The Truth is not a Lie…

IMMIGRATION:
LIE: Mexican immigrants are overrunning our country – TRUTH: According to Pew Research undocumented Immigrants from Mexico have declined since 2009 by almost 1 million. (8)

LIE: We need a border wall – TRUTH: A majority of undocumented immigrants are not coming over the border but instead overstaying their visas. (6)

LIE: Undocumented Immigrants don’t pay taxes and are a drain on society – TRUTH: They pay $11.6 Billion in taxes, (3) and add $2 Trillion to the nation’s GDP. They also pay into social security while rarely receiving benefits. Children of immigrants are 5% more likely to go to college than resident children. (6)

LIE: Immigrants increase crime rate – TRUTH: Actual numbers show there is NO increase in the percentage of crimes when comparing residents and immigrants and in fact crime rates have decreased 12% since 1980 even though immigration from non-border countries has increased. (5)

SEXUAL ASSAULT:
LIE: Women exaggerate the prevalence of sexual assault. – TRUTH: 1 in 5 women are raped. This number is not generally disputed, and often considered low. 63% of assaults are not reported and 90% of college student assaults are not reported. (4) A sexual assault happens every 107 seconds. (10)

LIE: Men are in danger of false charges. – TRUTH: Of the 321,500 (7) annual assaults that are reported, 2-10% are either unprovable or false charges, similar to any other felony. (4) (10)

LIE: Wearing revealing clothing, behaving provocatively, or drinking a lot means the victim was “asking for it”. – TRUTH: The perpetrator selects the victim ~ the victim’s choices don’t mean they’re consenting to sexual activity. (10)

LIE: Sexual assault is an act of lust and passion that can’t be controlled. – TRUTH: Sexual assault is about power and control and is not motivated by sexual gratification. (10)

LIE: Transgender people commit sexual assault in bathrooms. – TRUTH: Transgender people are 3% more likely to be sexually assaulted. (7) There have been ZERO reported cases of Transgender people assaulting someone in a bathroom. (8)

FREE PRESS “in quotes”:
LIE: “It is the press, above all, which wages a positively fanatical and slanderous struggle, tearing down everything which can be regarded as a support of national independence, cultural elevation, and the economic independence of the nation.” ― Adolf Hitler
TRUTH: “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” ― Albert Camus

LIE: “One of the things I’m gonna do, and this is only gonna make it tougher for me, and I’ve never said this before, but one of the things I’m gonna do if I win… is I’m gonna open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re gonna open up those libel laws. “With me, they’re not protected, because I’m not like other people…We’re gonna open up those libel laws, folks, and we’re gonna have people sue you like you never get sued before.” – Donald J. Trump
TRUTH: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. – 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution

LIE: “The FAKE NEWS media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!” – Donald J. Trump
TRUTH: “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson

ABORTION Christian Viewpoint:
LIE: Abortion is murder according to bible – TRUTH: There is no such claim and in fact there is only one mention of abortion in the entire bible… Numbers 5:27 says that “bitter waters” were used to induce miscarriage which was considered just and necessary in certain circumstances. (1) (2)

LIE: Life begins at conception. Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139:13-14 are often given to support the idea of life beginning at conception but are in reality shedding a light on the fact that our omnipotent God has known us since creation and His timing is not our timing. It’s a huge leap to make those verses anti-abortion. – TRUTH: Life begins at first breath… Genesis 2:7 & Ezekiel 37:5-6 God’s breath of life; Job 33:4 Breath gives life. (1) (2)

LIE: A fetus is more important than a woman. TRUTH: Exodus 21:22 While both have value, a woman’s life has greater value than a fetus (1) (2)

CHRISTIAN AUTHORITY and LGBT:
LIE: Fundamentalist Evangelicals are the only real Christians. TRUTH: There are 31,000+ Christian denominations with 5 major “families”; Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Pentecostal and Evangelical. (11) The numbers are disputable but the point is that there is no church that can claim absolute truth in any matter without thousands of objections. There are often highly educated members of each denomination that claim to have insight into the true meaning of the bible and spiritual relationship, but there is absolutely no way to fact check this before our deaths.

