Continuing “The Debbie and Carrie Show” for a Second Season

I decided there was a lot more story to tell using the characters I made up for “The Debbie and Carrie Show”, as described here: “The Debbie and Carrie Show” is finished!

So here is season two, which is a work in progress:

And here are some details about the characters so far…..

Debbie Smith: Now 15 years old, she is still best friends with Carrie but started a new romance with Laura Park after a brief period of alienation from Carrie. She then tried to have a three way relationship with both of them, but ultimately chose Carrie and broke up with Laura.

Debbie Smith 2

Appearance from episodes 16 to 60.

Debbie Smith

Appearance from episode 60 onward.

Carrie Sims: Also age 15, she agreed to end her romance with Debbie and then began dating Jason Laker, but he wasn’t ideal for her, so she kept looking for a lover that could make her as happy as Debbie did. And in the end…..she returned to Debbie.

Carrie Sims3

Appearance from episodes 19 to 59.

Carrie Sims1

Appearance from episodes 59 onward.

Barbara: Once Jessica Sims’ love partner back in Boston, their relationship was destroyed due to Barbara’s alcoholism and abuse of Jessica. She later became a Jehovah’s Witness in order to stop drinking and give her life a new purpose, only to have her faith derailed when she met Lucy Sims, Jessica’s wife and herself an ex-Jehovah’s Witness.

Barbara

Ted: Barbara’s fiance, it was he who converted her to the Jehovah’s Witness’ cult when her life was in ruins due to her alcoholism. He took advantage of her weakness to enslave her mind and even convinced her to marry him. When she finally rejected him, he began to abuse her, thus proving his love was really shallow.

Ted

Laura Park:  Once an enemy of Debbie and Carrie because of her strong Baptist beliefs. She later realized she was a lesbian and eventually changed her beliefs, falling in love with Debbie and becoming friends with Carrie too. After Debbie broke up with her, she went to Hollywood to become an actress.

Laura Park

Dr. Martin Lessi:  Carrie’s genetic father, he was finally able to meet Carrie after his wife persuaded Jessica Sims to permit this.

Dr Lessi

Jessica Lessi: Wife of Martin and mother of his five year old twin boys. Her curiosity about Carrie led her to contact Jessica Sims, despite Martin not wanting this at first.

Mrs Lessi

Rev. Dave Owen: Not learning from his earlier defeats, he had the building of the church he once was pastor of burned down, only to be arrested and imprisoned for that crime.

Rev Dave Owen

Jack Watson: He was the manager of a nightclub owned by Rich Smith. After Sandy Smith acquired the club, he offered to work for her, but also suggested she contact another club owner and see if he wanted to buy it. She sold it to that other owner. Jack was also a petty criminal, specifically a drug dealer.

Jack

Even Evil Has Standards: When Jack was offered $500 by Rev. Owen to burn down Owen’s former church, he not only refused the offer, he then went to the police after the church was destroyed and identified Owen as the mastermind of the plot. When Owen was jailed, Jack was waiting for him…….and promptly beat Owen up!

Officer Kelly: A member of the police department in the town, she had the unpleasant duty of dealing with Dave Owen.

Officer Kelly

 

Making MORE Videos with Plotagon

I have decided to continue “The Debbie and Carrie show” with new episodes rather than just abandon it. And I have made many more videos besides!

The Plotagon Adventures of Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

Debbie & Carrie’s First Season Finale

The Hudson Phamily Show

Trip to Boston

I hope you enjoy all these videos. They are literally labors of love!

“The Debbie and Carrie Show” is finished!

Starting in April, I downloaded an app called Plotagon and began using it to write and produce episodes of a series that came to be called “The Debbie and Carrie Show”. Earlier references to it are here:

A series made using Plotagon to promote Unitarian Universalist ideals

_______________

Race and Being a Witness

Now the series is officially finished. Here is a link to it:

And here are the major characters in it.

