Sunday, April 02, 2006
Defending Republicans is getting pretty freaking old, BTW
I sometimes feel like I'm a big crackpot on this politics-in-church issue. Lots of people give me a pat on the head and tell me that the things I describe certainly don't go on their churches or their friends' churches. Even I start to wonder if I've been unlucky and had more than my share of irritating experiences. Maybe the problem really isn't that bad.
Well, above is a bumper sticker that today's YRUU speaker passed out to the group.
The problem really is that bad.
The lady was there on the invitation of our staff youth person to talk about military recruitment in the schools. (Item: We went around the room and only one youth really saw military recruitment as a problem in his school.) I (as one of three youth leaders) was the only one who asked questions that challenged her assertions at all.
((e.g. "So if you're saying that the military is economically drafting people because the military is the best way for poor people to build a better life, by telling poor people not to enlist, aren't you discouraging them taking the best step they can for building a better life?" (Tautological, I realize, but the point seemed to need to be made explicitly. Anti-recruitment lady replied that if we cut military spending them that would help the poor have better lives. That would be a pretty hard position for her to defend if I really asked for details or evidence, but I let it go at this point.))
Toward the end she went in to great detail on how to start declaring yourself a conscientious objector. The other leaders chimed in with more advice. Finally, I said,
"Not to be the conservative again, but we are a creedless faith. Nothing in Unitarian Universalism says that you must be against war or be a conscientious objector. If you don't want to be one, there's nothing wrong with that and the people here will respect your choice."
And one guy said he didn't think he could be a conscientious objector.
I was impressed. It must have taken serious balls to say that with a room full of his peers smiling and nodding at the anti-recruitment lady.
After church, there was a Youth Ministry Committee Meeting where I waited two hours, ahem, until the new business portion of the meeting to bring out the bumpersticker and talk about my concerns.
I was assured that the class for the earlier service had gone quite differently, been very religious and very clear on how the recruitment issue was complicated and there were reasonable people on both sides.
But I'd still say that the recruitment lady's talk had no place as a Sunday Morning activity.
YRUU has so often been the really political girl scouts (with boys) that I am starting to wonder if I am suited to be a leader. A real committment to free thought is a difficult sell to high school kids who are God's own manichaees.
But at the same time, if I'm not there to keep the discussion inclusive, what will the kid who doesn't feel comfortable going along with the group do?
Seems to me it shouldn't just be my job, though...