Saturday, July 14, 2007

By The Shores of Babylon We Wept

So many individuals have been asking for a copy of my dissertation research. I am working on editing it. However, I wanted to make excerpts available particularly for those that assisted me in sharing their time, insights and information. Thus, I have extrapolated chapter five, the findings, probably the most comprehensive section of my research. I would be interested in your feedback.
warmest regards, Qiyamah A. Rahman




Introduction - Locating Myself in the Research

My interest in gender violence and women’s empowerment grows out of living in a
household where I witnessed my mother’s abuse. In 1945 my mother was a young student at Savannah State in Georgia. She met my father on campus who was stationed nearby at Fort Bragg and they fell in love. After their courtship and marriage she began to prepare for life as a newly wed in Detroit. My grandfather, a Southern African American minister in Hawkinsville, Georgia where she was raised and two of my siblings and I were born, demonstrated amazing astuteness and sensitivity about one of the prevailing silences in the African American community. His parting words to his handsome son-in-law were, “...if you don’t want her call us and we will come and get her, but don’t put your hands on her.” My grandfather’s words invoked his patriarchal role of protector but also reinforced the passage of my mother from her father’s house into her new husbands “hands.” My grandmother’s words on the other hand to my mother, no doubt honed in a hostile environment for women were, “...if you make your bed hard you lie in it.” These words sealed my mother’s fate and set the course of her life, a life that included some good times but also twenty odd years of domestic violence. Granddaddy never knew what his baby girl endured. But his veiled “advice” to my father indicated his take charge approach to a serious social problem that everyone wanted to sweep under the rug. Offering respite to relatives suffering abuse was one of the earliest interventions used by individual women, families and communities when the culture of silence dictated a the prevailing attitude of “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil”. To this day my mother never speaks about the violence she was subjected to and that we all witnessed and that we were secondary targets. I on the other hand use my life as a reference point to give voice to women like my mother and to help others understand the realities of woman abuse and how women’s realities are constructed in ways that serve everyone but women. Beginning denominational work as a Unitarian Universalist I set aside my domestic violence work. Initially I was not able to integrate it into my work her than to share stories from the pulpit during the month of October during Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It wasn’t until I discovered the issue of clergy sexual misconduct that I realized I could bring my training and life’s experiences back into my work as a District Executive and a minister in formation. Instinctively I knew that clergy sexual misconduct is simply another form of violence against women and children. As I began writing training curricula through the support from a grant from the UU Funding Program for Safe Congregations training I decided to change the focus of my dissertation research at Clark Atlanta University from Domestic Violence in South Africa to Clergy Sexual Misconduct.
Thus, this is more than a research project for me. It is a continuation of my life’s work to end violence against women and children. It gives meaning to my life’s experiences, my mothers, my father’s and the possibility of change for our brothers and fathers. Furthermore, it challenges the individual and institutional power dynamics that intentionally and unintentionally maintain power relations between ministers and institutions while continuing to marginalize victim/survivors who are primarily women and children.

The battered women’s movement was where I began to heal from the abusive
relationships I experienced in my family of origin as a child and then later as an adult. The battered women’s movement saved my life. It was how I broke my silence, found my voice and eventually tapped my power to transform my life and claim self agency as a woman and human being. As a research activist my research is action-oriented with the ultimate goal being the empowerment of the reader and myself. Such “praxis oriented research” according to Lather is concerned with unveiling social constructions which seek to perpetuate dominant groups, empowering those disenfranchised and using pedagogy to transform society.

Significance of the Research
This research is significant in numerous ways. First, it introduces new primary voices and perspectives to the growing literature on clergy sexual misconduct, along with secondary sources of data. The research provides fresh perspective n victim/survivor rights and the need to develop an analysis of power as well as a theology of power that places victim/survivors at the center of its analysis. The research also revisits the discourse on redistribution of power and issues of social power and oppression. Rebecca Todd Peter contends that a paradigm of justice at privileges the poor and exploited is needed as a means to rectify their marginalized positions in society. This research opens that conversation for victim/survivors. The research also reveals the critical need for rigorous theological reflections to solidly ground the Unitarian Universalist Associations institutional response to clergy sexual misconduct and hopefully deepen the ink between its doctrines of forgiveness, reconciliation ad hope. And finally, this research demonstrates how important the historical context is in opening new avenues of research such as the influence of female clergy, the sexual revolution and the presence of African American Unitarian Universalists.

Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Response to Clergy Sexual Misconduct

A number of events and circumstances have been selected that chronicle the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) response to clergy sexual misconduct since 1991. These efforts reflect some of the most important ways in which the UUA sought to facilitate a culture change to address clergy sexual misconduct. This culture change reflected an increased intolerance of clergy sexual misconduct that began to include new language and knowledge to replace the institutionalized forms of knowledge that made women particularly vulnerable to clergy sexual misconduct. Additionally, the culture change in the UUA resulted in greater transparency and sensitivity for victims/survivors. There was an increased urgency in the UUA as a result of the mounting media coverage of Catholic church scandals, several incidents of high profile misconduct within UU circles, and the attention of many clergy and laity who were challenging the prevailing norms that appeared to tolerate clergy sexual misconduct. The researcher classified the UUAs efforts as follows: Phase I investigation, research and reconnaissance; Phase II analyzing the findings and making recommendations and Phase III Development of a plan and implementation of same. It appears that each phase utilized staff presence for oversight and employed a kind of “clearinghouse approach.” This approach essentially coordinated all the multiple stakeholders and their efforts. There were various levels of currently all the decision-making and information flow is centralized. Ultimately, either the Executive Vice President/Recording Secretary or the President reported and provided updates to the UUAs Board of Trustees. One such report by Kay Montgomery, Executive Vice President/Recording Secretary of the UUA Board of Trustees depicted the poignant story of a victim/survivor that helped to keep the issue front and center with Board of Trustee members by personalizing this troubling issue:
I want to tell you a story. A couple of weeks ago, David Hubner received a letter from a woman, not asking for retrospective justice but simply telling her story. The story of growing up in a complicated, difficult family and the church being her anchor. Of her Unitarian minister becoming a good friend of her family’s. And then another minister starting at her church and seeming to be kind and caring. He began to “counsel” in her adolescence and eventually turned the counseling sessions into sexual sessions that became more and more sexualized and, eventually, included verbal abuse. She tells of being filled with guilt and shame and the relationship going on until the minister died a few years later. She says, “I have lived as if I were a good person for almost thirty years, but my shame is so much a part of me that it colors my whole life. I know, intellectually, that I was vulnerable and exploited to satisfy the needs of a pedophile […] I have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in therapy and will likely spend more to undo the damage.” She asks for anonymity personally but is willing for her story to be shared so that we can minister more effectively to people who have been exploited. This, I think, speaks for itself [...]

The reaction of a small group of individuals in 1991 at General Assembly (GA) upon hearing about a minister whose misconduct galvanized the UU Women’s Federation and Women and Religion Committee to issue a joint call. This was a pivotal moment in the UUA’s response to clergy sexual misconduct. In general, there were varied responses. The Task Force on Congregational Response to Clergy Sexual Misconduct (TFCRCSM) noted some of the reactions in its report, “Initial reactions were varied and intense: many denied that a liberal religious community . . . could be so afflicted by abuses of power. Others were enraged at an apparent institutional unwillingness to confront the issues or to hold offenders accountable, and resolved to affect change. Others remained blissfully unaware of the problem in the UUA.”
Therefore, this chapter reveals the findings of the UUA’s responses to clergy sexual misconduct via archival, interview and actual cases that demonstrate the relevancy of clergy sexual misconduct. The findings are presented in the following manner: 1) the emerging responses of UUA in thematic format including infrastructure initiatives, training, policy and procedures; educational material and public acknowledgement; 2) thematic findings from the interviews and archival searches; and 3) discussion of the linkages between the two thematic sets of findings. The thematic findings from the interviews are categorized as follows: 1) culture shift; inclusion of women; responsibility/accountability; power and control; sexual revolution; and ethics and 2) intersectionality of clergy sexual misconduct to these thematic findings.

Infrastructure Initiatives
Infrastructure initiatives refer to the creation of organizational structures established to begin the UUA’s systematic examination of clergy sexual misconduct. For example, a clearinghouse meeting was called for November, 1991 that brought together representatives from the following groups: the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the UUA Board of Trustees, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC), UU Minister’s Association (UUMA), Ministerial Sisterhood UU (MSUU), UU Women and Religion (UUWR), Women and Religion (W and R) and Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) that considered UUA’s responses and gaps to the overall picture of clergy sexual misconduct. This body of members became known as Task Force One and they have continued to meet three times a year until the present. Task Force One, now known as Unitarian Universalists for Right Relations (UURR), has continued its work of identifying gaps in the system and suggesting responses to clergy sexual misconduct. In January, 1992 Task Force “One” was created by the UUA Board of Trustees in response to the discussions held at GA in Hollywood, Florida in 1991. A joint call to action was issued by the UU Women’s Federation and Women and Religion that was prompted by the silence following disclosure around a specific incident of misconduct. The Call to Action invited attendance at an open hearing on the unspeakable subject of clergy sexual misconduct.
Moreover, a number of feminist-identified women rallied upon hearing about the latest incident of clergy sexual misconduct. In retrospect their actions ushered in a new era and thus, became a pivotal moment in the life and culture of the UU community. It was if women and their allies had taken a stand and declared, “no more.” The resolute tone of the call to action” communication served notice to UUA and sexually misconducting ministers that regardless of the avoidance and fear engendered by the issue, it would not be business as usual. The call to action statement read: We recognize that many of us would rather avoid the issue of sexual misconduct because it is a difficult issue that frightens and disturbs us. We join our voices together with concern for the victims, families, congregations, and clergy. Recently, Lynn Thomas, District Executive for the Clara Barton District of the UUA reflected on the UUWF’s and the Women and Religion Committee’s controversial call to action in 1991 when she stated:

What I remember was that at the Women’s Federation (meeting) in Fort Lauderdale . . . the issue came up and then some discussion from the floor. I remember women speaking about having been abused by clergy and it (the discussion) was deteriorating quickly and I remember Teresa standing up and saying, “good-bye innocence.” And she probably said it far more theatrically. There was some clear drama. And she said “good-bye innocence” about three times and people started sitting down. Out of that the Federation began: a) a newspaper clipping campaign to gather literature, any literature about sexual assault (I believe); b) Taskforce One which was ultimately responsible for the current Safe Congregations Handbook. They met a number of organizational representatives . . . and, of course, the Women’s Federation and there were several more constituency groups.

Twenty-eight individuals responded to the Call to Action to share information about the nature and scope of the problem to identify the gaps and to brainstorm solutions. In 1998 Task Force One received funding to hold a Second Circle conference. The Second Circle represented those individuals impacted by misconduct besides the survivor and perpetrator that were harmed by the occurrence of clergy sexual misconduct.
The Moderator of the UUA, Denny Davidoff, attended an early Task Force One meeting that transformed her understanding about the seriousness of clergy sexual misconduct. Consequently, she helped develop the UUA Board of Trustees Task Force, which became known as Task Force Two. According to Reverend Elinor Artman, member of the UU Women’s Federation, Task Force Two spent two years intensively exploring all aspects of clergy sexual misconduct including, “interviewing ministers, congregants, victims, complainants and outside resources.” A major work of Task Force Two was the creation and training of “District Response and Renewal Teams” that were intended to serve as resources to the District staff around the country.
Meanwhile, another Task Force, the Task Force on Congregational Response to Ministerial Sexual Misconduct, was appointed by the UUA Board of Trustees in March, 1992. Their charge was to help congregations respond to incidents of clergy sexual misconduct and prevent further incidents. A preliminary work plan was developed at the September 1993 meeting that included the following:
1) a proposal to train District Field staff and lay leadership that would parallel those provided at UU Minister Association Chapters;
2) a statement for discussion and dialogue on the “Theology of Sexual Ethics” and
3) resources and recommendations to promote prevention, education and long term healing in congregations.

