Right-wing AM-radio buffoons John and Ken encourage listeners to "Flush Amnesty" by sending toilet brushes to LA's Mexican-American mayor. The vigilante Minuteman Project promises a wall on the Arizona-Mexico border, while "Minute Women" auxiliary housewives harass day laborers at Home Depot. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says they're "doing a terrific job," and Costa Mesa Mayor Allan Monsoor argues city police should deport illegal aliens.
Now is definitely a good time to check in with the Unitarians, that reliably humane and welcoming ecumenical religious rejoinder to the right-wing vigilante cartoon characters whose exploits crowd their way into media discussion of immigration, labor justice and community. It's a question I ask myself: What Would Unitarians Do?
Not that we deserve them, but they've organized thoughtful grown-up resistance right here in OC, all in their unbelievably sincere, creedless, nondenominational and diverse way. Surveys of Unitarian Universalist congregants identify them as humanist, agnostic, earth-centered, atheist, Buddhist, Christian and Pagan, so if you need somebody to yell or honk at you, punish or excommunicate, this ain't the church of your choice.
Saturday's one-day conference "Human Rights Today" discusses civil liberties, human, labor and water rights, and will also feature attorneys and policy analysts not on KFI. Other highlights will include such speakers as constitutional lawyer and former ACLU prez Steven Rohde weighing in on "Human Rights and Presidential Powers," Heal the Bay founder Dorothy Green on a panel concerning water justice, Costa Mesa student activist Coyotl Tezcalipoca offering his righteous piece on immigrant rights, and Guatemalan activist Lucia Munoz assessing violence against women in Latin America and indigenous people's organizing for empowerment.
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The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee Human Rights Forum at the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church, 1259 Victoria St., Costa Mesa, (714) 567-0188. Sat., 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. $10-$25.