Why can’t the world of young men look less like Ferguson and more like the basketball game in my driveway? At this moment, my son who is as European American white as you can get is currently playing basketball with his friends: His black friends; His Hispanic friends; His Arabic friends; His white friends; Or as he likes to call them, “his friends”. There is no judgment on our makeshift court about your family, your culture or your looks. “Do you ball?” Is the only question that matters. No one is in any danger here except of maybe skinning a knee. This. What is happening in my driveway right now gives me hope for the future. Hope for Dr. King’s future where the streets of any city in the United States are as safe for any one of these boys as my driveway is today. Sadly this is far from what is true for most of the boys who are out there, on my driveway…right now. These beautiful boys do not possess the privilege my son does because he happened to be born a white man. They cannot feel as safe as he does walking down the streets of their own community. They are not afforded the same benefit of the doubt my son gets simply because of the skin that covers his bones. Many of the parents of these young men have already had to have “the talk” with them, and not the one about sex; the one about how to navigate the world as a man of color. This breaks my heart. These are good boys. They are every bit as deserving of safety as my son. But the world is not the same place for them as it is for my son. My friends, THIS. SHOULD. NOT. BE. Let’s do something to change it. We must if dare to call ourselves human.
It is that time again. I was invited by my friend Phil to interview him after coming back from some time off. Phil is a good friend and always a fascinating interviewee and this visit he had a couple announcements! I hope you enjoy it.
As you probably know this week marked the 96th observance of Veterans Day here in the United States. It was a day set aside by then President Wilson who said,
To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…
In more recent years “Armistice Day” was changed to Veterans Day, a day set aside to celebrate the service of all U.S. military veterans. This year HBO, Starbucks and Chase sponsored a concert on the National Mall to commemorate the occasion called The Concert for Valor. There were 10 acts scheduled to perform from various genres, including (the very american) Bruce Springsteen (incidentally, my husband’s all time favorite).
During his set, Bruce, accompanied by John Fogerty himself, Dave Grohl and Zac Brown sang the Fogerty classic, Fortunate Son, a well known Vietnam era song. Do you hear that? It is the sound of all conservative hell breaking loose. Of course all the outraged conservatives took to the interwebz and the airwaves to begin accusing The Boss of being disrespectful, unpatriotic and downright anti-american. Which. Of course. Is nonsense. John Fogerty probably said it best when asked about the song choice.
“Years ago, an ultraconservative administration tried to paint anyone who questioned its policies as ‘un-American,'” he continues. “That same administration shamefully ignored and mistreated the soldiers returning from Vietnam. As a man who was drafted and served his country during those times, I have ultimate respect for the men and women who protect us today and demand that they receive the respect that they deserve.”
Unamerican? You don’t say. Sounds familiar.
In case you are unfamiliar with the pro-soldier, anti-war hymn, here are the lyrics:
Some folks are born made to wave the flag
Ooh, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Oh, they point the cannon at you, Lord
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no Senator’s son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no
Some folks are born silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, oh
But when the tax men come to the door
Lord, the house look a like a rummage sale, yes
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one, no
Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, oh
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no military son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me
I ain’t no fortunate one
Born in the U.S.A.” is about the refusal of the country to treat Vietnam veterans as something more than nonunion workers in an enterprise conducted off the books. It is about the debt the country owes to those who suffered the violation of the principles on which the country was founded, and by which it was justified itself ever since.” Given that the takehome message of the Concert for Valor was to not forget our veterans after they get back from combat — celebrity emcees spent much of their speeches pointing viewers to foundations aimed at employing and aiding vets here at home — “Born in the U.S.A.” is a perfect fit for the theme.
Now, this is where the fun actually begins ladies and gentlemen. These same ultraconservative government folks who are the first to decry songs like these decry them because they are the people the songs are about. Let’s have a little look see and find out the many times Republican lawmakers have stood squarely in opposition to the best interests of veterans. Some examples:
S.1982- Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. The $21 billion legislation was supposed to improve health, education and other benefits for veterans. Instead, it failed to get the 60 votes needed to stop a threatened filibuster. That same month, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) estimated that “close to 200,000 veterans are among the 2 million unemployed workers who’ve lost access to federal jobless benefits since Congress allowed Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to expire at the end of last year.