Debbie Smith: A 13 to 14 year old girl living in a small town somewhere in east Texas. She is a lesbian and was raised an atheist. She was originally designed to be an “anti-Sophia” (Sophia being the girl featured in the “Caleb and Sophia” video clips made to promote the Jehovah’s Witness cult). Played by a character model I created.

Debbie Smith

Original appearance (Episodes 1-15).

Debbie Smith 2

Later appearance (episodes 16 to 33)

Sandy Smith: Debbie’s mother,  originally a Christian but became atheist as a teen. Moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to the small Texas town after her divorce. Later inherits an estate worth over 20 million dollars from her ex-husband. Played by “Ms. Green”, a pre-made character model in the Plotagon app, because of her resemblance to the mother in this Caleb and Sophia video.

Sandy Smith

Cruel Mercy: After Rev. Dave Owen tries to pull a publicity stunt in front of Mrs. Smith’s restaurant, she has him arrested, but then quickly bails him out to prevent his jailing from generating sympathy from the members of Owen’s church. She and several others then proceed to give Rev. Owen a series of tongue lashings over his contemptible stunts.

Carrie Sims: A 13 to 14 year old girl who is Debbie’s best friend and later her love partner despite saying she is not lesbian. Like Debbie, she was raised atheist by her lesbian mothers. Her last name comes from the video game The Sims.

Carrie Sims1

Original appearance (Episodes 2 to 18, played by “Lizzie” a pre-built character model)

Carrie Sims2

Later appearance (Episodes 19 to 33, played by a character model I created)

Driven to Suicide: Averted, in that Carrie attempts suicide in episode 17 after suffering a nervous breakdown, but is saved by her mothers.

Jessica Sims: A beautiful white lesbian who came from Boston. She met her future wife, Lucy, at a restaurant and literally saved her life after Lucy was fired from that place. She is Carrie’s birth mother. She was raised an atheist, but she was also the one who came up with the idea of forming a Unitarian Universalist fellowship in the town as a means of helping her daughter and Debbie resist the bigotry that was common there. Played by a pre-built character model.

Jessica Sims

Hypocrite: In episode six, Jessica says no one should be treated as an outsider by the members of the Unitarian Universalist fellowship, only to say to Miss Jenkins when she comes to visit, “Shouldn’t you be at YOUR church?” Justified as Jenkins was the homophobic teacher who hurt both her daughter and Debbie. Jessica gets better once it is clear Miss Jenkins has no hostile intent.

Lucy Sims: Jessica’s wife, who was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, but was disfellowshipped after coming out as a lesbian. Carrie considers Lucy to be as much her mother as Jessica. Played by a pre-built character model.

Lucy Sims

Angry Black (Wo)man: Subverted. Lucy is against ALL bigotry as both a black person and a lesbian and she sees Carrie not as a white girl at all, but as her beautiful daughter, and even is distressed that her black (and Jehovah’s Witness) relatives refuse to accept Carrie as a family member.

Carla Jenkins:   English teacher of both Debbie and Carrie at their school, her Baptist zealotry caused her to begin using the Bible as a text in her lessons, eventually causing the Smith and Sims families to sue her and the school over this. She was hired as a teacher by her uncle, who was the school principal. Played by a pre-built character model.

Carla Jenkins

Well-Intentioned Extremist: From babyhood, she was brainwashed to believe that everyone had to be a Christian to be saved, which caused her to violate the rights of non-Christians like Debbie and Carrie.

Heel Realization: This happens in episode four when Jenkins is confronted by Sandy Smith over Jenkins’ threat to expel Debbie from school. Sandy tells Jenkins a Bible story, one in which Moses and his followers commit an actual act of genocide and mass child rape against a neighboring people. This badly shakes Jenkins’ Christian faith.

Nepotism: Carla Jenkins owed her teaching job to her uncle and even took cash from him as a sign of her loyalty to him only to learn later the money had been embezzled by the uncle from the school funds. She was then fired by her uncle’s successor.

