The Emerson Avenger

The Emerson Avenger is a "memory hole" free blog where censorship is scorned. This blog will "guard the right to know" about any injustices and abuses that corrupt Unitarian Universalism. Posters may speak and argue freely, according to conscience, about any injustices and abuses, or indeed hypocrisy, that they may know about so that the Avenger, in the form of justice and redress, may come surely and swiftly. . . "Slowly, slowly the Avenger comes, but comes surely." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

In 1992 I underwent a profound revelatory experience of God which revealed that the total solar eclipse "Eye of God" is a "Sign in the Heavens" that symbolizes God's divine omniscience. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan of the Unitarian Church of Montreal contemptuously dismissed as my "psychotic experience" here: - This revelatory religious experience inspired me to propose an inter-religious celebration of Creation that would take place whenever a total solar eclipse took place over our planet. You may read about what Rev. Ray Drennan and other leading members of the Unitarian Church of Montreal falsely and maliciously labeled as a "cult" here: - I am now an excommunicated Unitarian whose "alternative spiritual practice" includes publicly exposing and denouncing Unitarian*Universalist injustices, abuses, and hypocrisy. The Emerson Avenger blog will serve that purpose for me and hopefully others will share their concerns here. Dee Miller's term DIM Thinking is used frequently and appropriately on this blog. You may read more about what DIM Thinking is here -

Friday, January 23, 2009

Peacemaking: A Draft Unitarian*Universalist Statement of Conscience - The Sub*Versive Version Courtesy Of The Emerson Peacemaker. . .

Peacemaking: A Draft Unitarian*Universalist Statement of Conscience

War is abhorrent. Violence is reprehensible. Human history has been marked by both. Religion has been a catalyst for war and for peace, sanctioning behaviors individual and international. What is our religious response as Unitarian Universalists to the historic habits of war and the timeless challenges of peace? Should we reject the use of any and all kinds of violence and war and affirm a commitment to seek just peace through non-violent means? Should we continue with the more conventional practice of seeking peace through application of "just war" criteria? Are these our only options as we seek to promote "a world community of peace, liberty, and justice for all?" This Statement of Conscience results from widespread deliberation and presents an approach arising out of U*U history, theology, and U*Understanding of human nature for building a peaceful, just, and sustainable global future.

Theology and History

Our theology affirms the holy as that which demonstrates love, compassion, and *inclusiveness*. Peace is an extension of this affirmation; war is abhorrent to it; violence is in conflict with it. Our principles and purposes are consonant with this understanding and have emerged from a long history of prophetic discernment, but they have not led to agreement on issues of war and peace. It is community in covenant that sustains us across these differences.

Covenant lies at the core of our religious belief and aspiration and is grounded in a commitment to persuasion over coercion. This commitment to persuasion is evident in our promotion of "a world community of peace, liberty, and justice for all," which is closely aligned with the covenantal charter of the United Nations.

Persuasion doesn't always work, as 20th century Unitarian Universalist theologian James Luther Adams witnessed while residing in Germany during the early years of the Third Reich. The Nazis chose violence as the tool of state, with the aim of world domination. Adams advocated U.S. military action to meet this demonic threat, a position counter to the pacifist stances of 19th century Universalist Adin Ballou and 20th century Unitarian John Haynes Holmes. Holmes, affirmed by his congregation in New York City, maintained his pacifist stance over against the American Unitarian Association's threat to withdraw support from congregations not committed to the war effort of World War I. A half century later, the Unitarian Universalist Association witnessed widespread congregational discord over the Vietnam War, with so many Unitarian Universalists being against the war. Amid the harsh realities of war and peace, there are no easy answers.

Pacifism and Just War

Pacifism and just war are multi-dimensional strategies and stances in opposition to war. Pacifism can be absolute, conditional, or selective. Just war is a centuries-old framework for taking a moral stance on a particular war. Common just war criteria include: just cause, legitimate authority, right intention, last resort, proportionality, and probability of success. The last resort criterion, for example, is a judgment regarding the exhaustion of all non-violent means for preventing war. Proportionality is a consideration of the ratio of good presumably achieved over the suffering unleashed. "Just war" itself is a misnomer. No war is just. The operant term is "justifiable." Just war criteria are invoked to determine whether a particular war is justifiable in re-establishing peace and justice. Conscientious objectors span pacifist and just war positions.

