Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


A Reflection of Civil Disobedience
August 1, 2010 9:38 AM   Subscribe

A Unitarian Universalist Seminarian reflects on a night in jail after being arrested protesting SB1070.
posted by JustKeepSwimming (29 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
reflects
posted by clavdivs at 9:50 AM on August 1, 2010


I appreciate Leslie's commitment, I do...

There's just something inherently hilarious about a UU seminarian. What exactly do you study in a faith without a creed, where you are 'free to search for truth on many paths'?

It'd be like the seminary equivalent of Hampshire College
posted by leotrotsky at 9:58 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Standing on the Side of Love is a public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. It is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association and all are welcomed to join."

I haven't considered myself UU for several years now, but this campaign reminds me of the very best the church has to offer. Among those arrested: President of the Unitarian Universalist Association Peter Morales.
posted by ivey at 9:59 AM on August 1, 2010


"I’ve been trying to figure out where to start. In theory, this should not be a difficult question—one begins at the beginning, of course. We like to think that our lives move in linear progression; we start here, and we end up there."

how about this linear progression: what is SB1070, when was the protest, what was it about, why were there arrests...
posted by ts;dr at 10:07 AM on August 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


There's just something inherently hilarious about a UU seminarian. What exactly do you study in a faith without a creed, where you are 'free to search for truth on many paths'?

Um. Thanks for your concern about my religion. Any others that you'd like to insult while you're here?
posted by octothorpe at 10:08 AM on August 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


There's just something inherently hilarious about a UU seminarian. What exactly do you study in a faith without a creed, where you are 'free to search for truth on many paths'?

The same thing any other person in any other religion does. Made up things that make you feel good inside, and pretending they're coming from some divine place.
posted by Malice at 10:10 AM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Together, we had a joke contest, and I told the only three jokes I know. We sang songs—some together, some as rounds, some solos, some English, some Spanish. We had a morning yoga class. We did the “UU Hokey Pokey,” where we put our open minds, loving hearts, helping hands, and whole selves in and shook them all about.

This kind of jail-solidarity would get on my nerves. As if being arrested and detained isn't bad enough, I'd have to deal with tourists singing kum-bi-yah and hokey-pokey-ing their minds about. When I get arrested, I prefer to 1)not passive-aggressively antagonize the cops, 2)not call attention to myself 3) not celebrate the fact that I have the resources that the criminal justice system is just an inconvenience to me 4) look 'hard' like I have street cred 5) freestyle about what I'm going to do when I get out of the hole.
posted by fuq at 10:11 AM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


We did the “UU Hokey Pokey,” where we put our open minds, loving hearts, helping hands, and whole selves in and shook them all about.

I gotta say, my best friends in the world could do this with of my best-loved family members, and if I were stuck in a holding cell with 'em while they did it, there's be some serious face-punching (even the normal hokey-pokey would suffice.)
posted by davejay at 10:26 AM on August 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


C'mon, leotrotsky. "Seminary equivalent of Hampshire College" -- that's funny and all, but these women did something powerful. I'm an atheist and I have nothing but respect for this.

I was particularly moved by the woman who told Sheriff Joe she loved him. Not that he deserved it, but it made him look so very small; and it was the most truly Christian thing I have heard of in some time.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:32 AM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Octothorpe:

Seeing as I'm raising my kid UU, I retain the right to crack as many jokes as I please. That it seems to antagonize humorless wet blankets such as yourself is pure gravy.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:33 AM on August 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Countess: Hey, I've got nothing but props for these folks, the world needs more of them.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:35 AM on August 1, 2010


extrapolating on a few of the comments here, but i'm glad i'm not the only one who thought the whole thing was pretty lame. this particularly puzzles me:
I look around at the faces that have become family to me, and I see that we are afraid to hope too much; our faith, while still strong and unwavering, has nonetheless been dealt a blow.
not picking on unitarians, but wtf? your faith has been dealt a blow? (guessing here) that you went out to protest pretty much knowing that arrest was likely, and then you're surprised when you're treated like a criminal? and when you're inevitably treated like a criminal, your faith is dealt a blow? does not compute.
posted by msconduct at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I venture to guess that she didn't mean religious faith, but faith in the power of people to make change, faith in the power of peaceful protest, that sort of thing.

I'm a UU, and you really don't hear people talking about faith in the way that Christians often speak of the concept.
posted by padraigin at 11:54 AM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


A Unitarian Universalist Seminarian...

Reminds me of a favorite joke.

What does the insomniac, agnostic, dyslexic, do?


(Lies awake at night and wonders if there really is a dog.)
posted by Oyéah at 11:59 AM on August 1, 2010


> What exactly do you study in a faith without a creed, where you are 'free to search for truth on many paths'?

The Starr King School for the Seminary offers a number of degree programs, and has their entire course catalog online (PDF).

UU Seminarians also study at non-denominational schools across the country.

Disclosure: My wife works at Starr King, so that's pretty much a self-link.
posted by FfejL at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2010


Arizona SB 1070 (as amended by HB2162) is a controversial immigration law passed by the Legislature of the State of Arizona (PR, contact). Reverend Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Faith, joined a peaceful resistance protest at Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office. As promised (video), the protestors were arrested. One protestor wrote snapshots of her jail time.
“ We must not allow our country to be ruled by fear and diminished by racism. Arizona is ground zero in a looming human rights crisis. And it is a spiritual crisis as well. Addressing these problems on a national scale will require honesty, humility, and generosity. By summoning these qualities we will reclaim what is best about the American spirit. ”
— Rev. Peter Morales, "Why I'll Be In Phoenix on Thursday"
“ Yeah, I'm ready for it. I hear a rumor they want to block my jails, so if they want to block the jails they can have a little trip in the jail. So we're not going to put up with any civil disobedience just because they want to show, get a message through the media, about this situation that's occurring here in Arizona. ”
— Sheriff Joe Arpaio, TV interview with George Stephanopoulos
posted by crysflame at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


Man, Letters from Birmingham Jail this AIN'T! I'm always amused that there are still naive protesters who are shocked- SHOCKED!- to find that they are treated as criminals as a consequence of their civil disobedience. Isn't that kind of the point of civil disobedience in the first place?

