Voices United!

Here’s something really cool!

Since the founding of America, singers, songwriters and performers have been a powerful force for social justice. On September 28-30, 2012, Americans United is sponsoring a country-wide weekend of musical events to celebrate – and defend – the vital principle of church-state separation.  There will be house or club concerts in every state and major concerts in different cities. 

Sign up to get more news and information here: http://www.voicesunitedconcerts.com/, and Like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VoicesUnitedConcerts

CT voting to repeal the death penalty

A zoomed in version of File:Executions_in_the_...

Executions in the U.S. Could you claim that not a single one was wrongly convicted?

Good news for death penalty opponents. One more state is almost a lock to get rid of it. California votes on it in November.

It’s a very charged discussion every time it pops up; but the fact that it IS so charged with racial, economic and fairness/revenge overtones means that it’s a dangerous tool to use. We are not so objective or enlightened as to apply it consistently, and the justice system we use to impose it is so imperfect in the first place.

And the moral/morality is…

It’s a human trait to come up with stories to explain the things we see: we are pattern-matching machines, we like things to make sense as part of a continuum, and we like to connect events, places and people… even when there is nothing there to connect them. We notice coincidences and assign them way too much meaning, and we decide to ignore the times when our just-so stories fail to match reality. Stories make us comfortable, in that they help us as we try to convince ourselves that in the end of the telling the world makes sense, there is an arc, there is a finale that will wrap things up neatly.

Even then there is no guarantee that it will. In fact, quite the contrary, as history has proven over and over and over again.

We love telling stories, we love hearing them, and we love making them up almost just as much. The problems arise when we start taking our stories seriously enough to hate, ostracize, torment and kill other people for not believing them, when we’ve forgotten that they were made up in the first place.

Stories have lessons, stories have morals. Those are good things to listen to and learn from, and they are fun to tell. But the moment you start arguing about how there really WAS a ruler and the clothes WERE real and we have archaeological PROOF of the city where the ruler once ruled… well, I’m afraid that you’ve lost the point of the story.

Which was, at the end of the day, that the Emperor was wearing no clothes, and at one time we were all afraid to call him on it.