Tuesday, September 27, 2005

UK News: Religious belief causes damage to society

Britain, UK news from The Times and The Sunday Times - Times Online Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Getting this in gear to close 2004

Likewise, we do need to better coordinate among UU churches.

I'm set for making this one of my big missions this year, even skipping a good amount of Sunday's at my church to go to others to make it occur. But, I want to be welcomed, expected and have folks there on the ground who share the sense of duty to have common ground.

For example 1: Let's talk about the blog and websites and email.
You can, for example, subscribe to my blog via eamil. As messages get updated or comments left -- you get an email. And, you can get a daily email too (digest version).

See side bar at http://Rauterkus.blogspot.com

#2: We could set up a shared blog and have different types of subscribership.

#3. We can use a RSS feed as well. Some folks can turn their home page into a MyYahoo thing and see at a glance a lot of different, neat things, including our uu church blog. If people knew how to do this for themselves, it would help. I could do a tutorial. My Yahoo is free.

#4. We also need to teach people how to leave comments on a blog. And, how to be a contributor to a blog. This is easy stuff. But, it takes a bit of hand-holding at the outset.

#5. We should do a much better job with our coffee-house programs. Wilburn does a lot with Caliopy. Yours works. Ours is hit or miss. But, we just had a great event with Amy Carol Webb. There is none better. Wish you all could have been around and informed.

Another Florida singer friend is coming back to Pittsburgh Jan 29. I'd be happy to promote the daylights out of her event. It is going to be at First Unitarian as part of Caliopy ledgens event. She did a service at our church in the summer, before heading to S.I. She should play or lead your Sunday Service this visit. Her name is Mindy Simmons.

#6. Finally -- not really -- but for now -- we should do a better job at being what I call the IOWA Caucuses of Pittsburgh politics. We'll have candidates for office in a couple (or more) of our congregations. (Mayor, Judge, more?) East Suburban hosted a US Congress debate. Wonderful. But, it wasn't put on tape due to a candidate request. Screw that.

I got Roddey and Onorato on tape on 9-11-03 in the South Side. But, we need to get that content to your people, as well as other stuff.

Furthermore, last sunday Amy Carol Webb (singer) and I was on the KDKA radio show. We talked a good deal about our UU principle of Democracy. I'd like all your people to hear that show -- tape -- one hour.

There is much to do.

Let's do it. I'm game. I'll come over to your church and speak at a meeting to help coordinate this "outreach" among UU congregations via the net. As blogmaster and soon to be retired webmaster, I feel empowered to meet and mingle and bring more back to our members and board. As a music friend -- same too with the concerts and politics even.

Feel free to use this -- or parts -- as the opening for a call to action at your church. Set a date and I'll come over. Call anytime.

or visit: http://uua.blogspot.com

Friday, September 17, 2004

Boston, Dig Freedom?

September 17, 2004
Contact: Stephen P. Gordon Office: (512) 637-6867
Cell: (256) 227-8360 communications@badnarik.org

Badnarik to address 15th Annual Freedom Rally

Boston, MA - Few places are as haunted by the ghosts of American freedom as Boston Common. Standing quietly, one can almost hear the mingled sounds of musketry from the Boston Massacre, the tramp of British feet departing for Lexington and Concord, Prescott's calm command to "wait until you see the whites of their eyes."

"This place is just suffused with the echoes of freedom," says Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik. "Sam Adams led the Boston Tea Party out of Old South Church in 1773; Paul Revere's lanterns hung from the steeple of Old North Church; Revere and Adams are buried nearby at the Granary. William Lloyd Garrison preached his first anti-slavery sermon at Park Street Church. You couldn't swing a cat on Boston Common without hitting all of those places."

It's only natural, then, that Badnarik relishes speaking here as well. And speak he will, at Saturday's 15th Annual Freedom Rally, sponsored by the Cannabis Reform Coalition and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Tens of thousands of Americans attend the Freedom Rally each year in support of ending the war on marijuana.