H.R. 1171-Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization: Would have helped homeless vets get back on their feet by providing temporary training for employment and programs to help them get off the streets.
H.R. 1293-Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009: Would have helped those overcoming injuries sustained while fighting for our country improve their living conditions.
Honestly, I think Bruce hit the nail on the head with his song choice for Veterans Day. It seems to me that it is the Republicans who like to play the Veterans day shuffle. In the imortal words of the patriots Springsteen and Fogerty, “
Yeah, some folks inherit star spangled eyes.
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord.
And when you ask them, “How much should we give?”
Oh, they only answer, more, more, more, oh
This week I re-posted a couple of posts from my archives seeing as I thought they were relevant to current events. One of these posts was one I wrote back in March of 2013 called The Bible trumps the law of the United States? You might want to go read it right now so you know what Melissa and I are talking about. Go ahead, I’ll wait….
Back? Alrighty then. Now that we are all on the same page, this morning I woke up to find the following comment in my inbox:
I enjoyed reading much of what you had to say here. I used to believe a lot of what you are referring to: i.e. the OT law. Until I educated myself, properly, on it. Many misunderstand OT law, so this is not finger pointing…
Remember when Jesus said things like, “You have heard it said”… Those ‘rules’ were put there TO protect women. Moses allowed many of these relationships, as the leader, and Moses sinned many times. God never condoned any of this: rape, incest, concubines, etc. For example: Men were not allowed to rape, and leave. They were required to own up to their responsibility. Imagine if that happened today?! There would be a LOT less rape, I think? I could happily explain all these, but I’ll only do one more: The brother-in-law marrying a widow, if no child was born. The women back then were married to the family – as such, she wanted to be taken in and protected. Much like we don’t understand lots of tribal marriages today, similar thing. However (and this is the biggest part that is missed) – She had to agree to the marriage. If she did not, she was not obligated. He also had to agree to the marriage, too, btw… :( It’s even in the text.
Remember, a lot of the Bible is what happened Historically. Much of it was not, “The Bible says so, so let’s all have 20 spouses…”
Lastly, you stated that you believe homosexuality to not be sin. You also claim to be Christian. Unfortunately, the Christ that you say you follow does not agree with you. You must therefore not be following the Jesus of the Bible, or you must study it and repent. You are teaching others to denounce the very Word of God.
Disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle, does not mean you are a phobic or a hater. Homosexuality is equal to beastiality and lying and witchcraft… We all sin, but one who chooses to do so in the face of God, boasts and is habitual to it – Let’s sum it up with a great quote from 1 John 1:5-10
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
None of us are made right with God by being perfect. None of us are or can be. Let’s praise Him for being gracious, and loving us at the place we are. And let’s not condone sin to make the sinner feel better about himself. God can take care of that. He’s big enough. :)
This was my response:
First, as far as OT laws being there to “protect women”, You state,
“Moses allowed many of these relationships, as the leader, and Moses sinned many times. God never condoned any of this: rape, incest, concubines, etc. For example: Men were not allowed to rape, and leave. They were required to own up to their responsibility. Imagine if that happened today?! There would be a LOT less rape, I think?”
Oh joy! Men were not allowed to rape and leave. Yay! Now I get to marry my rapist. I feel so protected and valued! Do you actually believe this would lead to less rape? I hardly think so. Under this system, if a man saw a woman he wanted he would just rape her and then she would have to marry him. Lovely. How about this solution. Keep your effing hands to yourself, no means no, yes means yes, and you do not get to rape anyone for any reason even if you plan to stick around and marry them. UGH.
Last in this section, you state:
“The brother-in-law marrying a widow, if no child was born. The women back then were married to the family – as such, she wanted to be taken in and protected. Much like we don’t understand lots of tribal marriages today, similar thing. However (and this is the biggest part that is missed) – She had to agree to the marriage. If she did not, she was not obligated. He also had to agree to the marriage, too, btw… :( It’s even in the text.”
Why were women married to the family? Because they were property and not considered free moral agents. Indeed they were not considered equal in any way.
