Sunday, June 28, 2009

I was a Hallman supporter yesterday; I'm a Morales supporter today.

One of the things I have most appreciated about UUA presidential elections is the camaraderie and friendly rivalry between candidates. I was first getting active in UU congregational and district life when John Buehrens and Carolyn Owen-Towle were running for president, sixteen years ago. They set a standard, in my mind, of how elections between two very different, highly qualified candidates can be conducted.

They were colleagues and friends first. They were competitors second. And, when John Buehrens won that election, Carolyn Owen-Towle was a gracious runner-up. John led the UUA in positive directions, mentoring and encouraging leaders, providing continuity of purpose and mission. Carolyn did not publicly second-guess or criticize him; if she had concerns, she voiced them only in confidential settings.

Eight years later, Bill Sinkford and Diane Miller conducted the same kind of respectful campaign. Though there was considerable hope among many that a woman would win the election this time, when Bill was elected, it was clear that gender was not such an important factor to the electorate and there was little whining about that loss, as far as I could tell, despite Diane's considerable leadership strengths and charisma.

Now, another eight years later, Peter Morales and Laurel Hallman have conducted yet another respectful, yet intense campaign. And Peter has won, decisively. I supported Laurel in her candidacy; I believed that her strengths outweighed Peter's in some important areas. Yet I knew that either candidate would take the UUA in directions that would add to our strength and growth as a religious tradition which hopes to adjust the trajectory of society.

Yesterday I was a Hallman supporter. Today I am still a Hallman supporter because she is one terrific minister, leader, human being. But Peter can count on me as he forges ahead with his goals for our faith tradition. Today I am also a Morales supporter.

20 comments:

Robin Edgar said...

"Eight years later, Bill Sinkford and Diane Miller conducted the same kind of respectful campaign."

"it was clear that gender was not such an important factor to the electorate and there was little whining about that loss,"

Really Ms. Kitty? Then how do you explain Rev. Diane Miller's subsequent "whining" about "falsehoods and deceit in the process" in her 'Disappointment and Defeat' sermon of November 4, 2001, that has been conveniently "memory holed" from the The First Religious Society Carlisle web site?

For the record I brought Rev. Diane Miller's whole sermon worth of "whining" about these alleged "dirty tactics" in the 2001 UUA presidential election to your attention just over a year ago now.

I cannot say that I am a Peter Morales supporter today but I liked much of what he had to say during the election campaign with some obvious reservations about some of his questionable public statements that I publicly shared my concerns about. Needless to say I agreed with most of his blunt criticism of various failings of the U*U religious community much of which echoed things that I have been saying for over a decade now. I hold out hope that President Peter Morales, who obviously shares some of my "obviously deep concerns" about various U*U problems, will be open to "standing on the side of love" and engage in "waging peace" with me in the coming weeks and months. I will certainly be inviting him to do so and, if he accepts my R.S.V.P. invitation I believe that the U*U World will be a better place for it.

ms. kitty said...

I think it's unwise to draw firm conclusions about what may have happened based on speculation, Robin. People who have come in second are grieving and may say things they later regret. I share your hope that Rev. Morales will act with integrity and wisdom as he leads the UUA forward.

Robin Edgar said...

So do I Ms. Kitty,

As long as Rev. Peter Morales does act with genuine integrity and a modicum of wisdom in his response to the serious concerns that I will be sharing with him soon, which quite regrettably is more than I can say about his two predecessors and other UUA administrators (including Rev. Diane Miller) who have displayed a dearth of wisdom and integrity in their human relations with me, we will get along just fine and he will indeed lead the UUA forward in a way that U*Us can be proud of.

Regards,

Robin Edgar

P.S. I wonder if Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman would be interested in being Executive Vice President of the UUA and if Rev. Peter Morales would be open to and comfortable with appointing her to that position?

Chalicechick said...

I certainly don't deny the candidates themselves the right to sour grapes. My goodness, they put a year of their lives and not a small amount of money into running and to lose must be terribly disappointing.

