If your Spiritual Orientation is PAGAN…

wiccan symbol - pentacle

Paganism used to be a catch-all term for any religion in the world, past or present, that was not one of the “Abrahamic” religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam or the Baha’i Faith). Today it is used among various people to mean any religion that is “earth-centered” in its worship rather than worshiping a deity that is not associated with nature. This would include Wicca, Druidism and other varieties that are polytheistic, though some forms are monotheistic.

Because the gods of modern Paganism are directly associated with nature, Pagans are likely to be dedicated environmentalists. I myself wrote about a form of Pagan worship I am sympathetic to:

Sun Worship

Those who see Paganism as the right path for them can find fellowship here:
http://www.cuups.org/  as well as any Unitarian Universalist church or fellowship with a Pagan group. These Pagans, in turn, might lead you to explore and contact other pagan groups that may not be affiliated with UUs.

 

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If your Spiritual Orientation is BUDDHIST…

Image result for buddhist symbol

Buddhism is a religion that originated in India and is considered a direct offshoot of Hinduism, much like Christianity is descended from ancient Judaism. Unlike Hinduism, however, Buddhism is non-theistic, with no reference to gods at all in its teachings. Instead it is a totally human centered faith, much like Humanism, and thus may be considered more a philosophy than an actual religion. But it includes the Hindu concepts of karma and reincarnation, which Humanists reject. Once stripped of its Indian centered cultural references, Buddhism spread throughout most of southern and eastern Asia.

Keep in mind that while the Dalai Lama is an international celebrity, it would be inappropriate to consider him the eastern version of the Roman Catholic Pope. It would be more accurate to think of him being more like the current President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Steve Gaines. Not quite mainstream compared to larger Christian groups, but still representative of Christian teachings. The main reason the Dalai Lama is so celebrated is because of him representing the struggle of his homeland Tibet against Chinese oppression.

Like Hindus, there are relatively few Buddhist temples outside Asia, so Buddhists may also find a spiritual home for themselves among Unitarian Universalists. Indeed, Buddhism is so popular among UUs that they even have a community for themselves: http://uubf.org/wp/

I know personally a Unitarian Universalist minister who is also a Buddhist: Rev. Alex Holt, who was interim minister at Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Fort Worth) and later moved to Seattle, where he became interim minister of……Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Seattle). He wrote an essay for a book about UUs who are also Buddhists:  Buddhist Voices in Unitarian Universalism.

It is interesting to note that in India where Buddhism originated, the Hindu priests won back the loyalty of the people there not by denying the Buddha, but by proclaiming him to be an avatar of Vishnu, one of the Hindu gods, even though the Buddha never claimed that for himself and Buddhists themselves don’t believe that either. Likewise, Baha’is claim that the Buddha is a “Manifestation of God” which is also a concept foreign to Buddhists. It should be noted, however, that there is nothing in Buddhism that requires rejection of theism; that idea is simply irrelevant to Buddhist practices.

 

Stop whining about “censorship”!

With the controversy boiling over last year about white supremacy in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) remaining unaddressed for far too long, we also must confront another thorny issue: freedom of speech.
Read this:
https://trulyopenmindsandhearts.blog/2018/02/03/sticks-stones-and-names/

We children were taught to love our country especially for its freedom of religion and speech — the freedom to be different. After all, our parents or grandparents left their homes, often in the face of persecution, to come to a new home that accepted minorities who practiced a religion other than the majority Protestantism.

In my family, just three or four years before I was born, Nazi firing squads and gas chambers had taken the lives of my father’s sister and brother, their spouses and their children. If someone occasionally called us a name, well…

Sticks and stones…

This was the land of free expression, after all.

Another phrase more elegantly sums up what I was taught about how thongs [sic] should be in the United States:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

There was one flaw then in that freedom of expression. Many of our lansmen — our fellow Jewish Americans — were being denounced as Communists. Just an accusation was enough to ruin someone life. My parents and neighbors in the 1950’s hated and feared McCarthyism. Aside from war, there wasn’t much we hated and feared as much. It was another form of persecution.

Democratic ideals and common sense ended McCarthyism, at least as it then existed. Liberals and moderates of both parties despised it.

When I entered college in 1964, my cohort was beginning its rebellion against the slow pace of civil rights and, for a minority of us, against the Vietnam war. It would be a few more years before the Vietnam protest movement went mainstream, so I had a lot of angry fists shook in my face, and I was called names. My mother worried that I was setting myself up to be a victim of a revived McCarthyism.

But I persisted. I didn’t break any laws. I didn’t commit civil disobedience. I marched in protests and spoke out, because after all this is a nation where freedom of expression prevails.

That’s why the frog in me didn’t notice the water heating up over the last 60 years until it bubbled around me last April.

I wrote a blog post objecting to the way big decisions are made by the Unitarian Universalist Association. The case in point was a controversy over the pace at which the UUA was hiring and promoting persons of color, but I didn’t express an opinion on that. Nevertheless, a lay leader of the Black Lives movement in UUism made an 18-minute video condemning me for my “fuck-shot behavior” and racism, her white ministerial ally wrote that my “abhorrent BS” was a “thinly veiled cry that the colored folks are getting uppity and need to be put back in their place, ” and that was just the beginning.

