Ending the Debate on Abortion Rights

Pro choice vs. Pro life is not a political debate, and we need to stop allowing it to be. It’s an ethical debate, which does not have a place in politics–at least not with situations as specific as abortion.

Let’s go through the reasoning, because as much as we think of this as a complex debate topic, it isn’t in the context of our laws. It may be a complex ethical debate, but in regards to legal right, there is no debate here.

Allow me to elaborate…

If you’re “pro-life” because of religion, that’s cool. But also, your religion is yours and not mine or anyone else’s, so my choice is still mine and your religion does not get to make laws that take that choice away from me. Separation of church and state. That’s it. That’s where your God arguments end. You do not get to put through legislation based on individual beliefs that counter our collective laws and shared reality. We can talk ethics and morals all day, but as far as law goes—you’re done when you bring up god and religion. It has zero place in politics. Done.

Take God out of it and its still super easy. You say its a life and to abort is to take a life? It’s killing someone. Let’s completely skip the debate on when life begins for s fetus. Whether it is at the time of conception, the moment of birth, or anywhere in between is completely irrelevant to the logistics of legality. Again, this is a debate of ethics, which could go on forever. However, one thing makes it irrelevant–body autonomy.

Body autonomy laws protect us and are already in place in the medical field. I can refuse a dying person my organs because of body autonomy. It may not be easy to watch them die, but I have a choice to say, “No, you cannot use my body or my body parts to sustain your own life.” If my own mother needed a piece of my liver, I have a the choice to say no and live with the consequences of that choice–even if the consequence is the death of my own mother. It is legal for me to refuse. The ethical and moral dilemma of whether or not I could sacrifice a piece of my liver to help my mother live is entirely my own, but legally I am in no way obligated to give her a piece of my liver.

Same principal applies to the medical procedure and choice of abortion. If a fetus cannot survive outside of my uterus and I decide not to allow it to live there– it doesn’t matter whether or not it is a life. It’s still my body and I get to decide who uses parts of it for their own survival. Just like the person who will die without my liver, I have the right to refuse another being the use of my body for their own sustenance and survival if I so choose. Think me a horrid person if you will–I still have the legal right to my own body. A fetus will not live outside of a uterus. It will die. A person needing an organ transplant cannot live without a new organ. They will die. I am not required to give them my organ, even if it is my fault they need an organ. I am not required to give an undeveloped baby my womb for the same reason. Body autonomy.

The reason for becoming pregnant is irrelevant. My body, my choice. It doesn’t matter whether I was raped or just have a really promiscuous sex life and am irresponsibly about protection. Your personal opinions of the reason behind someone getting an abortion, those reasons are not relevant to the debate of legality. Not relevant at all.

Body autonomy is not a privilege of the sexually responsible. It is a natural right of all body owners. I get to decide who touches me, and who uses my body for their own survival.

It’s not a hard debate. Its just difficult ethics and morals–which you don’t get to decide for any other human on the planet but yourself–not even your own children. So you cannot, should not, and will not take away someone’s legal right to their own body because you disagree with their lifestyle, morals, or ethics. That’s manipulative. That’s narcissistic. That’s abusive. When it’s being done on as large a scale as an entire society, it is oppressive.

Also, everyone needs to stop assuming people who get abortions don’t understand the gravity of their decision. Estrogen, a side effect of owning a uterus and ovaries, makes us uterus owners very deep feeling, very self aware, and very empathetic. We understand the gravity of choice. Stop shaming people who already understand the gravity of their life decisions. The only different between the hurt they cause and the hurt you cause is that they have to acknowledge it and you write yours off with your ignorance and privilege. You’re not pro life. You’re not fooling anyone. Get off your fucking high horse and come back down to earth. Your morals don’t make you any better than anyone else. Not even a little bit.

Nobody ever said getting an abortion was an easy choice, but it is now and should forever remain a choice for the uterus owner which takes away the biological inequality of responsibility for the consequences of sex.

This is not a debate of legality. It is a debate of morals and ethics that has been mixed and confused into our laws and politics. When you take the emotions of individual perspective out of it, pro-choice is the only legal reality.

Denying Science in Politics=Abuse of Power

I heard a politician say something that was very important. When approached by a reporter about the science of climate change, this politician said, “I believe that coal is a necessary power source and does not hurt or pollute the earth.”

He started the sentence with “I believe”. Generally when people do this it is because they know what they are saying is not a shared belief with the person they are speaking to, or the general populace they are speaking within. They say “I believe” so as to not push their beliefs on others, so as not to start a fight but simply to express their beliefs. Its a polite thing, really.

I hung out with a lot of LDS believers when I was in high school. One family in particular always said, “We believe” which was a super nice way to hear about their beliefs. It didn’t feel like they were saying their beliefs were unavoidable fact for everyone, it was like they were just offering their beliefs to the conversation as fact for themselves, and giving the listener a choice to believe or not.

In debates where people are simply speaking on morals, ethics, and personal values, this is a fine strategy that allows for the ego of the listener not to feel defensive or attacked or trapped and so it allows the debate to continue in a less confrontational way–which is always more productive to understanding and allowing diversity between friends.

However, when the person saying “I believe” has power over the lives of the people/person he says it to–that’s not ok. That is a severe abuse of power. That person is saying, “I believe this, and even though I don’t want to hear what you have to say or get you angry or make an argument out of it, I’m going to impose those beliefs on you and make it seem like you have a choice, but you don’t.”

