Religious Left -- War on Drugs -- Raising Daughters --  Lotteries -- Internationalism -- GLBT

Links to My Favorite Causes, Religion, and Politics
(Part of my Just-for-Fun pages)
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Last revised: December 22, 2004



There should always be a little bit of room for fun

These pages are where I put all those links that I think are entertaining or interesting, but that do not fit well into other areas of my web site. I'm open to suggestions for new links.

Friends and family with web sites
Movies, literature, and more
Things I find amusing - good aimless surfing
Favorite recipes and a few products
Things I care about

My primary professional interest is in environmental matters. I maintain scores of annoted environmental links on a separate part of this web site. This page provides information about some of the other causes and issues that concern me. Opinions expressed or implied here are my sole responsibility. 

Religious bigotry has become so commonplace -- from Afghanistan to the White House -- that it is difficult to remember that most religous leaders and traditions actually advocate for peace and understanding. Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush to the contrary, most religious people are neither terrorists nor war-mongers. Did you know, for example, that a group of Christian leaders -- including people from his own denomination -- tried to meet with President Bush to talk him out of the Iraq War on moral and religous grounds? Of course, he is averse to disagreements, so these people were not given an appointment.

In this section of my page, I highlight religious organizations that are advocating for peace and justice in a variety of ways in the United States and worldwide. Beginning with my own religion (Unitarian Universalism), I present links to organizations, folloewd by a brief statement about it, usually taken from the organizational website. Many of these groups are now recognized and respected for unpopular stands that they have taken in the past. Unpopular convictions are sustained by the faith of the individuals involved, either faith in the divine as they see it, or faith in human goodness.

Unitarian Universatlist Service Committee ( UUSC )
Grounded in Unitarian Universalist principles that affirm the worth, dignity and human rights of every person, and the interdependence of all life, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is a voluntary, nonsectarian organization working to advance justice throughout the world.

American Friends  (Quakers) Service Committee (AFSC )
The American Friends Service Committee carries out service, development, social justice, and peace programs throughout the world. Founded by Quakers in 1917 to provide conscientious objectors with an opportunity to aid civilian war victims, AFSC's work attracts the support and partnership of people of many races, religions, and cultures.

Catholic Relief Services ( CRS )
Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Our mission is to assist the poor and disadvantaged, leveraging the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to alleviate human suffering, promote development of all people and to foster charity and justice throughout the world.

American Jewish World Service ( AJWS )
AJWS is an independent not-for-profit organization founded in 1985 to help alleviate poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the world regardless of race, religion or nationality. It breathes life into Judaism's imperative to pursue justice and helps American Jews act upon a deeply felt obligation to improve the chances for survival, economic independence and human dignity for all people.

Lutheran World Relief ( LWR )
Every day in 50 countries, Lutheran World Relief works to combat the causes of poverty and the dignity it robs from people’s lives. We advocate for fair trade that helps farming families earn a better income. We teach people to better care for themselves their communities and the environment. We teach people how to be less vulnerable to natural disasters. We advocate with and for them for policy change that more fairly represents them. We counsel them after manmade and natural disasters, and help them recover with material aid. We do all of this exclusively with partners from the communities we serve. Our partners help us remain incredibly efficient and effective. Our partners let us help people help themselves…for a day when they won’t need us at all.

Presbyterian Church U.S.A. ( PCUSA )
I have not found a separate organization for the Presbyterian Church, but I was impressed that the main thrust of the denominational web site is the kind of advocacy described for all of the affiliate organizations described above.

National Council of Churches U.S.A. (NCCUSA )

The National Council of Churches, founded in 1950, is the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 36 Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox member denominations include almost 50 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

United Church of Christ ( UCC ) -- Justice and Peace
Doing justice, seeking peace and building community are central to the identity of the United Church of Christ. Throughout its history — from early engagement in the movement to abolish slavery to modern campaigns for civil rights and social justice — the UCC in every setting of the church has been engaged in ministries of compassion, advocacy and reconciliation. By the way, this is the church whose paid ads were declined by those paragons of virtue, NBC and CBS!
What is your religious tradition? If it has a similar organization, please let me know!

Note: Dwight Reuther maintains a longer list of links to similarly-inclined organizations.

Jesus Junk decribes a tendency toward less meaningful expressions of faith among some Americans.

NI New Internationalist Publications exists to report on issues of world poverty and inequality; to focus attention on the unjust relationship between the powerful and the powerless in both rich and poor nations; to debate and campaign for the radical changes necessary if the basic material and spiritual needs of all are to be met. Browse back issues for penetrating analysis of dozens of pressing international issues, from drugs to the environment to poverty to the arts.

