Here’s How To Tell If Your Church Is Trash

I heard a song today. It gave me hope — Which is something that seems to be increasingly rare these days… ESPECIALLY songs that have anything to do with Jesus or the Church or Christianity. But it happened, and I’m happy to share that with the misfits who, for whatever reason, read this the stuff I write.

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Mobile, Alabama

Jesus, this picture. God help us…

 

This post is about that song. It was written by a dude named Daniel Deitrich, and it is called “Hymn For The 81%.” There are two things I’d like to happen with this post… The first is I really want you to listen to the song. Please — PLEASE spend five minutes of your day listening to it. Here it is:

Here are the lyrics.

I grew up in your churches
Sunday morning, evening service
Knelt in tears at the foot of the rugged cross
You taught me every life is sacred
feed the hungry, clothe the naked
I learned from you the highest law is Love

I believed you when you said
that I should trust the words in red
To guide my steps through a wicked world
I assumed you’d do the same
so imagine my dismay
When I watched you lead the sheep to the wolves

You said to love the lost
So I’m loving you now
You said to speak the truth
So I’m calling you out
Why don’t you live the words
That you put in my mouth
May love overcome and justice roll down

They started putting kids in cages
Ripping mothers from their babies
And I looked to you to speak on their behalf
But all I heard was silence
Or worse you justify it
Singing glory hallelujah raise the flag

Your fear had turned to hatred
But you baptized it with language
torn from the pages of the good book
You weaponized religion
And you wonder why I’m leaving
To find Jesus on the wrong side of your walls

And then near the end, he sings, “Come home. Come home. You’re better than this. You taught me better than this.” He PLEADS with the 81%, “COME HOME.”

I have written many times before (HERE, HERE, and HERE to name a few) about watching white evangelicals abandon Jesus in the pursuit of political power, and about the dismay of seeing so many who would call themselves “christians” support a man who is easily and objectively as polar opposite to the Spirit of Christ as anyone on the planet. I’m convinced that the church’s support of and silence on the immorality and abject evil that Donald Trump champions has done more to injure the reputation of Christianity than anything in my lifetime.

So I titled this post “How To Tell If Your Church Is Trash.” And even though there is obviously more than one way to figure out that your church is trash, but here’s the litmus test I am providing you today: If you attend a church that would not play this song during the service, your church is trash. That’s one sure way to know you are attending the wrong church. And on the off chance you are one of my readers who still attends church on a somewhat regular basis, this is good information to have. But even if you are one of my many readers who doesn’t go to church or even count yourself as particularly spiritual, I’m betting you still appreciate this song. Or if you are one of the many people who grew up in the Church, but who have transitioned into a time of your life where going to church feels like something that does a better job at distancing you from the divine than drawing you near, chances are you will enjoy that song as well.

I am one of the ones who left. There are many reasons why people leave. Many of us didn’t leave the churches of our youth because we don’t believe in Jesus anymore… We left because we took the words we said and the promises we made SERIOUSLY. We cared too much about Jesus to stay in a Church that worships white nationalism, political power, and a narcissistic charlatan rather than following the one who commanded us take care of the immigrant & stranger, feed the hungry, and take care of the sick. Many of us still love the one who told his followers to love our enemies, rather than taking guns to a worship service, ready to kill them. A lot of people have figured out that the American church is way more about white supremacy and patriarchy than it is about following Jesus… And so we left.

Which brings us to the second thing I’d love to see happen: I’d love to see worship leaders all over this fractured country take a principled stand against the alignment of the church with this country’s immoral, lying president, and I’d like them to play this song during the offering on a Sunday Service. I’d love to see musicians all over America symbolically overturn the tables of their temples with this song. I’d love to see men and women sing this song in front of congregations who have lost their way, and who need a prophetic voice asking them to COME HOME. I’d love to see people risk losing their jobs to “love the lost” and “speak the truth” to churches who desperately need to be called out.

There is power in music. There is a strength in Truth being SUNG that sometimes doesn’t come through as clearly as when the Truth is simply spoken. So if you know someone who leads worship in a church that has lost its way… A church that regularly confuses the cross with the flag… A church that has forgotten whether they are following Jesus, or the guy who bragged about “grabbing them by the pussy,” SEND THEM THIS POST. Have them listen to this song. Ask them to consider singing it for the congregations they serve.

And if you are one of the millions of people who attend one of these churches that actively support the corrupt, immoral man sitting in the White House… Or if you are part of a congregation who stays silent when the leadership in our country aligns themselves with white nationalists, separates kids from their parents when families flee to our country, and locks kids in cages while fighting against needing to provide them with toothpaste… If you are part of a congregation who would never even consider playing the amazing song Daniel Deitrich has created… I’ve got some difficult news for you, but you’ve probably already been suspecting it: Your church is trash. It’s time to find Jesus on the other side of those walls…

 

Thank you so much for reading. Also thank you for the amazing support I received after the last post I wrote. It really means a lot to me. Thank you to my new Patrons, Kirk and Kim! If you value this blog, and you’d like to become a Patron, you can DO THAT HERE. If  you appreciate this post, you’re feeling generous, and you’d like to leave a tip of PayPal, you can DO THAT RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, you can keep up with me on FACEBOOK as well as on TWITTER. There’s some fun stuff there… Anyway, keep working, stay hopeful, and thank you again for the support!

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A Tip That Left Me In Tears

It was the last table of the night. These two girls sat down in my section… They looked to be about 20-ish. I suppose that makes them young women. But if I’m telling the story, I’m probably calling them “girls.” That’s how old I am now. In my world, if you’re closer to my daughter’s age than you are to mine, I’m probably referring to you as a girl. I don’t know which is right… For the purposes of this story, I’m calling them “girls.”

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Apropos of nothing, this is the face I made when I found out The Office was being taken off of Netflix…

They were both friendly and quirky and kind. One was thin. One was bigger. We all write stories in our heads about the people we meet… For some reason, the one who was bigger struck me as someone whose weight had always been a bit of a struggle for her. I asked them if they knew what they wanted to drink, and I told them the options. When I told them the soda options, the thinner one put her finger out and shook it down once as she curtly said “NO!” to her bigger friend. It was a little weird… Like she was scolding a puppy who was getting too close to the table. She said, “We’re kind of on a diet.” It became clear that the thinner girl was trying to help her friend with a weight loss plan. So the bigger girl ordered a water. Then the thin girl looks at me and says, “I’ll have a ginger ale.” 

