Unitarian Universalist leaders

The United States of America uses a federal system of government that acts as a means of uniting the 50 states of the union. The states are still separate entities that have their own priorities.

The Unitarian Universalist Association uses its own federal model, but it does not rule over territories like a nation does. It is a religious institution.

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Another fight in reddit over Rev. Todd Eklof’s publicity stunt of 2019

For some background, read these earlier blog entries:

https://dalehusband.com/2019/07/12/reopening-old-wounds-among-unitarian-universalists/

https://dalehusband.com/2020/02/25/a-debate-in-the-uu-subreddit-over-the-2017-hiring-controversy/

https://dalehusband.com/2020/07/19/another-call-for-unitarian-universalists-to-stop-fighting-for-consistent-racial-justice/

In reddit, my primary focus has always been debunking and opposing the Baha’i Faith, but I am also dedicated to promoting Unitarian Universalism, despite issues like that above. The occasional hypocrisy that crops up among UUs, unlike that other religion, is not a direct product of its contradictory teachings.

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Another victory over the Baha’i Faith and one of its bigoted hypocrites

Two days ago, a seeker (a Baha’i term for a person investigating the Baha’i Faith) came to the Baha’i subreddit to ask questions about it.

And among those who tried to offer answers and advice was:

One of the things I would encourage is really taking the time to understand who Baha’u’llah is and what He taught. We all come with different backgrounds and experiences, but the concept in the Baha’i Faith of the Messenger of God as the representative of God and reflection of the Holy Spirit is at the core of our theology.

-It is difficult to understand and conceive of God. On one level, God and the spirit emanating from God is in all things; but, at another level, God is independent, unknowable, and one in the Baha’i Faith.

Meanwhile, I was in a state of rage, after learning this same DavidBinOwen had stalked and attacked me in another subreddit where I had made a statement against the Baha’i Faith. And I was damn tired of being one of his favorite prey items! So I proceeded to rant about it in the exBaha’i subreddit.

And the seeker SAW that! So he contacted me.

imfinnacry

Hey, Sorry to bother you but I would like to be very open with you. I’m a person in search of my religious beliefs. One that best reflects my spiritual beliefs and welcomes my choice of practice. I’ve found Unitarian Universalist, Baha’i Faith, and Advaita Vedanta Hinduism as my primary choices. I also have Islam and returning back to hinduism in the back of my head as far off options for me.

I come to you because I recently joined the Baha’i subreddit and asked them a couple of questions regarding mysticism, divination, and my Pantheist views.

Before converting I did more research that led me to this subreddit and your most recent post about a member of the baha’i subreddit DavidBinOwen. Your post shocked me because it comes off the complete opposite to what I have come to know learning about the Baha’i believers.

I wish to know what do you know about the Baha’i faith from your experience. Why did you decide Baha’i wasn’t for you and what do you not like about it. I want to use what you may know as a warning or caution for what I might be getting myself into.

 

I decided that to be diplomatic was the best option, so…..

To be fair, I should note that DavidBinOwen is not really a typical Baha’i. Most Baha’is I used to know were genuinely loving and honorable people…..at least they seemed to be. Here is one of my most powerful statements against the Baha’i Faith. If you want anything more, contact me later.

The next day:

imfinnacry

I do have a question for you

I read what you’ve sent me and I’ve also read the blogs you’ve referenced in this particular post you’ve made as well: https://www.reddit.com/r/exbahai/comments/idqjpp/a_conversation_about_religion/

________________

Seeker_Alpha1701

What is your question?

____________________

imfinnacry

I’m honestly quite disheartened. It felt like I’ve finally found a faith that was pretty much as close to what I’ve wanted out of a religious institution with it’s progressive and liberal values, inclusion of other religious faiths and so on.

As a pantheist first, a fan of rational minded educators, Baruch Spinoza, Einstein, and simply logic I can’t bring myself to subscribing to the Baha’i Faith like I once wanted to after reading your posts that pointed out so many fallacies and inconsistencies in the faith.

My question to you is, I did come across one blog while scouring your website. It was the blog about you and your friend presenting the idea of a Unitarian Baha’i Faith. Do you think that’s possible to achieve? Or would you suggest simply looking into UU instead?

I am guessing he saw this:

https://dalehusband.com/2010/04/05/why-we-need-a-unitarian-bahai-faith/

Seeker_Alpha1701

To make a long story short, Eric Stetson eventually dropped out of the Unitarian Baha’i movement, and all that’s left of it is a few websites and a Facebook group. Based on your various comments, you might be best joining a UU church, where you may always be free to explore different theologies and beliefs while still being part of a community that won’t judge you for questioning things most other religions take for granted.

To help you sort things out, please read all these essays: https://dalehusband.com/spiritual-orientation-series/

I won’t tell you what to believe, but I want to give you the tools to find out what is truly best for you. That sets me, and most UUs, apart from most Baha’is, Christians, and other dogmatic religions that seek converts.

____________

imfinnacry

Thank you, I appreciate it Dale.

For DavidBinOwen, this is a clear case of:

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/hoisted+by+their+own+petard

hoist by/with (one’s) own petard

To be injured, ruined, or defeated by one’s own action, device, or plot that was intended to harm another; to have fallen victim to one’s own trap or schemes.

Unitarian Baha’is

Over the past 30 years, I have gone from being a member of a Unitarian Universalist church, to being a member of the Haifa based Baha’i Faith, to returning to the Unitarian Universalist church. Since 2010, it seems there has been found a way to merge the two religions and to use the internet to break the power of the “mainstream” Baha’i Faith and allow religious freedom to be a genuine concept for Baha’is to embrace among themselves.

