Religion and Politics

I had a little disagreement with an officemate today.  In reaction to the Dem presidential candidates last night talking about how their faith has influenced their lives, she was saying that religion and politics should be kept separate. While it does concern me that such a display of faith may marginalize those who are not religious, I don't have a problem with politicians talking about their beliefs.

In Our Name

Our church showed the HBO documentary, "The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" yesterday evening. As the film ended, Louise got up and voiced the same emotion that I had been feeling, shame.

The movie documents the torture of Iraqi prisoners held in Abu Ghraib prison by American soldiers - the torture of human beings putatively done for the sake of our American values.

Who are UU?

UUfreespirit posted something in ReligiousForums.com that reminded me of the long-standing disagreement between UUs. OK... one of the many long-standing disagreements between different groups of UUs. What is Unitarian Universalism?

1. I and some other UUs get irked when someone says that UU is not a religion. Yet there are still other UUs who proudly make that very claim.

2. And if we are a religion, are we a liberal Christian sect or are we a "rich pluralism"?

3. And the question that prompted this post: does Unitarian Universalism stand for the "Enlightenment thinking" and "theistic rationalism" that spawned us, or are we something different now?

Black and Yellow

After service today, I attended the second "Gathering" of people of color at All Souls.  It was intended, or so I thought, to bring all different kinds of people of color together to intentionally discuss the issues that face us, both what we share in common and the differences between us.  The problem is that the room was predominantly African American, and thus the conversation was centered around the African American experience.  This isn't anyone's fault.  It's just what happens when a room is skewed.

While we share commonalities, there are differences between the Asian American experience(s) and the African American experience(s).  There's no denying that some differences work to our "advantage," but not all.  Being Asian isn't just being "color-lite."  After some time I spoke up, and the issue that I chose was that of community.  

Body Counts

As part of the content for wizdum.net's social justice pages, I created a little block that tells people about the cost of the war in Iraq - in dollars and lives, and also the estimated number of lives lost in Darfur.

For the dollars spent and civilian Iraqis killed, I could paste in some code that would automatically update the information from the source sites. But for the number of U.S. soldiers killed, icasualities.org does not offer that service. So if I am to keep the page up-to-date, every day I have to go to their website to get the latest information.

God Save US

I pray that the U.S. be saved from its so-called saviors. A group that calls itself "SANE" (Society of Americans for National Existence) claims that the U.S. is under attack - that our very existence is threatened - and that they are going to do something about it. Looking at their website, it seems the biggest threats are: 1. Muslims, 2. Immigrants, and 3. the "liberal ELITE." (I am intentionally not linking to their site. If you really want to view the horror, you can google it.) Recently, this inSANE group announced a project called "Mapping Shari'a in America: Knowing the Enemy!" by which they mean to visit the over 2,000 mosques in this country disguised (ie - as spies), in order to determine each congregation's threat to the U.S. This would in and of itself be alarming enough.

What Makes an Asian American?

Greetings from Portland OR, home of GA 2007 starting tomorrow.

Today I want to point out that twenty five years ago today a young man named Vincent Chin was murdered.  I remember Vincent's murder the way that others remember Kennedy being shot.  While I didn't know it immediately, it's the day I became Asian American.  

Murders are a common occurrence, unfortunately.  What made Vincent Chin's murder so remarkable was that he was killed for being "Asian" and his killers served no jail time.  None.

On the evening of his bachelor party, Vincent, a Chinese American, got into an argument with two auto-workers - Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz - who accused him of being the reason why Nitz had lost his job (due to strong Japanese car sales).  Both parties were thrown out of the club.  Ebens and Nitz drove around the neighborhood for 20-30 minutes, looking for Chin.  They found him in the parking lot of a McDonalds and then beat him to death with a baseball bat.

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