Wednesday, October 01, 2008

CC goes off on Sinkford meeting with Ahmadinejad.

Remember when I was asking the question "How do cultures that mistreat women fit into the general theory that all cultures are equal and should all be respected and not judged by white American standards?" hoping to get an answer from antiracist folks and the only people who even really TRIED to give me an answer were non-UUs?

Well, I kinda wish we had tried to answer that before Sinkford met with the President of Iran and put that wonderful news all over UUA.org.

Now the UUA press release does note that Sinkford asked about the treatment of women and got the standard bullshit answer, which the press release cheerfully parrots back "He also spoke about the Iranian belief that women are the essence of society’s beauty and kindness, and said that Iranians do not want women to work too hard, in fear that their spirit will be broken and that this will destroy society’s beauty."*

I guess I'm glad Sinkford asked, though it's not like is question did anyone any good, but what the fuck?

The Press release was rife with the usual snottiness that accompanies this sort of issue "Bruce Knotts, who is a retired United States diplomat, understood the significance of this meeting..." I'm guessing that because I disagree with Sinkford attending that meeting, I must not understand it.

Sigh.

I don't care so much if Obama meets with him, though I'd personally rather he didn't in that I tend to think that when the President of the United States meets with somebody it makes them look legitimate. That said, a real diplomatic negotiation might theoretically do some good unlike the previous years of negotiations that haven't.

But Sinkford meeting with him is just crazy. I mean do we want to be the religion with a mind so open its brains fall out?

And of course, we all hate President Bush so much that Sinkford had to negatively compare him to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad under the apparent theory that President Bush never answers softball questions from fawning religious leaders.

I don't like President Bush at all. I find pretty much nothing redeeming in the man. But he is NOT a holocaust-denying murderous freak who persecutes minority religions and pretty much anyone who disagress with him and wants Isreal wiped off the map.

I CAN NOT WAIT for a new UUA President and I really, really hope that neither Hallman nor Morales have the inclination to do things like this in the name of my religion, and by extension, me.

CC
Hat tip to Peacebang, whose response was considerably more restrained. Until it wasn't. But that's even better, because even UUs need a bit of hellfire and brimstone every now and again.

*The Press release also cheerfully recounts that the Iran's government is committed to wind and solar power! The Iranian people will be so pleased to read this press release should they ever be allowed to use an internet connection uncensored enough to let them to see UUA.org.

11 comments:

PG said...

I'd personally rather he didn't in that I tend to think that when the President of the United States meets with somebody it makes them look legitimate.

I'm not sure I understand your concept of legitimacy.

1) Ahmadinejad is the president of Iran. Unless we invade Iran, we don't get to decide who their leaders are. We're stuck with the ones they have until either they throw them out or we do. I'd really prefer that we NOT invade Iran, so we have to wait for the Iranian people to rise up. Until then, we don't have an alternative person to talk to who holds power in Iran. It's not like the mullahs deign to speak with us.

2) Lots of world leaders do things we don't like, and we should express our disapproval of those things without saying, "And to punish you, I won't talk to you." Chinese people under Mao were much worse off than the Iranians under the current regime, yet it's generally thought that Nixon did the right thing in going to China and meeting with Mao. I suppose one could say that Nixon's doing so "legitimized" Mao, but it was getting kind of ludicrous to keep insisting that the Republic of China parked on Taiwan was the real Chinese government. I hate to sound like Kissinger, but eventually one has to accept that reality doesn't conform to one's ideals.

None of which is to say that I disagree with your analysis re: Sinkford, who sounds like a tool.

Anonymous said...

"I don't like President Bush at all. I find pretty much nothing redeeming in the man. But he is NOT a holocaust-denying murderous freak who persecutes minority religions and pretty much anyone who disagress with him and wants Isreal wiped off the map. "

It is true. Bush is a supporter of Israel.

Chalicechick said...

Well, yeah, but also as much as he seems to snub people who disagree with him, he largely doesn't beat them, jail them or murder them.

He may deny global warming, and even he wavers on that one, but he doesn't deny the Holocaust.

If somebody offers you Iranian citizenship, don't go. It's not better than America, even America under the Bush administration. I promise.

CC

Bill Baar said...

I plan on following this story with Iranian Expats to get how it was presented in Iran.

That's the hugely disappointing story here. Rev S. had an opportunity to express solidarity with Sufi, Bahai, and Liberal Ayatollahs (check my UU web page) and instead this is going to be thrown in the faces of oppenents to the regime.

I was very ashamed of our Church on this one and very glad you have picked it up CC.

Bill Baar said...

My post: Ahmadinejad Honors Rev Sinkford

Sinkford said he was Honored Ahmadinejad heard him out.... I thought that was awful thing to say. God knows how that translates into Farsi and gets broadcasted all over Iran.

Scott said...

[I'm cross-posting my own comment from PeaceBang over here because it seems relevant.]

The worst part of this - even beyond President Ahmadinejad’s blatant lying and evasion - is Rev. Sinkford’s seemingly throwaway slap at George W. Bush in the last paragraph of the article: “I could not imagine the current U.S. president taking the time to honor questions about his actions the way Ahmadinejad did today.”

