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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Just In Case You Thought Trump Couldn’t Possibly Get Re-Elected…

This weekend, someone threw a bomb though the window of a mosque in a suburb of Minneapolis. It was an act of TERRORISM… One that the president of the United States of America didn’t feel the need to comment on. Though that’s pretty standard for the worst president this country has ever seen. In February of this year, when one of his deranged supporters killed six Muslim people in a Canadian mosque, he couldn’t seem to find the time to tweet… But when he hears about a Muslim man in Paris who slightly injured one person, he is scrambling for his phone within a couple hours.

When brown, Muslim men kill people in London, he calls for putting the Muslim ban back in place. When a white, Christian man carries out a deadly attack in London, the president has nothing to say… And he certainly doesn’t call for a travel ban for countries with high concentrations of white Christians. He doesn’t even make an ATTEMPT to cover up his bigoted hypocrisy. He revels in it. But what would you expect from the sort of person who–on the same day 49 people were murdered in a night club in Orlando–tweeted congratulations to himself, because the shooter was Muslim…

Turns out the shooter had no involvement with ISIS or radical extremists, but instead seems to have been dealing with self-hatred over his own closeted sexuality.

The bombing of the mosque in Minnesota proves once again that citizens of the United States of America are way more likely to be the victim of an act of terrorism committed AGAINST Muslims than they are to be the victim of an act of terrorism committed BY Muslims. The story of the bomb blast was picked up by Yahoo News. You can view the story RIGHT HERE. But the story of the bombing is not really where THE STORY is. There are always going to be awful, deranged, murderous individuals in the world–People who do horrific, cowardly things like throwing a bomb through the window of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. The story I’m interested in is the REACTION to the bombing.

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This is not the first time in our country’s history that terrorists have bombed the house of worship belonging to people with dark skin.

 

So a place of worship was bombed in an American city, and from our president? Silence… But not everyone was silent. Beneath the Yahoo News article discussing the bombing, hundreds of hate-filled bigots took to their keyboards and wrote some of the most disgusting shit you have ever seen. Sometimes, these sorts of overtly racist and xenophobic comments sections have a way of disappearing, so I took screen shots of them. On Yahoo, the comments with the most “Thumbs Up’s” are the comments at the top. I only took pictures of the top 30 comments. Now, before reading these, I want you to try something… I want you to consider what it must be like being a Muslim in America… Think about loving this country, with its freedoms and opportunities… Think about the silence of the people in positions of power when Muslim people–here, and around the world–are attacked… And then think about reading shit like this after a mosque here is bombed:

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Those were the top ten. Then…

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And finally, though there were hundreds more, 21-30…

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If you’re wondering why I would submit you to an Internet Comments Section, here’s why: Because it matters who governs. 

I am NOT trying to discourage you and make you lose faith and hope in humanity… That is what the garbage who wrote these comments wants. There are millions of people in this country who have been so filled up with a steady diet of lies and fear, that hatred is the only option available to them. These comments are a dose of reality. It would be easy to think that anyone who has the sense that they were born with can tell that Trump is literally one of the worst humans on the planet… But I want to remind you that the man who tweeted that self-congragulatory narcissistic obscenity after the Orlando Massacre went on to win the presidency. And I’d also like to remind you that both the House and the Senate are filled with a majority of republican cowards, bereft of integrity, who refuse to stand up to Trump’s intentional attacks on our government, our democracy, and our sense of decency. It would not surprise me at all if Trump won another term as president. And the first step to ensuring that doesn’t happen starts with the Mid-Term Elections.

Our liberal optimism–Our belief that people are “better than that”–has lulled us to sleep before… And we ended up with an actual orange dumpster fire–a Trumpster Fire– as the leader of the free world. And I understand that there are Alt-Right outrage machines who get ahold of stories, and then spam the comments sections with white supremacist, xenophobic hatred… But listen–One of two things is true: Either people really are this shitty, or there is a very organized network of people working very hard to sell the story that people really are this shitty. And that it’s not worth it. And that we should give up, and quit trying, and lose hope. Either way, we are in very big trouble…

And when I say we, I don’t just mean the “We” who understands that love actually IS better than hate, and we want to build a world that is Better… I mean ALL of us. Not just the Muslims who are being harassed. Not just the Press who are threatened and attacked.   Not just the scientists and the educators and the progressives… ALL OF US. That includes the ones who have been deceived into thinking that an walking pile of selfishness like Trump cares one bit about their problems and well-being. Genocide doesn’t just happen… It happens in stages. Eight stages, to be exact. And right now, in this country, we are firmly in Stage 3, and knocking on the door of Stage 4 (Read THIS, for more info on the Stages of Genocide).

We’re in trouble when we elect awful people to lead us. We’re in trouble when an act of integrity in Congress seems like a refreshing surprise. We’re in trouble when men who brag about sexual assault and ridicule disabled reporters still get elected into office. We’re in trouble when the majority of people calling themselves “christians” can’t see the clear evidence that one of the most ANTI-JESUS men to ever coif a smarmy hairdo, an amoral, broken mess of a human being, has weaseled himself into a position of great power–WITH THEIR HELP! And we’re in trouble for the next election when people cheer on acts of barbarism and hatred like the one that took place at that Minnesota mosque.

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While you’re praying, please pray for our country to come to its senses.

The bomb was meant to intimidate… To terrorize… To make Muslims feel unsafe and unwelcome. But the comments that are posted above are more of the same. They are verbal bombs… Designed to intimidate and terrorize make Muslims feel unsafe and unwelcome. And if you call yourself an American… If you call yourself a Christian… If you call yourself a decent human being… You have GOT to stand against it.

