Jesus Serves Jamison (Poem)

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(Photo by Tanja Heffner)

 

 

 

I have found salvation in Rock and Roll
My gospel in the rhythm and blues
when that drumline hits thump thump thump
I become the Angel Gabriel

When the trumpet sounds for me
it will be Janis singing Me and Bobby Mcgee
and as I lift up off the ground
the angels vocal arrangement will be by Barry Gordy
with the smooth sounds of Motown

Heaven will be an out of the way juke joint
where Jesus serves whiskey until two
who’ll light my cigarette and leave his bar
to slow dance with me, and sing harmony with me
when the juke plays “Chasing Cars”

See, what you didn’t know,
is that Jesus really loves Pat Benatar
and listened when she sang that hell was for children
and opened the bar, cause it’ll take a long time before
we can bear the golden streets of Religion’s hypocrisy.

So don’t you worry you hell cats and hip kitties
live your truth as best you can
because JEsus serves Jamison at the bar till two
and it’s ALWAYS midnight at The Lost and Found

Hallelujah!

I told him (poem)

​How could you be so souless?

A demon in Elizabeth Taylor

White Diamonds.

Working hard to provide for your…

Property.

That’s what we were.

Things.

Not people.
No, there was no softness 

Just hard edges, razor sharp points

Hugs as hard as concrete and kisses that made us bleed
Lovelorn children turn to starving adults

Never full, can’t get full, never enough

Sex, God, attention – Must. Have. Attention

A misplaced glance likened to a bomb blast

And like burnt paper we simply slide away
What did you do?

Let your men touch them, let your man touch him

Take possession of an innocent and render it unholy

Make it hungry, make it needy, if it’s hungry we won’t leave, can’t leave, cannot ever ever leave
And that’s it isn’t it?

Miles and years apart we may be

But my thoughts don’t belong to me

You posses it pound for pound and you’re in for a penny

Ride this horse until it drops
Get over it, they say, let it go

But how when you still whisper in my ear?

Since no boundaries were honored, stripped down until I was naked

Miles and years it doesn’t matter 

Doesn’t matter, you’re right here!
Utterly filthy and unrepentant

Demon possessed son, I grew a conscience

Ive been fucked in more ways than one

But you knew that already

Knew before you named me Freddie

That I’d be fucked figuratively before actuality could begin
Meh, so what?

So what?! I loved them. they fed me

Fed me hungry love starved soulful body

And one even managed to marry me

Said he loved me – I I!!! Was the one

Me
And in the quiet stillness

As he sleeps I whisper 

Whisper to him the things that I remember 

Things that had gone on before

And among the things I told him about the long long road I be traveled and all the things and people and places I’ve been
I told him 
I told him
Mother
I told him what you did.

Message in a Bottle (17)

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It’s  been several days since I’ve written my last entry. I’ve been extremely busy lately with the release of a novella I’d worked on for Halloween and have been enjoying a couple of days of stress-free yoga and vegging. But tonight, as happens occasionally, I saw something that caught my attention.

Now I had been following the story of the two brothers Lucas Leonard 19 and Chris Leonard 17, who as Christopher testified were for-  ‘…14 hours…he and his brother were pummeled in their torsos and genitals with an electrical cord.’ during a ‘counseling session’ all because they wanted to leave a church in upstate New York.

Because they wanted to leave a church.

The medical personnel who worked on trying to save Lucas’ life had mistaken him for a gunshot victim do to the amount of blood they’d seen. His brother Christopher survived the attack but will no doubt be damaged from it.

My heart goes out to both of them. But my heart also goes out to so many people across this country who have been made victims to this type of Fundamentalism and abuse over the years. There are thousands of them out there living lives of quiet agony. Many of them trying to get on with their lives. Many of them no doubt having heard of this case, were triggered with their own terrible memories under the lash of unintelligent, uncompassionate, empathyless fundamental zealots that this country allows, to exist.

