The Next UUA Presidential Election Seems to be in Trouble

Read this:

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/betancourt-announcement

Search Committee Nominates Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt for UUA President

New president to be elected at General Assembly 2023.

The Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt wearing glasses, smiling

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s Presidential Search Committee recently announced its nomination of Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt for UUA president for the 2023–2029 term.

In its announcement, the committee expressed that it was “unanimous in its belief that UUs are blessed by the candidacy of Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt,” noting that her ministry “centers on work that is empowering and counter-oppressive. Her academic work focuses on the environmental ethics of liberation through a womanist and Latina feminist frame.”

In accordance with UUA bylaws—which require that the group nominate at least two people—the committee explained it had nominated two qualified leaders to be candidates but one of them declined the nomination.

Additional candidates can run by petition; materials must be submitted to the UUA secretary between December 1, 2022 and February 1, 2023. The UUA General Assembly will elect the new UUA president this June.

Below is Betancourt’s response to questions UU World will be asking all candidates.

Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt 

The Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt is a minister, educator, scholar, vocalist, poet, fiber artist, and change-maker. Her work in the world and her practice of Unitarian Universalism are informed by the belief that building mutual, accountable relationships with one another allows us to live our values more fully every day. Raised in New York City as the child of immigrants from Panamá and Chile, and the grandchild of a seventh-generation Unitarian, she knows the strength that comes from building lasting community at the meeting point of difference. She is an unabashed Universalist. The teachings of unearned grace, an all-embracing love, relational accountability, and dignity that surpasses all violent forms of oppression lie at the core of her understanding of life, living, and service in faithful community.

The Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt has served Unitarian Universalism for more than twenty years as a religious educator, minister, scholar, member of the UUA national staff and many volunteer committees at regional and denominational levels, and as interim co-president of the UUA in the spring of 2017. She holds a Ph.D. in Religious Ethics and African American Studies from Yale University as well as an M.Div. from Starr King School for the Ministry.

Betancourt has served congregations in Stockton, California; Norwich, Connecticut; Storrs, Connecticut; and Fresno, California; and has served on the faculty of Starr King School for the Ministry. She is currently serving as Resident Scholar and Special Advisor on Justice and Equity at our Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. She is the author of Ecowomanism at the Panamá Canal: Black Women, Labor, and Environmental Ethics(2022).

To learn more about the Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt and her campaign priorities of communal care, collaborative leadership, and facing the unknown together visit her website at sofiabetancourt.com.

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Because of her previous experience as a UUA co-President, she seems ideal to be the next President. But there are questions.

Read this also:

https://www.uua.org/pressroom/press-releases/psc-nominee-president

At the conclusion of its process, the PSC unanimously nominated two exceptionally qualified leaders to be candidates for President. One of those nominees declined the nomination. Once the nominations were made, the committee determined that the only fair and appropriate course of action was to move forward with the nomination of Rev. Dr. Betancourt, rather than reopening the application process. The PSC members respect the decision of the nominee who withdrew, and will continue to honor their privacy, as was done throughout the interview process.

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I consider this to be a serious mistake. Who was the other nominee and why did they decline the nomination? We should be told some details about this person. Also….there is nothing fair or appropriate about having an “election” with only ONE candidate!

Nomination petitions from additional candidates may be submitted, according to the procedures described in the UUA Bylaws and Rules, by February 1, 2023. The election will conclude in June 2023, and the next President will be announced at General Assembly 2023. The current UUA President, Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray, will reach the end of her term and will serve until her successor takes office. As with the current President, the next UUA President will serve a single six-year term and will not be eligible for re-election.

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I am worried that a petition candidate may be one of the conservatives loyal to Rev. Dr. Todd Eklof, well known as a troublemaker for the UUA. The election process may then turn ugly, like Presidential elections of the United States often are.

Reading and Reacting to “The Gadfly Molehill”

So we as UUs should openly and LOUDLY challenge the PSC’s policies and decision and demand more accountability from it and others involved in the election process. And, of course, Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt too. I’m not questioning her qualifications, just the flawed process that nominated her. 

And I see NOTHING WRONG with allowing someone like Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Gray to be eligible to run for another term. If she has plenty of popular support after several years in office, then she should be the obvious choice!

An unethical teaching from the Caleb and Sophia Series

As most of my readers may know, Caleb and Sophia are two children that are featured in a series of videos made by the leaders of the Jehovah’s Witnesses to indoctrinate children in their cult’s teachings. I have slammed one episode of that series several times before, both here and on YouTube.

https://dalehusband.com/2016/05/04/jehovah-the-homophobe/

https://dalehusband.com/2021/03/27/a-non-theist-version-of-one-man-one-woman/

But now I have found another episode of the series that is even more troublesome. Watch this:

https://www.jw.org/en/bible-teachings/children/become-jehovahs-friend/videos/obey-jehovah/

Then consider these questions.

