uuworld.org: liberal religion and life

Mailbox, Spring 2010

Readers defend 'hanging out,' criticize heroes of the left.
By Jane Greer
Spring 2010 2.15.10

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We received fifty-one letters in response to the Winter 2009 issue. Thirteen responded to the cover story by Daniel McKanan, “The Religious Left.” Of these, four protested the inclusion of Mumia Abu-Jamal in a list of progressive political prisoners that included the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Abu-Jamal is in prison because he has been convicted of the first degree murder of a police officer,” wrote James J. Petka of Phila­delphia. “Were you hard-pressed to find a modern day political prisoner and Abu-Jamal popped out of an Internet search engine, or do you consider homicide political action?”

Charles Scott of Casper, Wyo., felt that McKanan was “uncritically laudatory of the political enthusiasms of the left.” “We UUs should concentrate on making our free societies better, not on misplaced romanticism for the lost causes of the political left.”

Bruce Sheiman’s Forum article “Religion and Science Can Be Partners” elicited twelve responses. Henderson Cole of Danbury, Conn., wrote, “The best way to show that no conflict really exists is for the religion to specifically absorb scientific findings as part of the truths it upholds,” and suggested adding a UU Principle affirming the “magesteria of science.”

Others dismissed religion as an obsolete partner. James A. Haught of Charleston, W.Va., wrote: “In some primitive tribes, a visiting Western doctor gives antibiotics to sick patients, then a witch-doctor shakes his rattle over them for magical cures. Thus science and faith team up to serve their respective roles, one adult, one infantile.”

Rebecca Cloe, a 16-year-old member of the Hillsboro, Ore., congregation, took issue with UUA President Peter Morales’s statement in his column that “hanging out is not a spiritual practice.” “I have had extremely spiritual experiences while ‘hanging out’ with other youth,” she wrote. “Deep and powerful conversations can sprout from simply sitting next to a fellow youth-conference goer and chatting.”

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