For the past almost 15 years this country has been engaging fundamentalist zealots of a different religion in the middle east. But what America refuses to acknowledge – or perhaps are unable to face – is the zealots that live here at home. A great deal of those who exist inside of evangelical circles.

Now when we here in the United States think of religious zealots – we instantly turn our thoughts perhaps to Jim Jones or to David Koresh. But the fact of the matter is zealotry exists in many different aspects of evangelicalism in this country. The hard part is believing that nice man in his suit who carries his Bible or the sweet blue-haired lady who lives down the street – are doing things like this. Or who are sending money to Uganda or Scott Lively’s defense fund. Scott Lively will be standing trial for Crimes against Humanity for his influence in Ugandan politics and praises Russia’s antigay stance that he takes credit for.

And during this political campaign, people have gotten a good dose at what that Evangelicalism looks like as 3/4ths of that community have sworn to vote in Donald Trump. And Trump has garnered support from former Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann as well as support from Tony Perkins’ Focus on the Family as well as support from Liberty’ University’s President Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham. (Liberty University’s Law Center will be providing the defense for Mr. Lively).

Now these young men weren’t gay as far as I know. All they wanted to do was just leave. And what they are now and what we’re left with is an unwilling Martyr and a Confessor for their faith. They were kids. One’s dead and the other may wish he was, right now. For what? For what?!

I’ve grown thin on my ability to swallow down the anti-Muslim/ All Muslims are terrorists bit that we hear especially right now in this goat fuck of an election season. Because we have ours. We have plenty of ours. Right now America may not look like Aleppo, no one’s trying to sweep ISIS out of one our cities like they are in Mosul- but that doesn’t matter to those boys, tonight. They were brutalized by terrorists who wanted them, upon pain of death, to confess their sins and stay in their church.

If America has declared a global war on terror – to not sound like a bunch of inconsistent ideologues – it out to start weeding out this crap here that allows this to happen.

You can read the article about what happened to the pastor and her congregation here. Those fuckers only get two lines on my blog.

I don’t know what the answer is in dealing with these organizations. It happens all the time. But it can’t continue….

Message in a bottle (I don’t know how many at this point…15, I think?)

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When love touches our lives for the first time, depending on the circumstances can be light as a feather, as concentrated as a pin prick, or as devastating to us as being t-boned by a semi truck.

Love can be on one hand the break in the clouds after a terrible storm when the clouds part and the sun’s golden rays break through in shafts of heavenly light, and it can be the storm itself.

Love can hurt. Nazareth was right. Love can be brutal.

And like Nadi Bolz-Webber in her book Pastrix makes clear, it hurts in the places in our lives where we didn’t love, or where we should have been loved.

This blog thing hasn’t been some fluffy ‘its been a journey of self-discovery crap’ thing although I was and am and continue to be on a journey of self-discovery, this blog has been a way for me to work through the problems in my head and put them out on paper. And most of the stories I’ve told, the small bits of my life that I’ve talked about, have focused on fundamentalism and my father.  But that isn’t the entire truth.

Last night after watching Tim Burton’s Sweeny Todd for the first (and last thank you very much) time, I walked away feeling terrible about the show, terrible about the theme, and terrible about having sat there and watched all of that tragedy unfurl in the midst of song. To me there was something foul and maybe even obscene about singing like that and then slitting someone’s throat. And then the pies.

But while I was in the shower ruminating over what I’d just watched – a lightning bolt struck me square in the chest. An aha, moment! I was t-boned by a semi of truth and not love.

((spoiler alert))

Sweeny Todd had help getting to the insane and musically talented serial killer that he became. And all in part because of a lie. His wife was not dead and his daughter wasn’t far away and even though terrible things had befallen all three, the worst was the betrayal of the woman who loved him. She lied to him. And because of that lie, he became the dreadful demon of Fleet Street.

And the little kid she rescued from the ‘Italian Barber’ and ultimately from Sweeney Todd himself, loved her. He figured out what Todd was, and wanted to protect her. And she was going to betray even him to his death.

