Resistance in America: House of the Rising Son

Resistance in America: House of the Rising Son

There is a House in America, it’s called the Rising Son. There is undoubtedly a national rising of the light after the revelation of the little border children being separated from their parents and put into cages/internment camps. The line between good vs. evil is blatantly clear, and those who had ears to hear and eyes to see, are awake.

I was raised to fight this fight. The church inadvertently prepared me for one of the greatest spiritual and/or social battles of my lifetime. I was raised to be suspicious of false prophets. I was raised to recognize the signs of the antichrist. I now understand why I was always the round peg trying to fit into a square hole in Christianity. I now can see with perfect clarity, that I have been in the resistance for my entire life, and I was disliked over it, since day one.

Maybe you have too. I’ve encountered so many black sheeps in their Christian families during the last 2 and a half years fighting this regime. There seems to be one in every family. One agitator. One resistor. One liberal. One democrat. We’ve spent our lives asking questions, denying division, and fighting the fight of the underdogs.

Who are the underdogs? They are the group that haters of the light seek to oppress. The vulnerable. The poor. The sick. The LGBTQ’s. The atheists. The agnostics. Muslims. POC.

In Jesus’ terms: THE LEAST OF THESE.

For two years I’ve seen conservatives accept the unacceptable, day after day. Now I’m seeing Christians ignore the cries of the little children at the border. To be blatantly clear, these children escaping poverty, violence, and abuse are the least of these. Jesus also says time and time again, that he is the least of these, and whatever we do to the least of these, we do to Jesus.

Christians that are still supporting this rising fascist regime are advocating putting Jesus in cages, wrapping him in foil blankets, and tearing him away from his parents. These Christians are being duped by an anti-Christ, obviously, and I can see how he has easily managed to do that.

Yet, we, the ones who feel the pain of these children maintain our existence as the “godless hordes coming to destroy America.”

So, who am I seeing fighting for the least of these at this point in human history? It isn’t the majority of the fundamental/evangelical church. It is the LGBTQ’s, the ex-evangelicals, the atheists, agnostics, Episcopalians, unitarians, ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), Methodists, universalists, Muslims, some Catholics, and the democrats.

The fundamental/evangelical church paints everyone other than them as an enemy to convert. My entire life I saw the elitism, and the religious superiority. There is a common enemy here, and all people that are fighting with the cry for justice in our soul are fellow light workers. We are the light of the world, and we have just woken up to the strength of our numbers. If we had let division win over religion, race, or sexual orientation, the resistance would’ve been weakened, the enemy’s plan.

We continue to rage against evil. We will continue to mobilize and inspire the ones that have ears to hear. We leave the others to go about their path, pray heavy conviction on their hearts, and pray for them to turn from their allegiance to this fascist cult. Also, when they turn, it is important to forgive them. Their blindness has caused our light to grow in total opposition and righteous anger, therefore, it has served its’ purpose.

However, no longer do we feel pressed down by their opinions. It makes sense to me as to why I haven’t been supported. It makes sense to me as to why I have had to fight tooth and nail to speak for healing, thriving, science, equality, healthcare, climate, and love for the world. It should make sense to you as well.

So rise up fellow fighters for the least of these, and health of the earth. Do not fear either, love will overcome the world.

In conclusion, whether you’re an atheist, agnostic, of another religion or no religion, Jesus said we will be hated for our love for the least of these. He tells us time and time again that he is the vulnerable, the oppressed, and the suffering. This isn’t an egotistical narcissist claiming a one man show. Therefore, this applies to us all in these dark times. Stand firm in your love.

and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for, and we have just woken up to our life purpose.

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Another Week, Another School Shooting: Our Prayers Need to Change

Another Week, Another School Shooting: Our Prayers Need to Change

“The problem I am submitting to you arises not about prayer in general but only about that kind of prayer which consists of request or petition…. I have no answer to my problem, though I have taken it to about every Christian I know.”

 C.S. Lewis

Prayer has taken quite a beating in the last few years. As weather catastrophes, human suffering, mass shootings, and global tragedies are in our face daily due to the recent development of the world wide web, prayer seems incredibly useless. I, too, am really tired of Christians offering prayers for the victims of gun violence, yet doing nothing and voting for the opposite of policies aimed at reducing gun violence. I, too, have wondered what the point is.

