Let the Record Show

Let the record show that I did not consent to this.

Let it show that I did not vote for this man, that he did not represent me, that I did not believe he was deserving of being here, that I grieved his ascension.

Let History record my objection to him, to the ways he humiliated women and vilified Muslims and threatened protestors and disregarded people of color.

Let it record my repulsion at his tremendous cruelty, his lack of compassion, his contempt for dissension, his absence of simple decency.

Let witnesses mark down my disgust at the way he boasted of infidelity, at how he ridiculed a disabled reporter, at the way he attacked female opponents for their appearance, at the way he marginalized immigrants.

Let it be remembered that I did not look the other way when women accused him of assault, when the reality of his Russian alliances came to light, when he refused to share his tax records—though large portions of the American media and its people chose to.  

Let it be remembered that I did not buy into the fear that he perpetuated of those with brown skin or hijabs or foreign birthplaces. 

Let the record show that I looked on with disbelief as he spent countless early morning and middle-of-the-night hours following the election on social media, broadcasting a steady stream of petulant, insecure, incoherent messages instead of preparing to do a job he was ill-equipped for and seemingly not all that interested in.

Let the record show that I watched him assemble a Cabinet of billionaires and bigots, of people woefully unqualified to steward our children, our safety, our healthcare, our financial stability—and that I was horrified by it all.

Let it be remembered that my faith would not allow me to fall in line behind this man while so many professed religious people did; that I saw nothing resembling Jesus in him, and that to declare him Christian would have been to toss aside everything I grew up believing faith in Christ manifested in a life.  

Let History record my grieving at the racism and bigotry and homophobia that characterized his campaign, marked his supporters, and is evident in his assembling Administration.

Let it be known that I was one of the more than 65 million people who voted for Hillary Clinton; who understood that though not perfect, she was an intelligent, experienced, passionate public servant with the temperament, commitment, and qualifications to lead and lead well. 

Let the record show that I greatly lamented the day of his inauguration, and that I promised to join together with other good people to loudly resist and oppose every unscrupulous, dangerous, unjust and dishonest act this new Administration engages in. 

History has been littered with horrible people who did terrible things with power, because too many good people remained silent. And since my fear is that we are surely entering one of those periods in our story, I wanted to make sure that I was recorded for posterity:

I do not believe this man’s actions are normal.
I do not believe he is emotionally stable.

I do not believe he cares about the full, beautiful diversity of America.
I do not believe he respects women.
I do not believe he is pro-life other than his own.
I do not believe the sick and the poor and the hurting matter to him in the slightest.

I do not believe he is a man of faith or integrity or nobility.
I do not believe his concern is for anything outside his reflection in the mirror.

I believe he is a danger to our children.
I believe he is a threat to our safety.
I believe he is careless with our people.
I believe he is reckless with his power.
I believe America will be less secure, less diverse, less compassionate, and less decent under his leadership.

And if I prove to be wrong, it will be one of the most joyful errors of my life. I will own these words and if necessary, willingly and gladly admit my misjudgment because it will mean that America is a better and stronger nation, and the world a more peaceful place.

But right now I don’t see that happening. 

Right now I am worried for my country, concerned for our planet, scared for the future of my children, and greatly saddened that 62 million Americans seem okay with all of this.

Let the record show that I was not okay with it.

Not at all.

 

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10 Acts of Resistance on Inauguration Day

On the 20th of January, over 65 million people (well more than half of those who voted in America’s election) will be grieving.

We will be lamenting the elevation to the highest level of our Government, a man who is simply unqualified for and undeserving of it; a man who has already shown himself unable to respect the gravity of the moment and unwilling to act in the interest of the whole of the American people.

And so for us, this Inauguration day is indeed a funeral; a mourning over the country we might have had, the future we could have been building—the President we should have been welcoming.

And the question is, what do we do with this day that might be redemptive, that might bring life? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Serve someone. Step out into your neighborhoods, alone or with other-like hearted people and perform acts of service today, especially for those who are often overlooked or excluded. These will be the same communities ignored by the coming Administration and we will need to make sure that no one is rendered invisible, that everyone is cared for. With a President-Elect whose life, career, and campaign have been marked by such greed and ego—compassion and kindness will now be acts of bold resistance.

2) Engage in financial activism. Money does indeed talk. It advocates. It protests. In fact, our financial resources can and should be a tangible form of activism. Do some research today and make a contribution to an organization you believe is doing great work fighting the kind of discrimination, bigotry, and injustice already evident in the coming Administration. Give generously today to sustain and encourage those already pushing upstream.

