Freedom From Religion, part 2

And now we have an official response from Scott Ullrich, Business Manager for UU World. In part, he says:

I have come to the conclusion that it was a mistake to run this particular ad. While the stated mission of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is entirely consistent with UU values, this ad seems hostile to all religion. To be more specific, I believe that I failed to help the advertiser match their message to our readers. An ad spotlighting FFRF’s purpose of “working for the separation of state and church” would have been more appropriate than one that for many appears to be condemning religion in general.

What Ullrich says is good and proper, and perhaps, all that a business manager should say. But what is not said – namely, that a religious organization shouldn’t participate in the wholesale denunciation of religion – says volumes about UU World and those who publish it.

Enough. I have a seminar to prepare, a ritual to edit, and a waning moon that will be up shortly.

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About John Beckett

I’m a Druid in the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I’m an ordained priest in the Universal Gnostic Fellowship. I’m the Coordinating Officer of the Denton, Texas Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. This year I’m also serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of CUUPS National. I’m a member of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

I write as a spiritual practice. It helps me organize my thoughts and work through ideas and concepts. It helps me evaluate my beliefs and practices against my core values and against what I know (or at least, what I think I know) to be true. It helps me interpret my experiences (religious and otherwise) in ways that are both meaningful and honest.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06917275516051074093 Batbogey

    You don't see such contrition from media folks often — I can vouch for that as a member of the mainstream media. Generally, it's because ethical media outlets have a pretty clear set of boundaries about what will and what get published as an ad.

    I'm glad to see the response. And at least I wasn't alone in my indignation.

    I don't oppose the separation of church and state. I do get rankled when UU publishers rub their readership's nose in a big puddle of "religious people are stupid, nyah, nyah, nyah!"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06208142626285495635 Robin Edgar

    UU World Advertising Business Manager Scott Ulrich's timely letter accepting personal responsibility for the "mistake" of publishing the Freedom From Religion Foundation's ad soliciting donations from U*Us for its deliberately provocative, if not knowingly and willfully offensive, "FreeThought" Bus Ad Campaign is indeed "good". It could however be better and parts of it are open to question so I will question them here and now.

    "While the stated mission of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is entirely consistent with UU values, this ad seems hostile to all religion."

    Scott Ulrich's frank admission aka confession that the ad in question "seems hostile to all religion" is a very good thing. Scott does not beat around the bush and try to play down aka Deny, Ignore or Minimize the anti-religious message of the ad. I will however question his assertion that "the stated mission of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is entirely consistent with UU values." That may be so up to a point. The *stated* mission of the Freedom From Religion Foundation is "to promote the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism." We have now seen clear evidence of how the FFRF chooses to "educate the public on matters relating to nontheism" in a manner that not only seems to promote what I and other people call "fundamentalist atheism" but is offensive not only to God believing people but apparently even to some nontheist U*Us such as yourself and others. Is that not so hidden agenda of the Freedom *From* Religion Foundation actually "entirely consistent with UU values"? I am not convinced that it is. I believe that in the wake of this latest fiasco involving "fundamentalist atheist" anti-religious bad attitude raising its ugly head in the The U*U Movement that the UU World management and pertinent UUA administrators should enter into a free and *responsible* search for the truth and meaning underlying the clearly anti-religious message of the ad(s) and reevaluate whether or not the *actual* mission of the FFRF is in fact "entirely consistent with UU values." It may turn out not to be so.

    Scott wrote – "To be more specific, I believe that I failed to help the advertiser match their message to our readers. An ad spotlighting FFRF’s purpose of “working for the separation of state and church” would have been more appropriate than one that for many appears to be condemning religion in general."

    The cynic in me reads this as –

    "To be more specific, I believe that I failed to help the advertiser hide their anti-religious "fundamentalist atheist" agenda from our readers. An ad spotlighting FFRF’s purpose of “working for the separation of state and church” would have been more appropriate than one that for many revealed/exposed its condemnation of religion in general."

    More later perhaps.

    Best Regards,

    Robin Edgar aka The Emerson Avenger


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