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This week, another school shooting in Benton, Kentucky, has devastated another community, more families, and more children have been taken from us in yet another horrific, possibly preventable way. It was the 11th school shooting recorded since the New Year, and the 50th of the academic year. In fact, since 2013, there have been nearly 300 school shootings, which is approximately one per week.

Our prayers aren’t working. 

Is God listening?

Does God not care?

If God is all-good, all-knowing, and all-powerful, then where is the evidence of that? An all-good, all-powerful God wouldn’t just stand by as his children are being murdered, when He in fact could use His power and stop it.

What is the point of continuing to pray to God to stop the gun violence, when there are children in American schools being murdered once a week and nothing is being done about it?

Questions about prayer have churned and burned in my mind for a very long time, even before I left fundamental/evangelical Christianity. These questions have never stopped me from praying, except for my six month stint as an atheist, yet, over the years the way I pray has changed. Instead of praying TO God/the spirit/the Universe, I have learned to pray WITH.

The archaic, superstitious ideas we have about prayer need a major paradigm shift.

I was asked and blessed to review Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God, written by Mark G. Karris. For anyone interested in deconstructing prayer, I highly recommend this book. It is intelligent, well-written, transformative, and brings forth a fresh perspective on prayer that is desperately needed right now in the world.

What I love most about this book is the authenticity and courage of Mark G. Karris in asking serious questions about prayer and dissecting theological pitfalls. It is never easy to bring forth new ideas and doubts within the Christian religion. Often times, people who do so are ridiculed, deemed heretical, and face very heart-breaking judgments from close friends and family. He discusses his fear in the quote below:

“Deconstructing the sacred practice of petitionary prayer on behalf of others is no easy task. It has been performed for thousands of years across all theistic religions and is a staple in churches across the world. The last thing I desire is to be deemed a heretic and ostracized by the Christian community. Anyone who has ever questioned the status quo regarding any revered Christian doctrine or practice knows the anxiety it provokes. Still, a part of me was not able to shake a nagging fear that petitionary prayers for sick or hurting people from a distance, or for systemic injustice or world catastrophes, could very well be like rubbing a rabbit’s foot for good luck. It might help the person rubbing the rabbit’s foot feel better, but that is all that occurs. At least that was one of my fears as I began this investigative journey.”

I am thankful that he forged ahead with this book. I know first-hand how difficult it is to leave the box, and yet there is a pull we have to follow. Not only does this book dissect prayer for those of us who share the same curiosity, but it’s a fine example of breaking free from the confines of your religion to bring forth a new, useful, and needed perspective. This book will inspire readers to not only shift their beliefs regarding prayer, but also, hopefully inspire others to delve into their own investigative journeys about other doctrines and dogma that meet our needs and the needs of others in this dying, hurting world. He discusses the importance of doubt and questioning with the following quote:

“Doubting and questioning are, in part, what enables positive changes in society and across history, such as the abolishment of slavery, the empowerment of women to vote, the research undertaken to save lives with vaccines, the technology used to create computers and to take us to the moon, the raising of the minimum wage, and the crafting of new genres of music to name but a few instances. Can doubts and questions assist petitionary prayer in becoming more liberating and valuable? I hoped so.”

After reading this book, I feel that I have a better understanding of prayer; spiritually, empirically, theologically, and feel I have learned a better, more valuable way to approach it. This book will definitely live on my bookshelf  as an exemplary reference.

In order not to reveal too many spoilers, I hesitate to dive in as deep as I could with the material. However, I would like to leave you with this very important summation of this shift in perspective I hope will thrive. Mark G. Karris writes about the paradigm shift regarding petitionary prayer using the heart-breaking Syrian refugee crisis in the following quote:

“I wonder what the impact would be if, instead of praying, “God, stop the violence,” “God, heal their land,” or “God, save the poor children,” our first impulse was to pray, “God, we praise you, we thank you, and we know you care more about these people than we do. Show us how we can collaborate with you to stop the violence. Show us impactful and practical ways we can partner with you and heal their land. God, we are devastated along with you; reveal to us your loving will and empower us to bring forth shalom for these hurting children.”

