The solstice past,
the daylight now five seconds longer,
and growing daily, it inspires us
to age another year,
to learn beyond our limits yet untried,
freedom to stomp through fields familiar,
where poppies unfold their potent petals
this heroin I need to survive.
The truths I know I speak before generations
unlistening and mute.
But time is the wolf’s jaw that clamps
down ever harder
and my throat is raw, but my song never sweeter.
While here, this poet beside me,
who’s only begun to see through life’s glamour spell,
abides, waiting for the next words, like the drops of dew
outside the window panes, gathering in the darkness.
Yet he’s troubled like we all are troubled,
toiled and tempest-tossed – we seem to be,
this one comes trailing brimstone and sandalwood,
he begs the Sanscrit translations of older times,
the raw-ribbed cadence of ancestral fire,
to calm the madness between our ears.
At evening to ponder, to touch the truth
for a second only, like the lightning before the thunder,
the snowflake before it melts:
to catch the clarity of instant inspiration,
for nothing but the stars are fixed.
This I can grant to him
this wayward child, this protege,
and gladly would I guide
in order to join him in redemption
as through art, we glimpse the face of God.
Okay, so I am going to wander into this Ellen vs the World debate concerning George W. Bush.
Most of you know that Ellen Degeneres, the first women ever to come out on prime time television (and lost her job for it before becoming a Hollywood Pariah), who was a vocal supporter of marriage equality, who went to the site of Matthew Shepherd’s murder, who made a comeback and started a television show which has been around since the early 2000’s, etc. etc. was photographed sitting with President George W. Bush at a football game.
When people came out in droves to tell Ellen Degeneres of their disapproval of her sitting next to the President of the United States and laughing – she told people to be kind to one another regardless of political views.
How dare you laugh, Ellen.
Yes, George W. Bush ran on fighting Gay Marriage in his second term. Yes George W. Bush entered the United States into a war with Iraq based on faulty intel about Weapons of Mass Destruction. Those are big things. Huge things.
Yet, prior to this current administration, I was able to safely say that, regardless of the political party, there has never been a president in this country who I believed didn’t operate with the best of intentions in mind. That includes George W. Bush.
Yes, I agree that Iraq was a disastrous foreign policy blunder. One that, as a soldier, I was part of. I agree that many civilians were caught in the crossfire and many died. Yes, I agree that many soldiers were killed and many more wounded.
But that wasn’t the first major foreign policy blunder by an American President in our nation’s history. John F. Kennedy involved the United States in Vietnam which cost America many more lives in a war that ultimately was a failure. Saigon eventually fell in 1975.
Yet we can go back even further than that, at the treaty of Paris when the world leaders were all gathered together and a man walked into the meeting and said: “I want the French out of Indochina.” When asked who he was, the man said, “Ho Chi Mihn.”
The ignored him. Doing so cost us tens of thousands of young men.
Or we could go back even further than that to the treaty of Versailles in 1919 when all the world’s leaders were literally on their hands and knees over a map of the Middle East carving out nations without the input of the middle east and making brethren of warring tribes all for the sake of Western Democracy. You can literally trace the long road to 9/11 from this point.
Or perhaps we should fast forward to the Obama era. The era of hope and change, and economic recovery. Despite the rhetoric of the far-right, Obama was a centrist. Furthermore, when it came to HIS foreign policy, especially regarding Iraq, Barack Obama continued what is known as the Bush Doctrine -a prime example is an attack on Lybia and the ouster of now-deceased brutal dictator Qaddafi. A policy that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton carried out. So, in all actuality, neither his supporters nor his many, many detractors (racists, tan suit haters that they are) are one hundred percent correct in trying to peg Mr. Obama with much accuracy when it came to how he fits on the political spectrum.
How will George W. Bush be viewed by history? As reactionary? An opportunist? A misguided man at the mercy of an ambitious Dick Cheney? All of the above? Maybe. Quite possibly. But History is a fickle thing. When the scholars of fifty years from now (that’s about how much distance you need from an event to view it without undue influence) write their dissertations of that period of American History, it’ll be interesting to read.