While the Task Force initially established strategic partnerships with UUA affiliate organizations, District Field Staff and District Presidents, they also wisely met with lay members of affected congregations, UUA staff, Ministerial Fellowship Committee (MFC) and District Field Staff who had experience dealing with clergy sexual misconduct. The Task Force continued its information gathering at GA in Calgary to gather comments and concerns regarding their critical work. They reported progress in mainly four areas: training programs, paper on theological reflections, workshop and study resources and congregational guidelines and resources. The Task Force encouraged “ongoing dialogue, input and coordination of efforts.” One of the Task Forces’ concerns was the potential for the difficult and complex topic of clergy sexual misconduct to polarize ministers and laity. Thus, they cautioned the UUA and its affiliate organizations to remember that the well being of both ministers and congregations was intertwined.
A Consultation on the adjudication of cases of “Conduct Unbecoming” ministers was held in Boston, Massachusetts on February 20-21, 1995. The following representatives attended: UUMA: Wayne Aranason, Doug Gallager, Paul Johnson; MFC Diane Miller, Midge Skwire, Milly Mullarky; UUA’s district and Congregational Services: Bill Linkford, Roger Comstock, Nancy Bowen-Martell; UUA Board Jean Kapuscik; UUA Task Force on Congregational Response to Clergy Sexual Misconduct – Elinor Artman; Task Force on Sexual Abuse and Clergy Misconduct – Kay Aler-Maida; Board of Review – Deborah Pope-Lance; UUA Administration and Consultation Facilitator: Kay Montgomery. Their focus included the following:
1) Relationships and protocols among UU staff and UUMA Good Offices at the early stages of conflict that involved potential conduct unbecoming ministers;

2) Clarity on the current MFC rules and policies for adjudicating unbecoming conduct with special attention to unwritten policies governing the formalization of complaints and the process of investigating them in advance of an MFC finding that a hearing is necessary;

3) Follow up in the congregation during and after a complaint had been adjudicated and the role of UUA staff, district and UMA Good Offices in the follow-up.

A Consultation titled, “On Procedures for Adjudicating Conduct Unbecoming a Minister” was held in 1995. Participants included: UUMA, UUA, MFC, Board of Review, UUA Board of Trustees, Task Forces I and II, Departments of Ministry and Congregation Services, the Executive Vice President of the UUA, and the UUWF. In response to a call from the UUA Executive Vice President, Kay Montgomery, at the 1995 GA in Spokane, Washington a Safe Congregations Resolution was passed that had been drafted by Task Force One.
In 1998 the UUA Administration created an interdepartmental team, Staff Coordinating Team-Sexual Abuse and Misconduct (SCT-SAM). SCT-SAM has continued its work and a version of it continues even today though the Panel no longer meets. Instead, the “Muir Panel” meets in its place. Their final report was issued in 2000. They included the leaders of Task Force One in their interviews, and reaffirmed the findings of Task Force Two.

Safe Congregations Landscape – Dialogue
A one-day dialogue on the current landscape and resources was held on September 17, 2004 by the UUA’s Safe Congregation Team. The Team was comprised of: David Hubner, Director of Ministry and Professional Leadership; Pat Hoertdoerfer, Director of Children’s Family and Intergenerational Programs; Kay Montgomery, Executive Vice President; Betsy Stevens, UUMA Representative; and Tracey Robins-Harris, Director for Congregational Services and Team convener. Attendees included the following: Elinor Artman (UU minister); Marge Corletti (LREDA); Susan Manker-Seale (UUMA); Qiyamah Rahman (UUA/Thomas Jefferson District); Bill Welch; Fred Muir (Chair of Right Relations Task Force); Gini Courter (Moderator UUA); Mary Katherine Morn (minister); Tera Little (UUA/Pacific SW District); Toni Tollerude (UUMN); Susan Archer ( LREDA); Beth Norton (UUMN); and Ken Sawyer (UUMA) and Denis Meacham (Addictions Ministry). Some of the discussion subsequently noted in the follow up communication from facilitator, Tracey Robinson-Harris suggested foci for future discussion that included:
· Focus on Restorative Justice with the intention of assembling a packet of materials to be available on line and offered to congregations;
· Training - Mentor training will be offered through LREDA along with ongoing training for religious professionals; role of training for District Staff;
· Partnerships – the involvement of UU seminaries was discussed; contact with UU Trauma Ministry to clarify their role and explore collaboration;
· Resources – attention paid at length to need for a response team for support of congregational staff in crisis.

Training and Education as a Prevention Strategy to Institute Change
Furthermore, Ronald Heifetz differentiates three situational scenarios that accompany changes requiring new information to institute new situations. According to Heifetz these situational scenarios are: 1) a technical situation where the problem is clearly defined and a solution clearly applied; 2) a technical/adaptive situation when the problem is clearly defined but the solution requires learning and 3) adaptive situation when both the problem and the solution are unclear and new learning is required. The unsavory situation of clergy sexual misconduct that the UUA faced was clearly adaptive—both the problem and the solution were unclear and new learning was required. Successful training to affect institutional change required committment from the top-level leadership and then systematic visioning and team learning. Once the UUA agreed upon an articulated analysis of clergy sexual misconduct they set about to systematically create an organizational environment that promoted a shared vision of safety in their beloved community. To accomplish this they utilized training methodology and written policy and procedures. They made what appeared to be sincere attempts to build trust and make amends for tolerance perpetuated by its “good ole boy network.”
Hence, November 1991 represented a significant event in the UUA’s institutional response to clergy sexual misconduct. It was significant because it was one of the first widespread national trainings undertaken by UUA since the high profile misconduct incident in the summer of 1991. Furthermore, the training was in direct response to Task Force One’s recommendation for training. The November, 1991 training that was solely devoted to ministers, the facilitator invited the participants to articulate their hopes for the event. Some of the following comments reveal the general tenor of the ministers as they prepared to embark on this important educational milestone addressing the difficult topic of clergy sexual misconduct:
· Engage in honest conversation about the complex factors that lead to or away from misuse of power by clergy and others;
· Come up with avenues to support ministers so they handle intimacy issues better
· Learn about what others are doing about his issue;
· That we are able to have both emotionally and intelligently a greater understanding of what it means to women who are abused and congregations who are involved with clergy who have participated in sexual abuse;
· There will be honesty about this issue in our group which will reflect outward to the denomination. That lay persons (women’s) perspectives will be of utmost importance in how we deal with the issue. That this begins an honest exploration of power and power relationship in our denomination structures;
· That we find a process for dealing with people’s concerns, hurts and alienation in a positive way. That we find ways to strengthen our denomination – with clergy, and laity through the work that will ensue. . . That we’ll be able to put this issue into the context of the larger movement – to gain a perspective. To initiate and support concrete resources. . . That the day will be understood as a religious exercise. That, in a spirit of love and kindness, we will begin a process of transformation for us and the denomination.

In addition, several other participants noted their fear that nothing would come of the
day’s session. There were also some anxieties voiced about the potential to inflict emotional pain, and the tendency to simplify the issues, while aligning with the victim and being overwhelmed. Comments reflective of the concerns of ministers included the following:
· That people will get too hung up on sex and not pay enough attention to issues of power and control. That real feelings and fears can’t be expressed openly;
· Won’t be balanced in its compassion for the whole story – historical remembrance of inequality
· That anger and pain, instead of energizing reflection and insight may overwhelm compassion and logic;
· Scapegoating of any particular group (for example, older males) rather than seeing the problem with realistic inclusiveness;
· That I will cry. That we’ll run out of time. That we won’t go deep enough;
· That anger and pain block our creative energy rather than unlock it.

While many ministers acknowledged the complicity of some of their colleagues’ “unbecoming behavior” others like the following quoted minister chose instead to take issue with women that were erroneously perceived as “innocent and vulnerable victims” and that all the bother is simply a “misdirected overreactions to alleged clergy sexual misconduct. The minister perceives efforts to address clergy sexual misconduct as “reactionary Puritanism.” The minister clearly takes issue with women being cast as “victims”:
What appalls me as I read the expose in the UU World is the underlying perpetration of the oppressor/victimization model. The women are depicted as vulnerable and tenuous in their own decision-making. The dynamics of human sexuality cannot be really categorized into moral exhortations. In the real life, the situation is far more complex and egalitarian. There are resourceful women who initiate, call and control the shots. What worries me most is a misdirected over reaction to alleged clergy sexual misconduct. It can spawn a dangerous and pernicious type of McCathyism in the form of a reactionary Puritanism that undermines all spontaneity of embracing and verbalizing this quasi-religious form of cleansing our ranks through forced sensitivity sessions before we fully
understand what we are doing may prove more harmful and restrictive to our professional leadership. Whereas liberal clergy do not take the vow of chastity, poverty or obedience, we are then expected to be on the frontier of new knowledge, expanding the range of human sexual options from our pulpit. The gender lines of demarcation keep changing, almost imperceptibly, which complicate our role in counseling, teaching and preaching. Until we have a clear and uniform consensus on sexual ethics, an unequivocal standard of more procedure, we cannot cast stones at one another.

In correspondence dated November 20, 1992, a minister that had participated in a

training conducted by Reverend Marie Fortune wrote a letter to the UUA expressing his dissatisfactions about the video shown to ten clergy teams trained by Fortune. This initiative was a multi-group effort with significant funding from the UUA that represented a major institutional commitment. These clergy teams subsequently served as train-the- trainers in many UU Minister’s Association chapters and theological schools. The reactions to the training revealed that:
In the videos used in (Marie) Fortune’s workshop, a woman who bakes pies for a minister and looks at him with cow eyes is seducing him, whether she realizes it or not . . . Nor is this “blaming the victim” rather, it is denying that a woman can be reduced to a mere victim. It is insisting that she always remains a human being, a moral agent, and it is insisting that all moral agents bear some of the responsibility when they get undressed and have sex with someone else – or even when they bake pies from mixed motives. To assume less is to demean and dehumanize these women.

The Meadville Lombard Theological School (MLTS) in Chicago, Illinois, one of two UU identified Seminaries in the country, prepared two Midwinter Institutes for its faculty and students on clergy sexual misconduct in the mid 90’s. Fortune, on another occasion was the featured speaker at the 1993 Institute for Religious Professionals. The 1996 Institute’s theme, “Turning Back the Tide of Violence” was presented by Geoffrey Canada and Thandeka, a UU minister and faculty member at MLTC.
As a result in 1994 a series of Congregational Strategies Workshops were held to increase the level of knowledge about how to help congregations prevent, respond to and recover from incidences of clergy sexual misconduct. The UUA believed one of the most important ways to accomplish this was to assist District Field staffs in developing their district resources. The clergy teams leading the training had been trained by Marie Fortune as part of a project sponsored by the UUMA and by a member of the Task Force on Congregational Response to Clergy Sexual Misconduct.
Policies and Procedures
In a diverse and changing world, increasingly, policies and procedures offer practical and ethical guidelines that govern conduct and appropriate interactions between the parties involved and UUMA. In the mid 1980s several UUMA chapters seriously grappled with incidents of clergy sexual misconduct, shaping responses, and suggesting revisions of the UUMA guidelines. Records from the UUA reveal that only one incident of clergy sexual misconduct occurred between 1968 and 1978. However, a dramatic rise was noted between 1984 and 1994 when there were 22 complaints of clergy “ethics issues.” Thirteen of these incidents took place between 1990 and 1993 according to John Weston, Settlement Director for the UUA. One significant strategy to change the institutional response of the UUA to clergy sexual misconduct was a review of the UUMA guidelines that govern professional conduct. From 1985 to 1987 the UUMA Guidelines were revised to include several statements of sexual ethics as part of their standards in regulating minister’s ethics and establishing new protocols. The cultural norms that had previously promoted a more permissive culture and were subsequently challenged in 1991 continued to demonstrate the need for continuous reevaluation and revisions. The fact that the MFC, the UUA body that credentials and provides oversight for ministers, took no action based on a misconduct case based on the rationale that there was no official complainant so there was nothing they could do. However, the local UUMA chapter lodged a complaint with the UUMA and the minister was “reprimanded” by the UUMA Executives. The MFC adopted a Professional Code as early as 1951. After consolidation of Universalists and Unitarians in 1961 a new Code of Professional Practices was developed. However, the specific language addressing clergy sexual misconduct did not occur until the mid 1980s. In 1988 a new Code was adopted that identified ministers “as sexual beings in the practice of ministry.” Almost all of the 23 District in the UUA have developed covenants that address ethical conduct and relations. Similarly, all of the mid- to large-sized congregations have “safe congregations” policies and possess a range of education and training on said topic. Family-sized churches, fifty or less, often do not have the fiscal or human resources to spare for training. Furthermore, because of their false sense of safety based on their perception of themselves as a church family, they tend not to be safety conscious about clergy sexual misconduct.
Creation and Dissemination of Educational Materials
On the other hand, creating new learning opportunities about clergy sexual misconduct required sophisticated curricula and other educational publications for dissemination among clergy and laity. The UUA World Publication devoted an entire issue to clergy sexual misconduct. Collegium, an association of liberal religious scholars formed at Meadville Lombard Theological School, published their “Occasional Papers Number Three.” In 1993, it was devoted exclusively to Feminist Thought on Sexual Ethics, and addressed some of the key concerns on clergy sexual misconduct. The UUA’s extensive website on Restorative Justice utilizes electronic technology to display and disseminate information about clergy sexual misconduct accessible to its members and District Staff.
UUWF sponsored a publication in March, 1992 titled, Finding Our Way: Responding to Clergy Sexual Misconduct that surveyed 40 religious and professional organizations and denominations were surveyed about the existence of policies on clergy sexual misconduct. Research findings indicated that most faith communities did not have specific policies regarding clergy sexual misconduct. UUA had developed very comprehensive policies that some considered cutting edge for the times.
A worship resource packet was developed for congregations using an integrated “head and heart” approach. The packet’s content included worship materials intended to provide ritualistic healing for congregations recovering from clergy sexual misconduct. Additional Congregational Guidelines and Resources have since been developed. Two of the major publications produced by UUA include: “Creating Safe Congregations Workbook: Towards An Ethic of Right Relations” and “The Safe Congregation: Nurturing Healthy Boundaries in Our Faith Community.” Four of the six essays in the former document were written by Task Force One and Two members.
Public Acknowledgement – Institutional Shift
Less public, but even more challenging to the UUA’s historic pattern of non-response to clergy sexual misconduct, was a letter from Kay Aler-Maida and Natalie W. Gulbrandsen, both executive members of the UU Women’s Federation. On March 10, 1992 Aler-Maida and Gulbrandsen penned a letter to Bill Schultz, then President of the UUA. The letter expressed their concerns about the pervasive culture of mistrust that characterized the denomination/movement as a result of the UUA’s failure to respond appropriately to the disclosure of misconduct at the 1991 GA. Aler-Maida and Gulbrandsen’s solution called for disclosure of clergy sexual misconduct to restore the broken trust brought on by the crisis.
Eight years later a public apology was extended at the 2000 General Assembly. Kay Montgomery, the Executive Vice President of the UUA, with tear-filled eyes extended a heart felt apology witnessed by thousands of UUs. Montgomery essentially stated that the Association had largely failed the people most hurt, the victims and survivors, and pledged to implement the Muir Report – Restorative Justice. Excerpts from her historic speech follow:
Cases of clergy misconduct continue. Although they are few, the damage they leave is far greater than we can even suppose. The Department of Ministry and the MFC continue to refine their understanding and responses. Many recommendations of Task Force Two (the UUA Board Task Force) remain unimplemented. First steps have been made towards an advocacy program for complainants. The UUMA is officially involved only when there is a minister-minister complaint, or a request for Good Offices support. The UUMA guidelines have not been revised to reflect the learnings of the past 15 years. It is the congregations that remain essentially uninformed, and deeply wounded by past silences about and mis-management of misconduct. This is where the future work lies.