In conclusion, we are co-creators. It is up to us to partner with whatever higher power you believe in to bring healing to this pale blue dot we all share. We cannot continue to pray the way we have been taught. Regarding America’s school shooting epidemic, I implore us to pray with God, like this:

“Show me how I can help reduce gun violence in America. Show us solutions via legislation, that will not add more weaponry, but more peace.  Reveal to us the ways we may be used as pawns for gun sales. Help me work with you to bring about gun violence reduction. Reveal to me the ways in which I have been an accomplice by inaction. Show me how I can act now, how to vote, what to say, and how to share with others my commitment to take seriously the need for gun reform. Give me courage to stand alone in my community if need be. Help me to echo your desire for healing and shalom.”

“We are the Divine Echoes!”

Read more: Divine Echoes: Reconciling Prayer with the Uncontrolling Love of God, written by Mark G. Karris

Blessed Are The “Shithole” Countries, the Kingdom Belongs to Them.

Blessed Are The “Shithole” Countries, the Kingdom Belongs to Them.

Can you imagine Jesus calling Haiti or other countries in Africa “shithole” countries?

Yesterday in the Oval Office, Trump questioned why the U.S. would admit more immigrants from Haiti and Africa, as he rejected a plan by a group of bipartisan senators which would change the entrance rules for these countries. While arguing his opinion, Trump referred to Haiti and countries in Africa as “shithole” countries. People in the meeting have confirmed the “shithole” statement, but of course, Trump is denying it.

While this feels so immature to engage in he said she said, it is vitally important that we denounce this racist, derogatory, speech as an American value. Also, it is important to expose this non-Christian sentiment coming from a professed Jesus follower. Once again, we are seeing the true colors of Trump’s hypocrisy. Also, his “Christian” claim is only an attempt to manipulate the religious right into helping further oppression.

He isn’t fooling me. He isn’t fooling so many of us. However, work must be done to expose this lie, and so I shall persist, as should you.

Haiti was the first country outside of the United States that I remember learning existed. My grandfather used to love to tease us grandkids with stories of eating monkey brains and fire-roasted termites in Haiti. According to him, the monkey brains didn’t taste all that bad and the termites tasted like popcorn. My grandpa was very fond of his missionary experience in Haiti, and I remember him talking about it often.

Like many children from fundamentalist and evangelical churches, I grew up with a global perspective. My grandfather’s church that he pastored was heavily involved in supporting missionaries, some in Haiti, and many in Africa. I was blessed as a little girl growing up learning about other cultures and human suffering; poverty, famine, and disease. The missionaries that our church supported usually came once a year to give a slideshow presentation of their travels.

I remember the pictures. I remember the stories. I did not grow up with a nationalist perspective that seems to have taken over Christianity in America. I grew up learning that Jesus loves all the children of the world. I was raised in a belief system that taught me to care about others living in other countries. The stories and pictures I remember seeing as a child do not leave me, and I am unsure how they seemed to have left so many others.

My grandfather cared about people outside of America, very much. In 1969 he helped establish Technical Assistance Mission (TAM), a non-profit providing support to missionary organizations that provide religious support to hundreds of individuals worldwide. This non-profit still operates and is part of his legacy. He spent 30 years actively supporting global missionaries. Supporting global missionaries is largely a fundamentalist and evangelical tenet, and yet “America First” has plagued the pulpits.

Churches all over America should be outraged and saddened by this recent statement by Donald Trump. They should see the pharisee in him, the lie. They should see the rotten fruit. I am appalled at the church’s continued support and blind eye given. It is a tragedy that he is using Jesus Christ for political gain and manipulation. One only needs to read the Gospels to see that He is lying to Christians. Leaders such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Franklin Graham surprise me on a daily basis with their continued support.

I try and imagine my grandfather being here today supporting Donald Trump. I can’t see it. I have been unable to see it since the primaries. He wouldn’t be silent right now. I can’t be. If I were to be silent I would be dishonoring not only Jesus Christ, but the legacy of my grandfather. The man who taught me about loving the entire world and all people.

Immediately upon reading Trump’s words calling Haiti and countries in Africa “shithole” countries, the Beatitudes came to my mind. I doubt that Donald Trump knows what those are, however, he should know what Jesus thinks of Haiti and Africa.

 

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Blessed are the “shithole” countries, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.

Those who have ears, hear.