I brought them their drinks, and the bigger girl says, “This is going to sound really high maintenance, but do y’all have vegan cheese?” I work at an Italian restaurant. And because I think I’m pretty funny, I say, “I’m so sorry, we don’t… But if it’s any consolation, we have a WHOLE lot of NON-vegan cheeses.” Neither of them seems to think this attempt at humor hit the mark. She says, “I’m doing this Whole30 thing, and I’m not supposed to have cheese.” Her thinner friend says, “Just get a Caprese salad,” and she snaps back, “Dude, I can’t have mozzarella cheese!” I point her to a vegan salad we have, but it doesn’t look like something she wants. Meanwhile, her friend says, “Well, I’m having the Caprese salad…”


Please allow me to interrupt. I have always been fairly thin. It’s just the way my body has always worked. Getting older has slowed my metabolism down some, so now I have to be a little more conscious of what I’m eating… But if there were any justice in the universe, I’d be so overweight. I spent most of my life treating my body like a trashcan, and somehow I’m not obese. This is just to say that a person’s body size is NOT necessarily a reflection on their willpower or their activeness or their discipline. So don’t make judgements there. Back to the story…


The one doing Whole30 is getting a little frustrated, and she says, “I’ll just have the Caesar salad.” Her friend goes, “NO, YOU CAN’T HAVE CAESAR SALAD! Caesar dressing is SO not good for you.” At this point, I want to tell her that there is a shit-ton of cheese in the Caesar dressing, but tensions are getting high, and I figure it’s best to just stay out of it. I tell them I can give them some time to decide, but she says, “Okay, I’m getting the Caesar salad with no cheese, dressing on the side, and I’d like it with chicken.” The thinner one says she wants to keep the menu at the table in case she’d like something else, and I put their order in.

A little bit later their salads are ready, and Chicken Caesar/dressing-on-the-side says, “Can I cancel the order for that salad?” I’m like, “I CAN? But it’s already made.” They are really cool about it. She says, “Oh that’s totally fine. We’ll pay for it… I’ll just give it to someone else.” Something tells me she searched on her phone how Caesar dressing is made… Whole30 has decided that she’d just like a grilled chicken breast with some marinara in the side… Now — long story short, here — we don’t HAVE grilled chicken. We don’t have a GRILL. We can FRY a chicken breast for the Chicken Parm, but now I’m explaining to her that the only non-fried chicken breast we have is kind of broiled, and in pieces (for the pastas, the pizzas, & the salads). The thinner friend tells me she also like a side of meatballs. At this point, the one trying to do Whole30 looks totally defeated. I see her give up. She says, “You know what? I’m good.” I am certain she doesn’t mean it. Caprese salad changes her meatball order to a side of fries.


I’d like to interrupt this part of the story to let you know that these last five months or so have been THE hardest of my life. I’m not publicly going into specifics yet, but let’s just say that it has been the sort of time where your friends send you random texts saying things like, “Hey man, how you holding up?” and “I just want you to know that I’m thinking about you” and “Let me know if there’s anything you need.” A genuine nightmare. It’s been a “paying to talk to a therapist on a regular basis” sort of time in my life. In normal, happy times, it’s notoriously easy for me to tear up. But these days, it feels like dry eyes are the exception. Anyway…


I can feel my eyes welling up as this sweet girl gives up on eating a meal, and I say, “Let me see what I can do…”

The cook is really busy, and as far as trying to “grill” a chicken breast without a grill, they don’t really *do* that. And asking a cook to do a special order when they are busy like that is just a jerk move. So I put on some gloves, and I put a little bit of olive oil in a pan and turn up the heat. I grab a chicken breast, beat it up a little, throw some white wine into the pan (which causes a big flame), and I cook up a chicken breast with a little salt and pepper and lemon. I try to blacken it, but not make it tough. People are coming up to me saying, “WTF are you doing?” (they’re not used to seeing me on the line), and I explain that I’m just trying to get this girl something she can eat. About five minutes later, I’ve got a decent-looking piece of chicken in front of me. I bring it to the table. It doesn’t look like very much food. I set it down and say, “Here you go.” They both enthusiastically thank me — her friend with French fries in her mouth.

I check back a couple minutes later to see how she likes it. She says it is *so* good. I decide to believe her… At this point, they are they only table in the dining room. A 14-top I had has just left, and I’m trying to clean up their table. And while I was cleaning up, the song “Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel comes on in the restaurant…


Another interruption… You might not know this, but I can sing. I used to write songs. It was initially the reason I decided to move to Nashville. “Don’t Give Up” is one of my favorite songs. Like, probably Top 10. Peter Gabriel’s “SO” album brought me through some intense heartache in my life — No song more than that one. It doesn’t hurt that my voice has roughly the same range as Peter Gabriel. I play the piano by ear, and a long time ago I worked out that song. It’s almost like gospel on the piano. It has the feeling of a prayer to me. Here it is, sung with the other-worldly Kate Bush:

And so, I know every damn word to that beautiful song. And I don’t care where I am, if that some comes on, I’m singing it… Now more than ever.


So I sang that song as I cleaned… Not even a little bit under my breath. I sang it like I was the only one in the room. “Don’t give up… I’m proud of who you are. Don’t give up… You’re not beaten yet. Don’t give up… I know you can make it.” The song finished, and I brought them their check. It was $50. They were just girls. They looked like they were in college. I didn’t expect much from them, honestly. There’s no way they could have known that the night before was one of the worst nights I’ve had at the restaurant in probably over a year. This time of year is always slow, but it’s been REAL slow… And hard times always seem harder when you’re not making as much money. I don’t know — Maybe they thought I was singing that song to them… Telling her not to give up. They couldn’t have known that really, I was singing it to myself. Anyway, those two girls thanked me, they left me two crisp hundred dollar bills, and they told me to keep the change. They said, “Thank you so much. You have made our whole week.” 

The thin one also said, “Oh my God, I am SO FULL.”


I’m not sure what the moral of this story is… Maybe it’s that you never know what a simple act of kindness or generosity is going to do for someone. Maybe it’s that we have the power to affect the people in our paths with acts of love, kindness, & generosity. Maybe it’s that you shouldn’t judge college girls by how high maintenance they are. Maybe this post — like the Peter Gabriel song I sung last night — is more for me than it is for anyone else. Either way, I thought you might like to hear the story…

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5 Analogies To Explain Trump’s Iran Mess

Yesterday the moron who is currently the president of the United States of America stood in front of a microphone, and he slurred and sniffed his way through a rambling mess of a speech about Iran…

For those of you who haven’t been following along closely at home, here is a brief timeline of how Trump got us into this mess:

  • Under President Obama’s leadership, The United States, along with China, France, Russia, Great Britain, and other counties from the European Union, signed the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action) with Iran… Commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. The deal gives Iran economic reasons (including releasing previously frozen Iranian assets) to keep them from building their nuclear program, while allowing the other countries access to check their nuclear facilities.
  • Consistent with his pattern of attempting to reverse every single thing Obama while in office… and despite the fact that his own Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis says that the Iran Nuclear Deal is working… and to the dismay of all of our allies, Trump decides to pull out of the deal.
  • In the midst of his own impeachment, Trump decides to order the assassination of Iran’s 3rd in command, Major General Qassem Soleimani… a man who, by most of the world’s estimation, was a very bad man. The Trump administration says his killing was called for to prevent an attack, but they have provided no proof of this alleged imminent attack, and when pressed on it, they backed off that claim.
  • Trump threatens that if there is any retaliation for Soleimani’s assassination, the U.S. will destroy 52 Iranian sites (one for each of the 52 hostages from the Iran Hostage Crisis more than 40 years ago)… Those site including Iranian cultural sites, which would be a violation of international war crimes law. Trump has since deleted those tweets.
  • The Iraqi Parliament votes to tell U.S. troops to leave the country. NPR reports that the Iraqi Prime Minister says Trump asked him to call Soleimani for a mediation, and then he was killed by a drone strike while carrying a response to a Saudi initiative to defuse tensions in the area. Basically, the U.S. asked the Shiite Iraqis to call Soleimani to work on defusing tensions, and then they killed him.
  • As a response to the U.S. assassination of Soleimani, Iran fires 15 ballistic missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq. Zero U.S. soldiers are killed in the attack.
  • Less than 24 hours after the missile attack, Trump slurs his way through a garbled attempt to explain that Iran is “standing down,” despite not presenting any evidence of that claim. He pats himself on the back, and calls for a new negotiation with Iran’s nuclear program. Meanwhile, Iran has vowed to pull out of the Nuclear Deal altogether and resume their nuclear program.