Anyone who was shocked that it took awhile for Bill Clinton to warm to Obama as the Democratic nominee probably hasn't thought through what it means to a Southern man to know that to do the right thing he must support a candidate who has just spent the better part of a year insulting his wife and has taken away her dream.

While I think Miller's putting her personal grievances into the pulpit was tacky and inappropriate to intrue those issues into a worship service, I was reminded even this morning that no religion is immune from tacky behavior.

CC

Robin Edgar said...

BTW Ms. Kitty,

I did not in any way "draw firm conclusions about what may have happened based on speculation." I did the Unitarian thing and asked a question. . . One thing is quite certain however. Rev. Diane Miller delivered a Sunday sermon at the The First Religious Society Carlisle on Sunday November 4, 2001 in which she "whined" about "falsehoods and deceit in the process" and "falsehoods spread beneath the surface, to which I was not able to respond directly." Just how true those allegations which were publicly aired in Rev. Diane Miller's 'Disappointment and Defeat' sermon actually are may be open to some question. Only a free and *responsible* search for their truth and meaning, or lack thereof, can determine if they are truthful and reliable allegations or falsehoods and deceit themselves. . . but the *fact* that Rev. Diane Miller actually made those allegations about "falsehoods and deceit" in the 2001 UUA presidential election campaign should be able to be verified by freely and responsibly searching for the truth and meaning of what I have said here by requesting, and hopefully obtaining. . . a copy of her Sunday sermon of November 4, 2001 entitled 'Disappointment and Defeat' and freely and responsibly reading it. To paraphrase Aldous Huxley and reference George Orwell's '1984' -

Facts do not cease to exist just because they are "memory holed". . .

I must say that I really do like that variation on Aldous Huxley's theme. It is sure to become one of my favorite personal sayings from here on in. :-)

ms. kitty said...

I guess I choose to forgive people for comments they make when under a lot of stress and grief, rather than hold it against them for a long time. Diane Miller is a woman of integrity, in my experience, and I speculate that she has moved on from that moment in time. This post is not about her, however; it is about supporting Peter Morales as the new president of the UUA and appreciating the graciousness of Laurel Hallman's response and actions during the campaign.

Robin Edgar said...

Does a presumably carefully thought through and composed Sunday sermon, delivered *four* full months after the UUA presidential election of 2001 had been decided, count as "comments" Rev. Diane Miller made "when under a lot of stress and grief" Ms. Kitty?

I think not, and fully I expect that most people will agree with that quite reasonable and rational assessment of the available evidence. I agree that this post is not about Rev. Diane Miller so that will be my final word about her allegations here but if you or any other U*U make questionable statements in your blog posts and comments I think that it is proverbial "fair game" for me and other people to question them. It is after all the Unitarian thing to do, if not the U*U thing to do.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and say hi to Max and the other cats for me.

Regards,

Robin Edgar

ms. kitty said...

But it's old news, Robin, and my experience leads me to believe that there is no statute of limitations on grief.

Volly said...

The contest seemed friendly to me as well, though I haven't followed it that closely. I attended GA last year and it seemed at the time that Hallman had a lot more momentum. Therefore, Morales' victory comes as a mild surprise.

Glad of it, though -- having sat 2 years on the board at my church, it's easy to attest that UU's find enough to fight about on an average day -- anything different is so very refreshing!

Chalicechick said...

So when one feels insulted and ill-used by one's religious association, the proper amount of time to feel stressed and grieved about it is four months?

Goodness.

Robin Edgar said...