America in Trumpland: Top 6 lies in this Rabbit Hole

America in Trumpland: Top 6 lies in this Rabbit Hole

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

The world has gone mad it seems. Everyday it is increasingly becoming more difficult to make sense of this new normal or this new America. It appears that we’ve followed the white rabbit into a hole that has lead us into a land of confusion and exhausting cognitive dissonance. We are being told that what we are seeing and hearing are complete lies. This wonderland of nonsense is honestly similar to a bad acid trip, and yet everyday the flashbacks are compounded. I feel like Alice in Trumpland where everyday I’m supposed to believe impossible things and strange characters are appearing in droves.

All that’s missing is synchronized dancing and singing.

However, unfortunately this isn’t some fantasy world created by a literary genius. We are smack dab into a nightmare twilight zone, and I have to believe that the majority of us want to find our way home. In the words of the great Robert Frost, “the best way out is through.” Therefore, if we actively point out the nonsense, everyday, and as much as we can, I believe we will find our way through the looking glass and defeat this orange jabberwocky.

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Here are my top “Six Impossible Things We are Supposed to Believe Before Breakfast.”

  1. Donald Trump is a Christian.

There is no verifiable evidence in Donald Trump’s words, deeds, or history that even remotely resembles a follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, everything about him is the exact opposite as there is no positive fruit that he brings forth unto the world. There is no love, kindness, humbleness, or gentleness period in his character. Not only were we all well aware of this well before the election, but everyday since with everything he says and does. I would challenge anyone to show me a single ripe fig growing from his tree. Therefore, I reject this falsity with a rigorous, ferocious ABSOLUTELY NOT, and I implore evangelicals and fundamentalists to examine the mountains of evidence clearly exposing that he is using this lie to manipulate the religious right.

2.  Climate change is a hoax. 

The only reason this lie is important to tell is because of the oil industry. This lie is about money and believing it only benefits the rich oil tycoons. America is the only country in the world that is not part of the Paris Climate Agreement, a global pact to combat global warming by gradually reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, which result from the burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. I am thankful that the entire world is onboard because this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed right now. The evidence of global warming is extensive and verifiable using exhaustive data and 97% of the world’s scientists are in agreement. America needs to lead the endeavor toward clean energy or we will leave our status as a world leader in innovation and technology. Also, our children’s futures are undeniably at stake.

3.  There was no collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign to steal the 2016  Election.

This absurdity deserves a post all of it’s own to refute, however, the evidence of collusion is impossible to ignore. Recently Micheal Flynn plead guilty to lying to the FBI, adding to the haystack in which the needle of the Trump narrative cannot be found. An excerpt from the Washington Post below is a minuscule attempt to uncover this falsity, however within it there are definitely enough reasons to reject this third impossible thing we are supposed to believe.

“We know President Trump during the campaign publicly encouraged the Russians to hack and release Hillary Clinton’s emails. We know he referenced the WikiLeaks email dump 145 times in the closing days of the campaign. We also know that Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort met with Russians in June 2016 with the promise of “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, and we have learned that campaign adviser George Papadopoulos had extensive contacts with Russian officials that included discussion of “dirt” on Clinton. To say that there is no evidence of collusion, then, would be one more big lie in a series of big lies the administration has deployed to defend itself in the Russia investigation that threatens to sink this presidency.”

4.  Donald Trump is not a sexual predator/abuser.

18 women have continuously come forward with their experience being sexually assaulted by Donald Trump. In order for me to reject these women’s testimonies, I would have to forego all common sense, logic, and compassion. I’ve seen and heard evidence of  Donald Trump’s predator character with my own eyes and ears on numerous occasions via the Howard Stern show, the Apprentice, and the Access Hollywood tape. His words below from the Access Hollywood tape, released moments before the 2016 election should’ve been enough for everyone to dismiss him as a person with any moral integrity fit for office.

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5.  Donald Trump is upholding the Constitution of the United States of America.

The presidency of the United States is a sacred honor bestowed to an honorable patriot that will under all circumstances uphold our precious Constitution. Donald Trump fails this promise every single day via never-ending tweets attacking the free press. If mainstream media is not reporting the Trump narrative, he tries to silence them and tries to brainwash the public into believing it’s fake news. If it isn’t Trump’s word, it’s false. If it isn’t Fox News, it is dismissed, even when we have numerous reputable sources corroborating the facts.

