Helen of Marlowe's Blog

What’s the Significant Difference?

Posted in Government, Politics, Religion by helenofmarlowe on February 18, 2012

What is the significant difference?

There is something I’m  missing here. The Catholic church went into a frenzy in their moral outrage at the idea that a Catholic institution should be required to provide for their employees an insurance policy that includes birth control, which they say they believe is immoral.

I won’t get into the seeming contradiction that they hate abortion even more than they hate contraceptives, and are sticking by their guns in spite of the evidence that the one reduces need for the other. There’s probably some logic there that I just don’t get.

And I won’t yet try to understand why the compromise offered by the White House, that insurance companies would instead provide contraception coverage separately and at no cost, was not welcomed by the bishops.

What I’m really trying to figure out is this:  What’s the significant difference between appeasing the Catholics on this issue, and requiring Quakers to pay for war (via taxes)?

Quakers are  opposed to war and to all forms of violence.

And what about requiring Seventh-day Adventists to support our government’s policies on  factory farming?

 For more than 130 years Seventhday Adventists have practiced a vegetarian dietary lifestyle because of their belief in the holistic nature of humankind. (http://www.sdada.org/position.htm)

Yes, I see that in the case of the Quakers and the Seventh-day Adventists, it is tax policy that pulls them into the fold of a behavior that contradicts their religion, but is that a substantial difference?  Does it follow, logically, that Catholics should impose upon non-Catholics their beliefs (well, just some of their beliefs; institutionally, they are also against the death penalty but I haven’t heard our Catholic presidential hopefuls mention that)?  That they should impose upon non-Catholic employees, for example, a Catholic rule that even 98% of Catholics don’t actually follow?  And what about Christian Scientists?  Should employees at Christian Science establishments be required to forego health insurance altogether and rely upon prayer?

Is there really a substantial difference, or is it just that Quakers and Seventh-day Adventists, and Christian Scientists,  are not trying to defeat our president?


Do UUs Worship?

Posted in NC, Religion, Unitarian, UU by helenofmarlowe on February 4, 2011

Some of us at our UU Fellowship are beginning to feel unhappy with changes that have been made.

For many years, we had a Sunday Services committee.  And a podium.

Now, it seems, we have a Worship Committee.  And a pulpit.

A group of us wrote a letter to the “Worship Committee” asking them to change the name back to the name we’ve had for years.

Dear Members of the Worship Committee
We who are signatories of this letter wish to express our concern regarding relatively recent changes in the language used by the committee that, until recently, has been known as the Sunday Service Committee.

For many years, our Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has had a Sunday Service Committee, and we attended Sunday Services. But significant changes in language have been recently introduced regarding each of these designations. In our Fellowship Matters , we are given to understand that we now have a Worship Committee and that on Sundays we are attending Worship Services. We believe this shows a disregard for the diversity of beliefs in our membership.

Since our Fellowship has been growing, this change will not have been noticed by newer members. But it certainly has been noted by a number of long-time members, including the signatories to this letter.

We are concerned about this change because, from the beginning of our Fellowship, there have always been members who do not believe in any deity. And we believe that one important function of the UU Fellowship is to encourage other non-believers to join us in our celebration of life and the seven UU principles.

We are aware that the term “worship” might be and probably is construed by some members of your committee to mean something less than the adoration of a deity. But such a construal is not in accord with the common usage of the term, and is therefore misleading.

For communication to work, we have to use words in the way they are commonly understood. We are, accordingly, requesting that the Worship Committee change its name back to Sunday Service Committee, and that the monthly calendar be changed to read Sunday Service instead of Worship Service.

In response to our letter requesting that the “Worship Committee”  reclaim its historical name “Sunday Services Committee”  the chair of the committee responded:

We strongly support use of the word “worship” as finding worth and not as directed toward any deity. We agree there is value in taking regular opportunities to educate members of the congregation to the broader meaning of “worship”…

This seems Orwellian to me.

Our Sunday religious services within the UU tradition of this Fellowship are not and (so far as I know) never have been worship services.

Instead of re-defining words, why don’t we use words as they are commonly understood.
And the common understanding of the word “worship” is not what we do.

We will re-visit the matter at an upcoming meeting.

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American Theocracy

Posted in "North Carolina", Local Government, Religion, Winston-Salem by helenofmarlowe on February 23, 2010

It was a circus, the county commissioners meeting tonight.   I have photos and video, but I don’t have the heart to post them.

The people in our large overflow room singing Christian hymns.

The shouted and hollered Amens and Yesses! when speakers spoke about Jesus.

The buses — I have photos of the church buses lined up along Chestnut Street — this is what our democracy (theocracy?) has become.   It will not be on your tv.

I am so disheartened, I am going to bed, simply to get this day over with.

Bob, and one retired Baptist minister who said he was also a member of the ACLU (and was booed for it) were the only speakers who asked them to let this drop. All the other speakers invoked the name of Jesus as they successfully urged our commissioners to go forward in our march to theocracy.

A man sitting behind me hollered,  If they don’t want to pray, they can stay at home!

I turned around and said to him, What if they have county business?

Bob leaned over to me and said,

You have to look on these people without  hating them.  Don’t hate them.

Well I don’t, of course, but was sorely annoyed.

Church buses herd the troops

When the group broke out in song, in a Christian hymn (clearly practiced and on cue) I felt disheartened.  Bob, with his philosophical and moral strength, just smiled at me and said,

That was an interesting moment to observe.

We have a major university in our city.

Not one Wake Forest University  professor– not one professor of history, not one professor of religion, not one professor came out to identify the misrepresentations made tonight about our history and our constitution.

We also have a state university here.   If there were any representatives from Winston-Salem State University, they did not get media coverage and I am not aware of their presence.  It was needed.

Seven hundred sheep getting off church buses, and with very few exceptions,those reliable few, our citizens declared this a Christian nation.

Commissioners Beaufort Bailey, Ted Kaplan, and Walter Marshall cast minority votes against the appeal.

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