Every Single NFL Player Should Take A Knee During The Anthem

Every last one one them. Whether their skin is light or dark. And not because they “hate America,” but because they love it… They love it enough to make a public statement of protest about our White-Supremacist-In-Chief’s comments yesterday at a “rally” in Alabama that was way more Klan than “Campaign.” The man whom white people calling themselves “christians” LOVE to support stood behind a podium and said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!'” Followed by cheers…

Then, without any sense of irony, the most unpopular president in history promised that this action, taken by an NFL owner, would “make them the most popular person in the country.” “For a week,” he clarified. And then, like some shitty animal who feeds off the bloodthirsty cheers of a frenzied, white crowd, he went on to criticize the NFL for trying to make the game safer. You can see the total transcript of his remarks RIGHT HERE. He lamented how penalties for hitting people too hard is “ruining the game.”

“Because you know today if you hit too hard: 15 yards! Throw him out of the game! They had that last week. I watched for a couple of minutes. Two guys, just really, beautiful tackle. Boom, 15 yards! The referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she’s so proud of him. They’re running the game! They’re ruining the game. That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game.”

He did this a day after it was announced that Aaron Hernandez had one of the worst cased of C.T.E (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a brain disease found in people who have multiple head injuries) that doctors had ever seen in a man his age. Aaron Hernandez, who killed someone else, and then ended up killing himself… A pattern which is not uncommon for football players and veterans who have had repeated brain trauma. Trump did this only a few days after a study showed that “kids who start playing tackle football before the age of 12 — whether or not they suffered concussions — are at much higher risk of developing behavioral and emotional troubles as adults.” But this is the America Trump is attempting to return to: The one where we didn’t worry about silly things like “traumatic brain injuries.” Though Trump did play tackle football as a child, so it’s possible some of his aggression and erratic behavior and insanity is due to too many head collisions and not enough helmet while his brain was still forming…

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Trump’s real beef with the NFL is that they make the footballs to big for his tiny hands.

After attending a military academy for high school, he played sports while he was in college too… While he received four draft deferments for education. Then, after graduating from college, he miraculously developed “bone spurs” in his heels, which afforded him yet ANOTHER draft deferment. The man who criticized a gold star family. The man who said John McCain wasn’t a hero because he liked “people who weren’t captured.” The man who told Howard Stern that avoiding sexually transmitted diseases while dating was his own “personal Vietnam.” THIS SAME MAN is angry about NFL players not showing enough respect to our country.

And now the president of the United States is calling for private citizens to be fired from their jobs for not being what he deems “patriotic” enough. A slime ball who had be forced into reading a script condemning nazis and white supremacist (just to recant his condemnation while he didn’t have a teleprompter), who noted that there were “many fine people” on the nazi side of the protests, has finally found something worth vehemently condemning… Something worth calling someone a “son of a bitch” over: Black NFL players peacefully taking a knee during the anthem to protest the needless killings and murders of People Of Color in this country. A white supremacist murdering a woman in the street in Charlottesville? Meh. Take a knee and say “Black Lives Matter?” SOMEONE FIRE THAT SON OF A BITCH!

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What’s REALLY offensive to me is that there aren’t MORE people in the NFL taking a knee…

Listen. I have loved the NFL for a long time. I have played Fantasy Football for over a decade. I know the players by their faces. I know people’s injury histories. When I told my college buddies I planned to boycott the NFL this year, they convinced me to still do Fantasy with them. I admit my boycott is not as strong as others. It is a hard thing for me to give up… I love the game. But the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick has been atrocious. And so very soaked in racism. The league uses (mostly) black bodies to make white owners billions of dollars, and then it spits out those bodies a few years later with parts that barely work anymore, and C.T.E-ridden brains. In a study of 111 former players, 110 of them had some form of C.T.E. And now our cowardly, hypocritical, wouldn’t-know-patriotism-if-it-bit-him-on-his-spray-tanned-face, Racist-In-Chief finds stern words for someone daring to draw attention to the fact that BLACK LIVES MATTER, all while calling out the league for being to soft???

If you are an NFL player, at this point, how can you NOT take a knee during the National Anthem?

I get it… After watching Kaepernick get black-balled, people are probably afraid of risking their livelihood by taking a knee. This is why two things need to happen: 1) Everybody in the league needs to take a knee. All colors. All players. Do it as a sign of protest against the expendable bodies of athletes, against the continued taking of Black Lives like they don’t matter, and against this racism that Donald Trump embraces and stands for. And 2) We need to let them know we support them. The amount of people who are aware that our president is a racist, hypocritical shit bag is growing every day. We need to make our voices heard. There will always be the sorts of people who will cheer when a megalomaniac calls a black man a son of a bitch… But the players who are brave enough to take a stand need to know that those sorts of people are vastly outnumbered by those of us who support their act of protest. 

So share this post. Tweet to NFL players, and encourage them to take a knee. I started using the hashtag #EverybodyKneel, but if there is some better rallying cry, great (it seems that hashtag is going to be #TakeAKnee). Let the reality of our nation’s disapproval of Trump be so clear and loud that not even the handlers they have put in charge of only letting the president see positive stories about himself can keep it from him. Right now, things are bad enough that the ones who AREN’T protesting should be in the minority. EVERYBODY KNEEL!

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Geneviéve Jones-Wright: A Profile In Christian Compassion, Justice, and Sanity

These days, it can probably seem like most people identifying as “Christians” have gone crazy. If you’re anything like me, when you see the percentage of people (especially white people) calling themselves “Christians” while continuing to support an objectively ANTI-JESUS person like our current president, it probably makes you want to leave the word “Christian” behind you forever…

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From Geneviéve: “I know that prosecutors can and should be an instrument for needed reforms. They can be a bridge between communities of color and law enforcement in an effort to heal San Diego County’s divides.” Awesome.

But I promise you there are many people out there who are running for office out of a deep desire to “follow” — to be like — Jesus… And to “be the change” they want to see in the world. So I am doing something that I don’t normally do: I am profiling one of those people. Her name is Geneviéve Jones-Wright, and she is running for District Attorney in San Diego County. I asked her four questions, and I’m publishing her answers here — Not just so my readers in the San Diego area will vote for her… But so you, dear reader, can read her answers, be inspired, be reminded that every person calling herself a Christian has not lost her damn mind, and maybe even consider running for office yourself. We need more good people (who actually want to help) involved in government. Anyway,  here are the questions and Geneviéve’s answers (I have taken the liberty of  highlighting some of the things she said by putting them in bold typeface):

1) Why did you decide to run for office?

The need for change. I have lived “be the change you would like to see in the world” since childhood. I have always been a person who creates things that aren’t in existence because I felt that they should be. My best friends and I started a non-profit mentorship organization in San Diego for young girls from inner-city communities because there wasn’t anything like it at the time. I knew the value of mentorship in my own life so I created what was necessary for young girls who had similar upbringings.

And so it is the same here with my decision to run for District Attorney: I am making a pathway for the change I want to see. I am being that change. No more complaining. There is so much change that needs to happen within our criminal justice system and it will only happen when a person with my life and work experience, values, and perspective takes the reins.

2) What are you passionate about changing?

I am extremely passionate about our children. There is a lot of lip service about how our children are the future, yet we set up a vast majority of our children of color for institutionalization. We remove them from school when they are troublesome or because they have a lapse in judgment (which is what kids will do from time and time), and set them on a path that starts with incarceration in our juvenile facilities. This leads to incarceration in our jails and ultimately our prisons. We have to stop the school-to-prison pipeline. 