That being said – just like Barack Obama, I don’t believe that George W. Bush meant this country harm. I do believe he did everything HE THOUGHT he should do to protect America’s interests both here and abroad.
Given the height of cancel culture, given the insatiable appetite of the Twitterverse and the blogosphere to swarm upon a target and upending their popularity, their careers, their personal lives, be it deserved or otherwise, now we find ourselves here with Ellen Degeneres.
Because she sat next to and had a laugh with former President George W. Bush. Someone who stood against her fight for marriage equality.
I don’t know what they talked about up there in the owners’ box of that football game. I don’t know how much they talked after or prior to the game after she’d been married all these years later. I don’t know what Goerge thinks about her marriage to Portia and I can’t know that. I am not privy to that information.
Yet, I do know that Ellen calls George her friend and has publically come out and said people should be kind to one another. I agree with her.
See, not so long ago, my husband and I had planned to move to the northeast somewhere. Maybe Vermont, maybe Connecticut, maybe New Hampshire – to buy a home and to start going through the process of adoption.
in August of this year, my mother-in-law suffered two major heart attacks back to back, had a quadruple bypass, and a heart valve replacement. My husband and my life suddenly came to a screeching halt. In the past two months or so, I’ve moved down here where they live without my husband who had to stay behind at work. I’ve cooked, I’ve cleaned, I’ve administered pills, taken her to the doctor, and have even purchased her house which severely needed remodeling – all of which I’ve taken care of while my husband is away.
My mother in law and my father are Trump supporters.
According to scary mommy’s blog’s philosophy (among others) – we should have left my mother in law to die and my father without a wife, in a house that was falling down around his ears.
I’m not cool with that because I have a conscience. Regardless of my parent’s political views, which by the way are different from mine and my husbands by light-years, I am not about to let them languish. The one thing I can guarantee we don’t talk about among the myriad things we do is politics.
Those things are known. I can probably guarantee that both George and Ellen’s views are known to each other. I also know that Ellen has vowed never to have Trump on her show.
Look, the bottom line is this. Ellen doesn’t just talk the talk. She’s walked it. She’s changed the lives of innumerable people by doing good deeds every single day on her television show. She’s stood up for gay people, came out at great cost to her, wept at the gathering in Matthew Shepherd’s home town, and given away God knows how much money to those in need.
Personally, I think it’s time we cancel “cancel culture”. I think it’s toxic, myopic, ruthless, cruel, and causes the murder of people by ten thousand papercuts (or tweets/ blogs/ etc) each one of them lashed out from behind the safety of a smartphone, a laptop, or a PC. Given the involvement of foreign agents in this country’s political system and social media sites anyway, it’s another shriek in the windstorm of suspicious and possibly clandestine attempts to get Americans to turn on Americans for perceived slights and the inability to make everyone happy all of the time. Not even Ellen is capable of such extraordinary feats.
P.S. I love Ellen.
P.S.S. I loved George. Still do. He was one of the last American Presidents.
Eighteen years ago, on September 11th, 2001, America was changed.
Now, years after President Obama gave the order to assassinate the figurehead behind the September 11th attacks – we hear on the news that Trump was moments away from having negotiations with the Taliban at Camp David.
This group worked for Osama Bin Laden.
This was the group our troops fought for all these years.
This was the group that tried to assassinate Malala Youvsafsai and failed.
This same group of people declared war on the United States along with Osama Bin Laden back in 1993 before the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by Muhammed Yousef – the nephew of Khalid Sheik Muhammed, the mastermind of 9/11.
For the next 18 years, Americans – mostly white, older Americans have slowly become afraid of ‘other’. Sure, there have been other terror attacks, plenty of dead bodies – in London, in Paris at the Bataclan, at a gay nightclub in Orlando – but in the world of terror, these attacks by ‘other’ have been few and far between.
We’ve seen, however, a massive spike in white, male, terrorism throughout the country. Mass shootings have taken place in shopping malls, in churches, in schools across the country and while I still mourn those that died on 9/11 – I mourn the loss of the American identity that said, “This shit, this shit like this, that doesn’t happen here because regardless of whether or not we agree with each other – we protect our own.”
