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Friday, April 8, 2005

'We are Unitarian Jihad.'

Oh, my: San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll parodies a handful of things Unitarian Universalists probably wish others didn't think about us. He pretends to have received an anonymous manifesto from the "Unitarian Jihad." For the record, I do endorse this part of the communique:

We are Unitarian Jihad, and our motto is: "Sincerity is not enough." We have heard from enough sincere people to last a lifetime already. Just because you believe it's true doesn't make it true. Just because your motives are pure doesn't mean you are not doing harm. Get a dog, or comfort someone in a nursing home, or just feed the birds in the park. Play basketball. Lighten up. The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.

Update 4.9.05: Bill Humphries launches the Unitarian Jihad Name Generator. There's also a schismatic First Reformed Unitarian Jihad Name Generator. (Thanks, Jason!)

Later: See my follow-up posts: How's the Unitarian Jihad doing? (4.12.05), Unitarian Jihad: Not our 'iPod strategy' (4.14.05), How goes the Unitarian Jihad ad campaign? (4.29.05).

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 8 April 2005 at 5:11 PM

Previous: Conference for religious progressives in New York.
Next: My blogfather announces his move to academia.

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18 comments:

Scott Wells:

April 8, 2005 08:31 PM | Permalink for this comment

Did anyone else pick up the word in the Unitarian Jihad manifesto that proves it is a forgery?

Spokesmen, of course.

Peregrinato:

April 8, 2005 10:54 PM | Permalink for this comment

Besides--wouldn't it really be called something like "the crUUsade"?

Chalicechick:

April 9, 2005 06:03 AM | Permalink for this comment

LOL Peregrinato.

CC

Sister Inspired Pointy Implement of Compassionate Acceptance:

April 9, 2005 05:06 PM | Permalink for this comment

"We will require all lobbyists, spokesmen and campaign managers to dress like trout in public."

Have the trout consented to this use?

Philocrites:

April 10, 2005 09:34 PM | Permalink for this comment

With 592 blogs already chiming in on the Unitarian Jihad "meme," I'd say we've got us an itsy-bitsy pop-culture thing goin' on here, folks. It's time for some friendly buttons and other ad-like matter to let people advertise not just their Unitarian Jihad names — mine, I'm pretty sure, would have to be Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation, what with the red hair and the New Republic subscription — but especially the religious tradition that sponsors all this sensible civic dialogue and ready-to-parody parliamentarism. Any graphic designers out there just itching for a fun way to promote Unitarian Universalism?

Brother Flaming Sword of Moderation:

April 11, 2005 09:50 AM | Permalink for this comment

Among the big blogs promoting the Unitarian Jihad, check out Billmon at The Whiskey Bar, who says he's recovered from his reality-based, moderate liberal childhood:

I myself am a "rainbow diaper" baby, raised in a family of softcore Unitarian Universalists. I can see now that my parents were actually agents of a foreign power (reality) who should have been executed as traitors and spies. But for many years I was also a semi-hardened moderate activist, dedicated to the cause of world evolution. . . .

The closer I looked, the more I realized what a threat "UUism" posed to our red-state way of life. It hardly took a weatherman to see which way the wind was blowing inside the church: Potluck suppers, youth camp singalongs, respect-in-the-sanctuary training -- the whole liberal totalitarian tool set. So I got my family out, while there was still time.

Now I see how right I was. It seems some religions (Unitarian Universalism, Christian Science [!], the Teletubbies) just have a fatal attraction towards rationality. It's a disease -- a symptom of a backward culture in deep crisis, unable to cope with the xenophobic bigotry and fundamentalist superstitions of modern society.

Other big blogs in on the fun: Pharyngula, Electrolite, and Body and Soul.

Brother Sharpened Screwdriver of Reflection:

April 11, 2005 10:09 AM | Permalink for this comment

!#@%!$@&^%. Now I have to flesh out a whole new online persona. I needed this during tax-return week like a hole in the head.

--the blogger formerly known as Fausto

Ron Kossik:

April 11, 2005 11:24 AM | Permalink for this comment

Philocrites comments on the immediate appearance of a "Unitarian Jihad" sub-culture and offers suggestions for using it to promote UU values. I agree and have registered UnitarianJihad.org to do just that, probably in conjunction with our local UU fellowship [Manitowoc, WI]. Stay tuned!