3) Get your hands dirty. There are countless opportunities to come alongside people already in the trenches fighting for equality and diversity locally, state-wide, and across the country. Make a commitment today to come alongside them by joining a nonprofit, community organization, faith-based group, or grass-roots movement. Leverage the powerful resource of your presence and participate in work that moves you. Resist the apathy around you today by gracing enough to move.

4) Reach across a divide. Exclusion has been one of the hallmarks of the President-Elect’s campaign, seeking to divide people along lines of color, gender, religion, sexual orientation, place of birth, and yes, political affiliation. Today, do something that intentionally builds a bridge to a community you may have little interaction with or knowledge of, or to an individual you may feel opposition to. It might mean picking up the phone or inviting someone for coffee or visiting an unfamiliar house of worship or attending a community gathering. Resist the wall-builder today by breaking down walls.

5) Read. The Internet gives us limitless opportunities to learn and to grow in our understanding of others, yet we often use it primarily to exchange passive aggressive status updates and oversimplified memes. We have a President-Elect who has boasted that he does not read, and we can see the kind of person such intolerance to knowledge yields. Today, read something edifying or challenging; something that pushes you or educates you or tells you a story you didn’t know—and use it to spur you on. In this coming Administration, intelligence and knowledge are forms of resistance.

6) Pray. If you’re a person of faith, spend time today away in prayer or meditation, and if you’re not, simply spend some time in quiet reflection or in nature. Avoid the bombast and volume of this day, and all the noise of social media that it will certainly bring. Find places of silence and solitude to recover your center. Find peace there, and allow that peace to strengthen and prepare you for the difficult work ahead.

7) Reassure your children. If you have kids over the age of 10 or so, they’ve likely heard too much during the campaign and they might be feeling a great deal of fear and worry today. Take some time to gather as a family and talk to your kids, not about the Inauguration or the President-Elect, but about the good things and good people they see in the world, and make some plans with them to do something as a family that affirms this goodness. Help your kids resist by nurturing their hope.

8) Cultivate gratitude. With the heavy deluge of bad news in recent weeks, with the relentless flood of reckless Tweets, disturbing Cabinet appointments, and the seemingly limitless capacity for cruelty we’ve been exposed to, it can be easy to lose sight of all that is good and beautiful and right in our lives and in this world. There will be plenty of time to lament all that is not wrong and to work in opposition to it, but today as a willing act of defiant resistance, perhaps look around and find reason to be grateful. Celebrate these things.

9) Be visible. All across the country, there are protests, rallies, and marches where disparate people will gather today to be a physical, tangible reminder that the majority of American voters did not consent to this President-Elect and do not share his vision for our nation. Go and stand shoulder to shoulder with people in your community and make a declaration of resistance to the divisions and hatred on display in this Administration.

10) Create. Spend time today doing something that gives you life: paint, play music, write, dance, cook. Use the gifts you have been given as a direct, creative response to this day. Remind yourself that even though there is real ugliness grabbing the spotlight and the headlines, that things of great beauty are being born too. Let your art be your defiant resistance.

Bonus 11) Rest.
Grief is exhausting, and chances are if you’re still reading this you care deeply about what’s happening in this country—and you’re really tired. And regardless of the virtues of anything you’ve read so far, today your greatest act of resistance may be to take a nap. Unplug, logout, shutdown, and allow yourself to breathe slowly and to sleep. You will have time over the next four years to address the other things on this list that compel you. For now, rest well.

So yes, January 20th could easily be a day of grief, but it can also be a day where you and I refuse to give attention, time, or emotional bandwidth to a man who does not deserve it; a day where together we affirm the truth that America is already great, not because of him—but despite him.

We the people…

 

 

 

 

 

 

No, My Diversity Doesn’t Have to Include Your Bigotry

   Photo credit: Reuters

Some days I think people choose to miss the point.   

In the weeks following the election, those of us opposing the coming Administration and protesting what we see as very problematic Cabinet appointments and flag-raising political maneuvering, have received a similar scolding from Conservatives as we engage in debate on the issues. It’s an attempt to call us out for our alleged hypocrisy:

“I see, you’re all for diversity unless someone disagrees with you! Apparently we don’t get included in that! You Liberals are so tolerant!” 

Well, they’re partially right. 

The commitment to diversity and equality means demanding that everyone gets a seat at the table; that each person’s inherent worth is recognized there, that no one is devalued or excluded based on a fixed and fundamental part of their identity: skin color, gender, nation of origin, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

This means that we declare every human being equally valuable. It does not mean we treat all opinions and all behavior equally:

If your opinion directly endangers people based on those essential parts of who they are—we’ll pushback.
If you’re worldview permits you to treat someone as less deserving of civil rights or it discards their basic humanity—your worldview is a threat to true diversity.
If your evaluation of another makes you more tolerant of their mistreatment or less outraged by hate crimes against them, that’s a fundamental problem.