In general, I am passionate about People. God gave me a heart for people. Early on I knew that I would become an attorney so that I could use the law as a tool to help marginalized groups. Right now, homelessness, mental illness, and addiction are criminalized in our county. This is unconscionable; so I am very passionate about creating a system that treats our homeless, mentally ill, and addicted with dignity and also about stopping the fueling of the mass incarceration machine in general.

3) How does your faith influence your political beliefs and your understanding of policy?

My faith informs every part of who I am–how I see the world and myself, what I believe, and my decision-making. One basic tenet of the Christian faith is that God is just. In Jeremiah 22:3, the Lord commands us to “[d]o what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” Again, in Isaiah 1:17, we are told to “[l]earn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

From the very teachings of the Holy Bible we see that we are to do what is right and to seek justice, especially standing up for the marginalized.

When I see budget cuts to programs that help seniors, middle class families, the working poor, and the most vulnerable in our country, it saddens me. I believe that Equity is a Christian value. I also believe that building an economy that lifts up all Americans and not just those on top is rooted in Biblical teachings. The very foundation of my political beliefs is that we are greater together and that our country succeeds only when everyone–regardless of national origin, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation–has a fair chance at a life of quality, gets their fair share, and adheres to the same rules.

4) What advice do you have for other people who love Jesus, but find themselves disgusted with the evangelical support of Trump, while being pulled toward a more progressive political worldview? 

Personally speaking, it has been disappointing to see the evangelical support of Trump as his outward behavior and speech do not espouse Christian values. Christ did not mock the afflicted — He healed lame men. Christ did not engage in repulsive behavior — He led a life completely above reproach. And we are to strive to do the same. To be a Christian means to emulate Jesus Christ by the very way we live. So, I first say that I understand.

My advice to believers who find themselves disheartened in this situation, I echo Paul’s urging in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 that we pray for our leaders. Leaders owe a great deal of responsibility to their followers and to God. This is not to be taken lightly. Our responsibility to them, in turn, is to pray for their wisdom and ask God to guide them in their decision-making. The same passage tells us that we are to pray for “all those in authority.”  So, prayers for our leaders are not reserved for those who are saved. We are to pray for all leaders, those righteous and unrighteous.  This makes sense. As believers we are to pray that all come to salvation and to the truth of Christ. This means that for our leaders who are far from Christ, we must first pray for their salvation. Then, we are to pray that God move in their hearts and guide them in their decision-making. The scripture says we do this so “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

As Christians, we all have the duty to speak the truth from the Word of God and take a stand for righteousness for God’s sake. As leaders, Evangelical ministers have a duty to teach the Word of God and be examples of godliness. I encourage believers to simply do what is right to do by the teachings of Christ despite even the actions of leaders. Leaders are human, and humans get it wrong sometimes. This is why we are to follow Christ and not man. It is then critical to know that, even in our country, to follow Christ is to expect ridicule and even persecution. So, if that means that we will be persecuted for Christ’s sake, then that is what we must endure because that is what we are called to do. Never be afraid to stand for Christ and speak His truths no matter who you are up against.

So there you have it. A Woman… A Person Of Color… A Christian… And a strong Advocate for Justice, for Change, and for the Oppressed and the Marginalized… Thank you, Geneviéve Jones-Wright, for bringing me a much needed glimmer of hope today. Also, if you’d like to contribute to her campaign, you can do that RIGHT HERE.

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The Reason This Man Didn’t Explain That He Was Not A Muslim

His name is Jagmeet Singh. And chances are good you’ve probably seen his face pop up on your social media over the last few days. At a recent campaign event in Canada, he was interrupted by a irate woman who confronted him about his support for Sharia Law (a system of laws based on Islam), as well as his ties to the “Muslim Brotherhood.” She got in his face and accused him of not telling the truth about his sinister Muslim plans for Canada… The only thing is, Jagmeet Singh is not a Muslim. He is Sikh. Which (it turns out) is a totally different religion. I realize it can get confusing for some folks… When they see brown skin, a turban, and a beard, it can be very difficult to not assume, “This person is definitely personal friends with Osama Bin Laden.”

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The video has gone viral because of the graceful way that Mr. Singh handled the hatred and Islamophobia and irrationality of the woman (named Jennifer Bush–a member of a white nationalist group in Canada named “Rise Canada” that called Islam a barbaric ideology of hate that must be banned,” and proposed “a permanent ban on all Muslim immigrants PLUS mass deportation​ of existing Muslims.” She identifies as “christian,” and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you which American presidential candidate she supports). But this post is not about tearing down another ignorant, hateful, racist person who is scared of people who look different… It’s about highlighting the coolness of the response to that hatred. If you haven’t watched it before, you should definitely take a couple minutes and enjoy a master-level course in how to respond to hatred & ignorance with “Love & Courage.”

We’ve all seen these sorts of confrontations before. It’s become all too common in the United States to see white people angrily and fearfully confront someone who looks different than them or speaks a different language, lashing out in response to the general sense that their privilege is slipping away from them. As it turns out, there are also quite a few people living with our neighbors to the North who like wear their deplorableness and lack of common decency like some gross badge of honor. So we’re used to seeing people act like calls for equity and diversity are some sort of personal attack on them and their precious whiteness… What is a little LESS common is to see the people they are lashing out against respond with such dignity and kindness. It’s not always easy to keep your cool when some racist lady is pointing her finger in your face. As the woman was shouting at him, here is one of the things he said:

“We don’t want to be intimidated by hate. We don’t want hatred to ruin a positive event, right? We don’t want hatred to ruin a positive event, so let’s show people how we would treat someone with LOVE. We welcome you, we welcome you, we welcome you. We love you. We support you, and we love you… Everyone in this room loves you, we support you, and we believe in your rights.”

Later, after the lady finally left, he told his supporters, “You know, growing up as a brown-skinned, turbaned, bearded man, I’ve faced things like this before. It’s not a problem, we can deal with it.” In the wake of the video going viral, many people wondered why Jagmeet Singh didn’t simply inform the woman screaming in his face that he actually was not a Muslim, but was–in fact–Sikh. Enough people asked him this question that he thought he should answer with a public response. And it was a thing of beauty. Here is his amazing response…

Just in case some of you are reading this on your phones, and can’t see it clearly, here is his statement:

“As part of my campaign to become the leader of one of Canada’s largest political parties, I held an event in the city where my political career began.

I walked into a room filled with supporters and old friends. As soon as I was introduced, a person confronted me with angry, hateful, and Islamophobic comments. I had to act fast to set the tone for the room.

Despite this person’s anger and hate, I told them that we loved them, respected them, and would protect their rights.

I chose not to answer the questions asked because I rejected the premise. Many people have commented that I could have just said I’m not Muslim. In fact, many have clarified that I’m actually Sikh. While I’m proud of who I am, I purposely didn’t go down that road because it suggests their hate would be OK if I was Muslim. We all know that it’s not. I didn’t answer the question because my response to Islamophobia has always been and will always be “hate is wrong.”

Once allowed to grow, hate doesn’t pick and choose, it spreads like fire. Once we say it’s OK to hate someone based on their religion, we’re also opening the door to hate based on race, gender, sexuality, and more.

It is important that we stand united against all forms of hate.

It takes love to understand that we’re all in this together. It takes courage to come together, demand better, and dream bigger, so that we can build a world where no one is left behind.”

