What's New? June is bustin' out. . .
See the Events & Links page for information about two journals of interest to Unitarian Universalists and other religious liberals. It just happens I've published in the latest issues of both, as duly noted. I'd like to advertise other publications, blogs, etc. of interest on this page, as well--so let's be in touch. --GKB
“Religious Freedom and Spiritual Freedom” is an address I gave for the 34th World Congress of the International Association for Religious Freedom, in Birmingham, England, last summer. Considering that they meet only once in every three or four years, it’s not surprising that the IARF should be the oldest inter-religious association in the world. Having observed its flagging fortunes in recent years, I wanted to move us to dig a little deeper into the question, Who are we and what is our mission? As T. S. Eliot said, “A tradition cannot be inherited, it must be earned.” Read more…
To be sung to the tune of “The Old Rugged Cross”:
On an old Beacon Hill
Lived a Channing named Bill,
Was the first to unbutton his mind.
All his reasoning was sound
For he finally found
That a straight will beat three on a kind!
How we cherish that old Beacon Hill,
Where our leader unbuttoned his mind,
Oh, the thought of it gives me a thrill,
That a straight will beat three of a kind!
[with thanks to Stephanie Mendlow]
never did this before
let’s see if it’ll work
after all the unhappiness
I was ready for this
maybe you too[b]
“The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
–Nelson Mandela (December 4, 1997)
We know who Nelson Mandela was, but who was Ariel Sharon? A larger-than-life Israeli hero who secured the Jewish homeland against its implacable enemies? Or a reckless warrior who twisted the course of Israeli-Palestinian history into its present hopelessness, fear and hatred on one side, bitterness and hatred on the other? I see the latter, and a consequent erosion of confidence in the future and a deepening anxiety on all sides, including the American. If that seems harsh, see the obituary of Sharon in The Economist: “For some he was indelibly ‘the butcher of Beirut,’ the man who in 1982 dragged Israel into a bloody and gratuitous war in Lebanon which shamed it before the world. For many more he was the hero of the Yom Kippur war of 1973, the man who led his troops across the Suez Canal and thus saved Israel from defeat by Egypt” (January 18-24, 2014, p. 90).