wizdUUm Blogs on Civil Rights & Liberties

The Wisconsin Tragedy

My first meeting with a Sikh profoundly changed my life for the better. I was new to the city, and he was the first person that I had met wearing a turban and an elaborate curved dagger. We were both volunteering at an event for the homeless and struck up a conversation.

I admired his knife, or kirpan, but also thought it strange that he could carry a sheathed dagger on his person, in full view. I had moved from Arizona, where guns were the norm, but knives were unseen. He then told me of its significance. 

He told me that he would fight to the death for my religious freedom. Mine. He would fight for the religious freedom of every person at that carwash. I learned later that a person carrying that dagger will fight to the death on behalf of any oppressed person. The caveat caught me up short. The dagger is used only after every peaceful means has been exhausted. The pacifist in me was honored to have met him. 

I Voted Today, Did You?

Unlike most of my friends and colleagues, I am not out working in an election-related capacity today. I am not volunteering to work in the polls, as is Alex, to make sure that the process runs smoother. I’m a slacker depending on the volunteer time of others. I am not out getting out the vote, or last-minute canvassing, or other activities that would increase my voice by convincing like-minded people to vote. As such, my voice will be but one of an estimated 153 million possible (registered) voters today. All I did was walk over to my neighborhood polling place, wait in line, cast my ballot, and go to work. My part in this great democratic process is small.

Update on the Evolution Debate in Florida

About two months ago, I blogged in recognition of Darwin Day, at which time I pointed to a disturbing trend in Florida. Twelve county school districts had passed resolutions banning the teaching of evolutionary theory.

UCC Under IRS Investigation

If by chance you haven't heard yet: PastorDan on Street Prophets tells us that the IRS is investigating the United Church of Christ (UCC) because Barack Obama addressed their General Synod last year.

General Synod is the UCC's once a year big annual meeting, akin to our General Assembly. It's quite common to have well-known people speak at these things. Barack Obama is a looong-time member of the UCC, a public figure and a published author. It's quite reasonable that they would have him speak. And as long as he didn't tell people to vote for him I can't see how this could be considered an endorsement. It was LAST JUNE, after he announced his candidacy, yes, but well before the campaign seriously began. And if the General Synod is anything like GA, they probably had him locked in as a speaker well before he entered the race for president.

New Jersey Repeals the Death Penalty

Just excerpting the New York Times article:

Gov. Corzine signed into law a measure repealing New Jersey’s death penalty on Monday, making the state the first in a generation to abolish capital punishment.

 

...

Corzine declared an end to what he called “state-endorsed killing,” and said that New Jersey could serve as a model for other states.

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