Monday, February 19, 2007

Any Soldier


I'm going to try to set up a collection within my congregation to send care packages to a reserve unit from our state (the 399th Combat Support Hospital). I found the unit on, which is a great website to check out, if you haven't seen it. Has anyone else done something similar with their congregations?


Washington Office for Advocacy


I was poking around the UUA website, and came across the section on the UUA Washington Office for Advocacy. Curious, I looked around for any military related issues. I was pleased to find a section entitled " Welcoming Veterans and Military Families in Our Congregations and Community", though I was a bit non-plussed at it's location - at the very bottom of the "Occupation of Iraq" Issues page. Obviously not as important as say "America Says NO!" or "Iraq for Sale" or a link to a website for the short film "The Ground Truth" an anti-war documentary that focuses on a small group of soldiers who after serving in Iraq became anti-war activists.

What I found a bit more disturbing was in the Links section.

Under the section "Military Spending and Disarmament" (Sets the tone) there were links for various anti-war/anti-military organizations such as the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee ( which entourages activists to evade paying portions of thier income tax as a means of protesting war. Oh, and it also refers to the military as a "bigoted" institution and goes on to say "The military is, bar none, the most homophobic institution in our culture. Yet for all its sexism, heterosexism, racism and persecution of sexual minorities at home AND overseas, the military continues to be funded at enormous levels while programs everybody needs - health care, housing, food, environmental protection and education - continue to be gutted. More continues to be spent on the military each month than has been spent by the U.S. in the entire history of AIDS research. Killing, it seems, is far more important than saving lives." Oh and it also says "Over 50% of federal tax dollars go to fund one of the most misogynist and destructive forces in our society: the military."

Now, I realize that simply because this organization is in the links section of the UUA website does not necessarily imply that the UUA in anyway endorses or agrees with any of the positions taken by this organization, but it does seem to indicate that somebody within the UUA thinks highly enough of it to put the link up.

Several other websites listed that are also anti-military (as opposed to simply being anti-Iraq war) and focus on opposing military recruitment, selective service, and ROTC.

While I certainly respect the opinions of those Unitarian-Universalists who are pacifists, I am bit chagrined that it seems to be the position of the UUA (perhaps unofficially) to only support one, rather extreme, viewpoint on the subject.


P.S. Oh and when you google "UUA military" the first thing that comes up is a section on the UUA website about conscientious objection. This blog is third.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Did You See That?

Have you ordered your UU Military Ministries Gear yet? Mine came in a few days ago.

I got a large coffee mug and a button. I wanted to get more but funds are short as of right now. The coffee mug now proudly rests on my desk at work. Several people have asked about it and expressed delight in finding out its meaning.

The button I wore on my lapel today at church. Proudly displayed above my name tag. I didn't get any questions of comments about it. That may be because my name tag itself holds various items. Blue background representing the fact that I am a board member, a lapel pin in red and gold from The Church of the Larger Fellowship, and an orange ribbon and golden safety pin that represents a promise I keeping for myself this year.

Still, next Sunday, if people do not ask about it I think I might start pointing out. "See my new UUMM button?"

Also check this post out from Cee Jay. She is a fellow congregant of mine, and a good friend. Great advise on how to really, actually, support our troops.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Welcome to a new Blogger!

Please welcome someone I have been in communication with on several projects over the past several months... Here is the info he sent us...

ET1(SW/AW) Lou Portella, USN Active
On shore duty at Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic / Surface Nuclear Propulsion Administration code N92V /

Unitarian Church of Norfolk (UCN), Thomas Jefferson District
Founder and co-chairperson of UUniforms, UCN's military support group

Welcome Lou to UU's in the Military!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

UU Military Ministries Gear!

Hello everyone!

I have been intending to do this for awhile, and this morning I had a choice...either read William Ellery Channing's "Unitarian Christianity" for class tomorrow (I'll do it tonight) or actually do a project that is kinda fun for me...

So, I opted for the "fun" project this morning. Now, fun is a relative term... But you will see what I mean.

Eric David Carlson, a fellow student here at the Meadville Lombard Theological School, created a logo for the UU Military Ministries awhile back, on the promise that one day I would send him a coffee cup with that logo on it. Lou Portella sent me the wondeful logo that the UUniforms project in Norfolk VA had created... and I decided the time was right to make some UU Military Ministries Gear available!

Here is the link:

Now, it is done through CafePress, and so I could have added a markup on the gear... but no... not yet, anway. We may in the future do so to help fund some UUMM projects and the like, but for right now, all of this is as low in price as I can make it.

So, check it out and show up on Sunday morning for Coffee Hour with a UU Military coffee cup, or wear a UU Miliary baseball cap at General Assembly!

Oh, and Eric... I will get the coffee cup sent to you soon, I promise! As soon as mine gets here!

Yours in Faith,

David Pyle
2LT, USAR Chaplaincy Candidate
Student, Meadville Lombard Theological School

Monday, February 05, 2007

Greetings everyone!

I was very excited to discover this blog - as far as I can tell I'm the only serviceman in my congregation so I really don't have anyone to discuss my experiences with. My wife and I have been members of our congregation for 14 months now and we are both very happy there. I've been sort of lost spiritually for several years after realizing that my agnosticism was not particularly fulfilling, and I've really found a home in UU. I was a bit apprehensive about how well I would fit in the congregation, knowing in advance that most UUs tend to be very liberal and have a strong anti-war stance. I don't consider myself a liberal in the modern understanding, but more of a classical liberal. I'm definitely a social libertarian, so many of the social justice activities of the UU dovetail nicely with my beliefs, but as a lifelong soldier (and infantryman too boot) I can hardly describe myself as a pacifist or anti-war. For the most part my congregation has been very welcoming, and usually the only response I get when I say I'm in the military is an expression of concern for my safety if I was deployed. What troubles me a bit is that I hear frequent denunciations of "militarism" and "warmongering" from both the pulpit and members of the congregation. Nothing seemingly directed towards me (and I get along quite famously with our minister) - but it still makes me a touch uncomfortable. Both the words militarism and warmongering are obviously pejorative, and I'm not 100% exactly what is meant by them - are they denunciations of an extreme, unnecessary use of military force - or the military and the use of force in general? I suppose I could simply ask my minister but frankly I feel a bit uncomfortable raising the issue directly - I certainly don't want to hurt anyones feelings of insult anyone by seeming to make accusations. Has anyone else felt this sort of tension? Am I overreacting (which I suspect I might be)?



Welcome to another New Blogger

We would like to welcome Adrian Gunn to the UU's in the Military forum... Here is Adrian's information:

I'm an Army veteran and member of the Massachusetts Army NationalGuard, and a Unitarian-Universalist. My wife and I have been membersof the First United Parish Church in Quincy, Massachusetts for thepast 14 months, and I'm interested in joining your blog.


SGT Adrian Gunn

Friday, February 02, 2007

Welcome to a new blogger

Please everyone welcome a new blogger, James White. Here is the information that James sent us:

My name is James White and I am a UU stations at Ft. Hood, TX. My wife and I got to the UU Church in Waco. I am in the process of becoming a chaplain and would like to join your blog.


Welcome to the Blog!