Sunday, October 14, 2007

One more thing about the working class

The cover article of the Fall, 2007 UU World, "Not My Father's Religion" has netted me more mail than anything I've ever written. Almost all of it was very thoughtful and some people told me their personal stories of being working class UUs or of having working class parents who don't understand why they became UUs. I didn't manage to write back to everybody who deserved a response, but I tried.

I keep thinking I'm going to do a summing-up post of everything I learned from the responses I got, but that seems to be one of those projects that is too grand and wonderful to actually manifest in this world. Instead I'll just toss this out to acquire more comments. As I remember things, I'll add them to this thread as comments.

Pete Stark: Unbeliever in Congress

My latest column has been up for about a week now. It's about Congressman Pete Stark from California, who last March came out in public as "a Unitarian who who does not believe in a supreme being." In September I attended a talk he gave at Harvard, in which he accepted the Humanist of the Year award from the Harvard Humanist Chaplaincy.

It was an interesting talk, because Stark's spiritual journey points out the difference between two kinds of non-theists: Those for whom unbelief is a major part of their identity, and those who just never get around to thinking too deeply about God, because they're living life just fine without a deity. (In the column I refer to the two types as tooth-fairy unbelievers and purple-cow unbelievers.) Stark is the second kind, a purple-cow unbeliever.

It's an interesting question, I think, whether purple-cow unbelievers can be pulled together into a movement, and if so, whether it could be the same movement as tooth-fairy unbelievers.

There's no comment feature on the site, so you can post your responses here.