Unitarian Universalism, Social Activism, & Intactivism - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since this came up in a THREAD in the Case Against Circumcision forum and is sort of religiously-oriented, I thought I'd start a thread here to discuss it in more depth.

http://uua.org/socialjustice/index.shtml

Questions:

Can intactivism gain support/find a home within UU?

How can we best present this as a social justice issue to congregations?

What are some of the ways we can raise awareness within churches?

I don't attend our local UU church consistantly, currently...but I think I'm going to start going again, both because I enjoyed it generally and also because intactivism is a form of social activism that's near and dear to my heart and I think it would be worthwhile to educate and encourage activism there. IMO, genital integrity is an issue of human rights, children's rights, body autonomy, sexual freedom, and gender equality.

Jen
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#2 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome to Unitarian Universalism...

Our faith, Unitarian Universalism, is a spiritually alive and justice-centered religion.

...Unitarian Universalists search for truth along many paths. Instead of centering our religion on specific beliefs, we gather around shared moral values that include the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

http://uua.org/visitors/index.shtml
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Believing in the inherent worth of each person, our mutual interdependency, and the need to create a world in which each person has the opportunity to flourish, Unitarian Universalism is deeply rooted in social justice as a direct expression of our faith.

Unitarians and Universalists have been deeply engaged in social justice work for centuries. Prior to their consolidation (in 1961) both denominations worked to abolish slavery, win voting rights for women, and champion the needs of the poor. Today, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) continues this work of conscience, advocating for issues such Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender (BGLT) rights, racial justice, environmental justice, and peace, to name just a few.

At the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), social justice infuses almost everything that we do. In our ministry and work, we strive for greater inclusiveness, diversity, and multiculturalism, working to create the Beloved Community of which we dream.

Many UUA offices and programs carry this mission forward advocating for Unitarian Universalist values in our societies, bearing witness to injustice, and providing resources for effective congregational advocacy, organizing, and education.

http://uua.org/socialjustice/index.shtml

socialjustice@uua.org
Thoughts?

Jen
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#3 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 02:46 PM
 
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Thoughts on what part exactly? i commented on my thoughts on their opening statement. I really don't believe that their core statement "shared moral values that include the inherent worth and dignity of every person" could withstand the Intactivist movement. But then again, Rome wasn't built in a day.
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#4 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kldliam View Post
I really don't believe that their core statement "shared moral values that include the inherent worth and dignity of every person" could withstand the Intactivist movement. But then again, Rome wasn't built in a day.
Why do you think this wouldn't withstand the Intactivist movement? Isn't that, at it's core, what intcativism is about?
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#5 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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kldiam-

I agree, based on their statements of philosophy I think intactivism would be clearly in line with their values, which is why I think it's reasonable to believe that if presented effectively, there's hope that a strong support for genital integrity could be cultivated within the church.

Jen
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#6 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm working my way through this...

http://archive.uua.org/programs/justice/faq.html

Quote:
What are the theological foundations of UU social justice work?
We do social justice work because of the foundations provided by both Unitarianism and Universalism. We act because we are Unitarians and believe in the unity and interconnectedness of all Creation. We act as a part of the whole that is Creation. We act because we are Universalists and believe that love is universal and that all people are equal the sight of the Divine.
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We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
• The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
• Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
• Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
• A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
• The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
• The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
• Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Quote:
...encouraging your congregation’s social justice leaders and/or minister to reflect upon the bigger picture, the moral reasons behind their work, and the role of their Unitarian Universalist faith, helps to rejuvenate the passion that inspires us all to work for justice.
Quote:
How does the Unitarian Universalist Association do social justice?
The UUA is committed to social justice on many levels. Each staff group works to examine ways that UUA staff can integrate social justice into the programs they manage. The UUA Advocacy and Witness staff group is specifically dedicated to supporting congregational social justice efforts, as well as representing Unitarian Universalism in the larger world, both in the media at a local and national level and in Washington, D.C. through federal advocacy.

The Social Witness Process of the UUA involves the passage of Study Action Issues, Statements of Conscience and Actions of Immediate Witness at the General Assembly each year. The Commission on Social Witness is a volunteer commission made up of elected and appointed members that shepherd the Social Witness Process and redraft statements offered by congregations to be voted upon by the entire General Assembly each year.
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Just as democratic decision-making is fundamental to our religious life, it is also essential in choosing social justice issues to work on as well. When all the members of the congregation have the opportunity to be involved in picking issue to focus on, more of them will potentially become involved in carrying out projects.

