Speaker: Michael Burkhimer

Millard Fillmore, a Unitarian US President; the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Millard Fillmore, a Unitarian US President; the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
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Let’s honor this President’s Day by learning about a fellow Unitarian, Millard Fillmore. He was our nation’s 13th president and the first University of Buffalo chancellor. Harry Truman dismissed him as “the do-nothing president.” And yet, his honesty and integrity remain unchallenged—qualities lacking in some … read more.

The Religion of our Founding Fathers and its Discontents

Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
The Religion of our Founding Fathers and its Discontents
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We’ve all heard pronouncements like, “America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles”  and “Our Founding Fathers were God-fearing Christians.” Was it? Were they? As with many popularized historical “facts,”  a closer look at the faith of our Founding Fathers reveals a variety of religious opinions that would make … read more.

Taking ‘Em Down…for Good

Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Thomas Paine UU Fellowship
Taking 'Em Down...for Good
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The brutal murder of George Floyd triggered not only a massive outcry for an end to police brutality, but also a worldwide call to address systemic racism and the countless injustices it spawns. It also re-animated the campaign in the U.S. to remove from public … read more.

Abraham Lincoln: Voting Rights Martyr?

Abraham Lincoln’s death was the result of his efforts on behalf of voting rights for African-Americans. He was killed by a man who called America “a white man’s country.” The final straw was when Lincoln suggested in his last public speech that some African-Americans be allowed to vote. Because voting rights are a fragile thing, we need to recognize the violence that has met people who have stood and died for African-American voting rights, such as Medgar Evers, Octavius Catto, and Abraham Lincoln, and vow to continue the struggle.

“George Orwell–Honesty, and the Ability of One Person to Make a Difference”

Eric Blair, a.k.a. George Orwell, lived only 46 years, dying of tuberculosis in 1950. He never went to university or had a steady publisher of his writing and lived most of his life in poverty. Yet because of his overdeveloped sense of honesty and decency he wrote works that still resonate today. As Christopher Hitchens has written, Orwell unmasked the folly and danger of three major evils of the 20th Century: colonialism, fascism, and Stalinism. His work still stands as a warning against those who would rob individuals of their worth and dignity. Join us as we discuss how Orwell accomplished all this and what it means for our UU principles.

Oh Noah He Didn’t!

Last year, in Kentucky, a $100 million theme park entitled “Ark Encounter” opened featuring a “life-sized” Ark with animatronic dinosaurs and violent and disturbing images of people dying in a supposed worldwide flood 4,200 years ago. According to Gallup, roughly half of Americans believe that the earth is just 6,000 years old and that evolution is false. These beliefs highlight the formidable challenge to scientific inquiry and science education in our country. These beliefs also influence how we collectively deal with environmental issues affecting our survival. How do we as a faith community stand up for science and education?

It’s The End of the World and We Know It

Most of the Western World is in a perpetual state of waiting, as its three major religions incorporate a belief in either the coming of a messiah or in a final judgment which ends the current world and resolves all problems through divine intervention. Unfortunately, this outlook substitutes for wisdom and problem solving in the here and now. It also escalates armed conflict through misuse of ancient “apocalyptic” texts. Better and perhaps necessary for our species’ survival is to focus on solving our problems now rather than waiting for some presumed divine intervention.

Lincoln’s Christianity

Abraham Lincoln quoted Jesus of Nazareth often, focusing on what scholars claimed were actual words of the historical Jesus rather than on theological embellishments by later New Testament writers. As UU and renowned author, Kurt Vonnegut, once said, “But, I say with all my American … read more.