Gender and Sexuality In the Middle East: Pakistan

Pakistan’s gender relations are founded upon two perceptions of the role of the sexes. The first is that women are obligated to obey and be under the jurisdiction of men and that a man’s honor is determined by how the women in his family behave. Because of these perceptions women are seen as the protectors of the family’s honor. The society in Pakistan, similar to Turkey, restricts women’s freedom to travel, restricts their behavior and activities, and affords them only a certain amount of relations with men.

Men and women in Pakistan have relationships to the space that they hold. It is used and given out differently depending upon sex. Pakistan believes that the veiling of women must be done for their protection and respectability. So states tradition. This does not solely apply to veiling, but also the separation of women from men. They must be separated both physically and symbolically from the activities of men. Thus, different worlds and means of being are constructed for each group of individuals based on their sex. Women primarily stay within the parameters of the home and are only allowed to go further for serious reasons or if permitted. Outside of the home, the social lives of men are generally revolved around the activities of men. In most of the country women and their families are seen as shameless of the women are granted free mobility.

Purdah, the concept of a curtain that is physical as well as symbolic between men and women, is observed in a variety of ways. This depends on the traditions of the family, the region that they reside in, their class, and their rural and urban residency. However, in none of these cases do men and women integrate by choice. The restrictions on women’s mobility can be seen in the North-West Fronteier Province as well as Balochistan. These women are never allowed to leave their homes and when they do they do so to get married. They never mingle with unrelated men. They may not even be allowed to come in contact with their male cousins on their mothers side. They are seen as not being true relatives within this patrilineal society. With the men they are allowed to meet they are only allowed to do so formerly.

Women who are poor and live in rural areas are afforded more mobility and allowed to mix with the opposite gender. In these areas they are allowed such freedom because they are in charge of transplanting rice seedlings, weeding crops, raising chickens and selling eggs, and stuffing wool or cotton into comforters. Whenever a family becomes more affluent rises in their stature, the restrictions of women become the first thing to make stricter.

Poor urban women who reside in close-knit communities primarily wear either a burqa or a chador which is a nonrestrictive cotton cloth that is placed over the head and the body. These are worn upon leaving the house. In areas that are more sparsely populated there are less restrictions on a woman’s mobility.

The common belief that women must remain within their homes to avoid gossip about their respectability has significant implications for their productivity concerning their activities.

Just like with the public sphere is the domain of men, so too is the career field. Women in rural areas work for the need of consumption or they work for trading at the level of subsistence. Other women who reside in both the rural and urban areas are involved in piecework in exchange for substantially low wages in their homes. These earnings are part of the overall family income which is given to the men. Census data as well as other observations of economic activity in these urban areas legitimize these findings. For example, In 1981 the census discovered that 5.6 percent of all women were employed. Compared to that 72.4 percent of men were employed. Less than 4 percent of urban women had become active in some form of salaried work. In 1988 this estimate had increased dramatically, but only 10.2 percent of women were found to have been active in the labor force.

When it comes to wealthier Pakistanis the rules are different. With the wealthy, urban or rural residence is not as important as the traditions of the family. These traditions determine what ceil that wear and how strictly they follow purdah. There are some areas where women simply allow for the eye to be covered. They usually do not intermingle with men, but if and when they do they will look away while they speak with them. Bazaars have a decreased number of veiled women depending upon their wealth. Poorer areas are the opposite.

The traditional view of the sexes is observed in the media. Women are submissive in film and in television shows. Popular television dramas present controversial topics. These examples include, women having a career, filing for divorce, or having a say in family politics. However, these programs also emphasize the consequences of going outside of the traditional family values that have been set forth.

Sexuality in Pakistan

According to the news site Mother Jones, Pakistan is the leading searcher for gay pornography. This survey was conducted in 2013. Many do not have access to the internet and so these figures may not be quite accurate.

According to the BBC documentary, How Gay Is Pakistan? The LGBT community is an underground community. People who are part of this community must hide it from friends and family until they can find someone to trust. They are not afforded an outlet to express themselves in public so they must do so in secret. There are gay underground clubs and secret gatherings that take place and people meet other people in their community that way.

The narrator and host of the show Mawaan Rizwan decided to visit two cities in Pakistan for this documentary. The first City he traveled to was Karachi. It is believed to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world. He starts the documentary by stating that being gay and Pakistani are two things that do not go well together. As he visits the inner city he observes men in pink hats, men holding hands, and rainbow chicks. He then comments that all of these things seem very gay to him.

A survey conducted in 2013 found that only 2% of Pakistanis accepted homosexuality. However, he is later invited to a meeting of members of the Pakistani LGBT community by two people who openly support gay rights in Pakistan. Those he meets there convey to him the dangers of being openly gay and accepting their sexuality publicly. They feared that the possibility of their murder was high because no one stood up for their rights. They are forced to be violent as well. There is no possibility of leaving the country and they can not have normal relationships like others in the country. The law offers no protection because homosexuality is a criminal offense.

Rizwan then meets with a local Imam, Maulana Hakim Akbar Das, so that he could talk about homosexuality with him. He asks the Imam how he responds to people who come and reveal to him their same sex attractions. He states that he asks them to pray for forgiveness for their sin. Mawann proceeds to tell the Imam about his homosexuality. Maulana says that people do not hate the patient, but only the sickness. He then says that there are people that would want to kill him if he was so bold as to announce his homosexuality publicly. He recommends that he not speak of it or else leave the country. In addition, he also prescribes him a medication supposed to cure him of his homosexuality which ends up not being effective.

After this visit, Mawann goes to the city of Lahore and goes to Naz Male Health Alliance; which is one of the only organizations which works with the LGBT community. This organization provides them a platform in which they can be counseled and treated for STD’s . Some of the LGBT individuals from the gatherings that Mawann attends relay to him that the organization is a safe haven because what they are primarily looking for is companionship.

Another aspect of this trip that was interesting was that because women were not easily available in rural communities there were workers who came to certain locations to have sex with other men. These men are known as MSM and, like Turkey, there is a general acceptance of this in Pakistani society.

The relationship between gender relations and sexuality seems tied. The rights for women in these countries is slim to none. Many of these sources point to the inaccessibility of women as reasoning for why they engage in same sex relations. It may prove true that as gender relations relax and become more equitable, the number of men who have sex with men may dramatically decrease and different sexualities may be accepted.