Introducing the Unitarian Baha’is:

http://unitarianbahais.org/

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Another call for Unitarian Universalists to stop fighting for consistent racial justice

Read this blog entry published by Mel Pine and written by Rev. Richard Trudeau:

https://trulyopenmindsandhearts.blog/2020/06/24/uus-in-the-pews-please-help/

Here are excerpts from it in red and my responses in blue.

I am writing this for lay members of Unitarian Universalist congregations. I believe there is a crisis in the national UU movement, and I believe that laypeople are in the best position to help resolve it. The rub is, very few laypeople are aware of the crisis…

Why would you assume that? Many reports about what has been happening over the past few years have been published online and in print, by bloggers like myself, on Facebook, and even in the UU World magazine itself.

What integrity in leadership looks like

An Open Letter to the New President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

Stop whining about “censorship”!

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

I’m a UU minister. I first learned about the UU movement in 1960, as a teenager unhappy with my Catholic upbringing; I decided then that if I ever returned to church, it would be to a UU church. In the early 1980s, I started attending a UU congregation, which I then joined. I was granted UUA ministerial fellowship in 1994 and was ordained in 1995. I served two UU churches, 1992-2012. I am now semi-retired, preaching a total of about twenty times a year at a dozen or so UU churches in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

So he is someone who has credibility because of his long association with UUism. Granted.

The crisis I see is that a majority of our UU national leaders have become committed to a particular ideology that threatens two aspects of UUism: our commitment to social justice, and our values of reason and free expression.

These leaders — at the Unitarian Universalist Association, in our two seminaries, and in the UU Ministers’ Association — have become so committed and intransigent that I have started to think of the ideology that has captivated them as a mental virus with which they have become infected. By this analogy I do not mean to imply that they are mentally ill, of course, but only that they seem stuck in a rut (think Communism, 1917-1989). Victims of this mental virus can be recognized by their calls to “dismantle our white supremacy culture.”

I would think that efforts to dismantle white supremacy culture IS promoting social justice. And people have used their own reason and free expression to call for it. Freedom can’t be one sided.

I said this mental virus threatens the UU commitment to social justice. I was present at a ministers’ meeting ten years ago at which someone who had just ended a term on the UUA Board reported that there was then a consensus on the board that the UUA racial-justice strategy — at the time called “Journey Toward Wholeness,” and underway for thirteen years — had accomplished disappointingly little. What the UU leaders of today are doing is to double down on this same strategy.

While the name “Journey Toward Wholeness” has been retired, and the rallying-cry has changed from calling on whites to “confess our complicity in institutional racism” to calling on all to “dismantle our white supremacy culture,” the underlying strategy has not changed.

The racial-justice strategy our leaders are pursuing is a strategy that doesn’t work to make Black lives, or any other lives, better.

I think his claim is false. Read this:

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/new-uua-hiring-practices

New hiring practices help UUA live into its values

Careful attention to hiring practices has diversified the staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association and deepened its commitment to antiracism, antioppression, and multiculturalism.

The UUA Leadership Council is 42 percent people of color in January 2020.

Last October, at a symposium on Black theology sponsored by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU) in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Carey McDonald, executive vice president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, shared exciting news with the Rev. William G. Sinkford: In just over two years, the UUA had more than doubled the number of people of color in top leadership roles, meeting an ambitious diversity goal Sinkford set for the UUA during his ten-week interim co-presidency in the spring of 2017.

Sinkford, the first African American elected as UUA president, had led the association from 2001 to 2009. In his final full year as president, the UUA’s Leadership Council—its senior staff, including the president—was 14 percent people of color; the staff as a whole was just under 14 percent people of color. Eight years later, during the final year of the presidency of Sinkford’s successor, the Rev. Peter Morales, the first Hispanic president of the UUA, people of color made up 20 percent of all employees, but the number of people of color on the Leadership Council had not changed. For an association with a stated commitment to antiracism and multiculturalism, the numbers of people of color, especially in top leadership positions, frustrated and angered some UUs. Critics said the UUA was routinely favoring white ministers when hiring for senior positions, and a denominational crisis over hiring practices erupted in March 2017, three months before the end of Morales’s second term. Morales and two other top officials resigned in April 2017.

Instituting a shared model of leadership it had not used before, the UUA Board of Trustees named three people of color as interim co-presidents—Sinkford, the Rev. Sofía Betancourt, and Dr. Leon Spencer—until a new president could be elected in June 2017. The board also established a Commission on Institutional Change to assess institutional and structural racism in the UUA. The co-presidents announced a hiring freeze until new policies could be set and added two people of color to the Leadership Council: Jessica York, the interim director of Ministries and Faith Development, and Carey McDonald, the UUA’s Outreach director.

Soon the co-presidents announced new hiring goals: at least 40 percent of people in managerial and decision-making positions on the UUA staff should be people of color and/or indigenous people, they said, and, overall, the UUA staff should be 30 percent people of color/indigenous people. While no UUA employees were to be terminated to meet the goals, the policy was to guide all new hires.

At the BLUU symposium in Saint Paul, McDonald told Sinkford that today, through focused and concerted effort to transform UUA culture, the Leadership Council is 42 percent people of color, and the overall staff numbers have risen to 30 percent people of color.