Some say Western-style democracy is slipping and I agree with that sentiment. Sure, we can blame it on Russians, we can blame it on The GOP, we can blame it on a lot of other things to avoid putting the blame where it needs to go. Ourselves.
We’ve gotten lazy.
We think milk is bad.
We share fake news about ADHD.
We share articles written by no one of importance – no one with any sort of degree or expertise in the field they’ve chosen to write about and disseminate false, and probable propaganda to keep people from doing things that protect the entire population like getting vaccinations.
Worse yet, we get into these social media groups where we bounce these conspiracy theories off each other while we’re neck-deep in confirmation bias and become emotionally dedicated to our ignorance.
There is ZERO difference in that – and believing black people are less than due to some obscure Bible passage about the Sin of Ham and staying dedicated to hatred because your momma said so.
I grew up in a Fundamentalist household – and I understand how organizations like the Taliban happen. When you’re poor, stupid, and have feelings of utter powerlessness in your life, some jackass can come along and promise you heaven and get you to do anything he wants.
Beat your kids. Beat your wife. Stay poor. Stay disconnected from the world. View the world itself as an enemy of God. Fly an airplane into a building. Shoot an abortion doctor.
It’s. All. The. Same.
It’s so similar it can be scripted and memorized. It’s formulaic.
Here in this country, we have millions dedicated to ending abortion, they’ll pass laws to stop a woman, other women, from having bodily autonomy even when the removal of those rights diminishes their rights and all rights.
We’ll pass laws to keep a pervert from fucking a kid but we won’t move a muscle to keep a madman from shooting their little heads off.
Because somewhere, somehow, some group of people has fallen under the belief system of some fundamentalist yahoo playing with fear as a means to control.
So, this 9/11 Anniversary, I beg you, promote education. Not the crazy bullshit blog of some glue huffer or some crystal viewing airhead who believes essential oils cure cancer, or some right-wing clown with a youtube channel – I’m talking classical education. Directed readings. Study in a field or a major.
Malala Yousavsia said of the Taliban, “They’re not afraid of bullets and bombs, they’re afraid of little girls with books.”
Because an education liberates you from your own ignorance. It liberates you from the charismatic control of some would-be dictator whether they’re in the government, the Islamic Faith or from the Baptist church down the road.
Ignorance is a prison.
They can NEVER take your education away from you. Ever.
Trump has done at least one good thing I can think of.
He has exposed the evangelical Christian right as the charlatans they always were.
Especially the fundamentalist.
The cruelty of harming children, the cruelty of throwing one’s race at them, the cruelty of denigrating women, of associating with child molesters…
Those of us who grew up in it and had discernment and understanding the difference between what good WAS and something that looked or SOUNDED, good but wasn’t.
Image ruled everything.
Evangelical Christendom reminds me of an Egyptian Sarcophagus.
Gorgeous on the outside. Beautiful to look at.
But no matter how pretty it is – the corpse continues to rot underneath.
Growing up in that, we understood it. We could smell it.
The relief here is that this isn’t a new thing.
Since God left earth (the second time counts too if you’re not Jewish) mankind has done his damnest to try and control the narrative of who God is and what God wants and what God says and who may call themselves ‘good.’
There’s unparalleled power in that ability. Power to rule, to dominate, to possess bodies in ways that would make the fabled demons of old jealous.
That’s where we are today.
There’s a division among man, a term I use universally of course. On one end you have people who demand liberty. Freedom of Conscience. Freedom of Thought. Freedom of Movement. Freedom of Choice and Freedom things that threaten this.
On the other side, you have rich and powerful men who see anyone NOT as wealthy as they are as nothing more than serfs to be used, abused, and discarded without so much as an afterthought.
They don’t possess the numbers to make this reality by themselves – they’ve convinced the poor, the working poor, and the uneducated to do it for them.
As this era of our discontent continues, we see which side these pastors have chosen. They’ve chosen the side that stands against the cross, against the beatitudes, against salvation itself for the sakes of their own power and their desire to possess bodies.