So in the case of this politician, he is using his personal beliefs about coal and pollution, which contradict science, to make decisions that affect our entire planet.

The importance of separation of church and state, in our modern world, is not necessarily the separation of organized religion and organized politics. It is a separation between the beliefs we hold as individuals (church) and the beliefs we know as a collective species (state). I like to refer to these things as Individual reality and Shared reality. The truth is that we all hold individual opinions and opinions that can be held to the collective, and we need to stop thinking those individual opinions are only held by organized religions and those collective opinions are rightly reflected in our government. That is not the case.

Our individual reality is the reality we exist within as individuals living our own lives. This reality is lived, hopefully, from your singular perspective, understanding, and belief. It is dogmatic in nature, even if you have cleansed yourself of societal dogma, because it is a construct in your own mind. It is the routine of your thoughts, the motivator behind your life decisions, the roots of your expression of Self. It is based in a series of personal, subconscious beliefs held by the individual which affect the way that person experiences the collective or shared reality. Individual reality is your spirituality, your morals, your values, your beliefs about yourself in the world, other people and the way the nature of the world functions. These beliefs can come from anywhere. They can come from fear, experiences, upbringing, nature, manipulation, society, personal exploration, etc. But they are not always shared or acknowledged by the whole of existence. Individual reality is abstract. It can be understood from the outside, it can be empathized with, but it cannot be experienced by anyone except the individual to which that reality belongs.

Shared reality is the reality we all collectively experience. It is our physical world, the laws of that physical world. Science is the study of our shared reality. Science is an undeniable fact for us all. We cannot deny that the sun rises, that things fall when you drop them, that people’s physical bodies die, etc. Some individuals may deny pieces of it, but the evidence is tangible. You can see it, measure it, and know it to be true. We all can, and not based just on a feeling.

While Individual and Shared reality affect each other, and are certainly interconnected, they are separate entities, separate ideas and should be seen and acknowledged as such.

Moving on, anyone using their personal beliefs to limit the freedoms of our shared reality is abusing their power. My father did it to me growing up. Many parents do it to their children in our society, because our society does it to us and people gain the habits and beliefs of the society in which they exist implicitly if they aren’t careful. My father would impose his personal beliefs on me. His beliefs were based in his own experiences, which were scary but not mine. I did not have the choice or option to disagree and so his individual reality became mine, except while he was very comfortable in that reality, I hate myself and everything I am in his reality because of how he believes. This is called narcissist abuse–and our politicians have been doing it to us for thousands of years.

This politician, who used his personal beliefs on coal to override the collective reality of science and fact, he is abusing his power. He is bringing his personal beliefs, his personal dogma, his personal reality into consideration when making laws that affect the whole, collective reality. He is doing this, not based on facts or things he even dares to say out loud, but based on his personal dogmatic views which are clearly influenced by his own agenda. This happens all the time, actually. It’s manipulation. It’s abuse of power. It’s narcissist abuse, actually. It’s costing people their well-being and lives. It will eventually cost us all our lives and the planet we live on.

Your personal reality is valid. But you do not get to use it to deny the shared reality and impose your personal beliefs on others.

An Open Letter to Defenders of The Patriarchy

An Open Letter to Defenders of The Patriarchy

President Trump, VP Pence, Neo Nazis, Alt Rights, and other defenders of The Patriarchy;

I understand you, as a collective. I may not know all of you as individuals, but I’ve listened to your collective cries. I know what you value. I understand your fears. I understand your struggles. I know the world paradigm in which you live your lives, and I understand it fully–because I used to live in that paradigm. Trump, I know why you think like you think. Pence, I know and see who you are at heart and I understand how that influences your beliefs.

I come from a town filled with people who think like you. Hell, I used to think like you! In my town, misogyny was a household practice, racism was a respected form of humor, love was full of conditions, and ego was the only thing worthy of unconditional defense.

I know you’ve received a lot of grief over the last 8 years. An Obama presidency felt like a betrayal for many of you. You had to start being more “politically correct” in public–something which greatly repressed your humor and your feelings. You had to censor some of your thoughts because they started getting you into a little bit of trouble with co-workers, strangers, and old friends from the internet.

Not trouble like a black boy running down the street with a toy gun in front of white cops, not trouble like a woman who wanted to feel sexy that day so she dresses nice but while walking to work she turns a corner to realize 4 large, predatorial men are following her–not that kind of trouble. Trouble, more like a 12 year old boy who says the F word at the wrong time/place and gets corrected by his mother. That has been really tough for you, I know! You’re not used to being told you’re wrong or you need to fix or change anything. Mama always said you were perfect just as you were.

In fact, many of you were used to doing to telling!! It was in your power. Your vote and words had the control to tell your opposition how to live for so long, how dare they try to teach you how to think! You told them how to identify themselves, their beliefs, their values. You told them who to be in order to succeed in this world and gave them no alternative options but failure and poverty. You took away reproductive rights from decision making citizens and offered military service as a career to desperate young people in a time of economic recession and war. You have been controlling other’s lives for a long time–so I know being told how to treat people (or how NOT to MIStreat people) has been really hard on you. I’m sure it’s felt repressive…one might even say oppressive. Not as oppressive as being a POC in a society build on slavery and revolving around white people, but as oppressive as it feels for people of privilege to allow other people the same privileges they don’t realize they have–as oppressive as finding equality in a society that depends on inequality.

