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Showing posts from January, 2012

Thoughts on "Congregations and Beyond"

The UUA President, the Rev. Peter Morales published a working paper titled "Congregations and Beyond" last week.  It's available in its entirety here.  In it he says, "I am realizing in a profound way that congregations cannot be the only way we
 connect with people." and "We have long defined ourselves as an association of congregations. We need to think
 of ourselves as a religious movement." 

The Rev. Morales says, "
Congregations as local parishes arose in a different era. They arose in a time of limited
 mobility and communication. Most members lived within a couple of miles of their
 church."  This is something that I've been thinking about recently, as well.  The time that the church is where you go to in order to hear the latest ideas or even the latest gossip is a time that's behind us.  The church is no longer the central, or even a central, hub for how people get and exchange information and ideas.  There are still thing…

The Most Hated Girl in America

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In 1964, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, founder of the American Atheists, was called "the most hated woman in America." Judging from the response to Jessica Ahlquist, the love of atheists hasn't increased much.  Indeed, in 2009, a University of Minnesota research study published in the American Sociological Review showed atheists to be the most disliked minority group of those they polled, including Muslims and homosexuals. When asked to respond to the statement, "This Group Does Not At All Agree with My Vision of American Society," 39.6% agreed atheists do not (26.3% for Muslims, who came in second), and 47.6% would disapprove of their child marrying an atheist (33.5% for Muslims, again the next highest category).

So perhaps the vehemence directed toward 16-year-old Jessica Ahlquist should not be shocking.  Ahlquist is a teenager who attends Cranston High School West in Cranston, Rhode Island.  Cranston High School West had a prayer banner that hung in their scho…

Cookies and Controversy: Part 2

(Continuing from Part 1)

Well, it seems the video of young Girl Scout, Taylor, which asking you to boycott Girl Scout cookies because Girl Scouts is inclusive of transgender girls, has been taken down. There are a number of well-done responses from Girl Scouts that are available, however.  Some of my favorites are:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAnt5cqQ4Sshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCDtaGCjujc http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qxWM3dxfbX0http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BChDci9mkE&feature=relatedhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=k85-CXLLIekThese Girl Scouts make several good points about what Girl Scouts is all about.  A primary one is about the Girl Scout Law.  In her original video, Taylor talked about the line of the Girl Scout Law that says, "Honest and Fair," and how Girl Scouts is somehow not being honest if they're not proclaiming loudly to everyone involved that there are transgender scouts, and who …

Cookies and Controversy: The Background Information

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I've never seen so much discussion among my liberal and ministerial friends about Girl Scouts.  Sure, there's the palm oil controversy which comes up every year at cookie time, and the confusion that people sometimes have between Boy Scouts of America's stances and Girl Scouts USA's stances.  The two are unrelated organizations, and Girl Scouts USA welcomes scouts to change the word "God" in the Girl Scout pledge to any word representing the scout's spiritual beliefs.  Girl Scouts also has not taken any stance limiting participation of lesbian or bisexual scouts or troop leaders.

The latest Girl Scout controversy is around transgender scouts.  And, once again, Girl Scouts has taken an inclusive stance.  The story that has caught the attention in the news is of a young girl, Bobby Montoya, who wanted to become a Girl Scout.  Bobby is a 7-year-old transgender girl.

The story first emerged that Bobby wanted to become a Girl Scout but had been turned down by …