My inner frog still didn’t understand, though, how much the water had heated — how much our norms had changed. I reacted not by asking that my critics be silenced but by writing in reply. Surely, in this land of free speech and opinion anyone could read what I and my critics had to say and support my freedom of expression.

That’s when the water boiled over. The UUA removed from its Worship Web a litany I had written in 1999, which had been used as a worship resource since then. Only after I discovered it was missing did I get a reason:

Your submissions were removed because your recent public comments made it difficult for these pieces to be interpreted in the way they had been before. As our Association struggles with the nature of whiteness’ supremacy, we have to reexamine past assumptions, such as the assumption that a piece of writing can be interpreted independent of its source.

Thus spoke that most liberal of liberal religions. Words I wrote in 1999, with no reference to race, needed to be expunged so that the UUA in 2017 could have a “hard and honest conversations about racial inequity in Unitarian Universalism.” My opinions in 2017 invalidated my words of 1999.

In the 1950’s and ’60’s, it was the left that stood for freedom of expression, even if that expression might to psychological harm, like burning a draft card. Today, it’s the left that wants to stamp out micro-aggressions, like asking someone with an accent where he or she (another micro-aggression against neutral-gender folks) is originally from.

It’s the right now standing for freedom of conscience over the possible psychological harm to one group, like a baker’s option to refuse to bake and decorate a cake specifically for a gay wedding. The roles have reversed.

What really happened was that Mel Pine freely expressed his opinions about a sensitive and controversial issue among his fellow UUs, others responded in anger to him because they found his opinions offensive, and the UUA, a private religious organization, removed a piece of his writings from its website because it no longer saw a benefit to having it there, which is what it is legally allowed to do! Pine was not sent to prison, arrested by police, or even given a ticket by the police for his expressions. His blogs are still up and he is still allowed to post his ideas on Facebook too. NO ONE had his rights violated in that case. Pine doth protest too much. So do right-wing assholes like Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart.com infamy. He hasn’t been punished by a government either.

When people actually get fined or imprisoned for their words by the government they live under, then we should worry about freedom of speech (and the press) being denied.

free_speech

I have the right to throw off my property people who come on it making racist remarks, don’t I?

The Baha’i Faith, Mormonism, and Reddit

Two weeks ago, I made an account on reddit, yet another social media site. I immediately dove into battles with the Baha’i bigot and backstabber Scott Hakala (who was using the false name DavidbinOwen but was exposed anyway), until I got so sick of his arguments and self-serving bullcrap that I finally blocked him. He was infesting the Ex-Baha’i forum, which as a Baha’i propaganda minister he certainly had no business being in.

Continue reading

The Ultimate Punishment

I have a vision of what could be an even worse punishment for a religious bigot than the death penalty.

In this vision, I would take Ken Ammi (a Christian apologist and a critic of the Baha’i Faith) and Scott Hakala (an ex-Christian turned Baha’i apologist) and lock them up together in a single prison cell for the rest of their so-called lives! And I, an ex-Christian and ex-Baha’i turned non-theist Unitarian Universalist (UU), would be their jailer. Just listening to those two delusional idiots argue endlessly with each other would amuse me to no end!

By contrast, people that are Christians among UUs as well as those that are Baha’is among UUs would have my respect and support, always. Their freedom would be something I would lay down my own life to defend.

How should Unitarian Universalists (UUs) deal with Baha’is?

Despite the outward similarities between Unitarian Universalism (UUism) and the Baha’i Faith, the two religious movements have profound differences in actual nature. For this reason, I wrote a book recently explaining the differences:
I have published a BOOK

One chapter of the book dealt directly with what UUs can do if Baha’is interact with them.

1. Be friendly, but reserved. – Most Baha’is are genuinely loving for humanity in general, being ignorant of the actual failings of their own religion….just like the members of most other religious groups in the world.
2. Be willing to work with Baha’is on issues you have in common, but only on YOUR terms. – They are decent allies against racism and for human rights in general. But they will avoid issues regarding gay rights, seeing gays as diseased.
3. Do not confront them about their falsehoods and failings of their religion, unless they actually try to convert you. – Most Baha’is are not emotionally equipped to deal with the totality of the facts regarding why their religion is not suited for most people in the world. However, if a Baha’i does ask specific questions about why you reject the Baha’i Faith, be honest. Do not sugarcoat the truth in such cases.
4. If you attend Baha’i gatherings, NEVER go alone. – Such events known as firesides, Unity Feasts and Baha’i Holy Day celebrations are designed to mainipulate “seekers” into learning more about the Faith, but they are profoundly one sided in their depictions. People who are going through periods of depression or grieving over a loss may find themselves subjected to “love-bombing” by Baha’is.
5. If a Baha’i wants to join a UU church as a “Unitarian Baha’i”, welcome him – Not all Baha’is are loyal to the Universal House of Justice and those that want to think freely should be helped to find a place to do so. UU churches and fellowships are ideal for this.