With love and courage,

Jagmeet Singh

So just in case you missed it, a man was being accosted by an irate person in front of a crowd because she mistakenly thought he was a Muslim… And instead of explaining that he wasn’t a Muslim to get her to stop shouting and leave him alone, he explained to her that she was loved and supported, and encouraged onlookers to be loving and full of courage. That’s good religion. And no matter what you believe about God, we can learn from this good reaction. If someone is being discriminated against, the point is not to differentiate between yourself and the group that is being oppressed… The point is to declare with your words and your heart and your life that HATE IS WRONG. And where Christianity misses this point — where ANY religion misses this point — that religion gets it wrong.

 

Sikhs believe “that the Divine is equally present in all people, and that, therefore, every human being is equal in the eyes of God.” The woman in the video believes that Divine is on her side, and God is against everyone who doesn’t believe the same things she does. There is a schizophrenia within Christianity. Many profess to believe that “God loves everyone” while believing that God is on OUR side and against THEM. Many Christians say “God is love” while proclaiming that an all-powerful, all-loving God created a system where the vast majority of humanity is going to end up getting tortured forever. Either we are ALL created in the Image of God, and God actually is love… Or God is a monster who is only “FOR” a few and “AGAINST” the rest, and chances are very slim that we are on the “FOR” side.

Today, I am thankful for the strong example of Love and Courage that this man gave us. I am thankful for his example to people who would call themselves “Christians” of how to love our enemies. I am thankful for all of the many religions in the world, and the ways they reveal different Truths and parts of God’s goodness. I am thankful for the image of Jesus wearing a turban. And I am thankful for people who live out their belief that God is FOR US ALL. Let us learn from our Sikh brothers and sisters, and let us leave behind the tribalism and division and hatred of the misguided woman in the video… A woman who completely misses the simplest point — HATE IS WRONG.

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The Real Reason Trump Is Ending DACA

With Trump’s announcement that he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), people have been trying to figure out “WHY?” Why now? Why ever?! Why would he go back on his word like this? How could a human being do something like this? Etcetera… There are a lot of theories out there:

  • Some people think he’s planning on using DACA as a bargaining chip to try to get congress to fund the border wall. By ending DACA with an executive order, he forces Congress to act to keep DACA alive. The only way to protect the dreamers against the awfulness of this administration is to pass legislation, and it’s been suggested that any legislation they produce could be compelled to include funding for the border wall. Of course, he is asking for this border wall funding at a time that Houston needs an estimated $190 BILLION in flood relief money, while yet another hurricane–Irma, a Category 5–bears down on Florida.

  • Some think he ended DACA because he has so many racists on his staff: Jeff Sessions for his Attorney General, and Stephen Miller for his… whatever the hell Stephen Miller does as “Policy Advisor.” I don’t know… Just standing around and whispering racist shit in his ear, I assume? (By the way, sending Sessions out there to announce you were ruining the lives of 800,000 kids who have done nothing wrong was the political equivalent of the pediatrician leaving the room when it’s time to give a kid a shot, and sending in the nurse… Only WAY more chicken shit)

  • Some think it’s because Trump genuinely hates all the people who aren’t white, straight, and male (or rich enough to help him get more power).

  • Some think it’s because he’s trying to make us forget the LAST unbelievable awful thing he just did buy “topping it.” And in order for people to forget, he has to keep outdoing his previous awfulness. For example, I honestly couldn’t even remember (without looking it up) what Trump did right before Hurricane Harvey that made Bob Corker say that the president “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability, nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful.” Turns out it was him doubling down on “both sides were a little wrong and a little right” about Charlottesville. It’s almost enough to make you forget that a fascist white supremacist murdered a woman with his car…

  • Some think it’s because he is just looking for yet another distraction so that people take their focus off of the Russia investigation.

  • Some think he knows that he’s going to be impeached and removed from office so he’s trying to do as much damage as possible before he goes. This is the diabolical genius of today’s government-hating GOP: “If they succeed, government gets smaller and ineffective… If they fail, they can still make government even more ineffective by inspiring people to lose hope in its ability to do anything worthwhile.”
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Can we all just get T-Shirts that say this on them?

  • Some think he can feel his support slipping away, and this was just an attempt to pander to his grotesquely racist base. And believe me, if you are still supporting him, you are RACIST AS ALL HELL (even former Reagan/Bush advisors admit it). Even though your ears instantly close when we say this, we have to keep on saying it: YOU CANNOT STILL BE SUPPORTING DONALD TRUMP AND ACT LIKE YOU AREN’T SUPPORTING WHITE SUPREMACY.

  • Some think he’s just angry at how much people still love Obama, and he’s just trying to tear down as many of the good things that black man did as possible…

There may well be SOME truth to all of these things… But it’s not the WHOLE truth. The real reason Donald Trump is trying to get rid of DACA is as follows: IT IS BECAUSE HE IS A FESTERING BAG OF SHIT. Period. Every unscripted opportunity he has had to change my mind on this has only resulted in him proving he is the absolute worst. He is a rotten, broken excuse for a human being… A hollow shell of a man whose narcissism leaves no room for anything as unprofitable as “compassion.” Morality and conscience fled from the putrid smell a long time ago. He is a bloated orange pile of selfishness, white supremacy, and self-loathing that feeds on misplaced praise. That’s it. There’s no need to look for a deeper meaning for the things he is doing… No reasoning… No strategy… It’s just this: The President is a bag of shit.

And I am aware this is not a “Christian” way to speak about someone. I get that… I guess I’m not feeling very “Christian” right now. And I get it! “Dehumanizing” people is what THEY do… We can’t “stoop to their level.” “When they go low, we go high,” right? Well… I just can’t right now. If we are so afraid of “dehumanizing” people that we refrain from calling an actual monster a “MONSTER,” then what is that word for? There are actual monsters in the world… And we have elected one of them as the President of our country.

I am done playing nice. I am done worrying about how “Christian” it looks when I call him what he is. I realize we are supposed to “Love our enemies,” but Trump does not need love… He needs to be removed from a position where he can hurt even more people. I seriously believe he is beyond help. Giving him “love,” would be like giving shoes to a man with no legs. His brokenness is even beyond the reach of his own family. His own children are nothing more to him than medals he pins on his empty chest. If a maniac is walking around wildly swinging a sword and hurting the people in his path, “Loving” that person does not look like praying for him and letting him continue. It also doesn’t look like picking up your own sword and cutting him down. But Loving him CAN look like a community of people wrestling him to the ground… taking the sword away from him so he stops inflicting harm… and then keeping him away from weapons until he comes to his senses. If he ever does…

This is my truth right now. Thank you for reading it. A special thanks to Lori, who is my newest Patron. THANK YOU! It means so much. If everyone who values this blog became a $2/month Patron, writing could be something like my JOB… And that would be amazing. So if you’d like to support my writing, you TOO can BECOME A PATRON. Or, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PayPal, which sometimes happens. Otherwise, follow me on Ye Olde Facebook, and also on Twitter. And most of all, keep on resisting and opposing this present darkness.

