Transitioning back [from deployment to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba] has been quite a challenge, mostly from fellow UUs who've taken issue with the fact that I was there & also that I am not joining the UUSC "Stop the Torture" campaign. I was the guest speaker at the Pacific Northwest District annual meeting, which proved to be quite controversial...and regrettably my message was overshadowed by presence in uniform & in GTMO... Another example of our continued need to educate our comrades in faith and help them make our congregations more welcoming.Sound familiar? Anyway, she got this reply from Gini Courter...
I've been thinking on this for a long time. I'm frustrated, too. I keep remembering when the images of two uniformed military folks (I think one was you!) were shown on the "big screen" during the GA closing last year. The applause was loud and sustained. I believe that the "center" of Unitarian Universalism is proud and supportive of our UU members of the military, but they don't get (create?) the same air time that the anti-military (usually presented as pro-peace or anti-war) folks get. I'll continue to be mindful and be more vocal.... and this from Bill Sinkford:
This breaks my heart. I know how how hard it is to feel that you are not welcome in the religious place that you know is your home. You are living in that space which people of color know so well.Rev Sinkford's comment about inclusion really hits the nail on the head. It mirrors what I have noticed about the "selective acceptance" among UUs of those who are "not like us" - especially political conservatives and military members.
I promise to continue to raise this issue with our congregations as I have been doing in my preaching. It is a central spiritual issue for our religious community. Whether it be people in the military, Republicans, working class folks...anyone who doesn't fit the predominant demographic...we need to take to heart the words of the hymn, "Come, come, whoever you are." Its not just a nice tune.
His reference to "that space which people of color know so well" is particularly compelling. It certainly puts things in a different perspective if you think about how most UUs (warning: huge generalization coming) would rather die than express any kind of anti-minority sentiment. But how many people of color are in our pews on Sunday morning? How many military?
Maybe we UUs need to learn to see ALL colors as "us," including khaki and camouflage.