Thank you so much to my newest Patron, Michelle! I am so encouraged to have a group of people who values my writing [and this blog] enough that they help support me. If you want to feel the good feeling that comes when you support something you care about, you can BECOME A PATRON. Or, if you want, you can LEAVE A TIP or BOOST A PARTICULAR POST on PayPal. Otherwise, just share this post with the people in your lives. On Facebook… On Twitter… Wherever. Either way, I love you. Stay hopeful. Resist!

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The Reason You’re Afraid Of Black People

So listen… I shared an article about a black woman who tweeted that she felt unsafe being in a Cracker Barrel while surrounded by white people. Well… her actual tweet was the following:

White people were less than enthused… Some dude who gets off on torturing people who don’t think like him sent her tweet to a “right-wing outrage machine” called “Twitchy.” And within a short period of time, Ijeoma Oluo’s Twitter feed and her Facebook inbox were both filled with death threats, rape threats, and some of the grossest, most disgustingly racist crap you have ever seen. She wrote about her experience HERE (as well as Facebook’s complicity in her continued abuse). If you haven’t read it yet, you probably should. It’s really good.

When I shared the article, I was informed by many of my Facebook friends that the woman who wrote it was just as racist as the people responding to her. Yes… You’ve got that right–People who wrote things like “Why are you in America? Go back to your third world rat hole ..ya racist witch” and “Too bad your mother polluted her bloodline, making you only half human” shouldn’t have written those mean things… But Ijeoma Oluo was ALSO guilty because she shouldn’t have tweeted her “racist” tweet about not feeling particularly safe in an all-white space… In a place called Cracker Barrel…A place that was found guilty of discriminatory practices against People Of Color… While driving through a small town in a red state. They’re BOTH guilty.

Now… Nothing I write here is going to explain this as well as Ijeoma Oluo’s own words, so here is a video she posted responding to the tidal wave of hatred and White Fragility she has received. Here’s that…

Just in case you don’t watch the video (PLEASE DO WATCH THE VIDEO), here is a quote from it where she responds to the criticism where people say that if she had made this quote about black people instead of white people, it WOULD be racist. She agrees… Here is why:

It would be racist because you don’t live in a country that systemically oppresses white people. You don’t live in a country where people with white-sounding names are four times LESS likely to be call for an interview. You don’t live in a country where the average white household has ONE FOURTEENTH the net worth of average black household. You don’t live in a country where white people can’t call the cops for help without being shot in front of their children. You don’t live in a country where white children are four times more likely to be suspended from school than black children. You don’t live in a country where doctors think that white patients don’t feel pain the same way that black patients do. You don’t live in a country with a history of slavery of white people (and I swear to God, if anyone brings up the Irish, I will lose my shit, because its completely different). You don’t live in a country where flags of those who fought to keep you enslaved still fly from state capitals and off the back of trucks. You don’t live in a country where white people have to beg and plead for their lives to MATTER, so that when their twelve year old child is killed for holding a toy gun, they don’t hear cops saying ‘That was no child.’

You live in a country where the OPPOSITE is true…

But if you feel like it’s the same thing… You think that you saying–as someone who has had the power of whiteness your entire life–If you’re saying it’s the same for YOU to be uncomfortable around ME as it is for ME to be uncomfortable around YOU, you know NOTHING. And you don’t WANT to know.”

There is so much more, and it’s all really good. One more amazing quote…

“I do not owe white America the benefit of the doubt. And if you don’t like that truth–that People Of Color have every reason to be scared around white people–CHANGE THAT TRUTH. Don’t silence the truth.” ~ Ijeoma Oluo

Because that’s really what all this white outrage [to it being “okay” for People Of Color being able to voice their unsafe feelings around white people] is all about: Silencing the truth. It’s hidden under the guise of “reverse racism.” It’s the same reason white people get so upset when the hear a Person Of Color “get” to say the N-word. “They get to do it… Why can’t I? I’m being oppressed!!” And it’s the same beating, fragile heart of white nonsense like “The War On Christmas.”  It’s the reason so many people identified with the post I wrote called “When You’re Accustomed To Privilege, Equality Feels Like Oppression.” And it’s the same sort of fragility that leads to thousands of white people claiming a beautiful ad like this one is “racist.”

So, I’m not going to solve all of the confusion and misunderstanding around the pure BS that is “reverse racism,” and how it’s impossible for white people in this country to experience racism (though Ijeoma’s video above will go a long way to understanding that). I DID–as I listened to her talk about all the reasons People Of Color have to be afraid of white people–start thinking about WHY it is that white people are so afraid of black people. White people have the power in this country. That is the reality. There is a very long history in this country of powerful forces at work attempting to make white people a scared as possible of black folks (if you haven’t watched “13th” on Netflix yet, you definitely need to). And most white folks would probably tell you that demonization of blackness is a thing of the past. Well, it’s not…

Just last week, an Indiana police officer was shot and killed while responding to a car accident. A car had overturned, and as Lt. Aaron Allan hurried to help out, he was shot by a man inside the car. He was rushed to the hospital, and died there from his injuries. The man who shot him was arrested and taken in ALIVE (so that should give you more than a little hint as to the color of the shooter’s skin). Within hours of this story breaking, the shooter’s name (Jason Brown) had been released. Shortly after that, multiple news outlets (using the bare minimum of investigative skills) found pictures of Brown. Among the pictures they found was this one from Jason Brown’s Instagram account:

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This photo did NOT fit their definition of “Thug.”