Heel-Face Turn: After realizing that her faith is on shaky ground, Carla makes peace with the Sims and the Smiths and by the end of the series she is their firm ally, condemning Rev. Owen for his gross bigotry and hypocrisy to his face.

 

Jason Laker: A friend and classmate of Debbie who, despite being raised Baptist, opposes the bigotry of Miss Jenkins and others against the Sims and Smiths. Eventually leaves the Baptist church and joins the Unitarian Universalist fellowship, though he remains a Christian. Played by a character model I created.

Jason Laker

Victoria: Sister of Lucy and still a Jehovah’s Witness. Came to visit Lucy to tell her their mother was dying of cancer, but she, along with her son Scott and her mother, refused to accept Carrie as their niece/cousin/granddaughter. Played by a pre-built character model.

Victoria

Hypocrite: Jehovah’s Witnesses are supposed to be against racism and other forms of prejudice, but it is obvious that Lucy’s black relatives have a problem with Carrie being white; the fact that Carrie is being raised by lesbian mothers is merely the excuse given for their rejection of her (and of course, anti-LGBT bigotry is as problematic as racial prejudice in any case).

Rich Smith: Ex-husband of Sandy Smith and father of Debbie and James, he had a highly questionable moral character (he had cheated on Sandy), but claimed he was getting better. Was killed by the ex-husband of Mary, the woman he was about to marry. Played by “Paul” a pre-built character model.

Rich Smith

Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rich recognized that Sandy’s divorcing him was his fault. He eventually sought to redeem himself by getting involved with a woman half his age, Mary, who already had five kids. She became pregnant with Rich’s baby, but she, along with Rich and all her children, were exterminated by her vengeful ex-husband.

James Smith: Son of Rich and Sandy and brother of Debbie. He had little respect for his father because of Rich’s cheating on Sandy, only tolerating him when they were together. Eventually came to regret his self-righteous attitude. Was even more irreligious than his mother and sister. Played by a character model I created.

James Smith 

Tara Conlan:  Meets Debbie and Carrie at a rock concert and learns about their Unitarian Universalist fellowship from them, which she joins, despite living in a town 100 miles away from the one of Debbie and Carrie. After being disowned by her parents for rejecting their Catholicism she moves in with the Sims and eventually moves again to Boston to work with Jessica’s mother at her cat shelter. Played by a pre-built character model.

Tara Conlan

Mrs. Sims: Jessica’s mother, she is so devoted to cats that she runs a cat shelter in Boston where she cares for and sterilizes stray or abandoned cats before releasing them or giving them homes. Wears a hat shaped like a kitten as a sign of her profession. Was raised Catholic, but became atheist as an adult. Played by a pre-built character model, the “crazy cat lady”.

Mrs Sims

Rev. Dave Owen: A Baptist minister and the greatest enemy of the Smiths and the Sims. Played by a pre-built character model.

Rev Dave Owen

Big Bad: The original motivating force behind Miss Jenkins’ attempts to indoctrinate the kids in her English class. Later sends an offensive letter to the Sims and finally tries to disrupt their and Sandy Smith’s restaurant, the Tuscany Tavern, resulting in his arrest and jailing. He is then bailed out only to receive a series of reprimands from people in the town he had antagonized.

 

Mr. Hernandez: The principal of the school after Miss Jenkins’ uncle was fired. He in turn fired Miss Jenkins, but was later persuaded to give her another chance by, ironically, Mrs. Smith. He was also impressed by Debbie and Carrie after getting to know them. Played by a pre-built character model.

Mr Hernandez

Dr. Drake:  The doctor at the hospital who treated Carrie after her suicide attempt.  He privately told Rev. Owen about Carrie and was shocked when Owen then sent a letter to the Sims attacking them over the incident. Despite being a Baptist himself, he condemned Owen for this breach of trust, while also recognizing his own wrongdoing about it. Played by a pre-built character model.