Donald Trump isn’t honoring free speech of American citizens. He has spent half of a year attacking the NFL because black football players have used their platform to raise awareness of police brutality and racism. Trump has called for their firing numerous times, simply for kneeling out of reverence for our nation and it’s racial divide that we must change.

The list goes on in the ways that He is not upholding the Constitution. His fake marriage with the religious right makes policies that defend religious liberty, but only if it’s Christian liberty. The Muslim Ban violates the 1st, and arguably the 5th and 14th amendment. It is clear that the Constitution limits his power, and it is also clear He doesn’t care. Read this concise piece from the New York Times that transparently shows the ways in which Trump does not respect the Constitution of the United States.

We are so blessed to live in a nation where we don’t have to worship the flag or the president. We are blessed with having a voice to stand up for the oppressed. It is a right guaranteed to us, and without it dictators rise.

6. Donald Trump is making America Great Again.

If anyone truly can reconcile the current state of America with this Hitleresque catch phrase, then I would have to presume they’ve visited the caterpillar and puffed the Hookah. We are inching closer toward rock bottom every single day. Families and the Church have been torn apart this year, and rightfully so.  Everyday we are calling our senators to resist damaging policies such as Repealing the ACA, the Tax Scam, and the Trans Military Ban. Dreamers are at risk of being deported from the only country they know. We are constantly at risk to waste billions of dollars on a nonsense wall. The Keystone Pipeline recently spilled 210000 gallons of oil, marking the largest oil spill to date, in the beautiful landscape of South Dakota. Recently, The Trump administration reportedly banned the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) from using these words in official documents:

  • Vulnerable
  • Entitlement
  • Diversity
  • Transgender
  • Fetus
  • Evidence-based
  • Science-based

Who exactly is Donald Trump making America Great Again for? He isn’t making it great for me, mine, anyone I love, and any other citizen that isn’t white and rich.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that the Jabberwocky and ilk will keep trying to deceive us. Any news that doesn’t fit their narrative can and will be fought against with Fox News, Brietbart, or Infowars. Now, more than ever, we need to use critical thinking, check resources, and stay skeptical. There is enough evidence for me to reject all of these impossible things I’m supposed to believe before breakfast.

We will find our way home. Do not fear. Stay engaged. Keep speaking. Keep researching.

And above all else, fight for the human. If our motive is what’s best for the human, we will rise out of Trumpland.

No ‘Moore’ Members Only: Club almost Elected a Child Molester to U.S. Senate

No ‘Moore’ Members Only: Club almost Elected a Child Molester to U.S. Senate

If you aren’t an ex-evangelical or former fundamentalist Christian, you may be scratching your head wondering how professed “Jesus followers” could vote for Roy Moore. You may be puzzled watching the Republican National Committee endorse and fund Moore’s campaign. Perhaps you’re bewildered watching Moore’s supporters sing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “How Great thou Art” as the results began to swing in favor of Doug Jones on election night. Maybe you’ve been puzzled watching faith leaders such as Jerry Falwell Jr., James Dobson, and Franklin Graham endorse Roy Moore. What is this Christian Club that supports Roy Moore? How could Christians support a child molester? How do they reconcile their politics with the words and teachings of Jesus?

You are not alone if you are asking these questions.

The same religious institution that voted for and still supports Trump, is the same as the one that supports Moore. Even after both men have received numerous allegations of sexual assault,  this religion still supports and endorses them. Even after the allegations of child molestation by Moore, this religion still supports him. Patterned behavior of sexual assault should be a stand alone reason to not support someone politically, however, it isn’t. This religious club excuses it. This religious club excused it with Trump, and then Moore. Sadly, sexual assault is not the only issue they are excusing.

They are excusing racism, bigotry, degradation of human beings especially LGBTQ, sexism, oppression of the poor and sick, destruction of the planet, gun worship, and child molestation.

Obviously, something is wrong.

Obviously this religion does not speak for Jesus Christ or represent Christianity.

However, they believe they DO speak for Jesus Christ and they think they DO represent Christianity. Which is increasingly becoming concerning to pretty much everyone other than them. Atheists are concerned. Agnostics are concerned. Muslims are concerned. LGBTQ people are concerned. Progressive Christians are concerned.