I’ve been hyper focused on my father and the Fundamental Baptist Church and all of its excesses. But what I failed to do was love myself enough to allow myself to be him by that semi-truck a long time ago.

See, like that little kid, I loved my crazy mother. I wanted in my mind and in my heart , to redeem her. Sort of like she’s the wilting flower in the story and in need of rescue. That I sang to her, “Not while I’m around.”

But I wasn’t around, am not around, and she doesn’t need saving.

I did.

Because the truth of it is that yes, my dad beat me. The church reinforced the necessity of those beatings. But through it all, my mother liked to watch. And she often encouraged it to either happen or be the cause of it being made worse.

Suddenly a string of memory launched in my head, scenes I know too well, and behind the raised voices and raised hands was an encouragement for the voices to rise higher as well as the hands.I was overcome.  I had to call for my husband to help me out of the shower.

Yesterday I made the decision I should have made a long time ago. I blocked their phone numbers.

I have to love myself enough, now, to say goodbye. And it hurts. And I’m scared. I am now an intentional orphan.

Today I woke up not like I’d been hit by a train but feeling the feather’s touch of love, this time. Knowing that I have it in my life and in myself. It’s a strange feeling. I feel lighter somehow.

I’ll write more when I can

 

Message in a Bottle (Part 11)

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Violence is rooted in the idea that we can own another human being. That a person is not an individual endowed with rights to self-determination and liberty and dominion over their body but are subject to the whims and desires of someone else. We can see examples of this all over the place from domestic violence to murder.

The moral questions of right and wrong get thrown out the window. Is what is happening to these people wrong? Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong. But just like the great kingdoms of the 15th and 16th Century that swept the globe in a race to dominate the world the things that they did to gain the upper hand was terrible, sure. Slavery, slaughter, rape, pillaging of resources, and so forth. But they could do it because they had power, terrible power – almost unlimited resources.

Today, we are getting an eyeful of violence being perpetrated against African-American people from Police. If African Americans made up forty percent of the United States population overall, this would not be happening.

It is happening today, however, to maintain the hegemony. To keep black people afraid of those who are in power. In the past 8 years, minorities have made huge strides in equality but African American’s have been made to suffer and I think it’s punishment over the Presidency of Barack Obama and the political impotency of those who tried to have him thrown out. There is a backlash happening toward all minorities at the moment because a certain demographic is afraid of losing power. And it’s killing black people every single day.

When I was five years old, I was recovering from a bout of Chicken Pox (my second go round with that) and I remember the night before some boys had come over to see my sisters and they were horseplaying and bent the side of a pool. My father, in an outrage, had all of the children in the kitchen. And he started beating us, one at a time. I remember my eldest sister screaming and crying, then on to the next sister, and I remember my father turning around and in anger screaming, “….do you want me to do this?!” and punching me in the head. I remember my head bouncing off the kitchen floor. And out of fear, I remember climbing underneath the counter in the kitchen to get away from him before he stormed out of the house.

My father did what he did not because it was right or wrong. He did what he did because he could. A five-year-old and two teenage girls are no match to the strength of a full grown man who’s angry.

As the years progressed and the abuse became more commonplace – the worst feeling about it all – besides the bruising and bleeding – was the total inability to stop him. The powerlessness in the shadow of his power. Was he wrong to do that? Of course, he was. But the church had granted him unlimited authority to ‘break the will’ of a child.

And that’s what’s happening to African Americans in this push back. People are trying to break their will and let them know where their place is. As well as Mexicans. As well as Refugees. As well as LGBT people, especially Trans people who are being murdered. As well as….Veterans who’s suicide rate is alarming.

For the religious among you, think back to Pharoh who felt threatened over the rising population of Jews in the land of Egypt. Think about Herrod who, feeling threatened at his advisor’s telling him a King had been born, sent out an order to kill the first born. This is what America is doing to itself because a certain demographic is afraid that change is coming.