Dr Drake

A series made using Plotagon to promote Unitarian Universalist ideals

Plotagon is an app that can be used to make videos to tell dramatic stories. I decided to make a series of videos with characters for representing Unitarian Universalism. If the Caleb and Sophia videos work for Jehovah’s Witnesses, why not do such videos for UUs?

https://www.plotagon.com/desktop/

A non-religious version of the infamous One Man, One Woman Jehovah’s Witnesses propaganda piece

__________________

Plans for a new Unitarian Universalist group

____________________

Dale Husband visits the town to explain UU teachings

___________

Debbie, her teacher, and her mother fight

_________________

Facing a dilemma in town, fight or flee

And the final episode of the series:

The First Unitarian Universalist Service in Town

As well known as I have been for my blog entries slamming the Baha’i Faith, I am really most proud of this project. Tearing down one religion is useless if you do not replace it with something better.

Unitarian Universalists need to get LOUD and PROUD!

Christians, Baha’is and members of other religions are more than willing to thrust themselves into the marketplace of ideas, even in places where they may not be appreciated. Maybe once the Covid-19 pandemic is over its time Unitarian Universalists (UUs) also got a little militant, instead of just sitting in their churches and waiting for refugees broken and disillusioned from authoritarian religion to come to their churches. If lost souls learn about us faster, they can also heal faster.

symbol_gradient

We can start by buying and wearing things that proclaim our liberal religion to the masses.

https://www.uua.org/genre/apparel

Article or product image

Much better than those red MAGA hats!

Article or product image

Article or product image

There is also this collection from Cafepress:

https://www.cafepress.com/+unitarian-universalist+gifts

https://i3.cpcache.com/merchandise/632_550x550_Front_Color-White.jpg?Size=3x3&AttributeValue=NA&c=True&region={%22name%22:%22FrontCenter%22,%22width%22:2.8209307,%22height%22:2.845,%22alignment%22:%22MiddleCenter%22,%22orientation%22:0,%22dpi%22:200,%22crop_x%22:0,%22crop_y%22:0,%22crop_h%22:569,%22crop_w%22:564,%22scale%22:0.4817951,%22template%22:{%22id%22:38980089,%22params%22:{}}}

BUMPER unitarian 1

https://i3.cpcache.com/merchandise/7_550x550_Front_Color-AshGray.jpg?Size=L&AttributeValue=NA&c=True&region={%22name%22:%22FrontCenter%22,%22width%22:9.21,%22height%22:7.38,%22alignment%22:%22TopCenter%22,%22orientation%22:0,%22dpi%22:100,%22crop_x%22:0,%22crop_y%22:0,%22crop_h%22:700,%22crop_w%22:900,%22scale%22:0,%22template%22:{%22id%22:70636543,%22params%22:{}}}

https://i3.cpcache.com/merchandise/161_550x550_Front_Color-Black.jpg?Size=L&AttributeValue=NA&c=True&region={%22name%22:%22FrontCenter%22,%22width%22:10,%22height%22:10,%22alignment%22:%22TopCenter%22,%22orientation%22:0,%22dpi%22:100,%22crop_x%22:0,%22crop_y%22:0,%22crop_h%22:1000,%22crop_w%22:1000,%22scale%22:0,%22template%22:{%22id%22:20922923,%22params%22:{}}}

And how about this collection from Zazzle?

http://www.zazzle.com/unitarian+universalist+gifts

If wearing jewelry is your thing, look here:

https://www.etsy.com/market/uu_chalice_jewelry

https://www.cafepress.com/+unitarian-universalist+jewelry

We may occasionally find a Gospel tract left in restrooms for complete strangers to pick up (and perhaps discard). How about giving UU pamplets to people that we have earned our trust instead?

http://www.uua.org/publications/pamphlets/

https://www.uuabookstore.org/GetImage.ashx?Path=%7e%2fAssets%2fProductImages%2f3081.jpg&maintainAspectRatio=true

UU Views of God

Faith of Unitarian Universalist Christians

The Faith of Unitarian Universalist Humanists

Spiritual Home for LGBTQ People

And one that has special meaning to me:

Science and Religion

Indeed, just as Baha’is may do “firesides” in members’ homes, so UUs might often do “Dinners for Nine” in their homes as well. If non-church members were invited to these, then they would be a great way to share the faith in an relaxed, informal setting. No pressure.

