The politics of abortion
Kim Hampton maintains that Rep. Todd Akin’s comments about abortion and “legitimate rape” are part of a larger clash of civilizations. A former resident of Missouri, Hampton thinks Akin will win his Senate race, despite his opposition to abortion in all cases and his belief that pregnancies cannot result from “forcible rape.”
Todd Akin’s beliefs . . . are a direct descendant of Dominionist theology. . . . Dominionist theology is anti-modernity, anti-enlightenment, anti-intellectual and anti-science. Therefore you cannot fight Dominionist theology with modernity and her sisters. You must fight theology with theology; in this case fight the Bible with the Bible. (East of Midnight, August 20 and 21)
The Rev. Lynn Ungar laments “all the manufactured outrage” that characterizes political debate these days, but writes that Akin’s comments are truly outrageous.
To write into law the notion that women not only don’t have the right to control their own bodies but, worse yet, don’t have the ability to understand and articulate their own experience, is, in fact, an outrage, and an offense against my core beliefs. (Quest for Meaning, August 22)
Shawna Foster welcomes the public’s reaction to Akin’s comments.
Despite all the horrible news lately about rape and the men who don’t understand its horror and their attempt to legislate that I’m in an upbeat mood. The conversations I’ve had with ignorant dudebros for over a decade now are getting aired out by dudebro politicians in the mainstream. I’m not surprised or shocked by anything they have to say. The public being properly outraged for ham-fisted arguments on gender relations is a balm. That commiseration is makes me feel better. (Vessel, August 23)
Loving our neighbors
For Alison Rittger, noticing and befriending her neighbors is a spiritual practice.
Mother Theresa, Fred Rogers . . . and I have one thing in common. We value the people we meet wherever we are. . . . Their well being is what feels like religion to me. It is the first principle of seven that guide Unitarian Universalists in lieu of this religion having belief requirements. It is also the ultimate meaning of becoming a bodhisattva if you follow the precepts of the Buddha and hope to use your awakened state for the good of all beings. (spirit flows thru, August 19)
The Rev. Tony Lorenzen visits a Church of Christ congregation, and finds inspiration in the music, and in the minister’s sermon.
His language was different than a typical Unitarian Universalist might use. . . . Yet, what he was preaching was the Beloved Community and the role of the church in creating it. . . . I wondered as I listened (and silently cheered him on) how many of my colleagues, not to mention people in our Unitarian Universalist pews, would have stayed with him past his language and his approach to be able to hear the passionate call to not only his church, but all people of faith to be a servant to the city and heal its wounds, protect its weak and remember its forgotten. (Sunflower Chalice, August 19)
While paying for his groceries, Walter Clark notices cuts on the cashier’s inner forearm.
I wanted to say so many things to you. I wanted to say “I’m sorry” or “Are you okay?” or “Do you need to talk?” but I’m the guy with the ice cream, who am I to you? . . . Next time I see you, and I hope there is a next time, maybe I’ll just say, “Depression Lies” and hope you want to talk. (Lack of a Clever Title, August 22)
Around the blogosphere
June Herold introduces REACH, a UU Digital Ministry Program.
REACH serves two purposes: First, it offers a basic path for congregations of any size to get started with digital ministry. Second, it offers a strategic vision for UUism that shows how it can create a blended online/offline experience that inherently will coalesce into an easily understandable UU identity. (The New UU, August 21)
Raziq Brown shares a story about confronting stark cultural differences while visiting relatives in Sierra Leone when he was 17.
The evils that humans can be capable of, the wrongs perpetrated in the name of peace, unity, and prosperity can be more horrific than any real holy war or imagined hell. What God would allow such tragedies to befall his people? Perhaps more pertinently, why would my Aunt entrust a man like this, to look over my well being? (Vive Le Flame, August 22)
Kenny Wiley tells the story of a grieving young black man who grew up in a white UU congregation, longing for a faith that doesn’t quite fit.
He needed a place like this; a place where people hugged and clapped, where they prayed and swayed, where they trusted in the community and Jesus to support them–to help bring them over the mountain. He inhaled books and scoured his favorite TV shows in search for answers to his grief, his loneliness. He read the Bible and watched sermons online, practically daring himself to believe, to submit. And finally, his pain had led him here, crying silent tears in a room of strangers who looked like him and weren’t afraid to love, to weep, or to hug a complete stranger. (Vive Le Flame, August 23)
The Rev. Meg Riley shares how Minnesota’s marriage amendment affects her daughter.
I have a 16-year-old kid who is giving her entire summer to fight this thing because she is so upset about what it will mean for her state’s constitution to proclaim baldly that her family is not a family, who says matter-of-factly (and I know just how stubborn this child is) that if the ballot initiative passes, she will leave Minnesota after high school and never look back. “You can come and see me,” she tells me. (Rev. Meg Riley, August 20)
Finally, the UU Humanist Symposium—a new website seeking “to convince Unitarian Universalist members and UUA leadership to re-align with UU’s historic, philosophical, humanistic, golden phase”—drew some attention this week. Paul Oakley responds to a symposium member’s call for proposed revisions to the UUA’s Seven Principles and Six Sources (Inner Light, Radiant Life, August 20). Thomas Earthman, meanwhile, thinks the symposium squelches dissent (Material Sojourn, August 21).