 

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The Reason We Still Have The KKK Founder’s Statue In the TN State Capitol

A commission of representatives from Tennessee just voted 7 – 5 to NOT have a discussion about taking down the bust of former KKK Grand Wizard, slave trader, and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Their vote wasn’t about taking it down or leaving it up… It wasn’t a vote to destroy the bust or have it melted down… It was simply a vote to petition the Historical Society for a WAIVER so they could begin a lengthy process of discussing relocating the bust. That’s it. That’s all this vote was. And SEVEN PEOPLE out of a twelve person commission just voted AGAINST that motion. I think you deserve to know who these people are…

Before I introduce you to them, I’d like to tell you a bit about what’s been happening. Two weeks ago, my wife and I spent half a day at the Capitol Building here in Nashville, Tennessee, and we joined with more than 100 other citizens in demanding that the bust of General Nathan Bedford Forrest be taken down from the halls of the State Capitol. We sang songs, we chanted phrases of protest, we listened to stories, and we sat on the floor outside of where our lawmakers and our Governor were meeting until someone agreed to make a statement about taking down the bust. During our protest, my wife photographed the bust being covered up with a black sheet (even though a white sheet probably would have been more appropriate). Here is the picture she took:

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Justin Jones, being his normal kick ass self.

Just in case you don’t know much about Nathan Bedford Forrest, here are some highlights: He made his fortune as a slave trader and planter. He rose to fame as a Confederate general, and came to be known as the “Wizard of the Saddle” and “Devil Forrest.” During the Civil War, he presided over the massacre of hundreds of surrendered negro soldiers at Fort Pillow. Here is the account of the massacre by Achilles Clark, a Confederate soldier with the 20th Tennessee Cavalry:

“The slaughter was awful. Words cannot describe the scene. The poor, deluded, negroes would run up to our men, fall upon their knees, and with uplifted hands scream for mercy, but they were ordered to their feet and then shot down. I, with several others, tried to stop the butchery, and at one time had partially succeeded, but General Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs and the carnage continued. Finally our men became sick of blood and the firing ceased.”

After the South surrendered, he was one of the earliest members of the Ku Klux Klan, which was formed by Confederate veterans in Pulaski, TN in 1866. He was sworn in in 1866 and given the title “Grand Wizard,” which is said to come from his “Wizard of the Saddle” nickname. He now has a State Park named after him, a statue in that State Park, obelisks at his birthplace in Camden, and a bust in the State Capitol. In his book Lies Across America: What American Historic Sites Get Wrong, James W. Loewen writes that Forrest “has THIRTY-TWO state historical markers, far more than any other person in any other state in America. Tennessee supplied three United States presidents — Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson — but Forrest gets more markers than ALL THREE PUT TOGETHER.” Let that sink in for a moment…

Anyway, my wife and I left the protest at the Capitol feeling hopeful, as Gov. Haslam issued a statement that he believed the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest DOES NOT deserve a place of honor in the State Capitol. Later, Gov. Haslam pushed the Capitol Commission to act, saying, “I do not believe Nathan Bedford Forrest should be one of the individuals we honor at the Capitol. The General Assembly has established a process for addressing these matters and I strongly encourage the Capitol Commission and the Historical Commission to act.” You might be wondering to yourself, “What’s this ‘Capitol Commission’ about?” and “Historical Commission? Wha?” Well, I had those same questions… Before I spent most of my day on the phone interviewing people close to this story.

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I’ll let you guess who this dip shit would have voted for in our last election…

A couple years ago, while feeling pressure to take down monuments honoring the confederacy, the TN General Assembly passed the “Heritage Act,” which put in place a procedure for changing or taking down monuments. It basically adds many hoops to jump through if anyone wants to remove a monument (you know, “Heritage, Not Hate”). The first step is a vote by the Capitol Commission (CC). The CC does not meet regularly, but after Gov. Haslam’s comment (as well as Sen. Lamar Alexander’s comment  that “There is a place for General Forrest’s bust, but not in a place of honor at the state capitol”), CC Chair Larry Martin called the meeting. After a vote, the next step in the process is to allow the Historical Commission to discuss AT LENGTH whether or not the monument should get removed… This discussion process usually would take eight months to a year. But that lengthy discussion will NOT take place, because — AGAIN — the CC voted 7 – 5 NOT to request a waiver from the Historical Commission.

So here are the people on the Capitol Commission, their positions, and how they voted. I’m also including their telephone numbers, just in case you want to call them and tell them what you think of their vote.

First, the five people who voted FOR the simple act of allowing the Historical Commission to weigh the pros and cons of relocating the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest…

  • Larry Martin, Commissioner — Finance & Administration, Chair of the Capitol Commission, and the person who called the meeting and introduced the motion to petition the Historical Society for a waiver for relocation of the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest. HE VOTED FOR. His number is (615) 741-2401.
  • Bob Oglesby, Commissioner — General Services. HE VOTED FOR. His number is (615) 741-2081
  • Bob Martineau, Commissioner — Environment & Conservation. HE VOTED FOR. His number is (615) 532-0106.
  • Dr. Reavis Mitchell, Chair — Tennessee Historical Commission, Professor at Fisk University, and living legend. HE VOTED FOR. His number is (615) 329-8669.
  • Howard Gentry, Davidson County Criminal Court Clerk and former General Assembly At-Large and former Vice Mayor of Nashville. HE VOTED FOR. His number is (615) 862- 5601.

Even after Gov. Haslam and Sen. Alexander urged the Capitol Commission to let the Historical Commission start a discussion about relocating the bust, THESE NEXT SEVEN PEOPLE VOTED AGAINST ALLOWING THE HISTORICAL COMMISSION TO HAVE THAT CONVERSATION:

  • Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State. HE VOTED AGAINST. His office number is (615) 741-2819. Feel free to give him a call.
  • David Lillard, Tennessee State Treasurer. He said he was in favor of having the bust of NBF being put on a “rotation” in the Capitol halls, rather than relocating it completely… Though it should be noted no motion was made at the meeting. HE VOTED AGAINST. His number is (615) 741-2956. Please let him know what you think.
  • Justin Wilson, Comptroller of the Treasury. I spoke with Mr. Wilson on the phone, and he said that HE VOTED AGAINST the motion because he believed that “since the General Assembly put it there, it’s the General Assembly’s place to take care of it.” His number is (615) 253-3912. He was the only person on this list brave enough to answer his own phone.
  • Jack Johnson, (R) Legislative member of the Senate. HE VOTED AGAINST. Call him at (615) 741-2495.
  • Curtis Johnson, (R) Legislative member of the House. HE VOTED AGAINST. His number is (615) 741-4341. Hold him accountable.
  • Tammy White, President & CEO of Leadership Knoxville, and the only female representative on the Capitol Commission. SHE VOTED AGAINST. Maybe you should call her at her office in Knoxville at (865) 253-9137 and let her know what you think of her “leadership.”
  • King Rogers, Attorney at Glankler Brown Attorneys in Memphis. HE VOTED AGAINST. His number is (901) 576-1721. Please call him… Also try saying his name out loud without putting air quotes around the word “King.” It’s nearly impossible.

Listen–This is government at its worst. This is called “PUNTING.” It’s when political leadership, rather than doing the job they were asked to do, decides to let someone else worry about it. In this case, the members of the Capitol Commission punted to a General Assembly that often is full of people representing districts that have no interest in taking down statues dedicated to former Grand Wizards of the KKK. And they won’t even be able to entertain the idea of taking down the bust until at least January of 2018… Long after today’s political capital is spent on some other national embarrassment.

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Here is the face of ANOTHER NBF statue that stands in Nashville… Caption from a really funny friend: “That feeling when the president thinks you’re beautiful.”

