Photo credit: tribktla.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/la-1502592986-gjp54ij6m1-snap-image.jpg?quality=85&strip=all&strip=all

 

I confess, I don't know what to do in situations like this.

I have my opinions about the KKK, white supremacists, Nazis, and terrorists.  To put it bluntly, I think their racism makes them awful human beings.  I'm pretty vocal about it too, telling all my Facebook friends, twitter and instagram followers, and readers of this blog how I feel.  I tell my friends how I feel in real life too.

If I know they agree with me.  Fortunately, most of the people I know in my private life are as progressive as I am and feel the same way.

A friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to Renegade Mothering's article Dear White Women: This is Definitely Us earlier today:

"They say the truth will set you free, but first it will really piss you off. The reason it pisses us off is not simply because we are wrong, but because the truth – the great truth – sets aflame everything we thought we knew about ourselves. It uses us up and spits us out into a pile of something we never imagined could exist in us, let alone thrive at the core of our being.

"Do we believe people of color now?

"Do we believe our silence is compliance? Do we believe our silence is not revolutionary? Do we believe that it is only through pointed, conscientious action that we can break down the system of supremacy from which we all benefit? Do we see that watching slavery movies and feeling bad isn’t doing a goddamn thing?

"Do we believe we are responsible? That we must speak? That we must call out the fifty racists in our families–oh come on. I know they’re there. Even in Portland–that we must RAISE CHILDREN WHO UNDERSTAND AMERICA WAS BUILT ON RACISM?

"We are not post-racial. We have never been equal. And it is an outright delusion to convince ourselves “This is not us.”

"This man  [Trump] was brought to power because of his white supremacy, not in spite of it.

"This is a backlash of eight years of black presidency. This is a backlash against people of color rising to power. This is white America reclaiming its Empire.

"This is every race-based immigration law in our history. This is Native America genocide. This is anti-miscegenation laws, the one-drop rule, and American colonization. This is white nostalgia and the rewriting of history.

"This is Jim Crow after slavery. This is the prison pipeline after civil rights. This is redlining and white flight after the GI Bill of WWII.

"This is exactly how America has always wanted it. HAS ALWAYS DONE IT."

 

(Really, you need to follow the link and read the whole post.  Stop and do that now. Come back when you're done.)

I have friends and at least one family member who I know voted for Trump.  I talk on social media about how abhorrent bigotry and racism are because it's easy.  But I don't like confronting actual human beings about their personal bigotry because I don't like confrontation.

My silence is compliance.  I need to be more vocal and active, but other than praying about it (which I believe can help change the situation more than my actions alone), I don't know how.

[Insert a lot of inner turmoil and hand-wringing here.]

Fortunately, about the time this inner turmoil and repeating "WHAT DO I DO?" in my head showed up, I found an article from the Southern Poverty Law Center with a list of things we can do to combat racism and bigotry:

The first thing I'm going to do is keep reminding fellow Christians that we are commanded to love everyone, even those we see as our enemies or different.  We need to pray that we (including our own selves), the Body of Christ, love people as Christ loves them and renounce hatred in our own lives.  Loving other people is probably more difficult for me than confronting them, so this challenge is pointed at me more than anyone else.

I'm going to work on gently and lovingly confronting those people in my life who say bigoted and hateful things.

I'm going to continue to work on my own prejudices, facing them and eliminating them.

I'm going to continue to speak against bigotry and hatred on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and in my writing.

And I'm going to continue praying the God will use me to help end bigotry and hatred.

 

 

On June 26, 2017, Huffpost published an article by Kayla Chadwick titled I Don't Know How to Explain to You That You Should Care About Other People.  In it, she writes:

"I don’t know how to explain to someone why they should care about other people.

"Personally, I’m happy to pay an extra 4.3 percent for my fast food burger if it means the person making it for me can afford to feed their own family. If you aren’t willing to fork over an extra 17 cents for a Big Mac, you’re a fundamentally different person than I am.

"I’m perfectly content to pay taxes that go toward public schools, even though I’m childless and intend to stay that way, because all children deserve a quality, free education. If this seems unfair or unreasonable to you, we are never going to see eye to eye.

"If I have to pay a little more with each paycheck to ensure my fellow Americans can access health care? SIGN ME UP. Poverty should not be a death sentence in the richest country in the world. If you’re okay with thousands of people dying of treatable diseases just so the wealthiest among us can hoard still more wealth, there is a divide between our worldviews that can never be bridged.