The reason we are so concerned is because this religion just endorsed a child molester because he is in their club. Their club means more than anyone else not in it. We all need to really take that in. Concentrate on the severity of this.

A child molester is preferred over an outsider of the White-Christian-Republican- Conservative-Trump Supporting- Club.

Scary and ugly truth, but that is the truth. Religious and political elitism has trumped doing the right thing concerning sexual assault, twice now. First with Trump, then with Moore. All in the name of Jesus Christ.  The hypocrisy of this is glaring in all of our faces. How can a Christian support a child molester, but lecture folks on sexual immorality? Christian conservatives have lost all legs to stand on. We need them to see that. We need them to see their hypocrisy because their beliefs are hurting humans. We need them to examine the beliefs and intentions of their religious club. Perhaps we all need to get out of our clubs. Maybe we all leave our clubs for a minute and ask ourselves some honest questions about why we are in our clubs. Questions like:

Do my beliefs hurt others?

Do my beliefs demean others in any way?

Who does my vote lift up? The Poor? The Rich?

Would I want to be on the other side of my vote? Do I want to be that single mom after the consequences of my vote? Do I want to be that elderly person? Veteran? Refugee? Minority?

What would Jesus support?

I just don’t see Jesus Christ supporting any institution, or policy,  that does not lift up other human beings. 

 

Jesus was human. He explained time and time again to his disciples that He is the poor. He is the oppressed. He is the sick and the imprisoned. The point of the entire Christmas Story is that Jesus was human. We forget that sometimes because we’ve elevated him into the Almighty God. Which is true. He is God. He became human. God became human to show us we are all God. God lives in us all. We live in God. We are all connected. We are all one. We need to remember this right now. Remember the humility of a God that would become human simply to show us how to be God-like. Being God-like is simple: It’s Love. It’s being love. It’s showing love to our brothers and sisters. Love is treating others, who may be outside of our elite clubs, how we would want to be treated.

Love is baking the cake. Love is denouncing sexual predators.

I don’t care what club that you’re in. Society made up all of the clubs. They’re an illusion of our separateness and if we aren’t lifting one another up, we are not lifting ourselves up.

Last night with the election of Doug Jones, the people of Alabama lifted up so many human beings, even people that didn’t belong in their club. They lifted up victims. Women. Children. Muslims. Minorities. There were lifelong republicans that helped make this happen. There were lifelong Christian conservatives that helped make this happen, and I am grateful.

So I propose that we take Alabama’s lead, and vote for the human,

vote for the child of God in all humans…

Don’t just vote with your club or to benefit members of your club. 

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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

Sex: Let’s Talk About It, America, and Use Common Sense

Sex: Let’s Talk About It, America, and Use Common Sense

I watched a lot of female mice being raped during my senior year of college. Yes, you read that right. I was part of an insanely hilarious group of psychology students whom embarked on a research project to compare human sexual behavior to sexual behavior in mice. Our hypothesis was that the male mice would do anything they needed to do to get laid, and that the male mice would fall asleep directly after sex. Observing hours upon hours of mice, the data that we collected proved our hypothesis to be TRUE.

Just like mice, humans are biologically predisposed to have sex. The desire is arguably stronger with men because biologically they are wired to spread their seed to ensure survival of the human race. Their urges are natural and based on hormones that are out of their control. Based on years of conversations with male friends, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is very difficult for the male to use their brain to keep their desires at bay. They have it kind of rough because of their biological predisposition.

Watching these male mice chase the female mice around incessantly until they captured one and mated with them, even though the female tried to get away, showed me up close this natural need that is so very powerful. In contrast to mice, humans can exercise self-control even through major difficulty. However, humans are also humans, and failing our best intentions is inevitable at times, especially during teenage years when hormones are raging.

Purity culture intends to arm young women and boys with a spiritual defense during times of sexual temptation. However, it turns sex and natural urges into something to feel ashamed of. Masturbation is a sin among many religions, and pre-marital sex is stressed as a HUGE sin, beating gossip, greed, and lying. Purity culture tries to enforce abstinence through a promise made to God-that the teen will stay a virgin until married.