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Gender and Sexuality In the Middle East: Iran

Gender relations in Iran are combative and unstable. There is immense difficulty in providing an all encompassing understanding of the ideology concerning gender in Islam or within Iran itself. Religious communities are no different. There have been various interpretations of “women in Islam” because they have been interpreted and influenced by individual’s specific historical circumstances as well as considerations. Koranic axioms and Hadith narratives also contribute to this. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became infuriated in 1961 because of the enfranchisement of women in society. However, in 1979 he embraced the political role of women and asked for their vote in establishing an Islamic republic. The reasoning behind these different reactions to different events is found in Islamic principles. Different times and circumstances was the reasoning behind this shift. This understanding made different conflicting interpretations possible.

Muslim reformists, in recent years, have attempted to bring about a revision of Islamic discourse because of the internal societal changes, political exigencies, and international opinion.

The ideologies of Islamic Fundamentalists are not popular belief, but only a view of Islamists’ aspirations and policies concerning gender. These actions may reflect a minority of people’s beliefs, but total conformity in Islamic Fundamentalism is difficult to find. Though the legal ramifications are potentially significant and affects all women, numerous families do not adhere to them in practice. These articulations may reflect some social norms, but even among Islamic fundamentalists it is hard to find total conformity. The legal implications of many Islamist concepts potentially affect all women, yet many families do not adhere to them in actual practice.

The Islamic Republic of Iran was founded after decades of alterations in gender relations. Though they were limited, the role’s of women in culture, politics, as well as the economy had at the time increased steadily before the revolution took hold. At this time, men’s power was diminished within the family. More so in terms of the rights for him to remarry in regards to polygamous marriage. Men also lost their power to arbitrarily divorce their wives.

There were new opportunities for relations between women and men. The middle and upper class urban youth experienced this the most. Gradual reforms enacted during this time allowed for a freedom of sexuality.

In reaction to these changes the Islamic Republic of Iran has sought to reinstate and reestablish these restrictions from before this period of secularization and liberalization. The social advances gained before the revolution, however have restricted the policies of Islamists and they have had to allow for some freedom. They have been forced to allow women to play a role in public life only if it did not compromise her familial responsibilities.

There has been pressure to conform to the religious moral codes of the nation, however this has not always worked out the way that the Islamists had hoped. Even though it has been more than two decades since the Islamic fundamentalists success in Iran, they have not been successful in suppressing the aspirations, expectations, and lifestyles of women completely.

The resistance towards their regime has prompted them to make some modifications to their policy. It has had to revise its initial banning of women from taking classes for certain careers. In terms of employment, the government has had to allow for women to hold office as judges, but only in limited capacities.

Divorce rights have been changed to where women can divorce men only under certain circumstances. There are now a duality in this society. One in which the clergy run everything and ideally their policies are obligatory. The other is where men and women make their own private decisions out of view of the government.

A similar situation can be seen observed in the Islamic country of Iran where transgenderism is accepted, but homosexuality is condemned and criminalized. There are many people who would be surprised to know that Iran is the global leader in gender reassignment surgery in the Middle East, even surpassing Western countries. One would think that Iran, being such a religiously conservative theocratic country, would scoff at the idea and that transgenderism would be extremely taboo and forbidden by Islamic law. This is not the case, however. The justification for allowing transgenderism in this religiously conservative nation comes from the fact that the Islamic holy book, the Quran, says nothing explicitly about transgendered individuals. In 1967 Ayatollah Khomeini published a fatwa, while living as a political dissident in Iraq, supporting the medical practice of sex reassignment surgery. However, at the time his fatwa had no influence in the political or medical field of Iran at the time. He reissued it in 1985 and this allowed for a strong surge in support and increase in surgeries. Classical Islamic conversations talked about the body and soul as being distinctly male or distinctly female, but they also left room for hermaphrodites or gender ambiguous people whose sex could not be determined. This provided a sort of dilemma until the possibility of sex reassignment surgery came into the picture. Before that it was assumed that the soul was misaligned with the body and a realignment needed to take place. Sex reassignment surgery now allowed for such a possibility. This surgery is not required if diagnosed as transsexual, but it is recommended if the person diagnosed is religiously observant and fears falling into sin. Some see it as a “wonder of God’s creation” now that its acceptance is more pervasive in society.

Despite all the positive feedback from other countries and the ability for transgendered people to be able to live as their authentic selves, gays and lesbians are not afforded the same rights and privileges. Homosexuality is still a forbidden and a punishable offense under Islamic law within the Islamic country of Iran. Homosexuals and lesbians do face pressures to conform to the heteronormative view of society by undergoing sex reassignment surgery, but many religious and legal officials are opposed to codifying this into law. They would rather have a strong distinction between trans individuals and same sex individuals. The fact that there is such a robust industry and support system for trans individuals, however, has allowed for gays and lesbians to have support systems and relatively safe places to be themselves. Male to female trans individuals have a much harder time of familial acceptance and chances of reconciliation than do female to male trans individuals. Male to female individuals face bullying, poverty and even death because they are seen to be behaving feminine or desiring to be feminine throughout their lives and within their relationships. Transsexuality is still seen as something shameful, but it is nevertheless accepted as a fact of everyday life.

Families do fear for their children who may in early childhood tend to cross gender norms in their behaviors and dress. These parents are afforded information beforehand concerning what to do when they encounter these things and how to prevent them. If the child’s transsexuality or same sex behavior continues and causes problems in their schools, which are gender separate or the behavior is within the child themselves, the parents may take extreme steps to correct or prevent the behavior.

The rights of LGBT people in Iran is a complex subject that must take into account the cultural and historical aspects of the country itself. The third gender is accepted and tolerated, but still more or less looked down upon by the predominant culture. Same-sex individuals similarly find safety and refuge under the shadow of these third genders within their respective cultures.

Gender and Sexuality In the Middle East: Ottomans/ Turkey

Imperialism and Neocolonialism have had a profoundly dramatic effect on how people perceive themselves and the world around them. They have determined and dictated how man has treated one another, even within their own communities ever since conquering empires set foot on foreign soil. Ancient civilizations and cultures have always gone through changes to their societies. As new conquering empires came and disrupted the established culture they replaced the current thinking with the thinking of the emerging one. An example of this is the Emperor Constantine merging Christian belief and practices with the pagan religions around them in order for a much smoother transition from paganism to Christianity to take place. As a result, the Egyptian goddess ISIS became Mary, the winter Solstice became Christmas, and so on. When observing the rights of what the Western World has taken to calling LGBT people the same pattern can be observed.