LIE: LGBT people are an abomination and any association is implied approval of their lifestyle. TRUTH: Sexual orientation and gender identity are not a choice or lifestyle. The 7 bible verses that supposedly refer to “homosexuals”, a word not used in English translation until 1946, were for the most part referring to non-consensual relationships between a person of power and usually a child or effeminate male and are not referring to loving, monogamous relationships. Many Christian denominations support this hermeneutic and love LGBT people dearly and consider them valued and faithful members of their congregations. I acknowledge that this can be a controversial subject, however, we must draw the line when it comes to legislative endorsement of discrimination. A person should never be an outcast because they were born different from the majority and any effort to deny basic human rights is not representative of Christian thought or societal freedom. (1) (12)

 

Citations:
(1) Holy Bible- Verses from Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Job (NSV English translation)
(2) The Bible Tells Us When A Fetus Becomes A Living Being (2012) http://www.thechristianleftblog.org/blog-home/the-bible-tells-us-when-a-fetus-becomes-a-living-being
(3) The Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy (2016) – https://itep.org/wp-content/uploads/immigration2016.pdf
(4) National Sexual Violence Resource Center (2015) https://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/publications_nsvrc_factsheet_media-packet_statistics-about-sexual-violence_0.pdf
(5) The Myth of Criminal Immigrant (2018) – https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/30/upshot/crime-immigration-myth.html
(6) Facts on Immigration (2017) https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/immigration/reports/2017/04/20/430736/facts-immigration-today-2017-edition/
(7) Victims of Violence: Statistics (2015) – https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
(8) Pew Research Center/FacTank (2017) – http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/27/5-facts-about-illegal-immigration-in-the-u-s/
(9) Statistics show… (2015) https://mic.com/articles/114066/statistics-show-exactly-how-many-times-trans-people-have-attacked-you-in-bathrooms#.Yh7qkyMNp
(10) Sexual Violence Myths and Facts  https://www.ourresilience.org/what-you-need-to-know/myths-and-facts/
(11) How Many Christian Denominations  https://www.answers.com/Q/How_many_Christian_denominations_are_there
(12) The Trevor Project – https://www.thetrevorproject.org/trvr_support_center/lgbtq-religion/#sm.00001glpgmh8v4ekvqhtkoge774wt

I want to point out that I have much more documentation than is listed here but didn’t want the citations to be pages long. I chose the most relevant ones for each statement.

I do not understand…

I have been advocating for my child and LGBTQ people as a whole for a while. I love this community with all my heart. They know far too much about suffering, rejection, self-harm, damaging campaigns and calls for their extermination and yet can still manage to love, support and advocate for others. Many are attempting to break down closet doors, educate society and live in authenticity even though that can be dangerous. Others are simply trying to live their lives and want everyone else to peacefully do the same. They are united by an atypical bond, shared experiences and public dissection that too often includes ridicule, rage, discrimination and violence yet their motto remains Love is Love.

There is a section of our society that refuses to accept anyone who doesn’t look, sound or behave exactly as they do and no amount of truth or logic will change that bent. I have no words or time for them.

It’s the people of faith or those that consider themselves to be of good character. The ones that participate in society and help people in need. The ones that listen compassionately and try to have open minds. The people that claim to hate no one. The people that raise their families to be a positive light in this world and yet still refuse to acknowledge LGBTQ people’s basic human rights. How do I understand them?

Family members who are reluctant to welcome us into their home because it complicates their lives. Longtime friends who say they love our family and yet openly defend measures that exclude my child from society. Why should I trust my evangelical friends’ counsel on anything regarding God, faith and love knowing they are judging my child for how they were born and judging me for loving them unconditionally?

We live in an age of discovery, technology and innovation. How can generally well educated people completely discount studies in genetics, physiology, sexuality and gender? How can they ignore painstaking theological examination that suggests biblical clobber verses don’t hold up to scrutiny? I am not saying they need to agree. I am asking why, when there are so many lives at stake do they refuse to educate themselves? Why, when there is so much evidence to the contrary do they suggest that being LGBTQ is a choice and a lifestyle?

It is hateful to say or condone the idea that gay and transgender people are a public threat and should conform to societal norms or tenuous biblical standards.

I no doubt offended someone because I suggested that their beliefs are hateful and yet they will continue to endorse governmental discrimination, religious exclusion and potentially fatal conversion therapy methods. There are few actions more hateful than rejecting a person’s humanity, insisting they live a life devoid of loving companionship and implying their death is preferable to their existence. Yes, hate is the right word.

I find the rebuttals “apparently diversity doesn’t go two ways” and “we’ll just agree to disagree” laughable. It implies there is an equal dichotomy in relation to gain and loss.

LGBTQ people can lose love, family, relationship, self-worth, mental health, marriage, employment, housing, legal and consumer rights. In the face of such loss and hate they can lose their lives by their own hand or another’s.