  1. Caleb said his friend gave him that Sparlock action figure, and the mother made him throw it away. Wouldn’t it have been better for Caleb to simply return the action figure to his friend and explain to the friend that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not allowed to play with toys like that? The mother herself could have also explained the matter directly to the parents of Caleb’s friend. That would have been a chance to teach the faith of the Witnesses. But no, let’s just discard the toy and not explain to anyone else why. Cowardly, much?
  2. The issue of magic being favored by Satan rather than Jehovah is a lie. Wasn’t Jesus using magic when he healed people? When he ordered a storm to stop? When he ROSE FROM THE DEAD?! #hypocrisy
  3. The actual issue is not obeying or disobeying Jehovah at all. It’s obeying or disobeying the mother in the video. Does this mother think she is equal to Jehovah? If not, then why does she claim to speak for him?! #blasphemy

Caleb was being verbally abused and brainwashed, and parents like that mother make me sick. I hope more kids reject such bullshit as they grow up and learn about the real world we all live in.

A Question About Translating the Baha’i Writings

Check this out:

And other members of r/exbahai, including me, gave replies.

 

exBaha’i atheist

Same reason the Catholic Church kept the Bible locked up in Latin long after that language died out…..they didn’t want the common people to know they were being scammed. The Protestant Reformation led to the Bible finally being translated into the common languages. The Catholic Church was then forced to change.

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Because by modern standards Bahaullah and the Bab were extremely conservative, whereas the Baha’i Faith in the West markets itself as a religion for progressives.

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Never-Baha’i Christian

My take is that they know it says embarrassing material in it and if they were to translate it; members would leave in droves. It is quite revealing that William Miller who was a critic translated the Aqdas before the Baha’i Faith did. If Shoghi Effendi was such a great translator;why was he translating hundreds of pages before even attempting to translate Bahá’u’lláh’s most important work?

Also, if the Persian Bayan is the most important work of the Bab; why not translate it?

Is the Baha’i faith wants to spread their message because it changes lives for the better; why suppress it then?

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exBaha’i atheist

It should be noted that even the Baha’i writings that have been translated into English are incredibly damning. In 2017, I subjected the Kitab-i-Aqdas to a critical analysis from start to finish, working over the course of a week and a half.

https://dalehusband.com/bahai-writings-criticism/

https://bahai-writings-criticism.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-critical-analysis-of-kitab-i-aqdas.html

The following year, I did the same to Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament:

https://bahai-writings-criticism.blogspot.com/2018/04/a-critical-analysis-of-will-and.html

And two years ago I went after one of the most prominent Baha’i “history” writers who got elected to the Universal House of Justice and completely discredited him too!

https://dalehusband.com/2020/08/10/adib-taherzadeh-con-artist/

It seems that FRAUD is a crime in every other human activity except religion. I don’t think Baha’is should be persecuted, but someone like Adib Taherzadeh really should have been exposed as a pathological liar long before he could get as powerful as he became. But he got away with his crap because of the corrupt leadership of the Faith before him. He was serving their interests, so they eventually made him one of them.

If you start with corruption, it tends to perpetuate itself. The Universal House of Justice is a completely illegitimate body that, along with the rest of the Baha’i Administrative Order, should be dismantled. But I am confident it will eventually fall apart on its own.

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This is where I get confused. Because I’ve asked people before what motivates the UHJ, and the response is usually that they are true believers. Yet I can’t understand how someone can be a true believer and lie about the faith that they supposedly believe in. Are they actually fraudsters trying to make money or have power? Or is it a version of cognitive dissonance, where they believe in a particular idea of the faith and then in their heads rationalise anything else that doesn’t fit with it, as either irrelevant or blocked out from their memory?

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exBaha’i atheist

Adib Taherzadeh wrote a book, The Covenant of Baha’u’llah, which is one loooooong collection of acts of “mental gymnastics”. This is when you start with the ASSUMPTION that something must be true, no matter what, and construct arguments to support the claim. That’s the exact opposite of how an honest investigation should be run. (“Here are the facts……what conclusions can we draw from them?”)

That book eventually made me realize after I got it that Christian fundamentalists and Baha’is argue the SAME WAY! And since I had already rejected Christianity…..

Most Baha’is (and Christians, really) are simply members of a loving community and may not give much thought to why they believe certain things. But in order to DEFEND dogmatic, extremist religion, you have to lie about it! You can either choose to believe the lies and thus be corrupted, or reject them after using consistent logic to cut through the double standards of mental gymnastics.

To understand how corrupt the whole process is, imagine if the police, the lawyers, and the courts all ASSUMED you were guilty of a crime and simply rejected an alibi you put forth (“I wasn’t even there, so I couldn’t have done it!”) and insisted you be punished because the facts didn’t matter, only the DOGMA that you are a criminal. THAT’S HOW MENTAL GYMNASTICS WORK!

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I remember somewhere reading that the Bab’s followers later followed a practice of dissimulation, lying about their own religion in order to work around persecution, or to gain influence and force regime change. I don’t know how accurate that might be, but it does make me wonder sometimes if the same thing is going on – we believe the faith, but we know it won’t be palatable for others, so we lie about what it really is, while retaining our belief in the hidden doctrine.

I guess this is what it might be, rather than deception for profit, or self-deception pure and simple. Mental gymnastics to me is slightly ambiguous, since it might imply that they are lying to themselves to deny a dogma they know to be true. Whereas it seems like maybe these people believe the ends justify the means – that they know and believe in the writings that they don’t share with others, but believe that it’s OK to lie about them, because the end result, of creating a new world system, justifies any measures.