Category Archives: Commentary

Police Union Contracts

Collective bargaining is generally considered a good thing. All workers should have the opportunity to negotiate with employers to reach agreements on working conditions, benefits, and other aspects of workers’ compensation. However, some union contracts go beyond the terms and conditions of the workers’ employment.

Police union contracts have created a system of protections for police officers that amount to an alternate justice system, creating significant legal and structural barriers to accountability, transparency, and fairness. Of at least 4,024 people killed by police between 2013 and 2016, only 85 of these cases have led to an officer being charged with a crime. Only six of these situations have led to convictions – fewer than 0.2% of known police killings. Data from some of America’s largest police departments show that officers who commit misconduct rarely face administrative consequences, either. It is not surprising that police officers are seldom held responsible for their behavior, as provisions in police union contracts constitute de facto immunity from liability. Continue reading Police Union Contracts

A Dispatch from DC

by Sandy Sorensen,
DC Office Director

Last week I made my first trip to the UCC’s Washington, D.C., office since the Inauguration and the implementation of strict security measures that prevented access to the office. The UCC DC office is housed in the United Methodist Building, directly across from the U.S. Capitol Building. We share that space with other faith-based advocacy organizations and nonprofits. While staff are largely working from home during the pandemic, I do find it helpful periodically to be in the office. Continue reading A Dispatch from DC

Thank You Stacey Abrams!

“When I was 17, I set up my first voter registration table helping to sign up people to vote long before I was old enough to do so. By December, I’d made it, and when I turned 18, I registered to vote. In 1992, I helped set the course of America—I was one small voice, but I was part of a mighty wave of young people from around the country who were tired of war, tired of poverty, tired of being left behind. Not everything changed that election, and we’re still fighting some of the same battles, but we’ve made progress. And if we want to make even more progress, if we want to lift up the names of Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain and George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery—if we want to talk about the legacy that we can leave, it begins by casting a vote.” Continue reading Thank You Stacey Abrams!

Re-evaluating Black History Month

“O Thou, the Remover of every anguish and the Dispeller of every affliction. Thou are He who banisheth every sorrow and setteth free every slave…”

In the repetition required to add this Baha’i passage to my most recent memorizations, I was repeatedly reminded of the numerous types of slavery, which still exsist today although mostly self-imposed. When reference is made to slavery, however, one’s thoughts instinctively flash to physical chains, auction blocks and the indelible stain of hundreds of years of man’s inhumanity to man that marks the infancy of this comparatively new nation. As we usher in February, the shortest month of the Gregorian calendar year now celebrated as Black History Month, it may be timely to explore some of the new and more subliminal forms of slavery. Continue reading Re-evaluating Black History Month

Recapping: Producing Donald Trump

While it is well known that Fox News is a propaganda machine for right-wing causes, it is not so well known that it got that way through the (evil-?) genius of Roger Ailes, the late CEO. Fox’s owner is media tycoon Rupert Murdoch; however, Roger Ailes created Fox News and ran it for 20 years, until he was ousted over allegations of sexual harassment of several women newspersons at the network.

Attention is rightfully focused on Donald Trump’s unbelievable and disgusting behavior; however, we should remember that this was facilitated by Fox news. Roger Ailes created Fox News as a political campaign that would run against the American media, which would convince millions of Americans not to trust the so-called mainstream media. That would present Fox as the only truthful voice on television. Continue reading Recapping: Producing Donald Trump