What Terms Would/Should the UUA Board Ban?

This week’s UU trivia quiz asks about the only term ever banned by the Board of Trustees of the UUA (and with a fine to back it up!).  No one’s gotten it yet, but there have been some very interesting guesses that might be revealing in their own way.  Most deal with politically correct terminology for women, racial minorities, etc.  Others are more specifically theological in nature, such as “post-Christian” (or perhaps that’s more sociological in nature).  Some are just funny–the best so far is “Voldemort.”  But no, the UUA Board fearlessly dares to speak of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and hasn’t banned “gal,” “negro,” or any of the other suggestions.

All of this raises the interesting question of what terms the UUA might actually consider banning, and why people imagine that they might ban those words.  So, perhaps it’s worth formulating as a series of questions.  Are there words or terms that you suspect the UUA Board might potentially ban its members from using in meetings?  If so, which ones, and why?  Or, are there terms you yourself might like to see banned from UUA Board meetings?  If there are, which terms, and why would you like to see them rejected?



Filed under Unitarian-Universalism

9 responses to “What Terms Would/Should the UUA Board Ban?

  1. Can you link us to some transcripts of board meetings? It would help to see what they say.

    I’m awfully wary of people using “I” alot in meetings.

    I listen to people’s ratios of declarations / questions as a measure of trust. Should be about 50/50 all giving as much as the take; to establish trust. I know that’s not a word though.

  2. Given the Board’s current obsession with Congregational Polity fundamentalism, I’m thinking that the term “denomination,” might be a candidate for banishment. The mere mention of it in connection with Unitarian Universalism could set the intellectual founder of the movement’s hair on fire.

    • I’d like to place my chip with Patrick. It’s gotta be “demonination”.

      Supposed to be movement instead.

      Inside of fines, maybe there should be a reward for saying movment? Incentives the good behavior; doin’t punish the bad. That’s the modern way?

      • Denomination is one of those words…

        Whether to hate it, embrace it, or just ignore it depends on which pedant’s definition you decide to give greater credence to. Some definitions require legal hierarchy, others only shared beliefs and/or faith. Some are concerned with a shared identity residing in a shared name. And so on.

        To me it is meaningless to say we are not a denomination. We have the UUA, the UUMA, a publishing house, two seminaries, and a whole lot of other institutions and projects in common. Any claim that there is no hierarchy is false, even though our hierarchy is not absolute. We do share beliefs, however loosely formulated, and claim to share a faith. We share a denominational name.

        And, as well, as was pointed out, we have even had a situation where the simple use of a (still to be revealed) word was a fineable offense.

        So we’re less organized than the Presbyterians? We’re still a denomination. In my mind the term that calls for greater justification in its use is “movement.”

  3. I don’t speak to the “would” but only to the “should.”

    No word or phrase – nor expression of any thought – should be banned by the Board of Trustees of the UUA – or by anyone else.


  4. Bob Ertman

    Someone guessed “I” but I think that “I statements” are good things. So, my two guesses are “we” and “they.”

    • I am reminded of what Mary McCarthy said about Lillian Hellman: “Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the. ”

      By all means, let’s ban those words while we’re at it, just in case… 😉

  5. Bob Ertman

    One more guess. Since this word is the only one ever banned by the UUA BOT (by & for themselves, something like a cuss box), perhaps it goes back to the creation of the UUA. So,

    “Unitarian” (by itself).

  6. I think Bob Ertman is correct. But Unitarian (alone) — in a United States setting, generically for Unitarian Universalist — seems to be creeping back into use. Annoys me deeply. There was even a General Assembly session so named.

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