  • And now here we are. Iraq wants us gone. And guess who our absence in that part of the world would benefit? If you guessed RUSSIA, you win a free Putin Puppet! And, hey — WOULD YOU LOOK AT THAT! Barely anyone is talking about his impeachment anymore…

Try to imagine another country pulling out of a treaty with us, assassinating one of our Joint Chiefs, and then not only claiming that action “deescalated tensions” with us, but then having the gall to talk about us coming to the table for a new deal. Only a narcissist of a truly staggering degree could order an illegal assassination, threaten war crimes if they retaliate, do nothing while watching them fire 15 ballistic missiles at U.S. bases & inspire an Iraqi vote to kick us out of their country, and then somehow claim it as a win.

But this is what he does — He starts fires, and then he thinks he deserves credit for trying to put them out… Meanwhile, the whole rest of the world is looking at us saying, “Y’all realize you’ve got an arsonist leading your country, right?” The president cannot be both the arsonist AND a firefighter.

We saw this same pattern when he forced the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, and THEN acted like he needs to be congratulated for ending the shutdown that HE CAUSED. He is a rooster taking credit for the sunrise. He causes a crisis for farmers with his stupid tariffs, and then tries to act like a hero for giving farmers financial assistance (AKA “socialism”). This is along the same lines as someone poking you in the eyeball over and over, and then expecting a “thank you” when he decides to stop. No. You don’t get a thank you. My eye hurts because of you. You moron.

Trump is a toddler who shits his pants, and then — after being tossed in the bath tub — thinks he deserves a prize for having a clean bum. But someone else is out there washing his dirty drawers… And a lot of those stains aren’t coming out.

It would be like getting your frank & beans caught in your zipper, and then somehow taking credit for not bleeding that much on the floor of your prom date’s bathroom…

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“Well how the hell’d you get the beans above the frank?!?”

Or, if those analogies are a little too outside of the box, it would be like if a man used campaign funds to pay a porn star $130,000 to have unprotected sex with him very shortly after his third wife gave birth, and then he somehow tried to congratulate himself for how mild his case of gonorrhea has been…

He doesn’t get to be both the arsonist AND the firefighter. And the really troubling thing is this: He starts most of his fires to take attention away from the OTHER fires he has started. And before too long, everything’s on fire, and we’re wondering, “How the hell did we get here?”

Seriously though… How the hell did we get here?

 

HEY! Thank you so much for reading. If you value this blog and my writing, it would be super cool if you became a Patron. If everyone who regularly read this gave a dollar or two a month, it would help me take care of my family. You can BECOME A PATRON HERE. If you’d rather just leave a tip for a job well done, you can do that ON PAYPAL. You can also follow me on Twitter and on Facebook. But, for real though… How the hell did we get here? Speaking of which, make sure you are registered to VOTE!

 

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

Impeachment, For Those Of You Who Might Be A Little Confused

So listen… I realize there are a lot of folks out there who are confused about what is going on right now with this whole impeachment thing. And tonight, while I was attempting to explain the facts behind the impeachment to a man (someone who takes in almost exclusively far-right wing media), I also realized that I have a pretty decent understanding of what is happening. Over the past few weeks, I have spent a whole lot of time watching and listening to the impeachment proceedings. And I figured there might be a few people who read this blog who might appreciate some help in that regard, so here you go…

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Impeached by the House. Well, at least now he can say he won a popular vote…

Here are the basics: Ukraine is an ally of the United States. In 2014, Russia “annexed” Crimea… Which basically meant that they took it from Ukraine. That marked the first time since WWII that borders changed in Europe in this way, and Russia’s actions got them kicked out of the G8 and started a bunch of economic sanctions. Ukraine applied for membership into NATO (if you attack one NATO country, you attack them all) in 2008, but their country’s endemic corruption has worked to keep them out. Even though they are not a part of NATO, they are a U.S. ally, and we have supported them as they have faced a years long war with their neighbor Russia, who wants more of their territory.

While Obama was in office, Petro Poroshenko (a wealthy, corrupt businessman) was president of Ukraine. We supported Ukraine in their fight against Russia, but President Obama was reluctant to give them the Javelin (tank-busting) missiles you may or may not have heard about during the impeachment hearings. Any U.S. aid was celebrated by Ukrainian leadership, as well as U.S. ambassadors, as being symbolic of the United States standing with Ukraine against Russia. When Trump became president, he provided Ukraine with their congressionally approved aid in 2017 AND 2018, and — as the GOP kept bringing up over and over during the hearings — he also approved the Javelin missiles the Ukrainians had been asking for. Though, what you probably DIDN’T hear about is how Trump gave the missiles with the condition that they be stored on the Western side of Ukraine… Far away from the conflict zone with Russia on the Eastern side of Ukraine. Basically, the Javelins were given with the condition that they not be used against Russia.

In 2019, Ukraine elected Volodymyr Zelensky as president. He ran on an anti-corruption platform, but he was not a politician. He was an actor and comedian who became famous playing a role in which a regular guy becomes president. He was decidedly anti-Russia, and saw Putin “as an enemy.” Another important thing happened in 2019… Joe Biden declared his candidacy for president, and immediately became the democratic frontrunner. 

The next part is a more complicated timeline, so I don’t want to dive in so deep that people get lost… but if you are interested in knowing the exact timeline of events, HERE IS A VERY GOOD ONE made by PBS. The bullet points are here:

  • Congress approved nearly $400 million for aid to Ukraine.
  • Despite assurances from the White House, the aid is held up for months.
  • In an interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump says that he would accept political help from a foreign government. This is not too surprising, because he requested help from Russia during his campaign… despite it being clearly illegal.
  • The day after Mueller’s testimony to congress, Trump — in a telephone call with newly elected Ukrainian President Zelensky about the aid — when Zelensky asks for  the Javelin missiles, Trump tells him “I would like you to do us a favor though,” and pressures Zelensky to investigate a discredited Russian-fed conspiracy theory about something called “Crowdstrike,” as well as announcing the start of an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He tells Zelensky to get in touch with William Barr and — for some reason — Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
  • This call leads to a whistleblower complaint filed with the intelligence community’s Inspector General where the concern was that Trump was using the power of his presidency to pressure a foreign government to investigate the Bidens.
  • Shortly after The Washington Post breaks the story of the suspended aid, and mere days before the House subpoenaed the whistleblower complaint, the White House finally releases the Ukrainian aid.
  •  A few weeks later, Nancy Pelosi announces a House Impeachment Inquiry.
  • After hearing the testimony of many brave and credible witnesses, the House votes to impeach the president for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress.

