Not Surprised by #Ferguson or #Occupy

“A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect”.

- W.E.B. DuBois

As I see how the demonstrating public lashed out in Ferguson against the state of their community, and I see the prevailing national reaction to the local reaction – “violence/looting/burning buildings isn’t the answer”, I think back to #Occupy 2011.

I remember the police abuses of young white Occupy protesters, from New York to California. I remember how the police were defended by those who decried Occupy as “dirty”, “lazy” “thugs” and “trust-fund babies”.

I remember how they were exceptionally othered by those who are incredibly addicted to their own comforts and distance.

I remember the gross class resentment against college students, from people in a likely-similar income bracket as those protesting. I remember some bastard who screamed “stop raping people!” for his online fans’ shits and giggles.

And when Zucotti Park was forcibly cleared, signifying a formal end to the Occupy period, the police were cheered for “bringing law and order back to the streets” and “allowing businesses to function again”.

That moment was about class inequality. This moment – Ferguson – was about racial inequality.

And yet the militarized police, once again, show their ugly head. And their groupies itch for the police to save them from those who would “bring down America” through upsetting the status quo.

It was Martin Luther King, Jr., who said it best, so long ago:

And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

Most concerned about tranquility. Damn the urban peasants, especially those “colored” ones. Damn the college students. “Get out of our country if you don’t like it.”

The “Founding Fathers'” Revolution can’t repeated with these defenders of the status quo. Another Constitution can’t be drafted with these people.

The folks who defend police conduct toward unarmed protesters/AAs are likely the same folks who decry jackbooted government thugs elsewhere. I find this comfort for hyperviolent forces of the favored status quo to be funny, in a gallows-humor kind of way.

Stop inconveniencing the thugs in black and blue. Stop inconveniencing their slavish, status-quo-defending groupies. Stop disrupting the flow of traffic, of capital, of bigoted values, of firearms, of military training.

Worship our agents. Accept your inferiority. Do what we tell you. Appear how we want you to appear. Never resist us.

Then tell yourself: I AM FREE.

Secret societies & social justice: Knights of Tabor

Harry Underwood:

The Knights of Tabor, an African-American fraternal organization, had an interesting history.

Originally posted on Part Of The Solution:

Jasper Wilcox

The Knights of Tabor were founded in Independence, Missouri in 1872 by an African-American philanthropist named Moses Dickson. Dickson had long been a member in good standing of the Prince Hall Freemasons (African-American Freemasons).

Reverend Moses Dickson_thumb[3]

Although the International Order of Twelve: of Knights and Daughters of Tabor (their official name) was technically founded in 1872 the true history (as alleged by Dickson himself) is much more interesting. Dickson gives his account in his own history of the Knights of Tabor. The Order went through three major evolutions. The first order, the Knights of Liberty were founded in 1846, the second order, the Order of Twelve in 1855 and the Knights of Tabor (which still exists today) in 1872.

Moses Dickson was born free (well, you know…) “…in Ohio, April 5th, 1824.” His whole family died (or something) and he became a barber and traveled to the south when he…

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The Dilemma of Thanksgiving Grace for Religious Naturalists

Harry Underwood:

A perspective on how to unawkwardly approach Thanksgiving as a religious naturalist.

Originally posted on Humanistic Paganism:

Ah, those warm, comforting memories of Thanksgivings spent with family. … Or, are they sometimes not so blissful? Like when the family meal starts with a request that we all pray about Jesus’ blood?  If that sounds familiar, you may enjoy this short video by John Cleland Host.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

And here’s a simple grace that John Halstead says with his family:

We thank the earth in which the seed did grow.
We thank the hands that the seed did sow.
We thank the sky which gave us rain.
We thank the sun whose rays give us gain.
We thank the hands that this meal did prepare.
To live in honor of these gifts is our prayer.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends!

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– What Could Roku Mean to UUs?

Harry Underwood:

If all of these UU churches (and UUA GA) are already placing their sermons and songs on YouTube, why would it be all that harder to place them on Roku under a UU channel app?

Originally posted on :

Even though I’ve spent significant time working in the world of SmartTVs and app development for them, I only just now have made the connection between digital ministry and the power of internet delivered TV shows.

Earlier this year, I had  three set-top boxes  — one from Google, a Roku box and an Apple TV one — attached to the back of my HD TV.  The three tiny black boxes look like giant beetles feeding off the internal organs of my Samsung. The difference between Roku and Apple TV is that Apple TV is tied to a viewer’s iTunes account. It’s terrific because its much nicer to watch movies and shows from the iTunes store on a TV monitor than a tablet, iphone or laptop.  Roku, unlike Apple, aggressively seeks out and encourages worldwide developers of TV-like programming.

It’s not easy to find faith-focused content in iTunes. It’s a snap in…

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Harry Underwood:

#MayorHodges of Minneapolis responds to her city’s idiot police union on #pointergate.

Originally posted on Mayor Betsy Hodges:

A few days before the November 4th election, I took a photo with an organizer while doorknocking to get the vote out. In that photo, the organizer and I pointed at one another (after, it has often been remarked, an awkward moment of set-up). A local news station ran a story that the pointing of our fingers constituted gang signs, that the photo undermined the morale of the officers in the Minneapolis Police Department, and that participating in the photo constituted poor judgment on my part. The head of the Minneapolis Police Federation — the union that represents Minneapolis police officers — made a comment publicly to that effect. He said, “She should know better” and asked, “Is she on the side of the cops or the gangs?”

As one of the two people pointing in the photo, I’ve tried to understand what the head of the police union…

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More Love Somewhere: The unedited hymn

Harry Underwood:

I’m divided about this, after reading this post.

Originally posted on Held In The Light:

I have long been uneasy with a recent practice among Unitarian Universalists of singing changed words to a particular song in Singing the Living Tradition, the hymnal published by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Granted, we are always changing words to make them more palatable and therefore singable in our congregations. We free original hymns of their sexism and God-talk, for example, in an effort for our worship to be more inclusive.

The changed lyrics I am thinking of are to the old African American song, “There Is More Love Somewhere.” I have heard it sung by UUs as “There is more love right here.”

And as much explaining as I have done from the pulpit about understanding and respecting the history and context of the song, I field questions from congregation members who protest the song’s words when we sing it as is.

There is much to be troubled…

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