs. You can use twisted forms of “logic” to justify anything. Even genocide!}}}

        {{{JAWVMM

        [[We should be judging people as INDIVIDUALS, not by their skin color or any other issue, period.]]

        Absolutely. And what I don’t understand is how we can believe that, but also believe that it is ok to say “because you are a white man, you can’t possibly understand my point of view, and we have heard enough from white men, anyway.” Which is said, often.

        About the judging – we need to judge ideas, not people.}}}

        {{{Seeker_Alpha1701

        [[“because you are a white man, you can’t possibly understand my point of view, and we have heard enough from white men, anyway.”]]

        This white man would disagree. And if there are any UUs of any gender or that may or may not be non-white also that say such nonsense, let them be denounced as hypocrites.}}}

        {{{JAWVMM

        Well, I don’t think that anyone should be denounced, but plenty of UUs are saying that, in nastier words – white men are saying it to white men, for that matter. The other day a white male UU was saying it to another white male UU, who had said more or less apologetically that he was white and cis but also gay, disabled, and with depression – didn’t matter, he was a white man and “we have heard enough from white men.”}}}

        • {{{JAWVMM

          [[“When we encountered the blacks in Africa, they were living a primitive lifestyle. Isn’t that proof enough that they are inferior to us highly civilized whites? That we should rule over them forever?”]]

          I think one of the problems with how we are looking at race and the problems it is still causing today is that we tend to simplify and generalize like this about how people thought about it then (and how they think about it now). I don’t think that people in the 19th c. thought that way, and by then, we were centuries past encountering Africans. The first slaves who arrived in Virginia in 1619 were on ships that had been captured by the English, not particularly for the slave cargo, and for a couple of generations, the relatively few slaves brought in were treated much like the white indentured servants. The whole system developed quite slowly over 250 years, in response to a whole lot of very local factors. Nobody went to Africa, said, oh look, primitive people we can kidnap for forced labor and build an empire. And by the Revolution, all of the Northern states had abolished slavery outright or passed laws to phase it out. I’m not arguing that Western Europeans didn’t feel they were superior to less technological cultures – with some justification – Eurasia had great geographical advantages over the Americas and Africa. We know now that the development of agriculture and the development of technology that it supports (broadly including writing, systems of thought, political organization) doesn’t depend on the character of the people, but on the available resources, like domesticable animals, climate, and broad areas of land in the same climate zones so crops can spread. People didn’t know that then (we didn’t figure it our until the second half of the 20th century), and without that information it was reasonable to assume that differences in people made the difference. Even so, there was a huge amount of discussion over the 17th and 18th centuries about the rightness of slavery and the place of Africans, native Americans, and everyone else fit in and were to be treated – and, at the time “race” was more a cultural idea than a physical one. Slavery in the South was partly or possibly completely an attempt to rebuilt feudalism – south Carolina’s original charter provided for a landed aristocracy, and although that was scrapped, South Carolina built was was essentially a landed aristocracy without the titles, and feudal. And that structure spread throughout the South. The whole thing was driven by economics. The economic structure of the northern economies was completely different, based on family farms, timber, fishing, and the fur trade, which rapidly became the deerskin trade (which was half of the South Carolina economy, too, until the 1760s). And of course, the skin trade was Native American trade – they were the suppliers and the French and English were middlemen, traders, not the hunters, something that you never hear in either the trafditional nor the revised American histories. That too developed over hundreds of years. And all of it was individual people, from dozens of European cultures, languages and backgrounds, from the very beginning, and all of those people were working with each other, in quite different local groups, for their own ends, not some grand scheme of empire and domination.

          I could go on but it is late. I think we really need to stop thinking about people as huge homogenous groups with nefarious purposes. We all feel pain, we all suffer, we are all going to die.}}}

          {{{Seeker_Alpha1701

          I still think that Rev. Eklof’s attempt to distribute free copies of his book at the 2019 GA without informing the organizers of the GA beforehand and inviting various parties involved to take part in a discussion about the issues in which all sides could be heard and responded to was unacceptable. Merely publishing the book and making it available for sale on Amazon is not a problem. But he made what looked like a sneak attack at the very GA his local UU community was hosting! You only do that when you are acting in bad faith.}}}

          {{{JAWVMM

          It is not as if books are never distributed at GA. It is one of the purposes of having an exhibit area. Why is it acting in bad faith? Should all books and other materials distributed from a congregation’s or other group’s table at GA be vetted before hand and discussion times arranged for them?}}}

          {{{Seeker_Alpha1701

          Well, I just think it would have been a courtesy for Rev. Eklof to inform the organizers about the book, set up a small booth to sell (not give away) copies of the book and let curious people come to that booth to ask about what he was selling and then decide for themselves if they wanted to buy it. NOT try to cram that book down anyone else’s throat! It was the specific tactics he used, not just the book itself that bothered me when I first heard about it. People who had no idea what they had just been given would read it, realize it was propaganda against the decisions made in 2017, and feel blindsided and attacked. That didn’t have to happen.}}}

          {{{JAWVMM

          I didn’t have the impression that anyone was making people take it. And he did set up a small booth – it was the congregation’s table. People were quite vocal about just the blurbs on the back cover. i think we really need to get past the idea that differing opinions are attacks. His book is by no means attacking (although he is not an eloquent writer and that alone makes it a painful read for me), and most of the people who objected to it hadn’t read, said they refused to read it, and warned others not to read it. The best UU thing I have seen on the harm of protecting people from harm is this, which was written a month before GA – prescient. http://bootsandblessings.blogspot.com/2019/05/recommitting-to-ethic-of-personal.html

          and the five-part “Love Song to Unitarian Universalism” that follows it.}}}

  2. Dl, y sm t njy pstng crtcsms bt rgnztns, bks, msc, nd thr thngs thr ppl hv crtd. t mks m thnk y r n xprt t crtng thngs whch r prfct. Wht s n xmpl f smthng y hv crtd whch s prfct? gd nswr t ths wld dmnstrt yr xprts.

    (Dale Husband: Since I have never claimed to be perfect or to have made anything perfect, your comment is as childish and useless as it gets. Go find some other place to be a troll in.)

Leave a Reply to Dale Husband Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s