September 13, 2010

Olympia Brown UU Church signs statement of support for Muslims, people of all faiths

At church on Sunday, September 12, 2010 and for several days before, over 170 members and friends of Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church, signed onto a Statement of Support for religious tolerance for Muslims and people of all faiths.  

The statement reads as follows:  

“We, the undersigned members and friends of the Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church, along with Unitarian Universalists throughout the country, stand in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters and their right to the free exercise of their religion in these United States.  We deplore the senseless destruction of their places of worship and we denounce all acts of intolerance against Islam and other religions.  We support the right of Muslims and those of all religions, as affirmed in the U.S. Constitution, to worship in their faith tradition.” 
Rev. Tony Larsen, minister of the church, explained the rationale behind the effort.  “We’ve seen a lot of anger lately directed against Muslims – people vandalizing mosques, a man in New York attacking a taxicab driver because he was Muslim, and a minister threatening to burn Qurans on September 11th.  So we felt that it was important to stand up for tolerance and understanding not only for Islam but for all faiths and for people of no faith, too.”
Rev. Peter Morales, President of UUA, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, issued a statement on September 8th asking Unitarian Universalists across the country, to devote service time to “topics of religious freedom and tolerance” and “to speak up for diversity and freedom.”
Rev. Tony Larsen connected the issue of tolerance with the Constitutional rights of our country.  “A great thing about America is our freedom to worship in our own way.  That is why we took this action, to remind ourselves and others what our country stands for, in hopes that people of good will from all religions will join with us.  We can be the great nation we are called to be.”

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  1. Tony Larsen and his church members have apparently forgotten about September 11th and what happened on that day.

    I think it is time Muslims start respecting Americans and our country. If they don't like it - they can leave. Thank God (not Allah) that November is approaching and 2012 is around the corner. Time to "change" our country back!

    The day Republicans and common sense regain control of this country is the day the music of Tony Larsen and his silly guitar end.

  2. Anonymous 8:03,

    Sieg Heil!

  3. Anon 8:15, seek help.

    Are there any other churches in Racine?

    You only seem to cover the most left wing institution in town.

    Why is that?

  4. I think it's about time Christians started respecting Americans and our county. If they don't like it-they can leave...

    "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

    Thomas Jefferson

  5. Great idea Peter Morales - "devote service time to “topics of religious freedom and tolerance” for people that have blown up our World Trade Center and killed thousands of our people. What planet are Mr. Morales and Mr. Larsen living on??

    Question for all the Liberals:

    When was the last time you heard of a German, French, Canadian, Chinese, etc, etc hijacker or terrorist? Seems like a very big coincidence that every instance I can remember involved a Muslim.

  6. Y'all white Christians must have forgotten the terrorism of the African slave trade? What about Tim McVey, white sumpremecy (based off a version of Christianity), and the various other crimes committed by Christians.

  7. Let's see:
    The Hutaree
    Eric Harris
    Dylan Klebold
    Army of God
    Ku Klux Klan
    Scott Roeder
    Eric Rudolf
    Joseph Stack
    Robert Hawkin
    Patrick Sherill
    Ted Kaczynski
    and last but not least....
    Timothy McVeigh

    These are just a few. You can add in old timers like the SLA or some militia groups etc. and you've got a pretty nice list of American terrorist who are Christians. More than enough to question the presence of Christian churches in our community...if you wanted to.

    The point is that O. Brown is standing in solidarity with good people of faith who do not believe in violence.

    Good for them!

  8. I'll start by saying there were times when Christianity was dangerous to other believers and oppressed it's own followers. Various changes over time have allowed it's followers to live in peace with those of other faiths, no longer oppresses women and condones slavery, encourages people to follow laws and participate in government, etc. Islam in general at this time severely restricts the rights of women, encourages people to disregard laws of the state, calls for the killing of those who change faith or refuse to convert, etc. At this time, it can be a violent and oppressive religion. Yes, there are "moderates" who practice a more secular form - women can go to school and walk alone in public, they don't feel the need to kill their neighbor and they are active and productive members of Western societies. HOWEVER, there are also many Muslims who condemn those moderates and are actively working to recruit new converts to the strictest forms of Islam. To make a blanket statement that this religion is as good as any other is ridiculous and a dangerous position to take. Do we close our eyes to everything and just say "everyone and everything is equally good?" I suppose if you belong to this church, you do. They do have a right to practice their religion if it is peaceful and not a threat to those around them. Once a religion becomes violent and dangerous, it should be treated just like any other terrorist or oppressive organization (hmmm... Natzis?) - closely monitored and attempts to carry out violent acts thwarted. My hope is that the moderate, more secular Muslims can carry out a revolution within Islam that promotes ideas of cooperation, individual freedom and peaceful existence with others. Time will tell.

