Sunday, October 31, 2010

Another Reminder from NRCAT

From the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT):

When Scott Brown was elected to be a Senator from Massachusetts after publicly declaring his support for torture, we all thought it was an aberration. On Tuesday, November 2nd, however, we face the possibility of electing not just one, but many new supporters of torture to the U.S. Congress. This would be a catastrophe. YOU CAN help prevent it by going to the polls on Tuesday and casting your ballot for an anti-torture Congress. Your vote alone, however, will not be enough. Please encourage your friends, family, neighbors, and members of your congregation to go the polls as well. Share with them the NRCAT Action Fund Congressional Vote Scorecard which rates all current Members of Congress with respect to their record on torture. Make sure that you check out our Voter Guides to see if we’ve produced one for your state or district. You can make a difference – together we can still elect an anti-torture Congress.Thank you for your help – get out and vote to end torture!

Friday, October 15, 2010

November 1 Communication Shutdown

Social communication is one of the biggest problems for people with autism. On November 1, the world is challenged to see what that is like. "Communication Shutdown" is organizing a global fundraiser for autism, asking folks to do without their social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, for one day -- November 1, 2010. This initiative will raise funds for autism groups in over 40 countries. By shutting down social communications for one day, the group hopes to raise understanding of those who find social communication a problem. Click here for more information.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hate Mail

Increasingly over the past several months, I have received what I can only refer to as hate e-mails directed at Muslims in the United States. In general, these e-mails have either no grain of truth or the grain of truth contained within is microscopic and blown out of proportion to increase the sensationalism of the e-mail.

I have received e-mails announcing a "new" Muslim stamp (which is actually 9 years old), blaming the production of said stamp on President Obama (who was not the U.S. President 9 years ago), and listing all the horrific things that Muslims have done which should scare us into hateful opposition of the stamp.

I have received multiple e-mails asking if a "good" Muslim can be a "good" American. Said e-mail lists the theological, religious political, and other reasons why the answer to that query should be "no." Most of the reasons given are faulty at best, hateful at worst.

In general, when I receive such e-mails my routine is to hit "delete" before I even stoop to opening them. I thought that if I simply ignored the e-mail and refused to forward it, I would be doing the loving thing. However, I realize that in deleting them and not responding to the sender, I am allowing hate to win the day.

So, here's my challenge to all of us:
  1. Refuse to forward such e-mails
  2. Reply to the sender, indicating your feelings about receiving such e-mails
  3. Check out the facts of the e-mail at or another reputable site; inform the sender of the facts and include the link in your reply
  4. If you are one who forwards such e-mails, stop and think before hitting send: "Do I know this to be true?" "Is this inflammatory?" "Is this loving?"
  5. Make a commitment -- if you MUST forward e-mails -- that you will only forward those that lift others up to a higher place, not those that crush others into the ground
  6. Spend some time each month learning about Islam. Becoming educated might allow some of the fear to dissipate and might allow loving responses to emerge more readily.

Non-violence begins with the little things we do each day. Let's commit to doing the loving things with regard to our Muslim brothers and sisters. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Help Make Torture an Issue for Candidates

From the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT):

Please help us ensure that your friends, neighbors, and others in your state do not step into the polling booth without first considering their candidates' stance on torture. Here's what you can do:

  • Attend campaign events and question candidates on torture.
  • Encourage your friends and neighbors to vote based on candidates' positions on torture.
  • Arrange for a delegation from your faith group or community to meet with candidates.
  • Speak to reporters about torture.

To help you with these efforts, the NRCAT Action Fund has created a bird-dogging packet that provides advice on how to raise torture as an important topic during this campaign season.

Please, in October, as the crucial November elections approach, use the information and materials in this packet to help ensure that we elect a Congress that opposes torture.

We need your to help elect an anti-torture Congress! Please look through this packet and then take steps to put your candidates on record. Thank you!