Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 2009 Newsletter: Minister's Musings

Minister's Musings: Secession Talk
by Rev. Diana Heath

The great State Fair of Texas is on. O.U. and the Longhorns will play in the "bowl," for the honor of the great state of Texas. This territory where we live has been under six flags -- seven or more if the Native American tribes said to have given Texas its name (from Tejas) are counted in, with their banners and symbols.

Who knows? There are bookshelves full of Texan lore and legend. And we were our own country for a brief time. Some in my family have taken pains to trace various family lines, to find which were residents of the Republic of Texas. One ancestor was in the Republic's legislature, another was a state senator after the "War of Northern Aggression," as one of our grandmothers called it. Anyway, we've been here a long time.

I've heard the talk about how Texas would fare better seceeding again, and restoring the Republic. It is amusing on the one hand - I've long thought the state bird should become the armadillo, and the state motto changed to "Don't Mess With Texas", instead of its inspiring and effortless
motto: "friendship." We are supposed to have just about everything needed to be on our own. A cousin was assistant to the Speaker of the House, and Bullock's Raiders. He had a coffee cup and bumper sticker that said "Texas Secede," on his desk at the Capitol. Funny ideas.

Would there be a "National Religion" should Texas become it's own country again? Would there be a one-party system, for the sake of "togetherness?" What about new immigration policies and taxation? Health care and income for the elderly? The problems are staggering when you think of just the infrastructure needed to sustain a country. Gov. Rick Perry may not have been thinking in a practical vein in April, when he attended a tea party organized by antitax activists, and hinted that Texas might be better off in this day and age by reviving the Republic of Texas.

There are those who wonder if world peace could only be accomplished by world government. I wonder if this belief isn't based on the idea that the rest of the world would be like "us" - therefore, avoiding the discomfort of who choses freedoms, rights, religions or no religion, families or not, categories of human beings - as in 1984.

Why do I write on the notion of secession? To reflect on the carelessness of seeking easy fixes, the perils of pride, bragging rights on how independent we Texans are and have been. No, life grows ever more complex, and the human population grows exponentially. It's a stretch to our love of independence, and putative freedom from external authority as we Unitarian Universalists like to claim. I sense we are more like our neighbors, and the people we pass on the streets or in traffic, than different. Why should that feel uncomfortable? "I am myself, I am unique, and there is only one of me." Sure, my DNA is my own, but only faintly different from other species!

A great number of Unitarian Universalist leaders are gathering in November to consider where our free religion might be headed, and where our kinship to people of other faiths might intersect. Stay tuned, and stay in touch with, our district and local cluster news.

We are part of a larger network - too large to ignore, and too interesting in our agreements and arguments in the UUA, not to join the conversation, and all bring something valuable to the table.