I grew up in Michigan. West Michigan, to be more precise. I spent my youth in a sheltered, idyllic little tourist beach town on the shore of Lake Michigan, and when it was time for college, I didn’t go too far away. I went to Calvin College (now Calvin University, turns out), which is in Grand Rapids. If you’re from Michigan, you definitely know about Grand Rapids, but if you’re not too familiar with the state of Michigan, you might not. People know about Detroit… They know Lansing (from middle school state capitol quizzes)… They might think of Flint (from the water crisis that no one cares about because almost all the people in Flint are black)… But Grand Rapids gets less national press. It’s actually the second largest city in Michigan. And it’s a city that I love. Even though I’m nearly 20 years removed from it, it’s still the home of some of my favorite people on the planet, and it holds — and will always hold — a special place in my heart.
Like many cities the size of Grand Rapids, it has its share of charms and its share of drawbacks. It struggles with the dysfunctional dance between growth and gentrification. It has a deeply religious history, and many of the people living there are torn between naturally conservative sensibilities and a genuine liberal concern and care for the poor and a love for social justice. In the West Michigan I grew up in, if there was an educational funding increase the schools needed, the people would vote for it. Unions just meant workers rights and middle class wages, instead of being conflated with some sort of radical socialism. But like many other palces, there has been a really gross fear growing in that part of the country, and in the 2016 election, somehow Trump won Kent County (Grand Rapids’ County) by 3 points. Despite this disappointment, I believe there is a foundational morality in west Michigan which recoils at this depraved administration and at the wholly immoral man leading it.
Very soon (November 5th), Grand Rapidians will choose their next mayor. There will be two choices on their ballot: The incumbent, democratic Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, and the republican candidate, a Grand Rapids pastor named Daniel Schutte. Now, you might be asking yourself, why is The Boeskool writing about a mayoral election for a Michigan city with fewer people than Oxnard, California (which is, by the way, the only U.S. city named after an Ox’s reproductive organs)? Well, it’s not because my readership in West Michigan is so vibrant that I think anything I say or do is going to sway the election in any meaningful way… It’s because I came across an interview that is one of the most insane, pandering, overt middle fingers to the concept of Separation of Church & State that these eyes have ever seen. It is truly something to behold… You’ll have to see it to believe it.
The Grand Rapids Press, along with the website MLive.com, asked both candidates the same five questions. I will not be sharing Mayor Rosalynn Bliss’ answers. If you are interested in reading them, you can RIGHT HERE. I will just say that her answers are articulate, intelligent, policy-focused, and rational. I WILL, however, be sharing the theocratic madness that Daniel Schutte wrote. Because, seriously — I am simply STUNNED at the level of lunacy this dude is displaying. Brace yourself…
Why should voters elect you?
DS: “I would like to help all of the citizens of Grand Rapids to live a more happier, healthier and productive life based on the principles given to us in God’s holy scriptures — the Bible.”
If elected, what will your top three priorities be?
DS: 1. “To proclaim the glory and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only “answer” to every one of our problems and challenges.”
2. “To address the No. 1 “civil rights” issue of our day … the murder of the precious and unwanted children of Grand Rapids that may be destined to be destroyed through their murder (commonly referred to as “abortion”).”
3. “To seek to make the city of Grand Rapids a “sanctuary city” for all unwanted children destined to be murdered through abortion.”
What would you propose to improve community-police relations?
DS: “I would promote more respect for our GRPD by introducing legislation that would make cursing/assaulting a police man or woman a misdemeanor crime.”
What would you propose to address the city’s current housing challenges?
DS: “Educate in a personal way how any Grand Rapids citizen can acquire clean, adequate housing by following the principles given to us in God’s holy word — the Bible.”
The city commission will soon consider changes to the charter that could expand the ward structure and/or adjust when local elections are held. Would you support any of the proposed changes and what value do you envision in doing so?
DS: “I would not support this change.”
Those were his actual answers.
Now… If you identify as a Christian, please do me a favor and imagine that you are a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu, and you call Grand Rapids your home… Imagine you are a person who has Rejected Jesus For All The Right Reasons… Or imagine that you are a person who does not believe in God at all… Now imagine reading this pandering, ignorant, theocratic tripe come from a person who is one of two names on the ballot for Mayor of the city you love. This garbage is the American Taliban. Seriously. Only an idiot would vote for this dude. And the really frustrating thing is that the only sort of person who would vote for this guy is the sort of person who is VERY concerned about “Sharia Law.” But the irony is that this un-American pastor/politician’s policies are as close to Sharia Law as this country will ever come.
Imagine being asked about your city’s housing challenges, and answering that you would solve those challenges by teaching everyone “God’s holy word — the Bible.” Imagine being so ignorant of the nuances of community/police relations that your prescription for fixing things is to make cursing a crime (assaulting a police officer is already a crime, DS. And this time, the “DS” stands for Dip Shit). And imagine having TIME to think about your answers & write them down, and this garbage is STILL what you come up with. This is the sort of person who tries to solve mental illness with Bible verses, budget shortfalls with Bibles Studies, and pandemics with prayers. This man is wholly unqualified to put on a Mayor McCheese outfit… Let alone be mayor of an amazing city like Grand Rapids, Michigan.
So if you live in G-Rap, please do the right thing and vote for the only rational candidate on the mayoral ballot: Vote for Rosalynn Bliss. Or if you know someone who lives in G.R., please send them this post. Let them know Daniel Schutte is a theocratic loon who is basically the American Taliban. Remind them that the reason most of the people who fled their home countries to come here was because religion and politics/power were intertwined in a way that led to persecution. How does someone like this even get on the ballot? Ugh. This guy needs to lose so bad that it is embarrassing. This kind of theocratic BS is not America… It’s not West Michigan… And it’s definitely not Grand Rapids.
Thank you SO much to everyone who supports this blog! If you love this blog and you want to help support it, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. It’s super easy. If everyone who reads and values this blog gave a dollar or two a month, it would literally change my life. Or, if you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. Thanks again!