Message from Rev. Richard ‘Bud’ Murphy, UUJF President

Just Saying 1/25/2022

 
 

I saw all the glowing reviews of the Netflix film “Don’t Look Up” and assumed it would be relevant here.  It is a dark comedy about a fictitious comet and our reactions to the end of life on Earth.  The plot would seem improbable, if not for world events unfolding around climate change, the Covid pandemic, the increasing disparity of wealth and the erosion of self-governance.  The movie has a cynical message for those who ignore real dangers by way of denial, distraction and fostered division.  The film even pans what is labeled as the naïve idealism of those who embrace the values of objective science and the breakthrough potential of collaborative problem solving.  It can leave the viewer with a trivialized numbness!

Epidemiological studies suggest that failing to appreciate the interdependence of our current global society, is like ignoring a hole, because it's in the other end of the boat.

Teilhard de Chardin writing in the shadow of WWII, reeling from the humanitarian atrocities of gas chambers and nuclear weapons, clung to a transformation of the human spirit in the crucible of globalized pressure on a growing population’s needs for ever more unsustainable resources. 

Conflict over what is taught in our schools about systemic racism and the content of books in school libraries and defunding schemes threaten the existence of public education.  Somehow restricting curriculums to topics that support the status quo reminds me of the image of shuffling chairs on the deck of the Titanic as a response to their collision with an iceberg. 

Marc Racicot, head of the Republican National Committee, has been speaking out about the present situation also.  Business Insider reported that Marc Racicot, the former governor of Montana, said the future of the US republic was "at risk" due to the changing culture in the country, and due to social-media platforms. "The most probable way for our republic to vanish is through a lack of honor and fidelity. Not surprisingly that is precisely what is required by our constitutional oath of office," the Republican said, according to the Star-Tribune.

Racicot, 73, served as head of the RNC from 2002 to 2003 and before that was the state attorney general from 1989 to 1993 and the governor from 1993 to 2001, the report said.

"Fidelity is the exact opposite of seeking power for its own sake, which as history reveals, at the end of the day, is really a fool's errand," Racicot said at the luncheon, according to the Star-Tribune. He further added, "Without accepting, embracing and discharging one's duties as guided by fidelity, it is inevitable that the life of our republic will over time, like grains of sand passing through an hourglass, be at risk," he added.

Last year Racicot in an interview with Yellowstone Public Radio said he planned to cast a ballot for now President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate, saying of former President Donald Trump "at the end, the content of a man's character or a woman's character to serve in that capacity is more important than any other issue that I have to consider as a matter of conscience. "He also said he hadn't voted for Trump in 2016, either, adding he had more concerns about him last year than four years prior. He also said that the relationship between people in the US and their neighbors had shifted and said that social media had made it more difficult to effectively communicate and understand each other's differences.

Racicot concluded "That's how much of the country and much of the world talks to each other these days," he said at the December 8 event of social-media platforms. "It's dizzying, it's vacuous and it's perilous." "It seems almost impossible to me to manage the noise, to control the flood of unverified and frequently inaccurate communications, conceived in anger and competition and then regretted because of all the blathering that is now a matter of public record," he added, according to the report.

There is much to do. Do look up! When the power of love overcomes the love for power, we have a better chance of meeting our many challenges.  Who's in charge? Currently it is the 1% and their collaborators.  Do their goals need to become more desirable and sustainable for the masses? May we all look up!

Reading References:

 

Legislative Update

Thanks to all who have been responding to Action Alerts targeting legislation introduced in the 2022 Legislative Session that convened January 11. So far this year, sixteen targeted Alerts have been sent with talking points on 19 bills placed on committee agendas. An additional 6 Alerts were sent to committee chairs asking them to place bills of interest to our progressive constituency on their agendas. The biggest challenge to progressive voices is to get their bills heard in committee.

Other Alerts were sent asking legislators to commit themselves to a fair redistricting process and oppose the nomination of Dr. Joseph Ladapo to the position of Surgeon General.

Other than scheduling meetings with legislators virtually or in person, your phone calls and emails are the next most effective way of letting legislators know where their constituents stand. Continue to share these Alerts with members of your congregation and like-minded progressive organizations who share our vision for justice, compassion, and equity.

