Monday, February 19, 2007

Washington Office for Advocacy


I was poking around the UUA website, and came across the section on the UUA Washington Office for Advocacy. Curious, I looked around for any military related issues. I was pleased to find a section entitled " Welcoming Veterans and Military Families in Our Congregations and Community", though I was a bit non-plussed at it's location - at the very bottom of the "Occupation of Iraq" Issues page. Obviously not as important as say "America Says NO!" or "Iraq for Sale" or a link to a website for the short film "The Ground Truth" an anti-war documentary that focuses on a small group of soldiers who after serving in Iraq became anti-war activists.

What I found a bit more disturbing was in the Links section.

Under the section "Military Spending and Disarmament" (Sets the tone) there were links for various anti-war/anti-military organizations such as the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee ( which entourages activists to evade paying portions of thier income tax as a means of protesting war. Oh, and it also refers to the military as a "bigoted" institution and goes on to say "The military is, bar none, the most homophobic institution in our culture. Yet for all its sexism, heterosexism, racism and persecution of sexual minorities at home AND overseas, the military continues to be funded at enormous levels while programs everybody needs - health care, housing, food, environmental protection and education - continue to be gutted. More continues to be spent on the military each month than has been spent by the U.S. in the entire history of AIDS research. Killing, it seems, is far more important than saving lives." Oh and it also says "Over 50% of federal tax dollars go to fund one of the most misogynist and destructive forces in our society: the military."

Now, I realize that simply because this organization is in the links section of the UUA website does not necessarily imply that the UUA in anyway endorses or agrees with any of the positions taken by this organization, but it does seem to indicate that somebody within the UUA thinks highly enough of it to put the link up.

Several other websites listed that are also anti-military (as opposed to simply being anti-Iraq war) and focus on opposing military recruitment, selective service, and ROTC.

While I certainly respect the opinions of those Unitarian-Universalists who are pacifists, I am bit chagrined that it seems to be the position of the UUA (perhaps unofficially) to only support one, rather extreme, viewpoint on the subject.


P.S. Oh and when you google "UUA military" the first thing that comes up is a section on the UUA website about conscientious objection. This blog is third.


Randy Balano said...


I looked at the website, and I agree with you that the positioning of the UUM link gives the perception that it is an afterthought or a "throw-in" to give the appearance of balance vis a vis the other links. I think whoever designed the page ought to seriously reconsider the arrangement of the links.

Thanks for pointing that out.


Steve Caldwell said...

Personally, I have yet to experience any personal disapproval from individual Unitarian Universalists for my military service.

I'm a retired Air Force officer (20 years and 4 months) with over 4300 flying hours in B-52G and H models and service in DESERT STORM. I'm currently a civilian employee for the Air Force working in a flight-test related field.

However, I have been insulted and have had my motivations and my honesty questioned for my support of certain UUA denominational initiatives in my congregation such as the Welcoming Congregation program and the Our Whole Lives lifespan sexuality education program.

Because of my personal experiences, I have found the liberal and anti-military reputation of Unitarian Universalism to be not entirely true.

Adrian Gunn said...


I haven't encountered any personal disapproval from my congregation either - I just wanted to point out that there seems to be a certain bias against the military within the UUA and in some congregations.

I think part of the problem is that while UU's are overwhelming "liberal" or "progressive" many seem to not realize that there are many different kinds of "liberals" out there. I've met more than a few UU's who seem shocked to find that there can be someone who is unabashedly pro-military, pro-2nd amendment, and favors limited/small government AND supports GLBT rights, women's rights, a strong seperation of church and state, etc. Liberal is a bigger tent than many liberals (and UU's) sometimes realize =)


Bill Baar said...

I've belonged to two UU Churches since the 1980s. The only disapproval I've ever encountered has been from Historic Preservationists when I was on the board at Unity Temple in Oak Park.

Re Adrian's comment, I think part of the problem is that while UU's are overwhelming "liberal" or "progressive" many seem to not realize that there are many different kinds of "liberals" out there.

I think this more an affliction of our Churches leaders then down at a congregational level. But It's certainly true of what I've read from our UU leaders and the Wash Office of Advocacy.

Adam G. Gerhardstein said...

Thank you for your close assesment of the Washington Office Website. I manage the Iraq page and it often takes an outsider's view to help you assess how information is displayed and how that reflects priorities.

Our resource on welcoming veterans and military families into our congregations is probably one of the most relevant and meaningful resources we have. Accordingly I have moved it towards the top of the page.