"I don’t know how to convince someone how to experience the basic human emotion of empathy. I cannot have one more conversation with someone who is content to see millions of people suffer needlessly in exchange for a tax cut that statistically they’ll never see (do you make anywhere close to the median American salary? Less? Congrats, this tax break is not for you)."

If you claim to be a Christian, I do know how to explain it to you:

John 15:12--My command is this: Love one another as I have loved you.

Proverbs 29:7--The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.

Jeremiah 22:3--I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not ill-treat or oppress foreigners, orphans, or widows.

Micah 6:8--He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

1 John 3: 17--If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

1 Corinthians 10:24--None of you should be looking out for your own interests, but for the interests of others.

Provers 22:22-23--Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.

In short: Love others as God has loved you.  If you love God, you will take care of the poor and the oppressed.  The Lord requires His followers to take care of the poor and the oppressed, to bring justice to the world and be merciful to others.  Look out for the interests of others instead of your own interests.  And if we don't do these things?  The Lord will protect the needy and punish us.

As Christians, we should be helping people.  We should fight for a living wage for all people because the Lord requires us to take care of the poor, and people who aren't making a living wage are poor.  You can gripe all you want about not wanting to pay a few cents more for your fast food and how people should get real jobs if they want to be paid a living wage, but this argument is rooted in greed, not the betterment of others.

You can gripe all you want about not wanting to pay for another person's health insurance, but that's not loving God because you aren't loving your neighbor.  This isn't an argument about how the free market will help make health insurance more affordable: what you're really saying is that you aren't going to take pity on someone who has less than you.

And that's not right, and that's not just.

So if you claim to follow Jesus, but you've made arguments against raising the minimum wage, health insurance for everyone, paying taxes, or anything else you might call liberal economics, know this: Jesus commands us to take care of those who are poor and oppressed.  If you aren't doing the right thing, the just thing, maybe you're not following Jesus.

 

 

 

We've been here before, ladies and gentlemen.

Once again, the major cable companies--Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T--want the FCC to get rid of net neutrality regulations:  "Broadband giants like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, oppose the FCC's net neutrality policy, because it prevents them from turning the internet into something like cable TV, with different price and service packages for premium content. And they've got a willing ally in Pai, a former Verizon lawyer who was selected to lead the FCC by Trump in January."

Net neutrality " ... is the concept that internet service providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Verizon shouldn't be allowed to prioritize or block legal content on their networks. It also means that they can't set up online fast lanes for deep-pocketed companies at the expense of startups. This open access principle is responsible for establishing the internet as an unprecedented platform for economic growth, civic engagement and free speech, according to net neutrality advocates."

I don't want to pay more for Internet than I already am just to have slower service than what I already have.  And I don't want to pay even more than that to have internet service at the speed I have now.  I don't want sites to be blocked from me because I have Comcast and the website's ISP is AT&T.

If you agree with me, here's what you can do: Send a letter to the FCC and Congress telling them that you don't want the FCC to end net neutrality.

Please protect the future of the Internet and email the FCC and Congress today.  Share this post with your friends so that they can email the FCC and Congress too.  Post about the fight for net neutrality on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and everywhere else you live on social media.  And thank you for helping!

(Warning: NSFW due to language.)

 

Bitch.  Cunt.  Pussy.  Sissy. Douchebag.  Twat.  Boob.  Slut.  Whore.  Skank.  Slag.  Tramp.  Prude.  Frigid.  Lesbo.  Diva.  Feminazi.

In just those few words, I could be insulted for being a jerk, weak, stupid, a person who likes to have a lot of sex, a person who doesn't like to have sex, a lesbian, dramatic, or a passionate feminist.  Five of those are insults based on feminine body parts.  The others are based on just being a woman.  At least five of those (pussy, sissy, douchebag, twat, boob) are also used to insult men.

Compare that to gendered insults based specifically on the masculine:

Dick.  Prick.  Bonehead.

The list is significantly shorter and based on just one male body part.  They are used in place of jerk and stupid.  There aren't really any insults for men who like to have sex; in fact, most cultures celebrate men who have many sexual partners at the very same time they are denigrating the women with whom the men are having all this sex.

In "The Harmless Sounding Phrase That is Terrible for All Women," Karen Rinaldi writes:

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about another friend’s husband who had called his wife a “stupid bitch” in front of their daughters in a moment of anger. He later apologized to the family. He’d had a hard day at the office. He didn’t really mean what he’d said, and he’d humbled himself in front of his wife and kids. We knew that he was basically a good guy. Basically a good guy. 

