Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Unitarian Universalism

Recently a co-worker and I were chatting and I mentioned something about church. Much of my social life revolves around my church so it's hard to talk about what I'm doing without the "C" work coming up. This co-worker confessed to me that she was reluctant to approach me on the subject because she feared I was one of those "Bible thumpers" ready to bash her with my little black book at the first chance. I chuckled and told her that wouldn't happen since I don't even believe in God much less any of the hateful writings in that little black book. As far as I'm concerned that book is political propaganda from the darkest days of human evolution that continues to shadow and demean our existence. Then I told her I'm Unitarian Universalist, a liberal faith based on shared principles not theology. Turns out my co-worker is part of the communist party from China, so an insightful sharing of ideas followed.

I came across this video this morning that is a beautiful testimony to who UUs are and what we believe in. It's easy in these times to become frustrated with one's faith, but I find this tradition helps one to feel like an active participant rather than a passive victim in what's happening in the world. We know we're doing our best to make this a better place for everyone to live and we're teaching our children to aspire to the highest human potentials of peace and love.


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Privatizing Libraries

Have you watched Fox news lately? No? Me either. And why? Fox news has been proven over and over again to be terribly biased, and often just outright wrong. They are the extreme case. Maybe you don't believe that Fox has problems with accuracy in their reporting, if so you might want to read some of these cases from the folks at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. So why is it that Fox has problems telling things as they are? The answer is Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch makes no apologies nor does he hide the fact that he uses his ownership of news media to manipulate it. Noam Chomsky among others has described the dangers of corporate owned and controlled news in a democracy. It just doesn't work.

Now enter the age of corporate owned "free public" libraries. Just recently an Oregon library in Jackson County closed, losing over 35% of its funding this year. The local residents did not vote in a new levy (after the government cut funding) to keep their library open. You can read the Forbes story to catch up on the details.

As more communities ponder outsourcing, many of us are sounding alarms. It's no secret that libraries have been a thorn in our governments side regarding censorship and even more so with the enactment of The Patriot Act. Is this the subtle plan to begin reeling libraries into the net of corporate control that dominates news casts like those on Fox? It brings up many frightening scenarios. What is the future of free public access to information? Or are libraries going to become just one more outlet for Amazon? When it's your community library up for sale, I hope you'll think about these hard questions.
I have no more time to scribble on this now, but I will certainly watch this carefully and report what I see - without corporate influence on my words.