Daily I see articles of pastors and clergymen taken down by the F.B.I in some sex scandal or another – the most recent is the investigation into Jerry Falwell Jr.’s affair with a Florida Pool Boy. Now, I don’t really care whether or not Falwell is gay or Bisexual since he’s married, but I do care that Jerry spent his life fighting for gay/ bisexual people to be denied equality before the law.
When no one thinks that being queer is sin anymore – it takes the fun out of the actual sin itself.
I don’t know if I believe in the ‘end times’ anymore. I think there’s a formula in the Bible that tells mankind about when his ‘world’ ends and does so in an almost cyclical pattern starting with Rome.
Imagine John the Revelator was saying, “Yeah, when the shit hit’s the fan at this fevered pitch. Y’all may want to move because it’s apocalyptic bad.”
And the irony is, among so many, is that we are indeed in an apocalyptic moment. The great reveal. The pulling back of the sarcophagus to get a real good look at the corpse rotting underneath.
It’s a season where preacher’s kids, who were never allowed to be Christians in the first place because it would diminish their political role in the church, become modern-day prophets warning the world about what they’re going to see and how to move on once the bloom has fallen off the rose.
As a human being, as a student of Political Science and History, I am watching the unfolding tragedy at the United States Border concerning the immigrants seeking asylum into America.
Many of you know that children have been separated from their families, these children have either been sent abroad into the country via adoption, over 1600 hundred of them the government has lost, the others are being held in concentration camps and living in squalor. They’ve been fed instant meals, they sleep on concrete floors, the lights are never turned off, many of the children have become sick and some have died due to an influenza outbreak in once facility.
Meanwhile, attorneys working for the United States argued before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that it wasn’t the government’s job, although they are the one’s detaining these children, to provide basic sanitary care. Such things are soap, water, and toothpaste are above and beyond what the United States Government under the leadership of Donald Trump. And while that is demonic in of itself American Capitalism is doing to this situation what it did to slavery and has decided to perfect it by making a profit. Wayfair.com has decided to make money off of the capture and containment of brown bodies seeking asylum by making beds for them. Their employees are staging a walk out in the near future.
I, like many of you, have had enough of this. After writing my Congressman, and both my Senators, I’ve decided that as an author -I can do more. So, from this point forward and until the issue at the border is resolved, all proceeds from my audiobooks will be used to provide help to these immigrants via Save the Children Federation via www.savethechildren.org. I will list links to all my audiobooks below and when the quarterly reports come out I will post how much I made and how much I donated to this cause.
Furthermore, for other authors out there who would like to join me, please do so. You can do it publically or privately. If you do it publically, use the hashtag #Leagueofthewhiterose. Its history goes back to 20th Century Europe and a group of students who opposed the rise of Adolf Hilter. Do I think we’re there now?
I think we’re too close for comfort. So please, join me. Help me save these children.
Today I, along with millions of Americans nationwide, watched Jon Stewart today on Capitol Hill excoriate Congress for its lack of attendance for this important committee regarding this important group of people. Also I, along with millions of other Americans, learned how difficult it has become for these first responders both FDNY and NYPD to receive adequate funding for healthcare, etc.
Congressman, 9/11 changed my life. I was a Detroiter before moved to Texas, had recently graduated from high school and was working at a Walmart as an unloader when the unthinkable occurred the morning after my shift. I watched in absolute horror as thousands of my fellow Americans died in the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. I remember falling asleep to the news and waking up to it the next day.
Soon I, along with millions of other Americans, would find my way down to a recruiters office to swear an oath to protect and defend this country. On 9/11 I and many others across the country became a New Yorker. For weeks, months, years after the event, the colors of our flag were never more beautiful than they were then as people flew them on their houses, and drove around with them as if they were themselves some high-level political official on their way to some meeting with foreign dignitaries.
