celebrities, Duggars, Ex, LDS, religion

How worshiping at the “church of George Carlin” serves me better than being a fundie…

Today’s post is going to be kind of convoluted and philosophical. I had originally meant to write about the Duggar family, but then I had an interesting talk with Bill this morning that I think can co-mingle with this topic. Bear with me… or don’t bear with me. It’s up to you. But I think these two topics are relative to each other, even if they don’t seem to be.

This morning, I came to the realization that George Carlin, who was famously foul mouthed and frank about his opinions, really had certain truisms nailed. I learned a lot from George, even though he was “godless”. He didn’t believe in the magical thinking, legalism, and mind fuckery that comes from religion. Instead, he was all about common sense. I appreciated Carlin’s astute observations about life, and I looked up to him… probably more so than I did my own parents.

Much to my father’s chagrin, George Carlin, who was raised Irish Catholic and eventually rejected religion, had a huge influence on me. When I was growing up, I worshiped at the “church of George Carlin”, instead of my dad’s preferred faith, the Presbyterian Church USA. I think the “church of George Carlin” probably served me better than being raised Presbyterian did. Not that being Presbyterian was particularly “traumatic” in any way. In my experience, being Presbyterian was just kind of boring… at least until I realized that the Presbyterian is a big part of my heritage. In that sense, being Presbyterian is interesting. But not interesting enough that I want to go sit in a pew and listen to sermons.

My dad didn’t like George Carlin. He used to lecture me when he’d catch me watching Carlin on HBO. He didn’t like Carlin’s seemingly liberal politics or the language he used. My dad would lament about how I found Carlin so funny and brilliant, decrying Carlin’s use of profanity. Dad believed that profanity was a sign of stupidity and a lack of vocabulary. Of course, my dad was wrong about Carlin. Carlin was right about a lot of things… and he was certainly not someone who lacked vocabulary. I also don’t think Carlin was necessarily a liberal. I think he believed both political spectrums sucked. But I also think that many people believe that if you aren’t on their side, you must be on the other side. There’s no room for moderate views, and in my opinion, not tolerating moderate views can cause huge problems.

One thing I appreciated about George Carlin was that he had no problem pointing out hypocrisy and silliness, especially as it pertains to religion. A lot of religious practices needlessly complicate life. If you need an example, just have a look at the Duggar family, and how they’ve fallen from grace. This is a family that lived with a LOT of rules and control. But underneath it all, they were full of shit… carefully hiding their sins. I think if they had embraced their sins and been honest, they wouldn’t be in the regrettable situation they’re in right now. They went from being a family to emulate, to a family humiliated.

Lately, I’ve been watching a lot of clips from the original reality show that made the Duggar family a household name. I’m reminded anew of the many false stories and outright untruths the Duggars told the world. It turned out that a lot of what they were telling the public about their lives was straight up bullshit. They presented a fake image and a false reality, and a lot of people bought it, and their formerly huge reality TV show. The clips I’ve been watching have been uploaded on YouTube by someone who starts each video with a minute of the Megyn Kelly interview done in May 2015, showing Jessa and Jill. Jill weeps on camera, while Jessa glances sideways at her, having just said how “wrong” people are that Josh is a “monster”.

Jessa flat out lied in that interview, minimizing what Josh Duggar did to her and three of her siblings. That’s a direct violation of one of the Ten Commandments! So much for obeying the Bible! It’s more important to obey Jim Bob Duggar– “God” in their home, and its “mini cult”. To his family and friends, Jim Bob is not a mere man. To the Duggars, he’s “the MAN”… and those who don’t obey him pay a price. But recently, the whole world has been reminded that Jim Bob Duggar is, in fact, just a man. And as awesome men go, he couldn’t hold a candle to George Carlin. But Jim Bob would probably consider Carlin “satanic”.

Incidentally, Jim Bob and Michelle also lied in that 2015 interview with Megyn Kelly. Why did they lie? Because they’re full of shit, and they worship money and power more than they do the Bible. It’s not so much that I care about the Bible per se. I just don’t like hypocrisy, or people who try to conceal their sins with lies and convoluted religious bullshit.

