“These Are Our Children.”…Does That Mean There Are Some Who Aren’t?

Language matters. How we talk about national tragedies matters.

In talking about the horrific happenings in Newtown, another meme has appeared. “These are our children.”

Those who are saying this are right, these are America’s children. However, why is there no mention of the children who are dying EVERYDAY on the streets of Chicago or Cleveland or Baltimore or Philly through gun violence? Are they NOT America’s children too?

If we need to talk about “gun control” because of the deaths of 20 children in Connecticut, why didn’t we need to talk about “gun control” when the 118 children who have died by the gun in Chicago were being killed?

Language matters. How we talk about national tragedies matters. And if 20 children dying in Connecticut is a tragedy, then 118 children dying in Chicago should be a tragedy too.

118 Children In Chicago Have Died Because of Guns…Where’s The National Mourning For Them?

As the first of the funerals begin in Connecticut…

That’s right friends, another CHILD has died in Chicago because of a gun. The total now stands at 118. And there are still two weeks of the year to go.

So where is the national mourning for these children? Where’s the rending of clothes and gnashing of teeth for them?

When will 118 children in Chicago matter as much as  20 children in Connecticut?

“This Isn’t Supposed To Happen Here…”…So Where Is It Supposed To Happen?

Those of you who read my last post know that I asked you to listen to how the mass killing in Connecticut was going to be portrayed and then to imagine how this same mass killing would be portrayed if it had happened on the South- or West- side of Chicago.

Then my favorite line that is always spoken in the light of these tragedies started being said. “This isn’t supposed to happen here.”

117 children have been killed in Chicago this year (so far–let’s not forget that there are two weeks left in the year) through gun violence. If 20 children aren’t supposed to die at a school in Connecticut, were those 117 children in Chicago supposed to die? Is violence only supposed to happen to “those people” and not “people like us”?

I am not saying that the deaths of these 28 people don’t merit attention. I am asking why the almost 500 people who have died in Chicago through violence don’t deserve the same  attention.

‘Lincoln’ and the Never-Ending Civil War

I haven’t seen ‘Lincoln’ (I love Daniel Day Lewis but don’t like Spielberg), so I won’t make a comment on it. But I do read Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Atlantic page. And he’s in the midst of conversation about the movie and, more broadly, how the country looks at the Civil War.

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I have long held that the South won, even though it lost the Civil War. And with the petitions from the old Confederacy getting 10s-of-thousands of signatures (I think the Texas ones have somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000—one has almost 120,000 alone); the continuing meme that Obama won re-election by giving “gifts” to minorities; and Ross Douthat’s most recent article about the “decline” in the U.S. birthrate (anybody else hearing echoes of the eugenics movement?), I think it’s time to go even farther.

Not only did the South win my friends, we’re still fighting the Civil War.

So what does that mean when we look at a movie like ‘Lincoln’? Is compromise always the thing to strive for? Are there things that we should remember, but don’t? What happens when no outcome is good? And what does liberal religion have to say in that situation?

When Your Religious Group Is Comprised Mostly of Upper Middle Class Educated Whites, Your Religious Group Has A Thin Theology (and UUism Is Not Alone)

All due respect to those who are trying to argue the other side, but can we be a little bit honest with ourselves.

If UUism doesn’t have a thin theology, why isn’t there a UU congregation in Southeast Washington, D.C.? Joplin, Missouri? Within 50 miles of Philadelphia, Mississippi? Within 100 miles of Dodge City, Kansas?

If UUism doesn’t have a thin theology, why do a number of  UU-raised youth who leave the church end up in other churches?

If UUism doesn’t have a thin theology, why are so many UU churches really just revolving doors?

Thin theology is not just about what is preached from the pulpit. It is about how a church reacts and interacts with the community around it. And, let’s keep it real, for too long the only community that mattered to most UU churches was the community of upper middle class, educated whites. If the community around the UU church changed, the UU church moved so it wouldn’t have to change/adapt.

Most UU theology is thin because it is still race, class, culture, and education bound. And it will continue to be thin (and small) until it recognizes the “inherent worth and dignity” of those who don’t fit its traditional demographic.


Coda: UUism isn’t alone in this. I think a major reason for the decline of the mainline Protestant denominations can be attributed to the same phenomena.