The facts and the timeline of the case are not really up for debate, despite a total effort by Trump to obstruct the fact-finding mission the House set out on. When asked for documents and testimonies from key players on the President’s staff, the White House refused to turn over ANY documents, and Trump didn’t allow any members of his staff to testify, citing “presidential privilege.”

Now this brings up something important: The Republican Talking Points attempting to discredit the Impeachment and muddy the waters so their ignorant masses stay confused. Here’s the first one: “What’s the big hurry? When there is a dispute between the Legislative branch and the Executive branch, the Judicial branch settles that dispute.” It’s true that this issue of “executive privilege” is something that could be settled within the courts, but that process is very long, and could easily be drawn out by White House lawyers until LONG AFTER the 2020 election takes place… So because the nature of his crime involved trying to pressure a foreign government to affect our election, it is prudent to settle this BEFORE the next election.

Here are a few more GOP talking points, followed by the reason why they are total BS:

  • “The whistleblower started all of this, and we can’t even question him!” This is utter nonsense. Every single thing detailed in the whistleblower’s complaint has been testified to and verified by multiple other witnesses. The whistleblower program is in place so that people can report wrongdoings anonymously without fear of reprisal. Trump has called the whistleblower a “spy” and accused him of treason… Two federal crimes that carry a death sentence. The only reason the GOP focuses so much on wanting the whistleblower to testify is because they want to discourage other whistleblowers from coming forward.
  • “We are a year away… We should let the next election decide this!” This is so asinine. There is always going to be another election down the road… One of the main reasons the founders put impeachment into the Constitution is for fear that the president might use the awesome power of his office to unfairly influence the next election.

  • “This is a partisan witch hunt.” Yes. The voting has been almost entirely down party lines. But the facts of the case are clear and indisputable. The republicans have not focused on disputing the facts… They are focused on attacking the PROCESS. If it seems like it’s just democrats saying he did something wrong, then their followers can write it off as purely political. But this can also be manufactured by republicans circling their wagons and not breaking ranks… despite overwhelming evidence showing improper actions by Trump.
  • “They have been trying to impeach Trump ever since he was elected!” Well, dip shit, that might have something to do with the fact that he keeps committing a whole bunch of crimes. Imagine if a career criminal used the defense that the police have been trying to convict him for YEARS, and that shows that they are just “out to get him.” Give me a break…
  • “Hunter Biden got a well-paying job because of who his dad is.” This bothers you NOW?!? Have you dim wits ever heard of Eric, Ivanka, and Don Jr.?? When it became clear that it didn’t look good that Hunter Biden might be profiting off his dad’s name, he stepped down from his position. CAN WE EXPECT THE SAME FROM TRUMP’S KIDS?
  • “They’re trying to reverse the election. A ‘duly-elected president is being impeached.”  Seriously… All the DUHs that I have. Read the following tweet.

  • “He was just concerned with corruption.” Really? That’s what you’re going with? The guy who was just ordered to pay a $2 million fine for stealing from his own charity and ordered to pay $25 million for defrauding people with “Trump University” is worried about corruption?!? If that’s so, WHY WASN’T HE WORRIED ABOUT CORRUPTION IN 2017 & 2018 WHEN HE APPROVED THE AID TO UKRAINE WHILE THE OBJECTIVELY CORRUPT POROSHENKO WAS PRESIDENT?
  • “They are trying to impeach the president without a ‘fact witness.'” This one is full-on SMDH. The reason they are partially relying on testimony of players who are lower on the totem pole is because THE PRESIDENT REFUSES TO RELEASE ANY DOCUMENTS OR ALLOW HIS STAFF TO TESTIFY!

Please try to imagine that you were accused of committing a crime that you didn’t do, and you had documentation and material witnesses that could testify to your innocence. NOW imagine that when you are asked to turn over that evidence, you refused. Why in the world would someone who didn’t commit a crime refuse to turn over exonerating evidence? If the call was so perfect, let your staff testify…

For regular people, that action of not turning over subpoenaed materials is known as “obstruction of justice.” It is illegal, and it will get you thrown in jail. But for the president, it is only going to get him in trouble if he gets impeached… And, like I mentioned earlier, the SENATE is the jury in an impeachment. But what if you knew that seven out of the 12 jurors would not convict you, no matter how clear it was that you obstructed justice? What motivation would you have to hand over any subpoenaed materials? Especially ones that showed you are guilty…

And this is the situation we find ourselves in as a country right now — The president is very confident that there are no republican senators who will cross party lines and put country over party. He knows that the Senate, who is the jury in the impeachment trial, has 7 out of 12 jurors (or 53 votes) no matter HOW clear the evidence is that Trump is guilty of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

In Nixon’s impeachment, when the supreme court ruled that he had to turn over the tapes, he immediately resigned… Because he knew that the evidence was overwhelming that he was involved in illegal actions and abuse of his presidential power. This is the same thing that Donald Trump knows about the documents that surround the plot to pressure Ukraine to start an investigation on his political opponent.

I have no doubt that Donald Trump actually thinks that he “did nothing wrong.” This is the same person who, when asked about things he’s asked forgiveness for, couldn’t come up with one thing for which he felt remorse. He’s a narcissist… He NEVER thinks he’s done anything wrong. Please recall this clip of this “christian” man — the same one who cheated on all three of his wives and bragged about sexual assault — saying he’s never had a reason to ask God for forgiveness…

All he can do is name drop the name of the pastor of a church no one remembers him ever darkening the doors of… Ugh. I swear. Even encountering videos of him speaking makes me feel so gross.

Even Christianity Today sees it clearly enough to risk alienating and enraging their readers. Regardless of what happens, I can’t foresee any GOP Senator who has the character or integrity to do what’s right and tell this corrupt, festering boil on the anus of America to step down. Which is why the House is considering withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate until they have assurances that they trial will be fair. And when the Senate republicans dishonor their oath to protect and preserve the Constitution of the United States and go AGAINST the rule of law by siding with a corrupt narcissist, this is the message that they will be sending: They will be telling a corrupt, narcissistic man — one who clearly put his own interests over the interest of our nation — that he, in fact, did nothing wrong. They will embolden a man who already believes he is above the law to commit even more crimes at the expense of our nation’s reputation and security. History will forever remember this dishonorable low point in America’s story.

If the dream that was America survives this presidency, that is…

 

Thank you so much for reading! If you value my work and you’d like to say thank you, help support it, or if you’re just feeling the Christmas spirit, you can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Or you can BECOME A PATRON and leave a couple bucks each month. Otherwise, please follow along and add to the conversation on FACEBOOK and on TWITTER. I know people are tired. I’m tired too. Look for things to be hopeful about. Lean on each other. And trust that the moral arc of the universe will bend toward justice… But it will bend a lot sooner if we all pull on it together.