Okay, next topic…
On the subject of simultaneously being a follower of Jesus as well as an ally you say that Jesus does not agree with me. Hmmm. Really? Can you provide the chapter and verse where Jesus says ANYTHING at all about homosexuality? You cannot. Why? Because he never discusses the topic even one time. For more on this point I recommend checking out my series on the subject which addresses every passage in the Bible that “Christians” use to condemn gay people or at the very least “gay behavior”. You can find links to all the posts in the series on the conclusion post found here:http://wordofawoman.com/2012/04/16/homosexuality-and-god-conclusion/ I will not go into all of them on this thread one by one as it would take waaaay to long and I have already written on this subject extensively.
Second, the phrase “disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle”… I would like to challenge you on that. The “gay lifestyle” is as varied and individual as the “straight lifestyle”. When you refer to this “lifestyle” are you referring to my sister-in-law and her wife who both go to work every day, pay their taxes, enjoy eating out and doting on their two cats and one dog? I am thinking no. Hugh Hefner and Pope Francis are both heterosexual. Does that mean they live the same lifestyle? It is time we retired that phrase as the “nice”, “Christian” way to say, “Ewwwwwwww.” For more on this I suggest the tremendous post by Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network called, No I am Not in the “Gay Lifestyle”. and Neither is Anyone Else. You can find it here:
Next, you say, “Disagreeing with someone’s lifestyle, does not mean you are a phobic or a hater. Homosexuality is equal to beastiality and lying and witchcraft…” Really, do you seriously not believe that statement to be hateful? I am guessing it sounds pretty freaking hateful to almost any gay person you ask. Why? Because equating who someone loves to beastiality, lying and witchcraft is not only inherently hateful is is also just plain mean. To push that off on God by saying, if God said it in the Bible it is the loving thing is not only a cop out it is a slander against Jesus.
Lastly you assume that I am condoning “sin to make the sinner feel better about himself”. I am doing nothing of the sort. I already stated I do not believe homosexuality to be a sin. How then can I be condoning something I do not believe to be sinful to make someone feel better? Ironically it seems more like you are condoning your own prejudices by justifying them with scriptures never meant to condemn the LGBT follower of Christ.
I do sincerely appreciate you taking the time to read and comment and I do hope that you will read the links I suggested. I wish you well and pray that your eyes would be opened, that you would be filled with empathy for your fellow human beings and that you would “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”.
I am so tired of well meaning Christians slandering Jesus by saying he condemned LGBT folks and that he views their loving relationships as exactly the same as beastiality, lying and witchcraft. I cannot stand by without speaking up and attempting to help bend my little part of the invisible arc of human history toward justice. To quote Dr. Larry Brilliant (great name, right?) in his commencement address to the graduates of the Harvard School of Public Health in 2013:
Whether it was Dr. King or someone else who first imagined the arc of the moral universe bending towards justice, you can be damn sure they did not mean that history bends toward justice all on its own. Look around you. It is far from automatic. It is a battle for the poor, a battle for justice, a battle to lift the health of the public.
Here is what I ask of you: Imagine that arc of history that Reverend King inspired us with. It’s right here. The arc of the universe needs your help to bend towards justice. It will not happen on its own. The arc of history will not bend towards justice without you bending it… I want you to leap up, to jump up and grab that arc of history with both hands, and yank it down, twist it, and bend it. Bend it towards fairness… bend it towards justice!
Last night Kent and I sat at our local watering hole with three of our friends who are in their 20s and 30s. One of them voted, two of them did not. My friend Josh, who did vote, explained that he totally understands the people of his generation who stay home even if he feels compelled to vote himself. Honestly what Josh had to say reminded me a lot of the lyrics from John Mayer’s Waiting on the World to Change:
Now we see everything that’s going wrongWith the world and those who lead itWe just feel like we don’t have the meansTo rise above and beat itSo we keep waitingWaiting on the world to changeWe keep on waitingWaiting on the world to changeIt’s hard to beat the systemWhen we’re standing at a distanceSo we keep waitingWaiting on the world to change
The disparity between the under-30 and over-60 was the widest it’s been in a decade…The seniors comprised 37 percent of the electorate; young people made up 12 percent.
Yesterday I got to sit down for an interview with my friend Marc all the way from France! I hope you all enjoy it.