Then something happened… Trump won the election! With the help of the electoral college, you got what you’ve been craving for years.

I know you thought this would be enough to justify your bigotry. I know you thought this would support the objectification of your wives and daughters, the oppression of your fellow citizen, and the demonizing of honest and true values of equality that do not align with your own. I’m sure you thought that winning the White House (which now sits empty as our taxes pay for a secret service in NYC and AF1’s commute from NYC to DC and back whenever Trump decides to be the President instead of the head of his own company) would be enough to silence us petty, annoying, progressive, bleeding heart, hippy liberals. I know you thought you’d be able to drop your political correctness and live how you really think you deserve to be living your life–free of having to think about the well-being of people whose lives are distant and harder than yours. I know you think your world, which has been so threatened by 8 years of liberal America, will be reinstated and your power will be definite.

I’m sorry to tell you, but in the words of your precious president–you’re wrong.

I am writing, truly, to thank you for exposing your closet bigotry for the world to see. We–especially those of us basking in the liberal enlightenment of CA– could not have known how many people in the US still think like you if this had not happened. Had Hilary been elected, you might have gotten away with keeping those opinions in their protective closet of your subconscious. You might have kept those conversations behind closed doors. It’s too late now though–you’ve exposed yourselves, and the whole world has seen it. You’ve shown the majority of the US, those of us who won the popular vote, what we still have to squash out of this world.

In showing us your truth, in displaying it for the world to see, you’ve done something truly incredible.

You’ve awoken an ancient rage. A rage so primal that the entire universe anticipated it in its creation billions of years ago. A rage so powerful that the Earth wept when she felt it coming, stopped for the day of its deliverance, and then wept again until the droughted desert landscape of California found itself a wealth of rainfall more plentiful than it’s inhabitants have experienced in a decade. You’ve brought to the foreground a rage so powerful that it awoke millions of individuals, not only in this country, but around the world, to the indignity human beings have suffered for millennia under the reign of the Patriarchy–your world. So empowering is this rage that it sparked a shift in Earth’s collective energy comparable in intensity and impact to the shift of poles in our planet’s magnetic field. People have been awoken, so quickly and so intensely, that it has made a global impact.

After the Women’s March on Jan 21, many of you have expressed your discontent. Many of you have expressed fears. Fear that equality will lessen your privileges. Fear that you’ll be less important or powerful if women have the same rights as you. Fear that you’ll lose your values, or the world will smudge you out if it differs too much from you. You’ve expressed fear that the world we fight for will destroy the one you’ve worked so hard to build for yourself.

Most of your fears are irrational in the natural world. Acknowledging someone else’s struggle won’t make yours less significant, or less difficult. Equality does not seek to strip you of your privileges, but to give everyone those same privileges. Diversity does not mean that you will lose your values, in fact diversity allows you to keep your values even when someone else has opposing ones. Allowing someone else freedom over their life will not give you less freedom over your own life. It will simply mean you are no longer able to control other people–which is none of our natural right anyway.

However, you are absolutely correct about one fear.

If you’re afraid that We, the Nasty Women, the Black Lives, the non-believers, the oppressed people of our world who fight for equality, are threatening to destroy your world–you are absolutely correct. We are not only threatening, we are planning and working tirelessly to make it so. We are planning to deconstruct and dismantle your world, brick by brick, mind by mind, belief by belief, ignorant alternative fact by alternative fact, until your precious patriarchy is simply an example of and warning against tyranny and oppression made to our future’s children in history books.

Make no mistake, the world as you know it is most certainly under attack.

Your world is one where men are the final authority simply because of the anatomy hanging between their legs, where religion gets to make political decisions about non-religious citizens, where non-white lives are less valuable than white lives and the police enforce it, where prisons make citizens a slave–chattel to the system, where money makes a worker an indentured servant, where appearance increases your worth more than intellect or character or kindness, where you cannot be powerful unless someone else is powerless. That world–your world– is under fierce attack. We will not cease until that world is submerged in the purifying waters of righteousness, justice, and true equality and reborn as an equal society where all people can live fulfilling, individual, unique and free lives.

Your world is under attack by a radical group of divine Earth protectors.

We are the witches you couldn’t burn. We are the slaves you couldn’t break. We are the genders you couldn’t pin down into a binary. We are the Natives you couldn’t assimilate. We are the beaten, the broken, the downtrodden that you could not make compliant because we kept standing back up to spit in your face every time. We are the bleeding hearts and artists, the thinkers and creators, the angel headed hipsters, the teachers of your children and the force which keeps your head spinning in circles while you try to find the groundless supports of hate and greed on which you cannot stand any longer. We are the intellect which shatters your ignorance. We are the truth seekers, the seers, the defenders of knowledge and universal understanding. We are the collective consciousness. We are the breakers of tradition, the innovators of the New World, the builders of bridges over divisive gaps. We are the future, living now.

We stand on the shoulders of those who have fought and lived and died before us. We stand on a tall totem of empowered and fearless individuals from whom we collect our strength, our perseverance, our vigilance and our vision for a better tomorrow. We lift onto our shoulders those who come after us, that they may continue this fight long after we are gone and maintain vigilant in the upholding of equality, justice, and freedom once it is truly been achieved. We are in this fight for the long haul, and have been throughout all of time. We have nothing left to lose and everything to gain. We are the once silent majority who will not be ignored any longer. We are the universe, incarnate, fighting for itself–fighting for us all.

