Friday, June 23, 2006

UUAGA06: An Ecological imbalance on the Global Warming SoC

This morning's plenary was a huge freaking mess.

Philo will cover it in more detail on the GA blog, I'm sure, but the jist is that this body wants a FAR stronger Statement of Conscience than the one that the committee put together with input from the 10 percent for congregations who gave enough of a damn to contribute.

I'm likely going to vote against the strengthened statement since under amendment 34 the statement asks for denominational leadership to lobby our American elected officials. That's kind of a litmus test with me, I'm afraid. That said, this resolution will pass anyway.

The whole issue highlights the importance of some of the procedural stuff we will vote on tonight. Tonight we will be looking at a proposal to put a quorum on denominational input on the Study Action Issue. If more than X percent of the congregations do not respond to the initial survey, it will be assumed that people don't care and we won't have SAIs that year.

This issue with the global warming statement of conscience illustrates why this procedural change is so important.

But we can also look at the issue another way. Various Chalicesseurs have long maintained that the GA delegations are full of hippies with too much free time and that their concerns are not the concerns of the congregations. The issue this morning would seem to support that premise as the work of the congregations wasn't nearly strong enough for those committed enough to come to GA. Since reading TheModoBlog's freaking brilliant the Ecology of Polarization post, I have frequently thought about the crucial balance between the activists and the moderates in various political environments. This issue today suggests that the Chalicesseurs are right and there is something wrong with that balance.

Perhaps this rule change on quorums for SAIs will be the beginning of restoring a balance.

Here's hoping.

All that aside, we were a messy, messy, body this morning and moderator Gini Courter handled it with asskicking grace, diffusing tension with humor and exemplifying a kind of professionalism that I frankly envy. This post was originally titled: "Gini Courter:Chaliceblog woman of the Year," and I will probably devote a later post to praising her.



Obijuan said...

Gini rocks.

Along with the quorum proposal, I've always felt there needs to be a mandate to the planning committee to keep GA costs under control. We'd get more committed delegates if we could make the whole shebang more affordable.

Anonymous said...

You're the one who keeps complaining that we UUs aren't active enough -- the ones who go to GA are the active ones. You can't have it both ways.
Do you think the active people should hold up and wait for the ones who are just focused on the kids' soccer games to get involved?

TheCSO said...

Obijuan - I agree, but doubt that will ever happen. The current obsession with "social responsibility" on various levels raises costs across the board, and given that it was apparently a significant concession this year to not make the "carbon credits" MANDATORY, I don't see that drive easing off anytime soon. They excluded most of the affordable hotel blocks with the extensive environmentalist mandates that were imposed, for example.

Kim - At the very least, I don't think the activists should be speaking on behalf of the non-activists. They can pursue their pet issues all they like - but they should not be allowed to imply that most UUs agree with them.

Elizabeth said...

I think that democracy is messy and that this morning was okay. It's not always going to run smoothly because it is a difficult process. Democracy in denominations (or, "associations") and democracy at local and state and federal levels. Of couse, our current administration has tried to take care of that by just getting rid of democracy, but that is beside the point. Also, I must also say that I am in awe Gini. She was just amazingly amazing.

fausto said...

What the world needs more of is "asskicking grace".

(Or if not the world, at least me.)

Anonymous said...

I tried to reply to your reply to my post, but the computer wouldn't let me.

Anonymous said...


It is not fair to imply that those of us who would prefer a UUA less obsessed with secular politics are not activists. I am very active politically. But my political activity mostly takes place in non-sectarian groups. My interest in my church is religious and social. I don't think politics organized along sectarian lines is either morally right or likely to be effective for the US left.

I don't like the UUA taking political positions for the same reason I wouldn't like the Democratic party taking religious positions. I support the separation of church and state. Obviously most people at GA disagree. So I avoid GA and the whole resolutions process. But that doesn't mean that I am not an activist.