And that’s the phrase that kept swirling in my head. It occurred to me that the common refrain, “He is basically a good guy,” confirms one of our most pervasive biases. A colleague who made a sexist remark in a meeting? Well, we think, he didn’t mean it. He’s basically a good guy. The young man who insulted his date in front of his friends? He didn’t think she would take it so personally. He’s really a good guy...

When has anyone ever heard, as a pardon for a woman’s bad behavior, “She is basically a good woman?” Never. Because as frequently as we hear, “He’s basically a good guy,” we also hear, “She’s such a bitch.” Women are not so readily forgiven for their transgressions, no matter how small. The woman who refuses to accept blame at work for something she didn’t do? The woman who disagreed with her date in front of his friends? The wife who got too drunk at the neighborhood party?

A woman in a position of power in the workplace is called "Bossy;" her male counterpart is  called a "Leader."

Wives and girlfriends"Nag" their partners about things that need to be done; husbands and boyfriends "Remind" their partners of the same things.

A woman who forgets a few things is called "blonde" or "ditzy" or "airhead;"  a man who forgets a few things has a "momentary memory lapse."

Calling out a man for misogyny is usually reserved for blatant acts of physical and/or emotional abuse or assault.  We're really quick to call a man who physically abuses his wife or girlfriend a wife beater.  But what about the man who jokingly calls his partner a bitch or slut?  What about the men who catcall the girl walking down the street minding her own  business?  What about the father who calls his son a sissy because he cries when he's upset?  Or what about the baseball coach who tells the boys on his team that they throw like girls?  How about the teacher that claims boys do better in math than girls?

Misogyny isn't just about being outspoken in your hatred of women.  It's in the little things like jokingly calling a woman a bitch or slut because she did something that offended you or had any sexual partners before you.  Like catcalling a girl as if she is public property because she's walking down a public street.  Like calling your son a sissy for crying or telling a boy he throws like a girl, as if women are inherently lesser than men and telling a boy he's acting like a girl is the ultimate insult.

Misogyny is all about men who believe that women are weaker than them, not as smart as them, not allowed as many privileges as them, more emotional than them, and generally just not as good as them.

Men > women.

Language is powerful.  I'm super tired of misogyny and I'm super tired of the language it creates.  I'm tired of being told women are weak and that I'm weak because I'm a woman.

#Resist #NeverthelessShePersisted

 

 

 

 

 

"A new commandment I give to you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35)

Please bear with me.  I have stuff to say, but it's not going to be flowing or terribly coherent.

I have a tattoo on my left wrist that says "love one another."  Originally, I was going to get all of verse 34 (above) on my wrist, but decided that those three words were enough and it would be a succinct reminder of the rest of those two verses.

I hope that those three words are written in my mind and on my heart so that I remember them in everything I say or do.  In reality, I know I still need to work on how I talk and act.  Having those three words written on my wrist is a visual reminder when my heart is too hurt or my mind too angry to stop me from doing or saying something stupid and unkind.

I'm not telling you this to convince you that I'm perfect and loving all the time.  Far from it.  But I don't understand hatred.  There are some people I strongly dislike in this world, but I deal with it by not thinking about them at all instead of stewing about how strongly I dislike them.  I don't understand utter loathing and stewing about it.  I try to remember that love isn't always a feeling; in fact, love is usually a way we act.  I use the definition of love from 1 Cor. 13:4-7 as my guide so that even if I'm not feeling loving towards someone, I can still act loving by being patient, kind, trusting, and hopeful (among other things).  The kindest thing we can do is forgive people who hurt us.  Failing that, the kindest thing we can do is to not think about certain people at all. It's better to not think about them than to stew in your hatred.

So I don't understand why people are so horrible to other people.  I don't understand how you can hate someone because of the way they look, the color of their skin, who they're attracted to, who they love, or who they worship or don't worship.  I don't understand wanting to harm someone because they're different from me.  I don't understand wishing a whole group of people would die because of the way they've chosen to live their lives (if those choices don't hurt anyone else).  There are some ways people choose to live their lives that I don't understand and would never do myself, but if what they're doing isn't hurting themselves or anyone else, then why is it any of my business?

So I don't understand why the individuals who have committed acts of terrorism in the United States over the last several years have done so.