Montgomery commented hopefully on the Safe Congregations Panel Report chaired by Fred Muir and offered the following vision:
It (Safe Congregations Panel Report) offers hope, rather than retributive justice. But for
victims and survivors, the commitment of trust was often illusive and missing. Fulfilling our promise as a dream unfulfilled, The Association, “has largely failed the people most hurt by sexual misconduct in our congregation. Other denominations have done better than we have. The brave and the hurt have been left unministered to. . . I am profoundly sorry . . .and I ledge that this gap, this failure, will be remedied. This last year, we have tried a nascent approach for victims and survivors. Based on this report, we will change and we will bend toward justice . . . (for) there is only us.

Institutional Accountability

Nevertheless, Rebeka Miles maintains that a “do-nothing-approach” is the most common response of non-offending clergy to other misconducting colleagues. The UUA, like other denominational organizations, was initially slow to respond to clergy sexual misconduct. This was especially true when the perpetrator was a charismatic high profile clergy such as a senior minister. Almost without exception the responses to cases involving such clergy in earlier years were either completely ignored or dismissed. Less there be any confusion or doubt, accountability is the responsibility of the institution that bears oversight for the professional conduct of its clergy. So while aspersions might be cast on those ministers that looked the other way, ultimately, it is the institution that sanctions the ministry of its clergy and is, therefore, responsible for their professional conduct. In this instance, that oversight entity is the UUA.
So consequently, some of the UUA’s demonstrated changes that reflect institutional accountability include the establishment of a neutral point of contact for congregations and victim/survivors. Moving the task of handling complaints from the Director of Ministry and Professional Leadership/Executive Secretary of the MFC to the Director of Congregational Services as recommended by the “Restorative Justice for All Report” and the Ad Hoc Task Force on Ethics in Congregational Life accomplished the following: 1) neutrality, 2) a sense of safety and 3) a show of good faith to those appointed bodies that recommended the change. The changes were part of the larger effort to address structural deficiencies in the existing process for adjudicating clergy sexual misconduct complaints to ensure a safer experience for the victim/survivor/complainant.
However, upon close examination of the UUA’s Programs and Services: Ethics and Safety document produced by Congregational Services, it appears the description of the process for handling complaints of misconduct disavows any responsibility and accountability. Instead, it disappointingly lays responsibility on the individual congregations. Thus, it reads like a disclaimer in its statement:
Unlike many other religious bodies, the UUA is an association of member individuals and independent congregations. The role of the UUA is to provide support to its member congregations. It does not govern them. In our tradition of congregational polity, each member congregation has the power to ordain, call/hire, supervise and dismiss ministers and other staff; and to do so independently of the UUA. It is the congregation, not the Association that takes responsibility for regulation of its own policies and staff.

In the same document, District Offices are listed as resources for issues of sexual misconduct and boundary violations.
Some archival searches indicate that UUA should pay more attention to instances where laity are guilty of sexual misconduct. The following letter from a female minister cites examples of the kinds of harassment that some clergy experience at the hands of laity. And while it appears that the majority of instances in fact involve male clergy perpetrating sexual misconduct, it is important to acknowledge that laity are not exempt from sexual misconduct. However, the onus, should always be on the minister because s/he is the professional that has covenanted with God and their chosen faith community and congregation to serve in the sacred role of minister and spiritual leader. While laity accountability is a worthy futuristic goal to strive for, most laity do not formalize their relationship in such an intentional and dedicated way as clergy are doing. Nor have the laity chosen a career to be in service as a spiritual leader as has the clergy. However, the following letter reveals the extent to which appropriate boundaries can potentially be violated by laity:

I feel that there also needs to be some examination of the congregations’ (in general) responsibilities when it comes to sexual ethics and boundaries . . . I think it is important for the laity to focus on ways in which they have been remiss in terms of setting appropriate sexual boundaries . . . I am certainly sensitive to the issues of blaming the victim: but in religious congregations such as ours, where power is a non-hierarchical partnership, and where ministers are called and dismissed by vote of the congregation, the lay leadership in a congregation is not in a one-down or victim stance in relationship to a minister. A great many ministers have themselves been victims of sexual harassment by members of their congregations. For example, 1) a male parishioner who pursued a new, young female minister around the room at a welcoming party attempting to feel her up, 2) female parishioners offering a male minister sexual “comfort” shortly after his wife died, 3) bets being made by female parishioners as to who will be the first to bed the new male minister, 4) a male minister whose wife is called and propositioned whenever members are aware he is out of town, 5) a single woman minister whose boyfriend received three propositions from married women parishioners shortly after they first appeared publicly as a “couple,” 6) a male minister who was told that if he did not submit to a woman’s sexual advances she
would say that he seduced her, 7) numerous ministers of both genders who have to avoid being alone with a certain sexually aggressive parishioners and are then rebuked for being “unpastoral” for not visiting. All these would be considered serious sexual harassment in a business setting but ministers often have no recourse in our congregational setting. Laity often fails to set appropriate sexual boundaries with one another. . .

UU Culture (Shift)
Some common themes are evident upon close examination of UU culture that impacts the issues of sexual misconduct by both clergy and laity. UUism is a movement of come-outers, that is, the majority of members have come from some other faith tradition or no faith tradition at all. Despite their best efforts to retain young people the statistical fact that the vast majority of UUs are come-outers has not changed very much over time. In addition, most members appear to be alienated from their past religious upbringing and practices. David Bumbaugh, a faculty member at MLTS in Chicago, contends that people who have orphaned themselves from the communities in which they were reared possess an ambivalence about that fact. UUs want to be recognized as part of a valid religious movement, but do not want that movement to be confused with the kind of religious community from which they escaped. There exists among UUs a growing need for common structures in which to affirm, assure and confirm UU identity. There exists what Bumbaugh poignantly describes as a “deep and underlying fear of the community’s power to expose and reject UUs as pretenders and impostors who desire but who are not actually a community of like-minded people who share common values.” UUs tend to avoid any conversation that has the potential to expose significant differences lest it is discovered that the community does not actually effectively serve its members who have sacrificed everything. UUs tend to “circle the wagons” because many view themselves as beleaguered and misunderstood. As a result they possess a sense of distress that surfaces about being unacceptable and being out casts. They demonstrate an underlying fear of exposure, of inadequacy and of the concomitant need to know, “how are we perceived by the larger community.” Bumbaugh asserts that this is a dynamic that is seldom examined but that is constantly at work in UU congregations, shaping how they do religion. It often determines how they hear each other.
As majority “converts” UUs refuse to be defined by their communities of origin, but at the same time Bumbaugh asserts they are unable to rid themselves of their communities of origin and therefore long for acceptance. This fierce determination to be true to themselves forces them to live in a kind of spiritual duality. According to Bumbaugh, UUs are “an anti-establishment movement with roots deep in the establishment. Bumbaugh identifies UUs as a high-achieving people with an abiding fear of failure. “We are a counter-cultural movement which owns and claims a rich culture. We are individualists who dream of a blessed community. We live in boundary zones; move between our worlds, embodying . . . an ongoing critique of each (world), precisely because of their marginal status.”

Women in Ministry
Almost without exception respondents, when asked what caused or created the change in the UUAs response to clergy sexual misconduct, overwhelmingly attributed the change in the UUAs institutional response to the increased numbers of female ministers. Primarily, women’s inclusion in the bastion of male ministry inevitably changed the cultural norms of UUA and of the ministers. The influx of female clergy ultimately produced a critical mass that individually and collectively challenged the permissive culture that had accommodated the misconduct of ministers over the years. One individual likened it to the “fox guarding the roosters.” In 1875 a woman complained that among almost 700 Universalist ministers, only ten were female. If female clergy were almost nonexistent among the Universalists then they were practically invisible among the Unitarians who were even more reluctant to ordain females. Hence, a smaller number of Unitarian clergy claimed the right to be called Reverend. Unitarian Universalist records show that between 1957 and 1978 the Unitarian Yearbook showed that among its 538 ministers only nine were female, and of those women none were settled or called as parish ministers. By the 1980s female clergy surpassed males in being ordained and called to UU churches. According to Tucker, in the mid 1990s, of 1200 ministers, one of every four was female. Currently, female clergy comprise fifty-one percent of fellowshipped ministers in the UUA.
Drawing her conclusions from the larger societal context, UU Historian, Cynthia Grant Tucker, linked the remarkable and rapid progression of female clergy to the 1963 debut of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. While most scholarship addresses Friedan’s impact on dissatisfied homemakers, Tucker draws an astute observation. That is, church women, specifically UU church women, were impacted by Friedan’s feminist revolution which resonated with their activist/woman centered values. Just how did the presence of female clergy make a difference in the response of the UUA to clergy sexual misconduct? Several respondents noted the change in the heavy drinking and dirty jokes that characterized minister’s gatherings prior to women’s inclusion. One respondent noted the following:
Birth control, women coming into the ministry changed things, for example, dirty jokes ceased after women were present. Another changing norm was the heavy drinking. When I first arrived in the 70s ministers would sit up all night drinking. In a couple of years this heavy drinking ceased (because of women).

