On September 3, 2011, a group of about 30 American National Socialists (neo-Nazis) held a rally in West Allis, WI. UUs from Milwaukee, Brookfield, and Madison “Stood on the Side of Love” as part of a multi-racial, multi-generational, multi-faith counter rally of over 2000 people who effectively drowned out the the Nazi message of hate with words and songs of love, peace, tolerance, and non-violence.
The Standing on the Side of Love banner was very well received by the participants and drew the photographers and TV cameras. We appeared on the local evening news including an interview with one of our members explaining what “Standing on the Side of Love” means in the face of the Nazi’s message.
Photo by Darthe Jennings.
Submitted by: Ann Heidkamp, Unitarian Universalist Church West,
-Rev. David Miller, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, Solana Beach, Ca.
On this 10th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, there are many things that will be said and much that will be the subject of remembrance. As Interfaith clergy in San Diego County, we are compelled to address what broke our hearts on that day and continues to cause us sorrow; the breakdown in our human family. There will be those who will continue to recall the events of 9/11 with anger, mistrust and fear. There will be others that will mark this day with deep sorrow over the loss of a spouse, son, daughter, partner, or friend. These are all valid and understandable personal reactions to a horrible human event. We understand this anger and share in the sorrow; all feelings that we too have shared. We add our voices to these remembrances by saying that this day of despair was a rip in our interconnection, a moment in time that continues a decade later to call us into a renewed urgency to work together to heal this world.
What we have learned from history, and has certainly been highlighted in the last 10 years, is that extremism in any form breeds intolerance, distrust and fear of difference. We do not negate the realities of the world. We do however ask us all to reflect on our part in contributing to the tearing down of those who differ from us politically, socially, religiously, racially, or ethnically, while also reflecting on how we can promote the healing that comes with building bridges and crossing borders in faith, love and compassion.
We will probably not be able to solve all the factors that led to the terrible loss of life on 9/11 in our lifetimes, but we can strengthen our personal resolve not to contribute to them. We call on us all to play a part in mending the many divides that face us today. We call on us all to reach out to others in need; to listen to the stories of others; to pause before acting in anger. To compost our fear into actions of love; to understand that what happens to one of us, truly does happen to all.
On a planet inhabited by billions of individuals who all have different paths, we must never forget that we share a common journey and live in a common home.
We wish us all a future of peace for our children and our children’s children.
Imam Taha Hassane – Islamic Center of San Diego
Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Ed.D. Executive Director, Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice
Rev. Dr. M. Scott Landis – Mission Hills United Church of Christ, San Diego
Rev. Dr. Arvid Straube – First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego
Rev. Dr. Beth Johnson – Palomar Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Vista
Rev. David A. Miller – Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Dieguito, Solana Beach
Rev. Frank Placone-Willey – Summit UU Fellowship, Santee
Rev. Jim Grant – Affiliate Minster, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego
Rev. Kathleen Owens – First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego
Rev. Thomas Anastasi – Chalice UU Congregation, Escondido
Rev. Tom Owen-Towle – Minister Emeritus, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego
Dan Furmansky is the Campaign Manager of the Standing on the Side of Love Campaign.
The message below went out to Standing on the Side of Love supporters on Tuesday, September 6, 2011. You can sign-up for these emails here.
“When UUs from across the country gathered in Charlotte in June 2010 for our annual General Assembly, we came knowing North Carolina faces a crucial moral struggle. As people of faith, we joined in solidarity with those North Carolinians who stand on the side of love and continue this nation’s long battle for civil rights, justice, and equality, We have seen first-hand that the discrimination enshrined in North Carolina’s proposed constitutional amendment not only fails to recognize the will of a great number of residents, but attempts to deny the basic humanity of the entire LGBT community.” -UUA Pres. Rev. Peter Morales
Labor Day weekend is over. Schools are back in session. And white pants are now in the back of the closet. LGBT people, however, should not be. In North Carolina, this September is bringing more than just shorter days. Anti-LGBT bigotry is, disturbingly, on the political agenda. Republican leaders of the NC House and Senate are pushing for a mean-spirited, divisive amendment to the state constitution that would ban marital rights for same-gender couples in the state.
The institutionalization of anti-gay bigotry must be stopped. Can you join a national phone bank hosted by Equality North Carolina to lend your hand? Sign up here:
While same-gender marriage is already prohibited in North Carolina’s laws, one of the proposed amendments would also imperil rights granted by private businesses, and place civil unions and domestic partnerships permanently out of reach. If this amendment passes the legislature, it will place same-gender-loving people and their families up for a popularity vote, and cause very real psychological harm, especially to young people grappling with their sexual orientation.
When we convened in Charlotte this past June for our General Assembly, we knew a discussion of the amendment was coming down the pike. That’s why we partnered with Equality North Carolina to hold a massive, interfaith rally in a public park opposing the proposed amendment, where we collected hundreds of signatures to elected officials and business leaders urging their opposition to anti-LGBT bigotry.
Now, it’s down to the wire, and Equality North Carolina really needs our help. The legislature will convene Sept. 12th for a special session to consider proposed constitutional amendments, including whether to send the anti-LGBT amendment to the voters on next year’s ballot.
Whether you are in California, Tennessee, North Dakota or Alabama, you can make a difference.
Equality North Carolina is hosting virtual phone banks that people across the country can plug into. Click here to sign up for a shift.