Numerous cultures around the world accepted non-binary genders and even held them in high esteem. It was only when imperialism, colonialism, and Western thought came into the picture did these ideas of exclusively binary gender and sexuality roles and identities come into focus. It seems that ancient cultures had no modern conception of sexuality the way we as Westerners do today and they certainly did not define them in terms of identity.

For the most part these issues seem to have been far more complex and handled in a much different fashion than in modern societies. Same-sex attracted individuals may have been labeled as a third gender or had a highly prestigious role within these ancient societies. In time, some of these ideas fell out of favor with the rise of colonialism and imperialism. Other beliefs, however, managed to morph and retain a portion of their original identity within this new framework. These ancient societies learned quickly that they either had to adapt to their new way of life or be killed off. Many chose the former path and retained their identity within certain restraints. The question of why LGBT issues are treated differently when they appear to contradict the culture is observed within the countries of Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.

Gender Relations in Turkey

Before we discuss sexuality in Turkey we must explore how both sexes are viewed within society. Gender inequality is a fact of life in Turkey. High status careers such as business, the military, and government are dominated by men. Legally both men and women are supposed to be paid an equal wage for their work. In practice, however this does not happen. Researchers have discovered that the gender/wage gap expands when you account for age and education. As a result, it is immensely more difficult for women to enter positions of high stature and respectability as well as receive equal pay for their work.

In Turkey the women are seen as having the responsibility of taking care of the family and the household. Men are the providers for the family. Even when women are outside working on their careers they are still obligated to take on domestic roles.

Women are also expected and obligated to refrain from speaking with men who are not their spouses or relatives. This is done in order to prevent premarital relations or the temptation of such relationships.

Sexuality in Turkey

The predecessor of the nation of Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, had a friendly approach to the issue of homosexuality. The modern Turkish nation today has more or less the same position, although in recent years there has been a strong resistance by the government to their demonstrations. Specifically, the gay pride parade held annually in their country. In order to justify homosexual relations among men during the Ottoman Empire, literature and poetry was used. Much of the literature pointed to the scarcity and absence of women. Prestigious Ottoman men replaced women with young male servants who served as companions on their trips.

Mustafa Ali was a well respected Ottoman historian and successful bureaucrat. He wrote about the relations between these Ottoman elites and their young servants. He described them as “friendships”. Even though they had relationships with these young men, these elites never claimed an identity either in their public or political life. In the academic article, Friendships, Sociability and Masculinity In the Ottoman Empire: An Essay Confronting the Ghosts of Historicism, Serkan Delice notes that these types of relationships were not frowned upon as long as they stayed within the bounds of decorum.

Men who engaged in homosexuality, in addition to not forming an identity around this, claimed to be even more of a man than a “regular man” because they took the dominant role in the relationship as opposed to the submissive role. This power dynamic solidified the perception of dominance over other adult males. This dominance perception was due to age, elevated social status, superior intelligence, observable masculinity, and the dominant sexual role.

This friendly relationship between the Ottoman Empire and homosexuality was drastically reversed when the Ottomans came in contact with European travelers and diplomats. According to Dror Ze’evi’s work Producing Desire: Changing Sexual Discourse in the Ottoman Middle-East, European setters regarded male to male sexual relations as a “timeless degeneracy of the East.” This caused Ottomans to adopt the heteronormative sexual paradigm as normal and the only relations allowed by individuals in society. The article from Delice notes that the marginalization of male to male sexual relations led to shame. As a result, from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century this activity was marginalized and it was only in the reformation period known as the Tanzimat that homosexuality was decriminalized. In the years between 1839 to 1858 religious and customary laws were replaced by European secular laws. Even though it gained legal status it had lost the cultural and social acceptance that it once had.

In modern day Turkey, the history of the Ottoman Empire is remembered selectively in favor of heteronormativity. This mindset easily transferred into violence in 2006 when an organization protecting transvestites, transgendered, gay and lesbian individuals organized an event in the city of Bursa. The mayor was infuriated and stated that they would not march in the streets. Numerous people heard his speech and fans of a local football team threw stones and overwhelmed the community center of the local LGBT association.

In Turkey 98.9% of the population is Muslim. The nation has had debates on how much of the religion to allow to affect social preferences. These preferences influence the interpretations of the Quran and its various passages as well as the Hadith. However, to the members of traditional Islam homosexuality is still frowned upon and seen as a deviant sin and worthy of criminal prosecution. They point to the story of Lot and Sodom and Gomorrah. The interpretation is that the city and its inhabitants were punished because of their homosexuality. The interpretation of this story thus justifies their positions.

However, Islamic art and literature contradict this interpretation and how it’s implemented. Beginning from the Middle Ages and forward, homoeroticism was a very prevalent theme in the form of pederasty among numerous Muslim writers and poets. In Arabic, Persian, Turkish and finally Urdu, love poetry between men and young boys significantly overshadowed those about women. This reestablishes the fact that regardless of Islamic law, homosexuality was still accepted in society and even celebrated.

Researchers have noted that even if Islamic law outlawed homosexuality it would have still been clandestinely allowed because of the perception of the increased masculinity of the dominant partner instead of the passive partner. The passive partner was seen as more feminine and as a result was the one who suffered shame and ridicule. While the dominant partner did not lose his standing in the community or society the passive partner most certainly did. Another aspect of this is that the women are segregated from the men and men are seen as having virility. Premarital sex is also forbidden in this culture. As a result of these restrictions, same sex sexual relations will continue in mostly covert ways.

Those who engage in same sex sexual relations do not necessarily see themselves as part of the gay community. Those who take the dominant role do not identify themselves as part of this community, consciously.

This predominantly Muslim community struggles with secularization and human rights. Therefore, although homosexuality is legal it may not be socially acceptable. This may be the justification for things such as honor killings because homosexuality is seen as going against Islamic law.

Reformation Day Brings Reflections On Personal Reformations

The Protestant Reformation took place 500 years ago on Oct. 31, 1517. That day Martin Luther nailed 95 Thesis to the Wittenberg Castle church in Germany. Thus, began centuries of war between the Catholic and Protestant churches which ultimately faded out.

The 500 year anniversary of the Reformation will be on Oct. 31, 2017, but while many Protestants will be celebrating their Protestant heritage many have had Reformations of their own.