“My response,” says Sinkford, “was to be both impressed and delighted.” Moreover, Sinkford encouraged McDonald to make sure the story got told: in less than three years, the UUA had moved from a particularly low point to a place of celebration—albeit qualified by a clear recognition that there is much work to be done.

So it appears the latest efforts have been more successful than those of the past because clear difference in policies and practices were made. So what’s the problem now?

The reason I lean toward the analogy of a mental virus infecting the majority of our national leaders is that I have no doubt that they are well-intentioned, and for the most part capable, people, yet their behavior is to me incomprehensible. I can only understand it if I imagine them as victims. Just as a physical virus, like the one causing COVID-19, exploits laudable human traits to gain entrance to our bodies — like our human desire to be physically close to one another — the mental virus of which I speak seems to have gained entrance to our leaders’ minds by exploiting their laudable qualities of empathy and passion for social justice. But the result is that their judgment seems to me impaired; they are no longer thinking clearly.

So just because you do not understand the motivations behind the people you disagree with, you claim they are somehow diseased! That’s no way to have a fair dialogue on the matter, but then again if you wanted that, you would not be publishing your insults in Mel Pine’s blog, right? He quit the UUA, so most UUs wouldn’t even notice his works now. It’s now an anti-UUA echo chamber.

I said that the mental virus also threatens the UU values of reason and free expression. This is clear from the treatment accorded over the last year to Rev. Todd Eklof of our Spokane, WA congregation. Rev. Eklof wrote a book, The Gadfly Papers, that expressed concern about the crisis in UUism to which I have been referring. Since the book’s appearance, the UU Ministers’ Association has publicly censured him and then expelled him; he has been fired by a UU seminary as a supervisor of ministerial interns; and he has been removed from UUA fellowship by the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee. These organizations have claimed procedural irregularities as the reasons for their actions, but upon close inspection I don’t find that any of their explanations hold water. And as a result of the example that has been made of this one minister, UU ministers across the land are intimidated.

Eklof wasn’t punished merely for writing a dissenting book. That was absolutely his right. However:

Reopening Old Wounds Among Unitarian Universalists

With the election of a new President of the UUA at the 2017 General Assembly (GA), it seemed like we could start to move forward to heal the racial divisions. But then came the GA of June 2019, which was held at Spokane, Washington. Imagine the shock among the attendees when the minister of the UU church at that city, Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof,  backstabbed the rest of them with a book he had written and was trying to distribute at the GA without prior notice. This book, titled The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister, attacked all the efforts to solve the racial problems, angering many non-white UUs. When the UUA leadership tried to talk to Eklof about what he was doing, he refused to meet with them, putting them in the awkward position of expelling him from the GA itself! (Emphasis mine)

The betrayal was felt so strongly because Eklof’s congregation was supposed to be HOSTING the General Assembly, which was expected to continue dealing in unity with racial issues. Eklof’s stunt would be like me as a known critic of the Baha’i Faith invited to a meeting of mostly Muslim people and after arriving instead of giving a speech criticizing that Faith, attempting to give attendees there copies of this:

Contradictions of orthodox Islam

No, I wouldn’t do that! That would only get my @$$ thrown out of there. You can’t force people to listen to a message they didn’t expect to hear and are not receptive to. Eklof should have known better!

I hate writing this essay. As a minister, my instinct is always to bring to the people in the pews a message that is positive. And what I have written today is hardly that.

Somehow, I doubt you hated writing that too much. I never hate writing anything I feel strongly about and think is important. And I write a LOT of negative stuff on my blog.

What I have said today is that UUism is under attack by those sworn to uphold it. They are destroying the commitment to reason and free speech that attracted so many of us in the first place. And they are wasting our energy on an approach to racial justice that doesn’t work.

How would you know it doesn’t work? Can we wait another decade or so and find out?

What can be done? You might think, “This should be brought up at General Assembly.” But General Assembly is not really democratic, according to the UUA Board’s Fifth Principle Task Force (2009), and the UUA has since become even less democratic because all UUA Board members are now elected at-large and do not represent local constituencies.

Well, a lot of UUs of color didn’t think the UUA was democratic enough because their views were not being heard. Now they are and….that bothers you. You know, if people who have been privileged are not feeling a little uncomfortable about social changes, then the changes are meaningless, merely window dressing without substance. 

What can be done? All I can suggest is that lay UUs look into these matters for themselves and, if they agree with me that the situation is alarming, express their unhappiness loudly to their congregational leaders, to their Regional staff, and to the UUA itself.

UUs in the pews, please help!

And what will you do if they don’t agree with you and even oppose outright your opinions as I do? Quit being a UU also?

What a waste of keyboard strokes! As a UU layperson myself, I feel profoundly insulted by Rev. Richard Trudeau’s diatribe!

Pixelberry Studios, the Choices app, and Perfect Match.

In 2018, I downloaded and began playing an app on my new smartphone titled Choices: Stories You Play created by a mobile gaming company called Pixelberry Studios. It features stories of romance that you have some control over by making decisions on behalf of the stories’ Main Characters. The characters include teenagers in high school, young adults in college, older adults dealing with mysteries and fighting criminals and other powerful enemies, and even some historical scenarios.

https://choices-stories-you-play.fandom.com/wiki/Choices:_Stories_You_Play_Wikia

Of all the stories I have played so far, my favorite by far has been Perfect Match.

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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 a UU subreddit.