  9. 8:03, of course there will be Christians who do bad things. We are human, also, and have people with deviant behavior in our midst. Do our churches preach hatred towards others? Do our churches require their women to hide themselves in their homes once they hit puberty? Do our churches encourage men to marry their daughters off to whomever they please? No. Do our churches encourage us to love our neighbor and peacefully spread The Word? Yes. If someone decides to leave the church, are they branded and do they receive death threats? No. Do our churches encourage us to become involved in our communities to help others and promote the rule of law? Yes. Are women encourage to go to school? Are women even allowed to preach? In many cases, yes. In fact, I just attended a Catholic baptism where half of the ceremony was conducted by a woman. What Olympia Brown is doing proves my point - we are taught to be tolerant of other religions. I think they should also have made mention that they support those committed to living a peaceful and integrated life. They should also have condemned those who practice an Islam that is not so nice.

  10. "for people that have blown up our World Trade Center and killed thousands of our people"???? Seriously? So, despite the fact that there are 1.57 BILLION Muslims in the world, you're going to categorize ALL of them as terrorists???

    Ignorance makes me sick.

  11. In other news... the sky is blue.

  12. I am sure there were muslims who perished in the World Trade Center that day... and I know for certain that there are muslims serving in our military..fighting against other muslims... lets tear down any church near the Oklahoma Bombing site. Mr. McVey was a christian.

  13. Okay you intolerant fools, do you really want to have a discussion about religions that do bad things? Perhaps we can start with Catholic priests who have molested thousands of children. Do you really want to go there?

    This is a statement that says we support your right to practice your religion. You clearly do not know any Muslims who live in this community. What you describe about their faith is childish and ignorant.

    We are all Americans, as long as we all follow the law we are free to practice our faith - even Catholics.

  14. 8:42 - Of course the Catholic priest molesting children is a terrible thing and should be condemned and stopped. And, yes, I do know Muslims in this community and they happen to practice a very tolerant and secular form. We are all Americans - those who commit to being real citizens of this country. HOWEVER, that should not blind us to the danger posed by fundamentalist Islam. Just like we should not turn a blind eye to the Catholic priests, we should not close our eyes to the intolerant and oppressive practice of Wahhabi Islam.

  15. Lots of name calling from the tolerant left.

  16. Will Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church support Sharì'a law? Honor killing forced marriage of girls as young as 10? Slavery? Genocide on non belivers?

  17. Hey Tony, sing us a song.

  18. I'm a Christian and the lack of love that some of you other professed Christians are showing is ridiculous. The teachings of Islam do not promote terrorism or violence. Blaming the entire religion for the radical few is close minded and makes you just as bad as those terrorists.

  19. 1:50 - Excuse me? Realizing how oppressive and violent this religion is in MANY parts of the world (not just a little city here and there) is just as bad as plotting to kill people who don't believe the same as myself? You've got to be kidding. When someone draws a cartoon depicting Allah, it's not just 25 people in downtown Tehran who protest. It's thousands (millions?) all over the world. Oh, and they're not asking that the cartoonist loose his job - they ask that he looses his life. I would suggest reading a bit more about this - try Ayaan Hirsi Ali's books to begin with. Easy read and excellent perspective.

  20. Every religion has extremists, many who do destructive and harmful things to others as well as their own followers. ALL OF THEM.

    O. Brown isn't condoning or embracing any of those practices and making it seem as if they are is purposefully misleading and you know it.

    Being aware that other religions have done and do rotten things and maintaining Islam is exceptionally worse as reason to continue the argument is a waste of time for everyone else. Take your hate to another thread.