As always, your comments, criticisms, suggestions and questions are welcome

 

News and Events from Congregations

 
 

Solar Under Attack in Florida Legislature

 

Submitted by Mary Dipboye, immediate Past President of First Unitarian Church of Orlando and co-founder of Solar United Neighbors of Florida and co-chair of the Florida League of Women Voters Clean Energy Committee.

Existing solar policy is under attack in the Florida Legislature.  Senate Bill 1024 and House Bill 741 would decimate Florida’s growing rooftop solar industry and result in the loss of thousands of jobs by making customer owned solar unaffordable.

How are they attacking the solar initiative?  The legislation would drastically reduce payments for excess electricity sent to the grid by Floridians who own their solar arrays.  These reduced payments would make owning solar an unwise economic choice for most Sunshine State residents.  While the legislation would exempt existing solar owners for the next ten years, many of these solar owners have financed their solar systems with loans than exceed ten years. 

Florida’s investor-owned utilities are supporting the legislation because they contend that solar owners aren’t paying their fair share of grid costs and that these costs are being shifted to customers who don’t own solar.   This is called the “cost-shift” argument.   The counter argument is that customer-owned solar systems account for less than 1% of Florida’s electricity production.   It has been shown that customer-owned solar begins to impact utilities’ operations and finances only when the level reaches 10%.  Also, numerous studies in a variety of states have shown that customers who own solar are contributing far more value than they are receiving through the existing payment policies.

Floridians value solar and consumer choice.  These proposed bills would strike a blow at both values at the same time.

Organizations which are opposing these bills are Solar United Neighbors, The League of Women Voters of Florida and Vote Solar.

Please contact your Florida elected officials and tell them that you OPPOSE SB 1024/HB 741.

Contact them by telephone, email, text, and mail.  Do it often.

 
 
 
 
UU Church of Lake County
Social Justice Lecture Series
 
Sunday, January 30, 2022, 7 p.m. via Zoom
Examining the 2022 Florida Legislative Session in Light of Our Values
 
The UU Congregation of Lake County (UUCLC) will host an Online Forum shortly after the Legislative Session begins.

In their announcement Lake County writes: “UU Justice Florida has identified many important pending bills and recommends that UU members support some and oppose others. Our forum will describe these bills, explain the legislative process, and provide advocacy tips.”

The main speaker will be Nancy Hurlbert, a frequent lecturer and advocate regarding bills pending before our state legislature. After her lecture, she will entertain questions from the public. Join Lake County by phone or through the internet using Zoom. All are welcome.

Please register here in advance for this meeting 

Zoom will confirm your registration by sending you a link to use on January 30th

 
 
UUJF Funding Announcement
Congregational Member Funding Opportunity

 

UU Justice Florida (UUJF) is offering a funding opportunity to kick start, energize or supplement your Unitarian Universalist inspired outreach work.

What we are offering

UUJF is offering grants of up to $1,000.00 to aid a UU group’s work that supports UU Justice Florida’s major goal of promoting justice, equity, and compassion in public policy in Florida. UUJF’s core issues are Democracy in Action, Environmental Justice, Public Health and Safety, Immigration Reform, LGBTQ+ and Gender Justice.

Request an application here.

Applicants need to complete the Google Application form to receive funding for your UU group’s work and submit it to UUJF for review and acceptance.  Once your request is approved by the UUJF Board, you, your minister or/and Board president will be sent the approved application and they will be asked to acknowledge your grant and plans. Please remember, your project’s purpose(s) must align with UU Justice Florida’s goals and core issues as described above. 

Your responsibilities

You will be responsible for saving receipts of expenditures and writing a simple narrative report regarding the results of your project within 6 months of grant acceptance. If the project continues past six months, a preliminary report and receipts collected to that point needs to be submitted, with a final report and receipts by the end of 12 months.

More detailed information will accompany the application.

 

UUA, UUSC and Southern Region

 

Breakthrough Leadership Experience

February 2022 - May 2022

Breakthrough Leadership Scholarship Opportunity 

UUJF is offering 15 Scholarships for the upcoming online Breakthrough Leadership Experience. Leadership grows congregations and thus grows Justice. UUJF is pleased to encourage participation in the following opportunity.

Southern Region describes the training as follows: This NEW leadership development option offered by the Southern Region is meant to help your congregation breakthrough its old patterns and habits and fully incarnate Unitarian Universalism in your Beloved Community.

