Friday, August 23, 2013

Gearing up for a new "church year", and the news of the day

I am back from my summer study period, and ready to get back to normal -- including occasional updates to this blog.  I had a very good summer, with lots of R&R.  I feel blessed for that.

Some good news... the town of Tewksbury (where some members of the UUCiA live) voted down the slots.  To me, this is wonderful news. From what I have read on the matter, the opening of casinos and other forms of gambling in our communities would bring more human misery than anything else.  Here's hoping that no slot machines or other forms of gambling open up in our cities and towns!

Some recent national news: The "coming out" of Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning as a transgender woman.  Here's a story link from MSNBC.  Manning continues to open important dialogue in this country. I certainly hope and pray that she is treated fairly and humanely.

This is an interesting article from Mother Jones about the "Pentagon's Transgender Problem" (as they put it).  I was surprised to learn that "transgender civilians are twice as likely to enlist" than others... but less surprised, sadly, that "transgender veterans are 20 times as likely to commit suicide" than others.

I am glad that the Chelsea Manning story will get people thinking more about transgender people and rights.  I hope that we can have that dialogue and continue to have the important dialogues about the other parts of the Manning story: The perils of whistleblowing; the war crimes that our government sanctions and/or covers-up; etc.  Unfortunately, in the early online commentary, some complain about the federal government (our tax dollars) paying for sex reassignment surgery for a prisoner and such.  I personally find this ridiculous in light of how little this would cost in comparison to the wars and war crimes in question.  It never ceases to amaze me how easily and often we are distracted as a people from contemplating the vast amount of waste and tragedy caused by most of our tax dollars going directly to fund war.