Well, change is inevitable. And power is always in transition. It’s in a constant state of flux. America is turning into an abusive parent who does what he does simply because no one is big enough to stop him. And I have a terrible feeling that eventually, that kid is going to buck up and end up putting someone on their ass. And just like that father shocked to find his kid standing over him with a balled up fist, you’re going to deserve it.

America – what you’re doing – is fucked up. Hurting people because you can – is fucked up. And you know it’s fucked up. And just like that screwed up parent, your not deserving of the people in your life or the love and great things they are capable of. Including football players who stand for the national anthem.

You’re an abuser and a coward.

Fix your shit.

Stop the violence before it’s too late.

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P.S. I can’t imagine what that high must be like. To have someone on the ground trembling in fear knowing that they’re fucked if you decide they are. And the ability to take a life. Man, that must make you feel like a god. But you’re not. You’re human.

 

Message in a bottle (part 7)

 

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I recently quit smoking. And by recently I mean forty-eight hours ago. 2 days. And boy do I miss it. I am not doing it cold turkey. No. I think that’s inviting insanity. And for someone who gets extremely moody if I get hungry, I don’t think that’s a good idea. My husband and I are using a vaporizer as cessation. Now I know what people say, vaporizers aren’t completely safe. And that’s true. We read up on some of the literature that talks about the dangers. But put next to cigarettes. There is no comparison in regards to danger. Zero. From there we’ll wean ourselves off of those.

But yes, I do miss lighting up. I was a Marlboro man most my life although I started off on Newports when I was in high school.

And it was cigarettes that got me beaten one morning while my father was in a bad way.

See, I didn’t start off a smoker. But my friends’ parents and my friends were. In my idiot 15/16-year-old logic – I figured – that if I was being accused and catching hell for it, I would just give in and do it. I was coming home from my friend’s houses smelling like an ashtray. They all smoked inside, especially during the winter months.

But the original cigarettes I’d smoked hadn’t come from my friends. Or from peer pressure.

See, my parents treated their love of God, like a drug. Or a drink. And often times they would ‘fall off the wagon’ and leave church. And when that happened, the beatings on Saturday night, the inner family feuds, the banning of certain television shows were lifted, movies were purchased, we did things as a family and my parents would smoke and drink.

Now as a kid that had all of that drilled into his head as being wrong. It was hard to watch them drink and smoke. But as I grew older, I came to expect it. Their faith and personal lives swung like a pendulum.

Nothing was stable. Nothing. That’s the root of the insanity of this story. Our lives were in a constant state of upheaval.

But I digress. It wasn’t my friends’ cigarettes I smoked first. It was my parents. Left in a little saucer on the kitchen table they used as an ashtray.

It wasn’t my friends’ cigarettes I smoked first. It was my parents. Left in a little saucer on the kitchen table they used as an ashtray.

The final time I’d been beaten, my mother yelled in from the dining room into the bedroom where my father had a fifteen-year-old me bent over, bare-assed, breaking my will and stripped of dignity (a 15/16 year old has things his parents don’t need to see. Which sorta makes this demeaning in a sexual way) – and told him to “…beat the hell out of him. He’s down the street smoking with those bitches.”

At this point, they were back in church and had changed once again. By this time I’d gotten so used to the on again off again relationship they had with christ, I’d stopped shifting along with them. They weren’t believers. They were addicts trading booze for Jesus.

However, in the midst of his new high with Jesus, he’d finally been able to use a wooden plank he brought home from work, in the shape of a paddle, on one of us. And unfortunately that morning, I’d drawn the short straw. He’d been positively giddy that the two-inch thick board, with holes in it, would make a whistle before it connected. And boy, it sure did. I was bruised for weeks.

He doesn’t know how close he came to dying that day. I often think about what would have happened if I had turned on him. Snatched that out of his hand and beat him to death with it. No jury in the world would have convicted me. Or perhaps they would have. But they’d look at their children a bit different from that point on.

