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Republican Universalists

Rev. Fred Hammond suggests that it is impossible, or at least incongruent, for Unitarian-Universalists to belong to the Republican Party.  Leaving aside the reasons and arguments for this position, it is worth noting that historically Unitarians have been major supporters of the Republican Party, and that it was Universalist Israel Washburn Jr. who co-founded (and named) the Republican Party.  One finds Unitarians and Universalists among the founders of state Republican Parties as well.  Of course, a lot changes in 150+ years, and today’s Republicans, while a diverse lot, are far removed from those of the past (just as all Americans today live and think differently from people of the 19th century)

For those attending this year’s Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly in Phoenix, there will be an interesting program that seems relevant: “The Unheard Voices of Unitarian Universalist Conservatives.”



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More Amusing Student Answers from Courses on Religion

Let’s face it: no matter how hard you try, some students stubbornly refuse to learn what you teach them in class.  Or, more to the point, they manage to learn things that you didn’t teach them.  Two recent examples from a course on sacred sites:

a) a student declared in his paper that Catholics worship the Virgin Merry (apparently a fun person to have around)

b) a student declared in her paper that the rounded shape of the synagogue was clearly meant to evoke the pregnant belly of Mary, with Jesus in her womb

And they think we need to cut funding for education, especially the humanities, at a time like this?  This post is mainly meant to highlight two amusing recent student misunderstandings, but it does also beg the question of how we expect to develop a respectful and harmonious multicultural society when regular people are ignorant of some very basic facts about their neighbors. . .


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Fun Facts About American Religion, Courtesy of Inattentive Students

It’s the time of year when professors get the pleasure (?) of grading final exams.  While most students do well, there are always some who were too busy surreptitiously surfing Facebook, flirting with classmates, or staring blankly out the window to have absorbed the material correctly.  Their answers on exams are often eye-opening, revealing important new information to the professor.  Here are some examples from a just-completed course on religion in America.

Did you know that:

Billy Graham is a former president of the United States of America.

There was a big debate in 19th century Protestantism.  Conservatives taught that God believed in Adam and Eve, whereas liberals taught that God did not believe in the Bible.

Starhawk thought Jesus was the ultimate trip.

“Anchored to the rock, geared to the times” was the motto of the feminist movement.

19th century anti-Catholics created the Know It All Party.

The popularity of Transcendentalism led Lisa Simpson to become a Buddhist.

“Unitarians believe in a rational approach to religion as opposed to the emotional ridiculousness of some other groups.”

There is a form of Judaism that holds stricly to tradition, unlike the Reform and Conservative movements.  It is called Paradox Judaism.


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Summer Research Period Winding Down

With the summer research period finally ending and classes starting next week, Transient and Permanent will soon be returning to a regular blogging schedule.  No official date for the end of the blogging hiatus has been planned yet, so expect to see a gradual increase of material until all the regular features (Universalist Quote of the Day, UU Trivia Question of the Day, and general blogging) are up and running sometime around the middle of the month.

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Weekend Retreat

This blog is on hiatus for the weekend as its author goes on retreat–with no internet access.  Therefore comments that WordPress catches as potential spam will not be moderated for a least the next couple of days.  Just FYI.

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Summer Research = Blogging Slowdown

Now that the 2007-2008 school year is over, it is time for extended summer research projects.  The necessity of travel, sometimes to places with little or no internet access, will mean a slowdown in activity on Transient and Permanent.  Regular features, such as Universalist Quote of the Day and UU Trivia Question of the Day, will become somewhat irregular, and non-programmed blogging will likewise decrease.  Also, WordPress rather aggressively catches comments and holds them as possible spam, and it will take longer (potentially, much longer) for held comments to be moderated and approved.  Note that even if you’ve been previously approved for commenting, WordPress still considers comments with outgoing links to be spam and will often send them to the spam file.

Blogging will probably continue, on this sporadic basis, through the summer.  Look for a full return to normal blogging here in early September, as the university year starts again and the schedule becomes much more stable.


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Possibly Related Posts

WordPress has added a new feature to all blogs using its software.  At the bottom of posts you will now see a field titled “Possibly related posts,” and one or two links.  These links are generated automatically by WordPress and the author of this blog has nothing to do with them, nor any ability to prevent them from appearing.  The links do not necessarily come from this blog–they could be from virtually any blog that uses WordPress.  Therefore, do not mistake the presence of links at the end of Transient and Permanent posts as being recommended or condoned by this blog–they have not been vetted in any way whatsoever.

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