Many of us were eager to believe that the Duggars really did have a squeaky clean household. Lots of people thought Jim Bob was telling the truth when he said his children had no unfiltered access to the Internet or television. They seemed so wholesome and loving. Michelle Duggar wouldn’t show her knees or shoulders. The kids were shown wearing “Wholesome Wear” swimsuits, which were good only in that they probably helped them avoid sunburns. Jim Bob ran races in jeans. I guess that was supposed to make him appear to be “godlier”. Does Jim Bob really think God cares whether he runs races in jeans or running shorts? Or is he just doing that to look as if he’s a “hardcore Christian”? We all know now that Jim Bob is not any better than anyone else, particularly when it comes to being “Christlike.”

One brilliant example of why I worship at the church of George Carlin. This is a hell of a sermon. “Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins…” Amen, George. And you can hear that he wasn’t really liberal, because he wasn’t about political correctness.

Hell, they even refuse to call “deviled eggs” by their proper name. Instead, they call them “angel eggs”. Supposedly, Michelle Duggar came up with the name years ago, saying that she didn’t like the name “deviled eggs”. Michelle supposedly said that the eggs were so “yummy” that they should be called “angel eggs”. Here’s a link to a photo of the Duggars’ famous “Yellow Pocket Angel Eggs”. I see someone commented that they’re, in fact, “deviled eggs”. Changing the name doesn’t change what they are. Michelle and her daughters could take a lesson from George Carlin, and his sermon on “soft language”, and how that language is used to conceal “sins”.

“Life doesn’t change because you post a sign.” Angel eggs are still devilishly delicious, despite Michelle’s decision to change the satanic name.

As George Carlin famously said, “Life doesn’t change because you post a sign.” Changing the name of a classic egg appetizer doesn’t change what the appetizer is, even if you’ve exchanged a “satanic” name for an “angelic” one. And, of course, deviled eggs aren’t satanic– that’s ridiculous. However, one of Michelle’s own eggs produced someone whom some might consider “satanic”, as he sits alone in a jail cell, pondering his bleak future. Of course, I’m referring to Josh Duggar, one of Ma and Pa Duggar’s so-called “gifts from God”. In fact, Josh was the very first “gift from God”… and now, he seems more like a ruined first pancake.

I remember in the early days of the Duggar family’s rise to fame, Jim Bob Duggar used to preach to the masses about “buying used and saving the difference.” The Duggar patriarch was famously cheap, doing everything he could to save money so that he could keep supporting the “gifts from God” that came in the form of his 19 children. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar proclaimed that their huge brood was a sign of God’s favor, even though having so many children meant that, for many years, the Duggars lived in poor conditions. The story back then was that they were a “humble”, Christ loving family, cheerfully accepting that there was always a line for the bathroom and never enough tater tot casserole to go around.

But then came the reality show, and many fat paychecks from TLC. Never mind that it meant that the children were forced to work, and they were on television, a medium that the Duggars claimed they eschewed in their home. Gradually, viewers saw the family’s fashion sense change. Instead of homemade jumpers with huge collars on the girls, and khaki pants and polo shirts on the boys, we started to see the family wearing name brand clothes. Granted, they supposedly bought those clothes at thrift shops and second hand stores, but they still changed their style. They were famously frugal and “cheap”… but because they focused more on legalism, collar lines and hem lines on the girls, and being open about praying and singing, they ignored the huge problem that was being covered up and has cost them so much.

Just this morning, I read a story by The Sun about how the Duggars can send Josh “care packages” through the prison commissary. Josh, who used to go to the grocery store with his family and load up on cheap, processed foods, and paper plates, can now get a package of several lunch bag sized bags of chips for a whopping $22. If he wants candy bars, he can get a package of those for $22. His wife, Anna, has to visit him by video, for which she pays 25 cents a minute. Or she can send him an email for $5.