I don't understand how someone can hate the members of a whole community because of one thing.  Because they're gay.  Because they're transgender.  Because they're African-American or Chinese or Indian or Latino or Jewish.  Because they're Muslim or atheist or pagan or another Christian denomination.  Because they wear turbans or burqas or all black or dresses.  Because they're women.

What kind of hatred must you have in your heart that the sight of two men kissing incites you to pick up a gun and kill people at a gay club?

This upsets me on two levels.  On a general level, I wonder how someone can have that much hatred for any individual and that much more hatred for a whole community.  On a more personal level it upsets me because I've lost a sibling to cancer  and my very best friend in the whole world, who is practically my sister, is a member of the LGBTQ community.

How many people lost siblings yesterday at The Pulse, and what if it had been this woman I love as a sister?

As a person who has lost a sibling and a person who loves someone in the LGBTQ community, this is just a nightmare.  And it didn't even happen to me.

Tonight there are people grieving because some guy hated homosexuals.  Tonight there are people, like my sister-friend, who are living in fear because other people, who also hate homosexuals, are calling the shootings yesterday "God's will."

And I don't understand because the God I worship loves everyone so much that He sent His only Son to earth.  And I don't understand because that Son, Jesus, told us to love God and love our neighbor.  And this Jesus told us to love one another.  And I don't understand how people can think that this same God hates certain people when the Bible says He loves everyone so fiercely.

I don't understand and my heart is broken for all the parents weeping for children they lost and all the siblings who are in shock because their brother or sister isn't ever coming home and for all the people living in fear because they're gay, transgender, African-American, Muslim, Jewish, a girl, or anything else that might make them the victim of bigotry and violence.

I asked my sister-friend yesterday what I could do to help her besides pray.  She said "Keep speaking up and standing out."

So this is me speaking out.  Condemning the hatred and violence in this world.  Encouraging others to remember that God wants us to love one another and not hate.

And it starts here, with me, and this little reminder I have on my left wrist that simply says, "love one another."

This is what a feminist looks like. (Via Strange Politics)

I am a feminist.

Why?  Because I support women being completely equal to men in all aspects of life.

This is also what a feminist looks like.

 

I have believed this all of my life, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I would actually call myself a feminist.  I would tell you for sure that I believed women and men should be equal, but the term "feminist" had (and still does, to some extent) such negative connotations:

Feminists want women to be greater than men.

Feminists hate men.

Feminism is redundant because women already have the same rights and privileges as men.

Etc.

None of this is true, of course.  There are some women who think women should be greater than men or who hate men.  By definition, they are not feminists.  People who think women already have the same rights and privileges as men forget that it's easier for a man to get a prescription for Viagra than it is for a woman to get a prescription for contraception, even though contraception has been around longer than Viagra.  Or forget that a woman still only earns about 80 cents for the same work as a man who makes $1 for that work.

Sally Ride, Astronaut and Physicist.

Feminists come in all genders, races, belief systems, occupations, levels of education, etc.

I've been a Christian since I was sixteen.  Jesus stands up for women.  He loves the women that mortal men look down on, He doesn't condemn the women that mortal men would condemn, and women are as much a part of His ministry as men.  I have never, ever believed that Jesus thinks women are lesser beings than men, and if the Savior thinks that women and men are equal, then shouldn't we all think the same thing?

But when I was younger, I was more conservative than I am now, and what was--and is--expected of conservative Christian women is to support patriarchy.

Because the Bible says that women shouldn't be in positions of leadership in the church.

Because the Bible says that women should submit to men, especially their husbands.

Because the Bible says that women are unclean once a month or after childbirth.

Because a woman was created from a man's rib bone.

But people forget about Deborah, who was one of the Judges of Ancient Israel.  Or Rahab, a prostitute, who protected two of Joshua's spies as they enterd Canaan.  Or Esther, who saved the Israelites from bloodthirsty Haman because she was married to (and held influence with) King Xerxes.  Or Junia, (Romans 16:7) who was an apostle.  Or the four unmarried daughters of Phillip who were prophetesses (Acts 21:9).  Or Euodia, Syntyche, and Phoebe (Phil. 4:2-3; Romans 16:1-2) who were ministers in the Churches in Phillipi and Cenchrea.  Or Priscilla, who along with her husband Aquila, were church leaders in Ephesus and taught Apollos the way of God more accurately (Acts 18:24-26).

