Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy rabbits

4.5 million animals saved from testing

A mouse among test tubesAt the request of HSI and others, the European Chemicals Agency recently announced that companies will not have to perform duplicative animal tests for some types of toxicity when registering chemicals.

In that one stroke, approximately 4.5 million mice, rats and rabbits were saved from suffering and death in European laboratories. Read more>>

Gay parents are just as good

Study finds no difference between children raised by gay or straight adoptive parents
(Pink News)

Kind of obvious, you would have thought, but apparently some people need telling this.
A study of adoptive parents has found "no significant difference" in emotional problems experienced by children brought up by gay adoptive parents.

The US research, published in this month's Adoption Quarterly, surveyed 1,384 couples, 155 of whom were gay.

All were asked about their family structures, the child's history before being adopted, his or her current emotional state and family interactions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Community among Unitarians and Pagans

As a long-term participant in Pagan groups (since 1990) and having recently joined a Unitarian church (for those who don't know, there are plenty of Pagans in British Unitarianism), I have been mentally comparing the two. There is no clear "winner" but the comparison is interesting.

Pagans are more focussed on individual friendships; Unitarians are more focused on gathering in community.

Unitarians are better at including everyone in the community, even if they are different from others in some way. (Lesson for Pagans - we need to focus on shared values instead of differing beliefs.)

In a crisis, Pagan friends will rally round, which is great, but if you want a trained full-time minister, with all that that entails, then you're more likely to find one via Unitarianism.

In terms of age and class and education, Unitarians are more diverse than Pagans. This is probably because Paganisms haven't been around so long.

In terms of the values we embrace, Unitarians are much less diverse than Pagans. Even though a Christian Unitarian may differ from a Pagan Unitarian in the mythology they happen to like, their values are remarkably similar.

Unitarians are better at focussing on values and regarding beliefs as less important. Unitarians have more shared values in common, simply because we are very explicit about what those values are. (Hopefully Pax's recent Pagan Values Blogging Month will go some way towards changing that - and I hope it will happen again in 2010).

Both communities are inclusive and welcoming and non-judgmental.

I'd be interested to hear from UU Pagans on this.

Incidentally, while I am still philosophically pagan, I have stopped referring to myself as Pagan (I now call myself Unitarian and Wiccan) because it is no longer clear what "Pagan" actually means (due to things like the reburial issue).

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Soulforce conference

The 2009 Anti-Heterosexism Conference is open to everyone who cares about the welfare of LGBTQ people and wants to help stop the harm caused by heterosexism, reparative therapy, ex-gay ministries and other sexual orientation change efforts. Conference attendees come from all walks of life and many professional backgrounds, including LGBTQ people, clergy, educators, mental health professionals, and allies. By attending this conference you will learn to:
  • challenge heterosexist attitudes that exist on personal, interpersonal, institutional and cultural levels.
  • speak out publicly against the dangers of reparative therapy, ex-gay ministries, and other "conversion" efforts.
  • build community to advocate for LGBTQ people and support them in leading successful, happy, and productive lives.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zen teachings

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me for the path is narrow. In fact, just piss off and leave me alone.

Sex is like air. It's not that important unless you aren't getting any.

No one is listening until you fart.

Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

If you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably well worth it.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Some days you are the bug; some days you are the windscreen.

Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.

Good judgment comes from bad experience. And most of that comes from bad judgment.

There are two excellent theories for arguing with women. Trouble is, neither of them work.

Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.
(received via email)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Short History of Medicine

"Doctor, I have an ear ache."

2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 A.D. - "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!"

(just received via email)

Gods give me strength...

Pagans March to a Different Drum Circle
By Jamie Laughlin
It's time to make a bold decision. The time has come to unlearn everything you've ever believed about pagans, and perhaps more importantly, about pagan celebrations.

Admit it — until now, you've bought all the silly urban legends surrounding these polytheistic partiers. Virgin sacrifice? Sure. A diet of raw meat seasoned in tears of the damned? Yup. Heck, you even figured that pagan parties ended wildly late — like "9 p.m. to ???" kinda late.

You couldn’t have been more wrong.
Oh please. The time to unlearn all that rubbish about sacrificing virgins was at least twenty years ago. Why does every journalist feel obliged to start articles with that sort of thing? Wake up and smell the coffee, people. Pagans of all varieties have been highly publicly visible for the last 50 years, carefully explaining that Paganism is about honouring nature and celebrating life. Anyone who hasn't got the message by now must have been living in a bubble.