Some students have or are planning on returning to the Catholic Church. Others have rejected what they see as an unloving church in their specific Protestant denomination.

OBU Alumni, Gabriel Gordon, had this to say on his Reformation,

“Ironically for me my deconstruction would not have been possible without OBU. I am a natural questioner whether it’s the secularist atheists or the Evangelical Fundamentalists, I almost imagine that if I had gone to a secular school I would have become more of a evangelical fundamentalist, which also happens to be my own background. Coming to OBU I was as conservative theologically and politically as one could be. I identified myself with the Tea Party and as a strong 6 day creationist. My slogan was “If the Bible says it I believe it!” That in itself became extremely ironic as many of my beliefs which were supposedly “biblical” were actually 21st century post enlightenment modern assumptions that I read onto the biblical authors and the texts which they had written. My sophomore year I spent sometime back in my home state of Washington and for a couple of days I spent some time fasting. During that fast the Holy Spirit spoke too me (which is almost a taboo concept on a campus that has a stronger commitment to the Bible than to Holy Spirit) asking me a question. “If you were to lose everything, your ability to go to OBU, a future wife and family, money, a house to live in, your spiritual gifts and calling, your brothers and sisters in Christ, and if you were to lose THE BIBLE! Would I BE ENOUGH?” The question slapped me right in the face! Everything Godself listed was good things, but they all had become idols. Especially the Bible. A couple of weeks later the Holy Spirit spoke to me again asking me to ask him what he wanted to tell me. I played along and said okay, “what do you want to tell me?” The Holy Spirit replied, “I AM Enough.” This blew me away even more than the question had. I say all that to say that not only do I believe but more importantly I trust that the Holy Spirit is the one who has invited me into this journey of deconstruction. Invited me to question, doubt, and wrestle with my faith. During my time at OBU I certainly did this, and the more I learned about the Bible, church history, theology, etc, the more I realized all these things were pointing me to the only thing that can truly give me life, and that’s Jesus! Deconstruction allows for God to remove the idols that we have been given by our families and churches. For me coming into OBU as a freshman the Bible was the foundation of my faith, and God ripped that out from underneath me. Because as awesome as the Bible is, Yahweh is greater, and he is a much better foundation to our faith. As Jesus is recorded to have said in the gospel of John 5:39-40, “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they they testify on my behalf yet you refuse to come to me to have life!” Often like the Pharisees we replace Christ with good things, but then when we do we’re no longer actually worshipping the person that those things point too. C.S Lewis said it this way:

“It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him.”

I spent my time at OBU in deconstruction, (though if God is infinite and beyond comprehension then I’m not sure deconstruction ever truly ends) I’d say now I’m reconstructing. I came to OBU as a Fundamentalist Evangelical, and left not really as a Protestant, Catholic, or an Eastern Orthodox. I affirm the basic tenants of the Christian faith that all those traditions agree on, and yet I’m sort of in no mans land, just trying to follow Jesus. If your deconstructing it’s hard and sometimes you feel alone and afraid. But your not alone. Come find me your brother in the same journey the Holy Spirit is now inviting you to take.”

Christopher Thrutchley, 2015 OBU Alum, provided a quote paraphrasing Hans Urs von Balthasar to describe his personal Reformation from Protestantism to Catholicism.

“What separates Protestants from Roman Catholics is not merely ideas, but open wounds.”

These personal Reformations are being felt and experienced by many different people of various backgrounds. The state of the American Church seems to be shifting as we have seen with the SBC convention’s reluctance to accept the resolution condemning the alt-right, divisions in the church on social issues, etc. These Reformations will no doubt continue into the future and religious landscapes are sure to be altered in the future.

Sports Organization Players Resist Trump’s Call for Firing Players Who Protest Police Brutality

On Thurs. Sept. 21, Trump made a statement during a rally in Alabama for a Senate runoff candidate stating that, ‘Wouldn’t you like to see one of our NFL owners, when somebody disrespects the flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field,’”.

Colin Kaepernick has not been signed by any NFL teams since his National Anthem protests last year.

Trump also stated that, “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem – the only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop.”

Subsequently, NFL players condemned his statements with Washington Redskins linebacker Zach Brown tweeting: “Trump stay in ur place… football have nothing to do wit u smh,”.

The following day Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors stated that he was not going to visit the White House because of differences in political and social beliefs saying, “I don’t want to go. We don’t stand for basically what our president has…the things that he said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right terms, that we won’t stand for it,” he continued.

Immediately following Steph Curry’s statements, Trump withdrew his invitation tweeting that, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

NBA players as well as couches came out and condemned the President including LeBron James tweeting, ” U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”

He also stated in a video posted to his show UNINTERRUPTED, ” This guy that we’ve put in charge has tried to divide us once again. You look at him asking NFL owners to get rid of players for exercising their rights and that’s not right.” and that, “Jamel Hill and Colin Kaepernick and all these people are speaking out and it’s for a greater cause. We as American people need to come together even more strongly.”

A lot of voices have expressed that the kneeling of the flag was disrespectful to the military. I sought to receive firsthand opinions of military personnel in order to get their perspectives on this matter.

Brandon, a sophomore at OBU who studies philosophy is a soldier in the US Army Reserve, serving as an HR Specialist. He had this to say, “Trump, can speak his mind and still not violate law, there is a difference between influence and opinion. Trump spoke his mind, an opinion, as everyone is entitled to. I personally believe that a sport that claims to be all American would support said American values, but they don’t. Kapaernick, he used his freedom of speech, and although he deserves to be fired and much more for ignorantly kneeling at the flag, he is entitled to say what he wants, however ignorant it may be. Kapearnick used his right and so did trump, so trump is entitled to stand up for his country as much as Kapearnick is entitled to ignorantly stand against it. Freedom of speech, thank God we have it.”

Lt. Colonel Sherri Galloway of the National Guard stated that, “One of the greatest privileges an American has is having the freedom to make choices within legal limits. Freedom is what so many fought and died for. If someone chooses to do something other than what I believe, are they wrong? We all have the right to express what we believe and most certainly should stand for it. And while we’re standing, others should respect those differences of opinion. To be brave and be free is to walk in YOUR heartfelt convictions, not someone else’s.”