The next day, when the nation’s most successful cable “news” organization (Fox”News”) did their story about the shooting (long after the shooter’s name had been released and this picture was making the rounds on social media), they did not have ONE PICTURE of the man who had taken the officer’s life. Imagine, for a moment, if there had been a picture like this of a black man who had just killed a police officer acting heroically. Just IMAGINE if the shooter had had a “Muslim-sounding” name and a picture like this. The picture of a brown-skinned man holding guns would have been the lead story. But a dangerous white man does not fit their narrative. Instead, they just referred to him in the story as “Brown.” You are being fed stories that make you scared of black skin. There are billion dollar corporations who are trying very hard to push a narrative of “Fear Black People.” The huge money and influence of the NRA said NOTHING when Philando Castile was murdered for simply telling a police officer that he was legally carrying a gun in his car. And then the cop who killed him was found Not Guilty.

These are the reasons why People Of Color saying they are scared around white people is not “racism.” It’s the TRUTH. And as Ijeoma Oluo said, “It’s the truth [we] deserve.

For so long, I have had TWO people who have given sacrificially to help support this blog. You know who you are. I can’t thank you enough. If you value this blog, you don’t have to give big. I’ve lost a few bigger Patrons, but I’m gaining some small ones, and that is amazing. For most of us, it’s really hard to give $10, $15, or $50 a month. But I promise that a couple bucks a month is SO appreciated. It encourages me more than I can say, and it also helps me feed my family… Which is cool. If you want to BE A PATRON, please do. If you want to LEAVE A TIP of BOOST A POST, awesome. If you want to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, right on. Otherwise, just share this with your friends. Love you all.

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Trump Awards Medal of Valor To Female Officer… Then Kisses Her.

It’s been a busy couple of days, as far as the news is concerned… I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this. This post is going to be shorter than most.

Capitol Police Special Agent Crystal Griner was one of the first people to respond to the shooting that took place a little over a month ago during the Congressional baseball practice. During her brave response, Officer Griner saved the life of Representative Steve Scalise, among others. You remember the event… The one where a black woman saved the life of a man who spoke at “EURO” Convention (a white supremacist group formed by former KKK grand dragon David Duke. EURO stands for “European-American Unity and Rights Organization”) and still managed to get elected to congress. You remember… The one where a lesbian woman saved the life of a man who has worked tirelessly during his political career to take rights AWAY from people who are LGBT, while trying to invalidate her marriage to her wife. Yeah, THAT event. The one where a racist homophobe got his life saved by a black lesbian.

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This is the stuff of nightmares, y’all.

Anyway, Crystal Griner was awarded the Congressional Medal of Valor by a disgusting orange man who bragged that his famousness and power allowed him to be able to grab women by the pussy if he wants to (then still went on to be elected president). A brave and strong member of the LGBT community was awarded the Medal of Valor by a man who–one day earlier–declared on Twitter that transgender soldiers would no longer be welcome to serve in the Armed Forces. And then this happened…

Watch her pull away. You could cut the uncomfortableness of this situation with a knife. People have said she looks scared… I don’t think so. I think she knows that, even while still on crutches from being shot in the ankle by a terrorist, she could take our sexual-assaulter-in-chief in a fight. I don’t think she’s scared. I think she’s wondering how she got in a position where one of the grossest people on the planet thinks he gets to put his hands on her… And then–inexplicably–goes in for a kiss. Maybe it was just a reflex thing? Like some sort of muscle memory from all the necklaces he has put on women over the years being followed by an assumed kiss. One thing is for sure. I am grossed out AF… And I guess me sharing this with you here is like me smelling milk that has gone bad, and offering it to someone else to smell. Our president is sour milk, offered to someone nearby. 

So I didn’t want you to miss this bit of unbelievable grossness in the news blitzkrieg that has been the past couple days… You’re welcome. Or I’m sorry. Either one.

Thank you so much to Heather, my newest Patron. If you’d like to help support this blog, my writing, and me, you TOO can BECOME A PATRON. It’s totally easy, and you will feel good about it. Otherwise, you can LEAVE A TIP (or boost a post) on PayPal. Otherwise, if you like this, just share it. Also, you can stay in touch on Facebook or on Twitter.

 

Posted in 2) Politics, 3) Bathroom Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Trump and Transgender Soldiers, or Why Straight, White Men Need To Get The Hell Out Of The Way.

I woke up this morning to many of the people I care about writing Facebook posts and Tweets assuring their transgender friends and family that they are loved and valued and seen… And I thought, “Shit. What did Trump do now?” I’m sure you’ve already heard, but here are his tweets, announcing that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military.

He ended it with a “Thank you.” What an unbelievable asshole. And he made this announcement while Secretary of Defense Mattis was not around, and without briefing the Senate Armed Services Committee…

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This is retired Navy Seal Kristin Beck. She had 13 deployments… 7 of them in combat. She is NOT unfit to serve.