Originally posted on lotharlorraine:
She confessed me she also has a chaotic mind so that our mutual dialog won’t necessarily be always well structured :-)
Hi Michelle, thank you so much for having joined me! Could you please tell us more about your background?
Good afternoon! Thanks for inviting me. I have a long and interesting background but I will try to give you the shortened version. When I was a very young girl my family was involved in the Methodist church. However when I was about 5 my parents became involved with The Way International. After I got married, my husband and I left the Way and kind of were on our own, occasionally meeting with other people who had left that ministry. After a few years we began…
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Did you hear the one about the high school booster club (a group made up of parents mind you) that printed up a bunch of rapey t-shirts to amp up school spirit (and the football team)? No? Well, it happened right here in the Bible belt where I live – or is that the porn belt? – oh, I forgot, those are one and the same.
Why is that do you think?
The shirt in question, pictured above, was approved by both Bob Wager, head football coach at Martin High School and booster club president Kevin White who said that “they never considered the message on the shirt to be potentially inappropriate, with each adding that if they had they would have never allowed it to be made or worn.” This should come as no surprise to anyone. This is the problem with rape culture; the first rule of rape culture is don’t talk about rape culture. “Rape culture is a concept that examines a culture in which rape is normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.” Normalized. That just means you don’t notice it anymore. It has become normal, like the sky being blue. You see, the attitudes and systems we were born into have people programmed to be desensitized. It has gotten so we are able to read the text on that shirt and NOT EVEN SEE that it could be read in a way that glorifies rape.
Back to the Bible belt/porn belt thing for a minute. What do you think that has to do with this entire ruckus? In a recent study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior titled, Do American States with More Religious or Conservative Populations Search More for Sexual Content on Google? by Canadian psychologists Cara MacInnis and Gordon Hodson, it states:
[W]e observed moderate-to-large positive associations between: (1) greater proportions of state-level religiosity and general web searching for sexual content and (2) greater proportions of state-level conservatism and image-specific searching for sex. These findings were interpreted in terms of the paradoxical hypothesis that a greater preponderance of right-leaning ideologies is associated with greater preoccupation with sexual content in private internet activity.
In both the 2011 and 2012 Google data sets MacInnis and Hodson studied, they also found that:
… increased state religiosity was significantly associated with increased searches for sex, gay sex, porn, free porn, and gay porn.
It would seem that the Bible belt has been unbuckled and the fly is now open. Heck, the pants may even be down around the ankles.
These facts, like the normalization of rape culture are also not a surprise given that the dominant religious (predominantly evangelical) male dominated culture of the Bible belt buys in 100% to either Complementarianism (fancy Jesus speak for “Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. Men are just more equal.”) or even worse, flat out patriarchy. Let me share with you a few of my favorite quotes from modern day evangelical prophets.
Now that’s one kind of situation. Just a word on the other kind. If it’s not requiring her to sin, but simply hurting her, then I think she endures verbal abuse for a season, she endures perhaps being smacked one night, and then she seeks help from the church. – John Piper
Women will be saved by going back to that role that God has chosen for them. Ladies, if the hair on the back of your neck stands up it is because you are fighting your role in the scripture. —Mark Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill
“I don’t think a pastor can give a woman “permission” to do Bible teaching before the church, because the Bible says not to do that. Would we say a pastor, or a board of elders, could give a woman “permission” to violate the command, “You should not steal”, or to violate any other command of Scripture? No pastor or elder board has authority to give permission to anyone to disobey the Bible. It’s God’s Word and we need to obey it. – Wayne Grudem
But I still think that a woman who serves as a pastor, preaching to both men and women, is disobeying the word of God. There are always negative consequences to that. First, there will be an erosion of trust in the Bible and obedience to the Bible, generally in the congregation, because the methods of interpretation used to justify what she is doing often involve misinterpretation of scripture or eroding of the authority of scripture. – Wayne Grudem
Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians. – Pat Robertson
I knew that if you married a woman when she was fifteen, she would pluck your ducks. If you waited until she was twenty, she would only pick your pockets. Now, that’s a joke, and a lot of people seem to laugh at it, but there is a certain amount of truth in it. If you can find a nice, pretty country girl who can cook and carries her Bible, now, there’s a woman. She might even be ugly, but if she cooks squirrels and dumplings, then that’s the woman you go after.” ― Phil Robertson
The Holiness of God is not evidenced in women when they are brash, brassy, boisterous, brazen, head-strong, strong-willed, loud-mouthed, overly-talkative, having to have the last word, challenging, controlling, manipulative, critical, conceited, arrogant, aggressive, assertive, strident, interruptive, undisciplined, insubordinate, disruptive, dominating, domineering, or clamoring for power. Rather, women accept God’s holy order and character by being humbly and unobtrusively respectful and receptive in functional subordination to God, church leadership, and husbands. —James Fowler, Women in the Church, 1999
I can see your wheels turning. And you are thinking okay, but what do these guys have to do with the early “Church Fathers” ?