When I think about how the Duggars used to demonstrate how they’d save money by letting the daughters give the guys haircuts or making their own laundry detergent, it boggles my mind at what Josh’s crimes have cost the family. The costs have been huge… not just in terms of the vast amount of money spent, but also their own reputations. I wonder if the outcome would have been different if Josh had been dealt with appropriately when he was much younger. What if he had grown up in a family where things could be discussed openly, and there wasn’t the constant pressure to appear like perfect Gothardite Christians? Would people have more respect for them if they had been honest instead of trying to cover up their lies? What if Jim Bob and Michelle had paid more attention to actually raising their kids and knowing them well, instead of making sure everyone wore modest clothing and “buying used and saving the difference.” I’ll bet actually raising and protecting their kids would have cost them a lot less than homemade jumpers and haircuts.

So many people think the answer to living a better life is to be someone they’re not, embrace legalistic belief systems… and to cover up their sins. This morning, Bill and I talked about this concept, as he discussed a recent session he had with his Jungian therapist. Bill had told his therapist about how, prior to Easter 2000, Bill had always enjoyed visiting his father and his stepmother at their home. But then, they allowed Ex to use their home as a setting for her humiliating ultimatum over Easter 2000. That was where she falsely declared Bill a “reprobate” of sorts. She didn’t use that word, of course, but that was what she meant.

The issue was, Bill wasn’t “bad”. He wasn’t a reprobate at all. That was a false narrative his ex wife was pushing, as she was also supposedly embracing Mormonism and using religion to present Bill as a bad person. By allowing Ex to use their home as the setting for Ex’s condemnation of Bill, Bill’s dad and stepmother changed the conditions of how Bill saw them, and their home. And then, instead of doing what he was expected to do and had always done in the past, Bill went off script, which really fucked things up, and changed the course of the future.

Ex thought Bill would beg forgiveness and bend to her will. But Bill had had enough, and it was time for a reckoning. So, when Ex told Bill he was “bad” and needed intensive church based “therapy” with his LDS bishop (who was a lay person with no professional training in counseling) or she would divorce him, Bill decided he wasn’t going to accept her conditions. He asked, “Where do I sign?” instead of “What can I do to make you love me again?” And that decision was not what Ex expected. It made Bill seem “satanic” to her… suddenly, he wasn’t the man she arrogantly thought she knew, inside and out. Suddenly, he was someone who was capable of saying he’d had enough. He couldn’t be controlled, and that somehow made him “evil”. She had to banish him. She used Mormonism and its strict “moral code” to justify what she was doing, which was ultimately harming the children and Bill.

Then I came along, and I upset the apple cart even more by refusing to dance to Ex’s tune. I refused to go along with her plans for Christmas in 2004. Because I insisted on being treated like an adult, instead of one of Ex’s flying monkeys, I became “evil” and needed to be cast out of the cult. I couldn’t be trusted around the children, because I might influence them. I’m sure she thought of me as “Satan”, too. But they were influenced anyway, and as most children do, they went their own way… or, at least a few of them have. That’s how it is in Jim Bob Duggar’s little fiefdom, too. Some of his children are going their own way. Jim Bob might think of his wayward children who have gone astray as “touched by Satan”.

If you think about it, in some ways, Satan was really just an agent of change. Sometimes the change was bad or difficult, and sometimes it was indifferent, or even quite good. After all, what would the world be like if Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the apple? Would we all still be living in the Garden of Eden, naked, and frolicking in paradise? What fun is that? How does one grow from that experience? Sure, working all the time is hard, as is having to birth children… but hanging out in paradise isn’t very challenging or rewarding. Being stuck with Ex, likewise, wasn’t rewarding… although it was pretty challenging.

The “church of George Carlin” taught me that people have to be allowed to think and act independently. Blind obedience to one person or idea isn’t healthy. Independent thought is essential. That’s how positive change and growth can happen. George Carlin was a brilliant man… but he was also humble enough to propose that people worship someone other than him. He said, instead of worshiping God, we should worship the sun… or maybe Joe Pesci. In that sense, George Carlin, as an atheist, was probably more Christlike than Jim Bob Duggar will ever be as a “Christian”.