Now, before you give yourself over to outrage, I want you to think about something…

I am a person who cares about these things. I pay attention to what is happening in this country. The people I follow on Twitter are mostly journalists, theologians, and comedians. When stuff like this happens, I read about it, I write about it… I CARE about it. But as I lie here in my bed this morning (I still haven’t gotten out) reading stories about this morning’s tweets, I tried to remember the thing we were all outraged about just two short days ago. Yesterday was the Senate vote to get rid of healthcare for the poor while giving huge tax breaks to the rich. But just before that, there was some giant distraction… Some gaudy display of Trump’s lack of character and common decency… But–even as a person who CARES and PAYS ATTENTION–I couldn’t remember what it was. I had to look it up to be reminded. Turns out it was his demented, depraved, inexcusably inappropriate speech to the Boy Scouts of America that I was trying to remember…

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I am genuinely surprised he didn’t say something gross about the three finger salute…

It was only two days ago that this president did one of the most historically disgusting things a sitting American president has ever done… And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember it. That got people angry for a day. Then, everyone was like, “What? They’re taking a vote on healthcare? I thought that was done for now!” People spend a little time discussing the hypocrisy of how John McCain enjoys life-saving government health care, and then turns around and votes to get rid of it for the rest of us. Now, we wake up today to find the national embarrassment (elected president by angry white people) has declared that the “T” in the “LGBT” people (whose rights he vowed to protect) are no longer welcome or fit to serve in the military. And I can’t even remember the remarkable reason–from 36 short hours ago–I had to be ashamed ONCE AGAIN of that despicable man.

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This is Jennifer Peace. She is a Captain in the U.S. Army. She was briefly happy about being able to serve openly… In other news, our president is a dip shit.

And this is how it works: If we are given new things to be outraged about on a daily basis, we end up forgetting the ones from two days ago. It is strategic, it is shameful, and it is diabolical. Day after day after Day after DAY… We are overloaded with outrage. It is an Awfulness War of Attrition. They give us something new to be angry about (rightly angry, but distractedly angry nonetheless) every day… And while we’re busy basking in the warm glow of our outrage, they give their rich friends a giant tax cut while taking away healthcare from the poor and vulnerable. This isn’t just pure meanness. It’s STRATEGY. Here is a quote from a Trump Administration official:

“This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin to take complete ownership of this issue. How will the blue-collar voters in these states respond when senators up for re-election in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaigns?”

It’s strategic. Get liberals pissed off about something new so they are distracted from how awful this whole healthcare debacle is, and then have them take the side of trans folks… The same folks they’ve spent four years telling their ignorant base they need to be afraid of… The same folks they’ve been falsely and dishonestly demonizing into monsters who are trying to get into your bathrooms to molest your kids… THOSE transgender people. They are the ones the democrats are on the side of. It’s a strategy of demonizing minorities to a scared and ignorant populace, and then betting that when liberals and progressives stick up for the rights of those minorities, they will get voted out. And it’s a strategy that is currently working.

Trump is doing as much damage to the country as he can do, and we are letting him. He is doing immeasurable damage to the image of our country worldwide (which would be a great strategy for the Russians to reinforce). He is doing daily damage to the hope and confidence of the American people that the government can be of any value. Our government is the only protection the common folk have against the power of oligarchy. But when people are elected who are committed to making government as ineffective as possible, confidence fades. This is the diabolical genius of the republican plan: 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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Turns out that the real reason Trump was against the “Trans Pacific Partnership” was a misunderstanding about who was involved…

Donald Trump needs to go. He is a demented distraction. He says whatever his raging narcissism brings to his coke-addled mind… Meanwhile our rights are being taken away in the midst of our shock. I’ve seen enough to know that he does not have the capacity for change. His mind is slipping away. He is NOT WELL. Time solely focused on criticizing this megalomaniac is time wasted. We all understand that he is a piece of shit… He wears his shittiness like a merit badge from the very Boy Scouts who attempt to teach young men to not grow up to be like him. Our criticism needs to be directed at the ones supporting him while shaking their hypocritical fingers at his “tasteless” and harmful actions. If you are not ACTIVELY OPPOSING the people supporting this president, you are one of the ones supporting this president. We need to call our representatives and senators and demand moral actions. We don’t just need to vote them out… We need to demand that they use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

And when I say “WE,” I don’t just mean “people who look like me.” White people need to get out of the way in this country. We need to build a coalition of people who are horrified by the actions of this disgusting man (and the INaction of the disgusting people who support him)–Black and brown and hispanic and gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender and and Muslim and Hindu and Sikh and Jew and Christians (who actually follow Jesus) and atheist and poor and vulnerable and disabled… All while white men like me move aside and let others lead. There is no time to squabble amongst ourselves about which of our issues are the most important. We need to be UNITED in our opposition to the clear EVIL (and I use that word intentionally) of this administration. Trump needs to go. The people who are supporting him need to get voted out. And if it’s going to happen, straight, white, Christian men like me need to get the hell out of the way.

I’m so sick of writing about this crap. I’m sorry if you’re sick of hearing about it. Thank you to Lezley for becoming a new Patron. For those of you who support me, I want you to know that it matters. You fill me with encouragement when everything in me wants to roll over and go back to bed. These are dark times… We need each other. If you want to BE A PATRON, if you want to BOOST A POST or leave a tip, or if you want to keep up with me on Facebook or Twitter, you can. THANK YOU!!

 

 

Posted in 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Reason I Love “Flat-Earthers”

You’ve heard of these people. right?  They’re the ones who believe that the earth is actually flat, and that attempts to make it look like our planet is a sphere are actually the results of a vast international conspiracy. They’re the ones who even Biblical literalists–people who believe that the earth is 6000 years old, that God killed everyone on the planet (other than Noah, his family, and two of every animal on the ark), and that a guy named Jonah spent three days inside the belly of a giant fish and lived, among other things… even BIBLICAL LITERALISTS are looking at them like, “Settle down, flat-earthers. Get a grip. Let’s try to use a little common sense, huh?”

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Which one is it? 