Thus, women’s presence changed the norms governing interactions and established more appropriate boundaries and guidelines and how ministerial colleagues engaged one another. Sylvia Howe, UU minister, noted the highly “sexually charged” ministerial gatherings that many of her female colleagues encountered in their early years based on her study on power, sexuality and ministry. The respondents observed that being “hit on” was the generally accepted norm at that time. Kay Montgomery, Executive Vice President of the UUA, noted the difference of the increased presence of women on the UUA staff and on the MFC. She posited that, “so that the habit, that is, “old boy behavior” was no longer acceptable. . . I used to regularly meet with clergy chapters and large church ministers and the change in those groups was quite dramatically different (as a result of women coming into the ministry.).”
Another way that women created institutional change in the UUA, though not specifically regarding clergy sexual misconduct, at that time, was through the use of their organizational machinery and political clout. This allowed them to galvanize their collective voices to take effective action at GA. As early as 1977 a small group of UU feminists crafted a resolution to the 1977 GA in Ithaca, NY calling for a “search within the UUA for the religious roots of sexism.” The resolution was unanimously adopted as the “Women and Religion Resolution.”
Years later, the UUWF and the Continental Women and Religion Committee used their formidable influence to call together Task Force I on Clergy Sexual Misconduct. Their actions would prove to be far more significant than anyone could have realized at the time. Their actions essentially challenged the institutional norms that had permitted clergy sexual misconduct to go almost unchecked except within the most egregious instances. Furthermore, this incident involved a Senior Minister. Research findings indicate that high-ranking ministers that engage in clergy sexual misconduct in the past tended not to face the same consequences as other ministers who were engaged in clergy sexual misconduct, if they faced any at all. Meanwhile, the UUMA, the professional organization for UU ministers, began a much needed revision of its guidelines. In an effort to affirm the UUMA’s good work the UUWF Board passed a resolution in February 1992 that recognized the UUMA for the newly revised “Ministerial Codes of Conduct.” While the UUWF was congratulatory of the UUMA’s progress in establishing appropriate guidelines they were not pleased that the update was only sent to Presidents of District Boards, ministers and seminarians. Essentially UUWF perceived ignoring some of the guidelines that provided leadership initially. Then UUWF President, Phyllis Rickter, wrote a letter pointing out the UUMA’s exclusionary practices and reminded them that their silence about the misconduct could lead to continued damage among the constituency.
Moreover, traditional ethics involves the study of human conduct with a focus on attitudes and actions considered to be “right” or “wrong.” Christian studies trace its discourse on ethics back to the sixteenth century. Ethical teaching describes ways in which one should make choices and decisions and take actions. Contemporary ethical theories include natural law, biblically based theories of neighborly love, human rights theories, and patterns of ethical reasoning as well as ethical assessments of individual actions and social structures. The range of sub-specialities includes medical ethics, social ethics, sexual ethics, ecological ethics and others. Therefore, this section focuses on sexual ethics pertaining to clergy sexual misconduct.
Changing mores and norms in society created the need for a fresh look at specific guidelines and protocols in the UUA to remove any gray areas of behavior within the ranks of ministerial conduct. Examination of the UUMA’s “Code of Professional Practice” (CPP), the document that seeks to set appropriate boundaries for all UU ministers, reveals a very solid and well-written document that touches on the essentials while leaving some areas totally open for interpretation. For example:
As a sexual being, I will recognize the power that this profession gives me and refrain from practices which are harmful to others and which endanger my integrity or my professional effectiveness. Such practices include sexual activity with any child or with an unwilling adult, with a counselee, with the spouse or partner of a minister or person in a congregation in our District, with interns, with students for the ministry, with other field staff in my District, and in any other such exploitative relationship.

It appears that the UUMA leaves a very definite gray area in its “Code of
Professional Practice” in the following statement:
I will not engage in sexual activities with a member of the congregation who is not my spouse or partner, if I am married or in a committed relationship. If I am single, before becoming sexually involved with a person in the congregation, I will take special care to examine my commitment, motives, intentionality, and the nature of such activity and its consequence for myself, the other person, and the congregation.

While the Code of Ethics is very clear about married ministers indulging inappropriately with anyone other their partner, there appears to be a definite gray area for single ministers. The UUA and a number of other faith communities have granted its single clergy the option to date eligible congregational members. This rationale is based on the compassionate notion that ministers are just like other healthy human beings with the same kinds of needs for love and affection and a social life. Herein lies the problem; ministers are not like laity. When a minister begins to date a congregant, the parishioner relationship no longer exists. Is the ministers’ goal to satisfy their needs for intimacy and romance or to past to the spiritual needs of their congregations? “The Code of Professional Practice” specifically states, “I will not abuse or exploit that trust for my own gratification.” Furthermore, it restates the same theme in the very next paragraph using almost identical language, “I will not exploit the needs of anther person for my own.”
While a minister has sexual feelings, the implications of acting on them are far different from those of an individual who is not a minister. Encouraging ministers to act on their attractions with members can lead to disastrous results. The boundaries get too blurred and the power dynamics do not disappear simply because the UUMA decrees it is acceptable. Such power dynamics exist whether they are named and acknowledged or not. Most laypersons dating ministers assume they are “consenting adults” entering into a relationship with another consenting adult. However, their consent does not change the power dynamics nor their vulnerability. It appears that the UUA is providing adequate training and awareness for ministers to negotiate the “troubled waters” of clergy sexual ethics. In a system when one of its most powerful members, the minister selects one or two or three or whatever member of individuals to date, they are risking disrupting congregational dynamics and focusing attention on the minister’s social life. This approval leads to two concerns. It is not possible for the minister to single out someone as special and therefore worthy of attention from the minister without affecting the other members. This creates tensions and problems for members vying for the minister’s time and attention.
Rights, without responsibilities and training are a setup for failure. Many workplace protocols have been devised because it has been determined that it is not wise for co-workers to date. While workplace protocols have changed somewhat, the original rationale for such norms has not. When a serious dating relationship begins in a workplace setting, ideally one of the individuals transfers. The same, it seems, would apply within the church setting. Perceptions of the church, and relationships between single clergy and eligible church members vary.
Correspondence from a minister to a District Executive reveals the shared concerns about ministers dating “eligible” members and the recognition that the UUMA Professional Practices were written “nearly twenty years ago.” The writer more than insinuates that the guidelines are outdated:
[Y]our experience as a District Executive makes your reflections about ministers dating compelling and important. Over the last ten years I too have pointed out as frequently as the opportunity presented itself to do so that guideline ambiguities about ministers dating those whom they serve has generated numerous regrettable situations as has the guideline which stipulates the marital status of the congregant determines their eligibility for an intimate or sexual relationship with a single minister. These guidelines were written nearly 20 years ago; two decades of experience shows they need to be rewritten. Thanks for offering your thoughts to the committee charted with doing so. The development of codes of ethics included not only ministers, but field staff (individuals co-employed by both the UUA and District Boards who were primarily comprised of clergy with a few laypersons). In addition, young adults sought to and successfully developed codes of conduct. As clergy, field staff was bound by the UUMA Code of Ethics. However, additional ethical guidelines, while almost identical, were developed that forthrightly addressed issues of sexuality, power and boundaries:

As a sexual being, I will recognize the power that this profession gives me and refrain from practices which are harmful to others and which endanger my integrity or my professional effectiveness. Such practices include sexual activity with any child or with an unwilling adult, with a counselee, with the spouse or partner of a minister or person in a congregation in our District, with interns, with students for the ministry, with other field staff in my District, and in any other such exploitative relationship.

The document further elaborated what course of action field staff should take upon discovering evidence of clergy sexual misconduct:
If, in the course of consulting with a congregation, I find that there is evidence of "conduct unbecoming" on the part of a UUMA member or a member of LREDA, I will not first discuss such matters in a public report. Instead, I will inform both the minister involved and the governing board of his or her church of the evidence, outlining to them the possible actions that could be taken, such as filing a complaint with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee or the UUMA and then allowing the church leadership to decide if this is what they want to do.

This research revealed ample evidence of written ethical guidelines for UUA staff that included not only religious leaders that is, ministers and religious educators but UUA staff in general. Young Adult and Campus Ministry had developed Code of Ethics for Peer Leaders that outlines very specific guidelines. The issue of consent, power and control and abuse of power are only some of the issues addressed in the four page “Code of Ethics” created by the Continental UU Young Adult Network. The document defines a “healthy” relationship as, “consensual, non-exploitative, mutually pleasurable, safe, developmentally appropriate, caring, based on mutual expectations and respectful.”
In an effort to revamp its protocols addressing clergy sexual misconduct, the UUA established the Ethics in Congregational Life Program (ECLP). The Program is headed by the Director of Congregational Services. Its stated purpose is to, “develop and/or make available to congregational leaders education, training and other resources and services.” The goals of the Program are to support leaders in creating safer space within their congregations, encouraging right relations among persons who are part of the congregation, and encouraging just relations between the congregation and the larger community. The primary responsibilities of the ECLP are: 1) receive and investigate complaints; 2) coordinate support services to affected individuals and congregations; 3) present cases for adjudication by the MFC; 4) involve a corps of volunteer investigators and volunteer liaisons to provide pastoral support and process information and advice to the complainant and 5) include an education and training component for congregational leaders.
Power and Control
This research revealed that a deep ambivalence about authority exists among UUs. According to David Bambaugh, many UUs long for an authority that has the power to affirm their acceptability and yet they resent and fear any authority that might have the power to define them as unacceptable — whether that authority emanates from Boston headquarters, some historic formulation of the faith, the preacher in the pulpit, or the committee on social concerns. This tendency to challenge authority coupled with UUs emphasis on individualism sheds some light on why the continued gray areas in ministers codes of ethics. Many UUs do not want anyone telling them what to do. They tend to ignore any authority, including their own. Howe noted the varied approaches to power that ministers assumed during the 60s and 70s as well as offering some personal insights:
There was a belief that we could move from hierarchical structures and power inequalities to all being on an undifferentiated, level playing field with little or no recognition of the inherent power differences between ministers and lay person, between men and women, which did, in reality, continue to exist. A parallel attempt to reduce hierarchy led many ministers to deny the inherent difference and healthy boundary between clergy and laity. A question discussed among colleagues at the time (1960s-70s) was, “Why should ministers be expected to conform to a higher moral standard than the members of their congregations? During a time when ministers were considered “just one of the folks,” it was a reasonable question.

Sexual Revolution
According to Howe, before the mid 1970s behavioral norms were clear, at least in theory – sexual relations were only for married couples. And while the “rules” were clearly ignored in many instances, one respondent revealed a common ground bottom line and the rationale for secrecy, “Of course, we knew that the rules were broken, but it happened (infidelity) in secret so that the appearance of sanctity of the family was maintained.” A number of respondents noted that the sexual revolution influenced inappropriate behavior on the part of UU ministers. The following respondent took note of the long term effects of misconduct on congregations even years later:
I know ministers in the 60s when you indicated you were having trouble in your marriage they arrived at your house the next week with their massage oil and incense sticks. That is not competency. That is some kind of perverted sense of ones privilege in the world. What shifted the sexual revolution? I was talking to an elder colleague . . . He reminded me that one of my predecessors in this congregation I am serving was notorious and eventually was encouraged to move on to bigger and better pastures as well. When he was serving a church in the area at least five women came to her and told her that clergy sexual misconduct was going on. This is a minister who was there in the 60s who went on else where and misconducted as well. Eventually he was encouraged not to pursue parish ministry.

Several comments obtained from interviews also confirmed that some UU clergy succumbed to the sexual acting out that characterized the sexual revolution:
General Assembly hospitality suites in the late 60s and early 70s were reserved for UUA districts to get together with other members. This very legitimate use was distorted with a lot of drinking and hooking up. It was a cultural thing this involvement with other persons was joked about and common behavior among ministers. The culture was a very free kind of culture. It was like adolescent boys acting out. It was the time of Hugh Hefner. Liberal ministers were more vulnerable because they didn’t have the ethical context of other denominations. (misconducting minister’s name) marked the end of this era and such behavior. It dealt a death blow to the old norms that reflected a, “why don’t we just love one another”. The case of (misconducting minister’s name) was very tough on some staff.

Another respondent’s comments again reinforce what others have already said,
and that is, the sexual revolution was a real phenomenon that clearly impacted clergy:
Many UU clergy were very much in the midst of the sexual revolution. While some of the sexual acting out took place in many denominations I maintain that there was more visible acting out among UUs.

Another minister confirms a reality that is becoming clearer: for some UU clergy, the sexual revolution took its toll. However, this particular respondent/minister provides some insights into the rationale of ministers. It wasn’t just about “wandering across the boundaries” but some clergy actually believed that they were acting responsibly and progressively:
Let us not forget that we UU ministers back in the 1970s were in the forefront of the sexual revolution, liberating our congregations, supporting trendy, societal fads as open marriage, the joy of sex and “do your own thing.” We played with fire and some of us got burned. One generation of UUs knoweth not what the previous generation advocated.

On the average it takes a congregation ten years to heal from clergy sexual misconduct. This interim minister/respondents’ comments allude to the long-term effects of clergy sexual misconduct. Fourteen years following the original misconduct the interim is seeking ways to chip away at the denial and other lingering emotions of the members. Understanding the long term effects of clergy sexual misconduct and second circle fall-out are essential to any pastor of a congregation where there has been a history of misconduct:
My presenting the larger historical overview of the sexual revolution in the sermon proved a good indirect way of addressing the issues of ministerial sexual misconduct that occurred here in the 60’s. (that minister is now deceased). Some of the congregation had retreated into denial of the past abuses, apparently because they thought it might sully their reputation with perspective candidates in their current search. I had been looking for individuals who were here in the congregation at the time of the abuses who would be willing to make private confirmation of the widely rumored abuses. This sermon led one such individual to confirm & share extensively about the abuses, and gave me leads to several more. Where do I go next with all this?

