Saturday, October 04, 2008

Fellowship of Reconciliation comment

I discovered via Technorati that the Fellowship of Reconciliation had posted an article about the response of Americans, pro and con, to their meeting with the President of Iran. In it they referred to a couple of UU blog posts on either side of the issue. Mine was one of them. I wrote a comment and am reposting it here.

"I appreciate your listing my post in your article. I believe that what you and FOR did, including the president of my religious tradition, Bill Sinkford, was prophetic and courageous, whether others see it that way or not.
Only time will tell whether your act has produced any positive effect, other than the inner sense of being called to act and doing so. ...When we are prophetic, we are often doing it because we have to do it, not because it is going to change our enemy's mind.
You have been criticized because you did not bring power to the table, the traditional power that supposedly gets things done. You brought, in my opinion, a different kind of power to the table, the power of courage and a willingness to sit down with one who may use and abuse you, but whom you see as another human being.
That motivation is fully supported by my own faith tradition's First Principle: that we affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. That is our founding principle and it is often hard to act upon, particularly with a man whose behavior has been heinous. To see him as a person with inherent worth and dignity is hard, but you did it. Thank you."

There still has been no conversation about this issue on the ministers' chat, so I don't know what other ministers are thinking, other than those who have posted on their blogs.


Robin Edgar said...

I would interpret the general lack of conversation about UUA President Bill Sinkford's meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the ministers' email list and elsewhere as most likely being embarrassed silence, particularly in light of what has already been posted on some minister's blogs. Let's face it. There are very few U*U ministers lavishing praise on President Sinkford for his alleged "incredibly courageous" and "historic" PR stunt. You know the old saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." It applies very well to U*U ministers who pretty well have such a code of silence written into the UUMA Guidelines and Code of Professional Practice (PDF file). N'est-ce pas?

I have to say that it is certainly quite refreshing to see some U*U minister disregarding this Omerta-like code of silence that strongly discourages U*U ministers from publicly criticizing the actions of their colleagues. Would that more U*U ministers would openly criticize questionable behaviour of their colleagues, to say nothing of the unquestionably unprofessional and unbecoming conduct of some U*U ministers.

Robin Edgar said...

Thanks for posting that comment rev. Ketchum. It is genuinely appreciated.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks for speaking to the topic, Robin. I genuinely appreciate that.

Mile High Pixie said...

Apropos of nothing, I appreciate your differentiating power "over" versus "power to". More and more in a "flat" world such as ours, power "over" is so 20th century.

Chalicechick said...

I really thought I was done with this topic but then I followed your link. I was deeply disturbed when I read there that "the questions had to be filtered."

I had wondered why the questions were so softball, and now we know. If Ahmadinejad only answered the questions he wanted to anyway, this this was just plain theatre all around. I'm not sure why you think any real communication occurred at all.

Also, mentioning that Ahmadinejad was given the questions in advance would have been the honest thing to do in the press release and I'm disturbed that the UUA apparently didn't think we needed to know that.

LF said it best in my comments:

"One thing I retain from him is a conclusion that diplomacy of the sort to which Sinkford was pretending in this encounter is not for amateurs. Sinkford has now become one of the numerous Westerners who have been used by a master of such ploys as he experienced."

Sinkford pretty much spoke the lines Ahmadinejad's people allowed him to.

I can't imagine any of the historial figures you listed a few days ago, people with actual courage, ever going along with that.


Robin Edgar said...

I don't know CC. LF put it very well but I think that Rev. Scott Wells put it rather more succinctly and pithily and thus *best* in my view when he said -

"There’s a difference between a diplomat and a dilettante."

Then again there's a difference between a prophet and a patsy. . .