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Half of Humantity - 2012 Greeley Award Sermon

Half of Humantity - 2012 Greeley Award Sermon

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Published by jdash9
Paper by Kent Price, winner of the 2012 UU-UNO Greeley Award
Paper by Kent Price, winner of the 2012 UU-UNO Greeley Award

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Published by: jdash9 on May 28, 2012
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HALF OF HUMANITYA Sermon for United Nations Sunday, February 12, 2012Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine, MaineKent PriceUU Castine and UU UN OfficeOne of my earliest memories is as a 6-year old living in the SanFrancisco Bay Area, when something important called the United Nations was chartered right across the bay, in San Francisco. Evena child can understand that war is a terrible thing and that a solemnagreement to put an end to war was something to herald.But the UN aspired to much more than the absence of war. OnOctober 24, 1945, the member nations affirmed “faith infundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women, and of nations largeand small.”Well, to nobody’s surprise, large nations still take advantage of small ones, and men and women most assuredly do not enjoy equalrights. Sixty-six years after the UN Charter was signed and itsmembership expanded from 55 to 193, the gap between womenand men remains disturbingly wide.Despite the fact that women comprise somewhat more than 50
 
 percent of all humanity, they carry the burden of systemic globalinjustice and inequality. Women do the grunt work of the world,especially in developing countries:
 
They gather firewood, cook the food, grow the crops.
 
They fetch water and carry it long distances. Water weighs40 pounds per 5-gallon container.
 
They constitute that “village” that raises the child you alwayshear about. The world over, mothers raise the children.And note that all this is routine. Day after day, load after load,mile after mile, and with little hope that your prospects willimprove.Moreover, women are victims because they are women— victims of rape, of domestic violence, of sexual trafficking, andof political disenfranchisement.Women are under-represented in government and decision-making, with differences in degree more than in kind seen indeveloped nations and those in early stages of development. For example, women are not allowed to vote in many countries(despite not being permitted to drive a car, women in SaudiArabia have just been granted the right to vote—in 2015!) But
 
remember that women in this country could not vote until1920—only 92 years ago—and it took a Constitutionalamendment to do it. We should not be too smug about equalrights.Indeed, inequality in the halls of power has persisted. Of allmembers of Congress, only 17 percent are women. That womenin the Senate should be outnumbered 83 to 17 borders onscandalous. Nor have we ever managed to elect a woman as president,though Secretary Clinton came close in 2008. Ireland, Iceland,Israel, India, and Indonesia have had women chief executives,as have a number of other countries not starting with “I,” but nothere in the leader of the “Free World.”But let’s return to the developing world, where things seem onlyto get worse. Take the effects of climate change, which arereadily observable by anyone not a member of Congress.Drought and desertification in some regions and deluge andfloods in others, plus hurricanes, typhoons, receding glaciers,and melting sea ice, underline that what used to be called“natural” disasters hit the poor especially hard. And their 

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