Hearing numerous accounts of sexual acting out during the so called sexual revolution one might speculate whether the behavior was a result of the changing societal norms, UUs liberal theology and/or UUisms emphasis on individualism that prompted inappropriate behavior. While there is some merit to each hypothesis, Sylvia Howe’s theory casts a different light on UU culture that she asserts influenced UU ministers. UUism she contends has a tendency to “leap ahead without the support of its roots.” She cites the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-Vietnam War Movement and the Sexual Revolution as times when UUs leaped because they are strong on “wings” but weak on roots. Howe noted the enthusiasm and excitement of UUs approaching the sexual revolution. She noted the following:
[M]any wanted to be on the cutting edge of this free and casual exercise of sexuality. Experimentation of all sorts occurred in our congregations. Boundaries were set aside. Open marriage, specifically understood as meaning sexually open marriage, became quite prevalent. General Assembly became a meeting ground for those wanting an opportunity to explore away from home. As Paul was registering for GA one year, he heard one of the volunteers at the registration table quite openly ask another, whom had apparently just met, I see that you are wearing a wedding ring. Do you have an open marriage? Professional leaders of congregations, ministers were not exempt from being swept up in this sexual tide, and sometimes were in the forefront. Boundaries were not part of the dialogue, but clearly boundaries were being torn down, and those who attempted to maintain clear boundaries were often derided. . . Sexual acting out by male colleagues seemed at times to become a sport. The consequences of this game were widely ignored.

Another respondent noted a very troubling realization that many misconducting ministers early on felt they were awakening women’s sexuality. This same individual came in during the early years of female ministers and indicated she was sexually harassed by both ministers and lay members. She eventually had to change her phone number to an unlisted number because an alcoholic church member was harassing her.
The following minister’s comments allude to the commonly held “fifty mile rule” that is still practiced by some UU ministers today who strive to maintain a social network outside of their congregations:
When I entered the parish ministry in 1960, sexual ethics were not explicitly addressed. If you could not control your libido or go into therapy, there was the 50 mile radius rule. (That is) you conducted your “affair” 50 miles from your parish, the guidelines were: be discreet, be careful and be incognito.

Another respondent, Diane Miller contended that the “50 mile rule” was an absurdity and that it was the wrong sort of guidelines to encourage.
Identifying the Theological Foundation That Guides the UUA’s Institutional Response to Clergy Sexual Misconduct

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burden, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
-Isaiah 58:6.

As a covenanting community, UUs champion the sacredness of human life and honor the “inherent worth and dignity of every person.” This widely held belief is embraced by most UUs and is articulated in the first, second and third Principles and Purposes of the UUA that identify the belief in: 1) the inherent worth and dignity of every person; 2) justice, equity and compassion in human relations and 3) acceptance of one another. These declarative statements clearly express primacy for the sanctity of life. This section focuses on the second research question: What theology/ideology guides the UUAs institutional response to clergy sexual misconduct? The researcher will describe the findings and conclude with an analysis of those findings. The researcher has already noted the UUA Principles and Purposes that guide many UU’s values and behaviors. However, in a creedless religion such as UUism there is an even greater need to be grounded in theology/idealogy to provide clarity. The emphasis in UUism is on the community of believers and their covenantal relationships with one another. When individuals are in integrity with one another and honoring their covenants they are said to be in “right relations.” When the trust is broken or the bonds of friendship are broken due to some rift then they are out of right relations or out of integrity. The word covenant means promise. One promises to hold one another in the bonds of friendship. UUism is a covenantal religious community. Thus, violations of the covenant constitute broken-ness.
There are several factors that explain the failure of the UUA to center its response to clergy sexual misconduct in a theological perspective: 1) diversity of theologies poses challenges; 2) UU’s inadequate response to sin/evil; 3) reluctance to engage reverent language and 4) congregational polity.
The paper trail of research documents testified to the longevity of the issue and the UUA’s historical efforts to address clergy sexual misconduct beginning most noticeably in the early 1990s. The incident that enraged a sufficient number of UUs eventually challenged the UUA to change the institutional and thus the individual norms that governed clergy sexual misconduct. So while there was a proliferation of documents and infrastructure initiatives that reflected the UUA’s efforts there did not appear to be parallel efforts signifying a theological perspective. Using a simple definition of theology to frame this discussion, the researcher will guide the reader through the analysis of the findings: “theology—the study of religion and of religious ideas and beliefs; a branch of theology treating God and God’s relation to the world; reflecting on the ultimate meaning and value of life” Ultimate meaning and value are approached differently depending on the theology embraced. The researcher’s findings suggest that the UUA has not, for the most part, used a theological grounding to inform its institutional response to clergy sexual misconduct. While the UUA stepped up with considerable commitment and resources to address the issue of clergy sexual misconduct after the 1992 GA incident their institutional response has been almost exclusively guided and framed from a “secular” or humanistic perspective. Extensive efforts by the researcher only uncovered two documents generated through the UUA that explicitly addressed clergy sexual misconduct using a theological foundation and approach. The first, a six page document written in April, 1994 by Reverend Lucinda S. Duncan, titled, The Role and Purpose of Our UUA Principles as Language, Framework, Ground and Guide. This document emphasized the role of UUA as a “religiously centered, rather than a legally self-protective, Association.” It essentially addressed the needs of emotional systems with conflicting priorities and claims and encouraged these systems, that is, the UUA, ministers, MFC and families to seek guidance in their Principles and Purposes. Duncan highlighted a problem that this researcher noted with the UUA’s legal guidance that sometimes fails to address the needs of victim/survivors in favor of the institutional well being. On at least one occasion several years ago when the researcher inquired about counseling for a victim/survivor this researcher was told that to provide any funds for the victim/survivor would indicate guilt and thus the UUA’s protocols did not allow financial support for the victim/survivor. However, the misconducting minister and his wife were being subsidized to attend marital counseling. This example points out a fundamental failure of the UUA to be victim/survivor focused. Advocacy for victim/survivors appeared to be one of the weakest links in the UUA’s response to clergy sexual misconduct. Duncan’s statement clearly addresses similar concerns and she aligns herself with the victim/survivor in her observation that expresses her concerns that the UUA’s legal counsel, holds as its first priority the “protection of the Association from suit.” Duncan consistently grounds her discussion and arguments in theological language with the constant reminder, “we are a religious association that values open and responsible access to information” and she consistently places her decision within a theological framework. She articulates the purpose for using religious language as follows: “If we cannot discuss, mediate and decide about alleged violations of clergy sexual ethics in the language and framework of our religious heritage and future, then we cease to function as a theologically grounded religious association.” The other document, a seven page discourse written by Reverend Thomas Mikelson and published in 1995 was the only other report that analyzed clergy sexual misconduct from a theological perspective. Mikelson chaired the Sexual Ethics Seminar (SES) and the paper focused on fourteen points that primarily addressed the following: 1) the congregation as a place of safety that is inherently vulnerable by virtue of its openness as a spiritual community; 2) the roles of ministry including that of sexually healthy religious professionals; 3) the presence of power dynamics and awareness of appropriate boundaries and 4) naming sexual relationships and/or sexualized behavior between a minister and a congregant as abuses of clergy power and authority. Duncan and Mikelson, as members of the Sexual Ethics Seminar began meeting monthly in the fall of 1990 with its members comprised of: Lois Ames, Charles Reinhart, William “Scotty” McLennan, Deborah Pope-Lance and Rita Van Tassel. For two years the SES gathered materials, read and reviewed information and most importantly, engaged in rigorous theological reflections. Why the emphasis on the UUA grounding its response to clergy sexual misconduct in a theological perspective? If the UUA was a non-profit as opposed to a faith based organization it would not be necessary or expected that the institutional response would reflect a theologically grounded response. But it is faith based, and while it is comprised of diverse theologies that are an integral part of who the UUA is and this researcher feels its theologies ought to rightfully inform the UUA’s response to clergy sexual misconduct. Reverend Susan Pangrel, Academic Dean at Meadville Lombard Theological School contends, “If we are a religious tradition then we need to be able to think theologically.” So what prevented the UUA from thinking theologically about the issue of clergy sexual misconduct?

Diversity of Theologies
While the diversity of theologies within UUism reflects a richness of voices that contributes to the breath and depth of UUism it can also pose some challenges. In a 1997 campaign titled, “Fulfilling the Promise” survey findings from over 9,000 respondents reflected the following theological demographics: humanists comprised forty-seven percent; earth or nature-centered comprised nineteen percent; theist comprised thirteen percent and Christians comprised nine percent of UUs. In a more recent study, James Casebolt devised twenty theological labels from which respondents were invited to choose. The respondents selected the following: humanist (fifty-four percent); agnostic (thirty-three percent); earth-centered (thirty-one percent); atheist (eighteen percent); Buddhist (seventeen percent); pagan (thirteen percent) and Christian (thirteen percent). The theological diversity alone is enough to intimidate the faint hearted. While others might find such theological diversity chaotic many UUs thrive on it, taking full advantage of the worship experience to influence liturgy. Worship services typically include diverse rituals and sermons drawing from many theologies. Worship experiences routinely include animal blessings, water communions, “talk backs” and experiential worship. In smaller congregations guest speakers from the community assume the pulpit to talk about topics ranging from their travels abroad to quantum physics relationship to spirituality to theology. And while one can appreciate the richness that these diverse theologies reflect in congregational life, this researcher would be remiss not to make passing mention of the tensions between such groups as the humanists and Christians or the pagans and Christians. These conflicts have been known to surface between the minister and the congregation but most likely emerge between members. In one instance the minister was a Christian UU and his congregation was primarily humanist. The minister eventually resigned after his Committee began to request his sermons in advance for the purpose of editing the “God talk” in them. The situation deteriorated to the extent that the Committee was editing the minister’s sermons with a red pen and returning them. UU ministers are actually entitled to “Freedom of the Pulpit,” that is, the right to freely express themselves from the pulpit. Clearly this Committee violated this ministers’ right to freedom of expression. The point of this story is to acknowledge that diversity of theologies is an important part of UU community and yet it comes with its challenges.
This researcher believes that UUA did itself an injustice by not emphasizing theology more and inviting participants from its major faith traditions to espouse its reflections on this troublesome issue—clergy sexual misconduct. This in itself would be a learning experience because of the soul searching that some of the faith communities would be forced to engage. For example, one interpretation from the Buddhist community is reflected in the controversial comments of Stephen Butterfield, an English professor. Though not a UU, Butterfield asserts that the purpose of adopting rules is to learn awareness and not to invoke sanctions for wrongdoing. The “sin” or violation is a “lapse of awareness” which can then be transformed into an occasion for honesty and further mindfulness by the confession. Butterfield views the power disparity between the teacher and student as nothing more than an illusion. Buddhists apparently have very different ideas about spirituality and sexuality. Some faith communities and theologies might speak of “sin.” UUs tend to name the misconducting behavior of ministers as broken-ness and “missing the mark.” Perhaps the failure to more forthrightly address the concept of evil and sin has prevented the UUA and other UUs from using such language. Has there been a time that the UUA and has named an action as “evil?” Yes, one of those historic moments was documented in the recently published book, Soul Work: Anti-racist Theologies in Dialogue in which thirty-two participants explored the spiritual dimensions of UU’s anti-racism work . One participant argued for viewing racism “not only as a matter of institutional structures and social power disparities, but as a profound evil.” Some of the participants perceived their work as “soul work.” This researcher contends that without a theological component to end clergy sexual misconduct the UUA’ work may remain shallow as one participant asserted about anti-racism efforts. Reverend Dianne Arakawa, the first fellowshipped Asian-American UU minister, reminded the participants of the following:
[R]acism will not be dismantled with one rational methodology. . . but when “we as a community of faith exert our moral and ethical persuasion for the Common Good […] We need to consider what is salvific, redeems lives, and makes them as holy as the stars that are set in the heavens […] We need to look at and to lift up feeling, faith, and religious community.

