UU Women and Religion

... toward a new day ...


Comments From the Pope on a Visit to Meet the Interfaith Encounter Association

I have excerpted and paraphrased this message by Pope Benedict XVI:

Unity that is not dependent on uniformity to form a culture not defined by boundaries...but, fundamentally, shaped by the principles and actions that stem from belief, can "teach the deeper spiritual values of our common humanity. The hearts of the young, readily, join those of all religions wishing to safeguard children from fanaticism and violence while preparing them to be builders of a better world."

Support Freedom to Marry

Let's appropriate this lively 44-cent stamp! Buy as many as your Post Office has on hand and start using them on all of your mail. Write your favorite words to support Freedom for Everyone to Marry on your envelopes right under the stamp like this!

Men killing families list 2009

All these murders really occurred in 2009.  I decided not to include those from previous years because the incredible number that occurred this year alone has such emotional impact.  I learned of them because I check CNN.com daily and watch some local TV news.  They can all be verified by googling.  Sadly I didn’t list most of the names of the women and children in order to be brief.

1.    Ervin Lupoe shot and killed his wife, Ana, and his 5 children, Brittney, 8, twin girls Jaszmin and Jassely, 5, and twin boys Benjamin and Christian, 2 years and 4 months then committed suicide because of job loss in Wilmington (LA) California, Tuesday, January 27, 2009.  It was the third mass murder and suicide of a Southern California family committed by a man in 6 months.

2.    Theodore Bayly strangled his wife, Janice, 40, and his 11-year-old son, Colton, then committed suicide by gun shot because of financial problems, in Belle Valley, Ohio, February 18, 2009.

3.    Pablo Josue Amador shot and killed his wife, Maria, 45, and 2 daughters, Priscilla and Rosa, 13 and 14, then committed suicide in Miami, Florida, Wednesday, February 25, 2009.  A 16-year-old son, Javier, escaped.

4.    Guillermo Lopez shot and killed his estranged wife, Lazara Mendez, 50, and her daughter, Nayla Canfux,19, the daughter’s boyfriend, Francisco Casas, 27, and his grandmother, Maria Lefran Christ, 77, at a birthday party then committed suicide in Miami, Florida, March 15, 2009.  The detective at the scene, Ervens Ford, is listed as an alternative to google for the shooting.  The man’s name is too common to find easily.

5.    Charles Nettlebeck killed his wife, Barbara Jo, 52, and his stepdaughter, Bretta Joan Hawkins, 33, with an ax in Orting, Washington over impending divorce March 15, 2009.

6.     Devan Kalathat shot and killed his daughter, Nehga Dev, 4, his son, Akhil Dev, 11, his brother-in-law, Ashok Appu Poothemkandi, 35, and his sister-in-law, Suchitra Sivaraman, 25, and the couple’s 11-month-old daughter, Ahana Ashok, and then committed suicide in Santa Clara, California, Tuesday, March 31, 2009.  He also shot his own wife, Abha, critically wounding her; she apparently survives.

7.     James Harrison killed his 5 children, ages 16 to 7, then committed suicide in Graham, Washington, Saturday, April 4, 2009, after learning his wife, Angela, was leaving him,  The children were Maxine, 16, Jamie, Samantha, Heather and James, 7; accurate information is not available for the other’s ages.  (See AP archives; also google under “5 children dead”.  His name is too common.)

8.    Kevin Lee Garner shot and killed his estranged wife, Tammy, 40, his daughter, Chelsea, 16, his sister, Karen Beaty, and her son, Robert, 11, then committed suicide in Green Hill, Alabama, Tuesday, April 7, 2009.  Divorce hearings were in process.

9.     Christopher Wood shot, stabbed and killed his wife, Francie Billotti-Wood, 33, and his 3 children, 2 sons, Chandler, 5, and, Gavin, 4, and his daughter, Fiona, 2, as they slept in Middleton, Maryland, Saturday, April 18, 2009.  He almost cut off his children's heads using a kitchen knife and pruning saw, the sheriff said. He then committed suicide. The family had severe financial problems, and he struggled with depression.

10.    William Parente of Garden City, New York, killed his wife, Betty, and his 2 daughters, Catherine, 11, and Stephanie, 19, by beating and suffocating them then committing suicide by stabbing himself, in a hotel room in Towson, (Baltimore) Maryland Monday, April 20, 2009.  He was under investigation for allegedly running a $20 million Ponzi scheme.

11.    Troy Ryan Bellar, shot and killed his wife, Wendy, 31 and 2 of his sons, Zack, 5 months and Ryan, 8, then committed suicide using a 7.62 mm rifle in Lakeland, Florida, Sunday evening, May 3, 2009.  He chased his 13 year-old son, Nathan, shooting at him but the son escaped unharmed.  His wife may have been attempting to leave the home with 2 of the children.

12.    Chris Coleman has been charged for the strangulation of his wife, Sheri, 31, and his 2 sons, Garrett, 11 and Gavin, 9, in Columbia, Illinois, Thursday, May 7, 2009.  (Maj. Jeff Connor of Major Case Squad for additional google resource).  He has pleaded not guilty.

As of the end of June, there have been no more of these mass family murders since May 7.  According to Allan G. Johnson, in The Gender Knot:  Unraveling Our Patriarchal Legacy, there are underlying social problems and oppressions that contribute to them which are ignored.  Instead, society focuses on each family having its own unique problems.

Jeane Orjas
First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco

Pacific Central District Women & Religion Committee Meets in Sunnyvale

Seventeen women from around the district met on May 17 at the home of Rev. Shirley Ranck in Sunnyvale. Plans were made for the annual Women & Religion Retreat to be held in March of 2010, and school supplies were packed to send to schools in need.
A dramatic reading by Meg Bowman was presented and all enjoyed a pot luck lunch on the patio. The next meeting of the Women & Religion Committee will be on Saturday, October 17 at the UU Fellowship in Modesto, CA.
Rev. Shirley Ranck
Interim Minister, Sunnyvale, CA