Showing posts from September, 2009

How Health Care is Our Moral Issue

Here's the sermon I gave on health care last Sunday (September 27, 2009). Please keep in mind if you weren't there that much of the passion is in the delivery. If you were there, the same thing goes.
In eight years I’ve been in ministry, there have been a handful of national issues that have seemed to me to demand a loud, clear, moral voice from the faith community. I felt the need to speak up about the violence and discrimination I saw against the Muslim community following September 11th, 2001. I felt the need to talk about and organize forums in opposition to our going to war in Iraq. I mourned the victims of and the seemingly overwhelming racism revealed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. There are all sorts of moral outrages, threats to the environment, racism, heterosexism, classism, and all sorts of other evils to confront in our society, but these national-level issues took a demanding center stage in their time, commanded my attention, and absorbed my thou…

Back to Health Care Reform: What is Insurance Anyway?

I've taken a couple weeks off from posting about health care reform, but this week I'm preaching on it, so it's very much on my mind. Of course, sermon writing and blog writing are two very different things, so I'm writing this in hopes that it will get some of the stuff I'm feeling out of the way and I can get down to writing a real sermon tomorrow. That will be focusing on the moral issues of health care reform--our moral obligation as a society in how we deal with suffering, for example.

So today, you get how I really feel about insurance. I got in an argument with a friend recently about what the purpose of insurance is/should be. I think maybe she was arguing what it is, and I was arguing what it should be.

Essentially, what I believe insurance should be is it should be a capitalist system wherein we essentially socialize a system--we spread costs that would be unbearable for any individual person across a whole group. We collect insurance premiums in order…

More on Atheism, Agnosticism, and Humanism, and the Nature of God

First, some general definitions.
Atheist: Someone who does not believe in God. There are many distinctions you can make among atheist--strong, weak, implicit, explicit, practical, theological--but the two major ones are strong atheism vs. weak atheism. A strong Atheist believes that it is certain and clear that there is no God. A weak Atheist does not believe in God, but doesn't assert the lack of God--it could be said to include all forms of non-theists.

Non-theist: Someone who does not assert a belief in God. I would include Agnostics, Atheists, most Buddhists, and many others in this group. Some would argue any non-theist is an atheist. I generally reserve the term "Atheist" for the group that is really strong Atheists, and use "non-theists" as the catch-all term.

Agnostic: Someone who does not know whether or not God exists. Again, can be divided into many categories, the main ones being strong or weak. A weak Agnostic does not know if there is a God, …

Evangelical Atheism

I had an experience I've never had before this weekend. I was walking with friends in downtown Royal Oak, MI, and we passed a group of people on the street corner handing out literature. It was a group coordinated by Grassroots Atheism consisting of members of Detroit Atheists and Mid-Michigan Atheists & Humanists. Apparently they're also creating a documentary, because they were also filming. I have to say, they were polite and non-obtrusive. I didn't see them starting arguments or bothering people, just handing brochures as people passed. However, it reminded me of the end of this video (warning: strong language & intent to offend. The part I'm referring to comes about 2:52 in).

I'm not condoning the guy's rant against Mormonism, but I think the idea of Atheists going door-to-door, or even standing on the corner in Royal Oak passing out literature is pretty funny. But, at the same time as I see the humor in it, and I see where people get real…

Freedom From Religion

Lest anyone miss it, the editor of the UU World has responded thoughtfully to the hubbub about the Freedom From Religion Foundation's advertisement in the UU World here. To see some of the other opinions, follow the links from the "Interdependent Web" to various blogs and their comments. I think UU World Business Manager Scott Ulrich's words strike just the right balance. Bravo!

Are We Really About Freedom From Religion?

There's some flap being generated about an advertisement from the "Freedom From Religion Foundation" in the latest issue of the UU World. I know some people have said that they've written letters to the editor, so I imagine you'll be seeing some in your next issue. At first I didn't understand what all the fuss was about. I think I get mailings from FFRF at the church, addressed to a previous minister. I've seen their webpage, at least. From what I've seen, it seems like their major purpose is to promote separation of church and state, which is a cause that UUs generally believed in. Yes, the organization is unforunately named, and the name makes me wince. I have that same reaction every time "Imagine" by John Lennon is sung in a UU church, something I've witnessed more times than I care to count ("And shouldn't it be 'there are no countries'?" the English teacher in me asks.):
Imagine there's no countries