Rodney Galloway, a former Senior Master Sergeant and Aircraft Maintenance Superintendent in the Air Force, stated that, ” As an African American, I support Kaepernick and his right to non-violently protest police brutality perpetrated against so many young black men in this country. After serving 26 years in the military, I fought to give Kaepernick, the NFL and the NBA that right. Personally, I would stand for the flag and national anthem. I laid my life on the line supporting the ideals that they represent.”

This debate about patriotism and police brutality continues to wage on social media and other outlets and public forums. Initial protests were about police brutality and inequality towards People of Color. It is yet to be seen where all of these discussions will lead. However, many hope for a peaceful and equal resolution.

A Nation Drenched In The Blood of the Innocent And A Church Complicit 

When silence is heard in Houses of Worship during times of injustice, innocent blood continuously flows from the alter out of the church doors and Christ is crucified once more. Silence is death. Silence is complacency.

On Saturday Aug. 12th, White Supremacists, Nazis, and alt-Right came down to Charolettsville, VA to protest the removal of a Confederate monument in a rally called #UnittheRight. Though, the rally was not intended to begin until noon that day it actually started hours before. Counter protestors, coming to rally against racism, showed up and as the day went on fights and violence broke out with law enforcement doing little to nothing to deter the violence. 

Later, when police where instructing demonstrators to return home a White Supremacist by the name of James Alex Fields Jr. mowed down demonstrators, killing Heather Heyer, a protester against the White Supremacists. 19 others were injured in the terrorist attack as well. 

The day before these White Supremacists were seen marching in the city and onto the University of Virginia. (Apparently, unaware that Tiki torches are Polynesian in origin.) They also engaged in intimidation and spouts of violence. 

The day of the terrorist attack people took to social media in anger and frustration. Some applauded or tried to make excuses. ( You know who you are.) The majority of people, however, condemned them including the Governor and other Government officials. 

Later that day, Donald Trump made a statement, but condemned the hatred “on many sides”. He was sharply taken to task for his comments and for not calling out the racists by name. As pressure mounted people on social media identified those who participated in the White Supremacist march and one has since been fired. The hacktavist group Anonymous hacked into one of the biggest hate group websites the Daily Stormer and have obtained the sites data and will shut it down permanently in 24 hrs. 

Donald Trump reemerged Monday morning to name names and outright and explicitly condemn and denounce the alt-right, Nazis, White Supremacist, and Confederates in no uncertain terms. 

All of these events should come at no surprise to those who have no delusions of the nation that we are in. Trump utilized and weaponized the Southern Strategy used by Nixon and implemented and enforced by Reagan. Dog Whistles where used and minorities knew exactly what messages he was sending to his white “Christian” supporters. 

For centuries these terror tactics have been used by the Church and now they act as if these horrors never occurred and that they bear little to no responsibility in this. Many conservative churches were silent the Sunday after this racial terror attack. Other churches not necessarily conservative, were nonetheless silent. However, many other churches spoke out against this injustice and vowed to fight for justice for all God’s Children. Many clergymen and women of many ethnicities were seen marching with the counter protestors and I applaud and thank them for fighting for justice. 


Even though they were silent the blood of Abel cried out from the ground. Innocent blood flowed from the alter of the church out of its doors. Screams of agony, lament, frustration, anger, and terror can be heard from those Houses of Worship silent in the face of injustice. 

We pray that the Father saves His children from such apathy. Those who are silent have blood on their hands. Those who support this president and fail to speak out against injustice are guilty of murder. 

Dr. King put it poignantly when he said,

 “In spite of my shattered dreams of the past, I came to Birmingham with the hope that the white religious leadership of this community would see the justice of our cause, and with deep moral concern, serve as the channel through which our just grievances would get to the power structure. I had hoped that each of you would understand. But again I have been disappointed. I have heard numerous religious leaders of the South call upon their worshippers to comply with a desegregation decision because it is the law, but I have longed to hear white ministers say, “follow this decree because integration is morally right and the Negro is your brother.” In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churches stand on the sideline and merely mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard so many ministers say, “those are social issues with which the gospel has no real concern.”, and I have watched so many churches commit themselves to a completely other-worldly religion which made a strange distinction between body and soul, the sacred and the secular. 

So here we are moving toward the exit of the twentieth century with a religious community largely adjusted to the status quo, standing as a tail-light behind other community agencies rather than a headlight leading men to higher levels of justice.”

I urge you, if your clergymen and women do not outright condemn such atrocities, are silent, or try to defend or make excuses abandon them in droves or demand a swift change. These people are not shepherds or spiritual guides, but are morally corrupt, apathetic, people and need to be avoided at all costs. Leave them for the security of you and your family and fight for justice for all God’s Children. 

The time has come where this kind of thinking and behavior will not and can not be accepted in a civilized society. These attacks are their last vain attempts at survival, but they must not win. Their ideas must not succeed. They will be on the wrong side of love and history of they continue on their current course. Love is overpowering and is the strongest force in the universe. Fight for justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. 

Refrences: 

http://amp.dailydot.com/irl/leave-silent-churches/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/08/12/after-charlottesville-will-white-pastors-finally-take-racism-seriously/

https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/08/13/us/charlottesville-white-nationalist-rally-car-crash/index.html

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/13/opinions/charlottesville-act-of-domestic-terrorism-bergen/index.html

http://churchleaders.com/news/308287-clergy-march-silent-solidarity-white-supremacist-protest-charlottesville.html

The Deconstruction of My Baptist Faith or (Why I’m Running From the Church But Not From Jesus) 

The Church in America, specifically in the South and more conservative theological houses of worship, wants to destroy minorities and diversity. 
I was born into a Black Protestant Baptist background. I did a lot of plays in the church and have spoken numerous times at church events and different facilities around Oklahoma. I was a very religious person and my family commended me for my deep faith. When I spoke at church, people would often say that I spoke with authority. 

During middle school and high school I often tried to speak about Jesus and the Gospel with friends and acquaintances. However, it never felt right. I never liked the idea of trying to drag people away from their belief system because mine was supposedly the true faith. Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists all have their own beliefs system and their own connection to God so who am I to tell others how to think and what to believe? 

I remember when I tried to talk to my friend about homosexuality and I could hear the pain in his voice upon trying to defend himself from my attempts at trying to convert him and change who he was. Later on, I recalled that experience. It was a terrible time for me and I am extremely regretful for that incident.

In 2008 the former president of United States Barack Obama was just beginning his race for his first term as president. That was the year that I started to get involved with the whole election process and started to research different issues. 