We are the feminists–a title which seeks to give justice and equality to ALL beings regardless of their race, gender, identity, religion, beliefs, anatomy, appearance, ability, or anything else.

We are the Social Justice Warriors and we are here to defeat your precious Patriarchy.

Though you have attempted to enshroud our world in your shadow of darkness and ignorance, we are the light. We will not go silent into the night, in fact we howl with the night’s nocturnal creatures and revel in their song. We dance when the demons come calling. We have not been hiding or dying in the darkness. While you have hidden in the false lights of corrupt religion and selfish morals, we have made a home in the darkness you have put us in. We have studied and dissected the shadow you’ve been keeping us in and we now know it better than you. Your shadow is the demon you’ve ignored, and we have made ourselves well acquainted with it, simply because you’ve given us no other option.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned–and you shall feel the wrath of the Matriarchy you have scorned for thousands of years from every spirit and soul that has ever been oppressed by your Patriarchy.

Your world is under attack, now more than ever.

Your world is one in which another must fail for you to succeed, in which another’s face must be under your foot for you to feel tall, in which your ego is more important to defend than another’s life, in which your fears take priority over someone else’s existence, in which your wealth and health only come at the cost of someone else’s, in which the competition of the capitalist “free” market is controlled, censored, and naturally streamlined into sameness–making it anything but free. The old world is one in which being born straight, white, christian, cis gender, and/or male makes you more important, more superior, more relevant, or more right simply because you are more privileged. The old world is ruled by the divine rights of kings and psychotic narcissists, justified by “alternative facts”, and held together by the blood, sweat and tears of people you do not even acknowledge as human.

In your old world, Religion is a capitalist venture. God is money, worshiped in houses built of money, while those without your “God” to look to are starving to death, shunned and murdered for their beliefs, and being trampled on by Imperialism, and supremacist greed. In your world, Jesus is white and children are born sinful. In your world, youth is a goal of the old, but the young are not respected for their wisdom. In your world, sex is currency and respect is mandatory–but only for your values, beliefs, and priorities–and your men.

This world which you have chosen was built on genocide, slavery, lies, hatred, greed and Imperialism.

We propose, and fight for, a New World.

The New World will be built on true equality, justice, integrity, honesty, transparency and freedom. Our New World will see all living Beings as equal, and will respect them as such. This New World will allow for all religious beliefs, including those which may not be established by an Abrahamic prophet, to be seen as equally valid and acceptable. The New World is built to consider all perspectives, all experiences, all minds, all bodies, all spirits–not just those who fit a certain societal default.

In the New World, God/Goddess/The Universe/Nature/Spirit will be as individual and unique an experience as the person who does or does not believe in him/her/it/they. In the New World, nature will be respected and cherished, the planet will be considered an extension of humanity–a part of the cycle of existence which cannot be mistreated or ignored without major consequences for all of us. (This is true in our current world, its just that half the population would ignore that fact to make a dollar… or a billion dollars.)

In the New World all people will enjoy the same privileges, the same freedoms, the same rights as all other people.

The New World is not built for money or war, it is not built for hate or intolerance. It is not built for ignorance or ego trips. The New World is built by The People, and it is for all of us. The New World does not force anyone into a role they do not wish to play or a life they do not wish to lead. The New World upholds all of this, not just with words on a document or empty promises, but with intense activism and work by the people, on behalf of the people.

The New World is not a fantasy or a Utopia. It has enemies, it has struggles, it has difficulties. We all still have to find our way, our sense of self, our comforts for existential living. We still walk our own paths and deal with the struggles of our own journey. Equality is not Utopian. It has to be able to shift and change when new information or new perspectives are presented. But in the New World, the struggles are normal and tolerable because we remember always that we have each other. We belong to each other. We need each other. We take care of each other. We do not decide to cut off healthcare for millions because we want to pay less–we care for each other enough not to mind paying a bit more so a 25 year old who is new to their field and making entry level wages doesn’t have to die of cancer because her she cannot afford her medical bills no matter how hard she works. We do not write off the stories of others as fake or illegitimate because we have not had those experiences ourselves. We do not assume that people who are suffering are playing the victim. We do not stigmatize and punish illness, mental or physical. We give everyone the benefit of the doubt first and foremost.

In the New World, we will be judged only by the content of our character, and even those with questionable character will be given the opportunity to learn, grow, rehabilitate, recover, and better themselves.

The New World may not be the one you are used to, but I promise you do not have to fear this New World. It will not destroy you. It comes to bring you renewable life in fact. A life where you can always change, always be free to intake new information, take a new path, or do something nobody has ever done before.

In fact, the good news is that there is room for you in our world.

You are welcome and you matter there–but so is everyone else. It is big enough, and has enough resources for all of us. When people are not sitting on mountains of money–money which represents luxury to some but survival needs for others–there is plenty of it to circulate around an economy. In the New World, when things are not being wasted, there is enough food, water, shelter, space, and success for everyone. You are welcome to join us as an equal in the New World.

There is room for you to exist in our world–but there is not room for your prejudice. There is room for you, but not for your hatred. There is room for you, but not your ignorance.

