I have been asked to explain why I say that the UUA has taken a dogmatic and authoritarian turn.
At least six ministers/lay ministers I know of have been disfellowshipped, censured, unseated, or otherwise sanctioned for sharing their opinions in the past five years. These opinions are nothing extreme, in fact represent views that are quite common among UUs. Most UUs of my acquaintance may not agree with everything (or even anything!) these ministers have said, but they still believe in their right to speak their conscience. There are a variety of philosophies that are under discussion these days, for example, questions of whether speech is violence, whether we should treat each other differently based upon various identity labels, etc., along with all manner of questions around political and social policy. These ideas are important and should be discussed freely, without threat of punishment.
My campaign has two main areas of focus: improving democracy in the UUA and improving diversity of thought within the UUA. The fact that for over a decade, only a single UUA Trustee has been subject to voter choice between two candidates, is a situation that I claim is not very good democracy. The fact that ministers are being punished for stating their philosophical and political views is a situation that I claim is a direct attack on freedom of conscience. This is what my campaign boils down to.
I recently sent an email (see "Newsletter Insert" below) to every UU congregation, asking them to put a notice in their newsletters about my campaign for Trustee. I believe it is newsworthy that there is a real election at GA this year for two Trustee seats. Some said "yes," some said "no," some probably just ignored my request ... all well and good. However, I also received this email:
"Rebecca,You recently contacted the office administrator at my congregation, _________ UU, with a request to put your ad in our newsletter. I want you to know that our congregation supports the marginalized in our community and fully believes in the direction our UUA is leading us towards a world that is more just, equitable, and compassionate. We do not believe in your fake and thinly veiled platform of hate and exclusion. I will say this directly, do not contact my congregation again for this or for any other reason.
Rev. ___________ "
This is an example of what I mean by dogmatism and authoritarianism.