Active discrimination and violence don’t get a seat at the table. They don’t get proximity to do further damage.

For example, a gay teenager and a Baptist preacher are both invited into genuine community and both welcomed into conversation, but if the preacher insists on the inherent depravity of the teenager, if he or she cannot see the teenager as fully equal to them in the eyes of God or the Law, this is a barrier to diverse community and an assault on the teenager’s very identity. The teenager’s place at the table is terribly altered by the preacher, not the other way around.

Diversity will always err on the side of the marginalized and always be an inconvenience to the privileged because diversity seeks justice. It demands benevolence.

The contention for the past year has been that all political perspectives are valid, but I won’t consent to that and it’s a matter of personal safety. No individual groups of white people are explicitly, measurably endangered by a Progressive platform, they receive the same consideration. But I can illustrate the specific ways people of color, immigrants, Muslims, women, and the LGBTQ community are less safe and less represented by the coming Administration, which is already by its conduct, a movement of exclusion. 

Friend, I can respect you and seek to understand you, while declaring your actions or those of politicians you support, completely reprehensible. I can criticize your conduct or the results of your behavior without not attacking your worth. That’s how this works.

If you believe people of color are simply inferior to white people, you’re going to have to work hard to stay at the table.
If you claim LGBTQ people to be abominations, you’ll have to do better.
If you believe Muslims are likely terrorists, you probably won’t feel welcome at the table for long.

And so no, it isn’t at all hypocritical to champion diversity and to confront injustice simultaneously. They are fully collaborative and integrated movements.

All people are welcomed at the table but bigotry isn’t, so save the allegation that its acceptance is a requirement.

Equality demands deceny toward humanity’s diverse gathering—and it’s what I demand.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Jesus, You’re Fired From American Evangelical Christianity

Dear Jesus,

We regret to inform you that as of January 20th, 2017, your services are no longer required.

As will happen, changes have occurred in recent months that have now rendered many of your past duties obsolete:

 

  • Empathy is no longer deemed necessary, and so loving your neighbor as yourself is a rather wasteful use of current resources and manpower.
  • Turning the other cheek has proven not to be measurably profitable, and we have eliminated it from our Strategic Plan for the coming four years.
  • We have drastically reduced funding on your earlier initiatives of Compassion, Diversity, and Equality, and will instead be focusing on the more lucrative Fear, Exclusion, and Discrimination programs, which polls indicate our dwindling base prefers.
  • We’ve also made large cuts to the Loving The Least initiative you originally spearheaded, and allocated these funds to our popular Pull Yourself Up By Your Own Bootstrap campaign.
  • Also, given your Middle Eastern upbringing we feel the need to distance ourselves from your image, as our predominately white core audience is uncomfortable with the problematic associations it conveys in this current climate.

As you know, the American people have been choosing our services less and less in recent years, and we need to maximize the smaller market share we now occupy in both the Bible and Rust Belts. President-Elect Trump gives us the best opportunity to do this, and as his vision and yours are so incompatible, we feel it is best to sever ties and retrofit our programs to better align as to be on message with him.

As a result of the these and other factors, we are moving in another direction and are hereby eliminating your position, effective on the 20th.

We will still continue with some of the projects you spearheaded, namely the sunday morning worship services which are still profitable for us, though instead of prominently featuring God So Loved the World, these will now be used to showcase our Make America Great Again campaign which is testing well with our target audience. 

We will still prominently display the Cross of course, as this is continues to be a powerful and lucrative branding tool with our customers, especially combined with the American Flag and the TRUMP name. We’ll also continue to lobby for your name to remain on our currency, for obvious reasons. 

We will continue to selectively use the Scriptures, as they remain invaluable in our efforts to minimize the problematic communities; LGBT, people of color, women, non-Christians, to name a few.

And we’ll continue to aggressively showcase the Altar Call/Sinner’s Prayer/Salvation from Hell initiative, as those nicely undergird our Sin Management, Fear Leverage, and Damnation initiatives, which are still cornerstones of our organization and remain great membership drivers and income generators.

Your past two thousand years of faithful service are greatly appreciated, and to show our gratitude for your contributions we will still mention you as we gather for an hour on Sundays, but beyond that you will not be necessary. As our new boss Mr. Trump likes to say—You’re fired.

We wish you luck with your future endeavors, and trust you will have great success elsewhere, perhaps in the Progressive Church or even the secular field, where your brand of social justice is still a core value.

Warmest Regards and God Bless,

American Evangelical Christianity