Yes, there is room for you, but not for your greed, your ego, your implicit biases, your micro-aggression, your bigotry, your misogyny, your control, your imperialism, your industrial blindness, your destruction, your war, your fear mongering, your religious politics, or any other oppressive shenanigans you tried in this Old World.

You are welcome in our world, but your world will not stand in our world. We won’t let it stand in our world.

We, The People–the diverse, unique, talented, spirited, brilliant, empathetic people–are expecting better of the next world than you expected of this one. We do this for our children, for your children, for our planet, for each other and for our Selves. We fight for this New World now on behalf of all of existence. We fight like our lives depend on it–because the future of all life depends on it.

Trump, you may have won the electoral vote, but the People are the majority, and we have denounced you as our president. You should expect a whole lot of rebellion, and you should know it isn’t going to stop. It will not stop even after the inevitable fall of the Patriarchy. We will continue to fight for what is right and good for everyone, not just you. You have angered a previously silent force–and we will no longer give you the privilege of our silence as we have in the past.

In fact, never again will we gift you with the comfort of our silence.

Thank you for the wake up call. We’ll see you on the streets.

With love and with light,
~The Resistance

Freedom to Speak, if I may, about the Freedom of Speech

I feel like a lot of people have been misusing the First Amendment. I’ve heard many people throughout my life use the “Freedom of Speech” claim to excuse themselves from unpopular opinions they might hold. It doesn’t sound like many of them have read the Constitutional Amendment they are citing. If they had, maybe they didn’t understand it fully. Maybe they had someone interpret it for them in grade school and the interpretation was mucked. Maybe they heard someone else use “freedom of Speech” as a scapegoat and they decided to do it too. Whatever the case, I think it is vitally important to the future of our country to understand this Amendment and use the “Freedom of Speech” claim properly.

To properly understand and interpret anything we must consider context. For example, as a classical musician, when I am performing a piece of music it is near impossible of me to perform an authentic interpretation of the song if I do not first research the composer, the time period, the performance norms of that time period, the history of notable performances, and any changes to performance norms of that piece since it’s composition, in great detail. The more information I have for the context of the piece of music, the more genuine and authentic I can interpret and perform it.

For the interpretation and understanding of something as significant and vital to millions of peoples’ lives and well-being as the US Constitution, we should undergo the same process. We need to consider all the context we can. Too often I hear people throw out the phrase “Freedom of Speech” as a justification for their expression, but they couldn’t tell me the actual words of the Amendment, let alone its meaning. Let’s consider the words, the context in which they were written, and how they apply to our modern society.

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.

There are a lot of parts to this. To understand it, lets break it down into parts and make it more visually appealing. (That always helps)

Congress shall make no law;

  • respecting an establishment of religion
  • prohibiting the free exercise thereof [religion]
  • abridging the freedom of speech
  • [abridging the freedom of] the press
  • [abridging the] right of the people peaceably to assemble
  • [abridging the freedom] to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

The first two points are talking about Freedom of Religion. Religion, when you consider it on a more global, infinite, unlimited perspective, is really the organization of your beliefs. So though our Founding Fathers wrote this with religious Churches and places of holy worship in mind, I think the progressive and modern interpretation has to consider “Religion” as personal spiritual beliefs, especially considering the rise of Atheist and Panthiest spiritual practices.

This means that our government cannot make a law which establishes a religion, or which keeps others from practicing religions. That sounds contradictory and confusing to most modern speakers. Historically, what could this have meant? There is a long history of the church being tied up with the state. Our founding fathers came here from England. England has a history of changing religions when a new family assumes power. Example, prior to 1509, Henry VIII was a Catholic. He married a Catholic Spanish Queen. During their reign, practicing any other religion openly was punishable by death. In 1509, he established, through his “Divine Right” the Church of England. He did this for purely selfish and Patriarchal reasons– so he could divorce his Queen and remarry Anne Boleyn–a secret protestant. England was forced to convert to the Church of England. Catholics who protested or criticized the King for his betrayal of the Vatican and the Pope were put to death for heresy. When Henry’s daughter, Queen Mary, took the throne after her father and brother, she went on a rampage to hunt down all the Protestants, and many of them were sentenced to die for their beliefs. Her younger sister Queen Elizabeth took the throne and the whole country went protestant again. Though Elizabeth is historically seen as more tolerant the the other Tudors, many Catholics died under her rule for their beliefs. The Church of England is still around today. It was established by a government.

England is the country our Founding Fathers came from. Understanding the history of their country–their establishment of one central religion and persecution of all others– can understand what an otherwise contradictory sounding statement means. The government is not allowed to make a law which respects the establishment of a religion, or prohibits the exercise of it. In simple words, the US government cannot own or represent or establish any one religion, as was done in England. Similarly, the government cannot make any laws which keep individuals from practicing their religion, regardless of what that religion is. The government is not allowed to be involved with personal beliefs.

The final four points of the First Amendment go together. They say, the government cannot make a law which infringes upon our freedom to speak, freedom to be published, freedom to peacefully congregate and make up a petition of grievances.

Once again, lets looks at the Founding Fathers’ context. In England at that time, to speak out against the King, the Royal Family, The Church (which was entwined with the Royal Family and, politically, with the Monarchy) was considered High Treason, and was punishable by death. The Founding Fathers recognized that this was not a healthy environment for political success on behalf of the People. In fact, it was a tyrannical environment. Those who protested were risking their lives and often killed. Those who wrote pamphlets about how to improve the state of their country were risking their lives. Anyone who spoke out was risking High Treason. Even the wrong opinion at a cocktail party in front of the King’s men could get you hanged if they needed a reason.

