The program book for General Assembly, the annual denominational meeting for Unitarian Universalists, came in the mail a couple of days ago. I spent some time looking through it while I was eating breakfast this morning. The last third of the program book consists of ads for various Unitarian Universalist (UU) special interest groups to draw our interest to their programming slots or to their booth in the exhibit hall. I found ads for lots of social justice groups including the UU Service Committee’s Fair Trade coffee program, the UU Urban Ministry program in Boston, Mass., the UU Ministry for the Earth group, UUs for a Just Economic Community, UUs for Justice in the Middle East, UU Women, Project Harvest Hope, Democracy Talking, UUs for Drug Policy Reform, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice….
No ad from any group that opposes the war in Iraq.
So then I looked for workshops on the topic of peace. The UU Peace Fellowship is offering one workshop, “Supporting Those Called by Conscience To Resist War.” Jim Scott is doing a worship service called “A Prayer for Peace,” sponsored by Rowe Conference Center, which will “make the case for an ‘Eighth Principle’ of our dedication to the non-violent resolution of conflict. But those were the only presentations on peace that I could find, both of which are really only tangentially related to the Iraq War.
I’m a long-time peacenik, and I’ve long known that I have to look outside Unitarian Universalist circles for support of my pacifism and non-violence. But it’s kind of sad that, in the fifth year of the Iraq War, my denomination’s annual meeting doesn’t have at least one major presentation specifically about that war. For me, the Iraq War is the major spiritual and moral issue of our time:– as a working minister, I know that when people come to me for pastoral care and counseling, the Iraq War comes up constantly; the war looms large in my own personal spiritual life; the war is having a huge and adverse impact on the moral state of the United States. Yet we UUs are essentially ignoring it at General Assembly.
So I think I’ll go call Elizabeth, my Quaker friend. Elizabeth is able to talk about how the Iraq War is grinding us down spiritually, morally, ethically, and emotionally. Nor is she afraid to speak out against the injustice and immorality of the Iraq War. I’ll call her, and get my peace fix before I go to General Assembly — because I’m surely not going to get much of a peace fix at General Assembly.