One possible rationale for why the UUA was able to conceptualize its anti-racism efforts and not the work to ensure safe congregations is because the UUA has been on the “Journey toward Wholeness” for a much longer time. Therefore the UUA has internalized a greater understanding of the dynamics needed to address racism. Perhaps the study of history has also helped many UUs to claim its prophetic voices that can often be recovered through a prophetic understanding of history and religion. Apparently the stakeholders felt comfortable exploring anti-racism from a theological perspective. James Luther Adams refers to the watered down version of liberal religion as “chronic theological thinners of liberal religion” that possibly prevents UUs and the UUA from engaging theological perspectives. James Luther Adams in fact came to view white racism as “our nazism” once he went abroad and met concentration camp survivors and activists fighting against facism. Luther Adams believed theology is a living tradition and not the study of a “fossilized doctrine.”
Clearly James Luther Adams viewed theology and practice as two different matters. During World War II theologians worldwide experienced a moral stumbling block, that is, they espoused one thing and practiced another when it came to Hitler’s genocide attacks against the Jews. A more recent moral stumbling was the genocide in Rwanda that claimed the lives of over 600,000 individuals. Thus, the same cultural climate that allowed the institution of slavery to flourish in this country, the same cultural climate that allowed the genocide against the Jews, and that in Rwanda, that permits modern day slavery here and abroad is the same moral stumbling that UUA fell victim and prey to prior to the 1990s. There is no doubt that the UUA knew that some ministers were misconducting and escaping consequence while others were not as fortunate or as powerful. Thus clergy sexual misconduct was a moral stumbling block for UUA. The failure to name the evil in its midst prior to 1991/2 meant it did what most of the world did during World War II, it relinquished theology to culture.

Unlike some UUs, James Luther Adams did not appear shy about his use of the term “evil.” He even talked about “satanic forces” independent of human moral control which he believed was simply a “demonic distortion of human relatedness crying out for a change of heart, mind and will.” But Paul Rasor, UU theologian and director of the Religion and Social Issues Forum at Pendle Hill, a Quaker study center, lends his cautionary voice in a very different direction that deserves serious consideration by UUs. Rasor contends that UUs failure to develop a strong theology of evil has weakened UUs prophetic voices to resist evil. One of the concrete areas this is noted is in the area of anti-racism/anti-oppression and multiculturalism. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words enrich Rasor’s assertion and remind the reader that what when prophetic voices are silenced. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Rev. Dianne Arakawa reminds UUs of some of their failures and moral stumblings around anti-racism work:
Like most of you, I can recount the tragedies of the past that still plague our Association: from the settler Indian wars of the seventeenth century in Massachusetts, Puritan policies related to slavery, the mixed Unitarian response to abolition, the unjust labor practices at the turn of the century, and the racist statements of our denominational presidents in the first half of the last century to the slowness to engage in the Civil Rights movement on the part of some of our congregations, the derailing of the Black Empowerment movement in the sixties, and the lack of support for congregations and clergy of color from Ethelred Brown’s time to our present [.]

Compounded by the fact that many UUs do not embrace the concept of original sin UUs are further handicapped in their language and their abilities to articulate a theology of evil. Instead, UUs use such language as “missing the mark” rather than sin/evil. Rev. Kim Beach believes that UUs “get worried when they talk about evil (because) they feel they’re dipping into dualism, and they have taught that dualism is bad and monism is good. Beach notes that James Luther Adams had a great deal to say about evil and even resorted to terms like demonic which he used to reference “principalities and powers” of the New Testament. Adams referred to the satanic as pure evil and the demonic as the distortion of the good. Thus evil was seen as self-perpetuating and self-justifying.
The diversity of theologies within UUism simply makes it challenging for the denominational leadership, UUA, to speak with one voice. While this feat is seldom achieved within denominational ranks it is noteworthy when it does occur. So it would be too easy to lay the absence of theological reflections at the feet of UUs theological diversity. If this is the case, why haven’t UU Christians not generated a body of scholarship that explains clergy sexual misconduct?
What does it mean to be Gods human creatures who are the objects of others oppressive behaviors or the perpetrator of such behaviors or worst still the perpetrator? While many UUs have rejected notions of women’s inferiority and women as evil seducers of men they have failed to generate thoughtful reflections that provide a theological grounding that informs a UU specific response to clergy sexual misconduct. Thus much remains to be explored in UU generated literature in the context of UU traditions and theology on the topic of clergy sexual misconduct.
UUs strong social justice orientation is a result of their identification with the “downtrodden, the dispossessed, disinherited, with the exploited and the oppressed.”

UUs principles view human life as sacred and encourage right relations among individuals. Acts of clergy sexual misconduct break faith with these beliefs. Furthermore, the breach of professional boundaries and breaking of trust denies authentic love or agape love, a concept while usually attributed to theism can be applied to UUism. UUA’s failure to grapple with the theological underpinnings of its response to clergy sexual misconduct points to a serious deficiency in moving forward with a visionary and prophetic voice. It also pointed out a number of long standing concerns: 1) theological diversity 2) reluctance to tackle language of reverence; 3) failure to produce contemporary theologians possessing prophetic vision and voices; and 4) their resistance to internalizing and naming power as a crucial ingredient in clergy sexual misconduct. This researcher believes that inviting reflections amongst the laity and clergy representing the dominant theologies and eventually all the theologies within UUism will go a long way in getting at the core beliefs that represent some common theological grounding for UUs. So while this process maybe time consuming and certainly will not eliminate clergy sexual misconduct in our lifetime it will create some common language and bonds across the vastly diverse theologies represented in UUism. By doing so this allows UUs to stand as allies with victim/survivors while holding perpetrators accountable through a model using Restorative Justice. Clergy sexual abuse is an affront to the Gospel or good news of UUism and goes against what it means to “honor the inherent worth and dignity of all.” The ministry of UU is to clearly hold its prophetic voice and “name violence as sin and take action to end it.
Christian identified UU’s might embrace a concept of “imago dei” that is, the notion that humans are made in the image of God. As an integral part of their theology, Christian identified UUs and other theists might also recognize concepts of good and evil - right and wrong. In contrast, many non theist UUs would not embrace what they perceive as binary thinking that appoints a God figure to symbolize all that is good and a devil that symbolizes the bad in the world . Many humanist identified UUs while holding no notions of God, do profess belief as a covenanting community that champions the sacredness of human life. Humanist identified UUs like most other UUs honor the bonds and closeness of community although they may not share common theologies. Theologies that promote the sanctity of community is a commonly woven thread that is consistent with many world religions. Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.’s theology of oneness that recognized humankind as one family ultimately produced the concept of “Beloved Community.” Given UUs dedication to social justice issues and public witnessing it was not surprising that there would be a justice paradigm guiding the efforts to address clergy sexual misconduct. What was surprising was the lack of a theological framework. Yet the “chronic theological thinness” of liberal religion that James Luther Adams references suggests the validity of his observation.
The Transformative Power of Social Action – Standing with the Oppressed: Prophetic Voices and Social Witnesses

We will not solve the problems of the world from the level of thinking we were at when we created them. - Einstein

Institutions are slow and cumbersome to change. UUA is no different. Assuming moral responsibility is an important and necessary strategy they embody. Such an approach maintains the institutional vision for changing cumbersome institutions and naming clergy sexual misconduct. To that end UUA has kept faith with its vision of social justice by claiming the inherent worth and dignity of each and every individual. So while their distinctive faith claims should not make them morally superior to others it should encourage their prophetic voice in standing with the oppressed. Advocacy groups have had a major role in moving institutions in society and the UUA has not been without its own committed passionate groups that have helped move things toward justice. While this research has addressed some of the institutional endeavors to shift the culture toward a zero tolerance of clergy sexual misconduct the research revealed the names of two victim/survivors that surfaced. While there are other countless and nameless individuals that deserve equal attention this individual symbolizes the courageous ability to transform the life threatening experience of sexual abuse. In turn she was able to heal and continue to heal and went on to help countless others through her courage and grace. This is Kim Phuntsok Doma Meston’s story:

UNITARIAN GUILTY ON 6 CHARGES. Northboro, Massachusets Minister Mack W. Mitchell, 56 at the time, was convicted on 6 of 23 charges of sexual assault involving a Tibetan woman who testified he sexually abused her as a teenager after offering to sponsor her education in this country. “I came here with a lot of wonderful dreams, and my dreams were shattered, “said Kim who is now 37. With the conviction, “I can dream again and become a whole person again.” Rape and assault-battery charges are still pending against him by another Tibetan woman. (Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette 5/15/92.
The victim, Kim was 16 years old when she left a Tibetan refugee camp. Reverend Mitchell had served approximately 27 years at the UU church. Kim, in a recent interview on the Oprah Show contended that, “My life was hell.” One week after she arrived the inappropriate touching started that eventually escalated to rape. When Kim realized what was happening to her she tried to make the minister cease his abuse. Instead, he threatened her. He made her believe her parents would go to prison. Mitchell tried to intimidate her into believing that no one would take her word over a respected minister like himself. Kim recalls that over the six years things got worse. “He started to use foreign objects to penetrate me. He got sicker and sicker. I didn’t understand how a man of God could do this.” Kim recounted her feelings as she prepared to testify against her rapist, “A week before he bought my two cousins over two members of the congregation approached (me) with suspicions they had that something was going on. I testified against him. It was very scary and frightening. I came out with the story because he was going to victimize my cousins.”
For many years Kim attempted to put the past behind her. In 1995 she attended the World Conference on Women in Beijing as part of the Tibetan delegation. She shared these poignant words, “I found strength and solidarity with women from around the world who shared their struggles and vision in a way that made many of our cultural and ethnic differences secondary . . . I started to see the connections between my own experiences and that of many others. I discovered I had buried so many feelings and beliefs and as they emerged I was able to express myself with a sense of authority I never knew I had. I was able to move through the anger I was holding and use that energy for positive change . . . It has fueled my activism for Tibetan human rights . . . I now co-direct the Massachusetts- based Trafficking Victims Outreach & Services Network”

Dr. Luis N. Rivera-Pagan's Observations on Doing Pastoral Theology in a Post-Colonial Context

2007 Annual Study Conference
Society for Pastoral Theology
San Juan, Puerto Rico
June 14, 2007.

Doing Pastoral Theology in a Post-Colonial Context:Some observations from the Caribbean
Luis N. Rivera-Pagán

The letter proceeds to “describe” the lands and the people. Those descriptions would be their first inscriptions in European literature and would forge their initial construct in Western Christian imagination. Columbus’s text becomes euphoric – the islands are a paradise: their beauty, splendor, and magnificence are unsurpassed. The possessed lands, the letter continues, also enjoy incomparable wealth. They contain immense resources of great value – cotton, spices, gum mastic, rhubarb, cinnamon, aloe wood, and “a thousand other things of value.” Above all, the lands have incredible amounts of gold, or thus asserts writes Columbus, “their Highnesses can see that I shall give them as much gold as they want . . .” [225/14]. Gold abounds everywhere in the possessed islands, according, at least, to the alchemist’s eyes of Columbus.
Gold in this epistle is a symbol of material wealth. It would soon acquire, in other Columbus’s texts, spiritual and transcendent value. American gold becomes, in his last writings, the means to wage the final and decisive crusade to repossess the Holy Land, which would be triumphant if he, the divinely elected Christopherens, leads it. In his feverish 1503 letter from Jamaica, after reiterating to the Crown that he has discovered King Solomon’s mines, the richest possible source of gold, he even confers redeeming efficacy to gold: “Gold is most excellent . . . it is even able to put souls into heaven.”

My hope for the twenty-first [century] is that it will see the first fruits . . . of the process of “re-storying” peoples who had been knocked silent by the trauma of all kinds of dispossession.
Chinua Achebe

Postcolonial theory in a colonial situation
The main theme of this annual study conference of the Society for Pastoral Theology is “Doing Pastoral Theology in a Post-Colonial Context: Intercultural Models of Pastoral Care and Theology.” I find it highly ironic to converse about postcolonial perspectives in, of all places, Puerto Rico, a Caribbean island that has been aptly described by one of our foremost juridical scholars as “the oldest colony of the world.” Christopher Columbus claimed possession of the island for the crown of Castile in November of 1493 and it remained part of the Spanish empire till 1898, when it was conquered by the United States.

The transfer of sovereignty, from Madrid to Washington, was accomplished through the two classical ways of solving conflicts among powerful nations: war and diplomacy. War in tropical Caribbean and the Philippines; diplomacy later in elegant Paris. No need to consult the Natives. Washington, Madrid, and Paris: these were the sites of privileged historical agency. Early 1898 Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony; at the end of that fateful year, it had become a colony of the United States. These were the initial stages of imperial pax americana. From the Philippines and Guam, in the Pacific, to Cuba and Puerto Rico, in the Caribbean, the American ideology of manifest destiny, with its strong religious undertones, was transgressing national boundaries.

