A couple of weeks ago UUMilBlogger Jamie Goodwin let us know about an upcoming UU World article about the third anniversary of the Iraq war. I dutifully contacted the author, and he interviewed me by phone for about 30 minutes. I told him my opinion about how military UUs are viewed by the "average" UU - either with ignorance or antipathy - and some of my experiences. I also told him how in every case when I've encountered someone with a negative attitude about military members, once that person got to know me as an individual, the reaction was always the same: "wow, I had no idea there were people like you in the military!" Sound familiar to anyone else?
The author seemed very interested in what I had to say, so I was really looking forward to an article that would acknowledge and honor military UUs. The end result, however, was a compilation of UU war protests and other events marking the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, with one brief mention of military UUs. I was pretty disappointed.
I don't blame the author - doubtless there are valid reasons why no UU military voices were included in the article. ** But as I told him in an e-mail this morning,
This e-mail was in response to his very gracious note to me. He offered his apologies for not being able to include my information in the article, and indicated that they (presumably UU World) will be revisiting the topic of UUs in the military. We can hope.
... I think that we UUs in general are actually pretty intolerant when it comes to people who aren't "like" us. This seems to include military members, Christians, political conservatives, and doubtless others. We talk the talk of inclusion and acceptance, but we don't always walk the walk. I wonder if this has influenced the editorial policy of UU World?
The upside of this whole episode is that it's reenergized me to continue working toward a military UUA affiliate, as David Pyle introduces here. David, sorry I've dropped out of the picture on this for so long.
We can't rely on others to do our work, so if you value being heard and raising the awareness of the "average" UU about the unique circumstances and challenges of military UUs, please join us.
** UPDATE 3/29 **
After my original post, I got another e-mail from the author, explaining that my one voice was not enough to "bend the story" in the direction of military UUs. So next time UU World solicits input from us, let's give them more voices!