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My Spiritual Odyssey

On October 20, 2018, I gave a talk about 50 minutes long at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Worth detailing my life and religious and political views and how they evolved over the course of my life. I spent the first half of the discussion merely speaking for myself in general, and the last half answering questions from the audience to focus more on specific topics.
For a short version of that story see:

My Spiritual Journeys

I made reference to other issues that I have also dealt with on this blog, including:

An Honorable Skeptic

 

Why more people should join the Unitarian Universalists

 

Why I Abandoned the (Haifan) Baha’i Faith

 

Spiritual Orientation

 

Radical Reincarnation

 

Misdefining terms for purposes of propaganda

 

A bitter rant about Ayn Rand

 

Reopening Old Wounds Among Unitarian Universalists

Over two years ago, a massive controversy over racially biased hiring practices in the Unitarian Universalist Association caused its leadership to experience a turnover to try to solve the problem of white supremacy among them.

With the election of a new President of the UUA at the 2017 General Assembly (GA), it seemed like we could start to move forward to heal the racial divisions. But then came the GA of June 2019, which was held at Spokane, Washington. Imagine the shock among the attendees when the minister of the UU church at that city, Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof,  backstabbed the rest of them with a book he had written and was trying to distribute at the GA without prior notice. This book, titled The Gadfly Papers: Three Inconvenient Essays by One Pesky Minister, attacked all the efforts to solve the racial problems, angering many non-white UUs. When the UUA leadership tried to talk to Eklof about what he was doing, he refused to meet with them, putting them in the awkward position of expelling him from the GA itself! After that happened, UUs in both Facebook and Reddit had an uproar about it.

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A Critical Mistake in the UU World

The UU World is the official magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the religious organization I belong to. About two years ago, a controversy erupted over the embarrassing fact that despite its stated commitment to racial diversity, the UUA was far too white dominated and people of color were being passed over for positions in it that they were indeed qualified for. When this became too obvious to ignore, it forced President Peter Morales to resign.

Now, two years after that blew over, another problem has emerged: the disrespecting of transgender people by the magazine itself!

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A Positive Interaction with a Baha’i on Facebook

Ever since I defected from the Baha’i Faith, my only dealings with members of my former religion have been through the internet and most of them have been battles that tended to leave me angered and even a little sick of their arrogance and nonsense.

Some of those battles are seen or described on these blog entries:

Baha’is must reject the Guardianship!

My Battle on Amazon with a Haifan Baha’i

Another Battle with a Haifan Baha’i, this time on Blogspot

Treachery of Baha’is @ reddit

Muslim-bashing and Libel Against Ex-Baha’is in Reddit

A series of ludicrous comments on YouTube and Facebook

But last month a totally different encounter occurred on Facebook, one that gives me hope for the future.

In the following conversation, the Baha’i who contacted me will be referred to as L B (for Local Baha’i) and his words will be in red italics. My words in the actual conversation will be in blue italics, while additional notes I add here for commentary will be in green. To protect his privacy, all specific identifying information will be withheld.

First, L B sent me a friend request, which I rejected, not even recognizing his name at first. I then asked who he was.

Have we met before? I see you sent me a friend request.

Yes, you used to come to feast at my house in (city). I’m (mother) and (father)’s son

That was enough to jog my memory. This young man had been only a child when I knew him.

I remember them. But I haven’t been a Baha’i since 2005 and am now a Unitarian Universalist.

I know, I saw your blog
I just thought of you randomly and wanted to say Facebook Hi
Are you still in Haltom city? I work at (medical job).
Ok, no harm, no foul. I looked at your profile and worried you were trying to harass me.
Like a scammer or like a malignant Baha’i?
your profile is open, so I saw your screenshots of responses to scammers
His using the words “malignant” and “Baha’i” in the same breath was the first indication to me that he wasn’t as loyal to the Faith as I thought he’d be.
Yes, I live here with my elderly parents. You say you saw my blog? You must know then that I’m one of the most hard-core critics of the Faith now. But that doesn’t mean I hate Baha’is. I cannot hate what I used to be.
At this point, I thought he would end the conversation. But he continued.
Oh no, I saw the basis of your criticisms and your recommended conversation or cooperation tactics with Baha’is for other Universalists
As for scammers, I enjoy busting them and then warning others about their tricks.
I admire a person who investigates the truth and is dedicated to the truth, so I admire your spirit
Thank you.
I guess he really takes seriously the supposed Baha’i idea of “Independent Investigation of Truth”.
Do you or your parents ever come to (my workplace)?
I don’t think so.
Honestly, I never thought I would see or hear from any of you again.
I’ve thought of you a few times throughout the years
I searched for you once maybe a year back, but I didn’t find anything
then last night my sister was telling me about a meme her friend had referred to that was anti-Baha’i
and in the course of finding this unrelated meme, I saw a blog that had posts critical of the Faith by someone named Dale Husband
and I was like “No way!” and I looked at your blog and found you on Facebook
His sister was only a baby when I knew her. She would be a teenager now.
I’m all over the internet. Also, my essays have been copied and cited by many others.
well, I found the ones in your reasoning thinker blog
Anywhere you see a red, white and blue Circle H logo, that’s me. It’s my trademark.
You are welcome to ask me questions.
where is there a unitarian universalist church near here?
is the following large?
WOW!!! So he is not even trying to defend the Baha’i Faith, but goes straight to the other big issue of mine in religion. I was elated!
There are several UU churches in the Fort Worth area. The oldest one is First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church. Google that name. The total number of UUs in the Fort Worth area is about 400.
There are an estimated 250,000 UUs nationwide.
The address for First Jefferson is 1959 Sandy Ln. in east Fort Worth.
Since you seem to respect me despite my defection, I invite you to come visit me at the aforementioned church in the interest of having a dialogue between us. It would be very helpful for you to see what UUs are like and what they might offer you.
What service do you attend?
Sunday service is at 11:00 AM, but you can arrive as early as 9:00 AM if you want to be given a tour of the place and then attend one of the gatherings that start at 9:30 AM such as Adult Forum or Adventures in Religion.
I can’t make it this Sunday, but it would be nice to check out the church on a Sunday soon
my work has me working weekends many weeks, so it might be a struggle for a bit
thank you for the invitiation
OK. Just let me know if and when you plan to visit so I could meet you there.
For the record, it never occurred to me, because of his Persian background, that L B would likewise defect from the Baha’i Faith. All my blog entries I wrote against the Faith were not about making people leave it, but about showing non-Baha’is what it is really like so they would not be so easily deceived by Baha’i propaganda as I was. But if my blog has made him quit believing, then I have scored a stunning victory far beyond my wildest dreams!

