UU Pagans respond to American political shift

TWH — Following the highly-divisive election cycle in the United States, leaders in the Unitarian Universalist religion have been speaking out about what should come next. For one leader of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPs), the call to “provide sanctuary and resist” can be couched in terms of the time of the winter king, who brings hope in times of cold, dark, and despair.cuups

Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, laid out what he believed to be necessary in a letter to UU ministers last month.

I believe we are entering dangerous times. I expect that the new administration will unleash human rights abuses aimed at migrants and Muslims shortly after it takes office. In the longer term, other marginalized groups . . . will be in danger. We are already seeing an increase in violent acts by people who see the election as validation of their hate.

Among the dangers we face is the temptation to “normalize” the situation. I pray that the incoming administration will prove to be more humane than its rhetoric and many of its most ardent supporters. I see no evidence that this is the case. None. It is irresponsible folly to act as though we are in a normal transition between administrations.

We must prepare to provide sanctuary and resist.

Sanctuary, in Morales’ view, is broadly defined to include not only safe harbors for spiritual reflection, but active protection for members of those groups likely to be targeted, including Muslims and illegal aliens. He frames resistance as a shift from playing “offense” by advocating for such issues as marriage equality and immigration reform to “defense” to oppose new human-rights abuses that he fully expects will occur under President Trump.

Amy Beltaine, presently the president of CUUPs, is in agreement with Morales. In a lengthy winter solstice video that she transcribed to the blog Nature’s Path,Beltaine placed these concerns into a Pagan context:

The short daylight and the fear and pain among my loved ones are adding layers of weight on my mind. So many of my friends have realistic fears about being able to survive, much less prosper, during the next four years. One must have food, shelter, and health before one can contribute your unique self to the world. I need them to survive.

I’m keenly aware of the responsibilities that come with my layers of relative privilege. I have responsibilities to the marginalized and historically oppressed. Not just responsibilities to interrupt bullying, to resist injustice and agitate for compassion, but responsibility to build bridges and to make connections with those who I have trouble feeling connected to.

For Beltaine, building bridges is every bit as important as building sanctuaries. “Some might argue that many who voted in frustration have little to complain about,” she wrote. “But human beings usually don’t make decisions based on dispassionate fact. We decide based on our story, our emotions, our experience. Whether this perception of helplessness and lost power were objectively true phenomena does not matter.”

[Photo Credit: thombattu / Wikimedia]

[Photo Credit: thombattu / Wikimedia]

For Pagans and anyone else who acknowledges the astronomical shifting, this is the dark time in fact, even for those who don’t feel it is metaphorically. “As king of evergreens, the winter king’s gift is hope during times of despair, and incubation of new birth during times of destruction.” Beltaine argues that the common threads which bind Americans at this time — frustration with the difficulty of achieving the “American Dream,” as well as skepticism in elected leaders’ abilities to change the status quo — are a starting point for incubating that new, hopeful birth.

That means recognizing that the fears and worries of all people are valid for them, and treating each other with respect and decency. “As we wait for the sun to return we need to be intolerant of actions that harm the community or anyone in it, active in finding new ways, and calling in those who are not aware of the work that needs to be done.”

Among UU Pagans, that work comes forward in the form of resolutions passed by board members, and specific actions to back those statements up. When reached for an additional comment, Beltaine said on behalf of the CUUPs board:

CUUPs has a long history of lifting up the importance of our respectful relationship with the sacred earth and the importance of acting on behalf of the worth and dignity of all our siblings. Our current statements regarding Black Lives Matter, environmental justice (and solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux), and consent culture speak to the need to actively work against bullying, hate, disenfranchisement, oppression, and disconnection from our sacred selves and earth. Like Rev. Morales, we call upon our members and friends to take action to protect the vulnerable and to create a better world.

Beltaine’s full video message can be viewed below.

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iHeartRadio Music Awards 2017 Presale Passwords

iHeartRadio Music Awards 2017 has presales going on and we know you want to get your hands on these tickets before everyone else. Here, we will provide you with the presale passwords needed to help you get the tickets you want. Check back later for more updates! Want a special discount off your ticket price? Use […]

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Chicago and The Doobie Brothers Presale Passwords

Chicago and The Doobie Brothers have some presales going on and we know you want to get your hands on these tickets before everyone else. Here, we will provide you with the presale passwords needed to help you get the tickets you want. Check back later for more updates! Want a special discount off your ticket […]

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Poland: Behind the Black Protests

A hundred thousand women and men took to the streets in Poland recently in protest against attempts to ban all abortions—and the issue seems to have crystallised a growing unease with the country’s move to the right and the power of the Catholic Church. ‘We are not putting our umbrellas away’ went one of the slogans as women stood in the pouring rain to voice their concerns. The size of the protest surprised even the participants; organised by the feminist movement, it attracted women and men from many different backgrounds. Where did this surge of activism come from? Some argue that the revolution that began with Solidarnosc in the 1980s ignored the needs and voices of Polish women. Communism may have been defeated, they say, but it’s been replaced by a different kind of repression. Maria Margaronis investigates. Mark Savage producing.
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5 Awesome Spots To Hit Up This January

Massoni 

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Boasting some seriously wild design flairs and a ton of tables, Massoni is one of this winter’s coolest additions to the NYC restaurant scene. Massoni’s mission statement is kind of simple, kind of not, offering “Inauthentic Italian”, which in this case means Italian but with some very artisanal, very New York touches (they offer no fewer than 6 savory pie options). A cool touch is that Massoni’s sister bar, BARlo, is just one flight of stairs away. Great for post-pasta drinkin’

The Last Word 

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One of the best hangout neighborhoods in the whole dang city is getting another great bar to add to its portfolio. It’s a craft cocktail spot, but they also know a thing or two about stocking great wines and beers. On top of that, the extensive and inventive cocktails are some of the coolest you’ve seen in a while.

Interboro

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The brewery/bar hybrid is something we’ve been seeing more and more, especially in Brooklyn. Interboro is one of the absolute best. They make their own beers and spirits, and their tasting hours/events schedule is off the chain. This is a great place to bring your dad to prove that you are cool and that moving to Brooklyn no longer means you are an unpaid artist living in abject squalor.

Coffeemania

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Don’t let the name fool you, this is a straight-up restaurant that you can probably bring your laptop to but it sure would look gauche. Coffeemania’s menu is extensive, and covers everything from traditional snacks (chicken wings) to some more “out there” stuff (the Soylanka, a soup made with chilies and kielbasa, sounds rad).

Five Borough Food Hall 

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We just told you some of the best spots to eat/drink in JFK, and now there’s one more to add to your list. Five Borough Food Hall, in Terminal 4, offers up a full bar (designed to look like a VW van), a noodle bar, a pita counter, and more. It’s not the most glamorous location, but if this was opening in Chelsea Market y’all would be lining up for days. Admit it.

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