We have learnt much from Edward Said, Homi Bhabha, Gayatry Spivak, and Walter Mignolo about colonial discourse. And even before these four distinguished émigrés, there were the critical analyses of colonial ideology and mentality drafted by Franz Fanon and Albert Memmi. The colonized subjects providing theoretical paradigms to their colonizers? Dislocated, “out of place” Third World intellectuals giving lessons to the masters of the world? Quite a paradox of these postcolonial times!
Colonial discourse is the mystification of imperial dominion. It crafts by persuasion what the mechanisms of coercion are unable to achieve: fine-tunes the consent and admiration of the colonized subjects. It diffuses and affirms imperial ideological hegemony. Its greatest creation is what V. S. Naipaul has called mimic men. When the U. S. troops invaded Puerto Rico, their commanding general, Nelson Appleton Miles, of notorious reputation due to his participation in the Wounded Knee massacre, made the following proclamation “to the Inhabitants of Porto Rico”:
“In the prosecution of the war against the Kingdom of Spain by the people of the United States, in the cause of liberty, justice, and humanity, its military forces have come to occupy the island of Porto Rico. They come bearing the banner of Freedom . . .

We have come to promote your prosperity and bestow upon you the . . . blessings of the liberal institutions of our government . . . the advantages and blessings of enlightened civilization.”

In 1493, and more firmly in 1508, the Spaniards came to Puerto Rico with the proclaimed purpose of converting their idolatrous inhabitants to the one and only true religion, Christianity, and to teach them how to live according to the European norms of a civil and ordered society. In 1898, the Americans came to impart upon us, poor tropical barbarians, the blessings of liberty, justice, humanity, and enlightened civilization. To crown its generosity, in 1917, without consulting “the Inhabitants of Porto Rico,” (again, who cares about the views and feelings of colonized subjects?) Washington bestowed upon us the gift of American citizenship. That citizenship has allowed our people to participate in the military adventures of Washington to extend its “empire of freedom,” from the First World War trenches to the streets of Baghdad and Fallujah. And, as a bonus, we do not need to mess with any of the crucial decisions regarding our political condition and fate. We can rest assured that those decisions, usually important dimensions of democratic sovereignty, are well taken care by the wisdom and benevolence of the powers that be in Washington. How fortunately colonial we Puerto Ricans have been!
If we are going to converse seriously about postcolonial perspectives for pastoral theology, let us first be aware of our specific actual site of enunciation: a place where colonial discourses are not merely a matter of historical memory, but where the coloniality of power still prevails and shapes the lives and subjectivities of Puerto Ricans. A place where the empire is not nameless or incognito: You happen to be its citizens.

It is important to identify with specificity the site where this study conference takes place for two main reasons: 1) To be aware of the dissonance between the main theme of the event - “Doing Pastoral Theology in a Post-Colonial Context” – and its location, a colonial context whose residents are still deprived of the political rights basic to any democratic sovereign state. 2) As there can be no doubt about the identity of the empire exercising hegemony over this island, for its signs and traces are everywhere, this Society for Pastoral Theology, therefore, cannot evade the challenge recently raised in its journal by Ryan La Mothe, whether the American ecclesiastical profession of pastoral theology will collude or collide with the ways and goals of its national empire.

I am not trying to suggest that your Society selected the wrong place to discuss postcolonialism. If the connotations of the so much in vogue and debated prefix “post” (as in postmodernism, post-structuralism, post-Christendom), are not restricted to a temporal sequence, that which comes after, but rather signify the geopolitical mechanisms of dominion and control, and, dialectically, the counter processes of resistance and defiance, curiously enough a modern colonial situation like Puerto Rico might be the best place to analyze postcoloniality. Here classical structures of colonial subjection, neocolonial processes of economic and financial control, the mimicry and mockery of colonized mentality, and the different patterns of national self-affirmation, resistance and disobedience, converge in peculiarly promiscuous ways.

Still, what a curious and delightful irony that I, a colonized subject, has been invited to talk about pastoral theology in a post-colonial context to citizens of the empire that rules over my people! Maybe this is another occasion to reiterate Gayatri Spivak’s famous question, “can the subaltern speak?”

Coloniality and diaspora
To the ambivalence of a postcolonial colony, whose residents as citizens of the empire can claim in the courts the civil liberties of their citizenship but not its political rights, we should add the crucial fact that approximately half of the Puerto Rican population resides in mainland United States. Legally, those Puerto Ricans are not migrants. Psychologically and culturally, they are. They belong to the history of modern diasporas. And diasporas are the source of the bewildering multiculturalism of the postmodern mega cities.
Migration and diaspora are crucial dimensions of Puerto Rico’s modern history. It is a experience shared by colonial peoples all over the world, which nowadays has also become an important theme in postcolonial cultural studies. But, as Homi Bhabha has stressed, diaspora is an important object of critical analysis because it is the sociohistorical existential context of many displaced Third World peoples: “For the demography of the new internationalism is the history of postcolonial migration, the narratives of cultural and political diaspora . . . the poetics of exile . . .”

Diaspora entails dislocation, displacement, but also a painful and complex process of forging new strategies to articulate cultural differences and identifications. In the Western cosmopolis, with its heterogeneous and frequently conflicting ethnocultural minorities that belie the mythical e pluribus unum, the émigré exists in ambivalent tension. The diasporic person frequently feels, alas, “like a man without a passport who is turned away from every harbour,” the anguished dread that haunts the persecuted priest of Graham Greene’s magnificent novel, The Power and the Glory.
Often, nostalgia grips his or her soul, in the beautiful words of a biblical lamentation:
“By the rivers of Babylon –
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.
. . .
How could we sing the Lord’s
in a foreign land?”
Psalm 137: 1, 4 (NRSV)

Frequently, however, and sometimes simultaneously, the displacement of migration creates a new a space of liberation from the atavistic constraints and bondages of the native cultural community and opens new vistas, perspectives, and horizons. To repressed persons, exile in a metropolis like London, Paris, or New York could convey an expansion of individual autonomy, even if its sinister hidden side might turn out to be despair or death. Diasporic existence, as Bhabha has so forcefully reiterated, questions fixed and static notions of cultural and communal identity. In the diaspora, identity is not conceived as a pure essence to be nostalgically preserved, but as an emancipatory project to be fashioned, in an alien territory, in a foreign language, as a polyphonic process of creative imagination. In many instances, “the restoration of a collective sense of identity and historical agency in home country may well be mediated through the diaspora.”
As Walter Mignolo has so provocatively asserted, diaspora, as a site of critical enunciation, compels the rethinking of the geopolitical distinction, so dear to many Third World thinkers, between center and periphery, and elicits a border thinking that changes not only the content, but also the terms of intellectual global dialogue. The émigré’s cultural differences engender subaltern significations that resist the cultural cannibalism of the metropolitan melting pot. Diasporic communities are, to quote once more Bhabha, “wandering peoples who will not be contained within the Heim of the national culture and its unisonant discourse, but are themselves the marks of a shifting boundary that alienates the frontiers of the modern nation.”

The existential dislocation of diaspora, its cultural hybridity, recreates the polymorphous ethnic and racial sources of many migrant communities. Asked to whom does she owe allegiance, Clare, the Jamaican protagonist of Michelle Cliff’s novel No Telephone to Heaven, replies: “I have African, English, Carib in me.” She is a mestiza moving between Kingston, New York, and London, searching for a place to call home, torn between the quest for solidarity in the forging of a common identity and the lure of solitude in a strange land. To be part of a pilgrim diaspora is a difficult and complex challenge, which, to avoid utopian illusions, must be faced having in mind the superb irony of that master of twentieth century skepticism, himself a displaced wanderer, James Joyce: “We were always loyal to lost causes . . . Success is for us the death of the intellect and of the imagination.”
From the margins of empires and metropolitan centers of powers, in the crossroads of borders and frontiers, in the proximity of heterogeneous and frequently conflictive cultural worlds, in the maelstroms of the global mega cities and the virtual imagined communities of the internet, arise constantly new challenges to the structures of international structures of power and control. There colonial discourses meet their nemesis: postcolonial defiance. In the ecumenicity of diaspora, to quote again Bhabha, “we must not change merely the narratives of our histories, but transform our sense of what it means to live, to be, in other times and different places, both human and historical.”
It is usually there, in the counter invasion of the others, the colonized barbarians, into the realms of the lords of the world, that the silenced peoples find the sonority of their voices and reconfigure their historical sagas into meaningful human stories. The savage shadows of Heart of Darkness dare to disrupt the imperial monologue. They hybridize the language of the colonizers to reshape and narrate their own histories. As Chinua Achebe, engaged in a critical dialogue with the specter of Joseph Conrad, so eloquently has written in a text significantly titled Home and Exile, “My hope for the twenty-first [century] is that it will see the first fruits . . . of the process of ‘re-storying’ peoples who had been knocked silent by the trauma of all kinds of dispossession.”
For the early Christian communities, diaspora was a constant perspective in their way of living and understanding their faith, as expressed in a letter written by an anonymous Christian author of the second or third century: “They [Christians] take part in everything as citizens and put up with everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their home, and every home a foreign land.” The Bible itself, as a canonic sacred text, is a literary creature of the diaspora, for the Old Testament was born from the sufferings of the dispersed Hebrew nation and the New Testament was written in the koine Greek, the lingua franca of many diasporic peoples of the Hellenistic age. The New Testament faith is, in many ways, a devout endless wandering to the unreachable ends of the world and ends of times, in search of God and human solidarity. The concept of diaspora could thus be a significant crossroad of encounter, a dialectical hinge, between postcolonial cultural studies and theological hermeneutics.

Puerto Ricans constitute an important part of the US Latino/Hispanic population, that sector of the American society whose growth, in the view of many, enriches multicultural diversity, but has also led Samuel P. Huntington to warn that it constitutes a “major potential threat to the cultural and possibly political integrity of the United States.” How interesting that the former prophet of the “clash of civilizations,” beyond the frontiers of the American colossus, has now become the apostle of the “clash of cultures,” within its borders. According to this eminent Harvard professor, the main problem of Latino/Hispanics is not the illegality in which many of them incur to reside in the US, but the threat they represent to the American national identity and its traditional “Anglo-Protestant” culture.

In that clash of cultures, Puerto Ricans have displayed quite an impressive array of survival techniques, what James C. Scott has aptly called “weapons of the weak.” We excel in the “double consciousness,” the transculturation, and the border thinking that Walter Mignolo has so suggestively rescued from the African American W. E. B. Dubois, the Cuban Fernando Ortiz, and the Chicana Gloria Anzaldúa. In Puerto Rico, we take delight in our Spanish language, in the mainland we share the linguistic fate of the diaspora and experience “the pain and perverse pleasure of writing in a second language,” in the words of that exceptional Haitian scholar Michel-Rolph Trouillot. The experience of heteroglossia, of thinking, speaking, and writing in a different language, opens unexpected spaces for a heterodox understanding of the hybridizing encounters of peoples and cultures.

The colonial situation, encompassing its ensuing cultural symbiosis, its political and juridical dissolution, and the persisting socioeconomics inequities, constitute the mediate historical matrix of many modern diasporas and, thus, the source of the multicultural collisions in the imperial metropolitan centers. In the words of William Schweiker, University of Chicago professor of theological ethics,
“International cities are a ‘place’ in which people’s identities, sense of self, others, and the wider world, as well as values and desires, are locally situated but altered by global dynamics . . . The compression of the world found in massive cities is thus a boon for the formation of new self-understandings, especially for dislocated peoples . . . This is especially pointed when those ‘others’ are implicated in histories of suffering. The compression of the world confronts us with the problem of how to live amid others, even enemies.”
In the borderlands a new poetic of political resistance is developed, as the late Gloria Anzaldúa so hauntingly perceived:
“In the Borderlands
you are the battleground
where enemies are kin to each other;
you are at home, a stranger . . .
To survive in the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads.”

Herein can be found the roots of one of the main themes of this study conference: how to develop intercultural models of pastoral care and theology. The postmodern and postcolonial mega cities compress times and spaces into borderlands of cultures, religiosities, traditions, and values. There it is impossible to evade the gaze of the others and the crucial biblical question - “who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 29) - acquires new connotations. A new sensitivity has to be forged to the rendering ambivalences, the sorrows and joys, of the diasporic existence of peoples who live day and night with the uncanny feeling of being gentile aliens within the gates of holy Jerusalem.

Theology and postcolonial studies: a critical observation
It is not surprising that Bible scholars – Fernando Segovia, R. S. Sugistharajah, Stephen D. Moore, Musa Dube, Roland Boer, Tat-Siong Benny Liew, and Richard Horsley, among others - have been first and foremost among the theological disciplines to pay close attention to postcolonial theories. After all, it is impossible to evade the pervasive ubiquity of empires, imperial conquests, and anti-colonial resistances in the Jewish-Christian sacred Scriptures. The geopolitical expansions or contractions of the Egyptian, Chaldean, Assyrian, Persian, and Roman empires constitute the main historical substratum of the entire biblical corpus.
From the Exodus saga to the anti-Roman apocalyptic visions of Revelation only a fruitless strategy of hermeneutical evasion could suppress the importance of imperial hegemony in the configuration of human existence and religious faith in the Bible. Even a comprehensive study of gender and sex in the Bible has to take into consideration the different ways in which Esther and Judith use their female sexuality in historical instances in which the fate of the children of Abraham is dangerously at the stake of a powerful empire. How to forget that Jesus was executed in a Roman cross as a political subversive? Any theory of atonement that elides the intense political drama of the last days of Jesus transforms it in an abstract unhistorical dogma, or in a display of tasteless masochism à la Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004).

