Friday, February 08, 2008

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

No, I'm not considering dropping blogging as a means to recapture time, nor to gather together enough still-functioning neurons to do something else important.

I'm just looking at the controversy over General Assembly being--to no one's delight--behind the port security boundary in Ft. Lauderdale. I do understand the upset some feel. I feel some of it myself. There's something wrong about needing to pass through security in order to attend a worship service of one's own faith... or of one you're sincerely curious about. There's something even more fundamentally wrong about having to pass through security run by an utterly dissociated institution--the government--in order to attend it.

I understand that it wasn't intended or planned--and that we were assured that it wouldn't be that way by the time that G.A. happened (lesson: No assurance is worth the paper it's printed on in a contractual arrangement... if it's not in print, and signed. The planning committees need to learn this lesson. There have been hotels that weren't built that we were assured would be, previously. From now on, can we please get all those assurances on paper? Or if not, then we should take note... and make sure that we label them with big caveats, and understand the consequences we'll face if those vapor promises evaporate).

I'm pleased that the UUMA has moved Ministry Days functions outside the boundary.

So what am I going to do? The ethical issues make for a fine challenge, given that I just had an intensive class on the subject. Pity I can't figure out how to turn this into a paper....

I think it's clear that there's no malicious intent. I don't see that there's serious harm, as long as this is not treated as precedent. Yes, some may not be able to attend, and that creates a potential issue of privilege. That can't be fixed at this point, and I don't see this as an issue momentous enough to just spend a million dollars on to fix for this year (if that would even do so). Still, the UUA needs to undertake not to let this sort of thing happen again.

So much for the general issues and abstractions.

Our minister is receiving final fellowship there, and would really like us to be there. My wife's going.

Relationships matter.

So, I'll be going. But I will be making a point of refusing to accept this as a precedent. If it recurs, I won't be going--not even if I'm the one receiving final fellowship.


Earthbound Spirit said...

Ogre -
Someone local to me has questions about the MRP program. I said I'd ask around for MRP'ers willing to share their experience. Would you? If so, please drop me a line at (and delete this comment because it's off-topic). Thanks!

kim said...

I am under the impression that the conference center has no control over this security thing -- it's the government that's in charge on this. If you're going to boycott, shouldn't it be the entity that made the decision?

The Episcotarian Unipaganist said...

Thanks for a lucid post on the subject. It's a gee-golly mess, but certainly (to my wee mind anyway) not a cause for full-scale denomination-wide revolt. I appreciate reading a rational response.