Before I finish (and you share this post, and then pick up your phone and start calling people), I want to leave you with some thoughts from Howard Gentry, who (along with Dr. Mitchell) is one of only two People of Color on the Committee. I spoke with him on the phone. Which, first of all… You know how you know you voted the right way? You don’t mind answering questions from the press about your vote.  He said “the Capitol Commission deflected their responsibility today.” He said, “I consider the State Capitol the sort of place where people of all types can enter the building expecting non-bias and fairness to be reflected.” He went on to say, “No one suggested that it be destroyed… Just removed. We’re at a time right now where these statues are affecting people’s right to safety and happiness. I’m just disappointed that we didn’t look at it through the eyes of the people who are most affected by these statues.” Gentry, now 65, remembered growing up in this area, and visiting the State Capitol as a boy at a time when that building still had separate bathrooms for “Colored People.” He said that “to walk into the Capitol right now and see the bust of someone who supported slavery and the degradation of people of color, it brings back those memories.”

Right now — In 2017 — in our State Capitol, we have a bust honoring a man who got rich off of slavery… Who massacred surrendered black soldiers to send a message to other black soldiers thinking about fighting for their freedom… Who helped found the KKK — one of the worst terrorist organizations this country has ever seen. And in our state, we have representatives who know this, and don’t care enough about that fact to start the process of taking it down. Please — PLEASE continue to put pressure on the representatives here in Tennessee, so that no more kids will walk into our Capitol and feel separate… Like the values of fairness and equality that SHOULD be represented in that building don’t apply to them. TAKE IT DOWN.

I’d like to say a special thank you to Ann McGuaren, Lola Potter, Pat Bailey, and Katie Hicks… Kind people who not only answered my questions, but pointed me in the right direction to find out how people voted and helped me understand how the process worked so I could explain it to you. They called me back when a lot of people didn’t.

A lot of work goes into writing this blog. If you value my voice and you want to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. It’s easy and fun… For the price of a cup of coffee each month, you can help me buy my wife a cup of coffee each month. Otherwise, if you want to LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL, you can do that too. You can also follow me on Facebook as well as on Twitter. Which is also fun, because sometimes I am funny. Or, just share this post with the people in your lives. And maybe flood the phone lines of these people who chickened out. They need to know that was gross. Either way, I love you.

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Nope, John Piper… You Don’t Get To Use The Name “Nashville” In Your Bigoted, Anti-Gay Statement.

Not my town, John. Not OUR town. Find another name for your homophobic manifesto. Nashville is NOT on board with your hate-filled, exclusionist version of God. You don’t get to name it “The Nashville Statement” (an anti-gay treatise which you can read HERE). Name it after Bethlehem Baptist Church, where you weekly spread your hatred from your tainted pulpit… Name it after “The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” (CBMW) that you co-founded to ensure the continuation of a male-centered worldview and a “complementarianist” understanding of gender roles… Name it after your warped Calvinism that turns God into a monster… But you DON’T get to name it after this good Southern town–this oasis in the middle of the Bible Belt–this Nashville… A town that is doing its best to be a welcoming and affirming place for ALL people, regardless of who they love or how they express their gender and sexuality.

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The only reason Nashville worked so well as a place for you little anti-gay gathering is, ironically, because of how welcoming it is. 

You have chosen one of the most divided times in our nation’s history–a moment where our country is dealing with one of the worst national disasters it has ever seen–to release a highly divisive and inflammatory statement. In a time where the majority of people–both in this country AND on your list of initial signatories–calling themselves “evangelicals” (a word so wholly compromised and diminished that it is almost impossible to use it in a non-pejorative sense) have put their support behind a philandering, thrice-married, pussy-grabbing, white supremacist, you thought that RIGHT NOW was a good time to make a statement about the “sin” of being queer. In a time where people DESPERATELY needs the help of our religious leaders to articulate with moral clarity the clear evil and depravity of white supremacy, SO MANY “leaders” within the Church decided to make a grand statement saying that folks who are LGBTQ+ don’t get to be “christians.” I seriously cannot believe it…

So here is what I have to say to the “leaders” who signed this monstrosity: You arrogant, hypocritical assholes. You have completely missed the point of Jesus. Every time the Bible tells a story where Jesus was presented with an issue where the choice was between Law and Love, he sides with love. EVERY TIME. When he’s asked about “how to inherit eternal life,” he tells a story about two religious leaders who follow the letter of the law, and then points to a Samaritan–one who gets all the theology wrong, but who goes out of his way to show compassion to someone who is hurting, and touch someone their culture called “unclean”–as an example of how to love our neighbors. And yet here you are, still focussing your misguided attention on the letter of the law.

Well, here’s the truth: We have millions of people in this country right now who are lying on the road to Jericho, wounded and in need of help… They are our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters. And they are told BY YOU that they are worthless… Or at least worth less. They are suffering the emotional abuse of being told by their families that they are broken and unloved and destined for lives of loneliness and isolation, and with this hate-filled statement, you are giving theological covering and justification for the Priests and the Levites to walk to the other side of the road… And that’s the reason my eyes are filled with tears right now. It is just so utterly Anti-Jesus. This bullshit “statement” will do very real harm to kids and adults whoYou are providing a theological backing for policies that will LITERALLY KILL KIDS. You talk about being “pro-life.” Kids who are LGBTQ+ and are in non-accepting religious families are EIGHT TIMES more likely to attempt suicide… That is NOT “pro-life.” You talk about judging something by its fruit. The fruit of a statement like this is that lesbian, gay, and transgender kids are WAY more likely to kill themselves. That is some of the shittiest fruit I have ever heard of…

So with your signing of this document, you are adding your names to a list of stubborn, conservative irrelevance… A relic of a time where a privileged few stood firm in their legalism, while the Spirit of God led the consciousness of the world in a more loving direction. And just like the church leaders who defended slavery, who argued against interracial marriage, who fought tooth and nail against women’s rights, you are adding yourselves to a list of names that–generations from now–will be looked back on in horror by future followers of Jesus, trying to understand how so many could have been so misguided. And if you want to add your names to a list that is certain to be yet another shameful black eye on the face of this thing called The Church, that’s your decision… But you don’t get to add the name “Nashville” to that list. That’s not your decision to make. 

I’ll leave you with the words of Nashville’s mayor, Megan Barry…

TAKE IT DOWN!

It would mean a lot to me if you shared this. If you love someone who is LGBTQ+, if you love the town of Nashville, if you love the Jesus who hangs out with the ones everyone else has called unclean… it’s important that we stand with the ones who are under attack by this garbage “Statement.” Be vocal. Use your voice, and let them know that this “Statement” is about power and privilege, and not about Jesus. And if you belong to a church that supports this, go ahead and #EmptyThePews.

Also, if you value this blog and you want to be a Patron, you can RIGHT HERE. If you’d like to leave a tip, you can ON PAYPAL. If you’d like to follow me on Facebook or on Twitter, there some good stuff happening there as well. Love you all…

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Joel Osteen, and Our Need For A Scapegoat

I don’t particularly like Joel Osteen. I find him hugely annoying to watch, with his closed-eyed, big-toothed televangelist’s smile… But what I find way more troublesome than his face is his theology. He is a peddler of an overly-simplistic, watered-down, fortune cookie gospel that sells people on the idea that if they do the “right” stuff for God, God will “bless” them with material gain. His theology is a bumper sticker mashup of a charismatic faith and “the power of positive thinking.” He is a divisive figure, and an easy one to focus our outrage on in a time like this. Some people really love his hopeful, feel-good message… I mean, he’s sold millions and millions of books. But he is not Jesusy and pro-Trump enough for the “religious right,” while progressives and people who care about social justice are grossed out by a multi-millionaire televangelist (with good reason, by the way. His church leased a sports stadium in Houston for $11.8 million, bought that stadium from the city for $7.5 million, and then spent about $100 million on renovations to the building… Not to mention his $10.5 million mansion that he bought with sales of his books, which are just written versions of his sermons). Any pastor with a house LIKE THIS is going to get his fair share of criticism.

