Reflection by Rita Lowenthal

Reflection by Rita Lowenthal for August 2014

When I looked at my calendar in the beginning of the week and saw that I had signed on to give this reflection--my initial thought was--Why did I do that?

I don’t feel like trying to articulate what I suspect most of us are feeling about this disappointing tragic world we are caught in.

What am I going to say that you don’t already know about the necessary burdens of a full life?

I don’t feel like talking about Israel and Palestine and my tribalism and my Israel that was supposed to be a light unto the nations.

Or that little Palestinian girl who now shares that corner of my heart where Anne Frank has always lived.

Or my America whose current list of humane omissions is too long to deal with.

And that doesn’t even touch Africa and Central America or the rest of the Middle East and that holocaust against Christians that is happening in Iraq and Syria


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The Power of The Powerless: A Salute to Mary Harris

The Power of The Powerless: A Salute to Mary Harris Jones:  A reflection given by Dick Bunce for an ICUJP gathering on May 12, 2006 

As we approach Mother’s Day, I’d like to talk about a truly memorable mother. Her name is Mary Harris Jones, better known as Mother Jones. She never got the message that women are to be the caretakers, leaving the pioneering to men. She was both caretaker and pioneer, especially the latter. And what a pioneer she was.

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Gaza War and Presbyterian Divestment

Gaza War and Presbyterian Divestment

by Jeff Warner, an ICUJP Reflection, July 18, 2014

Palestinian solidarity activists, and pro-Israeli activists, are more similar than either cares to admit. Both show images of death and suffering designed to gain sympathy.  Both insist on the rightness and purity of their position, that their claim justifies military action, and encourage their side to fight harder to rid the earth of the other.  Both call on the other to stop fighting and yield concessions. That was the message from both sides at demonstrations last weekend at the Federal Building.

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ICUJP Statement on Israel-Gaza Ceasefire

ICUJP Statement on Israel-Gaza Ceasefire – Adopted July, 2014 

Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) expresses its profound grief over the senseless killings that have been occurring with an alarming increase in frequency in Gaza and Israel.

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Patriotism & Nationalism in a Post-9/11 World

Patriotism & Nationalism in a Post-9/11 World

By Rev. Jerry Stinson

At our justice luncheon, Mike Rapkin in a very poignant set of comments described why he refused to stand for the singing of “God Bless America” at Dodger games. He still sees himself as a American patriot but is deeply disappointed in what his nation has done in recent years.

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ICUJP Statement on Refugee Children


ICUJP Statement on Refugee Children – Adopted July, 2014

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Human Rights organizations speak out against torture

On Thursday, June 26, 2014, Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace along with its partners and other human right supporters such as Code Pink, Human Rights Watch and Program for Torture Victims gathered in front of the United University Church to denounce torture and hold up torture survivors.

Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace, Program for Torture Victims, Code Pink, United University Church and Human Rights Watch reaffirmed their commitment to fight for the inherit dignity of all people.

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June 26 Interfaith Response: Rev. Jerald Stinson


I am in awe of Ann Richardson and Mike Rapkin, of what they have done to provide legal assistance to those so fiercely hated, of their commitment to justice and equality even in a place as awful as Guantanamo. Thank you both so much for sharing your stories today.

My task today is not to talk about Guantanamo itself but to look at the larger picture of torture from a faith perspective. At ICUJP – where a collection of very diverse religious communities are represented, we see all forms of torture as morally reprehensible. That means the torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, torture in secret CIA interrogation centers like those in Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan. And it means torture in hidden places all over the world where others carry out torture on our behalf. It includes the torture of solitary confinement in our nation’s prisons and the torture that is the death penalty.

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Shining a Light on U.S. Torture: Rev. Hannah Petrie

Rev. Hannah Petrie is the Associate Minister at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena. She was one of our interfaith participants at our June 21st Shining a Light on U.S. Torture event. Below is her speech. 

Torture Awareness Month

June 21, 2014

I hope the only completely predictable thing I’ll say this afternoon is that Unitarian Universalism does not condone torture.  Here’s what we say on our national web site,

“Unfortunately, torture is a very common practice around the world. As we saw at Abu Ghraib, and continue to see at Guantanamo, the United States of America has policies that condone and even promote the use of torture. In addition to torturing prisoners, the USA has stripped them of their rights to petition their imprisonment. Without this right, Habeas Corpus, those deemed to be enemies can be imprisoned indefinitely, without a trial, without oversight, and without hope – this is a form of emotional and spiritual torture. As a religion that affirms and promotes the inherent worth and dignity of every person, torture presents a serious challenge. Can we see the worth and dignity within one who tortures? What is clear is that our vision of a world community with peace, liberty and justice for all, is an envisioning of a world without torture. Please follow our links and join the UUA and our partners as we work towards such a world.”

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Shining a Light on U.S. Torture

A Torture Awareness Month Event:

Shining a Light on U.S. Torture

On Saturday, June 21, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, KARAMAH, The Constitution Project and National Religious Campaign Against Torture brought community members together, members of different faith traditions, all under one roof to raise awareness on the U.S.-sponsored torture at home and abroad.

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