Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why I don't like the Peacemaking resolution

Since Elizabeth asked, my problems with the Peacemaking resolution are as follows:

1. I do worry that we will end up a peace church and that's not in our tradition.
Also, as Joel notes in CUUMBAYA we will be painting ourselves into a corner given how strongly we are demanding something be done about Darfur. Also, I believe in the concept of a Just War.

2. I worry more that the issue will be divisive, and pointlessly so. The fact that we are studying this and will almost certainly pass whatever we come up with leaves us two possbilities: Us as a peace church for all the wrong reasons, or a vague statement about how peace is a good thing that no one cares about. If the screetchy self-righteous hippies win this one, then some good people might leave. If not, we have to deal with angry screetchy self-righteous hippies. Lose-lose. Lose-lose.

3. I surmise that our enthusiasm for this comes out of our collective dislike of and feeling of helplessness at this particular war. This suggests shortsightedness to me. I really hate shortsightedness.

4. I have heard that helping our young men get into consciencious objector programs is a big part of why we're doing this. That's wrong.

5. I feel like UUs will vote for anything as long as it: a. Sounds good and b. involves no actual work outside of the occaisional petition. I am certain that a decent portion of the people voting put absolutely no thought into this at all.


Since being at GA, I've seen so many examples of UUs going out and doing good work for the poor, work that actually involved getting off one's ass. Give me a resolution about that, I'll vote for it.

CC
who is not tagging this as a GA post as to do so would be sort of bitter.

8 comments:

SC Universalist said...

The problem that I have is that the Peacemaking resolution serves no purpose. There is no draft, pre-merger one of the Us already put themselves on record as being a church where pacifism was an option.

We certainly dont act like pacifists.

On the other hand, some of us do like our Cause-de-Jour. And some of the cause-de-jour-ers dont have the worlds best social skills, so it would be hard to convince anybody other than the already convinced.

the 4th note here, is ridiculous - we dont need to be a "Peace Church" for those members who wish to be consciencious objectors. The law already lets them. Didnt anybody read the US laws??

And if only hippies will vote for this, we'll all be over 55 or so the next time this comes up, spike our Geritol with sleepeze and dont worry about it!

steven r

Bill Baar said...

I've had a person who stands outside my congressman's door protesting the war, ask me if I'm fearful volunteering to spend the nights in our local homeless shelter.

Fearful that a homeless person off their meds might cause violence.

They don't volunteer for that reason.

It gives me a chuckle.

Christine Robinson said...

So...we're going to get rid of the army, the police, the park rangers, take the pepper spray out of our purses and refuse to kick rapists in the balls? We'll just try to talk the world into goodness, turning our back on those who are being oppressed by those more powerful and violent than they? I don't think that is what the framers of this believe, but that is what it says. We'll be the laughing stock of the Right if we pass it.

This kind of absolute pacificism is only availiable, it seems to me, to those who do not care about goodness or those who believe that the creation of goodness on Earth is up to God. I don't know any Unitarian Universalists who believe either of those things.

What a pity that this ill-conceived resolution is the only one presented this year!

alkali said...

So...we're going to get rid of the army, the police, the park rangers, take the pepper spray out of our purses and refuse to kick rapists in the balls? ... I don't think that is what the framers of this believe, but that is what it says.

Actually, it is limited to wars between nations, but that only raises the question of why it is so limited. It's not unlike resolving that because we've decided that eating meat is wrong, we won't eat pork.

The obvious inference is that the limitation is there because the proponents recognized that people would find an across-the-board commitment to nonviolence -- i.e., including police and self-defense -- intolerable. But if application of the principle of nonviolence to that extent would be intolerable, one has to question whether that underlying principle is really reliable.

I suppose it could be argued that warfighting is a uniquely always-bad form of violence as distinguished from police and personal self-defence activity, but it's a hard argument to make (how would military intervention in Darfur to stop a genocide be fundamentally different than police intervention to stop a murderous riot?).

TheCSO said...

Specifically, it's limited to opposing "all forms of violence and war...between peoples and nations."

"Nations" in this context means, well, a nation. I think that Palestine can probably be considered a nation at this point, but Texas and Tibet are not.

"Peoples" conjugated thusly means "A body of persons sharing a common religion, culture, language, or inherited condition of life." Of all the meanings of "people", this definition is the only one whose plural is "peoples". Texans, even though they're not a nation, might qualify as a people.

"Between" means that both parties to the violence must be either a people or a nation. This excludes, for example, regular police work.

It also excludes the war in Iraq going forward, and confusingly enough would seem to mandate our continued involvement. (Yes, it does oppose our going into Iraq in the first place, but now that we're there this wording actually supports staying the course.)

We aren't fighting a nation there - fragile as the Iraqi government is, it's still sovereign and an ally of the United States. And our presence is the only thing preventing a wholesale civil war between peoples: the various ethnic groups of Iraq. At this point, American troop presence in Iraq - even though it does inflict violence on people - is not violence between nations, and it's actually helping prevent violence between peoples.

If the study issue's language is this poorly thought out to begin with, I don't have high hopes of the end result being any better.

Kim said...

CSO -- I'm not entirely sure your analysis of our presence in Iraq is accurate.
The sovereignity of the Iraqi government seems fictional, or at most "technical". It's more of a puppet of the Bush Administration. If we left, it wouldn't last long, so, yes, there would be more violence. What a mess!
It's anybody's guess whether there would be more or less violence if we left: or if there would briefly be more, then less in total. 'Course, it might have violence reduced by having a new Saddam, but maybe that's what they want? Even the Bible says the sons of Ishmael are violent. It takes a long time to change a culture that glorifies violence -- we sure aren't doing well with ours so how could we have any positive influence on theirs?

Oversoul said...

“5. I feel like UUs will vote for anything as long as it: a. Sounds good and b. involves no actual work outside of the occaisional petition. I am certain that a decent portion of the people voting put absolutely no thought into this at all.”

Yes, I feel the same way.


“Since being at GA, I've seen so many examples of UUs going out and doing good work for the poor, work that actually involved getting off one's ass. Give me a resolution about that, I'll vote for it.”

I’m happy to hear it, as I just posted on my blog that going out and doing good work is needed, not just-as you very eloquently put it-sitting on one’s ass.

PeaceBang said...

I voted against it. Right on, CC.