So how about it? Wouldn’t our world be better if there were as many UUs in it as there are Roman Catholics or Muslims now? I think so!

Some great ideas for Unitarian Universalist sermons.

I am a member of First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church and I love it. Last year, the church made its own YouTube channel and with the coming of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been broadcasting its services on its Facebook page and then uploading them to YouTube.

Here is a recent fine example:

It has occurred to me, however that we UUs could increase the appeal of our churches among younger people by making sermon topics that appeal more to their age group by sounding more like YouTube videos rather than like most churches do now. Let me provide some examples.

Telltale is a former Jehovah’s Witness who is highly critical of his former religion as well as many other cults. Recently he even took on Donald Trump, calling him a cult leader.

He also does podcasts that are less “arty” and more wordy, but still informative, like this:

Then there is Blair aka the Iiluminaughtii who I spoke of twice before. Many of her videos can serve as UU sermons, with a practical purpose.

There is also Adam Buckley, who I also have written about more than once. If you don’t like the foul language he often uses, but agree with some of his ideas, you can present them with “clean” language.

Genetically Modified Skeptic advocates directly for atheism, but he also tackles MLMs like Blair does.

But he also is willing to criticize his fellow atheists, making him more credible than most.

Indeed, he is surprisingly balanced about Islam, but still gets lied about by misinformed people.

Well, that also happened to me in a UU subreddit!

My point was that no UU should be Islamophobic, but likewise we must be free to criticize Islam……and ALL other religions. Refusing to face flaws and failures in other religions, and even our own, enables prejudice and ignorance. And that doesn’t help the credibility of UUism. We don’t even have to claim that Islam (or any other world religion) is false, but that allowing its dogmas to go unchecked is dangerous. That was indeed the whole point of my Spiritual Orientation series.

If more UUs like me took this balanced approach to criticizing religions while defending the rights of religious people, more people might flock to UUism.

Were blacks among the Southern Baptists really expecting better from their white leaders?

Read this story:

https://news.yahoo.com/prominent-black-pastor-pondering-exit-140305638.html

Some Black Southern Baptists feel shut out by white leaders

DAVID CRARY

As a student in college and seminary, then as a pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic has been affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention for more than 45 years. Now he’s pondering whether he and his congregation should break away.

“It would feel like a divorce,” McKissic said. “That’s something I’ve never had, but that’s what it would feel like.”

If he does, he would be following in the footsteps of several other Black pastors who have recently exited in dismay over what they see as racial insensitivity from some leaders of the predominantly white SBC. Tensions are high after an election year in which racism was a central issue, and after a provocative declaration by SBC seminary presidents in late 2020 that a fundamental concept in the struggle against racial injustice contravenes church doctrine.

A crucial moment for McKissic and other Black pastors could come in June at the SBC’s national meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, if delegates rebuff their views on systemic racism in the U.S., and if Rev. Albert Mohler, a high-profile conservative who heads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is elected SBC president.

Last year, even while announcing new scholarship funds for Black students, Mohler declined to change the names of buildings at his seminary named after slaveholders. More recently he played a key role in the seminary presidents’ repudiation of critical race theory — a broad term used in academic and activist circles to describe critiques of systemic racism

The presidents later apologized for not consulting Black pastors before issuing that repudiation, but Mohler told The Associated Press the presidents would likely have reached the same decision in any case.