Posted in 2) Politics, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Bat-Shit Crazy, Theocratic Man Running For Mayor Of Grand Rapids

I grew up in Michigan. West Michigan, to be more precise. I spent my youth in a sheltered, idyllic little tourist beach town on the shore of Lake Michigan, and when it was time for college, I didn’t go too far away. I went to Calvin College (now Calvin University, turns out), which is in Grand Rapids. If you’re from Michigan, you definitely know about Grand Rapids, but if you’re not too familiar with the state of Michigan, you might not. People know about Detroit… They know Lansing (from middle school state capitol quizzes)… They might think of Flint (from the water crisis that no one cares about because almost all the people in Flint are black)… But Grand Rapids gets less national press. It’s actually the second largest city in Michigan. And it’s a city that I love. Even though I’m nearly 20 years removed from it, it’s still the home of some of my favorite people on the planet, and it holds — and will always hold — a special place in my heart.

Like many cities the size of Grand Rapids, it has its share of charms and its share of drawbacks. It struggles with the dysfunctional dance between growth and gentrification. It has a deeply religious history, and many of the people living there are torn between naturally conservative sensibilities and a genuine liberal concern and care for the poor and a love for social justice. In the West Michigan I grew up in, if there was an educational funding increase the schools needed, the people would vote for it. Unions just meant workers rights and middle class wages, instead of being conflated with some sort of radical socialism. But like many other palces, there has been a really gross fear growing in that part of the country, and in the 2016 election, somehow Trump won Kent County (Grand Rapids’ County) by 3 points. Despite this disappointment, I believe there is a foundational morality in west Michigan which recoils at this depraved administration and at the wholly immoral man leading it.

Very soon (November 5th), Grand Rapidians will choose their next mayor. There will be two choices on their ballot: The incumbent, democratic Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, and the republican candidate, a Grand Rapids pastor named Daniel Schutte. Now, you might be asking yourself, why is The Boeskool writing about a mayoral election for a Michigan city with fewer people than Oxnard, California (which is, by the way, the only U.S. city named after an Ox’s reproductive organs)? Well, it’s not because my readership in West Michigan is so vibrant that I think anything I say or do is going to sway the election in any meaningful way… It’s because I came across an interview that is one of the most insane, pandering, overt middle fingers to the concept of Separation of Church & State that these eyes have ever seen. It is truly something to behold… You’ll have to see it to believe it.

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I can’t even to such a degree that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to even again…

The Grand Rapids Press, along with the website MLive.com, asked both candidates the same five questions. I will not be sharing Mayor Rosalynn Bliss’ answers. If you are interested in reading them, you can RIGHT HERE. I will just say that her answers are articulate, intelligent, policy-focused, and rational. I WILL, however, be sharing the theocratic madness that Daniel Schutte wrote. Because, seriously — I am simply STUNNED at the level of lunacy this dude is displaying. Brace yourself…



Why should voters elect you?

DS: “I would like to help all of the citizens of Grand Rapids to live a more happier, healthier and productive life based on the principles given to us in God’s holy scriptures — the Bible.”

If elected, what will your top three priorities be?

DS: 1. “To proclaim the glory and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only “answer” to every one of our problems and challenges.”

2. “To address the No. 1 “civil rights” issue of our day … the murder of the precious and unwanted children of Grand Rapids that may be destined to be destroyed through their murder (commonly referred to as “abortion”).”

3. “To seek to make the city of Grand Rapids a “sanctuary city” for all unwanted children destined to be murdered through abortion.”

What would you propose to improve community-police relations?

DS: “I would promote more respect for our GRPD by introducing legislation that would make cursing/assaulting a police man or woman a misdemeanor crime.”

What would you propose to address the city’s current housing challenges?

DS: “Educate in a personal way how any Grand Rapids citizen can acquire clean, adequate housing by following the principles given to us in God’s holy word — the Bible.”

The city commission will soon consider changes to the charter that could expand the ward structure and/or adjust when local elections are held. Would you support any of the proposed changes and what value do you envision in doing so?

DS: “I would not support this change.”


Those were his actual answers.

Now… If you identify as a Christian, please do me a favor and imagine that you are a Muslim or a Jew or a Hindu, and you call Grand Rapids your home… Imagine you are a person who has Rejected Jesus For All The Right Reasons… Or imagine that you are a person who does not believe in God at all… Now imagine reading this pandering, ignorant, theocratic tripe come from a person who is one of two names on the ballot for Mayor of the city you love. This garbage is the American Taliban. Seriously. Only an idiot would vote for this dude. And the really frustrating thing is that the only sort of person who would vote for this guy is the sort of person who is VERY concerned about “Sharia Law.” But the irony is that this un-American pastor/politician’s policies are as close to Sharia Law as this country will ever come.

Imagine being asked about your city’s housing challenges, and answering that you would solve those challenges by teaching everyone “God’s holy word — the Bible.” Imagine being so ignorant of the nuances of community/police relations that your prescription for fixing things is to make cursing a crime (assaulting a police officer is already a crime, DS. And this time, the “DS” stands for Dip Shit). And imagine having TIME to think about your answers & write them down, and this garbage is STILL what you come up with.  This is the sort of person who tries to solve mental illness with Bible verses, budget shortfalls with Bibles Studies, and pandemics with prayers. This man is wholly unqualified to put on a Mayor McCheese outfit… Let alone be mayor of an amazing city like Grand Rapids, Michigan.

So if you live in G-Rap, please do the right thing and vote for the only rational candidate on the mayoral ballot: Vote for Rosalynn Bliss. Or if you know someone who lives in G.R., please send them this post. Let them know Daniel Schutte is a theocratic loon who is basically the American Taliban. Remind them that the reason most of the people who fled their home countries to come here was because religion and politics/power were intertwined in a way that led to persecution. How does someone like this even get on the ballot? Ugh. This guy needs to lose so bad that it is embarrassing. This kind of theocratic BS is not America… It’s not West Michigan… And it’s definitely not Grand Rapids.

 

Thank you SO much to everyone who supports this blog! If you love this blog and you want to help support it, please consider BECOMING A PATRON. It’s super easy. If everyone who reads and values this blog gave a dollar or two a month, it would literally change my life. Or, if you’d like to leave a tip, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter. Thanks again!

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The Not-So-Subtle Sexism of Team Sports Names

“Do you go to a doctor? Or a LADY doctor…”

“Did you get pulled over by a police officer? Or by a LADY police officer…”

“Does your church have a pastor? Or a LADY pastor…”

Imagine if asking questions like these was considered appropriate. Imagine the psychological effects it would have on our girls and young women to grow up in a culture where the default gender for all professions was male, and if a woman happened to work her way into that same profession, people felt the need to throw a “LADY” in front of it.

This is what we are doing to girls and young women in our society when we divide middle school and high school sports teams into “The [Insert Team Name]s” and “The LADY [Insert Team Name]s.” How is it okay that the presumed gender for a sports team is male, and if it’s NOT male, then they have to let you know by putting a “lady” in front of it? How is it 2019, and we are still distinguishing between going to watch The Wildcats play, or going to watch The Lady Wildcats? The Eagles, or The Lady Eagles? The Tigers, or The Lady Tigers? And what does that distinction do to the hearts and minds of the young women who have so much to learn and gain from the experience of organized sports?