Instead, this incident resulted in me taking them to court. At that point, I’d had enough. I left home, called social services, and at sixteen years old stood in front of a judge. No kid should have to do that. To have to turn on your parents. To be the one that put an end to years and years of abuse. And even though I lost my case for emancipation (it had been outlawed in Michigan a year prior) the physical shit ended.

But from that point forward, I smoked every day since then.

This blog, my yoga, book writing, poetry, my smoking cessation – is a way to let go. A way to say goodbye to all of that. I’m ready, now, to quit. It just took me fifteen years to get here. So maybe I don’t miss it so much.

 

Ugh, these people were assholes. They were fucking detestable assholes.  And their ‘god’ and ‘church’ was a joke.

Fuck them.

I’ll write more when i can.

 

 

Message in a Bottle (part 4)

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It’s times like these that I doubt everything. It’s times when my husband is lying in bed asleep, the dog has his head under the bed (I have no idea why he does that but he does) asleep, and I am the last one awake.

It’s moments like these when I think – I have so much to be grateful for. I’ve come a long way. No, my life hasn’t been easy but then again, who’s life has been?

It’s nights like these after I’ve made dinner and we’ve watched a show on VUDU or Netflix that I find myself content to just be. Just being in the moment. And I find many moments like that. In the morning when I take Kaiser (or Stink depending on how long it’s been since I’ve bathed him) for our walk and I put my headphones in and listen to an old Fleetwood Mac album. Or when I’m doing yoga – which has been a wonderful outlet for me to center myself mentally, emotionally, and physically. Or when I am sitting down to add words to a page in one of my books.

And I think to myself, “Why not let things be?”

So often I’ve been told that I have to get over what happened. That I have to move on. And those words have come at the precise of the moment when I am not at my best as I am now. They’ve come when I’m so low I could do a snake a favor and scratch his belly for him. It’s in those moments when something comes across in social media, or I see something on television, or an old memory flares up in my mind and I beg the universe for deliverance to that land of ‘move on’. And I think to myself, I’ve lived with this stuff for so long – will there ever be a day I can say, “I’ve arrived.” I am fine, now, I’ve moved on.

I went years without knowing what was wrong with me. Yet I knew something was. In college, I was given a diagnosis of extreme ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I scored off the charts even to the point where the health profession said that I may have Bipolar disorder. So I did what I thought I should have done and went to a psychiatrist with the diagnosis and got on medication. And while the pills worked. My concentration was such that I could hear a mosquito fart and be able to describe it to you – it kept me up for days on end.

ADHD medications aren’t supposed to do that.

But I didn’t know any better. I thought they were just supposed to help you concentrate. And another thing I wasn’t aware of was that the symptoms of ADHD look a heck of a lot like the symptoms of PTSD  (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). And even at that point I thought PTSD was a soldier’s illness from being in war. Well, I had deployed to the middle east for Operation Iraq Freedom but the unit I was with was in Kuwait. And that was an experience that was long, and hot, and I missed home, and yes it was a little intimidating – but nothing bad happened there. We were never involved in any firefights, no I.E.D’s went off, and even though we got there when Saddam was still bombing Kuwait (Sharq Mall got hit (If I remember correctly), it had been a couple of hours prior to us showing up.

So there was a part of me that was unable or unwilling to see what was in front of me. Or maybe there was a part of me unwilling or able to associate my PTSD with something that hit very close to my heart and was personal. My family. My life growing up. And the idea that a church or a doctrine of a church could be the culprit was something I was again unwilling or unable to put together.

Church is supposed to be a place you feel the safest. Our Family is supposed to be the place you feel the safest as well. And neither place was safe at all. Added on to the stress of living in a war zone like Detroit in the 1990’s, it’s a miracle I’m not a heroin addict. Or not permanently locked away in some psych ward somewhere (although I did do a stint in Detroit Receiving Psychiatric Ward an indigent care facility, at one point after I returned from the service, but that’s a story for another time). I can’t just put event after event on here, because like I mentioned in blogs before – I’m afraid there would be so many that no one would believe me.