  21. 4:07 - I don't hate moderate Muslims (a couple of my friends are Muslims who practice a moderate form) and I didn't think I was "hating on them" here on this thread. I thought I was expressing an opinion and asking people to seriously take a good look at the state of Islam today. We are so politically correct in this country that we are afraid to say something is better or worse than something else. I'm saying that, right now, Islam is a more dangerous religion than Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. Yes, they all have extremists, but at this time in history, Muslim extremists are more populist and deadly than Hindu extremists. Let's pray that Islam modernizes and allows all it's people to live in peace and freedom. I know I can't change your mind, though, but please don't misrepresent me. I'm not "hating" these people - just asking for caution, awareness and discernment.

  22. Since when did Ted Kaczynski and Tim McVey chant "Jesus Christ" or "God" as they committed their crimes? I must have missed that.

  23. Ignorance this, ignorance that. Is that the only word in the Liberal dictionary? It sure gets over-used a lot.

  24. Joys of Muslim Women
    By Nonie Darwish

    In the Muslim faith a Muslim man can marry a child as young as 1 year old and have sexual intimacy with this child. Consummating the marriage by 9.
    The dowry is given to the family in exchange for the woman (who becomes his slave) and for the purchase of the private parts of the woman, to use her as a toy.

    Even though a woman is abused she can not obtain a divorce.
    To prove rape, the woman must have (4) male witnesses.
    Often after a woman has been raped, she is returned to her family and the family must return the dowry. The family has the right to execute her (an honor killing) to restore the honor of the family. Husbands can beat their wives 'at will' and he does not have to say why he has beaten her.

    The husband is permitted to have (4 wives) and a temporary wife for an hour (prostitute) at his discretion.

    The Shariah Muslim law controls the private as well as the public life of the woman.

    In the West World ( America ) Muslim men are starting to demand Shariah Law so the wife can not obtain a divorce and he can have full and complete control of her. It is amazing and alarming how many of our sisters and daughters attending American Universities are now marrying Muslim men and submitting themselves and their children unsuspectingly to the Shariah law.

    By passing this on, enlightened American women may avoid becoming a slave under Shariah Law.
    Ripping the West in Two.
    Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose Shariah law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.

  25. 9/15/2010 10:07 AM post continued
    Author and lecturer Nonie Darwish says the goal of radical Islamists is to impose Shariah law on the world, ripping Western law and liberty in two.

    She recently authored the book, Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law.

    Darwish was born in Cairo and spent her childhood in Egypt and Gaza before immigrating to America in 1978, when she was eight years old. Her father died while leading covert attacks on Israel . He was a high-ranking Egyptian military officer stationed with his family in Gaza .

    When he died, he was considered a "shahid," a martyr for jihad. His posthumous status earned Nonie and her family an elevated position in Muslim society.

    But Darwish developed a skeptical eye at an early age. She questioned her own Muslim culture and upbringing.. She converted to Christianity after hearing a Christian preacher on television.

    In her latest book, Darwish warns about creeping sharia law - what it is, what it means, and how it is manifested in Islamic countries.

    For the West, she says radical Islamists are working to impose sharia on the world. If that happens, Western civilization will be destroyed. Westerners generally assume all religions encourage a respect for the dignity of each individual Islamic law (Sharia) teaches that non-Muslims should be subjugated or killed in this world.

    Peace and prosperity for one's children is not as important as assuring that Islamic law rules everywhere in the Middle East and eventually in the world.

    While Westerners tend to think that all religions encourage some form of the golden rule, Sharia teaches two systems of ethics - one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Building on tribal practices of the seventh century, Sharia encourages the side of humanity that wants to take from and subjugate others.

    While Westerners tend to think in terms of religious people developing a personal understanding of and relationship with God, Sharia advocates executing people who ask difficult questions that could be interpreted as criticism.

    It's hard to imagine, that in this day and age, Islamic scholars agree that those who criticize Islam or choose to stop being Muslim should be executed. Sadly, while talk of an Islamic reformation is common and even assumed by many in the West, such murmurings in the Middle East are silenced through intimidation.
    While Westerners are accustomed to an increase in religious tolerance over time, Darwish explains how petro dollars are being used to grow an extremely intolerant form of political Islam in her native Egypt and elsewhere.

    (In twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. To elect the President by themselves! Rest assured they will do so... You can look at how they have taken over several towns in the USA .. Dearborn Mich. Is one... And there are others...)

    I think everyone in the U.S. Should be required to read this, but with the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!