What is the other side losing? Their right to tell people that they will not accept them and that they are going to hell?

When they choose to reject scientific, psychological and biblical research to continue on a course that inflicts only pain and suffering, they are the ones making the choice. An ugly choice that I will never understand.

Thoughts and Prayers Rebuffed…

I feel fortunate not to have a petty, thin-skinned, retaliatory God. There is strength in knowing that he hears our rage, weeping, and lamentations with a loving heart.

We have witnessed children’s suffering, heard their frustration and cries for action. Why the incensed, shouting voices aimed at teenagers that have faced evil and survived while witnessing their classmates being slaughtered? Is it because we know that we have not done enough to protect them? Is it a personal affront to our belief in prayer? Does it feel like an attack on our faith?

God doesn’t need us to defend him. He is above insults and while he delights in our worship and praise, He also understands that we need to put our sorrow into words. His faithful are not listening but He is. He sees what we value. He sees the seeds that we have sown. He sees our fruit.

He is a God that saves us, but also asks that we honor him by serving those in pain without judgement and condemnation. I am a person of faith and I agree with the statement that thoughts and prayers are not enough.

Those of us that have been blessed need to serve. We need to reach out. We need to Love. Most importantly we need to make this earth – God’s creation – a place worth living in. A place where weapons are not used daily to kill and maim. If you’re worked up about your thoughts and prayers not being appreciated, then please ask yourself why. Why are they not received well and Why are you so offended because they aren’t? Some self-reflection is in order now more than ever. How are you revealing the love of Christ?

This is what I do know, the USA has made guns an idol. This golden calf goes on for miles and is made of millions of pieces of metal. An idol that kills God’s beloved children by the hour and yet we worship it above Him every single day. We ensure its continued existence, so is it any wonder that God is not moved by our prayers for safety from it? We have no right to be offended in the face of irreverence since we have set the example.

First, Do No Harm…

It has become increasingly difficult to find common ground with Trump supporters in the face of their vocal or tacit endorsement of the current administration’s attacks on women, citizens with disabilities, minorities, immigrants, refugees and LGBTQIA people. There are wide-ranging opinions about how to govern this country and its diverse population but there is a stark difference between attacking policies and attacking people. This country’s legacy of hope and freedom has been threatened by the continued assaults on individual rights. Most of my countrymen believe in responsible spending, curbing excessive taxation and dependable law enforcement, but this isn’t really about taxes, jobs and protection. Immigrants are not being hired over citizens unless they are significantly more qualified, our tax rate is lower than almost all industrialized nations and our incarceration rate, along with defense spending, is the highest in the world. There are states that have been hard hit economically and their suffering must be addressed, but blaming people that have not caused the problem is useless. We can make hard decisions, but the right to discriminate is never an acceptable objective. Those that claim that right in the name of political causes or religious observance are making a mockery of this country and their God.

Few people are in favor of unfettered immigration but arresting long term undocumented residents and tearing apart families is a heartless response to inadequate monitoring and inconsistent immigration policies.

Refugees often experience unthinkable atrocities and deserve compassion and assistance. Thorough screening and safe paths to repatriation should be required but blanket rejections should not.

Streamlining governmental assistance for the elderly and those with disabilities may be in order but defunding long term programs without impact studies is irresponsible.

Women are equal contributors to our nation and deserve equal opportunities, pay and respect. It should go without saying that officials that make inappropriate remarks about female appearance or behave in lewd ways are not acceptable representatives.

The foundation of our country has been laid by the blood of immigrants and on the backs of slaves. The injustices of the past should not be continued into our future. Opportunity and justice should not be dependent on a person’s heritage or the color of their skin.

Lastly, People that are born LGBTQIA deserve every right accorded them as human beings. Sexual orientation and gender identity is not a choice or a lifestyle. Those are words used by groups wanting to perpetuate their hateful and exclusionary biases. Humans have been born queer since the beginning of recorded time. Misusing biblical verses about sexual immorality and applying them to people who were born sexually different from the majority is wrong. Creating legislation that takes away rights and punishes them for who they are is an insult to the loving God who created them and flies in the face of Christianity’s greatest commandment.

Every person is valuable and deserves to be represented and protected. Our government should never be on a mission to facilitate hate and intolerance. Focusing on personal achievement and promoting legislation that fosters individual success is the only way to improve this country. When we take away the hope of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, we no longer have the United States of America.

One year ago today…

I lean fiscally conservative and socially liberal, ~ Yes, that may be an oxymoron.