The seminary leaders’ stance on critical race theory, as well as Mohler’s public support for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, “should disqualify him from being SBC president,” said McKissic, who has become one of the SBC’s most prominent Black pastors since founding the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, in 1983.

Some of the pastors who cut ties with the SBC in recent months also share negative views of Mohler. The Rev. Ralph West, whose Church Without Walls in Houston claims a weekly attendance of 9,000, called him “a polarizing figure” who would worsen divisions within the SBC.

Mohler suggested his critics do not reflect the opinions of most Southern Baptists, white or Black.

“I believe I represent the vast mainstream of conservative Southern Baptists on these issues,” he said. “I think I am polarizing only at the extremes.”

Regarding Trump, who had overwhelming backing from white evangelicals, Mohler said he consistently pointed out the former president’s flaws, but opted to endorse him based on his stances opposing abortion and defending religious liberties.

The SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States. was founded in an 1845 split with northern Baptists over slavery and became the church of Southern slaveholders. Its membership of about 14.5 million remains overwhelming white — its predominantly Black churches claim a combined membership of about 400,000.

While the SBC formally apologized in 1995 for its pro-slavery past, and later condemned white supremacy, some tensions flared again after the Nov. 30 statement from six seminary presidents, all of them white. They declared that critical race theory was “incompatible with” central tenets of the SBC’s Scripture-based theology.

The statement swiftly created friction far beyond the realm of SBC academia, particularly due to the lack of Black involvement in its drafting.

Virginia pastor Marshal Ausberry, president of the organization that represents the SBC’s Black pastors, wrote to the presidents saying concepts such as critical race theory “help us to see and discover otherwise undetected, systemic racism in institutions and in ourselves.”

“The optics of six Anglo brothers meeting to discuss racism and other related issues without having ethnic representation in the room in 2020 — at worst it looks like paternalism, at best insensitivity,” Ausberry, first vice president of the SBC, elaborated in an interview with Baptist Press, the SBC’s official news agency.

The presidents apologized for not consulting Black pastors and met with some of them Jan. 6, but have not wavered in their rejection of critical race theory.

McKissic, who was in the Jan. 6 meeting, said the conversation was polite “but the outcome was not respectful to who Black people are in our history.”

He’s likely to remain in the SBC until the June meeting but is prepared to exit then if the delegates ratify the presidents’ stance on critical race theory as official policy.

“if they adopt that statement in June, it would be the feeling to me that people you trusted hit you in the face with a baseball bat,” McKissic said.

Another possible trigger for him would be if delegates rescind a 2019 resolution that included a positive reference to critical race theory, suggesting it could be useful as an “analytical tool” as long as it was subordinate to Scripture.

The Rev. Charlie Dates of the Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago, one of the pastors who have already severed ties, said the November statement was “the last straw.”

“When did the theological architects of American slavery develop the moral character to tell the church how it should discuss and discern racism?” Dates wrote in an op-ed for Religion News Service. “The hard reality of the seminary presidents’ statement is that Black people will never gain full equality in the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Other Black pastors who have cut ties include the Rev. Seth Martin, whose multiracial Brook Community Church in Minneapolis had been receiving financial support from the Southern Baptist association in Minnesota, and the Rev. Joel Bowman, who abandoned plans to move his Temple of Faith Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, into the SBC fold.

“I genuinely believe the SBC is headed in the wrong direction,” Bowman said. “White evangelicals have gotten in bed with the Republican Party.”

Some white SBC pastors are also troubled, such as the Rev. Ed Litton of Mobile, Alabama, who is one of Mohler’s rivals for the SBC presidency. McKissic has endorsed Litton’s candidacy.

Litton was a co-signer of a statement by a multiethnic group of Southern Baptists last month which asserted that “some recent events have left many brothers and sisters of color feeling betrayed and wondering if the SBC is committed to racial reconciliation.”