So it’s easy to see why nearly all of Twitter absolutely crushed Joel Osteen when they found out that Lakewood Church (Joel’s church in Houston, and one of the largest congregations in the nation) closed its doors rather than taking in local people who need after being displaced by one of the biggest floods this nation has ever seen. He didn’t offer to open up Lakewood Church (which holds 16,800 people) to victims, but he did offer his prayers…

So social media had a field day. Twitter especially. They dragged him… hard.

And then he only made it worse by blocking a whole lot of people who were critical of his decision…

So I just want to say a few things about this whole deal. I am a high empathy sort of guy. When I see pictures of the devastation in East Texas, I feel it deep inside me. Many of us do. When we see pictures of old folks in water up to their chests and kids sleeping on counters surrounded by water, we want someone to blame. Believe me, I know the alluring and satisfying draw of outrage. I am a connoisseur of Christian hypocrisy. After reading about this, I was ready to tear into Joel Osteen with everything I had… Exposing the “fakeness” of his brand of “christianity.” And I think parts of it ARE fake. I don’t know if Joel Osteen actually believes the stuff he says… Or if he is aware of the grift. There are conflicting stories as to how affected Lakewood Church is by the flooding. I’ve seen interviews with him, and he seems like a really nice guy. I don’t know… But as I looked closer at this desire IN ME to tear Joel Osteen apart, I realized that much of what I was feeling was a desire for a scapegoat. His faults are OUR faults. His sins are MY sins. And rather than dealing with the reality of that, I want to send him away.

The real feeling we are experiencing is POWERLESSNESS. And it is terrifying. And depressing. So many of us are experiencing the disorienting emptiness of the offer of “thoughts and prayers” in the face of such destruction. We want to believe that something… SOMEONE is in control of all this. People are desperate for someone to be in control… For this to be part of a plan. So it comes as a relief to some when we have people like Joel Osteen tweeting garbage like this from his $10 million mansion…

… all while folks are waiting on their roofs for help. While folks are losing their homes and all of their possessions and trying to “power-of-positive-thinking” their way out of that reality. But the nagging thought bouncing around in your head is this: Isn’t the same God who’s “got this” and answers our prayers for help the same God who was in control of the hurricane’s path? Because this is the REAL awfulness of the god who is in control of everything: At its foundation, Joel Osteen’s god is the same horrible god of Pat Robertson… The god where every earthquake is a punishment, and every flood is an act of judgment. The god who rewards the pious, and destroys the wicked. The god who leaves us to figure out a REASON for cancer. And for child abuse. And for disasters like Harvey…

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Here we see Joel saying, “Cool your jets, Twitter. We’ll open up the friggin church.”

And falling short of those answers, we look for something… SOMEONE to sacrifice. And as good as it might feel to sacrifice Joel Osteen, it is not going to scratch the theological itch on my mind. Or yours. Not for long, at least. I don’t know how big of a house is too big. I don’t know how much money is too much money for a church building. I don’t know how much helping the community is enough helping. After the 24 hours or so of public shaming for Joel Osteen, it seems they are going to open their doors to flood victims… So I suppose that’s a good thing. Here’s a pic of their air mattresses:

Outrage isn’t going to solve this. We can use anger as a catalyst for change, but anger is an awful fuel. I believe we are designed to be fueled by compassion. And hope. And love. And when the extent of our actions is limited to praying to a god who is behind both the problem and the solution, the cancer and the treatment, the disaster and the rescue… It ends in hopelessness and despair and cognitive dissonance. We are not built for a continued state of outrage… We are built for hope. And we are not meant to pray for help… We are meant to help. 

With that, HERE IS A LIST OF TANGIBLE WAYS TO HELP–Money, shelter, food, blood, ways to help kids, ways to help animals–It is a fantastic list of things we can DO that will make us feel way more powerful than the feeling of casting our sins on a scapegoat, and sending him off to die.

Again, please CHECK OUT THIS LIST of ways to help. If you value this blog, and you’d like to help support it, you can do that HERE and HERE. If you’d like to stay in touch with me on Facebook and Twitter, you can do that as well. Stay hopeful, and when everything feels dark, BE THE LIGHT.

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If It Quacks Like A Nazi…

Here’s the thing, folks… Since Charlottesville, Tump has doubled down on his shameful support of white supremacy. He waited two full days before denouncing the “bigotry and violence ON MANY SIDES.” Then, after everybody in the country got pissed off (other than white supremacists, that is) over his moral equivalency of neo-nazi, white supremacist violence/intimidation with a group of people willing to use force to DEFEND people from that violence/intimidation, someone wrote a statement for him to read where he more vehemently and specifically focused his criticism on the actual nazis. A day later, during a bizarre press conference where he announced an Executive Order about getting rid of regulations that he considers a barrier to infrastructure work, he officially went off the rails. You have almost certainly seen highlights of this LOW POINT in a presidency full of low points, but sometimes you might suspect that things have been edited to make him look bad. Just in case you haven’t seen the whole thing, here it is:

Without a script to read, he immediately went back to his “there’s a lot of blame to go around” line of reasoning. He defended the people doing Hitler salutes as “some very fine people.” He pointed out that they had a permit, when the counter protesters didn’t. And then he defended confederate monuments, using a slippery slope fallacy and comparing Robert E. Lee — the traitorous, murderous general fighting for the “right” to enslave people with black skin — with President George Washington. But OF COURSE he would say that there were “very fine people” marching with the KKK and chanting “Jews will not replace us”HIS OWN FATHER was arrested at a KKK rally for fighting with police. He then tweeted this series of tweets in defense of keeping up monuments to confederate traitors who were willing to kill to keep their slaves…

This whole mess was such a shit show — Such a international embarrassment — that it literally brought Israel and Iran together in agreement…

But in the midst of all these shameful statements, all this equivocation, all this white supremacy, and all this outrage as a response to the POTUS’s blatant racism and lies, there are 2 THINGS which might have gotten overlooked that I don’t want you to miss:

The first is Joe Arpaio. The day after Heather Heyer was murdered by a white supremacist driving his car into a crowd of protesters, Trump decided to tell Fox”News” that he was “seriously considering” issuing a presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio. You might remember him as the Arizona sheriff who called himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” He would put criminals in pink outfits and keep them in blazing hot tent cites that he referred to as concentration camps. He was also buds with Donald Trump, because they both were involved in perpetuating the “Birther” conspiracy theory. After the Department of Justice decided Sheriff Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in U.S. history, they ordered him to stop “detaining people” (that’s immigrant-speak for “imprisoning people”) when there was no suspicion that they had committed a crime. They found that Arpaio continued to unlawfully and UNCONSTITUTIONALLY arrest the Latino people in his county — people who had done nothing wrong — just for “not having their papers,” and they found him guilty of Criminal Contempt for willfully violating a court order. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October of this year.

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The brown is slimming… Which is nice.