George Carlin says you have to “stand in awe” of the bullshit peddled by religion…

Imagine the heartache that could have been avoided if the Duggars had just worshiped George Carlin instead of Bill Gothard. Maybe Josh would have still been a pervert, but at least they could have a laugh about it. Naw… there’s nothing funny about a man who is so sick that he wants to watch children being abused and gets sexual gratification from it. That’s a problem that should have been taken care of many years ago… and maybe could have, if not for the distraction of religion, and the illusion of power and money grabs that come from adhering to strict religions. For all of the emphasis the Duggars place on being “saved”, religion and control couldn’t “save” Josh or spare his victims. He’s still sitting all alone in a jail cell, probably hoping someone might think enough of him to spend $22 on some Doritos and Cheetos for him.

So, given Josh Duggar’s pathetic example, I’m sticking with worshiping at the church of George Carlin. I think it serves me better than Duggar style fundie legalism ever could. And with that, I think I’ll praise George and get on with the rest of my day.

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Police, social media

What would Jesus do?

I wrote a post yesterday that I decided to password protect several hours later. I didn’t share it on Facebook, as I usually do. I figured if I shared it, I might be inviting Internet infamy, and frankly my mental state right now can’t handle that. So, several hours after I wrote yesterday’s post, I decided to put it behind a password. I figured that if anyone wanted to read it, they would message me.

One person did want to read the post. I shared it with her. We disagreed, although we did so in a civil way. I appreciated that very much, since a couple of nights ago, I got attacked by two different people on Facebook for defending Amy Cooper. Now… when I say I “defended” her, I don’t mean I condoned what she did on Monday morning. I certainly don’t think her actions were right, but I don’t know much about her. All I know about her is what I’ve read in the papers and seen on video. I don’t like what I’ve read or seen, but I don’t know Amy Cooper personally. I think she’s guilty of acting like a racist. However, I don’t know enough about her to know if she is, in fact, a racist. She might very well be a racist. Or, she might have just lost all sense of decorum in a very stressful situation.

By stressful, I don’t just mean being confronted by a black man in a park. I mean stressful to include dealing with the global pandemic in a city that has been hit very hard by the coronavirus. Most of the world is under tremendous stress right now, and I wonder if that had anything to do with the way Ms. Cooper reacted on Monday.

A lot of people have concluded that by calling the police on birdwatcher Christian Cooper, the black man who confronted her in Central Park on Memorial Day morning, Amy Cooper is a horrible person to the core. She’s lost her job, her dog, and probably a lot of friends. Many people have said they think she should be arrested and spend time in prison, even though there is no law against calling the police. Granted, many people felt Amy Cooper was simply calling the cops because she’s a racist; but not having been there at the time, I can’t conclude that she didn’t feel scared or threatened. I honestly don’t know what she was feeling at the time. I can only make a presumption based on the video and news articles that have been shared and commented on repeatedly.

I have noticed that coming to a conclusion other than what the masses believe can be dangerous. Based on the hatred that was spewing Tuesday night and yesterday, it occurred to me that some self-righteous people wouldn’t mind if she just killed herself. That seems wrong to me, since Amy Cooper is a human being and I think most human beings are deserving of basic compassion and understanding, even when they don’t show it themselves. (and I will also admit that I can be hypocritical on this point, particularly when someone is hateful to me– but I am working on it)

I found the flow of vitriol toward Amy Cooper very depressing. It was bad enough that I considered getting off of Facebook. Between the constant back and forth preaching about social distancing and face mask wearing, the endless pictures of hateful white supremacists who have been toting their guns to state capitals and demanding their “rights”, and the shrill outrage expressed by thousands of people who don’t actually know anything about Amy Cooper or Christian Cooper or any of the other stories they were commenting on, it got to be too much… I was starting to feel horrible about myself, and I had nothing to do with any of these incidents.