There are several models for involving congregational members in picking issues (information can be found here). These examples come from the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, New York, The Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, Wisconsin, The Unitarian Society of Germantown in Philadelphia, All Souls church in New York City , and the Unitarian Fellowship of Morristown, New Jersey.
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Becoming a Strong Ally 101
  • Assume that oppression in some form is everywhere, everyday.
  • Notice how oppressions are denied, minimized, and justified.
  • Read books and articles to increase your understanding of, and sensitivity to, the needs, aspirations, and concerns of others.
  • Understand and learn from the history of racism, heterosexism, ableism, ageism, etc.
  • Understand the connections between oppressions, economic issues, and other forms of injustice.
  • Take a stand against injustice.
  • Be strategic. Decide what is important to challenge and what is not.
  • Intervene when someone disrespects or demeans another because of their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, economic status, etc.
  • Support the leadership of people who have historically been oppressed.
  • Don’t do it alone. Build coalitions and networks, work with already established groups.
  • Talk with your children and other young people about oppression.
  • Work to bridge differences rather than insist on similarity of views.
  • Learn as much as you can about the shifting tactics of hate groups.
  • Don’t assume you know what’s best for an individual or group.
  • Listen to the stories, experiences, and voices of others.
  • Reflect on the impact of your own background and challenge your own cultural assumptions.
  • Notice who is the center of attention and who is the center of power.
  • Eliminate outdated and unhelpful terms such as “minority, oriental, handicapped, homo, etc.”
  • Write letters to the editors and management of newspapers, television and radio stations expressing support for efforts to reduce prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.
  • Notice and name dynamics of privilege and oppression that occur in coalitions.
  • Form partnerships with communities and congregations of color.
  • Work with advocacy groups for bisexual, gay, lesbian and transgender people’s rights.
  • Connect service efforts with advocacy for economic justice.
  • Create accessible spaces and communities.

Revised 6/03 from original by Jacqui James, UUA Director for Anti-Oppression Resources

http://archive.uua.org/programs/justice/ally101.html
Jen
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#7 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 03:05 PM
 
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kldliam - I think I might have misread what you said
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#8 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 03:10 PM
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#9 of 20 Old 06-06-2007, 03:38 PM
 
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eclipse-

how 'bout that! We (UU & intactivists) do seem to have the same mission statements!

Yes in theory the UU should support this human rights issue without delay. However, religious venues are a cesspool of corruption, power and hypocrisy. I got no faith in them i guess you could say and I rather doubt they would support male children in this way.


Good luck trying.
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#10 of 20 Old 06-07-2007, 12:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kldliam View Post
eclipse-

how 'bout that! We (UU & intactivists) do seem to have the same mission statements!

Yes in theory the UU should support this human rights issue without delay. However, religious venues are a cesspool of corruption, power and hypocrisy. I got no faith in them i guess you could say and I rather doubt they would support male children in this way.


Good luck trying.
kldliam, why would you say that? To me, that was hurtful.

I think that the problem with intactivism, in general, is that it deals with "private parts"--and most of the men you encounter have already been circumcised. They don't want to think of themselves as victimized and therefore, just don't want to deal with it at all. They don't want you dweling on what you think of as their damaged genitals. Can you blame them?

On an individual basis, I think that many men who would be put off by "intactivism" on a larger scale, would choose to keep their male babies intact. Just not wanting to talk about it or go public with that info., for their own privacy and for the privacy of their children.
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#11 of 20 Old 06-07-2007, 04:39 PM
 
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Dear katie and other UU folks-

I apologize for my rather biting tone against religion. I live in a world where people try to cram their religion down my throat constantly and kill in the name of. Just a tad bit cynical & contempuous about it now.

Of course I know that 'religion' is made up of individual mutilated men who, as you say, don't want to "deal with it" in a public sense. I certainly can understand this and their need for privacy.

However-

while some may keep their children "intact", their collective silence doesn't serve the community very well and it wont help intactivism 'flourish' in the UU church, which answers the OP's first question:

Quote:
Can intactivism gain support/find a home within UU?

MGM is a brand of social injustice & it requires people to speak out against it if we seek to abolish it. If the UU's are all about ending social injustice- let them proove it to me now. I doubt they will. The OP I believe, thinks it is reasonable to expect that UU's will do just that if it is 'presented' right. I disagree.
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#12 of 20 Old 06-08-2007, 03:07 AM
 
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I have found that my efforts to do social justice/education in my UU church on issues a bit off the radar have met with mixed success (my passion is animal protection, and I am a member of UFETA).

