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Unitarian Church to question the costs of war

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By Special to the Monitor

The cost of the war in Iraq has been estimated at more than $463 billion. At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos will ask “The Cost of Iraq: Who Pays the Price?” in a special worship service as part of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee’s annual Justice Sunday program.The Rev. John Cullinan will examine the costs of war and their effect on our society’s values from a liberally religious perspective in his sermon titled, “Being the Change We Wish to See.” The service will also draw from the work of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated 40 years ago this year.In 1967, King said, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”Highlighting the cost of the war in real terms is one purpose of the Justice Sunday program, in addition to discussing our humanitarian and spiritual priorities as a nation and as individuals. “The UUSC (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) is our faith’s ‘hands in the world,’” Cullinan said. “Their work, and our collaboration with them, calls us as religious people to our spiritual responsibility to act as our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, to live our beliefs and values in real ways.”The Justice Sunday service’s goal is to empower individuals to educate, act and speak out about the issues facing our communities as the war in Iraq continues.The UUSC is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. The committee formed through a merger of the Unitarian and Universalist Service Committees in 1963, both organizations having begun in the 1940s in humanitarian response to the rise of Nazi Germany. The two committees collaborated on a number of post-war relief projects in Europe, including running a shelter for adolescent girls and boys in Verden, Germany. While affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, the UUSC is an independent and self-funding organization and has individual members from many different religious faiths.The UUSC’s mission to advance human rights and social justice involves work in many areas of the world. Current projects include sending a delegation of ministers and laypeople to witness the unrest in Kenya, Africa, following the presidential elections, and significant work to coordinate volunteers, and raise awareness and funds to rebuild the Gulf Coast.For more information about the UUSC and the national Justice Sunday program, see www.uusc.org/justicesunday.Information about the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos can be found at www.uulosalamos.org. The service will begin at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the church, 1738 N. Sage St. in Los Alamos.