Then I saw posts about George Floyd, the 46 year old black man who was arrested in Minneapolis and died handcuffed and begging for his life as a white police officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground. I’ll admit, I haven’t read the details about that case yet, but I did see the horrifying pictures. I do think the officers who are responsible for killing Mr. Floyd should be prosecuted. There are far too many black men being killed by people who are supposed to be protecting and serving everyone. Ditto to the three men in Brunswick, Georgia– Gregory McMichael, 64, Travis McMichael, 34, and William Bryan, 50,– who are responsible for killing Ahmaud Arbery in February. Those men absolutely should stand trial for taking the law into their own hands and killing a black man who was simply out for a run.

I think it’s a problem that someone like Amy Cooper gets mobbed and automatically labeled a racist for calling the police. I think people should be able to call the police whenever they think they need help. No one should be able to “weaponize” the police. The police should be there to help resolve conflicts, protect and serve all people, and enforce laws. The fact that people think a middle aged white woman can call the police, resulting in a black man being killed by them, is a serious problem and something that our society must address. I think the fact that so many black men in America are being killed by cops is a much bigger issue than a white woman calling 911 when she didn’t really have to.

Unfortunately, somehow some police officers in the United States seem to have lost their way, and now they’ve become people that we collectively can’t trust. When a middle aged white woman like Alison Ettel, Jennifer Schulte, or Amy Cooper calls the police on someone of color, they become targets of rage and symbols of racism. People then feel free to cheer when their lives fall apart on a very public forum. The public becomes as bad as the offender. Seriously… I don’t think people who are outraged against Amy Cooper, wishing death or poverty or any other misfortune on her are a whole lot better than the racist they claim she is. Hate is hate. God forbid you present a different viewpoint, either. If you do, be prepared to be attacked and maligned, as I was a couple of nights ago.

And that brings me to the title of today’s post. I have never claimed to be a very religious person. I’m especially not a fan of organized religion because I’ve seen it hurt a lot of people. However, I am a fan of Jesus Christ… or at least the idea of being “Christ like”. I have been fortunate enough to run into a couple of people in my life who radiated serenity. A few years ago, I even wrote about a man I didn’t talk to, but simply noticed in a restaurant. I was in a bad mood at the time… hungry, tired, and irritable, and I noticed this man sitting at a table with several other people. He seemed to be so calm, loving, and gentle… perhaps a mere essence of who I think Christ would be if I were to meet him. The people who were with the man in the restaurant seemed enchanted by his humble demeanor and easy kindness.

My German friend, Susanne, found out who the man was. It turned out he was a Japanese Buddhist monk named Toyoshige Sekiguchi who had been traveling around the world to promote peace and nuclear disarmament. I never spoke to him, but simply seeing him in a crowded restaurant while I was “hangry” had the effect of calming me down and imparting peace. It occurred to me that someone like Toyoshige Sekiguchi would not hate Amy Cooper. He would most likely wish peace for her… something to soothe whatever it was inside of her that made her say what she said to Christian Cooper on Monday morning and take actions that led to her life being destroyed in a matter of hours.

I am a very long way from being like Toyoshige Sekiguchi. I am an even longer way from being like Jesus Christ. I have my moments of hatred, outrage, and judgment, just like everyone else does, although mine most often seem to come out against people who injure me or Bill personally. Still, I would like to be a kinder, more understanding person. Hating Amy Cooper is not a step in the right direction to meet that goal, even if I condemn her actions.

A wise professor once told me, having been the wife of an abusive alcoholic– you have to separate the person from the action. Most people occasionally say and do bad things, but that doesn’t necessarily make them inherently bad people. And… just for the record, I can name several people off the top of my head whom I think are much worse people than Amy Cooper is, and none of them have ever been outed, let alone fired or arrested. But what they did was never recorded on a camera phone and leaked to the press. Most of us could easily find ourselves making a very public mistake that gets put on blast. I doubt very much that any of us would want to have our lives upended and wrecked for having a couple of bad minutes of our lives recorded for posterity and shared with and judged by the masses.

For his part, Christian Cooper has publicly stated that he doesn’t think it’s right for Amy Cooper’s life to be upended. He said:

“Any of us can make — not necessarily a racist mistake, but a mistake… And to get that kind of tidal wave in such a compressed period of time, it’s got to hurt. It’s got to hurt.”