People forget that when Paul says that women should submit to their husbands, he gives an even stronger command to men: Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for it (Eph. 5:25)  In other words, men, if you want a wife to submit to you, you have to be willing to sacrifice and die for her.

Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist. (Courtesy sarahbessey.com)

So with all of these things, why is it so difficult for some people to understand that women are equal to men?

Do they think women are weak? Why?  Is it because our muscles are smaller, our bone structure is generally smaller, we bleed once a month, and carry the next generation in our wombs?

Those things don't make us weaker than men.  They make us strong.  We can exercise and weight lift to build up our muscles and bones.  Our bodies are created to prepare for pregnancy and nurture life.  In those times when we are not pregnant, we bleed and cramp and are sometimes miserable.  When we are pregnant and in labor we are sick from hormones and sore from a growing child and then in pain as we wait to welcome that child into the world.

And if we choose to not ever become pregnant (which is a totally valid choice for women, by the way, so quit asking when she's going to have a kid), we still get to bleed and cramp once a month until we're over the age of 40.

Do they think women are just lesser than men? We can do science (Marie Curie, Shirley Ann Jackson, Mae Carol Jemison), literature (J.K. Rowling, Louise Fitzhugh, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Amy Tan), and math (Hypatia, Marjorie Lee Browne, Raman Parimala) just as well as any man.

 

Shirley Ann Jackson, Theoretical Physicist and President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

 

Marjorie Lee Browne, PhD. in Mathematics and Math educator.

Maybe it's because women just aren't as good as men, that anything feminine is lesser, weaker, ickier, and worse than anything that is masculine.  Think about it: when was the last time you used a gendered insult like, "bitch," "douchebag," "cunt," "pussy," or "whore" when what you really meant was "asshole," "weak," or "promiscuous?"

When was the last time you heard someone put down a man because he was displaying typically-feminine traits?

When was the last time you heard someone trash talk a transgender woman?

Stef Sanjati, Transgender Activist

Or a fat woman?  Or a skinny woman?

Jes Baker, Body Positivity Activist, Blogger (themilitantbaker.com), and Author of "Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls."

Women, you're not weak.  You deserve the same right and privileges that men have.

Men, stand up for us.  We're your mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, aunts, nieces, cousins, and friends.  We're not just placeholders and the people who do the housework.  We deserve to be treated as equals because we do equal (and sometimes more) work and we do it just as well as you do.

This is Women's History Month, and today, March 8, is International Women's Day.  Stand up for equality, and be the best and most badass feminist you can be.

 

 

 

If you live outside the US or you've been hiding under a rock, then you might not have known that last night was the State of the Union Address.  (side note: if you have been living under a rock and didn't know this, don't feel badly.  I didn't know the #SOTU was last night until yesterday morning when our son told us he had to watch some of it for homework.)

I don't want to talk about the whole address, because that would be excruciatingly boring for both of us.  However, I want to touch on one part of President Obama's speech.  One of his points regarding health care in the US was that we have made huge strides in moving towards eliminating several diseases, and he finally said, "Let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all."

I'm all for that.  My world was turned upside down last April when my brother died after an eight month fight with colon cancer.  He was only 38.  Yesterday, a dear friend lost her aunt to a four year battle with cancer.  This morning, my cousin found out that a friend's five-year-old daughter has terminal brain cancer.  A year ago, I and a whole community of friends lost a dear woman to her second round of breast cancer.

I can't think of a single person I know who hasn't had a friend or family member lose a battle to cancer.  This is an ugly disease, and it leaves grieving, broken people in its wake.

Who wouldn't want America to be the country that cures cancer once and for all?

So back to the #SOTU address.  When President Obama announced that he wanted America to be the country that cures cancer, almost all of the Democrats stood up to applaud, but a very large section of the Congressional Republicans remained seated and didn't applaud (at least that I could tell).

Who doesn't applaud for something like this?  Who doesn't want to cheer and scream and shout and support this idea one thousand percent?  If you know anyone in your family or circle of friends who has battled cancer, especially if cancer killed that person, would you not make curing cancer your rallying cry?

Apparently a whole section of Congressional Republicans at the 2016 State of the Union Address, that's who.

To those people who didn't applaud and support the President's call for a cure for cancer: why?  Do you not want to see a cure for cancer?

Or are you not supporting it because a Democrat suggested we should make it happen?

Is partisan politics that important to you?

If so, you make me sad.