I’ve always loved people and cherished peace and social justice for all people. This is one of the reasons that I’ve always had a conflict with my more conservative Baptist upbringing concerning women in ministry and LGBT people. I never liked causing people pain suffering I wanted people to be at peace and to love one another but that came in direct conflict with much of my upbringing and black politics. 

This deconstruction began a few years back with the idea that the things rooted in love will produce good fruit and the things that are evil will produce bad fruit. It also began with the idea that if a theology does not produce life love or edification then it is a theology not worth having.

I started to long for the original authentic apostolic Christian faith from the first century. I definitely wanted to find out what the original faith of the apostles was like. The Christian faith was never supposed to be a new religion it was only supposed to be a revision of the Jewish faith. This is what I wanted to get back to and so I researched what the Jewish faith entails and what they believe. I also went and interviewed a rabbi at a local Oklahoma City Jewish synagogue.

I found that the Jewish people never believed in a place of eternal conscious torment, but that all people go to a place of the dead, wicked or not. The modern belief is that people go through what is compared to a washing machine of purification cleansing before entering the gates of heaven. This period of cleansing lasts 12 months or less and at the end those who are left are extinguished forever. 

The Jewish people also do not believe in original sin, but that all people are born good, however, they are also pre-disposed to temptation. The Jewish faith never dehumanized it’s people and told them they were unworthy and worthless without God, but they said that they could achieve righteousness by themselves if they willed it. 

While researching the beliefs of the Jewish people I also came across John Shelby Sponge and his book, ” Christianity Must Change or Die” which propelled me into my new awakening which I am so enormously grateful for. I started researching people who had rejected the concept of Hell and came upon Joshua Tongol from the Philippines as well as Bishop Carlton Pearson who led the famous Azusa conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He has also been a profound teacher and inspiration in my journey of deconstruction. Other great authors are Benjamin L. Corey author of, “Undiluted”, Matthew Distefano author of, “From the Blood of Abel” as well as many more that I’ll link to later on. 

All these authors have helped me tremendously in my deconstruction of my Baptist background. I am now more free and excepting of diverse opinions and diverse experiences in life as well as different theological view points because I now realize that we are all on a spiritual journey as well as a journey of discovery that no one can alter. 

Everyone must be afforded the opportunity to walk their own path in their own life and live their own experiences without the interference of different people trying to dissuade them from their walk. God, the Divine, whoever you want to call Him/Her is always involved in the lives of others. Wherever people need to go in their lives  God will lead them where they need to go. Our business, duty, and responsibility is to love God and love one another. This is the teaching of Jesus that love is the greatest commandment of all and sums up the law and the prophets. This is one of the reasons why I look at theology, the world, and interpret scripture through the lens of Jesus and love and not through anything else. 

Another reason for my deconstruction is the large amounts of hypocrisy, judgment, condemnation, self-righteousness, and arrogance in the American church. Any salvaging of my past faith was lost with the election of Donald Trump by the 81% of evangelicals who voted for him. He was and still is misogynistic, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, etc. and the Republican conservative evangelical base still vote for him. 

There were three other reasons this year that fully sealed the deal. One was the Southern Baptist convention’s mistreatment of Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Ethics wing of the church, when he denounced and condemned Donald Trump and all that voted for him and supported him. 

The next was the SBC’s rejection, hesitation, and chaos concerning the resolution condemning the Alt-right which has been a safe haven for White Supremacists. 

The final one that sealed the deal for me was when Eugene Peterson came out in support of same-sex marriage and relationships and then the next day retracted that statement after the Christian company LifeWay threatened to take his books off the shelf. I don’t blame him for his fear, but I wish that he would’ve ignored their threats and continued to fight for those who are hurting in the LGBT community. The vitriol and unending criticism and harassment by Christians is disheartening, reckless, violent, and most assuredly, deadly. 

I must leave this church for my own well-being. I must leave for my mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being and find a new home. 

I’m considering either the Orthodox or Episcopalian church. I must fight for justice for all people. I must allow people to be themselves in their authenticity and love them for who they are, but in this church I can’t do that. For that reason as well as the others mentioned above I must leave. 

Tell me about your deconstruction process or if you know anyone who has ever had one. Remember this: Love and live well. Edify and give life. Hope and dream. Fight for justice and have peace. 

Shalom and God bless. 

Links and Sources:

https://divinity.uchicago.edu/sightings/myths-debunked-why-did-white-evangelical-christians-vote-trump

On Hell: 

Bishop Carlton Pearson

http://www.bishoppearson.com/

Joshua Tongol

http://joshuatongol.com/

Bishop Shelby Sponge

All Souls Unitarian Tulsa, OK

Faith Built On Love (My Playlist):

The Church Must Learn From Its Past 

There are gay people in our congregations. Who love God and who are deeply loved by Him. They worship the Father in all sincerity and truth and are at peace with themselves. 
Too often from the pulpits we offer rebuke and condemnation for our LGBT brothers and sisters, but we hardly ever hear a word of love, life, or encouragement. You see it’s easy to speak harsh and condemning words about someone and go on without a second thought to how our words and actions are and have been affecting them spiritually, psychological, emotionally, and physically when the majority is on your side. It’s easier to give a harsh word and go on than to look them in the eye and see the pain and suffering that word has caused. It’s easier to put them away than to deal honestly and openly with the situation for fear of becoming empathetic and sympathetic to their cause. Having to deal with it and ask questions frightens many for fear that they might be wrong and also forces them to bear responsibility for their actions.


The pastor gets up and says,”Homosexuality is an abomination!” He calls them perverted, unclean, unholy, broken, filthy, faggot, worthy of death or neglect. 

Have you ever spoken to a gay person? Did you listen to their stories? Did you listen to respond or listen to understand? Did you come with preconceived notions or where you open to hearing what they had to say? Do you have gay friends or relatives? You say you do, but even white people say that they have black friends and still resent or hate them. Did you place yourselves in their shoes or did you say I know everything there is to know about this person? Did you research or did you say that the science is rigged and therefore remained ignorant? Did you look into their eyes when they spoke? Did you hear and see their soul? Are you willing to listen and learn? Are you willing to seek out the truth for the sake of your brothers and sisters? 

You say that you’re only repeating the words of God. Well, then what are His words? 

The Lord says in 1 John 5:3, 
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.