What I saw today with the testimony of Stewart as well as the testimonies from many of the FDNY and NYPD first responders broke my heart and angered me as not only an American, as not only a veteran of a foreign war but as a human being. I watched that retired NYPD officer, who’d survived 68 rounds of chemotherapy drag himself before a congressional meeting that was less than half full with hat in hand to beg Congress to do what it should have done (signed, sealed, and delivered) 18 years prior.
In the 18 or so years since that infamous day, it has become politically fashionable to make fun of New Yorkers, or New York politics. We have politicians who use it as a segway into us vs them debates over leadership styles of political parties. And yet, even I, let their memory grow dim in my own mind. No more. It’s not funny anymore. The political discourse lo these past several years has ground Congress to a standstill and threatens to make Osama Bin Laden a Post Humous victor in the Global War on Terror. A war that has cost thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. This threat becomes all too visible when we allow the victims of the 9/11 terror attack and their champions to languish in poverty and in ill health.
This situation needs to be addressed immediately and with a finality to it that puts these men and women’s minds, bodies, and spirits at ease until the time comes in which they no longer require the funding. As a citizen inside your district, as a citizen of the United States, as a human being, I demand quick and decisive action on the part of your office in making sure that this is taken care of.
I grew up in an extremely conservative religious tradition known as the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptists) and all my life I’ve felt sort of tethered to them in regard to the roots of my faith. I left that tradition, physically, over 15 years ago and never looked back.
Today, as a thirty-eight-year-old man, I’ve been on a quest for God and I am not sure where to turn. I’ve read your books, I’ve read books by Phylis Tickle, I recently bought Rachel Held Evan’s “Searching for Sunday”, and I’ve been looking around for a church to go to after all this time.
My husband is a devout Catholic – oddly enough, and his religious experience with his church I sort of envy. He loves the saints (We never got any saints), the Eucharist, the ceremony of it all, and he goes to mass very often. I find myself envious of his faith to a point and I find it so hard not to address his conversation about it without snark and without criticism.
Church, for us growing up, was not an option. It was thrust upon us like this yolk that was too heavy for small necks to bear. The firebrand preaching, the gospel singing (Which I enjoyed, to be honest), and the abusive cults of personality that emerged from all of that make me feel cynical, and cold toward Christianity – universally speaking.
In the world today, there seems to be so much going wrong, and right at the center of it, there’s fundamentalism rearing it’s ugly head once again. It sometimes feels like a tsunami that I can’t quite get far enough away from. Whether we’re talking about a woman’s fundamental right to self-determination, to the demonic practice of snatching babies at the border, to gun control (or the lack thereof), to the sex scandals rocking not only the Catholic Church but evangelical churches as well, it’s so hard not to just shrug my shoulders and say, “You know, by their fruit ye shall know them,” and not have anything to do with any of it. There have been times I’ve spoken publically against these organizations due to the abuse I went through at the hands of charismatic leaders and what their message did to our family.
I want to know God. This world sucks without something else out there that I know for sure has his eye on the long game. Yet, the old adages of “God works in mysterious ways,” or “Love the sinner, not the sin,” nonsense makes my skin crawl with utter disdain. I just see Christians doing things today that even the devil, in my mind, is like, “Dude, don’t you think that perhaps that’s a bit much?”
With so much chaos going on, I can’t help but feel like one of those Christians in the middle ages unsure of what to do because three different Popes were all declaring themselves to be Pope and condemning the other two as heretics. I feel frozen in place.
Am I just dealing with the last vestiges of Fundamentalism that has me scared to go “Christian Light” (all the ceremony, half the guilt) or do I have to come up with what’s important to me regarding faith (social justice, sound doctrine)?
On the night before my 18th birthday, in 1999 my cousin Lee, who was my best friend at the time, died of a Heroin overdose. It’s been 20 years but my grief lives on.
Months before, I walked in on his dealer standing over his body pouring water onto his face to get him to wake from a similar event.
I remember the dude running away when I picked up the phone to dial 9-1-1 and the ambulance showing up. I recall his two kids being there wondering why they couldn’t wake him up. I remember the look on his face when he was being taken down the stairs as the Narcan fought with the heroin to take over the system.