If your Spiritual Orientation is PAGAN…

wiccan symbol - pentacle

Paganism used to be a catch-all term for any religion in the world, past or present, that was not one of the “Abrahamic” religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam or the Baha’i Faith). Today it is used among various people to mean any religion that is “earth-centered” in its worship rather than worshiping a deity that is not associated with nature. This would include Wicca, Druidism and other varieties that are polytheistic, though some forms are monotheistic.

Because the gods of modern Paganism are directly associated with nature, Pagans are likely to be dedicated environmentalists. I myself wrote about a form of Pagan worship I am sympathetic to:

Sun Worship

Those who see Paganism as the right path for them can find fellowship here:
http://www.cuups.org/  as well as any Unitarian Universalist church or fellowship with a Pagan group. These Pagans, in turn, might lead you to explore and contact other pagan groups that may not be affiliated with UUs. You might also read this:

Pagan and Earth-Centered Voices in Unitarian Universalism

 

If your Spiritual Orientation is BUDDHIST…

Image result for buddhist symbol

Buddhism is a religion that originated in India and is considered a direct offshoot of Hinduism, much like Christianity is descended from ancient Judaism. Unlike Hinduism, however, Buddhism is non-theistic, with no reference to gods at all in its teachings. Instead it is a totally human centered faith, much like Humanism, and thus may be considered more a philosophy than an actual religion. But it includes the Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation, which Humanists reject. Once stripped of its Indian centered cultural references, Buddhism spread throughout most of southern and eastern Asia.

Keep in mind that while the Dalai Lama is an international celebrity, it would be inappropriate to consider him the eastern version of the Roman Catholic Pope. It would be more accurate to think of him being more like the current President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Steve Gaines. Not quite mainstream compared to larger Christian groups, but still representative of Christian teachings. The main reason the Dalai Lama is so celebrated is because of him representing the struggle of his homeland Tibet against Chinese oppression.

Like Hindus, there are relatively few Buddhist temples outside Asia, so Buddhists may also find a spiritual home for themselves among Unitarian Universalists. Indeed, Buddhism is so popular among UUs that they even have a community for themselves: http://uubf.org/wp/

I know personally a Unitarian Universalist minister who is also a Buddhist: Rev. Alex Holt, who was interim minister at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Fort Worth) and later moved to Seattle, where he became interim minister of……Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Seattle). He wrote an essay for a book about UUs who are also Buddhists:  Buddhist Voices in Unitarian Universalism.

It is interesting to note that in India where Buddhism originated, the Hindu priests won back the loyalty of the people there not by denying the Buddha, but by proclaiming him to be an avatar of Vishnu, one of the Hindu gods, even though the Buddha never claimed that for himself and Buddhists themselves don’t believe that either. Likewise, Baha’is claim that the Buddha is a “Manifestation of God” which is also a concept foreign to Buddhists. It should be noted, however, that there is nothing in Buddhism that requires rejection of theism; that idea is simply irrelevant to Buddhist practices.

 

Stop whining about “censorship”!

With the controversy boiling over last year about white supremacy in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) remaining unaddressed for far too long, we also must confront another thorny issue: freedom of speech.
Read this:
https://trulyopenmindsandhearts.blog/2018/02/03/sticks-stones-and-names/

We children were taught to love our country especially for its freedom of religion and speech — the freedom to be different. After all, our parents or grandparents left their homes, often in the face of persecution, to come to a new home that accepted minorities who practiced a religion other than the majority Protestantism.

In my family, just three or four years before I was born, Nazi firing squads and gas chambers had taken the lives of my father’s sister and brother, their spouses and their children. If someone occasionally called us a name, well…

Sticks and stones…

This was the land of free expression, after all.

Another phrase more elegantly sums up what I was taught about how thongs [sic] should be in the United States:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

There was one flaw then in that freedom of expression. Many of our lansmen — our fellow Jewish Americans — were being denounced as Communists. Just an accusation was enough to ruin someone life. My parents and neighbors in the 1950’s hated and feared McCarthyism. Aside from war, there wasn’t much we hated and feared as much. It was another form of persecution.

Democratic ideals and common sense ended McCarthyism, at least as it then existed. Liberals and moderates of both parties despised it.

When I entered college in 1964, my cohort was beginning its rebellion against the slow pace of civil rights and, for a minority of us, against the Vietnam war. It would be a few more years before the Vietnam protest movement went mainstream, so I had a lot of angry fists shook in my face, and I was called names. My mother worried that I was setting myself up to be a victim of a revived McCarthyism.