Some people see right away how a particular cultural habit relates to UU principles, some are open to the message (despite feeling somewhat indicted by it) and some will belittle it because it's not the war in Iraq or poverty or an issue they think of as more important (or that doesn't ask them to change as much).

Patience and persistence will be key, but I think a good case could be made, and some minds could be open/changed. It will likely just be you and maybe a few others doing the work, though.
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#13 of 20 Old 06-08-2007, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kldliam View Post
Dear katie and other UU folks-

I apologize for my rather biting tone against religion. I live in a world where people try to cram their religion down my throat constantly and kill in the name of. Just a tad bit cynical & contempuous about it now.

Of course I know that 'religion' is made up of individual mutilated men who, as you say, don't want to "deal with it" in a public sense. I certainly can understand this and their need for privacy.



. . . If the UU's are all about ending social injustice- let them proove it to me now. I doubt they will. The OP I believe, thinks it is reasonable to expect that UU's will do just that if it is 'presented' right. I disagree.
just watch what you say about others' religions . . . you would find that many Unitarian Universalists share your general cycnicism for organized religion if you looked into it more closely. That's part of why your comments were hurtful--you lumped UUs together with the 'killing in the name of' religions. This is the spiritual home my familiy found in our effort to move away from all that.

My opinion on the original Q, yes, if "presented right" my congregation would be on board as well, I think. We have done some petitions and education against female g.m., but nothing regarding male circ. We just had our annual meeting where our social justice committee proposed (and was approved by the congregation) to have 3 project areas:

Peace/Conflict Resolution –
Ministry/Action opportunities: Peace Fair, Examination of the concept of a “just war” (UUA Statement of Conscience), Closing the School of the Americas, Inner Disarmament, Non-Violent Communication, Sarah’s Inn ( a safehouse/shelter from domestic abuse)

Health/Disability –
Ministry/Action opportunities: Campaign for Better Health Care, health care justice, accessibility issues for historic buildings

Poverty/Economic Equity –
Ministry/Action opportunities – Fair Trade, PADS, 10,000 Villages, workers rights/just wages, CROP Walk, fair housing, Working Bikes

In our case, I would start by talking to the coordinator for the health/disability actions. We also have several lc nurses & midwives in our cong. who I'm 99% sure are anti-circ. I one whose practice I went to, when she looked at my chart commented, "oh, good" when she saw we said no circ and assured us not to worry about the hospital expecting us to circ boys, they follow the patients' charts without incident . . .

How would you go about approaching an S.J. committee with this issue? Assuming a lot of the men involved are in fact circed and prob. chose it for their kids without knowing much? I love the Maya Angelou quote, "when you know better, you do better."
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#14 of 20 Old 06-08-2007, 01:58 PM
 
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just watch what you say about others' religions . . . you would find that many Unitarian Universalists share your general cycnicism for organized religion if you looked into it more closely.
how ironic. I might just as easily add too, watch what you say to me, religion offends me, no matter what division you are in!

Quote:
That's part of why your comments were hurtful--you lumped UUs together with the 'killing in the name of' religions.
You are not the only one who has been hurt here my friend. Everyday I am hurt & offended by religion. But that is another thread I suspect.

Quote:
This is the spiritual home my familiy found in our effort to move away from all that.
glad you are happy. but you cannot move away from that which you are connected to. In this case it's religion.

Quote:
My opinion on the original Q, yes, if "presented right" my congregation would be on board as well, I think.
Most excellent. Please keep us posted!
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#15 of 20 Old 06-09-2007, 04:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kldliam View Post
how ironic. I might just as easily add too, watch what you say to me, religion offends me, no matter what division you are in!



You are not the only one who has been hurt here my friend. Everyday I am hurt & offended by religion. But that is another thread I suspect.



glad you are happy. but you cannot move away from that which you are connected to. In this case it's religion.


I understand your skepticsism, but your comment about watching what I say and that all religion offends you leads me to wonder how you can have a dialogue in this forum at all . . .

You might want to read through the other threads on this board and the general Spirituality board. While you may not be in violation of the UA, you're not observing the culture of this board. Even in disagreements, we strive to be respectful of, and even to celebrate, our differences. Major, heart-wrenching "differences" sometimes. (see "that weird thing they do" for example).

Do you think that your attitude toward religion would endear others to your cause of intactivism? Would an mdc'er reading this thread, who attends a liberal church like UU or United Church of Christ feel inspired to take initiative at her next social justice committee meeting? It takes one's own bravery to do such a thing . . . and from others, she'd like encouragement rather than sarcasm and skepticism.

peace:
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#16 of 20 Old 06-10-2007, 03:22 AM
 
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I understand your skepticsism, but your comment about watching what I say and that all religion offends you leads me to wonder how you can have a dialogue in this forum at all . . .

