Sunday, November 22, 2015

UUCiA endorses Citizens for Farm Animal Protection ballot measure

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover became the first religious congregation to endorse the Massachusetts-based Citizens for Farm Animal Protection ballot measure on November 12. Citizens for Farm Animal Protection is a grassroots campaign that has put together a coalition in the Commonwealth that is working to end the cruel confinement of farm animals in cages so small the animals are virtually unable to move. The grassroots campaign has been gathering signatures for a ballot measure that voters would consider in November 2016.

We collected signatures at the congregation after worship services twice this fall. Most of our Sunday worship attenders signed the petition without hesitation, and I didn’t hear anyone speaking against it. On November 12, our Board voted to endorse the measure.

Says Richard Hudak, President of the UUCiA, “The modest protections proposed here are of broad appeal, and of general interest to people wishing to remain humane and healthy. It’s completely in line with our Unitarian Universalist values.”

“Chickens, pigs and cows locked in cages on factory farms need us to be their voice,” says Stephanie Harris, Campaign Director of the Massachusetts-based Citizens for Farm Animal Protection. “Members of UUCiA should feel proud of their public stance in support of this important animal protection ballot measure.”  

Saturday, November 21, 2015

We are people of faith. Let's act like it!

This is my first post since the tragedies in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad. It has been a hard, sad week on many levels. The atrocities committed by the terrorists are truly heart-breaking. Terrorists are lost souls, in my view, who are driven to commit evil acts in their state of despair. The acts are indeed evil and despicable. I find it helpful to think about what could possibly drive human beings to commit such heinous acts. This article ("Nobody Is Born a Terrorist", pointed out to me by a congregant) is a decent place to start thinking about it: link.

But aside from the terrorism, I have been saddened this week by the response of many Americans. The Xenophobia and Islamophobia in response to the tragedies has been sad indeed. Fear never brings out our best selves. It is sad that many are trying to use the terror acts as reason to turn away Syrian refugees who are in desperate need. Have we forgotten that they are trying to escape violence and evil themselves? It is sad that many are driven by fear to consider the kinds of positively anti-American responses that led the USA to send innocent Japanese people (including US citizens) to internment camps during World War II. (No -- I haven't literally heard anyone suggesting internment camps yet, but some of the possible "solutions" hint in that direction.) Many Americans are people of faith; many consider themselves to be good Christians. Well... it's time to start acting like it!

Here are some memes that I saw on social media this week that I did appreciate. Considering the life and ways of Jesus always helps to give me clarity on social justice issues, and these times call on those of us who value his teachings to live them.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Armistice Day

Robert Funke and Lara Hoke, photo by Howard Rotman.
Yesterday I had the honor of providing the Opening Words at the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans For Peace's Armistice Day event in Boston.

It was a rainy and blustery day, so it was a truly intrepid group who showed up!

Every year, I struggle with Veterans Day (as I wrote about in this blog post). But it is good to be among fellow veterans who feel much as I do.

When our VFP chapter comes together with all of our flags, we make an impressive sight!

Lara Hoke and Nicole Waybright, photo by Howard Rotman

From the National VFP page:

"Each year, Veterans For Peace chapters across the nation meet in major cities to celebrate and remember the original Armistice Day as was done in 1918, at the end of World War I. On this day, the world came together in realization that war is so horrible we must end it now. We invite all to join us in our effort to celebrate Armistice Day and the idea of ending all war."

To learn more, visit: VFP Armistice Day