The Line in the Sand: I Side with Eminem and So Would Jesus

The Line in the Sand: I Side with Eminem and So Would Jesus

My whole life I was made to believe I was sick when I wasn’t
‘Til I grew up, now I blew up, it makes you sick to ya stomach
Doesn’t it?

Eminem

Last night during the Hip Hop Awards, Eminem gave an explosive freestyle rap, blasting Trump, and drawing a line in the sand to his fans. Either you’re on the side of his, or you’re on the side of Trump. He showed courage and the ultimate middle finger to any of his supporters that are continuing to support this president. He stands to lose money or he stands to gain, however, in that historical moment, he didn’t care. Humans are more important.

You see, Eminem didn’t draw the line first. The line has been drawn by conservative Christianity for years. Either you’re their version of a believer, or you’re out, lost, sick, wayward, and backslidden. The line has been drawn by Donald Trump now for over a year. Either you stand with the media, or Donald Trump. Either you stand with the NFL, or Donald Trump. Either you stand with the white supremacists in Charlottesville, or you stand with the people protesting against racism. We can all pretend this line isn’t as deep as the Grand Canyon, but we’d all be naive. There is clearly a line, and you are on one side or the other.

You may think Eminem is a hypocrite because of his vulgarities in his rap music. You may say he has no right to criticize Trump because his rap music is full of filthy words. Do you know what his filthy words are about? I’ve been listening to Eminem for almost 20 years now. He is a lyrical genius that expresses the rage we all feel inside, deep in our bones and with every cell in our body. Some are too blind to appreciate his artistry to even try and understand what he is brilliantly bringing forth to the youth. They’ve tried to silence him, and censor him. Republicans tried to take him off the air for his offensive lyrics in 2001.

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So what does Eminem rage against?

Child abuse. Domestic Violence. Inequality. Poverty. Racism. War. Violence. Hypocrisy. Censorship. Gang Violence. Suicide. Sexual Assault. Rape. Police Brutality. Human Suffering. Drug addiction.

All of his epic lyrics that bring to the light all of these issues are lost on some because he doesn’t speak their language. All they can hear are the swear words. All they hear are the words on the surface. Art is deep. The message is deeper than the literal words. Eminem is no saint. He wouldn’t claim to be.  There are some of his lyrics that I obviously, cannot get behind. However, I see what he is speaking through his lyrical poetry. His truth is his art not actual action in real life. His profane lyrics don’t match his deeds. However, Trump matches his horrible words with actual deeds.

What does Donald Trump rage against?

Equality. Racial Justice. LGBTQ. The Poor. Immigrants. Mexicans. Women. Black Americans. The Disabled. POW heroes. The sick. The “hit” the budget has taken because of the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico, raging against victims.

You’re damn right I’m on the side of Eminem. No apologies. No shame. No guilt.

My blaring question is who in their right mind isn’t on the side with me and Eminem? Who in their heart and spirit can even justify being on the side of Donald Trump? People have tried to censor me as well for using my platform to rage against all things that burn me and others. I’m not following the Word of God, they say. Every word in the Bible is God-breathed. How about this verse in Ezekiel 23:20:

 “There she lusted after her lovers,

whose genitals were like those of donkeys

and whose emission was like that of horses.”(NIV)

This came from the mouth of God? Gasp.

But KJV only churches mask this verse with a more clean version to hide the filth in order to deceive further.

“For she doted upon their paramours,

whose flesh is as the flesh of asses,

and whose issue is like the issue of horses.”

Both verses mean the exact same thing. What word is this that is God-breathed? It’s vulgar. It’s pornographic. Yet, people are conditioned to be more offended by swear words than they are actual issues that deserve our collective disgust. Bring your Bible to school though kids. Read your Bibles that include passages about sizes, emissions, murder, and genocide. Read those passages advocating rape and slavery.

Turn off Eminem, he’s a soldier of hell, right?

Something is amiss, America. Something is so wrong with all of this. Some of us see it and we are blasting whatever fire we have inside at the cold, stark, truth. We are showing bravery, courage, and willingness to lose it all. We have to. How can we not speak against this evil force in office?

They’ve drawn their line. Evangelicals drew it again with their Nashville Statement. Anyone who is affirming to LGBTQ cannot call themselves Christian. Well, I’m not that kind of Christian. I will happily describe myself as a Jesusist, if that rocks their world. Because the Jesus I know, love, and follow, raged against all of the same things as Eminem. They tried to shut him up too. The religious and political leaders of the day tried to censor his message too by killing him. His message lives on though. Love will be spoken and has been resurrected. Love will survive and will overcome the other side. Instead of drawing a line, he said in Matthew 12:30:

“He that is not with me is against me.”

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To the “Godless”: We Must Stop the Rising Theocracy of Radicalized Christianity

To the “Godless”: We Must Stop the Rising Theocracy of Radicalized Christianity

“Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8

During the Obama years, and since, if you are left-leaning, democrat, or a liberal, you may have heard insults that you are “godless”. This seems to be the rhetoric of the religious right. If you are not one of them, you are a heathen and are among the secular “godless”. I am among you if you have been called any of these things. In fact, just this week I was called “the darkness” in a Franklin Graham Twitter thread. Why?  Because I was calling out Trump for his immorality, and reiterating my refusal to support him. Interestingly, I was using the words of Christ to prove my point.