The First Amendment was put in place so that the people could protest the government without being tried for High Treason when they say something negative about the government. Our right to Freedom of Speech is about speaking out about the government. Our right to the press is our right to publish things against the government. Our right to peacefully assemble is our right to protest. Our right to petition our grievances means we get to tell the government when we don’t like what they’re doing, and they cannot throw us in jail for it.

I want to point this out because it seems like many people believe that the First Amendment is protecting our right to speak our opinions to each other. Often, I will hear people justify hate speech toward other citizens with the phrase “Freedom of Speech.” This isn’t at all what the Founding Fathers were thinking about when they wrote the First Amendment, I would bet money. I fear our true 1st Amendment right has been so blurred and stretched and reinterpreted we’ve forgotten what it was put in place for. The purpose of the first amendment was to give us the lawful right to protest our government, not to justify the use of ignorance and hate speech toward citizens.

The “Freedom of Speech” scapegoat is so overused, some people actually use it as an avoidance tool. The truth is, we’ve always been allowed to talk shit on other people. We’ve always been allowed to sling hate speech at another citizen. (Do you bit your thumb at me, sir?) The Founding Fathers were probably not thinking about whether or not they could call someone a mean name and it started a gun duel and someone died. There’s an easier solution to that–make it illegal to kill people and make all humans suffer the consequences of their actions. Your right to say basically whatever you want in public is protected by laws against violence, assault, and murder, not by the First Amendment.

You were always allowed to talk shit on a fellow citizen. Sometimes, it makes you an asshole, but its not really against the law and we certainly didn’t need to put it in the constitution.

Your right to be an asshole is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment.

The Constitution was not written to be the law of the people. The government writes those laws. It was a philosophically and politically researched collection of rules for the Government to follow so that we could remain a true democracy. It was written in the perspective of the people, but its a guideline for the government. This is a guideline which would hopefully prevent any level of corruption from turning the Founding Fathers’ precious Democratic brain child into an oppressive Monarchy, or a censored Tyranny, or an Oligarchic Servitude. A brilliant idea–until the guideline itself became corrupted by misinterpretations and reinterpretations.

All this to say, stop claiming Freedom of Speech when you’re expressing an opinion against another citizen. That’s not Freedom of Speech, so much as its just you speaking. Know that if you say something cruel or ignorant, you are an adult making a decision and there may or may not be consequences for that decision depending on who you say it around. The consequences will not be delivered by the government, but it doesn’t mean your fellow citizen owes you, or your opinions, respect. The consequences of speaking an ignorant opinion in the wrong crowd is pretty basic–you’re probably not going to be a part of that crowd anymore unless you are willing to be humbled by them. That has nothing to do with the government. That has to do with being a decent person.

Don’t use the First Amendment to oppress other people, or to justify your hateful words and bigoted expressions. It was made for the opposite–to unite and strengthen the people against their government. The proper understanding of our Constitution is necessary to maintain Democracy.The misuse of this Amendment is threatening Democracy. We are already an Oligarchy, and most of the lowest classes are living as indenture servants to the work force and the Banks simply so they can survive.

PS, the 2nd Amendment was made with the same intention in mind. Not so you could protect yourself against criminals like a civilian vigilante, but so you could rise up against your government if another revolution becomes necessary–which the more lucid they get with these interpretations the closer we are to revolution. Also, it has nothing to do with regulations, it just makes sure the government can’t ban all citizens from owning guns. The Second Amendment doesn’t protect anyone from the necessary regulation of weapons purchasing–just says that we’re allowed to own them for the purpose of the Second American Revolution.

Treat Others as They Wish to be Treated

I’m calling out an old cliche.

“Treat others how you’d like to be treated.” I’m calling bullshit–here’s why.

When men treat women a certain way, which is deemed by the woman to be disrespectful, men often justify their actions with “Well I would enjoy that kind of attention from a woman”. This is in regards to catcalling, unwanted physical contact in public spaces (like grabbing an ass or grazing a boob), sexual/rude remarks, etc. Men might want that attention, and so they assume women would like it too.

Almost every woman you ask will agree, this is not the case.

Women have a history of being violently and sexually aggressed toward. When men act a certain way toward us in public, we have to laugh and act like its not a big deal because to tell them how wrong they are, to ask them kindly to stop, or to give them attention in any way could, and most likely will, get a response that is less than wanted–like being spoken to by a stranger, being approached by a stranger, being harassed by a stranger, being followed, being targeted, being beaten, being raped, being murdered, having our bodies left in a field to be eaten by wild animals and later have our mourning families idetify our remains by no more than birth marks and tattoo placement. We’ve been told our whole lives to react in a way that won’t get us raped or killed, because we’ve all heard the stories about how its a woman’s fault she was raped. We’ve always heard about how the man might not have done it if the woman hadn’t provoked him in some way. So we give simple and pleasing reactions to mistreatment by men to avoid being endangered. We are trained to react to male aggression with a smile, a giggle, and a cold shoulder when really, we’d like to slap you and cuss your dumb ass out.

This is an example, one of so so many, of why we cannot always treat people how we’d like to be treated.