You may say that you love LGBT people, but that you have to tell them the truth in love. Well, what is love and who is love? 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Romans 13:10

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

1 John 4:8

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

If God is love and love does no harm to its neighbor then there seems to be a contradiction. What suffering have we inflicted on the innocent? Shall we take a look?

The CDC reports that around 40% of homeless youth are LGBT as a result of being rejected by their families. Researchers found that LGBT people are,

8 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide

6 times more likely to report high levels of depression

3 times more likely to use illegal drugs

3 times more likely to have risky sex

You might want to say that these numbers are made up or that LGBT people are to blame for their own suffering. Well, let me tell you that this thinking is a convenient way to escape responsibility and to blame the victim. I don’t think that this thinking would fly with God if He asked you about it upon meeting Him at His throne. 

What about Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, or Eric Garner? People offered that if they would have only obeyed or stayed quite they would be alive. If they had only listened instead of trying to defend and express themselves then they wouldn’t have been killed. If Tamir hadn’t had that toy gun he would still be alive. 

Why the outrage and hypocrisy? Are LGBT lives not equal to black lives in their suffering? Don’t they have a right to express and defend themselves or must they stay in the closet hidden from view? 
Christ warned us that whatever good or evil thing that we do to others it is as if we are doing it to Him.  

Matthew 25:41-46,
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’

Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’

Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Have you already forgotten you’re past dealings in misinterpreting Scripture and the great harm that it caused and still causes to this day?
The Church persecuted scientists such as Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). 


He observed that the galaxy was sun-centerd. Copernican astronomy.

The Church taught Ptolmic astronomy based on this passage of Scripture:

“Indeed, the world is firmly established; it will not be moved.” (1 Chronicles 16:30 NASB)

The Church declared Galileo’s discovery heretical and demanded that he recant. They banned his writings and put him on house arrest for the remainder of his life. 

During the Middle Ages Jews were persecuted, burned alive, put in ghettos, executed, and had many other egregious things done to them in the name of God. Ministers would justify their racism with Scripture.
“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.”—Matthew 27:24-25

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”-John 8:44

“The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die” -John 19:7,
“Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend” -John 19:12.

The religious leaders in that day condemned the Jews and sought their destruction and masked their fear, hatred, and bigotry with Scripture. 

The Church also persecuted red haired people claiming that they were of the devil and that they were out to steal souls. Red hair was seen as parallel with betrayal as Judas was often depicted with red hair in medieval artwork. St. Jerome is even quoted as advising parents, “Do not dye her hair red and thereby presage for her the fires of hell.”  

Churches used to commit atrocities against African-Americans. In America we have a long history of this being the case. The Church split over the atrocities of slavery. 

The Abolitionists read this Scripture, “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” -Exodus 21:16 

The South used this verse to support the sin of slavery, “Moreover you may buy the children of the strangers who dwell among you, and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property. And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves.” -Lev. 25:45-46
Colossians 3:22 says this,

“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:”
Both sides during the Civil War believed that Almighty God was on their side. Abraham Lincoln said it exceptionally well when he said in his Second Inaugural Address, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.” 
Slaves were beaten until crimson red blood flowed from their bodies. In defense of this slave masters would quote this Scripture, “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” -Luke 12:47
African-American women were raped and their families torn apart. African-Americans were hung, ripped apart by dogs, burned, water hosed, and had many other horrendous things done to them all while their masters quoted Scripture and praised God.
Interracial marriage as well as integration were also deemed unacceptable by “Christians” and Scripture was used to condemn it. 
Verses were shouted from pulpits which said, “Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind …” -Leviticus 19:19. Also this verse was used, “And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.” -Deuteronomy 7:2-3. Under these verses employment wasn’t allowed to those of a different race, public venues and sports were segregated, education was unequal, marriages couldn’t take place, and this was all done by Christians just following Scripture and what God commanded.

Bob Jones Sr., founder of Bob Jones University, talked about race on Easter Sunday in response to Evangelist Billy Graham’s trip to Africa and his efforts to end Apartheid. 

In his sermon Bob Jones Sr. said that God intended all races to be separated and inhabit their own countries explaining that if God wanted the races mixed then they would have been. He declared that the Chinese are in China for a reason and so are the other races. Any one that disagreed with this position he said was of the Devil and preaching a demonic doctrine.

Women, no matter their ethnicity, were not excluded from this discrimination either. The Bible again was quoted.
2 Timothy 3:1-7: Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands….

Ephesians 5:22-24: Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in everything.

1 Timothy 2:11-14: Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Scriptures such as these were used in defense of denying women the right to vote, employment, education, land, property, and countless other things that would help them to prosper and succeed in life.

The Church maintained that left handed people were of the devil and they used this passage of Scripture as well as others: He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:33

Catholic Schools until recently used to punish children who were left-handed because they were thought to be in league with the devil. It was even thought that left handed people had mental disorders, increased illness, and learning disabilities. An idea has been facilitated that being left-handed is a sign of an underlying syndrome that is characterized by brain damage and a shortened lifespan.
We should not involve ourselves with doctrines and teachings that bring about destruction and degradation instead of life and edification.
Jesus taught us that,
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10

“And if you had known what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” – Matthew 12:7

Many have said that Dr. King was the our secular Saint and was a Prophetic voice but they missed the other part of that voice continued in Coretta Scott King when she adamantly fought for the rights of LGBT people. She invoked Martin when she said, ” A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Many have failed to listen to that other voice, but it was all in love and the Holy Spirit flowed within her as it did with her husband. 

She once said, “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood,” King stated. “This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.” – Chicago Defender, April 1, 1998, front page.
She also addressed her African- American critics saying, 

“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.” -Coretta Scott King

Romans 12:15-16

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Romans 12:18

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Will we look at the past and learn from its mistakes? 
Listen to your children and your LGBT brothers and sisters and hear their cries and feel their pain. Listen to their souls poured out like blood next to a poisoned river. Will you ignore them or heal them? Will you beat and berate them or mend their wounds and give them rest? 

The Lord is always on the side of the oppressed and marginalized. He is with those who suffer unjustly. Will you listen to the Spirit of God speaking through them? 

Look to the things that promote life, liberty, justice, equality, fairness, love, and edification. 

God is love and love does no harm, therefore, let love lead the way.

Go in peace. Give life. Walk in love. Edify each other. 