For fifteen years of my life, the physical abuse starting at an early age, the slaps, punches, beatings with extension cords, belts, switches, watching my older sisters get hit and/ or kicked out of the house – things that I’d witnessed and was powerless to stop- at young ages went on like clockwork. Saturday nights before church were always hell on earth in our family. The explosions in tempers, the skanky inner workings of the church that thought it was appropriate for a sixteen-year-old girl to marry an almost thirty-year-old man, the lies, deceit, the cover-up of a rape, the usury of another sister to pay bills as she killed herself working whilst dealing with an eating disorder…all of that was inside of the house. Detroit would be and do other things.

All these things were ingested like poison to a child scared out of his mind waiting for what was going to happen next. And it was pure insanity. It was all based on a fucked up version of Christianity. It was all enforced with rhetorical flourish, emotional manipulation, spiritual manipulation, fear of the wrath of God to stay quiet, and physical violence.

And maybe its self-preservation in moments like this that tell me to stop. To let sleeping dogs lie. Or maybe it is cowardice or fear that says I could be stirring up a hornet’s nest. But I know the moment i see something that triggers a memory – I know I’ll wish I’d have started something like this. Started talking. Some kid will get killed, some young lady will have to apologize to the wife of her rapist for him taking advantage of her.

I know I am pussyfooting around the main event. The actual diving into the heart of what happened to me and my siblings. And I think that too is based in fear. Not fear of anything I may cause, but fear of all those emotions rushing to the surface and me descending into expletive-laden rants about what fuck shits, what cowards, the people involved were.

I don’t want to do that.

But what I have learned is my reaction to those things that happened is not unusual. As a matter of fact, as research is expanding in the field of psychology concerning what’s called Adverse Childhood Experiences (or Aces). I’ve come to realize just how much an impact what had happened had on me. Aces is a way for doctors to test how adverse experiences can effect a child over a lifetime.

(Watch Nadine Burke Harris give an approx. 16 min talk on the nature of ACES, here)

(Read up on Aces and take the quick test:  here)

So it’s the realization that even though this happened fifteen years ago it is still impacting me in a very serious way today – even physiologically. So I’ll take a moment, at fifteen minutes past the Witching Hour, to be grateful for some clarity and some peace.

Goodnight

I’ll write more when I can

 

 

Change is coming, Preacher. And it’s coming fast.

We’re coming up on a year of marriage equality.The world has changed. My world, has changed. Many people’s lives were changed. Those who are gay, their world changed for the better. Those who aren’t gay. Their lives didn’t change at all. Their marriages are still together – one would assume. Their families are still together- one would assume. All the chicken little sky’s a’ fallin’, rhetoric hasn’t come to pass. Much to the religious right’s chagrin. And recently, the Obama administration came out in support of the Transgender community – now that the eye of the religious right has moved from us and upon them. Mostly, with the same old recycled things that they once said – and to the most part- continue to say about gay people.

The lives of gay people and the transgendered community coming into their own, is symbolic. It’s symbolic of humanity stepping forward in one instance, and it’s symbolic of the hold of the religious right’s influence on this world – breaking apart and crumbling. And it isn’t going to go easily. Right now, 11 States (republican states I may add) are suing the Obama administration over the Federal Directive for Transgendered student’s bathroom use. Because of course they are. In the 1980’s the religious right and the conservative party entered into an unholy matrimony with one another – that not only was detrimental to the AFrican American population but also with anyone who found themselves in the category of ‘other’. And in this instance it is anyone ‘other’ than white, male, and straight. And there are still some religious strongholds.