His eyes, which were hugely dilated, constricted and his head comes up to stare at me.
I was staring into the face of death itself and it looked back at me.
It was the scariest thing I’ve experienced up until that point. Those men saved his life – for a time.
When he finally passed away at the age of 33, he died so suddenly that he didn’t have time to brace himself from the fall.
Naturally, I was devastated.
It’s been 20 years since he left us.
I can’t help but think of all the heavy shit we carry with us. All the weight that time adds to our shoulders, the things that put lines on our faces, and shadows under our eyes. I spoke with a good friend at length last night over some issues he was having at work and the grief that washed over him when he described what had happened broke my heart.
Now, I’m an emotional basket case under the best of circumstances. I have no poker face what so ever and say immidately what I’m feeling. But it’s not always been that way. I used to bottle that shit up. And when I bottled it up, it took its toll on me.
My friend is the opposite. He’s so smooth. So calm. So grounded that it was a shock what I witnessed. And yet, there it was.
We think what we bury will stay buried. That is NEVER the case.
It always rises to the surface in moments that catch us off guard. It’s always lurking there in the shadows, under the stairs, in the basements of our minds ready for our minds to recognize a familiar pattern – and then – maybe out of some internal drive to preserve the person – it strikes. You get triggered. Something, someone, be they a hurt child, a scared adolescent, someone who’d been physically, mentally, or emotionally abused, comes roaring forward out from underneath those stairs and into the light of day.
I’ve seen things in my life, been a party to things, that I will not ever forget for the rest of my life. It’s there. It informs me now. It makes me laugh, it makes me angry, it makes me cry when my defenses aren’t what they normally are.
I think about those eight kids who got shot today in Colorado, and of course, thank God they’re alive – but then I think, once those wounds close the hidden shit will linger as a millstone around their necks for the rest of their lives. They almost met death today.
Life can get to the point where it is NOT sacred. It’s a bitch. It’s a burden. And then I wonder why people crawl under the bottle, why they take a needle in the vein, overeat, undereat, have sex addictions, gambling addictions and I get it. I totally get it.
I’ve been there. It’s grief.
So what’s the answer? I’m not sure.
I loved Lee. I loved him. I miss him 20 years later. I love my friend and hurt when he hurt because that’s what friendship is for. I’m lucky. I have good healthcare. I’ve got a therapist, I have medication, I’ve got stability in my life. I’ve got a job I love that lets me say what needs sayin’ etc.
I am lucky. That’s it. I’m not better than anyone. I’m not smarter, or more emotionally aware,
I. GOT. LUCKY.
It’s hard to face those demons, don’t get me wrong. It’s terrifying. But once you start to, you realize those scary things are only parts of yourself that for whatever reason, wasn’t allowed to grow naturally – so they became distorted. And over time, I realized the things that I hated, the past and the things I experienced I wished I could run away from, were ways to connect to people in ways I could never have imagined. So, in a weird way, I guess I’m thankful.
Finding a way of channeling that grief, makes the hell I went through, so much easier.
“Franklin Graham says Pete Buttigieg needs to repent of his homosexuality citing Leviticus.”
Now, I am not going to go on a rant, nor am I going to get into a Biblical/theological argument (mostly because I think most people don’t actually read it, and I am not going to defend homosexuality from anyone. There’s no reason.) What I am going to do is make a list of things that American Evangelicals (including Graham and his friends) ought to apologize (or repent) for:
1: Racism – It wasn’t until 1995 that the Southern Baptist Convention apologized for their support of Slavery, Segregation, and Jim Crow Law which treated blacks as second class citizens throughout the lynching years and beyond. It should also be noted that several Southern Baptist Organizations fought integration and even sued to open White Only Christian Schools in the 1970s using their 501c3 (Bob Jones Sr. Vs The United States). The Supreme Court decided that despite their deeply held Biblical beliefs, they could not use their 501c3 to discriminate against African American people who applied to their University.
*note: Bob Jones Sr. University apologized for its racist past including the prohibition of interracial dating….in 2000.