So — just to recap — One day after a white supremacist rally that left a counter protester dead, the president of the United States suggests he will pardon a man (who joined him in the false, racist claim that President Obama faked his birth certificate and wasn’t a “real” American) for the crime racially profiling and illegally detaining Latino men and women. Our “Law & Order” president plans on forgiving a man who unconstitutionally singled out Mexican immigrants for harsh treatment. But this should come as no surprise… This is what white nationalists do: They focus on “the other.” They want people to be scared of immigrants, scared of people who look different, scared of people who speak a different language, and scared of people who have a different name for God.

And this is why Trump — after explaining that he waited so long to denounce the murderous nazi terrorist attack in Charlottesville because “It takes a little while to get the facts” — condemned another murderous terrorist attack in Barcelona only a few short hours after it occurred… Because the murderous terrorist in Barcelona doesn’t look like “us.” He doesn’t speak “our” language. He doesn’t worship “our” God. He is OTHER, and OTHER is to be feared. And blamed. And demonized. Everything we have to worry about comes from OUTSIDE… despite the fact that domestic terrorist — mostly white men — are the single greatest terrorist threat in this country. Still he wants us to believe “The threat is from outside our borders! The Muslims are coming!! BUILD A WALL!!!” We just had an American citizen murdered by a radicalized, home-grown nazi terrorist, and it took him two days to respond… And yet, mere hours after an attack in Spain, he makes a tweet like this:

Which brings us to the SECOND thing I didn’t want you to miss: The President of the Unisted States just called for the slaughter of Muslims. Without context, this tweet might seem unremarkable…

But what our nitwit president is referring to here is a DEBUNKED myth… A story that never happened about a war crime committed by a U.S. General. He believes that General Pershing slaughtered 49 Muslim prisoners by killing them with bullets dipped in pig’s blood, then burying them with pigs. Trump has spoken about this myth many times, including while campaigning. Well, “spoken about this myth” is imprecise language… HE LIED. He told this lie many times. When he told the lie here, it solved the problem for 25 years…

When he told the lie ANOTHER TIME, that time he said it “solved the problem of Radical Islamic Terrorism” for 42 years (25 years, 35 years, 42 years… What’s the difference, right?). It is a virulent, brutal, and explicitly Anti-Muslim LIE (again, proven false by SNOPES AND POLITIFACT) which the president keeps telling. There is a terrorist attack in Spain which ISIS takes credit for (perpetrated in the exact same way that the nazi terrorist in Charlottesville carried out his attack), and within hours, our Racist Old Man of a president tweets out a LIE which calls for brutally slaughtering Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood to send a message to Muslim who are “thinking of causing trouble.” But this is not the first time Donald Trump has suggested committing war crimes… Here he is suggesting that we kill not only the terrorists, but also kill THEIR FAMILIES:

Yeah. There’s SO much crazy going on right now, I didn’t want you to miss these two very disturbing pieces of information. While defending himself against accusations of racism and white supremacy, and while indefensibly making moral equivalencies between nazis and the people standing up to nazis, the president of the United States of America spoke of his plans to pardon a man who was found guilty of willfully disobeying a court order to stop racially profiling Mexican immigrants, and he urged his followers to “research” a lie he continues to tell which suggests that mass murdering Muslims with bullets dipped in pig’s blood will solve our problem with terrorism. In short he said, “I’m not a racist, but #NotAllNazis and #HeritageNotHate… Also, I’m going to pardon a man convicted of unconstitutional racism, and here’s why we should slaughter Muslims.”

Donald John Trump is your crazy uncle who believes every racist email forward he’s ever received… Only this time, your crazy great uncle has the nuclear codes. After this week’s fiasco, I don’t know if there will be any more press conferences where he answers direct questions himself. The mask is off. He is saying things publicly that republican leadership is only supposed to say while they’re on hunting trips. This week’s press conference was the white supremacist version of Tom Cruise asking Nicholson’s Col. Nathan R. Jessup over and over, “Did you order the Code Red?” in A Few Good Men… And Trump’s response was an indignant and furious “YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT, I DID!!!” And everyone stands around looking stunned that he actually said it…

And at some point, they are going to try to blame all this on his age. And dementia. DON’T LET THEM. They are all supporting this… And they don’t ALL have dementia. His “Evangelical Council” has stayed supportive (even as commercial and manufacturing leaders abandon him). Sure, Bob Corker made critical remarks about the president this week, saying he “lacks competence and stability,” and that he “has not demonstrated he understands the character of this nation.” But even this statement is not critical of the things he has said… It’s more of a “You can’t come right out and say this stuff just because some “snotty little bastard” lawyer keeps asking you if you ordered the code red.” This is who Donald Trump has been his whole life. This is who he was during the campaign. A 70-year-old man does not change and all of a sudden become “presidential.”

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Quack, quack, you nazi pumpkin…

Even with Steve Bannon gone, this is who he’s ALWAYS been. All along, he has been a rich, racist narcissist who has always been a fanboy of dictators and authoritarian leaders… A lonely megalomaniac who kept a copy of Hitler’s speeches next to his bed… A raging misogynist and philanderer who moves from one damaged woman to the next… A tragic lump of white privilege whose KKK daddy gave him enough cash to pimp out his fake last name for a little bit more money.  He is a dangerously broken man… And this dangerously broken man has been put into a position of great influence by a counterfeit “church” who is way more interested in POWER than it has ever been interested in following Jesus. We must be better than this.

Thank you so much for reading. A special thank you goes out to Jaemin, who is my newest Patron. If you value this blog, if you look forward to it, if it gives you hope, and you’d like to help support it, you can ALSO BECOME A PATRON. Or, if you’d prefer a one time tip for a job well done, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. It you do that, you can designate that money to go toward boosting a post, so that even more people will see it. If you like this, and you’d like for other people to see it, share it… Either ON FACEBOOK, or ON TWITTER. Either way, take care of yourselves. And like Van Jones says, “When it gets harder to love, LOVE HARDER.”

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How To Tell If You Go To A White Supremacist Church

It’s easy… If your pastor, priest, or leadership is silent about the events taking place in Charlottesville, VA, you attend a white supremacist church. Simple. If your church does not spend a significant amount of time this weekend denouncing, condemning, and speaking out against the actions of the white supremacists gathering in Charlottesville, VA in the strongest possible terms, your church is racist as hell. If your leadership is silent about this, they support it. Silence is support… It’s just that simple. Silence on this issue equals support of the terrorists yelling “Blood And Soil!” (a phrase that gets its racist roots from Nazi ideology–from the German phrase “Blut und Boden”–which holds that ethnicity comes from “descent blood” and territory).

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From @mikeyfrecks on Twitter: “Imagine sucking so fucking bad that being a white guy is hard for you?”

If the people you go to church with people who are able to watch confederate flag-carrying white men chant literal Nazi slogans while carrying torches on a college campus, and still try to tell you that that flag is about “Heritage, Not Hate,” you go to church with some seriously racist people.

If you go to an “All Lives Matter” church instead of a “Black Lives Matter” church, you go to a white supremacist church.

If, after seeing the KKK gather to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, while chanting “White Power” and “White Lives Matter,” the people in your congregation are talking more about “free speech” than about the clear immorality of the actions of these people, you attend a white supremacist church.