Sister Blunt Force Trauma of the Obvious:

April 11, 2005 02:04 PM | Permalink for this comment

I sent this to one UU minister (NOT Katy-the-Wise) who didn't get the irony and wrote me back:

"This is indeed spam. Very unfortunate they are using the word "unitarian.""

Ah well, it's a Monday.

CC

Peregrinato:

April 11, 2005 05:10 PM | Permalink for this comment

I am The Cutlass of Enlightened Compassion!

If ye see the Buddha on the road, kill him, ye saffron-robed scallywags!

Now eagerly awaiting "Talk Like a Buddhist Pirate Day".

Sister Holy Claymore of Freedom:

April 11, 2005 06:33 PM | Permalink for this comment

Having been raised in a Unitarian nursery school and generally exposed to Unitarian attitudes for most of my life, I, for one, am happy to join with my siblings in the reasonable argument for measured sanity! Stick it to the Man! Gently!

Jon Carroll:

April 12, 2005 01:47 AM | Permalink for this comment

Hi. Someone sent me this link. I am so happy to
have started a...well, whatever this is. Take it and
run. Well, walk briskly., except around the pool.

Jon Carroll

Jaume:

April 12, 2005 05:55 AM | Permalink for this comment

There is a general misunderstanding of the Jihad concept in the West, excited even more after recent developments in the Islamic world. "Jihad" means above all "effort, struggle" to defend one's faith and values against opposing forces. This is not necessarily a violent reaction or a call to war.

The Britannica explains: "Islam distinguishes four ways by which the duty of jihad can be fulfilled: by the heart, the tongue, the hand, and the sword. The firstconsists in a spiritual purification of one's own heart by doing battle with the devil and overcoming his inducements to evil. The propagation of Islam through the tongue and hand is accomplished in large measure by supporting what is right and correcting what is wrong. The fourth way to fulfill one's duty is to wage war physically against unbelievers and enemies of the Islamic faith."

I personally have no problems with the first three ways of doing jihad: one, by growing spiritually and rejecting "idolatries of the mind and the spirt"; two, by being witness of the beliefs and values of my liberal Unitarian Universalist religion; and three, by improving this world according to my religious convictions through social and political actions.

Feeling pretty close to liberal Islam myself and living in a country where Islam is having a booming growth, I have no particular problems about the "Unitarian Jihad" concept. If this is misunderstood or a matter of joke for the media, that's another issue.

Jaume:

April 12, 2005 06:06 AM | Permalink for this comment

O by the way, I am Brother Awl of Undeclared Harmony ;-)

Philocrites:

April 12, 2005 08:43 AM | Permalink for this comment

Another update on the Jihad: Over in LiveJournalia, where this "meme" has really taken off, people have actually organized themselves into a new community that appears to be taking the communique as its organizing statement. Jon Stewart: news source; Jon Carroll: founding prophet!

Philocrites:

April 12, 2005 02:48 PM | Permalink for this comment

Dan Harper proposes a Universalist Jihad.

lohnes:

April 22, 2005 09:30 AM | Permalink for this comment

It would be great if some of these new Unitarian Jihad people show up at our doors on Sunday (or in my case Saturday).
I have heard it takes, on average, 2 years from hearing about UUism until people actually visit a UU church. Although it was more than 45 years ago, I know it took me almost four years to visit first church and then another 4 until the second visit. My excuse, I was living outside of the US and there were no UU churches. Please remember in all of Central American, South America and the Caribbean there is only one UU church and a few scattered groups like mine.

My hope is that the Unitarian Jihad take up a cause. Perhaps a reaction to Microsoft's withdrawal of support for equal rights for all because of threats from the Christian Right.

Sister Chalice Claymore of Combustible Compassion
Don't Tread On Me

Darius Carr:

April 27, 2006 08:19 PM | Permalink for this comment

If I were to be in any denomination, I think it would be Unitarian. But I have only a superficial impression - went to one service, read a little literature, years ago.

I appreciated the broad mindedness and non-dogmatic approach, but found myself uncertain about what Unitarians stand for in positive terms.

Just starting a blog and trying to make it as ecumenical as possible, so any Unitarian representation would be welcome.



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