Well, let me tell you.
They are where all of this craziness in Christianity–and by extension the Bible belt–got it’s start. They sure as shootin’ didn’t get it from Jesus. It seems that most Christians have no idea where they get their theology about male/female relationships.
First lets hear from the Protestant reformers:
The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes. —Martin Luther, Reformer (1483-1546)
If [women] become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth–that is why they are there. – Martin Luther
Women are ashamed to admit this, but Scripture and life reveal that only one woman in thousands has been endowed with the God given aptitude to live in chastity and virginity. A woman is not fully the master of herself. –Martin Luther
No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise. —Martin Luther
Even as the church must fear Christ Jesus, so must the wives also fear their husbands. And this inward fear must be shewed by an outward meekness and lowliness in her speeches and carriage to her husband….For if there be not fear and reverence in the inferior, there can be no sound nor constant honor yielded to the superior. —John Dod, A Plaine and Familiar Exposition of the Ten Commandements, Puritan guidebook first published in 1603
Do not any longer contend for mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private, insignificant person, known and loved by God and me….of what importance is your character to mankind, if you was buried just now. Or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God. —John Wesley, founder of Methodist movement (1703-1791), letter to his wife, July 15, 1774
Yet consider now, whether women are not quite past sense and reason, when they want to rule over men. –John Calvin
Woman in her greatest perfection was made to serve and obey man. –John Knox (1505-1572)
Now lets move further back to the really early “Church Fathers”:
[For women] the very consciousness of their own nature must evoke feelings of shame. —Saint Clement of Alexandria, Christian theologian
In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die… Woman, you are the gate to hell. —Tertullian, the “father of Latin Christianity”
Woman is a temple built over a sewer. —Tertullian
Men should not sit and listen to a woman…even if she says admirable things, this is of little consequence, since they came from the mouth of a woman. –Origen
Woman was merely man’s helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God. —Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius
What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother, it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman… I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children. – Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church Father, Bishop of Hippo Regius
Woman does not possess the image of God in herself but only when taken together with the male who is her head, so that the whole substance is one image. But when she is assigned the role as helpmate, a function that pertains to her alone, then she is not the image of God. But as far as the man is concerned, he is by himself alone the image of God just as fully and completely as when he and the woman are joined together into one. —Saint Augustine, Bishop of Hippo Regius (354-430)
Woman is a misbegotten man and has a faulty and defective nature in comparison to his. Therefore she is unsure in herself. What she cannot get, she seeks to obtain through lying and diabolical deceptions. And so, to put it briefly, one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil. … Thus in evil and perverse doings woman is cleverer, that is, slyer, than man. Her feelings drive woman toward every evil, just as reason impels man toward all good. —Saint Albertus Magnus, Dominican theologian, 13th century
As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence. —Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church, 13th century
In a world where our church fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers passed down a view of women that is so vile, so condescending and so hateful is it any wonder we don’t recognize the mistreatment of women, the use of them as a punch line, the view of them as subordinate or their position as one that men are glad they do not have to occupy as normal? Almost any man in any church in the Bible belt will tell you that he believes women are equal to men in the eyes of God. However, the proof is in the pudding and when you have a culture where porn is ubiquitous, women are seen as having the greater role in causing sexual sin, and we have become so blind that we cannot notice a statement so obviously rapey as “We take what we want…Shhh just let it happen,” it is time for us to start breaking the first rule of rape culture and start talking about it.