Frank Schaffer, one of the founders of this religious movement as well as this wedding between the conservative base and fundamental evangelicals- has come out in full force against what he says he, ‘bitterly regrets’. I had recently read his book, “Why I am an Atheist who believes in God” and some of you here have seen him on Samantha Bee’s Full Frontal, helping her explain how this dastardly mix of fundamentalism and political ambition came to be. And I applaud him. He doesn’t mince words. He’s pretty blunt about who and what these people were and the damage that they’ve done to people who found themselves in the ‘other’ category.So often we hear on the news about Islamic fundamentalism. We saw it played out on September 11, 2001, we see it all the time on Fox News as they zero into the Middle EAst where fundamentalism has hijacked Islam. We saw it play out in London. And most recently at the Bataclan in Paris. And when we think of fundamentalism we think about these groups like ISIS, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and we all sit in shocked silence at what it’s capable of. But we’ve not, until recently, started to look inward at a country whose been under the political sway of fundamentalism for the past thirty five – forty years. But we are beginning to. It’s beginning to happen as the rhetorical flourish of the far right becomes heightened, as they become more extreme in their actions, and as people like Frank Schaffer come forward to speak.You are going to learn or have learned some of the movers and shakers of this movement.

Just like Osama Bin Laden, Anwar Al Awlaki, etc and so forth names have been thrown out into the social consciousness or reintroduced into the social consciousness. Names like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Bob Jones Sr., Oral Roberts, Jack Hyles, Lester Roloff ( Rebekah homes in Corpus Christi), Dr. David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association, Dr. Curtis Hudson (Sword of the Lord Publishers), Jack Patterson (New Bethany homes- a protege of Roloff) etc and so forth – men, who for the most part, created this political, familial, and social black hole of absolutism, rhetorical flourish, control, misogyny, and any and all forms of abuse that can be thought of. The past thirty five to forty years as been a new dark ages when one takes a long view at the falling backward of rights concerning ‘other’. Gay Marriage has only succeeded in pushing forward, as well, as trans issues because of the loosening of the hold of these men and men like them, over the body politic of this country. And over time, these names are going to come to light and historians are going to have to deal with them.But there are other stories to be heard. And not just from people like Frank Shaffer or those minorities (black, hispanic, gay, women) as a whole who’d been directly affected by this unholy union of power and religion, but you’re going to begin (hopefully) to start to hear from people who lived under the direct influence of these men. Whose lives were directly impacted by absolutism.

Now that Pope Francis, and even several secular scientists – have come forward calling fundamentalism a mental illness (and one they contend can be treated if not cured), the question now is what do you with those who had been inside families of these mentally ill people for extended lengths of time. Mostly, I’m talking about the children, the survivors, of these homes and indirectly- these men who practiced what they preached.A friend shared a blog post  and a lot of other people have been circulating a blog post from some preacher admonishing these far right pastors for their behavior – and of course you’ve seen preachers show up to campuses, you’ve seen them outside of abortion clinics screaming at woman and workers, you’ve known they’ve sent amicus to the courts, and recently you saw a video where one walked through target with her bible screaming at the top of her lungs about transgendered bathrooms. But you’ve only caught a whiff of it. A hint of the sewage. Imagine being that woman’s children, imagine being the children of someone like Fred Phelps, imagine being directly involved with that amount of religious passionate fervor on a daily basis.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris gave a Ted Talk (follow here) recently about ACES – or Adverse Childhood Experiences (abuse :sexual, physical, mental, emotional, a mentally ill parent, etc) and essentially made it clear, that the higher your ACES score ( My score is an 8) – the higher your risk for chronic disease such as: Lung cancer, heart disease, chronic pulmonary lung disease, depression, and suicidality. “…With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent. “http://mbcc.mt.gov/…/Now%20that%20you’ve%20got%20your%20sco…Now when some people think about abuse they think about drug users, alcoholics, low income earners, sort of “those people” in “those areas” but the evidence doesn’t bear that out. Out of the 17,000 people tested they were all white, middle class – upper class, college educated people with health care through Kaiser- permanente.These children, these survivors, their lives are already statistically shortened. I think we need to start hearing from them. Because as this all starts to unravel, as the powers that be are forced apart from their religious donors and voting base – I think you’re going to find a terrible truth this country has been hiding for forty years. A lot of things have changed over the past year – and I think a lot of things are going to be changing from here on out.