An Ash Wednesday Email For UUA President Peter Morales
Ash Wednesday February 17, 2010
Dear President Morales,
As you are no doubt aware today is Ash Wednesday, a day dedicated to repentance of sins of commission and sins of omission. I am going to forgive your sin of omission of apparently failing, if not refusing, to stand on the side of love of victims of UU clergy misconduct during the first observance of 'National Standing on the Side of Love Day' last Sunday, and I will also forgive you for failing to provide the acknowledgement of receipt of the email that I sent to you over two weeks ago now asking you to take steps to ensure that the UUA repents of its sins of commission and sins of omission in its past, if not present and ongoing, dismissive and negligent responses to all kinds of clergy misconduct complaints. I will none-the-less take this opportunity to remind you that only yesterday Pope Benedict XVI called upon Roman Catholic bishops to give priority to "restoring the Church's spiritual and moral credibility" with respect to clergy sexual misconduct on the part of Roman Catholic clergy and will ask you when you will begin the process of restoring the spiritual and moral credibility of the Unitarian*Universalist religious community with respect to ALL forms of clergy misconduct, both clergy sexual misconduct and non-sexual forms of clergy misconduct?
I believe that the suggestions that I made in my email of Tuesday February 2nd are quite reasonable, and fully compatible with the purported principles and claimed ideals of the Unitarian Universalist religious community. I see no valid reason why you should not respond positively to my requests, or indeed my reasonable demands, for the UUA to stand on the side of love for ALL victims of ALL forms of UU clergy misconduct and to finally begin to provide some genuine and tangible restorative justice for ALL victims of clergy misconduct that has been directly perpetrated by UU ministers and indirectly perpetuated for years (and even decades) by the unjust, unfair, and uncompassionate dismissive and negligent responses to numerous clergy misconduct complaints by past and current UUA administrators.
While I realize that dealing with the UUA's shameful legacy of negligent, and effectively complicit, responses to all kinds of clergy misconduct complaints is an unpleasant task that your predecessors as UUA President could have (and should have) responsibly dealt with years ago, it is an unfortunate fact of life that they have repeatedly failed to do so in a genuinely just, equitable, and compassionate manner that respects the worth and dignity of victims of clergy misconduct and honors and upholds UU principles and ideals. In fact last year I asked one of the UUA's clergy misconduct experts what restorative justice the UUA had provided to victims of clergy misconduct since promising to do so about a decade ago at the 2000 UUA GA in Nashville Tennessee and their answer was one single four letter word -
Even if this blunt negative assessment is something of an overstatement, something that I am not convinced is the actually case, there is very little evidence of the UUA providing any restoratve justice to victims of clergy misconduct in the last decade to say nothing of before it. . . If some bona fide restorative justice has in fact been done by the UUA it certainly has not been seen to be done since the UUA's official apology in 2000. So I must once again ask you to make it a very high priority for the UUA to publicly repent of its numerous sins of commission and sins of omission in terms of its past (if not current and ongoing) negligent or inadequate responses to clergy misconduct of all kinds, and to ensure that genuine and tangible restorative justice for ALL victims of UU clergy misconduct is not only finally done by the UUA, but is very publicly seen to be done in the first year of your presidency.
Please do not persist in the sin of omission of failing or refusing to respond to my emails in a timely and responsible manner. If I do not receive an adequate response from you within the next week or two at the very latest I will have little choice but to conclude that you not only refuse to stand on the side of love for me and other victims of UU clergy misconduct but are a knowing and willful participant in the egregious marginalizing institutional stonewalling and denial that I and far too many other victims of UU clergy misconduct have been subjected to by the UUA and implicated UU churches for years and even decades.
Although I had not thought of this idea until today, perhaps you could devote an hour or two per day to this important issue for at least the next 40 days as a kind of Unitarian Universalist Lenten practice. The mid-March Ministerial Fellowship Committee meeting, and the upcoming UUA Board of Trustees meeting in April, could be (and I believe should be) largely devoted to a genuinely repentant self-assessment of the UUA's and MFC's sins of commission and sins of omission in terms of their past (if not ongoing) dismissive and/or negligent and/or inadequate responses to ALL kinds of clergy misconduct complaints. An official apology to victims of non-sexual forms of clergy misconduct is long overdue and I personally believe that the UUA should deliver such an official apology at the 2010 UUA General Assembly this June.