Disclosures! Principled disobedience! Angry words! Someone in hiding! Legal threats! Not coming forward!
Starr King School for the Ministry? No, Edward Snowden, of course.
This article, “Is Snowden Obliged to Accept Punishment?” (Just Security) by Michael J. Glennon, Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University — you know, a college founded by Universalists — takes apart the presumption that Snowdon has a duty to hand himself over for punishment. In short, the presumption of a punishment-accepting civil disobedient is not a uniform or customary behavior; that it was often unavoidable (rather than a choice); and there are good reasons — unjust state power — to reject it. Really worth a read.
But it gives me an excuse to flag a few things in the current SKSM scandal:
- It shows how small we are as a religious fellowship, and dependent upon personalities and friendships to manage our organizational relationships.
- We still haven’t heard the version of a single student, in public. Do they feel as free to speak as the leadership?
- Nobody so far has challenged the holding-documents=theft claim, with the follow-on threat of criminal penalty. I’d love to see how far that would go. Especially in the Bay Area.
- Nobody has said a word, apart from the unspecified fear of lost donations, about money: the UUA’s grant, for one, or the cost of litigation, if it goes that far.
- That the affair, in the national climate, will become a Rorschach test for our political opinions, perhaps losing the meat of the crisis. If the general public ever learns it…
- Unitarian Universalist will have to re-assess how culturally exceptional we (think we) are.
- We’ve not heard much from the laity in the pews: what opinions come out of their experiences? Will anyone care if they do?
Heaven, help us!