Anyway, I love flat-earthers. And it’s not because I love their minds. They’re obviously idiots. The reason I love them is because the clear idiocy of their argument makes it clearer–even to those bent toward conspiracy theory–that we need to return to a place where reason and rationality and evidence rule our conversations and our beliefs. It’s like if a climate denier was making her case, and someone chimed in, “I totally agree with you. And this is why it’s so important that make people aware that Obama is a SPACE ALIEN!” And then the climate denier is like, “Whoa, whoa… Let’s not get crazy.” When even the crazies think you’re crazy, maybe the pure stupidity of the conversation that’s taking place can jolt people into a realization that evidence matters… And there are some things we can know… And there is such a thing as truth. I think the whole “flat-earther” thing is just stupid enough to make people realize that there is truth in the world, and that we can look at come people and say with certainty, “You are 100% wrong. And here’s why.”

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Sure, you have all the answers on your cell phone… But no one taught you how to THINK. (Also, if anyone is looking for a Christmas present for me, this T shirt is it)

Google has made experts of everyone. We are living in an age where every single person has the answer to every single question inside of their pocket. It’s a time people refer to as “Post-Truth.” People believe they can’t trust anyone, and concepts like “reputability” have become a punchline. It’s the erosion of evidence. It’s expertise under attack. It’s “Any negative polls and fake news.”  It’s “I know you went to medical school for 8 years, but I saw this YouTube video….” It’s 58% of republicans think higher education is a bad for America. It is a direct attack on the truth. And when there is no truth, and every opinion is just as valid as every other opinion, liars and brutes rise to power. This is why this administration–with their “fake news” and “nothing burgers,” and with the full support and complicity of the republican party–is laser-focused on attacking journalism… attacking science… attacking education… attacking evidence.

And all of this coordinated attack on truth fits very nicely with religious fundamentalists who are desperately trying to hang on to the logically impossible story they have been presented. And so, when someone says, “Here is why we know for a FACT that the world is older than 6000 years.” Or when someone says, “There is a mountain of EVIDENCE showing that autism is not caused by vaccines.” Or when someone says, “There is SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS that human beings are causing the planet to warm up,” these statements cannot be attacked in a rational, fact-based way… So instead, people attack the concepts of FACTS and EVIDENCE and SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS.

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But there ARE facts in the world. There IS such a thing as evidence. Think about it… Even the concept of “lying” assumes that there is such thing as “truth.” It’s built into our language. We talk about things being “better” or “worse” all the time, and those very concepts of “quality” assumes that there is a “goodness” that we are either getting closer to, or further away from. When we make an “argument” for something, we are appealing to REASON as an authoritative means of settling things. “I believe this because of this evidence.” We break things down into axiomatic building blocks. “If we can know anything, then we can know [X]… And if we can know [X], then we can reasonably know [Y],” right? This is how we function. This is how we believe. This is what human rationality looks like. Words like “Why” and “Because” are as part of us as the concept of language. If we asked someone why they believed the things that they believed, and they answered, “Bleeds peanut butter average pumice,” we would know they are not playing by the same rules of rationality that we are playing by.

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Irrefutable evidence that the Earth is spherical.

Within these rules of rationality, the evidence is overwhelming. So in order to not give in to that evidence, the flat-earther (and many others) must instead give in to Conspiracy Theory: The willing to believe that EVERYONE IS IN ON IT. When faced with evidence that our beliefs are unreasonable, we find it easier to believe that the evidence has been faked (ignoring how unreasonable that possibility is). And this is where things get really dangerous, as far as valuing the truth is concerned. Willingness to believe that “everyone is in on it” at such a grand scale makes ANY lie believable. Consider centuries and centuries of scientific study, all falsified by the entire scientific community in order make people question the factual accuracy of the Bible… Or possibly to set us up for the most amazing April Fools joke ever.

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Well now I don’t know WHAT to believe…

But what’s so genuinely gross about this way of looking at things is what it says about our view of human nature. In some dark corner of the internet, someone is convinced that science has already discovered that all it takes to cure cancer is shoving a whole clove of garlic up your butt while sniffing vaporized lavender oil before you go to bed… But the “scientists” and “big pharma” don’t want you to know about it, because that’s how they get rich. “Follow the money, man,” they say. But what they’re REALLY saying is that everyone who is involved in cancer research is the sort of despicable human being who would rather withhold a cure–watching kids and parents and grandparents die miserable, painful deaths–than tell the truth about a cure that would save countless lives, all because there’s money in it for them. Not one or two greedy, immoral scientists. ALL of them.

And that same level of evil conspiracy is what it would take to pull off something like trying to convince everyone that the world is a sphere when it was actually flat. Everyone who works in GPS, everyone who works with satellites, every astronomer, every astronaut, every meteorologist, every person sitting at a computer photoshopping pictures of the planet–taken from space–to make it LOOK like the Earth is a sphere, countless others… Every one of them is in on it. Conspiracy theory is a disease of the mind, and it’s a disease to which only those of us with the very lowest view of humanity are susceptible. 

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I know, I know… It feels weird to me as well. But sometimes we actually ARE right.

The PROBLEM comes with the fact that liberals and progressives aren’t very well-suited to combat this disease of the mind. We like to pat ourselves on the back for “seeing both sides of things.” Many us have landed where we have landed as a reaction to fundamentalism… And anything that feels even remotely close to the “I’m right/You’re wrong” brand of certainty (that was forced on us in our youth) sets off a sort of PTSD reaction inside us to the fundamentalism we rejected. We rejected their intolerance. We rejected their exclusion. We came to think of tolerance and inclusion as virtues.

