Tuesday, September 08, 2009

freedom *from* religion?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation ran an ad in the most recent UUWorld. The Rev. Mr. Matt Tittle has an excellent Facebook post about it; and several comments below his post are well-reasoned and open-hearted. Mostly, folks are dismayed that UUism is "shooting itself in the foot" by including such "us vs. them" thinking--ironically, in an issue where the cover story is about radical inclusivity. Scott Ullrich, the UUWorld Business Manager, takes responsibility for the ad, in his letter, here.

Commenting on Tittle's post, the Rev. Mr. Bret Lortie notes, "As I work in my city to convince my interfaith colleagues that we are a faith, this kind of narrow minded message makes it difficult."

You can see the whole FFRF ad campaign here.

Freedom from certain types of religion, perhaps. Freedom from certain behaviors done in the name of religion, absolutely. Freedom from all religion, perish the thought.


At 9:19 AM, Blogger Paul Oakley said...

I've been following the hullabaloo re the ad in the UU blogosphere though I have not seen the ad itself. It seems clear that the form the ad took was less than positive.

However, re your final paragraph, I believe freedom from religion is a positive thing that, in itself, is not inimical to religion. You cannot have true freedom OF religion without also having freedom FROM religion. That is, unless you are just as free to have nothing to do with religion (should you so choose) and to have religion not control your life, you actually will never have freedom to make your own religious choices.

Freedom from religion does not mean elimination of religion. In fact, freedom from religion cannot exist without religion. We need freedom from religion if we are to have a healthy religious life.

Without freedom from religion, we are religious objects rather than subjects, slaves rather than free.

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Thanks for chiming in Chip. I will add your post here to the list of U*U bloggers who have thoughtfully spoken up about this latest example of "fundamentalist atheist" anti-religious bad attitude rearing its ugly head in the UU World, and indeed greater U*U World aka The U*U Movement. At least it wasn't an article written for publication. . . Scott Ullrich has indeed reasonably admirably, and remarkably promptly, fallen on his sword over this one, but I can't help but wonder if in doing so he is not covering for other UUA administrators who bear some responsibility for the questionable decision to publish the Freedom *From* Religion Foundation ad that was seeking donations from U*Us for its provocative and offensive FreeThought Bus Ads. Anyway it's nice to see *someone* accepting personal responsibility for a "mistake" made by the UUA for a change. . .

You might get a chuckle out of my Ad*Busting plagU*Urism of some of these offensive Atheist Bus Ads.

Interesting enough the WVC for this comment is - lierspit

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Bill Baar said...

Paul,, nic try but I'm pretty certain the folks who tout freedom FROM religion are pretty certain folks would be better off without religion.

Which would put you without a job come graduation if they're successful.

For a cash strapped faith, this ad was probably not the wisest thing to publish.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Paul Oakley said...

That's just it, Bill. They won't be successful in my lifetime. America is about as religious a country as there is. Bar none. Even a truly major ad campaign, which this was not, is not going to change that.

And the very fact that the UUWorld ad caused such a stink suggests that not a whole lot of UUs are going to ditch church because of an ad suggesting we should.

I still say freedom from religion is essential for freedom of religion to mean anything. What the FFRF ad campaign has to say and how they say it is irrelevant. The fact that someone else would like to ditch religion is a meaningless component to the argument.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger Bill Baar said...

...they're not irrelevant Paul. They're trying to raise money from UUs. Money that good be going to support UU Churches in Ministries instead.

That's not UU's ditiching their Churches but it's UU's not pledging as much as they could because of competition.

So why should we let this outfit compete on our turf? Let 'em start their own blog, or better yet, join a UU Church, pledge, and then I'd reconsider letting they advertize as paradoxically anti-Religious UUs.

At 2:16 PM, Blogger Robin Edgar said...

Got any ideas and/or suggestions about how to deal with paradoxically anti-Religious U*U ministers Bill? No need to name names here but I think by now you have a pretty good idea of who and what I am talking about. Let's face it these guys and gals are paid salaries by U*Us to preach anti-religious messages or at least anti-theistic ones. Their intolerant and abusive behavior is backed to the hilt by the UUA and those "Humanist" dominated U*U "churches" who hire them as ministers.


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