Our two-party+ system can be acrimonious and impotent, but we once respected each other, living together, wanting the best for our neighbors and ourselves. It was okay to disagree on how to achieve balance between differing agendas, and our elected officials at least pretended they were fighting for all of our country’s people. The snail’s pace worked well for a long time.

Somewhere along the line both sides of the aisle were allowed to re-draw political checks and balances which created a palpable hatred amongst our representatives that has expanded into our neighborhoods. “The other” has become larger in minds and hearts. We have fallen into an us against them mentality that is killing our nation and our current administration is only partly to blame, but make no mistake, over the past year things have gotten so much worse.

Our president is not being held accountable for his actions against humanity and is inexplicably being given cover by alt-right evangelicals. The national displeasure with our current administration is more than a liberal vs. conservative crusade. It is a fight for America’s heart.

It is time to say and support the idea that just because someone is different from ourselves, it doesn’t make them bad. It is time to accept the fact that the indigenous people of our country are the ONLY ones that are not immigrants or descendants of slaves. It is time that every person regardless of pigment is treated uniformly under the law. It is time that women are respected equally in the workplace and at home. It is time that we embrace the truth that being LGBTQI is not a lifestyle – It is how they were born. It is time that people of faith are allowed to worship and not be tormented because their faith may be different from their neighbor’s faith. To my loves, the people of my faith, we must continue walking with our Savior by living His greatest commandment. Our example makes a difference and is immensely more important than our politics.

This may be an oxymoron too, but FIGHT FOR LOVE.

Know what you’re fighting for…

It has been disheartening to watch friends loudly pronounce “facts” that are misleading or untruthful because they saw it somewhere online. We blindly follow groups of people and we state their truth because it’s similar to ours without considering their motivation and end game.

Discussions regarding racial justice, historical preservation, equal rights, fair taxation, healthcare, employment, minority empowerment, religious authority, commerce and constitutional interpretation are all honorable debates. They have been part of a healthy dialogue for centuries but when wars are started over them, you can bet that it’s not for their advancement. It is about power and profit that only a select few will benefit from.

Education doesn’t guarantee agreement but it does strengthen our ability to appreciate what makes governments and social structures work. It spurs debate, empowers citizenry and enables reconciliation.

The polar right and left are blinding us to reality. Without truth there is no law, no justice, no government, no education. A land without those things does not serve us, it makes someone else rich and powerful. We follow along on someone else’s path thinking that it is our own. The only way to make our own decisions and fight our own wars is through knowledge and education. Media talking points are not education. Social media is not where we find truth. Both are being manipulated by people with sinister agendas and we’re falling for it hook, line and sinker. We are being pitted against each other and we are the dogs being wagged.

Oh, How We Babel…

We exhibit our faith through worship and works, but what that looks like is very different from person to person. In order to better fine tune our works and actions we look to religious leaders to point the way and ignite the spirit. What do we do when these leaders disagree and are in some cases diametrically opposed? The disagreement within the American church goes way deeper than evangelical vs. progressive and law vs. grace. My journey finds me in totally different places on those lines depending on the day.

Theologians have debated for centuries over our faith-based responsibility to interpret and encourage biblical ideals. That debate can be healthy and enlightening and their conclusions speak to believers in varying ways. Problems arise when theologians with differing views claim absolute authority on biblical knowledge. In reality, the only human that has that claim is Jesus Christ.

It is not business as usual within the church. Adjustments appear to be happening so that we get back to the debate and acknowledge that our ever-powerful God is the only one with the answers to our questions yet those answers aren’t packaged in a nice, easy to understand biblical box. He is showing us that lifting up religious leaders to the point of worship and blind trust is catastrophic to the human condition.

I do not think there should be less theologians. Quite the opposite, there should be more people willing to read, analyze and research scripture while having reasonable discussions with others (believers or not) about their discoveries. Agreement is not imperative. We serve God better when we all listen to each other. Learn, share, empathize, console, and on rare occasion, advise. Thoughtful discussion requires humility and opened mindedness NOT acquiescence. ~Heaven knows I struggle with that one and need occasional reminders. We have to stop beating each other up and questioning one another’s conviction. We can faithfully trust and worship what is bigger than us while still believing in US.

The Bride of Christ can thrive within discord only when we trust in God’s great love and stop warring with each other over dominance and perceived truth.

 

I find it hilariously relevant that my first blog post is on April Fools Day since I often think my ramblings are brilliant at 2AM while my 8AM self wonders why I indulge such a babbling fool.