The LE Breakthrough series is a three-session experience with lectures and supplemental materials and activities between the three sessions. This section spans from February through May, with three live sessions in March, April, and May. The link to more information and registration is here. Remember to write Martha before you register if you want to be assured that UUJF will reimburse you. Only the first 15 qualified people will receive a Scholarship. 

The topics for the three sessions are Incarnational UU Theology, Covenant Beyond Walls, and Justice is what Love Looks Like in Public.

Southern Region requires that you have attended at least one of the following Southern Region Leadership Experiences since 2014:

  • Extended Leadership Experience
  • Condensed Leadership Experience
  • Essentials Leadership Experience
  • SUULE
  • DBLE

Remember: There are limited registration spaces available for this Breakthrough Leadership Experience. There is a limit of two persons per congregation. The process to receive a Scholarship from UUJF has two steps: First Step:  You need to request a Scholarship from Martha by emailing mmhartgering@gmail.com. Please include your full name, congregation name and email address. Martha will reply whether you are one of the first fifteen and you will then register.  Step Two: After registration, please send your receipt, mailing address, phone number and the method of payment you prefer (check or direct bank deposit) to Martha. 

This is a first come offer. As soon as fifteen people have been recorded by the Secretary and reimbursed, the Scholarship offer will close.

We would like to know if the class was a helpful leadership training experience for you. Thus, please expect a short survey in May, after the Training ends.

 
 
 

Jubilee Three Anti-Racism Training

Jubilee 3 Anti-Racism Training Scholarships

Presenters:

Paula Cole Jones, Rev. Dr. Leon Spencer, Lutricia Callair

UU Justice Florida supports the General Assembly 2019-2022 Statement of Conscience. To help congregations do the work, we are pleased to offer three Scholarships for the April 1-3, 2022 Training. Registration deadline is March 22, 2022. However, do not wait if you want a Scholarship.

If no one has taken the training previously at your congregation, UUJF suggests that two members attend.  Before you register, please email Martha, UUJF’s Board secretary, at mmhartgering@gmail.com, to request a Scholarship to be assured of reimbursement (to be assured that you are one of the first three requesting the Scholarship)

Please include your full name, congregation name and email address in your Request email.  Two members may register from a congregation. If two people would like Scholarships, please request the two scholarships in one email request if possible.

The secretary will affirm the Scholarship or inform you that all Scholarships have been taken by return email. After registration, please send your receipt, mailing address, phone number and the method of payment you prefer (check or direct bank deposit) to Martha.  Remember, there are only three Scholarships.  Only Registrations that have been requested and acknowledged by the secretary, Martha Hartgering, will be reimbursed.  UUJF will send a short online survey after the Training finishes.

 

8TH PRINCIPLE MESSAGE

Some think that the proposed 8th Principle [below in italic] is covered by the existing Seven UU Principles. 

However, African American Unitarian Universalists feel that the existing Seven Principles have not served them adequately since they still suffer from pervasive white supremacy in all sections of our society. The current Seven Principles have not helped them.  The 8th Principle would be a lens through which to look at the other seven. Black UUs need the Eight Principle so they can fully be UU. For the next two years UU congregations need to consider and vote on these words:

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”

 

Spread the Word

Is there an announcement in your congregation’s newsletter, Facebook page or Justice blog that encourages your members and friends to sign up for UUJF Action Alerts? If not, please post a notice about UUJF Action Alerts. Include the information that the Action Alerts are sent to members who live in districts of committee members when a concerning piece of legislation is being considered. I also suggest that you sign up for other groups’ listservs such as 1000 Friends of Florida, your local and Florida League of Women Voters and Audubon and any local group. All offer information and can help you assess your positions on issues.

 
 
 

Please submit news and upcoming events in your congregation for the March newsletter to info@uujusticefl.org in time for publication February 25.

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Visit the UUJF website and UUJF Facebook group
View archived UUJF newsletters.
 
Does your congregation have an online sermon or event that addresses a Justice issue?
Is your congregation involved in upcoming social justice initiatives in our area? Send us a link or more information to publicize your programs and actions.
 

Unitarian Universalist Justice Florida
P.O. Box 1310 | Orange Park, Florida 32067
  info@uujusticefl.org

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