“I’m not excusing the racism,” he said. “But I don’t know if her life needed to be torn apart.”

He opened his mouth to speak further and then stopped himself. He had been about to say the phrase, “that poor woman,” he later acknowledged, but he could not bring himself to complete the thought.

“She went racial. There are certain dark societal impulses that she, as a white woman facing in a conflict with a black man, that she thought she could marshal to her advantage,” he said.

“I don’t know if it was a conscious thing or not,” he added. “But she did it, and she went there.”

Christian Cooper says he doesn’t want to reconcile with Amy Cooper face to face, but he has expressed regret that she’s received death threats and that her life is being “destroyed”. He has acknowledged that by making her go viral, he played a part in (hopefully temporarily) destroying her life… even though many people feel that by calling the police, she could have ended his life. He even almost called her a “poor woman” as he spoke to the New York Times about the aftermath of making her go viral. I commend him for having compassion for Amy Cooper. The world would be a better place if more people did. I hope someday that Amy Cooper recovers from this incident and even gets her dog back, as long as she’s willing to keep him on a leash.

What I think is especially sad, though, is that we don’t have more faith in the New York City Police Department being able to do their jobs without killing someone. And that our lack of faith in New York City’s police is due to the all too frequent stories about black men being killed by cops in places like Minneapolis, Minnesota. That, to me, is a much bigger issue than Amy Cooper deciding to call the cops.

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homosexuality

Taste the rainbow… get kicked out of school?

This morning, I read a story about a fifteen year old girl named Kayla Kenney who got photographed blowing out the candles on her birthday cake at Texas Roadhouse. She wore a rainbow sweater and smiled pretty over a rainbow themed cake with two candles, a one and a five, on top. The photo was posted to Facebook and, apparently, that meant the end of Kayla’s freshman year at Whitefield Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. Someone shared the photo with officials at her school, and next thing she knew, she was a girl with “no class”… (sorry, for the obvious joke).

Kayla’s mom, Kimberly Alford, alleges that her daughter was expelled from the private Baptist affiliated academy solely because school administrators felt the colorful cake promoted “gay pride” and by posing with it, Kayla was endorsing homosexuality. Ms. Alford received an email from the school’s headmaster, Dr. Bruce Jacobson, who wrote that Kayla,

demonstrates a posture of morality and cultural acceptance contrary to that of Whitefield Academy’s beliefs and follows two years of lifestyle violations.

Alford admits that her daughter did have a couple of disciplinary issues at school. Once, she got caught with an e-cigarette (Juul Pods in her backpack) and another time, she was disciplined for cutting class. Jacobson did not provide details about Kayla’s transgressions in an emailed response to the Washington Post, but he did issue the following statement about this case:

“Inaccurate media reports are circling stating that the student in question was expelled from our school solely for a social media post,” the school said in a statement. “In fact, she has unfortunately violated our student code of conduct numerous times over the past two years.”

Jacobson added that, “Whitefield Academy is accredited by ACSI/AdvancEd and a member of the Non Public School Commission of Kentucky, and therefore we meet all Kentucky regulations and laws.  Our code of conduct is on par with other private Christian schools in our area.  It is unfortunate that one of the student’s parents chose to post internal family matters on social media, and we hope our former student is not adversely affected by what her parents chose to make public about her situation.”

Furthermore, Jacobson writes that all of the families who enroll their children in the private Christian school, which takes students in grades K-12, are aware of the school’s rules and the expectations regarding the students’ conduct. Another article went into more detail about what Jacobson wrote than the Washington Post did.

However, although Ms. Alford acknowledges that Kayla has had some disciplinary problems in the past and was on probation, she states that since the e-cigarette incident, Kayla had not been in any trouble. Therefore, Ms. Alford concludes that Kayla’s rainbow themed birthday celebration was the reason she was kicked out of school, since rainbows and rainbow colored flags are often used to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer pride and support for LGBTQ rights. Ms. Alford also emphatically assures everyone that her daughter isn’t gay, even though she likes rainbow themed decorations.