The UUA site is a comprehensive source of information about my religious denomination, the Unitarian Universalist Association. I maintain the web site for my church, the First Parish Church UU of Bridgewater, founded in 1716 and still thriving! Many UUs have their own web sites; for a comprehensive list, visit UU Net Heads .

Live Free or Die
(To the War on Drugs)

The War on Drugs:
  • is sponsored by tobacco and alcohol companies, whose drugs are legalized
  • punishes African Americans disproprtionately
  • has not made drugs less available
  • has ensured that only the most violent criminals remain in the business of drug trafficking
  • diverts money from treatment to policing
  • rewards police officers for making trivial arrests (as for minor possession) when they could be working on more serious crimes
  • provides political cover for military activities throughout Latin America that result in human rights abuses
  • is simply not working, but few politicians are willing to admit it
Advocates of the War on Drugs argue that since twenty years of intensive efforts have not worked, we should intensify our efforts further.  For more information, visit:
  • SSDP : Students for Sensible Drug Policy is committed to providing education on harms caused by the War on Drugs, working to involve youth in the political process, and promoting an open, honest, and rational discussion of alternative solutions to our nation's drug problems.
  • Or UUDPR : Unitarian Universalists for Drug Policy Reform UUDPR is a continental coalition of Unitarian Universalists leading the denomination's efforts to develop and promote more just and compassionate drug policies. In accordance with the denomination's new drug policy Statement of Conscience, it advocates that drug use should be a health issue, not a crime.
  • NORML is the leading organization for activists trying to change unworkable drug laws in the United States.
  • The New Prohibition is an important new book edited by Colorado Sheriff Bill Masters. Chapters are contributed by other law-enforcement officials, political and business leaders, medical doctors, and civil libertarians.

My most important job
The most important thing I do is helping to raise my wonderful daughter Paloma . We are very fortunate to have the good sense of my wife Pamela involved! 

Dads & Daughters is a sort of online support group for fathers who are trying to do right by their daughters. I am new to the community, but already I like what I see and I want to get the word out.

Fathers with daughters are in a special position, I believe, to object to much of what is wrong with our culture. Girls are increasingly the target of aggressive marketing, harmful messages about beauty and bodies, and sexualization that occurs at a shockingly young age. To the extent that girls can be taught to be self-confident, adventurous, and media-savvy, I believe they will grow into happier and more successful women. 

Incidentally, all female persons of college age are "women" in my book, not "girls," just as female professors are "Dr." or "Professor," not "Miss."

"Lotteries are a special tax on people who are bad at math."

This is not only one of my favorite bumper stickers; it also points to a sad truth. State and local governments are becoming addicted to gambling as rapidly as are some citizens. A growing number of liberal and conservative activists are expressing concern about legalized gambling, especially state-sponsored gambling. The National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling is a clearinghouse for the movement. Its web site provides many links to news and studies, including " Lotteries for Education: Windfall or Hoax? ," a study conducted at the Center for Academic Innovation at Saint Mary's College in Indiana.

Worldwide, gambling accounts for about $900 billion in wagers per year. This means that if gambling were a country, it would have the eighth largest economy in the world - just behind China but ahead of Brazil. See the Forbes article " The Stakes Get Higher " by Richard C. Morais for more on how governments profit from the impoverishment of their people through gambling. He writes that In 2001 - even during a recession - "Americans spent an estimated $64 billion gambling, according to the consultants Christiansen Capital Advisors, up 5% from 2000. That's more than they spend on movie tickets, theme parks, spectator sports and video games." 

"To my family, the buffalo is more important than I am. When I die, they'll weep for me; but if our buffalo dies, they may starve."
~~ Asian Farmer
This startling observation points to the importance of the work being done by Heifer Project International , which helps farmers in developing countries acquire livestock while educating people in wealthier nations about the challenges facing many of the world's families.

My PRIDE page provides access to just a few of the many excellent web sites related to the experiences and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people. 

Norbert's Bookmarks for a Better World
Provides links to web sites about many topics of interest to progressives, including:
Conflict Regions, Economy, Education, Environment, General Info, Human Rights, Military, News, One World, Peace, Politics, Religions, Social Justice, Urgent Actions, Women.
The site is searchable and includes both English and German versions.

The Council on Economic Priorities ( CEP ) is a non-profit research organization that  has been mobilizing and informing concerned consumers to help them make choices to support companies whose policies and practices they like - and avoid those they don't. CEP rates companies on such matters as environmental practices, military involvement, community support, and the treatment of gay and lesbian employees.
Shopping for a Better World

Back to James Hayes-Bohanan's Environmental Geography pages.