"The drug war is one of the last things one would associate with the Common," says Badnarik, 50, of Houston, TX. "Boston's a seafaring town. The area around the Common was once devoted primarily to 'ropewalks' -- factories for making rope out of hemp. Before Garrison turned Park Street Church into an anti-slavery hotbed, it was briefly a canvas factory where hemp was turned into sails for the USS Constitution."

As a Libertarian, Badnarik advocates lifting the ban on industrial hemp -- and on its cousin, marijuana.

"The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were printed on hemp paper," he says. "Thomas Jefferson farmed hemp. George Washington farmed hemp -- and, some say, marijuana for smoking as well.

"Growing either of them today will land a farmer in prison. That's not right. It's not American."

Badnarik will share the stage with a number of distinguished activists, including NORML founder Keith Stroup and Steve Bloom, editor of High Times magazine, and several music acts. He speaks at 4 p.m.

The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party; more than 600 Libertarians serve in public office nationwide. Badnarik will appear as a presidential choice on ballots in at least 48 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information on the Freedom Rally, please visit http://www.masscann.org/rally.htm. To obtain information about how to assist the Badnarik campaign at this event, please contact George Phillies at phillies@4liberty.net.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Wake of Florida's storms in UU circles

Here's some news from Florida sent by the UU minister of Jacksonville:

Hello Everyone,

I mentioned during Joys and Concerns this past Sunday my concern regarding our sister congregations who were in the direct path of hurricane Charley. There is a UU congregation in Port Charlotte with about 85 members, mostly elderly and retired. Our Florida District Executive, the Reverend Mary Higgins, has communicated that the congregation members in Port Charlotte
are accounted for and OK and that their building did not sustain any structural damage. However, the parking lot and grounds are covered with broken limbs and downed trees. I understand that congregational members from the nearby areas are already arriving to help out with the clearing
needed so the Port Charlotte UU services may continue.

I also expressed concern regarding the UU congregation just north of Port Charlotte in Venice. They recently completed a brand new building for worship and RE space. I have spoken with them, too. Their building was not damaged.

Below is a message sent from the UUA:

Florida UU's Come Together in Charley's Wake

(Boston, August 16, 2004) -- Hurricane Charley cut a devastating path across Florida, leaving at least 17 people dead and billions of dollars in property destruction. The Rev. Mary Higgins, the UUA's Florida district executive, said Monday afternoon, "Thankfully, as of 1:00 pm today, we have no reports that any UU's were severely hurt or killed. All of our church buildings came through intact, although most will require extensive clean-up efforts."

What is not mentioned in this message from the UUA is that Mary herself at the district office in Orlando, is without power or access to the Internet. However she was able to send the following message from her home, which I want to share with all of you who are concerned:

Sara Zimmerman, minister of the UU Fellowship of Charlotte County, is deeply appreciative of those who have called to inquire about the congregation, and have expressed concern about the state of affairs following Charley's devastation. Most of the members of the Charlotte County congregation are safe and have been accounted for. So far as we know, the most seriously
affected congregations (Charlotte County, Fort Myers, and Orlando) have had no structural damage to their buildings. However, the homes of many members in Charlotte Country have considerable structural damage. If there are members of your congregation that can go to Charlotte County (Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda) one day this week, please call Mary at home: 407-648-0043 so that these efforts can be coordinated!.

Rev. Ann Marie Alderman
Associate Minister, Unitarian Universalist
Church of Jacksonville office (904)725-8133
cell (904)xxx-xxxx, fax (904)725-8561
SNIP--- @uuma.org

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hi Website Crew

Bob, Bob, Amy, Bruce, Peter and others, this is a nice, short URL.

Blog Name Squatter


I'm the webmaster at Sunnyhill.Org, a religious community in Pittsburgh that is part of the UUA. I've taken this name so as to be able to turn it over to others in the UUA or within the UUA community in my hometown.

Presently we have a test blog at Sunnyhill-dot-org.Blogspot.Com.

Notify me if you want more info or to make a request.

Mark R