Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Political involvement

James Luther Adams said that every Unitarian should be involved in controversial social justice work. I've been thinking about this a lot lately. In America I was impressed by the commitment a lot of people had to working on campaigns. I was also frustrated that in many ways I could not get more involved, because I was not a citizen, a tax-payer or a voter, but only a visitor.

So now I'm back in my own country I'm looking for groups to put my time, energy and money into. This has been a bit of a depressing process. I find British society a lot more apathetic politically. Of course there are not so many right-wing nutters in power here, but still there is work to do.

I think I should join a political party. I voted Labour in 2001. This year I didn't get to vote because I was out of the country (I did try but never got a postal vote). I think I would really like to vote Green but I think I have to be more compromising and responsible and not vote for a small party. I think I am going to join the Liberal Democrat party. I don't think Lib Dem is a wasted vote, and I could work within the party to make it more committed to the things I care about, for example marriage equality.

Marriage equality is something I really want to get behind in this country. I was at Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts in May 2004 until 2a.m. in the morning watching people getting the first same-sex marriage licenses in America. I was there a week later when my two friends Carlos and Anthony got married at my Unitarian church. We are getting civil partnerships in the UK but after my experiences in Boston I have decided this is not enough. I want to work for complete marriage equality for all couples. I found something called the Coalition for Marriage Equality but the website's dead. Is there really no active political group for marriage equality in the UK?

Speaking of dead websites what ever happened to Progressive Christian Unitarian Universalists? There was a group that I thought I could really get behind. It made a website, posted a few things, stagnated, and now it ain't there. What a shame.

I'd also like to work for the separation of church and state. Funny isn't it, in America there is an official separation of church and state, and there are lots of groups working to preserve that. Yet in the UK, where there is no separation of church and state there doesn't seem to be a campaign to bring about that separation. The only thing I can find on the net is the British Humanist Association. They also work for things like the abolition of the blasphemy law, which I want to too. Do I need to join a Humanist group, despite not (in any conventional sense) being a humanist? Maybe I do. I'll pray to God about whether I should join the British Humanist Association.

I also want to work against Christian Voice. There's a nice little anti-Christian Voice website but I think it's just a website. What is needed is a proper counter-campaign. Something like People of Faith for Freedom of Speech. If Christian Voice do a protest against Jerry Springer the musical when it's in Birmingham then I want to do a counter-protest. We'll see.

Of course the Make Poverty History is very important, and I want to get more involved with that. But I think its important to be involved in less well known and more controversial things too. Mind you, I need to get a job first before I can give a financial commitment to anything.


Blogger Bill Baar said...

I like Labour Friends of Iraq and there is much to do with Social Juctice work and a good deal of controversy.

Keep in mind the lesson of our Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva Illinois though... in 1858 the anti-war congregation drove out the abolitionist minister:Augustas Conant.

When the American Civil War broke out Concant became a chaplain in the Union Army and died in Tenn. His funeral was held at our Church at the same time as the baptism of his child. The child baptism while held over his coffin.

The Chuch has always handled controversy about politics with remberance of that event and how politics and faith while intertwined are also separate.

11:26 pm  

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