This polarization and demonization of human beings not falling in line with the religious right is concerning on many levels. The United States seems to be moving toward a theocracy where the religion of the religious right is taking over, seeking power, control, and oppression to anyone refusing allegiance. The Republican Tax bill revealed on November 2nd, repeals the Johnson amendment which prohibits churches and other religious groups from making political statements and backing certain causes. Churches and other religious groups can still maintain their tax-exempt status while endorsing certain candidates or other issues. There are no limits to how much political influence this gives the church, and how easily this makes the rising theocracy a reality.

While I’m not going to add insult to injury and call them out on their “godless” behavior, I will say that I don’t worship the same “God” they do. Since America is blessed with the constitution guaranteeing that no law shall be established in respect or adherence to any one religion, as American citizens, we legally do not have to comply with this theocracy. The First Amendment clearly states:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

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However, the religious right is in charge right now. They are making policies right now. They are trying to put prayer back in public schools. They are trying to end sexual education in public schools. There are Christian organizations disrespecting separation of church and state by handing out Bibles to children on public school property. They are trying to thrust creationism into science classrooms while at the same time, fighting against the teaching of evolution.

All of these efforts by the religious right point me to the conclusion that Christianity, at large, has become radicalized. Historically speaking, it has always been radicalized. There has always been an “us vs. them” mentality present as Christian history speaks for itself. There have always been times where “followers of Christ” believe themselves to be the elite, while all others are lacking in God’s favor, and deserve damnation. Christian crusaders truly believed, and were manipulated and lawfully forced to believe that it was their duty to kill non-believers, and they did.

This same radical belief is still present today.

The mentality present during the crusades still persists in the psyche of fundamentalism, only it will be post-rapture crusades. In their belief system, Jesus is coming soon to take them out of this earth because they are the true believers. All other humans, all other religions, and arguably all other sects of Christianity (such as progressive, Catholicism, Lutheran, etc.) will be left behind. For 7 years all those left behind will suffer horrible afflictions by God. After this horrific 7 years dubbed the “tribulation”,  Jesus and his “church” comes back down to earth.  Once and for all they will defeat (kill, send to hell) evil (non-believers). After this Holy War,  the elite will reign in a kingdom on earth for 1000 years.

I used to believe this. Now I see nothing more than a post-apocalyptic crusade.

However, fundamental Christians are looking forward to the rapture. They yearn for it. The rapture is their ultimate reward for their service to Christ. It will be the most glorious day of their life. But how can that be? Will they look back from the heavens and see their fellow humans suffering in torment and feel joy? How could heaven be a place of peace, love, and harmony while knowing what is happening to other humans? I wouldn’t feel happy. I would be in misery in this heaven, just as I am in misery on earth amidst human suffering.

Still, this radical belief persists and the “us vs. them” mentality runs rampant causing harmful division and policies hurting other humans. I am not impressed with the moral integrity of those subscribing to the “us” category. I don’t want to be one of them. It seems that racism is on their side. It seems that oppression of the poor and sick is on their side. Hatred of LGBTQ, gun worshipping, and destruction of the environment is on their side. Building walls, deporting foreigners, death penalty, and war is on their side.  Also,  turning a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians because of being pro-Israel, is on their side.

Yet, this side calls anyone else “godless”.

If being godless means I have to suddenly change my inherent compassion to such an extreme as to embrace their god and join them, then perhaps they are correct in that assumption. I am void of that kind of god. I am not void of love. But God is Love, right? So in insulting the left with terms like “godless”, they are in a sense calling us “loveless”.

I can think of no other loveless act than taking great pleasure in leaving this world behind to suffer at the hands of a radical God. I can think of no other loveless act than sending any form of creation to Hell for eternity because they were created into a Muslim family, or with a homosexual pre-disposition.

Unfortunately, as long as humans can embrace and are manipulated to embrace a God that would do any of these things and yet still think this God is love, we are all going to fall prey to this radical, extreme division. Make no mistake, anyone not them is an enemy in the war for this extreme Christ.

This extreme Christ is not the Gospel, however.

The Gospel of Christ is inclusivity, and unconditional love, grace, forgiveness for all. It is raising the oppressed, helping the poor, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, welcoming the foreigner, and visiting the imprisoned. In no sense of the word is there a questionnaire to be filled out by those we are supposed to help asking whether or not they said the sinner’s prayer. Jesus even forgave the people killing him and allowed them to do so.  If Jesus had this type of character in this world, how does he suddenly change into a militant army warrior causing and delighting in the suffering of humans, post-rapture?

It isn’t Jesus. This isn’t the one I know and tell my children about. It isn’t the one that I will follow in this theocracy. I encourage everyone to join organizations that are fighting to uphold the separation of church and state. This law exists to keep radical religions from becoming state law. If this isn’t kept in check, there are no limits to how this religion can be exploited at the detriment of citizens not falling in line. We need no other example but Christianity’s own history.

Links to organizations:

ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)

Freedom From Religion Foundation

Americans United for Separation of Church and State