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
References:

http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/stigma-and-discrimination.htm

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/galileo-is-convicted-of-heresy

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/horizon/sept98/galileo.htm

http://www.religioustolerance.org/jud_pers3.htm

http://www.themythsandhistoryofredhair.co.uk/heresy.html

http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres32.html

http://www.drslewis.org/camille/2013/03/15/is-segregation-scriptural-by-bob-jones-sr-1960/

http://wcfcourier.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/lefties-have-suffered-their-share-of-persecution/article_4424ff8a-483c-11e1-a480-001871e3ce6c.html

http://bilerico.lgbtqnation.com/2015/01/coretta_scott_king_gay_rights_are_part_of_mlks_dre.php

http://americablog.com/2012/01/remember-the-words-of-coretta-scott-king-speaking-of-gay-civil-rights.html

Church, Why Do You Sacrifice Your Children?


A often have a recurrent vision of a church and inside, the lighting is blood red. There is an altar at the front of aisle. People are in the pews. The priest or preacher comes in and places certain groups of people on the alter. 

The clergyman first places a woman on the alter and holds up a knife ready to sacrifice her to the God of Misogyny and Sexism in the form of restrictions to the Priesthood on account of her gender. The knife plunges into her chest. The priest takes out her heart which belongs to the church as well as her mind which belongs to the preacher. She is now fully devoted to the preacher and what he says the church is supposed to be comprised of. 

In 2015, Religion News reported that fewer than 10% of Mormons wanted women in the priesthood. 

If the Prophet of the Church changed his mind then the number increased dramatically to 67%. 

Women were more apt to opposing women’s ordination as seen in the book American Grace.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2012 only 11% of American congregations ,regardless of denomination or religion, were led by women.  This number hasn’t changed since 1998.

This rejection causes her death. Her blood filled with her emotional and spiritual state spill off the alter and down the aisle out the door. The priest then pushes her body off the alter and prepares it for the gay man. 
The church says, “Amen.”
The priest does the same to the gay man, but splits his brain in two symbolizing his wanting to be devoted to the Church and God, but knowing his truth as well. His emotional and physical state suffer as a result and he starts to have anxiety attacks and convulses. The priest then hands him the knife so that he can kill himself. The man obliges and takes his own life at the prompting of the priest.

The CDC reports that around 40% of homeless youth are LGBT as a result of being rejected by their families. Researchers found that LGBT people are:

8 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide

6 times more likely to report high levels of depression

3 times more likely to use illegal drugs

3 times more likely to have risky sex

As a result of this demonization, LGBT people die if they don’t escape.

The church says, “Amen.”

Next an African-American comes up to the alter and lays down. The priest splits his mind into fourths. The oppression that he has to endure and the priests’ passiveness splits his mind. His mind is split between obeying and adhering to the pastors declaration of “Vengeance is mine says the Lord.” , militancy, nonviolent resistance, and seclusion. The priest then pushes him back into society to fend for himself and continue suffer societal racial injustice. 

According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 66 percent of white evangelicals believe that African-American’s as well as other minorities receive the equal amount of treatment that whites do when it comes to the criminal justice system. More than 82 percent of African-American Protestants disagree with this statement.

63% of white evangelicals believe in the statement, “Today, discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.”

The church says, “Amen.”

The priest takes singles next and takes half of their soul. He explained that this part of their soul can be returned when they find a spouse. Until then, however, they are incomplete. They are then pushed into the congregation who then shouts words of shame and pity for the unmarried. 

More than 50% of adults are single. Singles are often overlooked in the church in favor of those who are married and have children. This is a woman and a man’s purpose, the church implies.  However, Paul said that the ideal was celibacy and or singleness, but also Jesus said, “Who are my Mother and brothers and sisters? Those that follow me.” Jesus said that the Church comprised of believers is now the community and family that married or not people belong to.

The church shouts, “Hallelujah! Praise God!”
The church then takes Communion with their sacrifices blood as the wine. The priest distributes the victims body parts around the church for the congregants to devour as bread. Blood and human flesh run down their faces and they thank God for their sacrifices saying, ” Praise God for His love and mercy!”

The statue of Christ writhes in agony and pain until the crucifix covered in Christ’s blood shatters and falls on the alter. 

God bring peace, love, and understanding. 
Refrences:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/09/09/the-divide-over-ordaining-women/

http://www.cdc.gov/msmhealth/stigma-and-discrimination.htm

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/383986/

http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2015/february-week-2/stop-overlooking-singles-in-church.html

Southern Baptist Convention Approved Resolution Condemning the Alt-right After Initial Hesitation, Rejection, and Chaos


On June 14th the Southern Baptists Convention held a vote on a resolution to condemn the alt-right of whom white nationalists identify with. This resolution was brought by Rev. Dwight McKissic, an African-American clergyman from Arlington, TX. His resolution was rejected by the conventions Resolutions Committee before the meeting started. Chaos soon ensued and media reports as well as social media condemned the rejection of the vote. 
At their annual meeting, Southern Baptists agreed to a statement decrying “every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845 when the split from other Baptists who opposed slavery set the largest Protestant evangelical denomination in America on the course of 400 years of racist, vitriolic, and deadly theology and doctrine. The SBC was founded on slavery and only condemned its racist past in 1995. It elected its first African-American convention president in 2012 Fred J. Luter Jr. The first African-American president of the conventions’ pastor’s conference started his first term this year. 

A failure to unconditionally rebuke and outright condemn such vitriolic, deadly, and demonic rhetoric implies you still find it hard to follow the ways of Christ in loving those who are different from you. After much arm twisting by Dr. Russell Moore, President of the convention ethics board, Rev. Garrett Kell, the lead pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Virginia, who is white, and the Millennials together with Gen-X pastors the convention finally gave in and approved the resolution which was revised because of what the Resolutions Committee said was an ill written resolution and contained “inappropriate language”. 
Many attendees weren’t fully aware of what exactly the alt-right was. However many pastors and theologians spoke out and demanded approval such as Albert Mohler and Russell Moore. 

After the vote was completed and the resolution approved Mohler was noted as saying, “That was so close to being a disaster.” and “We ended up with a black eye here. We should never apologize for doing the right thing even if we end up a little bruised in doing it, even if we stumble over each other on the way to doing it. …Thanks be to God we got a chance to come back tomorrow and say what we want to say.”

The SBC is doing more to combat racism and prejudice in its universities and churches; however, it still has a long way to go.