Want to learn more about theology and justice? Consider taking an online/phone course entitled “The Thinking and Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr.” It is offered through the Church of the Larger Fellowship. This course provides both readings and phone conversations for participants to learn about the theology that shaped King’s work for justice and to consider how his life and teachings might shape our own justice work.
The course will cover the following:
Beginning with King’s upbringing in the Black Church, we’ll explore how his thinking evolved through college, seminary, and during his PhD. Influenced by Protestant liberal theology and the African American religious experience, he searched for a faith that was both emotionally satisfying and intellectually appealing. This led King to some surprising conclusions. He rejected the literal divinity of Jesus, didn’t believe in a literal heaven or hell, and thought the Bible was a myth that contained many metaphorical truths. Drawing from the work of King scholars such as James Cone, Lewis Baldwin, Clayborne Carson, and Taylor Branch, we’ll examine some of the key themes, experiences, and ideas that shaped King’s vision of the social gospel. His theology will also be placed in the context of his more radical views on capitalism, war, and poverty. We will also explore King’s relationship to Unitarianism as he and Coretta attended Unitarian services in Boston and he had expressed interest in the tradition.
To find out more and register for “The Thinking and Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” click here.More >
In light of President Obama’s announcement in favor of marriage equality, Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently preached on this subject with a scholarly yet spiritual discussion not common in many religious circles.
“What’s the best way to preserve the institution of marriage? Is it to create a whole bunch of non-marriage options for couples–civil unions and other legal contracts that could be entered into by same-gender loving people or heterosexual couples? Or, is it to continue to allow marriage to evolve as it has been doing for thousands of years?”
Excerpts from Rev. Lavanhar’s thought provoking sermon have been posted online in a three-part series. Here is the first installment of Rev. Lavanhar’s video series, entitled “Redefining Marriage:”
The message below went out on Friday, June 8, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it took me leaving home to discover what was important in my own backyard! In my case, the twister was the storm of hatred fueling anti-immigrant legislation and activity in Arizona. Traveling there in 2010 and participating in protests and an act of civil disobedience fueled my getting involved in Massachusetts.
Since then, I’ve come to know the many human rights and immigrant community activists who for years have been engaged right here in my home community. I’ve learned how Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) is working to criminalize entire communities through efforts like the so-called Secure Communities program. With the support of The Boston New Sanctuary Movement and our Standing on the Side of Love Campaign, people like me have been able to raise our voices against Secure Communities and our inhumane system of detention and deportation that separates parents and children. Like my experience in Arizona, the vigils and protests here have been heartbreaking, frightening and hopeful. Heartbreaking, because I’ve stood with children whose parents are detained and children who have experienced hatred because they ‘look like’ they might be undocumented Mexicans. Frightening, because some people fighting to promote these programs have been aggressive and use hateful verbal and body language. Hopeful, because relationships of solidarity have been formed throughout the Boston area and it is making a difference.
I’m sharing this today because our General Assembly in Arizona is fast approaching. Thousands of UUs will be engaged in learning, witness and service and I am certain we will make a difference.
- But we are so much larger than our General Assembly!
One of the things that made a HUGE difference when we witnessed in Arizona in 2010 was knowing that UUs in many other parts of the country were attending and creating similar protests, either in direct opposition to Arizona’s legislation or in opposition to local efforts. We also received texts, emails, phone calls, facebook messages and tweets of support and prayer and also letting us know what was happening in other parts of the country. It was powerful then and it can be powerful now! Please consider joining us in spirit if you are not able to attend in person. Here’s how!
Mark June 20 – 24 — and plan your own local witness for justice and peace for migrants and migrant families!
In Massachusetts, our advocacy has made a real difference. Statewide adoption of Secure Communities has met with real resistance from elected officials, including Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. But with Secure Communities spreading throughout the country, there is much work to be done.
When I return from General Assembly, I am committed to continuing my advocacy in Massachusetts. As they say, all change is local. You, too, can make a difference in your local community, and send the message that no human being is illegal, that every child is our child and that what makes our communities secure is love, not hatred.
