General Assembly is where . . . ?

The current financial crisis is going to make General Assembly travel difficult for many Unitarian Universalists this year, but I looked into going. After all, the rail trip from the East to Salt Lake City is among the loveliest in the world.

But the more I read about heavy out-of-state Mormon financing of the anti-gay California Proposition 8, the less willing I am to go to Utah. And now that I’ve read this, I’m not willing to spend one cent there. Not one red cent.

About Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 44, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

8 thoughts on “General Assembly is where . . . ?

  1. Well, for what it’s worth, Scott…

    SLC is where the non-Mormon population is a majority, in Utah. It’s sort of like Texas and Austin.

    Yeah, I’m pissed too. But think how much value there might be… if 8 wins, we’re there with “Marriage is a Civil Right” banners. If it loses, we’re there as, well… good winners.

    I was–and am–furious about the Yes on 8 blackmail attempts. But after going and eating and thinking on it… you know what? These folks have an ocean of money to throw at the proposition already. They must be frantic, desperate… and looking at bad internal polling numbers. Why else would they try to blackmail businesses for what can’t amount to another million bucks of “equal” support?

    This is proof of the most extreme desperation. And as a story in public, it’s not going to help them at all. Just make sure that you share it with everyone you can. “Yes on 8 is blackmailing people…” — there’s a group you want to be associated with, right?

  2. Since many business in Salt Lake are owned by non-Mormons, and since the city is one of the most liberal places in the state, why not go to Salt Lake and spend your money at non-Mormon-owned businesses?

    Also: I moved to Boston from Salt Lake via the Amtrak, and I absolutely agree: The California Zephyr/Desert Wind is an amazingly beautiful line. Don’t stay home and sulk.

  3. Nice suggestion, Chris. “Elections have consequences,” no? Electioneering has consequences, too. The Yes on 8 board (including the Mormon representative) is indulging in hideously unethical actions, if not illegal ones.

    Don’t want to fund anti-equality efforts? Don’t do business with Mormons. It’s an attitude that if taken up widely would get attention… particularly in the current economic situation, where people are feeling the pinch already. The best time to make people feel the pinch of consequences is when there’s not much to spare.

    Boycott bigotry. Yeah, I think that’ll work as a memorable slogan. Now all we need is the list. Mormon businesses and ones to frequent. The UUA needs to be heads up on this, so that the hotel lists offered aren’t undercutting it.

    Lean times, convention business. This wouldn’t go unnoticed.

    Marriott, as I recall…

  4. I lived in Utah, mostly against my better judgement, from 1997 to 2001, and attended the last UU GA there. It was a remarkable event for Utah citizens, to find a few thousand people on the streets of Salt Lake City who DID NOT PROFESS TO KNOW THE TRUTH! You can’t imagine how astounding it was.

    More important, in Utah and the rest of the mountain west, there are as many UUs and others who do not support the more extreme positions of the LDS church as there are polygamists, and many Mormons who are more moderate and decent in their attitudes.

    Is it really in the spirit of UU beliefs to retaliate against another whole community or culture, because we abhor the actions of their overzealous patriarchs? There is so much that can be learned and taught in these encounters; perhaps much more than in the existing strongholds of UUs.

    One more suggestion: GA planners should make an effort to schedule Terry Tempest Williams, or another well known Mormon writer and thinker to speak to UUs about their reasons for honoring aspects of this unfamiliar culture. Joseph Smith’s grandfather was a Unitarian, you know.

  5. The phone calls and donations are not the actions of “their overzealous patriarchs” but a well-organized, well-funded (and internally controversial) effort.

    I’ll let more moderate Mormon influence their more flinty brethren. Or at least try.

    Not spending money in Utah is the most responsible and effective response I can think of. If anything, try to deduce who is or isn’t a Mormon (or is or isn’t a supportive Mormon) — for commercial purposes — demands a level of scrutiny that is untenable and (if anything) more prejudicial. A boycott is intended to put pressure on one’s friends as well as one’s foes. As for myself, I’m past supporting entities that do me ill “for the cause.”

    Oh, and Smith’s relatives were Universalist.

  6. Again I am fondly reminded of Christ’s teaching that if other people have a different belief about something, you must threaten them with extortion. Wait, Jesus never taught that…that was the Godfather…

  7. (((Is it really in the spirit of UU beliefs to retaliate against another whole community or culture, because we abhor the actions of their overzealous patriarchs?)))

    As far as I can tell, yes, but I’m still going to Salt Lake City.

    CC

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