And what happens (and what many of us have seen happen and experienced many times) is that people throw those words right back in our faces. “Oh sure… You ‘liberals’ are really ‘tolerant.’ You don’t seem very tolerant of my desire to use the N-word! And as soon as I want to pass legislation taking away rights from gay people, all of a sudden I’M the bad guy. Some ‘inclusion.'” But tolerance and inclusion are not the goals. The goal is getting closer to Goodness… The goal is the Truth. People functioned for a very long time under the belief that intolerance and exclusion were Good and True, and you thought we were attacking Goodness and Truth. But what has happened is NOT that we have rejected the idea that there is Goodness and Truth in the world… What has happened is that we have encountered a better argument. 

I mean, is anything settled? What this comes down to is an ideological battle between Truth and Moral Relativism. But if reason is of any value at all, then moral relativism is a self-defeating ideology. With it, we land in a place where the only thing that is “wrong” is to tell someone else that they are wrong. And besides the self-evidence of that logical paradox, when we land there, we can’t “know” anything… And who wants to listen to the opinion of someone who believes that we can’t know anything? Not me…

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Dip shits. No shame here… I’ve been a dip shit before. Just own it, change your mind, and move on.

Fundamentalists and conservatives think young adults are getting “brainwashed” when they go to college. We’re not getting brainwashed… We’re getting exposed to better arguments. We’re having conversations with people who think differently than us. We’re learning that much of the certainty we inherited as we grew up was misplaced, but this realization doesn’t mean we don’t believe in the ability to KNOW anything. Our rejection of old time religion does not mean a rejection of spirituality. Our intolerance is not for you… It’s for your irrational and immoral arguments. And as far as “inclusion” is concerned, we’re not saying that you’re not allowed at the table… We’re just saying that you’re wrong. We have to be able to embrace those words: You are wrong. We’re so afraid of becoming fundamentalists, we are afraid to say, “I am right about this. And that makes you wrong.”

And this is why I love the flat-earthers. They are so CLEARLY wrong that it allows us (some of us, at least) to overcome our liberal sensibilities and say, “That is the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard.” Because sometimes that needs to be said. Telling someone they are wrong is NOT dehumanizing. Sometimes it is the process by which we protect something as precious as The Truth. You want to see a “Snowflake?” Watch what happens when a progressive tells a fundamentalist they are wrong… It’s like, “Wait. I thought you were supposed to accept me as I am! What happened to inclusion?!?” Inclusion doesn’t mean that we have to include your bad arguments with our better ones. Tolerance doesn’t mean tolerating lies. I’m sorry if we gave you the impression that we don’t believe in Truth. We are not saying that no one can KNOW… We’re saying that our argument is BETTER than yours. Progressive doesn’t mean “There is no Truth.” Progressive means that we are getting progressively closer to the Truth than we used to be.

I love you people. I especially love my newest Patron, whose name is Debra. If you value this blog, and you feel like being kick-ass like Debra, you TOO can BECOME A PATRON. It’s fun, it’s easy, and you get to feel like you’re helping someone… Because you will be. Otherwise, if you want to leave a tip or boost this post on social media, you can do that on PayPal. Otherwise, if you like it, just share this post. You can also keep up with me on Facebook and on Twitter. Thanks again.

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

What The Muslims Taught Me About Jesus

Two days ago, someone vandalized The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro… A Mosque in a town not far from where I live in Nashville, Tennessee. They spray painted the words “Fuck Allah” multiple places, spelled out those same words in bacon, and then covered the door handles in bacon as well. This is not the first time people have vandalized this Mosque and terrorized the people who worship there. Seven years ago, they were the victim of anti-Islamic graffiti, a bomb threat, and arson. While they were trying to build, members of the Murfreesboro community tried to sue to keep them from building the center, and the plaintiff’s lawyer argued that Islam isn’t a real religion, so they couldn’t used religiously zoned land “because these are the same people who flew jets into the World Trade Center on 9/11.” Not exactly “welcoming.” But because of yet another act of violence and hatred, yesterday they had a gathering where members of the community could express their solidarity. And since it’s only about half an hour away, I thought I’d go stand with the folks saying, “We are not okay with this.”

I had never been to the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro before, so I let my phone give me directions… But even with Siri talking to me, I almost missed my turn. I was too busy looking at a Church with a ridiculous amount of big white crosses out front. There is a Church RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the ICM called “Grace Baptist Church.” And their property is covered with just under 40 large crosses. Here is a pic I got from Google Maps:

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Wouldn’t it would be weird if churches decorated their lawns with electric chairs or guillotines? 

It certainly doesn’t look like the spot where you are getting ready to turn into a Mosque’s parking lot… But then again, it doesn’t look like your average front yard of a Baptist Church, either. But back to that in a moment…

The gathering was beautiful. There were different leaders from different faith communities who spoke out against the acts of violence and hatred, and everyone was encouraged by the big turnout of people willing to spend their evening showing their solidarity and love for their neighbor. It felt like this sweet, heavenly break from the “Us vs. Them” mentality that makes people call out for walls instead of bridges. I loved it.

After it was finished, I went and briefly talked to Saleh Sbenaty (who is on the board of ICM, and was also the spokesperson for the event), and I asked him this question: “What is your relationship like with the church next door?” He immediately looked disheartened. He said, “Didn’t you notice the 39 crosses as you drove in?” I had just told a friend that I bet those crosses weren’t there before the Muslims moved into the neighborhood. Churches will have ONE big cross… Sometimes THREE big crosses… Almost NEVER will there be 39 big crosses lining the property. I looked into the history of those crosses. Turns out it started as thirteen crosses. Then ten more were added. Now there are 39. The church voted to do it “to make a statement to the Muslims about how we felt about our religion, our Christianity… We wanted them to see the crosses and know how we felt about things.”