My oldest daughter is a freshman in high school this year, and every day I get updates on a GroupMe about her soccer practices and games and whatnot. And with every message that comes in, I am reminded of the ridiculousness that is this idea of throwing a “LADY” in front of the school’s team nickname/mascot. It drives me crazy. There is nothing particularly masculine or feminine about a Panther or a Bear… Or a Bulldog or a Bobcat… Or a Pioneer or a Warrior.

There are other options. For instance, “The UCB (University of Chris Boeskool) Fighting Hyenas Men’s Volleyball Team” and “The UCB Fighting Hyenas Women’s Volleyball team.” How frigging hard is that? But calling them The Hyenas and The LADY Hyenas is just stupid. And insulting. And needlessly sexist.

Who knows… Maybe this is why women are so kick ass. Maybe the reason women today are — by and large — so much more impressive than men is because they have to overcome way more crap like this. They have to work harder. They have to fight against the expectation that they can’t… At least not as well. But regardless of the outcome, it is undeniably stupid to divide athletics into “Default” and “Lady Distinction.”

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Good luck mating those lions, Noah. #MarriageEquality

I’ve written before about the ingrained sexism in our language in a post called “Feeling ‘Manly,’ And Other Lies.” The word “Manly” has synonyms in the thesaurus like Courageous, Bold, Heroic, Noble, Self-Reliant, Virile, Brave, Confident, Fearless, Powerful, Lion-Hearted, Resolute, Stately, Strong… With MANY other virtuous characteristics. While the only synonyms the word “Womanly” has are the following words: Female, Girlish, Ladylike, Maidenly, Matronly, Motherly, and Womanish. This obviously needs to change. And when we elect a woman to be president next year, it will hopefully be a big step in that direction.

In the meantime, if your local middle school or high school is separating their teams into “The Lions” and “The Lady Lions” (or other such nonsense), take a couple minutes to call the school and voice your displeasure. Ask to speak to the principal about it. Talk to the athletic director, and ask him or her (let’s be honest, 95% of the time in high school, it’s probably going to be a “him”) why the default sports mascot is male. Why not “The Grizzlies” and “The GUY Grizzlies?” Give them some time to try to explain it, and listen to them fumble over their words. Ask them if they took education classes or LADY education classes. Then let them know it’s time for them to change…

This has been the longest break between blog posts that I have ever taken since I started writing almost 8 years ago. I’m sorry if you have missed me. I’m not going to go into details right now, but I’ll just say that this last month and a half has easily been the most difficult time of my life. I am so very thankful for those of you who continue to support this blog and my writing.

During this break, I have been working on the book I’m writing. I’m about halfway done! I think you’re going to love it. If you’d like to become a Patron, you can DO THAT HERE. If you’d like to leave a tip on PayPal, you can CLICK RIGHT HERE. Otherwise, you can follow me ON TWITTER and ON FACEBOOK. I love you people. AND I love you LADY people.

 

Posted in 2) Politics, 5) Not Quite Sure | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

ICE Tried To Arrest An Immigrant Family. Their Neighbors Made A Human Chain To Protect Them…

Today, in a the Tennessee town of Hermitage (a suburb of Nashville), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) attempted to arrest and detain an immigrant man who was with his son. The man KNEW HIS RIGHTS, and did not allow the agents into his house. Later, when the man and his son attempted to leave the house in the van he uses to get to work, the ICE agents used their vehicles to block him in.

Ice agents are ALSO not legally allowed to force people from their vehicles without a Judge’s warrant, so the man and his son stayed inside the van as the agents attempted to wait it out. Over the course of the next few hours, neighbors began to assemble around the home. They brought the man and his son water, and even filled the van with gas so they could keep it running to keep them cool in the sweltering Tennessee sun…

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Finally, the neighbors formed a human chain to allow the the man and his son to safely reenter their home. Here is a Facebook Live recording of the neighbors protecting them. You should watch the whole thing. The people in the video are speaking Spanish, but you don’t need to be able to understand a word of Español to understand the bravery and love that is happening here…

 

We are living in a dystopian nightmare… And every day it seems like this republican administration creates another horror story to suck the hope from our hearts. But this is what hope looks like to me: It looks like neighbors lining up shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, and standing in solidarity against the hatred, bigotry, xenophobia, and fear that currently infects the soul of this nation — embodied by the cancer that is Donald Trump. This video is a remedy for hopelessness. I really don’t have a whole lot else to say. Watch it, share it with the people in your lives, and be inspired. There is hope… And it looks like bravely and actively loving our neighbors. Amen.

 

If this blog is one of the things that brings you hope, and if you’d like to help support it, you can help support it by becoming a Patron on PATREON… You can leave a tip on PAYPAL… Or you can follow me on FACEBOOK or on TWITTER. Also, thank you to Metro Council member Fabian Bedne for being an example of what compassionate leadership looks like in Nashville. Nashville folks: Support this man!

Posted in 1) Jesus, 2) Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Deep Racism Of Trump’s “Go Back” Comment, and How It’s As American As Apple Pie

Most of us have heard by now that the President of the United States has gone FULL RACIST this weekend. To the absolute delight of white supremacists everywhere, Donald Trump suggested that U.S Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — all Women Of Color, and all U.S citizens — “GO BACK” to the countries they came from. Just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here you go:

In case you don’t already know, THREE of these four women were born in the United States, while Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia, moved here when she was 10, and became a U.S. citizen when she was 17 years old… Which, by the way, makes her a U.S. citizen a full six years longer than Melania Trump has been a citizen. The occupant of the White House has since doubled & tripled down on his racist comments. Meanwhile, the accomplices in the GOP have circled the wagons… When Kellyanne Conway was asked about Trump’s remarks, she demanded to know the ethnicity of the reporter asking the question (he was Jewish). And when Mitch McConnell was asked if it would be racist for someone to tell his foreign-born & naturalized wife to “Go back to where she came from,” he responded with his usual obfuscating cowardice (seen in the video below).

There is a LONG HISTORY of “Go back to where you came from” in this nation. This sort of sentiment is rooted and based in a deep sense of “If you don’t like OUR country, GO BACK TO THE SHITHOLE YOU CAME FROM.” The question we need to ask is obviously “Who is the ‘OUR’ in that sentence?” And the answer is just as obvious: It’s white people.

They’ll tell you it comes from a place of “America — Love it or leave it.” There have been MANY times in my life — while I was being critical of America — that someone has suggested to me that “If you hate it so much, maybe you should just leave.” The difference is that NEVER has it been suggested that I go *BACK* somewhere. And that’s because I’m white… I obviously “belong” here. Imagine hearing someone say to me “Go back to the Netherlands.” It just wouldn’t happen. And this sentiment is directly related to Trump’s previous “shithole” comments, when he referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” in an Oval Office meeting on Immigration… followed by him openly longing for more immigrants from Norway. But that’s his brand, right? He hasn’t tried to keep it a secret. The “back” in “Go BACK to where you came from” contains a full measure of the insidious hatred & white supremacy infused into the “again” in the slogan “Make America Great AGAIN.”

