Just the Facts

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For the sake of my mental health, and the mental health of friends who worry about me, this blog will contain no opinions, only facts. It’s about what has been going on in the Unitarian Universalist Association, and a new development in my involvement in the public discussions. If you want my opinions, with links to many others, you can go here.

Well, maybe just one opinion: I believe in transparency. That’s why I am making this public. You may like what happened and consider it right, or you may dislike it and consider it wrong, or you may give it a shrug. That part is up to you. Now for the facts:

Back in 1999, I was asked to write and deliver a prayer on gratitude for the closing ceremony of UUMAC (the Unitarian Universalist Mid-Atlantic Community). This was what I wrote:

A Litany of Gratitude

Some came here looking for solace.
Some came here and gave it to them.

Some came here seeking music.
Some came here and gave it, joyfully.

Some came here seeking laughter.
Some came here and created it.

Some came here seeking learning, growth.
Some came here and provided it.

Some came here looking for a sense of security, a safe haven.
Some came here and provided it.

Some came here seeking an escape from hectic lives.
Some came here and enabled them to have it.

Some came here seeking the joy of community.
Some came here and created that.

Some came here wanting to serve.
Some came here and made it possible for them.

We thank them all

I was pleased by the reaction I received, so I submitted the litany to the UUA’s Worship Web, then a fairly new online resource. It was accepted and remained there for 17 years. Last Saturday, after much largely unfavorable social-media discussion of me and even my litany in recent weeks, a friend noticed that my litany was gone from Worship Web. I looked for it, and for my name in the index of Worship Web authors. Both were gone.

I sent an inquiry asking the reason, and this was the reply, in full:

May 16
Hi Mel,
Thanks for contacting us. Your email was forwarded to me, as I am the supervisor for Worship Web. Yes, you are correct, your pieces have been removed from the collection. We are always reviewing the Worship Web collection, and as I understand it your pieces had been there since before our current Worship Web Curator arrived.
Your submissions were removed because your recent public comments made it difficult for these pieces to be interpreted in the way they had been before. As our Association struggles with the nature of whiteness’ supremacy, we have to reexamine past assumptions, such as the assumption that a piece of writing can be interpreted independent of its source. Inclusion in the Worship Web collection as an author is, of course, always subject to the discretion of our editors. They felt (with my agreement) that these pieces and your voicing in them were not appropriate for Worship Web at this time, as we are committed to having hard and honest conversations about racial inequity in Unitarian Universalism.
The editorial decisions on these pieces are final, though you are still free to submit additional pieces for consideration if you choose to do so.
In faith,
-Carey

Carey McDonald  |  Outreach Director

Phone (617) 948-4240  |  cmcdonald@uua.org

Our work is made possible by congregations’ generous gifts to the Annual Program Fund and individual friends like you. Please consider making a gift today!

 

— Mel Pine (Urgyen Jigme)

Copyright 2017 © Mel Harkrader Pine

 

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul Roche says:

    Absolutely unconscionable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think a better decision would have been to temporarily suspend it from Worship Web until the controversy blew over. Those words are beautiful and about the mutuality of creating a religious community from our needs. I would like them included in the next hymnal. It’s a shame that one overwrought person can tarnish these thoughts with a groundless accusation and deprive the rest of us of serenity.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mel, Because it has been removed, your “Litany of Gratitude” will receive a great deal more attention.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. melhpine says:

      Thank you, Roger.

      Like

  4. Irv Dubinsky says:

    That letter labels you as a racist and eraces your beautiful statement. It is an example of white guilt bending to black rage.

    The UUA officials are cowards.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Peace Paul says:

    Aloha Mel,
    There is nothing I can say. I suspect that this stings in a way that the slanderous and vicious speach directed you has not. I would certainly feel hurt if our places were switched. I appreciate you willingness to engage in the struggle. Personally, I find it quite painful to watch another idealogical fight within the UUs.
    Namo Amida Bu!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bob Downie says:

    Your prayer should be an inspiration to all Unitarians.
    Bob Downie, UUCCH

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Are you kidding me? I want to swear but I will try to be kind. Can’t believe you are still going through this, Mel. I’m so sorry.

    Liked by 1 person

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