Today, our Latina and Latino siblings and other people of color are being victimized, scapegoated and hunted by those who deform the laws of our human soul and construct evil legislation. It may sound harsh but I believe it to be true. But it is also true that people all over our country are mobilizing to stop these efforts and work for compassionate immigration reform and an end to oppressive profiling practices. We must participate. We must be the voice of love calling us all to the highest law – that which honors all humanity.
Hoping to meet you all in body or spirit June 20-24 ~
Rev. Wendy von Zirpolo
Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, MA
As we’ve reported before, there have been several accounts of individuals being beaten and even killed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents since 2010. For example, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was tased and beaten while in Border Patrol custody after he was captured at the U.S.-Mexico border trying to return to his wife, Maria, and his five children in San Diego. He died as a result of his injuries shortly afterward, but none of the involved agents have been held accountable for their actions.
Another victim, 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca, was shot to death in the El Paso area in 2010. Nevertheless, the Department of Justice determined that the lethal use of force against Hernandez Huereca was justified based on CBP’s guidelines. Guidelines, it should be noted, that have not been made public.
In response to these heart-breaking but all too common incidents of violence, 118 faith-based and non-governmental organizations, including the Unitarian Universalist Association, have signed a letter to President Obama denouncing the repeated use of excessive force by Border Patrol agents and calling for proper investigation into all such cases.
According to the letter:
“Such widespread abuse is indicative of a serious lack of effective oversight, and the fact that few if any complaints are resolved represents a disturbing lack of accountability within the agency…Law enforcement agencies must be held accountable to the laws they are charged with enforcing, and no federal agent should be allowed to operate above the law. Otherwise, the lack of accountability and rule of law erodes public trust in the federal government and ultimately jeopardizes public security.”
Will you help bring justice to the families of these victims? Please sign and share this petition calling for an investigation into all killings committed by Border Patrol since 2010.More >
The message below went out on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 to Standing on the Side of Love supporters. You can sign-up for these emails here.
I wanted to share the lovely note below with you from our More Light Presbyterian friends. After a month of anti-gay religious rants gone viral (emanating from so-called Christian congregations), it’s so inspiring to see the interfaith spirit of our Standing on the Side of Love movement in practice. I believe the radical inclusivity found in Unitarian Universalism–and increasingly in other denominations–for those who are same-gender-loving and/or gender-non-conforming will eventually overwhelm the “fear-based theology of the unlearned,” as Bishop Carlton Pearson so eloquently puts it.
Do you have a More Light congregation in your community? If so, consider partnering with them in the coming months for a Pride-themed service, an LGBT advocacy witness, or some other exciting endeavor. You can find a list of More Light congregations by state here: http://www.mlp.org/index.php?topic=churches.
Happy Pride Month!
Standing on the Side of Love
Grace and peace to you. I wanted to thank you for the permission and support in the utilization of the language and educational resources of the Standing on the Side of Love campaign in our work for LGBT equality and marriage equality in both Church and society.
We have an annual tradition encouraging churches to celebrate the gifts of LGBT persons in their local congregations in addition to community action or service. It is called More Light Sunday. Our mission theme this year is inspired by your campaign, Standing on the Side of Love, More Light Sunday 2012. We recommend that Presbyterian congregations celebrate More Light Sunday in June as this is LGBT Pride Month. We encourage congregations to participate in their local LGBT Pride celebrations as part of their More Light Sunday observances and community outreach.
The inspirational nature of the campaign’s language works perfectly for this national organizing project of More Light Sunday 2012. The educational resources from the campaign are incredibly helpful as well.
We are also employing the language of “Standing on the Side of Love” in our national marriage equality petition campaign leading up to the marriage equality work at the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) next month in Pittsburgh, PA. This project is called “I Do!” Stand Up for Marriage Equality at the 220th General Assembly.
Dan, we are so grateful for the generous sharing of both the campaign’s language and its educational resources. In powerful and concrete ways, the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign is an inspiration and a partnership with the work for justice we are doing within the Presbyterian Church (USA) and across the country. Moreover, this inspiration is a global one because there are Presbyterians in over 100 countries.
Dan, on behalf of More Light Presbyterians, please do share our gratitude to the Standing on the Side of Love community and the national staff of Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.
Dr. Michael J. Adee
More Light Presbyterians