Interdependent Web: Spring is coming, women's rights are human rights, science is real

Interdependent Web: Spring is coming, women's rights are human rights, science is real

A weekly roundup of blogs and other user-generated web content about Unitarian Universalism.


Spring is coming

John Beckett believes the lesson of Imbolc—that spring is coming.

Imbolc . . . . is not a faith that asks us to believe impossible things because some ancient text says they happened, but a faith that reminds us that spring has always followed winter, and so we are right to believe that spring will follow winter this time too. . . .

The faith of Imbolc tells us not to despair, but to do the right things for the right reasons and good things will come, if not this year, then next year; and if not next year, then the year afterward. For the message of Imbolc also reminds us that if we don’t plant, our harvest is certain to be nothing. (Under the Ancient Oaks, January 24)

On inauguration day, Deb Weiner recounts her reasons for gratitude.

I’m grateful to remember that, for a very long time, the sun has continued to rise and set; the morning star has risen, and life has gone on. Last summer, my beloved former neighbor said, as we stood and looked on our gardens, “Maybe this is what people mean by the end-times.” Interesting thought: maybe it’s not that the world ends with a bang, but with a whimper, with society caving in and conversations devolving into brags about acts of violence and hate perpetrated on the vulnerable.

On the other hand, I am now choosing to view this not as an end, but a beginning: Even this new kind of leader probably won’t end this nation (although I do worry…) and while the light fills the morning sky, I’ll keep praying that our nation, and our world—now more complex than ever—endures and maybe even becomes better as a result of our steadfast witness to values of love, justice and hope. (Morning Stars Rising, January 20)

Women’s rights are human rights

The Rev. Madelyn Campbell shares her experience of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C.

I ran into people who said they felt ashamed at how much they’d taken for granted before the election. People who said that they’d felt despondent but now were feeling energized and ready to get to work. People who were committing to calling their elected officials regularly. People who were ready to dig in. . . .

The point of this was not that it’s one and done. The point is that the beast has awakened. This was just our grand entrance. We’re coming. And we who believe in freedom will not rest. (The Widow’s Mite-y Blog, January 23)

Liz James writes that as a child, she was taught that feminism had won.

Now, I am beginning to realize that my being taught to expect my equality as a an unalienable right was grounded in strategy and idealism, not in a realistic assessment of life for women around the world and through time.

Things I used to see as having been given to me as gifts now seem like they were actually loans.

It gives me a feeling, deep in the pit of my stomach, that I can’t begin to describe. (Facebook, January 24)

On the morning of inauguration day, the Rev. Robin Bartlett’s daughter asked her a difficult question.

This morning my six year old sat down at the table and said, “is it true that the president tickles girl’s private parts without asking?”

These are the kinds of questions we will be answering for the next few years, with a sigh and steely resolve. I will try to answer them without euphemism, and without flinching. The children were listening, are listening, have always been listening. Luckily, I believe in equipping my kids with sex-positive and body-positive information about how to stay safe and love themselves and their bodies. It’s unfortunate that the man who will be sworn into the highest office has become our object lesson in consent, assault, harming vs. standing up for the vulnerable. Luckily, we don’t worship presidents in this family, but God which is another word for Love, and we follow Jesus as an example of what that love looks like. (Facebook, January 20)

The Rev. Jordinn Nelson Long addresses some of the questions about intersectionality that were raised by the Women’s March.

When your call as a fellow white person for “intersectionality” starts with “Things are already ok for white women”—it’s not, in fact, intersectionality. It’s instead effectively taking “sexism” off the list of urgent “isms,” and offering a view of reality counter to both my own lived experience, and those of people I work with, know, and love. This is true as a minister, as a domestic violence survivor and advocate, and as a faith leader who speaks up to counter patriarchy and the relentless and humanity-denying push toward commodification—of lives, of bodies, of narratives, of realities—that it feeds upon.

Things are, in fact, NOT ok for white women.

This is because things are not ok for women, and white women don’t actually have a pass on the “women” part of oppression. It is indeed possible to say this WHILE ALSO ACKNOWLEDGING THAT RACISM, CLASS PRIVILEGE, AND XENOPHOBIA ARE THINGS. (Facebook, January 22)

Kenny Wiley shares a few thoughts about the peacefulness of the Women’s March.

Yes, yesterday was racially diverse—way more so than the Inauguration, of course—but never underestimate the impact huge numbers of white people can have on how police behave.

For white folks, it’s worth asking, “do I assume police are here to protect me? Do police view *me* as a threat? might that affect how I interact with them at a protest?”

If you see friends suggesting to Black Lives Matter or other folks that yesterday was “how you protest,” challenge that notion. Yesterday was not the only possible display of nonviolence. (Facebook, January 22)

Science is real

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden writes that challenging the idea of “alternative facts” is part of our UU tradition.

Unitarians must say it plainly: There are no alternative facts and there are no alternative truths. What you feel you feel, but you don’t feel a fact or a truth into or out of being.

We are still here. We are not lost. (Quest for Meaning, January 26)

The Rev. Jake Morrill writes about the current administration’s attacks on scientific conversation.

In the early 19th century, what if the government had burned the maps, sketches, and nature journals collected in the Northwest by Lewis and Clark? In recent decades, what if the government had silenced scientists from sharing findings that helped the fight against cancer? America thrives when we learn from each other, when we strengthen public understanding. . . . Open, unafraid fact-based conversation and exploration is not just good science. It’s what makes this country great. (Facebook, January 25)

The Trump administration prompts the Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern to start a new blog.

When political leaders set themselves against science, watch out. No matter what they may say in softer tones, their actions shout a warning that they intend to found the law upon lies. . . .

I have some (though not unlimited) faith in the flip side: that the truthful recording of facts will help create a tolerant, intellectually stable, and free society. And so this blog’s purpose is to publicize examples of political leaders, policymakers, and other influential people ignoring science, dismissing its discoveries, distorting what it tells us, or seeking to prevent scientists from pursuing and publishing the facts. (They F***ing Hate Science, January 25)