Which reminds me… That is just some next-level hypocrisy to run an entire campaign on the idea that America isn’t “great” anymore, and that we need to make it “great again” — and THEN, with a straight face, call people “un-American” for criticizing America and thinking we need to make some changes. For the Republican Party to not acknowledge this CLEAR HYPOCRISY is either an acknowledgment of their stupidity or an acknowledgement of their dishonesty. Or both… I suppose they could be both stupid AND dishonest. But I’m pretty sure it’s primarily dishonesty.

And now people (like Kamala Harris, in the first tweet I shared) are reacting to his open racism by calling his comments “Un-American.” Well, I beg to differ. Racism is UN-AMERICAN?!? America was literally BUILT on racism. Call his comments hateful… Characterize them as morally repugnant… Feel free to compare his words to those of past world leaders who openly supported genocide… Tell the truth and call the things he said objectively racist… But don’t call the things he said “Un-American.” America has a rich history of “othering” people, and then telling those others to “go back where they came from.”

The definition of who we mean when we say “WE” is either expanding or contracting. The beginnings of the holocaust and genocide that took place in Germany started with demonizing immigrants. Then it CONTRACTED the idea of who gets to be part of the “WE” of Germany… All the way down to a very specific idea of whiteness or “purity.” And yes, in America there have been periods of time when we have done the hard work of EXPANDING the idea of who gets to be included in the “WE” of this nation. It has taken a Civil War and Constitutional Amendments and marches and funerals, and there have been heroes who have forced those steps toward equality and justice and an American ideal of welcoming all. But opposition to expanding who gets to be “IN” has always been spearheaded by Trump’s group: Wealthy, white men.

It’s nativism. It’s white nationalism. It’s xenophobia. It’s othering. And it’s an American tradition. The “othering” of people groups can be for any number of differences: Accent, language, religion, ethnicity, color, etc… But some of those differences are easier to hide than others. People can learn a new language or drop their accents, but the color of their skin is always with them. An Irish accent can disappear with kids who grow up here, but brown skin will identify someone as “other” for generations. It’s not that skin color is that much scarier than a different religion or a different accent… It’s just that it’s a difference that is easier to identify from a distance.

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Here’s how quintessentially American racist comments like Donalds Trump’s are: If you protest racism in this country, people think you’re protesting America.

And once again, the truly disgusting part of this is the way that the Republican Party rallies around his racist comments, while bending over backwards to excuse them. We have known that Donald Trump is a profoundly broken person for a very long time. This is not surprising behavior from the same person who recently blocked anyone from the U.S. from participating in the “United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.” Americans who are black and brown are already being told to “GO BACK” on a regular basis. Please spend some time reading the responses to this tweet by Gabe Ortíz

If you can read those responses without feeling your heart break, I don’t know what to tell you. People of Color already regularly hear the words “Go back to where you came from” in this country — Most of them started hearing it while they were just children. But the real tragedy is this: How much MORE are these kids, these mothers & fathers, these families going to feel the hateful sting of “GO BACK” now that people see the President of the United States doing it? All while the entire GOP excuses and even justifies it (Please read this terrific article by Neema Avashia titled “I Am From Here.”) For me, as a white man, I can be disgusted at this whole thing, and then move on to be grossed out by the next horrible thing he says… But for many people who don’t look like me, these things have real consequences. They will be dealing with emboldened racists and xenophobes for YEARS to come…

What will it take for the Republican Party to stop supporting and defending this awful man? 

 

HEY! You might have seen the above tweet making the rounds this week. THAT’S ME! Fun, right? Even GOD shared it… TWITTER is one way to keep up with me. FACEBOOK is another. Also, if you love this blog, and you’d like to help support it, you can totally do that. You can LEAVE A TIP ON PAYPAL. Or you can BECOME A PATRON and give a little bit each month. Most of all, thank you so much for reading.

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

Harvard Admissions, and How To Tell If You’re Racist

It seems that many conservatives are outraged over the fact that Harvard University has rescinded its invitation to Marjory Stoneman Douglas Shooting survivor & “conservative activist” Kyle Kashuv. If you don’t know the story, here’s the gist: Kyle Kashuv was a junior when the Parkland shooting happened. In the wake of the massacre at his school, while most of his classmates called for gun reform, Kashuv made headlines by posting videos on Twitter of himself shooting an AR-15. His pro-gun stance made him the darling of Fox”News”, conservative/white supremacist voices like Charlie Kirk & Ben Shapiro, and even earned him a meeting with the Racist-In-Chief, Donald Trump. He became the high school outreach director for the far-right political group “Turning Point USA” — a group focused on fanning the flame of right-wing ideology on college campuses, and a group which has had a history of problems (SERIOUSLY) with its leadership saying and doing very racist things… Including TPUSA’s Chief Creative Officer kicking off a TPUSA event by saying, “My people. My people… Oh my God, I’ve never seen so many white people in one room; this is incredible!” Here’s the video:

It was after Kashuv’s appointment to the TPUSA position that his history of racist statements was brought to national attention. Some of Kashuv’s classmates threatened to expose the racist statements he made if he didn’t resign, and he abruptly left TPUSA to “focus his attention on school safety legislation” (the kind that doesn’t include gun control, to be clear). Classmates recalled him using the N-word regularly while he was in school. In one online exchange, he gave a girl a “rating” of 7 out of 10, and mentioned that she “goes for n*****jocks.”  He also bragged about being good at spelling the N-word because “practice makes perfect.” He made the racist statements when he was a junior — a couple months before the shooting occurred — and he’s a senior now. As these things do, Kashuv’s history of racist comments became public (as well as anti-semitic comments calling for people to “kill all the fucking Jews.” Which is odd, as Kyle Kashuv’s — whose middle name I don’t know, but I would not be surprised at all to find out was Kevin — family is from Israel). Harvard decided they didn’t want that kind of garbage at the most prestigious college in the world. Harvard has a policy where they can withdraw an invitation to attend “if you engage or have engaged in behavior that brings into question your honesty, maturity, or moral character(emphasis mine). This isn’t the first time they have done something like this —  Two years ago, they also rescinded offers from 10 incoming freshmen for sharing racist and sexually offensive memes on a Facebook page.

Harvard’s decision to rescind Kashuv’s admission has been met with much conservative outrage… From partisan hacks like Ben Shapiro to people like who sometimes dabble in rational thought like David Brooks. People are chalking up his racist comments as a “youthful mistake,” and they’re calling for forgiveness and grace. “A small mistake shouldn’t define the rest of your life!” cry the same people who defend the police shooting of Tamir Rice… A 12 year old boy… Who was playing in a park with a toy gun… In an open carry state… And was shot dead before the police car stopped rolling.