Saleh told me that the Mosque has reached out over and over to their Christian neighbor, but they had no interest in getting to know them. He mentioned that when the crosses were being made for the church, they ran short on resources… The Mosque offered to pay for the lumber they needed. The Church refused.

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This makes me proud to be an American.

Now, please don’t let this sound like I’m “Christian bashing.” There were ALL KINDS of Christians at the gathering. I’m not Baptist bashing either. There were people from other Baptist congregations in attendance as well. I don’t even want this to sound like I’m bashing the Church who put up all those crosses… Like a bunch of white middle fingers. There are probably all kinds of sweet, kind folks who attend that church… People with worries and fears and stresses and kids who love them just like the rest of us. I’m not trying to dehumanize the people who go to Grace Baptist church. They are certainly human, and worthy of being loved… Just like the rest of us. Here’s what I AM saying: They are getting it wrong. 

It’s almost parable-level of self evidence, right? Like I can see a story about some lawyer asking Jesus “What must I do to inherit eternal life/Who is my neighbor?” and Jesus telling him a story about two places of worship… One who didn’t offer to help when people desecrated their neighbor’s Mosque, and another who offered to buy some lumber for even more middle-finger-crosses to be pounded into the ground to make even more of a “statement to the Muslims about how we felt about our religion, our Christianity.” One of these things is like Jesus, and one of them isn’t. “WHICH ONE WAS A NEIGHBOR TO THE OTHER?” Jesus asked. And yet there are SO MANY churches today can’t seem to get this simple parable. This is the offensive genius of the Parable of the Good Samaritan… Sometimes the one you think is getting all the theology wrong is actually the one God is using to teach you how to love… teaching you that the cross is not a middle finger.

So this actually isn’t a story to beat up on the sort of religious communities who preach that America is God’s favorite, and have people who wear things like this to church…

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Pulled this from GBC’s Facebook page. I can almost guarantee you that these guys are nice. They’re completely wrong… about those outfits AND about their theology… But they are almost certainly nice guys.

This is actually a story about hope. It is a story about a boy scout troop who got together with some members of the Baha’i faith last night and started scrubbing some walls… like little Holden Caulfields, scrubbing the “Fuck Yous” off the bathroom doors of the world.

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I’m not crying… YOU’RE crying.

It’s a story of hundreds of people–people of differing faiths standing along side people of no faith at all–gathering together around a goodness that transcends the borders of nations, as well as the borders of theology. It’s the story of people trying to convince each other that everything is not garbage… People standing with their neighbors and reminding them that the darkness is no match for the light… People standing together, professing with their lives and agreeing with the truth that, when it comes to loving your neighbor, it is way more powerful… more life-giving… more Christ-like… and more loving to DO the right thing than it is to “believe” the right thing.

Now–Just like Jesus said… “Go and do likewise.”

Admit it… You like this blog. And you’re probably thinking, “I wish I could help support this dude.” Well, good news–YOU CAN! You can Be A Patron, or you can Give On Paypal, or you can just share this post with the people in your life. Yada yada, Facebook and Twitter… I sure am honored you are reading my stuff. Thank you!

 

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Hey White People: Remember When We Briefly Cared About Philando Castile’s Life?

“This is NOT okay.” ~ That’s the kind of stuff we would say as we shared the video footage police released a few days after the Not Guilty verdict was announced. When the verdict was initially handed down, there wasn’t a whole lot of outrage–At least not coming from white people like me. We assumed there was a reason he got shot… We had heard there was some marijuana involved… And we can’t be expected to spend all of our time being pissed off every time some officer somewhere in the country gets off for killing a black man who posed no actual threat to him–We wouldn’t have any time for anything else! Right? We only have so much outrage–We have to spend it wisely…

THEN, when they released the video of the dash cam footage, EVERYTHING CHANGED… For a couple of days.

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Which one was this again? It’s hard to keep their faces straight…

But you can’t blame us, really. There were a lot of other things going on! There was a terrorist attack in London where some man drove a van into a crowd of Muslims outside of a Mosque… There was the special election in Georgia… There was more of the Russia investigation… There was the GOP trying to take away healthcare from poor people because the super-rich folks who get them elected want even MORE money… And there were any number of embarrassing, sexist, confusing, enraging, horribly shameful and dehumanizing things tweeted by the current president of the United States of America. That’s a lot of stuff to worry about. With all of that happening, we can’t be expected to remember every injustice… Even ones that are so unmistakably clear that they shook the very foundations of what remains of our trust in the American justice system. It’s easy to forget about.

But you know who DIDN’T forget? People of Color–That’s who. Well… I’m assuming. I really don’t know. What the hell do I know? Nothing. I mean, I ASSUME people of color think about it every time they’re in their cars and see red and blue lights. And now the video that got us all so upset (for a short while) is just another graphic, terrifying cautionary tale within communities of color–It’s not enough to be polite. It’s not enough to follow directions and be respectful. It’s not enough to inform an officer that you have a license to carry, and that you are currently carrying. It’s not enough to tell him that you aren’t pulling out your gun… that you’re getting the license he asked you to show him. If you’re a black man and you get pulled over–even for something as simple as a broken taillight–you need to keep your hands where they can be seen at ALL TIMES. Ask for PERMISSION to move. When you move, make sure you move with EXAGGERATED SLOWNESS. Because if you fail to follow these rules, you can not only very easily, very quickly end up with seven shots fired at you from close range by a man whose only cause for fear is the color of your skin, but that same fear will be all the justification he needs to ensure that he isn’t held responsible for killing you.”