But I persisted. I didn’t break any laws. I didn’t commit civil disobedience. I marched in protests and spoke out, because after all this is a nation where freedom of expression prevails.

That’s why the frog in me didn’t notice the water heating up over the last 60 years until it bubbled around me last April.

I wrote a blog post objecting to the way big decisions are made by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The case in point was a controversy over the pace at which the UUA was hiring and promoting persons of color, but I didn’t express an opinion on that. Nevertheless, a lay leader of the Black Lives movement in UUism made an 18-minute video condemning me for my “fuck-shot behavior” and racism, her white ministerial ally wrote that my “abhorrent BS” was a “thinly veiled cry that the colored folks are getting uppity and need to be put back in their place, ” and that was just the beginning.

My inner frog still didn’t understand, though, how much the water had heated — how much our norms had changed. I reacted not by asking that my critics be silenced but by writing in reply. Surely, in this land of free speech and opinion anyone could read what I and my critics had to say and support my freedom of expression.

That’s when the water boiled over. The UUA removed from its Worship Web a litany I had written in 1999, which had been used as a worship resource since then. Only after I discovered it was missing did I get a reason:

Your submissions were removed because your recent public comments made it difficult for these pieces to be interpreted in the way they had been before. As our Association struggles with the nature of whiteness’ supremacy, we have to reexamine past assumptions, such as the assumption that a piece of writing can be interpreted independent of its source.

Thus spoke that most liberal of liberal religions. Words I wrote in 1999, with no reference to race, needed to be expunged so that the UUA in 2017 could have a “hard and honest conversations about racial inequity in Unitarian Universalism.” My opinions in 2017 invalidated my words of 1999.

In the 1950’s and ’60’s, it was the left that stood for freedom of expression, even if that expression might to psychological harm, like burning a draft card. Today, it’s the left that wants to stamp out micro-aggressions, like asking someone with an accent where he or she (another micro-aggression against neutral-gender folks) is originally from.

It’s the right now standing for freedom of conscience over the possible psychological harm to one group, like a baker’s option to refuse to bake and decorate a cake specifically for a gay wedding. The roles have reversed.

What really happened was that Mel Pine freely expressed his opinions about a sensitive and controversial issue among his fellow UUs, others responded in anger to him because they found his opinions offensive, and the UUA, a private religious organization, removed a piece of his writings from its website because it no longer saw a benefit to having it there, which is what it is legally allowed to do! Pine was not sent to prison, arrested by police, or even given a ticket by the police for his expressions. His blogs are still up and he is still allowed to post his ideas on Facebook too. NO ONE had his rights violated in that case. Pine doth protest too much. So do right-wing assholes like Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart.com infamy. He hasn’t been punished by a government either.

When people actually get fined or imprisoned for their words by the government they live under, then we should worry about freedom of speech (and the press) being denied.

free_speech

I have the right to throw off my property people who come on it making racist remarks, don’t I?

The Baha’i Faith, Mormonism, and Reddit

Two weeks ago, I made an account on reddit, yet another social media site. I immediately dove into battles with the Baha’i bigot and backstabber Scott Hakala (who was using the false name DavidbinOwen but was exposed anyway), until I got so sick of his arguments and self-serving bullcrap that I finally blocked him. He was infesting the Ex-Baha’i forum, which as a Baha’i propaganda minister he certainly had no business being in.

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The Ultimate Punishment

I have a vision of what could be an even worse punishment for a religious bigot than the death penalty.

In this vision, I would take Ken Ammi (a Christian apologist and a critic of the Baha’i Faith) and Scott Hakala (an ex-Christian turned Baha’i apologist) and lock them up together in a single prison cell for the rest of their so-called lives! And I, an ex-Christian and ex-Baha’i turned non-theist Unitarian Universalist (UU), would be their jailer. Just listening to those two delusional idiots argue endlessly with each other would amuse me to no end!

By contrast, people that are Christians among UUs as well as those that are Baha’is among UUs would have my respect and support, always. Their freedom would be something I would lay down my own life to defend.

How should Unitarian Universalists (UUs) deal with Baha’is?

Despite the outward similarities between Unitarian Universalism (UUism) and the Baha’i Faith, the two religious movements have profound differences in actual nature. For this reason, I wrote a book recently explaining the differences:
I have published a BOOK

One chapter of the book dealt directly with what UUs can do if Baha’is interact with them.

1. Be friendly, but reserved. – Most Baha’is are genuinely loving for humanity in general, being ignorant of the actual failings of their own religion….just like the members of most other religious groups in the world.
2. Be willing to work with Baha’is on issues you have in common, but only on YOUR terms. – They are decent allies against racism and for human rights in general. But they will avoid issues regarding gay rights, seeing gays as diseased.
3. Do not confront them about their falsehoods and failings of their religion, unless they actually try to convert you. – Most Baha’is are not emotionally equipped to deal with the totality of the facts regarding why their religion is not suited for most people in the world. However, if a Baha’i does ask specific questions about why you reject the Baha’i Faith, be honest. Do not sugarcoat the truth in such cases.
4. If you attend Baha’i gatherings, NEVER go alone. – Such events known as firesides, Unity Feasts and Baha’i Holy Day celebrations are designed to mainipulate “seekers” into learning more about the Faith, but they are profoundly one sided in their depictions. People who are going through periods of depression or grieving over a loss may find themselves subjected to “love-bombing” by Baha’is.
5. If a Baha’i wants to join a UU church as a “Unitarian Baha’i”, welcome him – Not all Baha’is are loyal to the Universal House of Justice and those that want to think freely should be helped to find a place to do so. UU churches and fellowships are ideal for this.