When evangelical churches get involved in partisan politics, like they have so much since the 1980s, both the government and the churches become corrupted. That’s what we saw in the case of Donald Trump being elected President.

Even if I were still a Christian, I could never return to the Southern Baptist Convention because of its racist roots. I’d be more likely to join the United Methodist Church or some other mainline or liberal Protestant body.

Since 2017, Unitarian Universalists have had their own struggles about race issues. And I believe strongly that the path should be open for blacks who are Christians to feel welcome among UUs. Consider the case of Bishop Carlton Pearson.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlton_Pearson

I actually saw him preach at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, and he also has a regular place at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/the-gospel-inclusion

When the story broke that evangelicals were calling Carlton Pearson a heretic, Lavanhar recognized right away that what he was preaching was classic Universalism. He called Pearson up and invited him to lunch. “Marlin was very sensitive and seemed to understand even more than I did in some ways where I was,” Pearson recalls. “He was probing my mind, and I his, and he was offering brotherhood. I didn’t have many friends in this town.”

Then Lavanhar invited Pearson to preach at All Souls. The sanctuary was packed. “They gave us their Sunday morning offering,” Pearson recalls, tearing up. “It makes me emotional just to think about it.”

Tulsa’s United Church of Christ ministers also reached out to Pearson. (He was granted ministerial fellowship in that denomination in 2006.) “But I was fellowshipping with Marlin,” Pearson says. “He grasped my position on Universalism even more than the UCC folks.” Pearson had read about Universalism at ORU, but he didn’t realize that All Souls Unitarian was part of that tradition.

In late 2005 Pearson sold the Higher Dimensions organization in order to avoid foreclosure, at a loss of $3 million in equity. The building is now a Christian prep school. “We were hurting, scattered, wandering through the wilderness like Moses and the children of Israel,” Pearson says. But they weren’t giving up. The 200 or so survivors renamed themselves New Dimensions. For the next two and a half years they held a one o’clock Sunday service in Trinity Episcopal Church downtown, attended on Sunday mornings by Tulsa’s country club and business elite.

Meanwhile, lunch had become a monthly ritual for newfound friends Pearson and Lavanhar. In April 2008, Lavanhar preached a sermon that got some buzz on the Internet, defending presidential candidate Barack Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, by placing him in context with the Hebrew prophets and the historic black church. He showed Pearson a thankful letter Wright had sent.

Pearson thought out-loud, “We should have come to All Souls, because y’all really are interested in this kind of thing, racial justice. We wouldn’t be like boarders or visitors. Y’all would want us there. It would mean a lot to you.” So Lavanhar extended yet another invitation. New D could have the 11:30 a.m. Sunday service slot, free, for the summer, when All Souls went down to a single 10:00 a.m. service.

What caught everyone off guard was that about half the people who showed up at that service were All Souls folks. They loved the emotion, the spirit, the high they got from “bucking and shouting and getting our praise on,” as Cassandra Austin, a New D member since 1994, describes it.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/humiliation-hostility-riot-lives

After Pearson was declared a heretic by his fellow Pentecostals for preaching universal salvation in the megachurch he led, he accepted Lavanhar’s invitation to lead worship at All Souls. He and approximately 200 of his parishioners started worshiping at All Souls in 2008, and today, about 4 percent of the church’s 2,023 members are black. 

Black membership among UUs may grow enormously if all UU churches do become as inclusive as All Souls is.

UUism should be more than a social club for religious exiles

Someone said this in a Unitarian Univeralist (UU) group in Facebook and it really annoyed me:

The UU local churches turn over half of their members every five years. One quarter will still be present in ten years, one eighth in 15 years, with only about 1/16 of the original crowd in 20 years.

UUs maintain their ranks through the constant influx of refugees from other denominations, most of whom want to keep their kids in church. People who leave their previous denominations are often people who had a conflict of conscience in their previous religious home.