But as a white man, these are rules I DON’T have to follow. As a parent of white kids, I don’t have to teach these rule to my kids. I don’t see police lights behind me and think, “My life might be in danger right now.” I have the privilege to not watch video. If it’s too much for me to deal with the reality that Black Lives DON’T currently Matter, I can decide to not watch it. I can say, “It’s too hard to watch.” Because it IS hard to watch. After he watched it, the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah said, “I won’t lie to you–When I watched this video, it broke me. Like, it… It just… It broke me.” If you still haven’t seen it, you can watch his reaction to the video below.

So yeah… Maybe you’re like me. Maybe after seeing the video, you were rightly outraged. Maybe you shared the video on your page. Maybe you wrote “#JusticeForPhilando” next to the thing you posted. Maybe you clicked an angry face on an article someone else shared. But if having to deal with the graphicness of the video is too hard, and if having to deal with the reality of systemic racism in America is too much, don’t worry… Within a couple of days, there will be something else for you to get pissed off about. There will be some other story. There will be some other hashtag. There will be some other reason to get you so riled up that you click the “Angry Face” button on the screen. And then you’ll forget about it…

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“Wake Up!” ~ Probably the two words that are more needed than any others right now…

We might not have even HEARD about it if it hadn’t been for Diamond Reynolds pulling out her phone and doing Facebook live while her boyfriend was slumped over in his chair, dying. I mean, what else is she going to do–CALL THE POLICE? But if it hadn’t been for that video, it might have gotten lost… Mixed up with all the others. And the thing is, they didn’t even try him for murder. They charged him with 2nd Degree Manslaughter (which is committed when the defendant “recklessly causes someone else’s death”), and two counts of Dangerous Discharge of a Firearm (as if there’s any other kind). And the mostly white jury acquitted the officer of all charges. Recently, the judge in the case wrote a letter to the jurors in support of their decision. Here is an excerpt:

“The criticism of the jury’s decision of which I am aware has focused primarily on a reaction to the squad-cam video and on consideration of issues you as jurors were never asked to address. You were simply asked to determine, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether a crime had been committed… You were never asked to decide whether racism continues to exist, whether certain members of our community are disproportionately affected by police tactics, or whether police training is ineffective.”

A lot of people will look at a clear injustice like the killing of Philando Castile, and they will say, “The system is broken.” But the system is not broken… It is working exactly as it was designed to work. I have been on a jury before in a civil case. We were given directions, we were told the law, and we have to come to a decision within those laws. And when police officers kill people whose blackness makes them look like a threat, those same laws are rigged in order to protect police officers. The law requires officers to only have a “reasonable belief” that they were in danger. They don’t have to be in actual danger… If they say they BELIEVED they were in danger, that is really all it takes. It’s like the “Stand Your Ground” laws… They are DESIGNED to make it legal to kill people. All you have to do is say you were scared for your life. And for Jeronimo Yanez, the man who ended Philando Castile’s life while his girlfriend and her four year old daughter sat watching him politely call him “Sir,” I have no doubt he WAS scared for his life. The sight of a black man reaching for his wallet can be terrifying.

So what can be done? All of this happens within the backdrop of our country having an Attorney General (who Coretta Scott King called too racist to be a judge) calling for the Department of Justice to “pull back” on police department Civil Rights Lawsuits. All of this happens within the backdrop of our country having elected a man who retweets white supremacists, while staying completely silent on the injustice that resulted in a man being killed twice–Once by a man who believed in weaponized blackness, and again by a justice system that looked the other way. And the president is joined in that silence by the NRA, who has nothing to say about a man being killed simply for letting an officer know he was carrying a legal gun, and reaching for his license. I doubt very much that they would have remained silent if the person killed for carrying a legal gun was someone with a lighter complexion.

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Can we do anything more than this?

I don’t know what to do about all of this. I don’t want this post to be just another thing that people share, or “like,” or click an angry face on… Just to feel like they have “done their part,” and then forget about it two days later when our national embarrassment tweets something ELSE that makes us all ashamed. Or concerned. Or afraid that we are starting a military conflict with and unstable nuclear power. I don’t know if this makes any difference whatsoever. All I know is that–after writing this–I am more sure than ever of the following things:

Black Lives Matter. Just freaking say it. And keep saying it. And keep saying it. And keep saying it… Until you actually believe it. Be willing to stick your neck out when you hear someone drop an “All lives matter.” Have awkward conversations. When you encounter racism, shut it down. Stay hopeful, even when you don’t see any reason for it. And stay brave, even when you find yourself pretending to be hopeful.

White Privilege is VERY REAL. Anyone who can’t understand this is either blind or trying very hard not to see. When I, as a white man, see the video of Philando getting killed, I think, “That’s not right.” When a black man sees that same video, he thinks, “Damn… That could have totally been me.” When our justice system says “Black Lives Don’t Matter,” I think, “That’s not right.” When people of color hear that message, they think, “That’s MY life they are talking about.” As a white person, I can’t hope to understand the weight of that difference…

White People Have Got To Be More Involved. If anything is going to change, we HAVE GOT TO SHOW UP. This is not a black problem… It’s a HUMAN problem. And when there are rallies and marches and protests for civil rights and racial equity, we can’t have nearly all of the faces at rallies supporting those causes be people with dark skin.

It Matters Who Governs. Elections matter. The people we elect have very real effects on the justice people in this country experience… Or DON’T experience. We have to elect more people of color as leaders at the national AND local level, and we have to get rid of the people who are clinging to white supremacy with the white-knuckled death grip of people who feel their privilege slipping away. The laws need to change… And in order for that to happen, the lawmakers need to change.

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Shut it down.

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Posted in 2) Politics, 4) All Of The Above | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments