Today, August 29th, marks the second anniversary of when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.  Two years since the hurricane and subsequent breaking of the levies devastated one of the most beautiful cities in the country.  Two years since the beginning of the suffering that still has not ended for many Americans. Nearly two years ago the country watched horrified as fellow Americans struggled for food, water, and medicine in the heat and filth, in the supposedly most powerful nation on earth.  Many died.  We saw the ridiculously inadequate response of FEMA, being (not) led by Bush friend/contributor and former horse show organizer, Michael Brown.  And we saw the ugly face of racism laid bare as the network news reported on black Americans "looting" and white Americans looking for resources.

Disowning Senator Craig

The party of family values strikes again.  To the list of Foley, Haggard, Gannon..., add Larry Craig.  It's like a moral implosion. As the Buddha said, if you wind the bow string too tight, it will snap.

Hooray for Iowa!!

(CNN) An Iowa district court ruled Thursday that same-sex couples can marry based on the state constitution's guarantee of equal treatment, court documents show.

The ruling was in response to a December 2005 lawsuit brought by six same-sex couples seeking to wed. They were denied marriage licenses and claimed such treatment violates equal-protection and due-process clauses in the Iowa constitution.

The court also struck down a state law declaring valid marriages are only between a man and woman.

Vick Revisited

Whoopie Goldberg has joined the crew of "The View." I think I've seen a minute part of one episode of that show. It's continuing staff changes would normally be of no concern to me, except that Whoopie has apparently stepped immediately into hot water by "defending" Michael Vick. People across the political spectrum are outraged that she could defend what they consider to be such an obviously heinous man.

Well, what exactly did she say? These are the quotes I could find:

"He's from the South, from the Deep South ... This is part of his cultural upbringing..."

"Instead of just saying (Vick) is a beast and he's a monster, this is a kid who comes from a culture where this is not questioned."

All is Buddha & Buddha is All

One of the tensions with which I continually struggle is trying to reconcile two ideas, both of which I believe to be true, and yet seem contradictory.

Buddhists will say "All is Buddha, Buddha is all." Does that mean that rape and murder and torture are Buddha??! And many theists will say, "EVERYTHING that exists exists only because of God. Otoh, we want to say that God is GOOD." Again, does this mean that rape and murder and torture are good? If not, why does a good God allow bad things?

Can something - whether "Buddha" or "God" - be both "everything" and also only "good"?

The Fall and the Fall

Happy Autumn Equinox Everybody!!

And Happy Fall. The "Fall" of Adam and Eve, that is. I would like to take time today to celebrate what Milton called "the blessed Fall."

In standard Christian theology, the Fall is seen as a tragic event. Humanity entered into sinfulness and were tossed out of Eden as punishment. I believe that the Fall was not only a blessed event, but inevitable, in "God's plan." The "Fall," the conscious decision to choose something different from "God's will" was necessary for humanity to grow up - to take moral responsibility, and thus be able to co-create (as partners with God) our own "destiny." Not something "pre-ordained" by another but chosen by us.

Witness for Peace!

I haven't (until now) plugged what happens at the UUA's Washington Office.  I feel the need to keep some semblance of separation between my personal opinions as a UU in this blog and my status as an employee of the UUA.  But this is just too exciting to not mention.  While I was away on vacation in Alaska, the UUA took on it's biggest online advocacy campaign ever.  We are attempting to collect 25,000 signatures witnessing for Peace.

The United Church of Christ (our religious cousins, the UCC) has been collecting signatures against the war in Iraq and they've invited us to join them.  On October 10th, both Rev. John Thomas, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, and our UUA President, the Rev. Sinkford, will be visiting Congress to deliver a stack of petitions.  The petitions we have signed.  


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