Some UUs just wandered in, but most were leaving something.

Ironically, ninety percent of folks who grew up UU want nothing to do with it as adults and, unfortunately, this is just fine to most UUs.

We call it the upstairs/downstairs division in UUism. So, it helps to understand that UUs are a “standing wave” phenomenon of people moving into and out of local churches at a brisk pace, with little growth.

The serious discussion of religious beliefs is not what UUism is mainly about, so much as finding a place where religious beliefs are not discussed much.

The internet provides more of a place for discussing UU beliefs than a typical Sunday at church does.

Most UUs believe that most other UUs have similar religious beliefs, but nothing could be further from the truth. We just don’t really talk about our religious beliefs much once we get to church.

I see these as serious problems and think we need to make changes to get younger UUs to WANT to remain loyal to the UUA and its churches. So let us discuss how. What can we do to make the UUA one of the fastest growing religious groups in America?

Fortunately, other UUs are just as concerned about this matter as I am. Thomas A. Earthman, who is the “Lifespan Religious Educator” at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, wrote the following essay several years ago:

Rehabilitating the UU Half-way House Trope

 

Rehabilitating the UU Half-way House Trope

Unitarian Universalism has a reputation of being the rehabilitation clinic for people who are leaving religion. That is a sad statement on how we view faith. People don’t come to us because they want to leave religion; they come because they want a religion that speaks to a broader world view and inclusion. People aren’t coming to church, even a Unitarian Universalist church, to get away from religion.

What many are looking for is community, encouragement, hope, and mental or ethical stimulation, and maybe some music or ritual. They are looking for religion when they show up, just one that is liberal and offers them a chance to explore theology, philosophy, and morality safely and sa part of a community. They are looking for a faith that allows them to be honest about who they are as a heretic, a doubter, or maybe just a hippie. It is when they don’t find anything fulfilling, for whatever reason, that they leave, often leaving religion behind for good. We need to tell them that we are believers, and that their faith, whatever shape it takes, maters [sic] as part of our shared identity.

UU ideals

“…we are believers. We believe in intellectual freedom; we believe in justice; we believe in compassion and concern for each other and the whole world. We believe in commitment to those ideals which make us caring and active in the struggles for human dignity. We are Unitarian Universalists.”
~ John M. Higgins

We are sometimes the last chance for religious community to embrace a person and make them feel welcome. Even after they are welcome, they have deeper needs we are obligated to meet. Our principles call on us to encourage one another to spiritual growth. They require our congregations to be laboratories for free, but responsible, exploration of the world and our role in it. That means we have to be communities of faith as well as covenant, or we’ve devolved into social clubs that are easily replicated in coffee shops and on-line message boards. Even sermons can be read in blogs or watched on YouTube. We have to offer more than Sunday services and coffee hour.

That is why Life-span faith development and small group ministry matter. That is why the focus of Unitarian Universalism needs to be open to change. It is why our mission is making the ideas we hold dear easy for people to share with their friends and family, so that we can spread them through human connections. It is what we ask you to support by being part of the I Am UU community.

The future of church is to offer what libraries, coffee shops, and the Internet cannot: a place where all of that is given freely, and supported by the folks who believe in the power of human beings, working together, to build a more just, more loving, more connected world. Is that what your congregation is? Tell us in the comments what is being done to take those ideas into the real world.

Thomas then said directly to me in Facebook:

People don’t come to a UU church because they are fleeing religion. They come looking for a religion they can believe in. They leave if they don’t find it…

Also, if you actually talk to young adults who grew up UU, they leave because the way adults do church isn’t the way we taught them to do church (most congregations force their kids out of their worship service) and we haven’t embraced the small group style that they are used to.

So now I want to use the blog to explore more the possiblities of UUism to become a true force for change in American society. And that can’t happen if we do not commit ourselves to growth to have many millions of members from all walks of life!

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.

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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.

Continue reading

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