    It is too bad that so many are disillusioned with life and Christianity to accept Muslims as peaceful.. Some may be but they have an army that is willing to shed blood in the name of Islam.. The peaceful support the warriors with their finances and own kind of patriotism to their religion. While America is getting rid of Christianity from all public sites and erasing God from the lives of children the Muslims are planning a great jihad on America ..

  26. Ironically, Sharia law governing the family closely resembles what would be considered the protection of traditional family values among many conservatives here.

    Abortion, for example, is strictly forbidden, except when the mother’s life is clearly in danger, and only then in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Premarital sex and, especially adultery, are strictly forbidden, as is homosexuality.

    Most other tenants of Sharia law also focus on the priority of preserving family life, severely restricting gratuitous sexuality and protecting the sanctity of marriage, particularly the protections and rights accorded the female.

    A thousand years before Western law guaranteed the property rights of women, Sharia law maintained that a dowry paid in marriage belongs absolutely to the female, regardless of whether the marriage continues forever or not. She’s also entitled to half of the communal property. There is no dispossession of family members through wills or codicils. Wives always inherit, as do children, regardless of the wishes of the husband.

    If there is a divorce, which can be requested by either wives or husbands but are notoriously difficult to obtain, the husband must continue financial maintenance of his ex-wife until she can settle on her own. Except in the most extreme cases, mothers always get custody of the children.

    Much is made of plural wives permitted under Sharia law, but polygamy is mostly non-existent. If a man wants plural wives, he must provide each wife her own individual home, perhaps a possibility when people lived in tents, but no longer a practical consideration for the vast majority of Muslims. (The wealthiest oil sheiks or, perhaps, the billionaire Osama bin Laden excepted.)

    There is a great emphasis on correct, very conservative social relationships between men and women, even reflected in extremely modest dress. There are no Lady Ga-Ga’s or Madonna’s under Sharia law, and no Elvis Presley’s either. Think, more like, Quakers in terms of modest dress and behaviors.

    It’s true that punishments can be extreme under Sharia Law. If you’re a thief, you can, indeed, get your hand cut off, but only if you’ve stolen something out of pure greed, and from a secured place. If you’ve taken it because you’re poor or hungry, you get a buy. Besides, most thieves get prison time instead, also permissible under Sharia law, just like in the West.

    Sharia law also takes a rather dim view of sexual misbehavior, up to and including whippings for premarital sex, and even death for adultery, because it threatens the sanctity of the family.

    There are checks and balances, however. No one can be convicted of adultery without the testimony of four eyewitnesses, so it happens very rarely. True, that does make rape convictions problematic as well, since four eyewitnesses are needed for conviction on any sexual dalliance.

    Sharia law requires swift and sure justice. There are few appeals, and there’s a concentration on rapid trial and punishment. Capital offenders don’t sit on death row for a dozen years while they exhaust their appeals, like here.

  27. Sharia law doesn’t mix very well with capitalism, perhaps prompting the West’s biggest prejudices against it.

    Like Christianity did for a thousand years, Sharia law prohibits lending money at interest, which tends to put a cap on most business investment in the Middle East. There are few banks, and as a result, little access to pools of capital for business development or expansion.

    Christian nations initially relied on Jews for financial services because of the early Christian prohibition against lending at interest (Jews had no such anti-business tradition), but Christians eventually got over it, establishing the financial services industry that enabled the West to grow exponentially economically.

    Many Muslims, however, still abide, under Sharia law, to what was also the old Christian belief that business deals had to be mutually beneficial to both parties, and one person could not profit unduly at the expense of another.

    It’s probable that the whole reason for the rise of Islam under the Prophet Mohammed was for this very reason – to carve the rough edges off a growing capitalism among sharp traders in the Middle East.

    Again, the Sharia rule is that any financial deal must benefit both parties as near to parity as possible. Basically, it’s an economic “Golden Rule,” to treat others as you’d wish yourself to be treated.

    True, it doesn’t really work for the modern world, just as Christians ultimately discovered, but, still, you’ve got to admire its spirit.

  28. "I am a Muslim, I am a Hindu, I am a Christian, I am a Jew - and so are all of you."

    - Mohandas Gandhi

  29. Just as an aside, Hitler's Nazi Germany also prohibited abortions, for Aryans, anyway. The penalty also was death.

  30. 6:24 - No, I'm not. We are all human and may all be God's Children, but I am a Christian. I understand Mr. Gandhi was trying to get people to work together, but just because HE said something doesn't make it sensible.