When we do this, when we assume that people would like to be treated how we would like to be treated, we are assuming that they are a person like us, with experiences like us, lives like us, beliefs like us, etc. We cannot always treat people how we would like to be treated. Sometimes, we need to treat them how they want to be treated, how they ask us to be treated. All this within reason, like if they’re asking to be treated like a God and have grapes placed into their mouths and a fanboy, well nobody’s got time for that and nobody owes anybody else that. But if they’re simply asking you not to make racist jokes, to use different pronouns instead of assumed pronouns, to call them by a different name than the one you’ve always known them by, not to speak to them in a certain manner, they’re telling you how they’d like to be treated. They’re telling you who they are. It’s not politically correct to acknowledge their preference and use it, its simply respectful to who they are as a human in this lifetime. Political Correctiveness is a myth created by people who fear change and progress.

In regards to simple things like kindness, sure we can treat others how we’d like to be treated. However, even then, someone else might see something as an insult that someone else sees as a kindness. Don’t treat people how you’d like to be treated. Treat them with kindness and respect. Treat them how they express they’d like to be treated. Do not assume their life and experiences are like yours and that you can just gaslight or manipulate someone into accepting your treatment. Be better than that. Be a part of our shared humanity. Empathize, long enough to realize our shared reality is a diverse one even if your single reality is a direct and one-track reality. That’s how its supposed to be.

So really, nobody is asking anyone to be politically correct, we’re asking everyone to be respectful of who people know themselves to be and treat them the way they wish to, and deserve to be treated. If you create a safe space for people to tell you how they’d like to be treated, they will reveal their true selves to you, and that is a gift to the entire world.

Our generation is acknowledging and bringing light to the beauty of our differences. We’re asking to be acknowledged as humans, defaults to society, acceptable to exist in a world set up against us. It’s not political correctiveness. Its kindness, respect, and common decency. To not treat someone how they wish to be treated because their identity gets in the way of your beliefs is not Godly, or Christian, it is judgmental and selfish.

 

#blessed

#blessed

Often I see people express gratitude to God for their material gains. On Facebook, someone will thank God for their life, “So blessed by god to have been given this [middle-upper class, privileged, white, American] life.” I’ve always had a problem with this expression of some people’s faith. I always wondered how is it that I was given this life, with all of the privilege I have, and another child was given war. Other children in the world have been granted the blessings of a less privileged situation, or had their families murdered, or were taken into the sex trade, or endured any number of random adversities that I never even had to dream of because my blessings had me born in America, with white skin and middle class parents?

Sure, spiritual beliefs often say that we chose our life standing before we were born into this world, and I understand how that helps us see our own adversities in a more purposeful light, but it also breeds a lack of empathy, almost a reinforcement that people living in under-developed, under-privileged countries or living in less privileged positions in our own country, deserve what they’ve been given. This always bothered me. I never liked the idea that a stronger belief in Jesus or God would grant me blessings that society deemed worthy, and which were near impossible for others but as simple as walking down the street for me. My christian privileges never sat well with me, and to an extent, it feels wrong to thank God for things that grant me financial security and not much more. It has me thinking, are these material successes and gains the things God truly finds concern in when granting blessings to those who seek a relationship with divinity?

I was taught that God was all about love, faith, and hope. In Christianity, Old Testament God has a son, and through Jesus, he learns, and so we learn too. Then God, and his son, also encompassed charity, forgiveness and redemption. These are things which cannot be touched or held, but which can be felt and experienced. When we experience these things, it can help us get through the adversities this life holds for us, and that is a blessing certainly. However, this is not often what I read from religious people. I often read things more like, Thank you for the pay raise. #blessed.

That being said, when people thank God for material gains, are they really reaching the God they think they are reaching? I challenge that the god we worship when we thank him for material gains is a false idol. We are worshipping money and our need for it to function within society (not nature, not God’s creation, but society–which is very much a human construct, not a divine one). This is idol worship, is it not? This is exactly what God warned us against in his Ten Commandments. This is what Jesus was furious about when he went through the temple that held capitalist markets and destroyed the profiteers merchandise.

12Then Jesus went into the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. 13And He declared to them, “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

When reflecting on this story, it occurs to me that the merchants selling in the temple were likely not overly-wealthy people. They were likely normal people, with or without faith, who had normal human needs. They needed to put food on their family’s table and put shoes on their children’s feet. They were like you or I, struggling simply to get by and make it in a society that requires we exchange money for basic survival needs. Still, Jesus made sure they knew, the business that they had brought into God’s place of worship was not welcome there.

When we thank God for our blessing, we are putting ourselves in the presence of God. We are, whether in his house or not, living on the planet of his creation. This means that when we seek to speak with God, we are in a place of prayer. When we thank God for material gains while praying, how are we any different than the desperate robber who sold stolen goods in the temple to provide for himself or his family?

Well, we didn’t steal, you might think to yourself.

Actualllyyyyyyy…..

We live in a physical world, with physical needs for survival and a limited amount of resources. Those resources are being very poorly and unevenly distributed among the world’s population. That means, whether you are aware of it or not, when your needs are met, it is at the expense of someone else’s needs, sometimes at the expense of their life. For example, you may eat meat to sustain you life, but an animal died for you to eat meat.