So what do I think about this? Well… it seems to me that anyone who attends a Baptist affiliated school in which it explicitly states in the student handbook that homosexuality won’t be tolerated probably should have realized school officials would not appreciate a student giving off the slightest appearance of promoting homosexuality. That means that publicly posing with anything that has rainbows on it probably does put students on the school’s radar. And if a student has already been in trouble with the administrators over cutting class and having vaping paraphernalia, this might be the last straw. It’s ridiculous, of course, but so is paying money to attend a school with homophobic policies, especially in this day and age. Right here on page 18 of the school’s handbook is the following statement:

Role of the Christian School

Whitefield Academy’s Biblical role is to work in conjunction with the home to mold students to be Christ- like. On occasion, the atmosphere or conduct within a particular home may be counter or in opposition to the Biblical lifestyle the school teaches. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual immorality, homosexual orientation, or the inability to support Biblical standards of right and wrong (Rom. 1:18-32, I Cor. 6:9). If the home environment is not in harmony with the school’s doctrinal belief in the centrality of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture and Biblical lifestyle, it will be difficult for the school to cooperate with the home and achieve the goal of a student becoming Christ-like. In such cases, the school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student.

So, while Dr. Jacobson claims that Kayla wasn’t kicked out over posing with the rainbow themed cake, I have a feeling that the rainbow themed cake, along with some of Kayla’s other “missteps” from the straight and narrow (ie; dressing like a “tomboy” and being “athletic”, as her mom puts it), made her appear to be less suitable for the strict Christian school, which claims to want to mold its students in the image of “Christ”, but in policy, seems rather un-Christlike to me. After all, Christ was all about being kind, forgiving, and inclusive, wasn’t He? But… as Whitefield Academy is a private school, I suppose they do have the right to make and enforce rules as they deem fit.

My comments about Kayla being “unsuitable”, by the way, isn’t a slam on her. I, myself, would be highly “unsuitable” as a student at that school. I like beer and I cuss like a sailor… and I support people loving whomever they choose to love, as long as the relationship is consensual and legal. I also highly object to this policy on page 17 in Whitefield’s handbook:

Fine Arts Works

All original student work, whether graphic, written or performed, is considered the property of Whitefield Academy. The school reserves the rights to print and reproduce copies of the student work for sale and display in an effort to continue to fund the training of students in a performing fine arts area. This policy also protects the amateur status of the serious fine arts student until such a time as he/she is ready to assume the responsibilities of a professional artist.

All original work produced by the student within the school and under the instruction of a Whitefield Academy instructor will be returned to the student at the end of the school year. The student is not permitted to sell any original work or copy of original work while holding the status of student at Whitefield Academy. The sale of original work or copies of an original work by a student may result in his removal from the Fine Arts Department or even dismissal from school.

Once a student has graduated, transferred or otherwise left Whitefield Academy, he will be granted by Whitefield Academy non-exclusive rights to any work done while at Whitefield Academy. These rights are non-exclusive: Whitefield Academy will maintain the right to reproduce from a copy any student work for resale or display while allowing the student to do the same from the original.

I think artists, performers, and writers get shafted enough as it is when it comes to ownership of their works. Whitefield Academy should not, in my view, lay claim to work done by a student. Just my opinion, though… and it would not top the list of reasons why I would never let my hypothetical child go there or to a similar school. However, I guess I do still support the all American right of freedom of choice.

Ms. Alford claims that her appeal to get Kayla back into her private Christian school was immediately denied. Kayla is now enrolled in a public school, which I think will be a better environment for her. Although Kayla’s older sister is a Whitefield Academy graduate, Kayla seems a bit too free-spirited and open-minded for such an intolerant environment. I hope that Ms. Alford gives some more thought about her decision to send her children to a school that espouses such “judgmental” policies. She apparently didn’t have a problem with those policies before her daughter was tripped up by one. I would encourage her to consider whether or not conservative Christians are really all that “Christlike” after all. Maybe public school is where God thinks Kayla should be… where she can be around people who are truly forgiven for their mistakes.