Doesn’t our very first principle say to respect the inherent worth and dignity of EVERYONE? I’m sorry, but I’ve got to call shenanigans. If this comment came from Mr. Joe Schmoe, I’d think little of it - everyone’s entitled to an opinion. If this came from Rev. Joe Schmoe at the pulpit, I’d probably ask him to elaborate on his remarks during coffee hour and wonder why he’d say such a thing. But this came from Rev. Bill Sinkford, President of the entire UUA.

That makes the man a hypocrite and really makes me wonder if I should be following him and this faith. I’ve been a UU for 10 years and have happily given my time, money, and leadership to my congregation. However, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching over the past few days after reading the UUA article. I’m seriously questioning whether or not I want to continue to be associated with folks like this. Over the past few years - particularly since the beginning of the Global War on Terror - my congregation has become inundated with Code Pink and Move On social action types and people wearing Obama buttons and stickers at services, and I wonder, “If I were an average person walking into this place of worship, would I be welcome here?”

I’ve become sick of it all. If being a UU means being a moonbat, and I know I don’t want to be a moonbat …



… I leave it to you readers to fill in the remainder of the logic.

Robin Edgar said...

"But this came from Rev. Bill Sinkford, President of the entire UUA. . . That makes the man a hypocrite and really makes me wonder if I should be following him and this faith."

That is by no means the only thing that makes UUA President Bill Sinkford a hypocrite. In my books he has been a hypocrite for several years with respect to more than one issue. The cheap shot he aimed at President George W. Bush was largely unwarranted, it can even be justifiably characterized as being a falsehood and even a lie. As I pointed out in my response to Bill Baar's blog post, regardless of what one may think about President Bush II he answers hard questions rather more forthrightly than the how President of Iran responded to President Sinkford's questions on an ongoing basis.

"I’ve been a UU for 10 years and have happily given my time, money, and leadership to my congregation. However, I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching over the past few days after reading the UUA article. I’m seriously questioning whether or not I want to continue to be associated with folks like this. . . I’ve become sick of it all. If being a UU means being a moonbat, and I know I don’t want to be a moonbat."

Does this satirical blog post titled Ahmadinejad Preaches at Unitarian Church answer your question Steve? Interestingly enough, it was quite prophetically posted a year to the day *prior* to UUA President Bill Sinkford's meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Robin Edgar said...

Sorry Scott. Managed to get your name wrong. . .

Robin Edgar said...

"I CAN NOT WAIT for a new UUA President and I really, really hope that neither Hallman nor Morales have the inclination to do things like this in the name of my religion, and by extension, me."

Well unfortunately Rev. Peter Morales pretty much put his foot in it in his "stump speech" announcing his candidacy for UUA President. I think he has some explaining to do but, so far. . . he seems to be avoiding answering the questions that I put to him a while back.

Joe The Math Guy said...

Hey CC--you speak of "white American standards"...which ones are those? My understanding is that a good many white Americans would actually be quite sympathetic with the way the Iranian government treats women, with the censorship, and with the theocracy. On the other hand, there are many African-
Americans, Asian Americans, and Jewish Americans who condemn that Government roundly. It's an issue of the ideas that a person chooses to live by, it's not an issue of race.

CC, not all cultures are equal. There are good ones and bad ones and better ones and worse ones. For example, as far as I can tell the Islamic culture that existed in the first millennium AD was significantly superior to the culture that existed in Europe at the same time. I think the same is probably true of the Chinese culture that existed at that time.

By the same standards, I think that the US government is tremendously superior to Iran's, so much so that the idea of comparing them seems laughable. That doesn't mean that I don't respect someone else's right to disagree; it simply means that I insist on my own right to hold to my own position, even as I insist on her right to hold to hers. At the very least we can each go our own way politely, and not come to blows.

Chalicechick said...

(((Hey CC--you speak of "white American standards"...which ones are those? My understanding is that a good many white Americans would actually be quite sympathetic with the way the Iranian government treats women, with the censorship, and with the theocracy. On the other hand, there are many African-
Americans, Asian Americans, and Jewish Americans who condemn that Government roundly. It's an issue of the ideas that a person chooses to live by, it's not an issue of race. )))

You're right and I know that and I'm not exactly sure the way I phrased it the way that I did, though if I'm recalling correctly, around the time I wrote that TheCSO was playing cards with a guy whose parents had come over from the middle east. This guy treated his girlfriend with an almost stereotypical "I put you on a pedestal, but ignore your opinions" attitude that one does tend to associate with Arab culture, though the guy himself was born and raised in America.

Thinking about him inspired the first post to ask the question, because he would occaisionally address me in a haughty manner, which I know would likely be acceptable in Arab culture, and I wanted to know if it was inherently culturally insensitive of me to tell him to cut it out. (My answer is "no" but there are people around who reject the notion that one culture can be superior to another, so it stands to reason that they don't necessarily agree.)

So I think that's why I phrased it the way I did. But yeah, it's not phrasing at has aged well.

CC