If they talk about “both sides being wrong…” If they talk about how the Anti Fascists were throwing things too… If they use the term “reverse racism” in a way that is not ironic… If they blame Black Lives Matter in any way for the violence that broke out… If they try to “whitesplain” the nonviolence of Martin Luther King, Jr. to People Of Color who are being actively oppressed… You are surrounding yourself with white supremacists.

On this point, while watching the video feeds of what is happening in Charlottesville this morning, there were two distinct points of opposition to the white supremacists gathered there. One was a group of clergy and peaceful protestors. Another was a group of anti-fascists. The clergy was dressed in vestments and collars. The anti-fascists were dressed in battle gear and ready to fight. The group of clergy sang songs like “This little light of mine,” and chanted things like “LOVE HAS ALREADY WON.” The anti-fascists were chanting “Nazi scum, your time has come,” “Get the fuck out of our city,” and “Punch a nazi in the mouth.”

It is clear to anyone who knows anything about Jesus that “Love has already won” is way closer to Jesus than “Punch a nazi in the mouth.” But if the people in your life (and in your church) are focusing on criticizing the actions and words of a small group of anti-fascists INSTEAD of focusing on criticizing that actual nazis gathering in our streets, you need to know you the people in your life are part of the problem. You are hanging out with white supremacists. And also, if you are more offended by anti-fascists’ use of the word “fuck” (or my use of the word “shitty” in the tweet below) than you are offended at the cuss-word-free slogans of hatred and racism that are shouted by angry white men, you have missed the whole point of the Bible.

To quote Tony Campolo: “I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”

If–when you point out to the people at your place of worship that many of the slogans and chants which were shouted by the KKK, neo-nazis, and white supremacists were ALSO shouted at Trump rallies–you are accused of being “too political,” you attend a white supremacist church. Literal nazis yell MANY of the same chants that were yelled in Trump Rallies, and white people all over this country (who call themselves “christians”) still insist that Trump’s election had nothing to do with racism…

There will be a lot of churches who stay silent on the rise of white supremacy that is happening in our country, and they will say it’s because they “don’t want to get political.” This is the exact same excuse churches used in the 1930’s as white supremacy rose in Germany. And please don’t be confused… It is not that people are getting more racist–It is that people are getting more comfortable SHOWING their racism.

There are a lot of awful things about the white supremacist rally in Virginia this weekend… People are getting physically hurt, but the damage is not limited to physical injuries. We don’t have to be anywhere near the streets of Charlottesville to have these images do damage to our hope for humanity… to our hearts… to our souls. But look on the bright side: At least now you can look at how your church reacts to these disturbing events and you’ll be able to know whether or not you’ve been surrounding yourself with white supremacists. And whether or not you need to find a new place to go to church…

Thank you SO MUCH to my newest Patron, PEGGY! It means so much to me that people believe in this blog enough to support it. If you value my writing and my mission, and if you want to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. Or, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL or designate a post to boost there as well. Otherwise, stay in touch on Facebook and on Twitter. And share this post with the people in your lives! In times of darkness, it is important to focus on places of light. Don’t lose hope… Because here’s the truth: “LOVE HAS ALREADY WON!”

 

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Dear Christians: Now Would Be A Good Time To Come To Your Senses

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state… They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.” ~ Donald Trump

These are the words of one unstable megalomaniac to another. Trump’s words were not chosen at random… He meant them to be specifically referring to our country’s use of nuclear weapons. His words closely mirrored President Harry Truman’s words while addressing the country about the use of nuclear weapons against Japan, when he said Japan “may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth. Just three hours after Trump made his threat, Kim Jong Un (the unstable man-child in charge of North Korea) made a statement through state media that they were “seriously reviewing” plans for a military strike against Guam–Not only the site of strategic U.S. military bases, but also U.S. soil.

Trump is a man who was put in power by people calling themselves “christians.” A man who met with a foreign policy advisor and asked three times — THREE TIMES!! — why he couldn’t use nuclear bombs. “If we have them, why can’t we use them?” he asked… Three times in a one hour briefing. This is a man who has surrounded himself with apocalyptic “christians,” like “pastor” Robert Jeffress, who–after Trump’s “fire and fury” comments–commended the president’s resoluteness, and said“In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un.” A man who was already talking in 1999 about a pre-emptive strike against North Korea (after, he said, he’d “negotiate like crazy”). And this is a man who–in just over 200 days, has brought us to the brink of war with an unstable nuclear power, who also happens to be an ally of China.

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This is not–I repeat–NOT how to love our enemies.

So NOW is the time when the Christians who supported Donald Trump need to wake up. I know that there are some out there who are never going to change their support for this evil and dangerously broken man. It makes sense why a certain brand of “christian” would support Donald Trump. For many Trump-supporting “christians,” the god they worship is the god of “fire and fury.” The god who’s going to use this evil king to bring about judgment and wrath. These people are not in the business of SAVING the world–They are in the business of ESCAPING the world… A world (they have been told for the last 14 centuries, or so) will be consumed by fire very soon. Some are beyond the scope of reason… But not all of you are like this.

Many of you have been questioning your support more and more every day. With every day, there is another national embarrassment, and another reason for regret. Maybe some of you DON’T regret your decision. Maybe you STILL argue that he was the “lesser of two evils” between him and Hillary… Maybe her eMails were a big enough issue that you thought he was the better option… Maybe you got caught up in all the “Drain The Swamp” talk… FINE! But Hillary is no longer an issue. Now the issue is that we have a demented narcissist in the Oval Office, and he has the nuclear codes. If you stay silent right now, it is very possible that A LOT of people are going to die. If you call yourself “Pro-Life,” it’s time to act like it. The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed over 140,000 people. The bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later killed more than 70,000 people. Over the years, the radiation killed many, many more. And the bombs dropped on Japan are dwarfed in destructive power by the bombs we currently have. A strike against North Korea–even a non-nuclear strike–would devastate the Asian peninsula just from the fallout of the reactors that are currently there. We must also remember that when the atomic bombs of WWII were dropped, we were the only nation on the planet who had them. THAT IS NO LONGER THE CASE.

COME TO YOUR SENSES, CHURCH–NOW IS THE TIME TO WAKE UP, AND NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK UP. Call your senator. Call your representative. Flood the phone lines. We have a voice. We have political power. And that’s the reason WE–the citizens of United States of America–need to be the ones to pressure our government AWAY from war and destruction and fallout, and TOWARD diplomacy and sanity and peace. The people of North Korea don’t have a voice. They are oppressed and lied to and kept from anything that might inform them of the truth. Speaking out against the leadership in North Korea is a capital offense. The slightest misstep can land you in forced labor camps. Dissent will literally get you killed. But that is NOT the case in our nation… A nation–for all its problems–that I still love and appreciate, and a nation that I don’t want to see start a nuclear war. If you are a person who calls yourself a Christian–a follower of a man named Jesus, who commanded us to LOVE our enemies instead of killing them–NOW is the time to speak up in opposition to this woefully unqualified, demented, disastrous, broken man. You put him in power… We are going to need your help to get him out.

If you’re like me, you are tired of feeling like hopefulness doesn’t make sense. I re-read THIS POST today, and it made me feel a bit better. Stay hopeful, stay engaged, and active. And if you value this blog, and you want to help support it, you can BECOME A PATRON. Or you can LEAVE A TIP if you want to boost a post. Otherwise, it means a lot just to share the ones you like. Share this one with a Christian you know who think is suspecting that Jesus and Trump don’t mix… Also, you can keep up with me on Facebook and on Twitter. We are not alone!

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