Thus, it was to be expected that biblical scholars would be the first in the academic fields of religious studies to incorporate the emphases on geopolitical hegemony and resistance provided by postcolonial theories to the array of other contemporary hermeneutical perspectives. The question raised by R. S. Sugirtharajah, however, is poignant indeed:
“One of the weighty contributions of postcolonial criticism has been to put issues relating to colonialism and imperialism at the center of critical and intellectual inquiry . . . What is striking about systematic theology is the reluctance of its practitioners to address the relation between European colonialism and the field. There has been a marked hesitancy to critically evaluate the impact of the empire among systematic theologians.”
To be fair, some theologians are beginning to give serious consideration to crucial issues of geopolitical power. Creative theologians, like Catherine Keller, Mark Lewis Taylor, Kwok Pui-lan, Wonhee Anne Joh, and Joerg Rieger have begun to face with intellectual rigor and rhetorical elegance the challenges raised by postcolonial studies. Though I do not have the expertise to assess the situation in the disciplines of practical and pastoral theology, this study conference seems to be a clear indication that a meaningful, fruitful, and critical dialogue is beginning to emerge between its practitioners and postcolonial theories. For that dialogue, the Caribbean, just where you are meeting right now, might be the best place to start.

Let me explain this last statement that might sound rather perplexing. Fernando Segovia has written a precise and concise exposition of the convergence between biblical scholarship and postcolonial studies. Never an uncritical reader, Segovia raises several poignant critiques to the latter. Two of them are particularly relevant to the argument I want to develop. First, the lack of attention, by most postcolonial intellectuals, to the Latin American and Caribbean Iberian imperial formations as they developed between the end of the fifteenth century and the first decades of the seventeenth. Second, the scarcity of analysis of religion as a crucial dimension of the imperial-colonial ideological frameworks. To quote Segovia on this second issue:
“It is almost as if religious texts and expressions did not form part of the cultural production and as if religious institutions and practices did not belong to the social matrix of imperial-colonial frameworks. I would argue . . . that religion is to be acknowledged and theorized as a constitutive component of such frameworks, and a most important one . . .”

The existential relevance of both issues for Segovia, a Cuban-born person who describes himself as “a student of religion in general and of the Christian religion in particular,” seems obvious. I, as another Caribbean-born student of religion in general and of the Christian religion in particular, share both concerns. It is hard to deny that Segovia is partially right, for he is referring to the postcolonial cultural studies as they emerged from the twilight of the European empires that developed in the wake of the Enlightenment. What has been named by some historians the classic age of Empire is the basic matrix whence the critical texts of Said, Bhabha, and Spivak emerge.

In many postcolonial texts we learn a lot about the multifarious resonances of the notorious 1835 Macaulay’s Minute on Indian Education, but almost nothing about the intense theological, juridical debates and philosophical debates (Francisco de Vitoria, Bartolomé de las Casas, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, José de Acosta) during the sixteenth Spanish conquest of the Americas, despite the fact that they anticipate most of the latter colonial and anti-colonial discourses. The discussion by Vitoria about the justice of the wars against the Native Americans foreshadows all posterior arguments on the legitimacy of imperial wars. The dispute between Las Casas and Sepúlveda about the rationality of the Native Americans and the adequacy of conversion by conquest inaugurates a long series of similar latter debates. The lengthy treatise of Acosta on the Christianization and civilization of the American “barbarians” is paragon of subsequent analogous imperial justifications. In these texts and debates, Aristotle’s concept of “barbarian” is resurrected and transmogrified to denote peoples who assessed as uncivilized and heathen by Christian Europeans can be thus subject to conquest and dominion.
Even a very useful introductory text in the field, Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts, edited by Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin, proceeds as if the sixteenth century Iberian empires never existed or as if religious discourses have never been used as motivation for conquest and colonization. The end result of those analytical occlusions is the homogenization of imperial experiences and, therefore, also of colonial defiance.

Segovia is therefore right in his critique to the mainstream postcolonial studies. Yet, his critique reiterates that same mistake. He also excludes from the rather porous and vague boundaries of postcolonial studies authors that do in fact give serious attention to both the Iberian sixteenth century imperial formations and to the role of religious discourses in those geopolitical structures of control and dominion. The initial shaping of European imperial expansion in Latin America and the Caribbean during the sixteenth century, in conjunction with the emergence of early modernity, capitalist accumulation, transatlantic slave trade, the proclamation of the Christian gospel as imperial ideology, and the othering of non European peoples have been topics of rigorous academic publications by two Argentinean émigrés, Walter Mignolo and Enrique Dussel. Lewis Hanke and Anthony Pagden have also dealt extensively with that complex configuration of themes, engaging frequently in a comparative critical analysis with more recent empires. To expand the analytical horizon of the postcolonial discussion, let us briefly do a “contrapuntal reading” (Edward Said) of one of the first documents in which the European eyes gaze lustfully at the place in which this annual study conference takes place: the Caribbean.

Columbus and the rhetorics of possession
The last decades of the fifteenth century and the entire sixteenth were times of adventurous European overseas explorations. Ships from Portugal and Castile were constantly encountering exotic lands and peoples. The European elite desired to know. Designing strategic plans for political dominion, economic enrichment, and religious mission required information. Cupidity for knowledge, gold, spices, and souls to redeem was the order of the day. Letters frequently provided that knowledge. They conveyed expeditiously to the European ruling sectors the wondrous impressions of travelers, explorers, and conquerors. The epistle was the door by which many of those recently found lands and communities were registered in European literary historiography. Paradoxically, that historical inscription was the source of the historical annihilation of many of those communities.
Many of those letters became the substratum of subsequent historical works, as was the case with Peter Martyr of Anghiera’s Decades of the New World, which was built upon his correspondence to several highly placed Renaissance dignitaries. One of Amerigo Vespucci’s epistles, the famed “novus mundus” text, was the peculiar source for the general name of the lands that we inhabit, the Americas. Hernán Cortés epistolary is still a model of the literary construction of colonial conquest. The dawn of modernity was accompanied by territorial expansion and a new literary passion.

A letter written by Christopher Columbus, on February 15, 1493, was the first window of perception regarding the islands and peoples encountered during his first exploration of what is now called, thanks to one of his many linguistic confusions, the Caribbean. This brief epistle forged the first images of those lands and communities in the European Christian mentality. It is a founding text; a primal document that initiates a literature of imperialism. Columbus’s letter shrewdly constructs a lasting vision of lands and peoples; it is one of the first instances of colonial discourse and imperial gaze.
Samuel Eliot Morison titled it “The letter of Columbus announcing the discovery of America.” A careful reading of the text, however, disturbs the certainty of that traditional title. First, the epistle never refers to “America” – Columbus simply writes that he had “reached the Indies” [219/7]. His “triumph,” in his mind, is opening a new and profitable route of navigation to the “Indies,” not discovering a new continent. But, more importantly, Columbus never uses the term “discovery” or the verb “discover.” The concept of the “discovery of America” was a later invention, as Edmundo O’Gorman exhaustively demonstrated in lengthy monographs. The event has been named “discovery of America” as a way of beautifying its image and silencing its tragic dimensions. Naming it “discovery” is nothing but a semantic asepsis of the event.

What does, therefore, Columbus want to narrate? “Sir . . . I reached the Indies . . . And there I found very many islands filled with people without number, and of them all, I have taken possession . . . of all I have taken possession for their Highnesses . . .” [219, 223/7, 12]. The letter does not narrate a discovery, but an event of taking possession. This, for Columbus, is the core of his enterprise: the act of taking possession of the lands and peoples he encounters.
Stephen Greenblatt rightly terms Columbus’s performance of taking possession a linguistic act, a discursive, scriptural operation. “For Columbus, taking possession is principally the performance of a set of linguistic acts: declaring, witnessing, recording.” But, we need to be more precise: It is a linguistic act that is not merely inscribed in a literary text – the epistle. It is also registered in the appropriate legal archive. It is a juridical linguistic act by means of which a formal declaration of legal appropriation is rendered. Columbus carefully registers the data he believes to encounter (much of it are monumental confusions) in a protocol with juridical fateful consequences. As a juridical inscription, he is scrupulous inscribing that the proper ceremony of taking possession has been performed – “by proclamation and with the royal standard displayed” –registering that nobody contradicted it - “and nobody objected” [219/7].
The literary act of taking possession is thus also a juridical linguistic act and a liturgical enactment, a ceremony, in which royal banners are displayed and some kind of religious ritual is performed (prayer, invocation of the divine name, erecting a cross) for it is in the name of God, and not only of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand that the event takes place. Thus, at the beginning and the end of his epistle, Columbus expresses gratitude to “the eternal God, Our Lord,” the author of “the great victory which has crowned” his expedition. The text in which the possession of the encountered lands and peoples is narrated has a juridical dimension and a theological justification.

The Spanish scholar Francisco Morales Padrón has studied meticulously this issue. His main conclusion is valid: “Discovery was always followed by the act of taking possession,” therefore, “discovery and conquest are part of one and the same process.” Morales Padrón, however, disregards an important dimension: every act of possessing is also an act of dispossessing. Yet, he correctly emphasizes that Columbus’s acts of taking possession, as would be reaffirmed by Pope Alexander VI in his 1493 decrees regarding Iberian expansion overseas, have a religious background. The lands have heathen princes, but such authorities do not posses authentic authority of sovereignty, thus the first Christian nation to encounter them has the theologico-juridical right to claim them. This principle will be disputed, in Vitoria’s 1539 lecture on the wars against the “Indians” and in the 1551 Valladolid debate between Las Casas and Sepúlveda. But, obviously, those later disputes could not resonate in Columbus’s possessing paroxysm.

If heathen lands are taken possession of, they have to be baptized. Christian baptism, let us not forget, traditionally implies the act of renaming. That is exactly what Columbus does. He baptizes and renames the lands he finds, for it would not be proper to register them with their infidel names. Christening the lands, Columbus exercises the power of naming and confers to them new Christian names. Thus they are inscribed in the European chronicles and archives with their Christian names, following both church dogma and royal sycophancy: “El Salvador,” “Santa María de la Concepción,” “Fernandina,” “Isabela,” “Juana.” Greenblatt affirms that this “act [of naming] . . . is a cancellation of an existing name.” What truly is erased is the faculty of the native inhabitants to name their place, as their authority to name their culture and deities will also soon be denied. The sacrament of baptism traditionally contained a rite of exorcism: the protection of the baptized from the dominion of the demons. Demons will soon be called the native deities.
Textos y documentos completos, 497.
Columbus’s observation about the nakedness of the Caribbean natives raised an interesting initial theological question: is their nakedness representation of innocence or of savagery? The enigma is slightly suggested in Pope Alexander’s 1493 Inter caetera bull that mentions both the nakedness and the vegetarian diet of the natives. This seems an implicit allusion to Adam and Eve before original sin. When the Spaniards discovered that the natives were willing and able to fight and kill for their lands and freedom, the theological controversy ceased: nakedness became a sign of savagery. Queen Isabella ordered that they be clothed and prohibited their daily baths in the rivers. Obviously, a deadly decree.
W. Arens, The Man-eating Myth: Anthropology & Anthropophagy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).
Jalil Sued Badillo, "Christopher Columbus and the Enslavement of Amerindians in the Caribbean," Monthly Review, vol. 44, no. 3, July-August, 1992, 71-102.
Cortés’s Tlaxcala military ordinances invoke idolatry as the main cause for the war against the Aztec kingdom: “In as much . . . the natives of these regions have a culture and veneration of idols, which is a great disservice to God Our Lord, and the devil blinds and deceives them . . . Let us go to uproot the natives of these regions from those idolatries . . . so that they will come to the knowledge of God and of His Holy Catholic faith . . . I affirm that my principal motive in undertaking this war . . . is to bring the natives to the knowledge of our Holy Catholic faith.” Hernán Cortés, Documentos cortesianos, 1518-1528 (ed. José Luis Martínez) (México, D. F.: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México - Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1990), 165.
Pierre Duviols, La lutte contre les religions autochtones dans le Pérou colonial: l'extirpation de l'idolatrie entre 1532 et 1660 (París-Lima: Institut Français d'Études Andines, 1971).