I made a purity promise in youth group when I was 12 years old. Being an overly sensitive young girl that both loved and feared her God, it was an easy promise to make. I was positive I could honor this pact. Psychologically, I was afraid of the consequences if I didn’t. Biologically, I was unaware at the changes my body would undergo in the next few years. I hadn’t fallen in love yet. I hadn’t wanted to express my love yet. I knew nothing. I was 12. I did know sin, I did know fear, and I did know that my God would be so angry if I broke my promise and it would potentially ruin my relationship with my God.

Just like most humans, I was unable to keep this promise. I lost my virginity to my first love, at 18, and instead of it being a beautiful experience, it ended with a major cognitive and spiritual breakdown. I thought God didn’t love me anymore and it was the onset of my downward spiral, that lasted a decade. Most importantly, I was unsafe. I wasn’t armed with birth control or a condom. Being in possession of either would’ve been in direct defiance of the promise I intended to keep. Purity culture had failed me. Luckily, I didn’t end up pregnant or with an STD.

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The religious right is hell bent on trying to legislate purity. Recently, in the name of religious liberty, the President signed an executive order rolling back employer-mandated birth control. Constantly efforts to defund Planned Parenthood are thrown into the spotlight as being a Christian mission. Sexual education in public schools are discouraged and disguised as corrupting the youth with filth and perversion. Franklin Graham recently posted on Facebook about how dangerous sex-ed is and gave a call to Christians to run for their school boards to stop the filth. Here is his post:

“Parents beware and listen up—here’s an example of how dangerous our public schools have become for our children. This Oklahoma middle school was teaching 7th and 8th graders topics in their sex education class including mutual masturbation, oral, vaginal and anal sex as the “4 types” of sex. It disturbed one 12-year-old student so much that she was in tears and asked to be taken out of the class. Another student said, “Mom, it’s like instead of telling us how not to do it, it’s like they gave us a road map.” This curriculum tried to make it more elementary by having kids fill in the blanks and referring to “underwear zones.” This is all part of an agenda to pervert the minds and steal the innocence of children—it’s wrong, and it’s evil. Parents, be on guard. Get informed about what the schools are teaching your children. Get involved and let the school and the school board know this isn’t going to happen on your watch. I urge Christians across the country to run for your local and state school boards where you can help put a stop to initiatives like this. Let me know in the comments below if this kind of garbage is being taught in your community’s schools.”

All of these efforts by the religious right to legislate sex are completely futile and will increase abortions. Sex whether marital or pre-marital has and will be going on as long as humans exist. Abortions will always go on, legal or not. Why wouldn’t we want to arm our children with knowledge, STD defenses, and pregnancy barriers? Instead send them out on the whim they can stay abstinent? That isn’t realistic whatsoever, I couldn’t do it, and I guarantee most of the religious right couldn’t do it. The youth needs education. They need to be taught personal responsibility. Research shows that increasing access to birth control, and increasing sexual education programs DECREASE unwanted pregnancies, which DECREASE abortions.

No one loves abortion. Women’s rights activists are not out on the front line trying to persuade women to get abortions. Being pro-choice isn’t synonymous with being pro-abortion. Most of us are abortion reductionists. We want to reduce abortions, and the actions taken by the religious right are doing the opposite.

I encourage parents, Christians and Non-Christians to have honest and open conversations about sex with their children. We, as a society cannot hide from it, nor do we need to shame it. It’s a natural process, that is both pleasurable and life enhancing. Teens shouldn’t be taught to be ashamed of themselves for having lustful thoughts or sexual urges, because neither can be stopped. It’s like telling your kid to be ashamed for being hungry or thirsty. Sexual repression, in my opinion based on observations, can manifest itself through extra-marital affairs later in life, perversion, and also contributes to rape and sexual assault. Just look at the rape and molestation of young boys in the Catholic religion by priests, whom are extremely sexually repressed.

Consent needs to be taught. Respect needs to be taught. Being responsible with birth control and condoms need to be taught. Mutual pleasure needs to be taught. Boys need to know that sex isn’t just for them. Boys need to know they aren’t monsters and women need to know they aren’t sluts. Abstinence should be taught as an excellent option, however, not used as a tool teaching God’s wrath if we fail.

Let’s just be smart America, and use our common sense. We are after all, no different than mice. We just have tools at our disposal that can help us succeed and overcome our biological and psychological urges in a way that benefits everyone. May we contribute to policies and programs that will reduce abortions not increase them.