You might want to read through the other threads on this board and the general Spirituality board. While you may not be in violation of the UA, you're not observing the culture of this board. Even in disagreements, we strive to be respectful of, and even to celebrate, our differences. Major, heart-wrenching "differences" sometimes. (see "that weird thing they do" for example).
:

Kldliam:
Saying how you personally have been hurt by religions seems reasonable (although not necc. in this thread).

Saying what aspects of UUism in particular you think are antithetical to intactivism would be reasonable--and useful--too. As would, perhaps, saying what aspects of UUism are so hurtful to you (given that it is a community filled with people who are opposed to war, opposed to evangelizing, and have often been deeply hurt by mainstream religions, it's hard for me to see the connection between your issues and this faith).

And saying that all UU congregations are, by being "religious," "cesspools" of awfulness is, well...awful. And out of line. And not very useful as a place from which to begin a productive discussion. IMO.

It really makes me wonder how much you know about UUism, and what drew you to this particular discussion.
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#17 of 20 Old 06-21-2007, 05:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kldliam View Post
how ironic. I might just as easily add too, watch what you say to me, religion offends me, no matter what division you are in!



You are not the only one who has been hurt here my friend. Everyday I am hurt & offended by religion. But that is another thread I suspect.



glad you are happy. but you cannot move away from that which you are connected to. In this case it's religion.



Most excellent. Please keep us posted!

people who lump UUs in with all other sects of organized religions, who follow and accept dogma--which we do not accept, obviously are not educated about the UU faith. Please educate yourself about our Principles and Purposes/Sources before you claim to be hurt or offended by Unitarian Universalism. Did you know you can have Atheist or Humanist beliefs and still consider UU your faith? Many many hurt and offended people find a home with us. And if you don't, that's ok, too.


As far as intactivism, I think it has as much of a place in UU Social Action as our anti-war stance. Remember the story of the Flaming Chalice. If we could help the Jews out of Germany, we can help stop this unnecessary procedure.

btw I'm the RE Director at our congregation.
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#18 of 20 Old 07-06-2007, 12:53 PM
 
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This was in a newsletter from my local UU congregation. However I believe this is happening in other UU congregations this summer; you may want to check with your local congregation.

Quote:
Summer Listening Campaign

[Local congregation] social justice action groups will be conducting a Listening Campaign this summer. Leaders and members of action groups will have one-on-one conversations with members and friends of [congregation] to build relationships and identify social justice passions in our congregation. The information gained through the Listening Campaign will be used to deepen and expand our justice work in the wider community.
It then gave dates and contact information for the Listening Campaign.
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#19 of 20 Old 07-07-2007, 06:14 PM
 
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pigpokey, that sounds like a great time to bring up the anti-circ issue. I am not feeling "up for it" at this point.
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#20 of 20 Old 01-07-2008, 02:34 AM
 
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I know I am commenting on an old thread, and an old post, but I was looking for threads on circumcision and religion and came upon this thread. This has stuck with me for several days, so thought I would comment...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaydee View Post
opposed to evangelizing
That is actually a bit of a misrepresentation. It has only been in fairly recent history in our faith tradition that we've been so content to hide our light under the bushel. These days, it is true that many congregations take an odd and unwelcoming sense of pride in being "the best kept secret in town." But historically, we've had a rich and inspiring evangelical dynamic. It is interesting history to research sometime when you feel like it. Seriously!

As for the idea of UUism being a good place to gather 'round intactivism, I have mixed feelings as much as I am anti-circ myself. Not because our faith couldn't contribute much to the conversation, but because I have the general feeling lately that social justice work that comes out of our faith communities in collective format should be an evolving expression of our shared faith, rather than being work we simply back up by doing the rally cry within the church. Not sure if that makes any sense, or is particuarly articulate. In any case, however, I have noticed a growing trend for people starting very productive (and some not so productive conversations) on issues of faith and social justice within a larger context, and I think that makes sense. Lots of bloggers with large UU readership commenting on the interplay between faith and various social justice issues, and various things like, for example, this youtube video I stumbled upon today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFKDGVDmxas

I think that might be an easier, effective, and more conciousness raising tactic at this point in history than taking this into the church and trying to recruit folks to join the cause.

I'm pro-adoption reform, but not anti-adoption.
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