50 years ago, American boys, most under 20 years of age, committed unspeakable acts against a civilian hamlet in Vietnam. Over 500 women, children (yes! there were babies!) and old men were slaughtered by American soldiers. Civilian “collateral damage” is a tragic cost of any war; the My Lai massacre only exemplified it at a highly public level. The San Diego Chapter of Veterans For Peace (VFP) is named after Hugh C. Thompson, the courageous US Army helicopter pilot who landed his chopper and, along with fellow crewmen, intervened against fellow American troops to end the carnage at My Lai. Thompson reported the “incident” up the chain of command but was met with indifference and ridicule by authorities.
Obedience is important in many circumstances and situations—traffic laws are better obeyed than not. They help keep us safe and avoid accidents that could have dire consequences if not obeyed. Most religions promote obedience—to a creed, to certain commandments, to certain teachings or dogmas of the institution. Unitarian Universalists choose to promote and affirm, instead of promote obedience. We affirm and promote our principles; we are a covenantal faith tradition—promising to trust and support one another.
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