And now that former republican lawmaker David Jolly has said that Kashuv’s statements remind him of a school shooter, people are even MORE upset. He said that when he looks at Kashuv’s statements,  he sees the sort of “social media postings we see of a shooter, and we ask, ‘Where were the signs?’” But just look at the post to which he is referring…

So you might be wondering why this post is titled “How To Tell If You’re Racist.” I’d say that the vast majority of the people who are upset at what Harvard did would SWEAR UP AND DOWN that they are “not racist.” They’ll tell you about “black friends.” They’ll point you toward “Diamond & Silk” or Candice Owens (“Racist White America’s Black Friend”) or other black voices (whom white supremacists love to quote) who insist that racism doesn’t exist. But the truth is that racism DOES exist… And it’s the biggest reason why people are so upset about Kyle Kashuv not getting to go to Harvard. If you’re upset, it’s not because a college admissions office was “unfair” in judging a kid by what he did when he was 16… As these two perfect tweets point out, that is LITERALLY how university admissions works:

And that SHOULD settle it, right? I mean, how DARE Harvard not accept me just because I got a bunch of B’s and C’s while I was in high school!?! PEOPLE CHANGE!!! Listen — If you are upset about Kyle not getting into Harvard, it’s because you don’t think that using the N-word is that big of a deal. Period. So now, in the spirit of Jeff Foxworthy’s famous “You Might Be A Redneck” bit, here are some ways to know if you *MIGHT* be totally racist:

  • If you’re outraged about Harvard rescinding their invitation to a rich white kid who repeatedly used the N-word online and in real life, but you’re not outraged that the United States is running concentration camps for immigrants at the border, you MIGHT be totally racist…
  • If you’re suddenly concerned with the injustice of how we treat our youth, but you felt like Trayvon Martin’s murder was probably “justified” after you saw the picture of him flipping off the camera, or you heard that he once got in trouble for having weed, you MIGHT be totally racist…
  • If you think that gay couples who are refused service at cake stores should just “find another bakery,” but you are super pissed about a white kid being told to find another college after bragging about being good at writing the N-word, you MIGHT be totally racist…
  • If you think that the racist practices and people Harvard tolerated 200 years ago are equivalent to Kyle Kashuv using the N-word 20 months ago, you MIGHT be totally racist…
  • If you’re more outraged over a white kid being kept out of Harvard than you are about brown kids being separated from their parents and kept in LITERAL CAGES, you MIGHT be totally racist…
  • If you’re fine with a 16 year old black kid getting the consequence of life in prison for a horrible decision he made, but you’re very angry about a 16 year old white kid getting the consequence of not getting to go to Harvard after making the horrible decision to post racist, misogynist, & anti-semitic comments, you MIGHT be totally racist…

You know what? There’s really no “MIGHT” about it… You’re totally racist. Sorry. And I’m also sorry that the ones I came up with weren’t nearly as funny as Jeff Foxworthy’s… Though, to be fair, Foxworthy’s jokes really aren’t that funny either. Come to think of it, most of the ones I came up with would probably work with the “might be a redneck” line too. Ahh well, moving on…

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Here’s an easy way to tell if you’re racist: If you’re more upset about Kyle not getting to go to Harvard than you were about Trayvon not getting to go to college EVER, I’ve got some bad news for you…

One more thing to think about: This is not just about what is “fair” to Kyle Kashuv… It’s also about what is fair to the black student who worked her ass off her whole life to get into Harvard, and then finds herself having to sit next to some douchebag who belittled a girl for being into “N*****jocks” while he was a junior in high school, the whole world found out about it, and then the college you worked so hard for STILL let him in. How would admitting him be fair to HER?

I truly hope Kyle Kashuv learns from this and grows into a fantastic human being. I do. I hope he dedicates his life to making this right. I hope he moves beyond an apology, and learns firsthand about ATONEMENT. Life is a learning experience, and we all make mistakes… Some of those mistakes have consequences, and the one this kid made resulted in him not being able to go to Harvard University. Don’t worry Kyle: There are other colleges out there… I’m certain that Liberty University will still take you.

I took a couple weeks off because sometimes it all feels so huge and depressing and overwhelming. But I just want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to those of you who help support me. It really helps. If you’d like to support this blog, the best way is to BECOME A PATRON. If you’d like to leave a tip for a post you really love, you can DO THAT ON PAYPAL. Otherwise, you can follow me on TWITTER, or on FACEBOOK, or you can subscribe to this blog up near the top of this page. Thanks again for reading!

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For Memorial Day, The U.S. Army Asked, “How Has Serving Impacted You?” It Did NOT Go As They Had Planned…

Over this Memorial Day weekend, the U.S. Army posted a PR video of a soldier telling about how his service has changed him. He said that it allowed him to “serve something greater than myself… The Army has afforded me the opportunity to do just that: To give to others, to protect the ones that I love, and to better myself as a man and a warrior.” They then posed the question, “How has serving impacted you?” I don’t think the responses they received are what they had in mind when they asked Twitter the question.

The responses were an avalanche of people — both soldiers & family members of soldiers — bearing witness to the trauma we inflict on our young people when we ask them to kill and be killed for the whims of the government. I’ve collected a few of the heartbreaking responses here for you to read and reflect on.

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I love this country, but you will never catch me “pledging allegiance” to the flag… Or the republic for which it stands. We are so very, very far from “liberty and justice for all.”

Many of those who responded spoke about the futility of war…

Many talked about how war eats people up and spits them out changed and broken…

Many soldiers spoke of the sexual harassment & assault they faced while serving…

Many speak to the continuing nightmares and trauma…

Some of the most powerful and heartbreaking statements were from the family members of soldiers…

And many more spoke to the fact that veterans are MORE THAN TWICE AS LIKELY to commit suicide than those outside of the military. Around 20 veterans kill themselves every day… And that does not necessarily count those who kill themselves in non-traditional ways, like high speed driving “accidents” or walking in front of a train…

There are literally hundreds & hundreds more. They should all be required reading before people enlist. To the Army’s credit, at least they have left the thread up, even though the responses are OVERWHELMINGLY negative. They posted the following comments:

Almost eight years ago I wrote a blog post (I can’t believe it’s been that long) that was titled “Sacrificing Our Children To The Nation-State”, and make no mistake: That IS what we are doing. In the essay Sacrificing the Sacrifices of War, Stanley Hauerwas writes, “No sacrifice is more dramatic than the sacrifice asked of those sent to war, that is, the sacrifice of their unwillingness to kill. Even more cruelly, we expect those that have killed to return to ‘normality.’” The greatest sacrifice we demand of these young men and women is NOT their time or their bodies or even their lives… The greatest sacrifice is asking them to sacrifice the part of our souls which knows we are not meant to kill each other. So as you kick back and grill some burgers and have a few drinks on this National Holiday, spare some thoughts for the many ways we have broken these precious people with our endless commitment to war… As well as our willingness to blindly venerate the people who have been sacrificed to the American War Machine. Happy Memorial Day.

 

Thank you for reading. Please honor these people’s service by believing the truth of the trauma that continue to face… Please go to the thread on Twitter, and spend some time reading their stories. If you’d like to stay in touch with me and my writing, you can subscribe to this blog, or you can follow me ON FACEBOOK and ON TWITTER. Take care of each other…

 

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