 

 

I have published a BOOK

For over a decade, I have used this WordPress blog as a weapon against all kinds of irrationality, bigotry, ignorance, and hypocrisy. Recently, I decided to take many of my blog entries relating to Unitarian Universalism and/or the Baha’i Faith and assemble them into the form of a book for people to read.
Introducing:

The Baha’i Faith and Unitarian Universalism: A Personal Testimony and Analysis

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It can be purchased as either a hard-copy book or an e-book from this link:
http://www.thebookpatch.com/BookStore/the-bahai-faith-and-unitarian-universalism-a-personal-testimony-and-analysis/8747fe7e-cb0c-4559-8f91-1a02599247e3

I’d like to sell a few dozen copies, at least, but my real hope is that the book influences people. If its contents can deter at least one person from joining the Haifan Baha’i cult and maybe even persuade him to join Unitarian Universalism instead, then my efforts will not have been in vain.

Another version that can be viewed for free can be found here:
https://issuu.com/dalehusband/docs/the_baha_i_faith_and_unitarian_univ

An Open Letter to the New President of the Unitarian Universalist Association

The Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray

UUA General Assembly - Plenary V

To the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray,

Congratulations on your election to the leadership of the most liberal religious group in the world descended from Christianity. After the embarrassing end to the last Presidency several months ago, the slate has been wiped clean for you to add your own accomplishments, and perhaps mistakes, to it.

The most important thing I think you need to do in order to revitalize the UUA as a religious organization is to confront and completely dismantle deeply entrenched anti-Christian bigotry in it. As long as people outside the UUA see it as a place for atheists, pagans, and left-wing extremists, but not for Christians, the UUA will never be seen as a viable choice for those of Christian background who want to abandon and reject fundamentalist bigotry but still feel a spiritual orientation to the religion they knew as children and still have love for. Not everyone benefits from having their faith destroyed. As long as it is modified to be more realistic and inclusive for others, that should be enough.

Even though you are white, your being a woman should give you some idea of how you and others around the world may be discriminated against. Keep in mind that while black men got the right to vote in the USA after the Civil War, it was not until 1920 that women of all colors were also granted the right to vote as well. We must always strive to LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND including transgender people! I was deeply disappointed to learn that white men were still treated with favoritism in the UUA and am more than happy to see that the process of confronting unthinking racial biases among us is happening at last. It was indeed long overdue!

We must work harder over the next several decades to make Unitarian Universalism the next great world religion and that can happen when we speak out loudly about it. No longer must we think of ourselves as an “American” religion, but we must try to build up Unitarian bodies in other areas, including places where it was popular before. You should certainly endorse as much as possible the Church of the Larger Fellowship, using it a a vehicle for global UU evangelism, and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, which actually does good works in the world. The UUSC is the closest thing we have to missionary work and we need more of that!

As I see it, the version of the Baha’i Faith led by the Universal House of Justice in Haifa, Israel is the UUA’s most direct rival, having some values in common, but also some critical differences that make it necessary to draw clear distinctions between the two religions. Baha’i values were similar to those of the Unitarians and Universalists about a century ago, but since then it has degenerated into a cult of extreme dogmatism that makes it a threat to unsuspecting souls looking for a new spiritual home after leaving one they no longer feel comfortable in. The best way to counter the Haifan Baha’is is to establish or at least officially endorse a sub-division within the UUA for Baha’is who wish to think for themselves instead of being mentally enslaved to a body consisting literally of nine old men. There is already such a small community that the internet has made possible, it just needs some support. For more details, see:    http://unitarianbahai.angelfire.com/   and also:

http://unitarianbahais.blogspot.com/

With the election last year of the worst President the USA has ever had, we as UUs have a moral obligation to revive the spirit of civil disobedience pioneered by civil rights protesters in the past. Unless and until we are willing to be imprisoned for our ideals, they mean nothing. Together, we can change things for the better and in the process gain many new converts who want a refuge from the madness of right-wing politics. Even in “red” states like Oklahoma and Texas, UU churches thrive.

Please consider creating a cable TV channel devoted to Unitarian Universalist programming. We already have a strong presence on YouTube, so such a channel is the next logical step. For ideas on what content we can make for it, look at the example of Democracy Now. Of course, that is liberal politics, but where is a channel for liberal RELIGION?

The UUA must look into forming strong alliances with other liberal religious groups, and not just the United Church of Christ, the UUA’s closest spiritual relative. Also join with non-religious groups like the American Humanist Association that are not so infested with anti-religious extremism and other forms of bigotry that they are a disgrace to humanity. Many feminists and non-white people that may be attracted to atheism find themselves repulsed by bigots who are also well-known atheists in social media. We can provide them an alternative.

I wish you the best of luck over the next six years.

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

Another (and much better) Presidential race!

After the absolute disaster that was last year’s Presidential election for the United States, and then watching the madness and chaos that is President Trump’s administration since he took office, I am beginning to worry that our country may be sliding down to ruin like the Roman Empire did.

And yet this year another Presidential race is going on right now. And I am unable to decide which candidate would be best for the job, because all of them seemed highly qualified. This is for the Unitarian Universalist Association, the organization for the religion I belong to! Continue reading

Why more people should join the Unitarian Universalists

symbol_gradient

A symbol of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

First, take a look at this video:

For more details, see here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

Over 30,000 divisions?! Remember this warning from Jesus himself: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” (Matthew 12:25) If his word is true, then the Church is useless. It has been divided against itself since at least 1054 AD, when there was a schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The leaders of the two factions actually excommunicated each other!

