One thing that Gini said at the meeting was that the UUA board did not want to have to ride herd on 60+ IA's, and so it would be a good thing if there was a Council of Theologically based Organizations to handle its own membership requirements. In other words, the proposed Council could decide who was in and who was out.
A long time ago, a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons, and I had a good laugh about starting a UU affiliate of Devil Worshippers, complete with our story of exclusion and oppression by mainstream religion, to satirize what we saw as the UU inability to set any sort of boundaries. (We even had a name, "the LUUciferians"). We abandoned the plan because we were afraid that no one would get the joke. (And we hadn't been through the MFC yet.)
Well, apparently, the Council of Theologically Based Organizations will be the body to guard the door against the LUUciferians.
Now, the recurring suspicion is that all of this is the Board's response to the UU's for Polyamory Awareness. (They can disband, they have met their goal in that all of us are aware of Polyamory, even though we are now pretending that it does not enter our thoughts or considerations at all. And that it certainly has nothing to do with whole question.)
Oh, another clue! Gini said at our meeting, to answer the critique that this was a sudden thing, that the board had been working on the new IA policy ever since the Long Beach Convention. The Long Beach convention was the height of our collective Polyamorous Awareness. Much hand wringing.
OK, let's just stipulate, for the sake of argument, what all the cynics say: that the IA mystery is really quite simple. It is the way to set up a structural block to having to say "yes" to an application from UU's for Polyamory Awareness.
There is no evidence which contradicts that theory.
But consider the implications of it being true.
It means that our elected leadership is not being honest with us.
It means that the elected leadership is finessing and not confronting an issue that is right before us -- an issue that is not only significant for Unitarian Universalism institutionally, but is actually right below the surface of our culture. The issue arises out of the cultural redefinition of marriage that our congregations have been closely associated with for years, long before same sex marriage was ever an issue. UU ministers did lots of marriages for people who could not remarry in the Roman Catholic Church after a divorce; our acceptance of divorced people as not "less than" is a longstanding tradition.
We have been in the conversation about marriage for a long time. And we should think about whether the recognition of polyamorous relationships is good ministry. And I think that we have the moral authority to address that question in way that can lead the culture.
But our UUA board apparently prefers to not address the issue. And so a whole tissue of evasions, false flags, misapplied principles, bureaucratic and administrative doublespeak and other forms of timorous gumwaddery is packed into the already ponderous machinery of our internal discourse.
We deserve better than that. Religious movements grow and prosper through the process of continuous self-definition in the rapidly changing cultural environment in which they find themselves. If they can discern properly what is essential and permanent to themselves and what is transitory, they can lead others. That is what the culture is calling for from us: what are the essential purposes of marriage, of covenants between persons, for children and for the stability of the social order? If we don't have something to say, who does? And if we are divided and disunited on what to say in this moment, wouldn't you rather have that discussion than go to interminable meetings of the Council of Hyphenated UU's and their role in the Lowest Common Denomination?