Indeed there is not a "statute of limitations" on grief or indeed personal quests for justice. I expect that many of those good people who have suffered as a result of Rev. Diane Miller's negligent and/or incompetent responses to their serious clergy misconduct complaints, including complaints about clergy sexual misconduct, may still be grieving as a result of Rev. Diane Miller's dubious decisions today. . . Indeed I personally know of one who is still grieving. I am not "grieving" per se, having transformed my grief and dis*illusionment into an ongoing quest for restorative justice, but I am still suffering from the lingering negative effects of Rev. Diane Miller's negligent and effectively complicit response to my serious complaints about being alleged to be "psychotic" by an intolerant and abusive "fundamentalist atheist" Humanist U*U minister who added deep insult to that "injury" by falsely and maliciously labeling Creation Day as a "cult". I am willing to bet that *those* slanderous falsehoods and deceit spread below the surface about me are rather worse than what was said regarding Rev. Diane Miller during the 2001 UUA presidential elections, yet she is on record as pretending that those insulting and defamatory falsehoods and deceit, along with other intolerant and abusive behavior were "within the appropriate guidelines of ministerial leadership." AFAIAC that is the antithesis of integrity and she has yet to acknowledge her harmful and damaging "mistake", which *could* be described as a falsehood and even deceit itself. . . and properly apologize to me for the harm that it has caused me and indeed other people for over a decade now. The only reason that I am even talking about this "old news" in this thread is because you brought up the subject of Rev. Diane Miller, the 2001 UUA elections, and "whining". Ultimately UUA President Peter Morales will have to deal with this "old news" because his two predecessors as UUA president Rev. Dr. John A. Buehrens and Rev. William G. Sinkford abjectly failed, indeed AFAIAC obstinately refused. . . to do so on their watches. I am hoping that Rev. Peter Morales will do what both President Buehrens and President Sinkford should have done years ago but lacked both the wisdom and integrity to undertake. I will be calling upon President Morales to provide some genuine and tangible restorative justice not only for me but for any and all other victims of U*U clergy misconduct of all kinds. Ideally that restorative justice will include a formal apology from Rev. Diane Miller herself for her dearth of wisdom and integrity in responding to my own and other people's clergy misconduct complaints. . .

ms. kitty said...

Okay, no more on this thread. It's veered off my intended topic too sharply. If you want to comment, talk about this most recent election.

Chalicechick said...

I took the conversation in a new direction at the Chaliceblog.

Robin Edgar said...

That is fine by me Rev. Ketchum. You have been an exceptionally good sport in posting my critical comments today and I assure you that it is sincerely appreciated.

Best Regards,

Robin Edgar

ms. kitty said...

Robin, thanks for understanding.

Robin Edgar said...

You're welcome Rev. Ketchum. I am a lot more understanding than many U*Us give me credit for. And thank you for your own apparent increasing understanding of why I am doing what I am doing.

Give Max a hug for me.

Robin

ms. kitty said...

Max will get the hug, Robin. Right now he's outside scaring rabbits!

kim said...

P.S. I wonder if Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman would be interested in being Executive Vice President of the UUA and if Rev. Peter Morales would be open to and comfortable with appointing her to that position?

My partner has suggested that maybe Laurel Hallman could be designated "Bishop" of the UUA and be our spiritual leader.... That would split the spiritual and the PR functions....

kim said...

...my experience leads me to believe that there is no statute of limitations on grief.

At least with intimate relationships, my therapist says it takes as long to get over it as the relationship lasted.

Robin Edgar said...

Kim is your partner a U*U? Does your partner have any idea of what kind of controversy it would stir up if *any* North American U*U minister was designated as a "Bishop"?

Also, I am not sure that PR is the main function of the President of the UUA, even though President Sinkford and other UUA President have apparently tried to make it one. OTOH the President *is* the official spokesperson for the UUA so I am not convinced that splitting the spiritual and the PR functions is such a good idea. It seems that some U*Us are convinced that the role of the President of the UUA is far more administrative than spiritual in any case. That being said, I do believe that the UUA could, and perhaps should, find an alternative prominent role for Rev. Laurel Hallman to play. It also occurs to me also that Rev. Hallman *could* just bide her time and run for UUA President again four years from now if President Morales fails to deliver on his "promise" and leaves U*Us dis*illusioned.