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Spiritual Orientation

I have come up with the concept of “spiritual orientation” to explain something about human nature that seems to be a puzzle to atheists . Despite the dogmas of major religions like Christianity and Islam being debunked by reality itself, there are still nearly two billion Christians in the world, as well as over one billion Muslims and millions of followers of other religions around the world; there are relatively few atheists and agnostics in the world, and most of them are found in countries like China and North Korea where atheism is forced on the people by Communist governments. The experiences of the 20th Century proved that Communism as an ideology was just as dogmatic, arrogant, and embarrassing as Christianity, so it was eventually discredited. Good riddance!

When there is a conflict between one’s sexual orientation and one’s spiritual orientation, the result is something that can be life destroying. Continue reading

Yes, all lives DO matter!

At First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, a banner was put up that said, “BLACK LIVES MATTER”. A couple of weeks later, someone decided to “correct” the message:

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And one of the church members came up with an excellent response.

Charlotte

I would go farther. If you as a white person are not willing to talk about what black people go through, if you as a Christian are not willing to talk about what Jews, Muslims or other non-Christians go through, if you as a man are not willing to talk about what women go through, and if you as a straight person are not willing to talk about what gays go through, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

Guilt by Association Among Religions

The version of the flaming chalice currently u...

The version of the flaming chalice currently used as the logo of the Unitarian Universalist Association. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is no secret that the Unitarian and Universalist movements, which have merged in the United States into the Unitarian Universalist Association, had their origins in Christianity. Therefore, people who are inclined to reject Christianity will often reject the UUA too, without considering that non-Christians have been welcome in it since it was founded in 1961. Continue reading

Destroy the Atheist movement!

Read this, which I have edited for the sake of brevity:

http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/05/08/policing-their-own/

We want religious believers to police their own.

We want religious believers to stop being silent about atrocities committed in the name of religion. …….And when they don’t, we call them hypocrites.

So why is it that when atheists speak out against screwed-up shit that other atheists are doing, it gets called “divisive”?

I have been hearing a lot of calls for unity in the atheist community. I have been hearing a lot of calls for an end to the debates, an end to the infighting. I have been hearing a lot of calls for atheists to stop focusing on our differences, and look at our common ground….But all too often, calling for unity equals silencing dissent. All too often, calling for unity equals a de facto defense of the status quo. All too often, calling for unity equals telling people who are speaking up for themselves to shut up.

I do not want to be in unity with atheists who [speak, write, or behave in misogynous ways]. And I do not want to be in unity with atheists who consistently rationalize this behavior, who trivialize it, who make excuses for it.

And I don’t think I should be expected to. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of me. I don’t think anyone in this movement should be asking that of anyone.

And when people, however well-meaning, make generic calls for unity — when they tell all of us to stop fighting and just get along — they’re basically telling those of us on the short ends of those sticks to shut up.

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A Whine about the Atheist Movement

How the Atheist Movement Failed Me – Part 1: Cost

This has to be one of the most pathetic criticisms of the Atheist community I’ve ever seen. If it had been written by a Christian attacking Atheists, it could not have been worse.

Atheism is too often expensive.

Where are the picnics and hikes and movie screenings? We know that the demographics of the movement are diverse, and, therefore, it’s likely that the needs of the individuals are quite varied as well… so why is raising awareness about the historicity of Jesus (usually a ticketed event) always more important than delivering casseroles to the non-theist first-time parents? Where are the low-cost, easy-access events that tie us together as people, simply for us to get to know one another and organically create support networks?

We talk an awful big game about Christianity in particular, but ultimately religions have cornered the market on human emotional connection, and so far it seems that the atheist movement is content to ignore it altogether. A major reason it’s hard to leave the church is because of the wealth of social and emotional support you must leave behind. Learning about evolution and archeology are awesome, mind-opening opportunities that are great for everyone, but a lecture about evolution won’t pick your kids up from practice if your car breaks down. Or take you out for coffee if you’re having a rough week. Or play a pickup game of raquetball. Or come to your open mic night. Or whatever it is that you do. And the connections that make those interactions possible aren’t easy to create when you don’t have the money to join in.

I then commented there:

Indeed, that link should give a great solution to Amanda’s problem:

Atheism and Agnosticism: Theological Diversity in Unitarian Universalism
Atheists are people who do not believe in a god, while Agnostics are people who think that we cannot know whether a god exists. Both groups are welcome in Unitarian Universalism.

Today, a significant proportion of Unitarian Universalists do not believe in any type of god. Our congregations are theologically diverse places where people with many different understandings of the sacred can be in religious community together.

Another non-theistic tradition is Humanism, which focuses on human potential and emphasizes personal responsibility for ethical behavior.

Unless, of course, she is too bigoted to fellowship with anyone who is not an atheist. And that would only draw my contempt.

Is that a mosquito I hear?

Reviving the spirit of civil disobedience

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image via Wikipedia

Unitarian Universalists have recently started an effort to engage in the sort of civil disobedience that civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr and his followers did in the 1950s and 60s, and Mohandas Ghandi did in India a generation earlier.

http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/178994.shtml

Utah UU convicted for environmental activism

Federal jury faults Tim DeChristopher for blocking auction of oil and gases leases.
By Donald E. Skinner
3.7.11
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