*It’s also worth noting that the attack on public education, the low pay public educators receive, and the focus of charter schools, private schools, and homeschooling is a direct result of racism and the anger of people at the idea of unsegregated schools.
2. The Anti-Abortion Movement/ Anti-Civil Rights movement and the Rise of the Religious Right. Piggybacking off of the first point, The Southern Baptists (along with other conservative evangelical organizations) in the early 1970s supported the right of women to choose to have an abortion. Citing things like women’s health, fetus viability, income, rape, etc. were all reasons why they could support this practice. However, they have since renounced this practice and have become fierce advocates AGAINST a woman’s right to choose. An article written for Politico entitled The Real Origins of the Religious Right by Randall Balmer dated May 27, 2014, cites that “In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.” The debate over Abortion is still a hotbed of anger and sometimes murderous violence.
3) The hiding and protection of sexual predators/ violent abusers in their organizations. This is from a Newsweek article dated 2/10/2019, “The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News collected the mug shots and sexual abuse reports of hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders from the past two decades. More than 220 leaders, including ministers, pastors, and Sunday school teachers from the Southern Baptist Convention’s 47,000 churches have been convicted of sex crimes, which included disturbing and heart-wrenching anecdotes of church affiliates raping young children.” Furthermore, an article I was quoted in had to deal with Fundamental Baptists. In an article written by the Fort Worth Telegram entitled “Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S.” by Sarah Smith, details, again, that the Catholic Church -while often vilified by protestant evangelicals in America for their role in the molestation of women and children, have they themselves been practitioners of this type of inhumane and devastatingly awful deviancy that leaves devastation in its wake. The difference is, unlike the Catholic Church where there is one central figure or Pope, American Protestantism has many central figures or “Popes” if you will. This makes tracking down all of the victims and therefore assigning blame, that much harder.
3. The dehumanizing of women and children in theology and practice and the handing over of so said population to predatory men – see above.
4. The support of an Anti-Christ like American President – Donald Trump is vile. A disgusting human being who’s used racism (see above) sex (Grabbing women by their P*ssy, having an affair with a porn star, beating his wife(s), the ripping away of children from their families at the border, the demonic practice of putting these people in concentration camps, and his support of white supremacy and racism. This is where the American Evangelical movement is now – they’ve attached themselves to Trump the way the Lutheran Church abdicated to Hitler’s authority in a quest for Power and Pride of Place in Germany in the late 1930s. (Charles Marsh, Strange Glory: A life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.) This includes Mike Pence.
5) The Denial of Climate Change and the rise of Anti-professionalism/ Anti-Intellectualism. God saves our souls, he doesn’t save us from the natural outcomes of our actions. This includes but is not limited to Climate Change, Immunization, etc. Also, the rise of the mistrust in Academics, and the American Media has its roots in certainty addiction that these pastors sell as a part of their snake oil salvation. You can’t be all powerful if your parishioners are receiving an education or their information from other than ‘trusted’ sources.
American Evangelicals have stolen, wrongfully, words like “Patriotism, Family, and Faith”, They’ve been wrong in ways that have been detrimental to the United States for a couple of hundred years. Why should anyone, Pete Buttigieg, etc. et al, take anything they say with ANY rational level of reason? The American Evangelicals (Franklin included) have abused their spiritual and theological authority, they’ve abused and been a party to the murder, rape, and subjugation of African American people, they’ve abused, raped, molested, and spiritually maligned their own people in a quest to remain in power, they’ve subjected and attempted and continue to try and subjugate women to their masculinity. This has even lead to the murder of Abortion Doctors. The only reason these people haven’t lowered in their pride of place in this country is because of how they vote.
***Personal Note. I am a gay married man. I’ve been married to my husband for six years. We’ve been together for almost ten. Having been raised in a fundamentalist tradition of the Baptist Church known as Independent Baptist, my relationship with evangelicals and evangelicalism is a complicated one. Having suffered at the hands of the philosophical teaching of the late Jack Hyles and his influence over my family, I suffer from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD). One of the primary reasons that I left the church, however, was over issues of racism, sexism, and this general disconnect that the church cultivated between their members and the outside world. As these articles I cited above show quite clearly, there is a country inside of this country, a society inside of our society, that has abused their members in every single way imaginable (and some unimaginable). There are thousands of survivors out there who suffer in silence out of fear of retribution, or out of fear of God himself because they’ve been taught that God said it was okay for their preachers to do to them what they’ve done.