Pacifism and just war are both stances of conscience and reason. Both acknowledge our human inclinations toward competition and cooperation.
Human Biology

Human violence reflects our evolutionary history. From distant times, the stronger and more violent have often prevailed. Anger and violence leap full flower in each of us from an early age. Physically and mentally we have an evolved capacity for violence that can result in physical, emotional, economic, or environmental injury. Violence occurs across all levels of human interaction. By adulthood most of us have learned to restrain our use of physical violence. Yet violence among nations occurs with regularity and commonly achieves desired ends unless circumscribed by law or mores.

Humans also have an evolved capacity for cooperative behavior, resulting in our development of morals, laws and institutions to minimize the use of violence. Cooperative behavior is the foundation of nonviolence and peace. It is the basis of trust. Intentional nonviolence paired with cooperative behavior encourages compassionate communication and peaceful resolution of conflict.

Just Peacemaking

Building a culture of peace at all levels of human interaction requires a transformation of consciousness, individual lifestyles, and public policies. At the heart of this transformation is the will to understand the truths voiced on all sides from a stance of empathy and love.

We are called to stand on the side of love. We are also called to stand on the side of justice and against the violence of oppression in all its manifestations. When a conflict or the threat of a conflict emerges in our world, we as Unitarian Universalists draw on our history as champions of both nonviolence and justice, informed by a diversity of views. As a faith holding covenant over creed, we eschew claims of absolute truth, so we need an approach to conflict—including the horrific conflict that is war—which transcends the dichotomy of pacifism vs. just war. We need an approach that honors affirmations common to both pacifist and just war traditions, affirmations of "the inherent worth and dignity of every person" and of "justice, equity, and compassion in human relations."

Just Peacemaking is this approach. Just Peacemaking calls us to understand peace as normative and violence as aberrant, while evaluating the prospect of violent conflict by balancing the goal of peace preservation with the desire for war prevention. The former just war criteria become Just Peacemaking guidelines. With each guideline, we must ask not what justifies war, but what justifies the humanitarian preservation or restoration of peace. If force is ever to be used, it must be in the service of ending violence of much greater magnitude. We support our military personnel who have made the decision to engage in such service.

Our Unitarian Universalist values commit us to work toward a culture of peace that makes war and all other forms of violence avoidable and universally recognized as reprehensible and ineffective for honoring human rights and human dignity. Just Peacemaking melds love and justice in moving us toward a culture of peace at all levels of human interaction.

Calls to Action

Just Peacemaking calls for action at all levels of human interaction. To be effective, our actions must be incorporated into existing structures and institutions and new systems must be created.
International Peacemaking

We covenant as an Association, as congregations, and as individuals to advocate vigorously for policies that move the United States toward collaborative leadership in building a peaceful, just, and sustainable world. These include:

* Supporting the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office in advancing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the Earth Charter, the International Criminal Court, the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

* Supporting the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee in ending the use of torture and addressing structural violence in all its forms;

* Supporting interfaith groups such as the Center on Conscience and War in advocating for the right of conscientious objection, including education and resources on the availability of this option; and

* Supporting the establishment of a national network or working group among Unitarian Universalists to identify and disseminate information on peacemaking programs and resources.

Societal Peacemaking

We covenant to act in the wider community in reducing the causes of structural violence. We do this through:

* Supporting the socially responsible investment of our Association and congregational assets;

* Supporting Association and congregational initiatives aimed at eradicating racism, classism, and other forms of cultural and economic oppression; and

* Supporting Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth in adopting life styles and polices that promote harmony with our natural environment.

Congregational Peacemaking

We covenant to take up peacemaking as part of our mission through worship, religious education, and social action by:

* Developing Peace Teams to provide training in compassionate communication and conflict resolution and engage the congregation in multi-level action toward a culture of peace;

* Working through congregational governing bodies to develop and honor behavioral covenants in all aspects of congregational life;

* Working through our lifespan religious education structures to provide workshops on conflict resolution and compassionate communication, to encourage understanding and participation in social justice ventures, and to utilize Unitarian Universalist resources such as "Peacemaking in Congregations: A Guide to Learning Opportunities for All Ages;" and

* Becoming a peacemaking resource within our communities in cooperation with other faith traditions.

Interpersonal Peacemaking

As individuals we covenant to:

* Learn and practice the skills of compassionate communication;

* Honor the behavioral covenants of our congregations; and

* Adopt lifestyle changes that reflect reverence for the interdependent web of all existence.

Inner Peacemaking

We covenant to develop spiritual practices that impart internal peace.

In reverence for all life, we covenant to practice peace by minimizing violence at all levels of human interaction.

Last updated on Friday, October 31, 2008.

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