Adam Snider

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Unitarian minister speaks out against Alberta gov’ts cuts to sex-change operations

In Faith in Action on April 14, 2009 at 8:33 am

This letter is just one of many reasons that I’m happy to call myself a Unitarian Universalist (yes, I’ve decided that it is appropriate to identify my religious beliefs in that way):

In a $36-billion budget, the Alberta government chooses to eliminate $700,000 for gender reassignment surgeries. By my calculation that’s a whopping 0.00194 per cent of the budget.

Sorry, but to me this looks like a convenient opportunity to disguise blatant and cruel discrimination as fiscal prudence.

If it wasn’t tragic, it would be laughable.

And the saddest thing is that the government will now have to spend considerably more than they will save in defending this policy before a human rights tribunal.

It’s wrong, mean-spirited and petty, and for what it’s worth, against my religious principles.

Rev. Brian Kiely, Unitarian Church of Edmonton

The emphasis in the final paragraph is mine, but it serves to highlight the way that my church matches my beliefs. I can’t think of too many other religions where a minister would sign his or her name to a letter like this. For that reason, among others, I can’t think of too many other religions where I’d feel comfortable exploring my spiritual side.

For a look at my own opinion on this issue, check out my (unpublished) letter to the editor, “Cutting coverage for sex-change operations shameful,” on my other blog,


Acknowledging the dark side of life

In Spiritual Experiences on April 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I just recently returned from a Good Friday service at the Unitarian church. It was not, as you might have guessed, an explicitely Christian service. Jesus played a part, of course, but it wasn’t the traditional Christian Good Friday mass. It was still called a Tenebrae service, but it the part about “Jesus saves!” was noticably absent (since it was a Unitarian service, rather than a Christian service).

It was quite a moving service, for me. It was short but sombre. It caused me to be much more introspective than I have lately, and to acknowledge the darknesses in my life.

In particular, I thought about my father.

My farther is ill. He may even be dying, albeit relatively slowly. His kidneys are failing. In fact, he started on dialysis earlier this week. While I think he still has some kidney function, it’s as though the organs have already failed him completely.

It seems more and more unlikely that he will live to be an old man (he is only 50). I have been denying this and, in doing so, acting as if our time is unlimited. Instead, I should embrace the dark truth of the situation. I should acknowledge his illness.

I should cease taking my father’s life for granted. I should make more time for him in my life. I should let him know that I love him—through actions, if not through words. I should do all of this soon.

Now may be all that we have.