There is no war on religion in this country unless you count Muslims. There is, however, a war on secularism. A war on intellectualism. A war on professionalism and a war on the cohesiveness of American society as a whole. As someone who has a political science and history degree, I have watched this erosion of Americanism by the hands of those who swear to be the most faithful and most patriotic. They don’t have the market cornered on these things and should they insist they do, understand this.
It’s a lie.
This is no endorsement of Pete Buttigieg for President of the United States (I haven’t decided who I am voting for). This is simply laying out of historical and political facts that have been obfuscated over the years. And while this in no way a total sum of all the sins committed against America and its people in general by the aforementioned, I personally believe we are living in an apocalyptic moment in this country. A great revealing of what has been festering underneath the surface of J.C. Penny suits, the softer side of Sears, ideology, and public prayer. We’re in a bad way, as a country, and my sincere hope is that we as Americans can turn to each other and vow to protect each other from all enemies be they foreign or domestic. Gay marriage has nothing to do with where we are as a country or how we got where we are.
We can do better. We must do better. It’s going to be hard work, trust me, I have the medical bills, the pharmacy bills, and the therapy bills to prove it. But’s it’s worth it. We’re worth it. America is worth it. God’s worth it. I don’t want there to be a ‘rise of the religious left’, I want there to be a rise of actual Christianity in this country that could heal us as it says in Second Chronicles 7:14
Someone should let Franklin know that the jig is up.
Not just the act, but what the act is, what it means for us as a species. How it connects us, literally.
A lot of this thought has been the result of some negative medical information I received in the past year concerning my health. (Nothing major, just some things I have to watch). What resulted was the fact that there were some things in my life that I needed to change. Some old habits had to go by the wayside. For one, I simply couldn’t eat like I was twenty years old anymore.
I am pushing forty and my body has started twinge here and there. Getting older sucks in some ways and in some it doesn’t.
One way it doesn’t suck is deciding what’s important in my life and what isn’t.
As a kid (in my 20’s) sex was easy come, easy go (pun intended). I was fit, I had a perfect thirty-two-inch waist, my face was smooth, I was single and ready to mingle. Needless to say at 20-something I was a walking hormone. Sex was a big part of my life and yet, it was this dirty but necessary thing.
Yet, now, not so much.
Being a married man, sex has changed in my life, I’m sure a lot of you can relate, but I revel in it. I enjoy it. It’s intense and meaningful and beautiful and while I am not into an exhibition in any way shape or form, I’m a lot more comfortable with my body and my mind at this age, my desire, my body, and my partner than I ever have been in my life prior. There’s something liberating about that.
As a writer, I’d often focused on horror, or the paranormal, in regard to my stories and in the future I still plan on writing in that genre. However, I am going to be venturing into erotic romance as another form of expression. Mostly, I’m more comfortable to talk about it now.
There’s a lot to think about and I’m sure this isn’t the only path I’ll take in the future. However, this is where my thoughts are as of now.
So, without further ado, I want to introduce you to my first novella out this Friday on Amazon and KU entitled: Into the Gray.
I really like this story, I like the couple, and I think we’ll see more of them in the future.
Life after college is not what Aaron expected. Isn’t he supposed to have what he wants to do figured out by now? David never expected his marriage to be rocky, let alone about to end. How is he supposed to move on from this? December in Detroit is normally unforgiving, but an unexpected blizzard puts David and Aaron on a course toward each other. Despite the frozen ground and battleship gray sky, these men find heat together. It’s intimate and illicit, stretching what was supposed to be a one night stand into something more. Sometimes the touch of a stranger, however forbidden, is just what we need when we enter the gray.
Coming soon to Amazon and KU as well as Audible with Vance Bastian.