A better example of this is the privilege of land. For many of us, (and I’ll just give the American example here but it is relevant all around the world to people of privilege) if your heritage is not native to the land you live on, you’re living on stolen land that cost people their lives. Americans who claim to be blessed for living in this country are “blessed” because English men came here and murdered almost an entire population of Natives, whose lives are equally divine to our own regardless of their faith. We are all God’s children. The land you live on is stolen from someone else–from your divine brother and sister. This is what many people consider a blessing. While I think it is appropriate that we be grateful for our homes, our land, our needs being met, I think it is unfair and lacks true love and compassion to claim excessive wealth and privilege as a blessing granted to you by God because you believed in him more loyally than someone else might have.

Did God truly bring one of us a home and a family and middle class white American privilege while bringing an innocent child in the middle east war and violence and an early death? Is that the God we are thanking for our privileges when we achieve a material gain and call ourselves #blessed?

Truly, I believe the things which make us blessed are not the roof over our heads or the opportunities our privileges allow us. Those things are privileges and they are good and should be acknowledged, and we can even be grateful for them but they are not blessings brought to us by God. They are a consequence of our standing within an incredibly biased, greedy, fearing, and untrusting society–a society that was structured and put together by humans, not by God. God created a garden, he gave us this Earth. We created the structure of society. If we are blessed by the gains of society, who has blessed us with those things? I challenge that it is not the God we claim to know in the bible.

The things which God blesses us with are not career goals or aspirations, nor material gains or successes. They may be the courage or perspective to gain those things, but the material gains themselves are of zero relevance to God. God blesses us with unconditional love, with opportunity for faith, for joy, peace of heart, seeing the good in people and things all around us. God blesses us with purpose and understanding and a capacity for compassion and empathy far greater than our egos might otherwise allow us. God does this to those who seek. Perhaps, for some of us, that may result in opportunities or success. But remember, Jesus did not have a life of financial success. He lived a life of meaning and purpose, of truth and love, but not of material worldly gain. He lived a life of poverty, but wanted for nothing because of the true blessings he received from his father–love, faith, hope, compassion, empathy, charity, truth, and purpose. Those things provided him with what he needed to survive, and not in the excessive amount we crave them today.

Of course, I respect every individual’s understanding of God and do not presume to tell anyone what they should believe. I simply seek to challenge some of the collective beliefs which threaten to turn us against one another, which hide in roots of control and capitalism. I challenge people to think about where they put their faith. Do you find your blessings in the material things you possess or in the love you experience and share? Do you find them in the things you give, or in the act of charity? Do you find them in the Job you have, or an opportunity for purpose and service? Do you find them for the new house you bought, or for the planet we inhabit together? While these may seem like slight differences, it is these slight shifts in perspective which can drastically change our interactions with each other, and our relationship with ourselves, in the world.

I see a trend in our society which is doing well to mask itself as divinity but which is, at its true core, rooted of fear, lacks true faith and breeds hatred and division. I see a God being worshipped who is present in our world, but who is not the pinnacle of divinity. The God we are worshipping is corporate. It is money. God and Jesus both warned us against this false idol, and it has been so long that we have forgotten and allowed it to infiltrate our prayer, our beliefs and our faith.

What’s worse is that this world does not have to be as horrible as it is, and it remains this way because of the power that capitalism has gained through this misunderstanding of God and his blessings. We have allowed the greed for an easy, comfortable and privileged survival to corrupt our faith at such a high level that we now find faith in the security of knowing how to play Society’s system to our own personal advantage–and it is successful because the system functions predictably most of the time.

This is not God. This is the false idol God warned us of.

God is love, no more and no less. Unconditional, equal, love, as expressed in the bible. Love can be witnessed and practiced as kindness, empathy, understanding, charity. We find love through hope and we experience it through faith and trust. God never promised he would give us a mansion, a boat, a high paying job, white skin in a biased society, or anything else material. Corporate America promised us that, and at great cost to our selves and to others.

While I am grateful to have been born into an easier life of privilege, I am burdened by the knowledge that I have done nothing of my own merit to gain it. This burden is not equal to the adversity of being without privilege, but it is uncomfortable. That discomfort is eased by worshipping corporate America as a God and thanking it for the blessings it has granted me, but it does not bring my heart peace, nor my soul comfort to know that I have these things as someone else suffers. Thanking an entity for these things as if they are blessings from God, given in return for my faith and love, devalues God and blinds me to the capacity of love and worldly understanding that God makes possible for me. It does not bring me faith or love to think that a God might provide these things for me, but leave thousands of children around the world, younger than American kindergarteners, starving to death without even a breast to suckle. If that is their blessing, and this is mine, then the God who brings me those blessings in not one of unconditional love. That God is not teaching me the things which the bible promised I would learn from a relationship with him.

So be grateful, yes! Love the things you have, and know that they are good and that not everyone has them, and that alone is reason to be grateful! But I warn against calling them blessings and worshipping the entity from which they came. The ignorance of not know where those blessings came from does not save you or I from the consequences of that ignorance–which is division, loneliness, war, violence, etc. There is an exception to every rule, and there could be one here too. Sometimes miracles do bring us material gains, but often those come unexpected and in areas which we find ourselves truly out of alternative options and lacking in privilege. Still, most of what we express as blessings in this life are, in reality, just the result of our societal privileges. You may find, in your quest for divinity, that you’re worshipping a highly deceptive form of evil.