Last year, Frank Casper of the Fifth Principle Project wrote an article attempting to link a workshop I did with Dr. Sharon Welch at the 2020 UUA General Assembly attempting to link ideas from my workshop to a more private controversy in the UUA. The workshop, which was about how conservative concepts of free speech have enabled the current rise of the alt-right and white nationalism in America, had nothing to do with the gadfly controversy in the UUA.

I wrote a piece at the time replying to Mr. Casper, which I have taken some constructive criticism on, but, for…

Frank Casper, one of the founders of the Fifth Principle Project and a staunch defender of the Gadfly narrative, recently attended the 2020 Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly and came away with a narrative in which some Unitarian Universalists are destroying the liberal values America is built upon. In his article “New UU Theology,” he lays out an attempt to frame various workshops and lectures he attended as being all that is wrong with Unitarian Universalism.

I will not here attempt to respond to all his accusations against various presenters, but will focus solely on my own workshop.

He attended…

It happens all too often in activist circles: someone is telling about their experience of having a traditionally oppressed identity, or, during a webinar, a facilitator uses a phrase that may be new to the person hearing it.

“Excuse me,” you’ll here, “Are those really the right words to describe what you’re talking about?”

Most often, this comes up around phrases in social justice that are unfamiliar or evoke strong emotions. …

The interesting thing about your response is I never claimed Eklof did attack any marginalized groups overtly and never used the word "white supremacist" with regard to The Gadfly Papers. I also genuinely can't decide whether you've deliberately misunderstood what I mean by the word "white supremacist" to try to draw me into semantic games after I said I'm not interested in that or if you genuinely believe that only overly racist attitudes are white supremacist. Either way, you're wrong-headed and wrong.

Sign: “White People: What Will We Do to Change Our Legacy of Violence”

Nearly a year ago, I wrote an article detailing my criticisms of the way the narrative of events in Todd Eklof’s The Gadfly Papers was constructed. It was not an exhaustive deconstruction of Eklof’s ideas but, rather, a questioning of whether his version of events, events which he mostly had no personal knowledge of and he mostly seems to have reconstructed through biased one-sided second- and third-hand accounts. …

Courtesy of Pxfuel

I want to tell you a story: I voted in my first presidential election in 2000, just a couple weeks after my twentieth birthday. I was not excited at all about either candidate: George W. Bush was highly problematic and Al Gore seemed dull, uninspired, and centrist. I have never been a member of the Democratic Party because I never truly felt like it represented me. So, I voted my conscience that day and selected Ralph Nader, the Green Party’s candidate.

Of course, we all know what happened: George W. Bush won the electoral but not popular vote, largely because…

virtue signaling: the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue. — Oxford

If you’ve never encountered accusations of virtue signaling in the wild, consider yourself lucky. Although the concept originated innocently enough, with an article by journalist James Bartholomew in The Spectator in 2015, the rhetorical utility of virtue signaling became apparent during the GamerGate controversy that was ostensibly about journalistic integrity but revealed its true colors in the harassment of and threats to women and other minorities who offered progressive…

The campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Recently, news broke that Indiana University professor of business economics and public policy Eric Rasmusen used social media accounts to denigrate women, people of color, and gay men. Among other positions, he believes that women do not belong in the workplace, particularly academia; that gay men should not be permitted in academia either, because he believes they are promiscuous and unable to avoid abusing students; and that he believes Black students are generally unqualified to attend elite institutions, and are generally inferior academically to white students.

Nobody approves of Rasmusen’s actions, but IU Provost Lauren Robel says that, though his…

The intersex pride flag

I want to talk to you about a rhetorical phenomenon that has always existed but has become much more prominent in the digital age: that of “owning people,” especially on the internet. It goes like this: rather than making a substantive claim against someone you disagree with, you pick out something you believe is contradictory and point it out as a reason to further disagreement among others. In the end, it may be that the contradictory point may not be as rhetorically vacuous as one thinks.

It’s a rhetorical device because its main feature isn’t to point out anything wrong…

The author, Rev. Chris Rothbauer

I’m a fan of cheesy sci-fi, and one of my favorite shows as a budding young geek was Quantum Leap. The premise is that the protagonist, Sam Beckett, built a time machine that allows him to leap into, or possess, another person’s life at some point in the past in order to right some wrong. (It is later explained the person is transported to the future to wait in a temporal waiting room for Sam to complete his task.) …

Chris Rothbauer

Unitarian Universalist minister, public theologian, radical leftist thinker, unapologetic geek, and beagle mommy. 🌹 🏳️‍🌈 they/them

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