Phone banking will occur from Noon to 9 p.m. EST every day leading up to the vote. All you need is access to a computer and a cell phone. If you sign up for a shift, you will talk to North Carolina voters about the importance of contacting their legislators and urging them to oppose the anti-LGBT amendment.
Last week, House Majority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam said the amendment would protect “the children of the next generation” and suggested that the legalization of same-sex marriage would ultimately lead to polygamy. He also likened same-sex marriage to incest. If this amendment reaches voters, this sort of rhetoric will be just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s time for politicians and anti-LGBT organizations to stop using the ballot measures to rob LGBT people of our dignity, and to tell us that the provisions of equality in our constitutions applies to everyone but us and our families. As we say at the Standing on the Side of Love campaign…homophobia, not homosexuality, is the sin.
Please donate a few hours of your time to encouraging North Carolina voters to take a stand against the bigotry and shaming.
Three-fifths of both houses of the legislature must approve the amendment, which is an incredibly high bar to reach. With your help we can defeat this amendment!
Click here to learn more about phone banking against discrimination:More >
August 25, 2011
CONTACT: Adam Muhlendorf, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
202-265-3000 (o); 202-641-6216 (c); firstname.lastname@example.org
Top National Faith Leaders to Remember 9/11, Mourn Victims, Promote Religious Freedom
Interreligious gathering will highlight four religious organizations that have led efforts to unite religious communities in the face of anti-Muslim sentiment
Families of Muslim victims will also attend
WASHINGTON – One year after issuing a historic statement calling for faith communities to promote acceptance and end religious bigotry, senior national religious leaders will reconvene on Thursday, September 8, to remember the September 11 attack, mourn victims from the tragedy and celebrate the religious community’s role in healing a nation still struggling to overcome the fear and division that has defined the years since the attack.
Participating religious leaders include the national heads of numerous denominations and faith groups representing Christians, Jews and Muslims. In addition to recognizing families of Muslim victims of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the group will highlight four of the many religious organizations that have led grassroots efforts to unite religious communities across the country in the face of anti-Muslim sentiment.
The September 8 interreligious meeting will begin at 11 a.m. at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church’s (1313 New York Avenue, NW) Radcliffe Room. Media is invited, and coverage is welcomed. Photo, video and interview opportunities will also be available.
The participating religious leaders represent the same denominations and faith groups that stood in solidarity on September 7, 2010, to speak out against the rise in Islamophobia leading up to the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks and the planned burning of the Qur’an in Florida.
In response to U.S. Representative Peter King’s (R-N.Y.) controversial congressional hearings into the radicalization of the American Muslim community, the religious leaders launched “Shoulder to Shoulder: Standing with American Muslims; Upholding American Values,” (http://www.shouldertoshouldercampaign.org) comprising 26 national religious, faith-based and interfaith organizations who have pledged to work together to promote tolerance and to work to end anti-Muslim bigotry.
Among the senior Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious leaders are Bishop Martin Holley, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington on behalf of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America; Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ; Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; Rabbi Marc Schneier, an Orthodox rabbi and president of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding; and Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor at Northland, A Church Distributed.
Leaders from Armenian Church of America, Interfaith Alliance, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, Presbyterian Church (USA), Sojourners, Sikh Council on Religion and Education, Universal Muslim Association of America, Unitarian Universalist Association, and the United Methodist Church are also expected to participate.
Interreligious gathering to remember the September 11 attack, mourn victims from the tragedy, and celebrate the religious community’s role in healing a nation still struggling to overcome the fear and division that has defined the decade since the attack.
Thursday, September 8 at 11 a.m. EDT
New York Avenue Presbyterian Church
1313 New York Avenue, NW
On Wednesday, August 24, Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles and 10 members of the UU Church of Arlington, VA, joined some 300 people to testify against the U.S. Homeland Security initiative called “Secure Communities”.
A Task Force, charged with reporting back on this policy to ICE, held hearings around the nation in the past few weeks, and this one in Northern Virginia, just across the Potomac River from DC, was the last chance for people to voice concerns. The 300 immigrants, faith leaders, worker unions, lawyers and legal rights workers were joined by two members of the Arlington County Board, Walter Tejada (who attends the UU Church of Arlington) and Board Chair Chris Zimmerman. (The County Board voted last year to “opt out” of the SCOMM program, only to be told that they had to enforce this ICE initiative which has led to massive deportations of mostly innocent people).
The 300 gathered for a press conference before the hearing, and heard the stories of women taken from their children, people thrown into detention without being convicted of any misdemeanor or crime, and other stories of injustice. The group then marched to the location of the hearing, with police protection, carrying banners and shouting “Hey, Obama! Don’t Deport My Mama!”
Representatives of the Catholic, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, and Jewish faith groups spoke to the Task Force. Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles spoke, following some hateful xenophobic comments from a few people supporting SCOMM, and later a woman said to the UU minister, “Thank you so much for being there today, and for being the person to speak next after that guy (who attacked Latinos). I was kind of shaken up, but as soon as I heard your name as the next speaker, I said, ‘Yes!’ What a relief that was!”
Others testifying to end SCOMM included defense lawyers, Amnesty and ACLU staff persons, the “9500 Liberty” filmmakers, community workers, and immigrants who courageously risked giving first-person stories of the way the implementation of SCOMM is affecting not the criminals in their communities, but mothers, children, and families. Halfway through the two-hour hearing, some 200 of the End-Secure-Communities group walked out and continued chanting in the courtyard facing a central Arlington commercial hub.More >