An old friend shared that as part of his internship, he has started writing for the local paper in an "Ask the Clergy" column. Here is his recent response to Ethics & Religion:
Link: Press-Telegram – Religion.
Intern Minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach
Many of the best people that I have known have not been members of a religious community. When I lived in Chicago I befriended the anarchist poet and artist Carlos Cortez. Carlos was a gentle man and treated everyone he met with kindness. He had been a conscientious objector in World War II because he believed that wars were caused by politicians and generals and not regular working folk. He thought that if he fought against the Germans he would just be shooting at other workingmen like himself. He told me “if someone had given me a shot at Hitler I would have taken it. Otherwise I’m just killing draftees like myself.” For living out his beliefs Carlos served three years in Sandstone Penitentiary. He died last year but he remains a major source of inspiration in my life.
Despite his influence on me Carlos and I did not agree about religion. He was anti-religious and thought that the concept of God was usually used to control people and make them feel powerless.
This is in contrast to another of my friends, the Jesuit priest David Fern�ndez. Like Carlos, David radiates kindness. Unlike Carlos, David thinks God empowers people and sides with the poor and oppressed. Despite the fact that they have different beliefs and different attitudes towards religion both David and Carlos have taught me the same lesson. How we treat each other is more important than our religious beliefs.