Between "the blow to her faith," UU Hokey Pokey (WTF?!), and doing the chicken dance to restore hope to her sister protesters, I'm about 3/4 of the way to calling bullshit on the whole blog entry. If it is real, it's just too much of a caricature of itself to be taken seriously. I'd be interesting to see a slightly more grown-up perspective from someone who was there or in similar circumstances, though.
posted by KingEdRa at 12:16 PM on August 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


The criminal justice system in the US is an extremely dehumanizing place. Hokey stuff like singalongs, joke contents, etc sound stupid from the outside but I can say from personal experience they go a long way toward making you feel human again.

I don't believe she was shocked they were treated as criminals, I think she was shocked how (accused) criminals are treated in our justice system. If you have never spent more than a couple hours in jail you probably don't know how fucked up our system is and what it does to people. I think one of the powerful components of civil disobedience is that it shows people, often young people, what it is like to be closer to under the heel of the oppressive state.

I think it takes guts to go to jail for a larger cause, even briefly, and even when you a have a huge backpack of race/class privilege. It also takes guts to write about it on the Internet where dumb shits can mock your efforts, your beliefs and the growth of your world view. Fuck the dumb shits on the Internet and bravo for this woman.
posted by ChrisHartley at 1:57 PM on August 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


I am shocked that we feel the need to treat a civil disobedient protester like a criminal. Why are these people in jail at all? No one was injured or threatened. Of course someone should also explain why a civil matter (immigration documentation status)
requires detention as well. Why are we wasting money housing non-violent people who arnt stealing or otherwise causing any trouble. Why do we have these stupid immigration laws anyway. I manage people in 5 countries going where talent is available. The notion that someone is taking an American job is meaningless in an era where all you need is need is an airport or broadband to cover a huge swath of the global economy.
posted by humanfont at 2:47 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am shocked that we feel the need to treat a civil disobedient protester like a criminal. Why are these people in jail at all? No one was injured or threatened.

The whole point for them was to get arrested to draw attention to their cause.

Of course someone should also explain why a civil matter (immigration documentation status) requires detention as well.

Because they don't want to be deported and in order to forcibly deport people, you first have to arrest them.
posted by Jahaza at 3:38 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I were stuck in a holding cell with 'em while they did it, there's be some serious face-punching (even the normal hokey-pokey would suffice.)

I'm curious... ever spent the night in jail?

Fuck the dumb shits on the Internet and bravo for this woman.

Yes. You are in a dark room and there are many dumb shits here.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:06 PM on August 1, 2010


Because they don't want to be deported and in order to forcibly deport people, you first have to arrest them.

Actually you could simply issue a citation indicating that they lack documentation to be in the country. Then as a result of the citation you could hold an immigration hearing for them to contest their status and then following that hearing issue an order for voluntary deportation within a sete number of days. If they don't show up for the hearing they are held in contempt, which allows for detention. There is no need to arrest them unless they have an outstanding warrant.
posted by humanfont at 6:44 PM on August 1, 2010


So you're saying we should just arrest them later? The problem is that later we probably won't know where they are.
posted by Jahaza at 7:11 PM on August 1, 2010


Sheriff Joe Arpaio previously 1 2 3 4
posted by St. Sorryass at 7:38 PM on August 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


@Jahaza it may surprise you but with the exception of immigrants detained at the border most are simply given a notice to appear rather than detained. An administrative process then follows where the person can argue for asylum or other reasons that they should be allowed to stay. Only if they fail to show up in for the hearing or commit a crime are they put in detention or placed in jail. During the process of deportation the person can volunteer to leave the country, which drops the charges.

The whole system is a farcical waste of money. We should just open up the borders and let people come and try to make it here. Let them get legal documentation and papers with minimal hassles so we know who they are and ensure that they raw being compensated according to our laws and have things like drivers licenses. After 10 years of living here you should be able to buy a green card for permanent residency status and begin the path to citizenship. If people are convicted of felony then deport them.
posted by humanfont at 9:01 PM on August 1, 2010


Look, nobody here is a fan of Joe Arpaio but that's probably the most cringe-worthy blog entry I've read in a long time. She spoke to the man with the tattoos in jail with her as if he were a young child or at least mentally deficient, and then her talk of some blow to her faith because she was arrested is kind of weird because that's the whole point of civil disobedience. I just don't know what to make of this. It's not very much a "reflection."
posted by autoclavicle at 11:20 PM on August 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


This rings true precisely because it sounds so "lame". And that's why I love it. If enough people get arrested and end up behind bars for protesting a government's injustice we will get a much wider view of how big this parallel world is that exists around us and how brutal and awful we are to ourselves out of fear of "criminals".
posted by Space Coyote at 2:53 AM on August 2, 2010


Oyéah : (Lies awake at night and wonders if there really is a dog.)

Get yourself an Australian Cattle Dog and you'll never wonder again. They assert themselves with Divine like authority over their herd. (e.g. you).
posted by quin at 1:46 PM on August 2, 2010


Another person's comments about their time in 1070 protest jail
posted by beardlace at 4:36 PM on August 2, 2010


« Older Andrew Kosorok, a sculpture professor, has embarke...  |  "We're not telling you what to... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments