Interdependent Web: Recognizing Lucifer, rising waters, responding to religious bigotry

Interdependent Web: Recognizing Lucifer, rising waters, responding to religious bigotry

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


Recognizing Lucifer

Doug Muder reminds us that fascism sometimes masquerades as an angel of light.

[Look] at the . . . concepts Trump is presenting: total allegiance, loyalty, patriotism, heroes sacrificing themselves to become immortal, the obedient military as the ideal to which the rest of society should aspire, and our dead heroes as the symbol of the moral debt we owe to our country.

These are the emotional underpinnings of fascism.

You may not recognize them as such, because all our lives we’ve been told that fascism is ugly. These sentiments, though, don’t seem ugly at all, at least at first glance. On the contrary, they are moving and inspiring, noble and even beautiful in their own way. We all want to be immortal, we want see ourselves as selfless heroes, we want to love and be loved by those around us. Particularly at this cynical moment in history, we want to believe that something is worthy of our total allegiance.

We are like crusaders who have trained all our lives to battle a dark and hideous Devil, and so are completely unprepared when we encounter Lucifer, the Morning Star, the shining Angel of Light. (The Weekly Sift, August 28)

In a second post, Muder writes that Trump’s pardoning of Joe Arpaio reveals the ugliness that is this administration’s true nature.

Law enforcement people have to see this as part of a package with other messages: Trump’s speech urging police to be “rough” with Hispanic gang suspects, his even-handed approach to Nazis and the people who protest against Nazis, and his unwillingness to speak out against the bombing of a Minneapolis mosque. Put together, those all say: Violence is OK, as long as people Trump likes are doing it to people Trump doesn’t like. In particular, if you are in law enforcement and feel like violating the civil rights of non-whites or non-Christians, don’t worry; the President has your back. (The Weekly Sift, August 28)

The Rev. Chris Buice notes that protesting is part of our UU DNA.

Unlike our Protestant forebears we did not topple the statues or smash the stain glass windows—we simply opted out when we built our new building in 1998. Protestants remove images for the same reason a person might take curtains off a window, to let in the light.

One of the more visible ways we are still Protestant is that we produce a disproportionate number of protestors. Like Martin Luther we want to nail our 95 theses to the door of the church and state. Our history has been marked by protests against slavery, racism, bigotry and injustice. (The Tao of Tennessee, August 29)

Rising waters

No stranger herself to hurricanes, the Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford’s thoughts are with a friend in Houston.

Barely 3 hours away, the BFF-DRE was being evacuated. After all these long days and nights of Harvey, it was at the very end that her house flooded. 1 spouse, two sons, 1 dog, 1 turtle, and she were helped out and to a friend’s house.

I am the sentimentalist, she is the realist. My favorite Christmas movie is It’s A Wonderful Life. Hers is Die Hard. Really, that kind of tells you everything you need to know about us.

I am cursing on her behalf, praying rosaries of invective.

She would roll her eyes. AnnoyingNotTragic, she hashtags.

And it will be a long road of insurance claims, ripped up carpet, the smell of mildew. TAKE TEQUILA AND CHOCOLATE TO KATY, I write on my pad, making my to-dos. (Boots and Blessings, August 30)

Adam Dyer recognizes the “privilege bubble” he’s currently living in—as opposed to the suffering happening in the Houston area.

Right now in Texas, people are suffering. Rising water (the very element we need to survive) is threatening life and property and will change people’s lives for years to come. What is more, too many of these people survived the horrors of Hurricane Katrina as well. But the real disaster is not just in the rising water. The real disaster is that it took Mother Nature to wake the rest of us up (again) to those people who don’t have insurance, or ways to escape, or healthcare to heal the injuries and illnesses and their every day suffering. Why do we only justify providing help to people in need when the help meter reaches our distress threshold? Why aren’t we listening to these communities in the first place? (spirituwellness, August 31)

Responding to religious bigotry

The Rev. Meg Riley writes an open letter to the closeted gay men she assumes—with good reason—were part of writing the recent homophobic and transphobic“Nashville Statement.”

I don’t care if you like to lie about your sexuality. To each their own. But when you project your shame and self-hatred on the children who are trying to live into their authentic selves, when you spew out your terror and shame and judgment and try to pin it on God, when you throw it all over people who already have enough hate to deal with in the world, I call you on it. (Medium, August 31)

The Rev. Jake Morrill also responded to the statement, writing as a Christian UU.

So, I want to say clearly, as a Christian, as the Executive Director of the UU Christian Fellowship, and as somebody who fails and tries again at my baptismal vows every day: GLBTQ friends and family, I love you. I believe with all my heart that you are loved by God, exactly as you wonderfully are. This “Nashville Statement” does not speak for Christians. And I’m sorry for the ways organized religion has abused, and continues to abuse, its moral standing to cause harm in your lives. In Isaiah 43:19, God says, “See! I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth: don’t you see it?” And, honestly, many people just don’t. (Facebook, August 30)