Lots of fine people would not fit in at Whitefield Academy. It seems to be a special kind of place for a special kind of people who happen to fit the conservative “Baptist” Christian norm. Plenty of wonderful people can’t do that even on their “best” day… and frankly, in my view, that’s often to their credit. Who wants to hang around a bunch of legalistic uniformed Bible thumpers, anyway? Why pay for that experience? I wish Kayla much success and happiness in her new school.

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Trump

Trump loses his shit on Twitter… Christians finally realize he’s horrible.

Yeah, I know. What else is new? In the wake of his impeachment, Trump has been typing messages of protest in all capital letters, claiming that “do nothing” Democrats are trying to state a coup and are on a “witch hunt”. Seems to me that if Democrats were really the “do nothing” type, they wouldn’t have impeached Trump. It would be business as usual, like it is when we have a “real” president instead of an aging narcissistic reality TV star.

Since I’m outside of the United States, I haven’t watched any of the coverage on television. I’ve only read a few articles about what happened. I also peeked at Trump’s Twitter feed, although I really don’t use Twitter much at all– and certainly don’t make a habit of paying attention to anything Trump says. His mouth makes me think of toilets, only instead of being a place to deposit shit, shit overflows from it. In any case, he deserves to be impeached, even if it’s doubtful that the Senate will do the right thing and kick him out of the White House. I’m so tired of having that man represent our country.

I noticed this morning that some evangelicals have finally realized how immoral and anti-Christian Trump is. Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine, has outright called for Trump’s removal from office. In an editorial that was published yesterday, Mark Galli wrote:

…the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

Galli does concede that “Democrats have had it out for Trump” since day one. Maybe they have, but to me, it was clear from day one that he’s not fit to lead the country, exactly because of what Mr. Galli has noticed over the past few years. Trump was well-known for abusing women, cheating his business associates, and being racist many years before he ran for president. I think real Christians should have acknowledged Trump’s obvious moral deficits and personal shortcomings before they cast their votes. Thirty years ago, when he divorced his first wife, Ivana, it came out that he forced himself on her sexually over pain caused by hair plugs. After the divorce, Ivana kind of recanted her claim that he’d raped her, but based on the description I’ve read about what happened, it’s pretty obvious to me that she was raped by her ex husband. And then, even before he was elected, many recordings of Trump’s pride at being a sex pest were made public. Why weren’t Christians appropriately appalled at that point?

I think a lot of Christians who claim to be Trump supporters ignored Trump’s completely disgusting behavior because they couldn’t stand the idea of electing a strong, liberal woman to the presidency… especially one like Hillary Clinton. I don’t claim to be a fan of the Clintons. I think they’re both corrupt and about as narcissistic as Trump is. Bill Clinton is a well-known philanderer, and Hillary Clinton has a reputation for being abusive to her staff. But at least they’re competent leaders with actual experience. Trump is just a loud mouthed bully who takes what he wants and fucks over the rest. Why didn’t Christians see and acknowledge that ages ago? It’s very obvious, and it has been obvious since the 1980s.

Galli then wrote:

“Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?”

It’s probably too late to ask Christians how they can continue to support Donald Trump. Why should I listen to so-called Christians who turn a blind eye to what has been staring them in the face for decades? How can Christians claim to follow Christ when they support a man whose actions and words are the very opposite of being Christ like? I’ve heard Christians say they place a strong emphasis on character. Well, Trump’s character is very corrupt. He’s not a good person. Supporting him and his vile agenda is not a Christ like thing to do. In fact, it’s a very hypocritical thing to do.

I’m glad some Christians are finally brave enough to say it out loud, although it should have been said years ago. And I say this as someone who isn’t particularly religious.

Of course, this may have been Mark Galli’s swan song, since he has announced his retirement. He leaves his job effective January 3, 2020. Too bad he couldn’t have been brave enough to write this piece years before he decided to retire. Maybe he could have done some good.

I would really love to see someone in the White House who isn’t a total creep elected only because of money, power, and influence. It’s time we got someone in charge who cares about the people he or she serves and isn’t just running a circus. We can’t afford another four years with Trump.

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