Religion,politics and culture affect each other

February is Black history month. I enjoy this month immensely because of the focus on black history, black figures and black achievements. The month where black figures are focused on and actually treated as if their lives matter. Though as a woke individual, I make it my business to consistently study and research black topics. Black history month for me is 12 months a year. Learning the history of the black church and the influence of Western Christianity, has opened my eyes to some uncomfortable truths and left me with some serious questions. I read an article which stated that 16% of church congregations are multiethnic; which would mean the other 84% of American congregations are still segregated, so much for the idea of a post-racial America. Martin Luther King Jr once quoted that 11AM is the most segregated hour in America. With the statistics the article stated, I’m inclined to agree with his statement. This truth does not surprise me, considering the history of the church and Christianity in this country, which was tainted by racism and often fused with Eurocentric political ideologies. Historically religious teaching was used to justify slavery, segregation, and immoral colonization. Though, many try to compartmentalize religion into a separate category, away from culture or politics the three intersect and affect each other in specific ways. Frederick Douglass once said,” I love the pure, peaceable, impartial Christianity of Christ. I therefore hate the corrupt, slave holding, women whipping, cradle plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land”. I agree with him. The Western version of Christianity taught to us is tainted by racist philosophies, immoral politics, and influenced by Eurocentric views.

Throughout history there were 4 C’s that influenced society and each other: Christianity, Colonization, Commerce, and Civilization. Religion, culture and politics also influenced each other. Just as culture expresses how human beings understand and experience the world, religious practices shape and are shaped by the culture around them. A person’s religion can affect how they act, think, and what inspires them. Politicians are in a position to make decisions that affect and impact the lives of many for good or bad. Individuals of a religious faith can vote for candidates and support policies that reflect their religious values. Religious communities can express their needs and interests during political campaigns. Politicians can monitor or control religious discrimination or oppression, or engage in persecution of certain religious groups ,etc. All of these things affect each other, like it or not. Irregardless of the separation of church and state, as well as the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment; religion continues to influence politics and vice versa. We see this example with certain White Evangelicals who voted for Trump, citing their pro-life stances on abortion and the religious view on the sanctity of life, as a major reason for choosing him as a candidate. Years ago the KKK was instrumental in keeping churches and towns segregated and responsible for the lynchings of black pastors,civil rights activists and black political figures.

Another example that shows the intersection of culture, religious and politics was the life and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born a Jew sometime in the 1st century. The words of Jesus in the gospels was influenced by Jewish thought, rabbinical thought and Judaism. This was illustrated by parables, stories and even language (Hebrew, Aramaic) words and phrases etc. The Jewish culture influenced the narratives of the gospels. The Jewish scribes (Pharisees and Sadducees) were well versed in the Law and local governance. The chief priests had the power to lead armies, collect taxes, regulate relations with Rome, these would be considered political powers. Jesus confronted and exposed the corruption of Pharisees; by denouncing the fact they were robbing widows inheritances, allowing theft of monies to happen in the Temple courtyard, and were living in religious hypocrisy. They were also jealous of the following that Jesus was gaining among the Jewish and foreign communities and were afraid of losing political and religious power. They then conspired with the Sadducees and Judas to arrest Jesus and have him brought up on charges (false charges). Caiaphas the head chief priest was instrumental in doctoring these charges and with the support of the Pharisees and Sadducees had Jesus brought by before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. You can see how a religious conflict became political. It lead to Jesus being executed(crucified) by the state as a criminal and insurrectionist, which he clearly wasn’t.

Other examples of the politics, religion, culture intersecting and influencing each other would be :The Crusades, Jihads, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Yugoslav Wars, the Nigerian Conflict ,etc. Many religious wars were usually fought over confessional security and political gains. Holy wars were fought because of religious differences (ex.European 30 Years War), while just wars were fought for moral/political reasons (ex.Civil War). Religious beliefs would at times influence elections and forming political groups. God forbid one group is threatened with losing political power or was hostile to a different group; this would cause violence, killings and clashes. Religious motivations could and often did lead to political conflict. Catholic and Protestant churches clashing led to military campaigns and battles. The 16th Baptist Church bombing in Alabama, led to four young girls being killed in the explosion. The reason due to hostility towards black people (culture) and black gains during the civil rights movement (politics).

After the Civil War, the Confederacy idealized the culture of the South as the foundation of Christian morals and piety. American nationalism, paternalism and white supremacy was attached to these ideologies and helped to influence Evangelical Christianity. It also helped to lead to the creation of the prosperity gospel and the incorrect idea that God wants Christians to get rich and that America was some sort of “promised land”. This European theology coupled with political views led to a racial caste system; a social order that subjugated black civil, political, cultural and religious rights. Jim Crow laws are the perfect illustration of this, as well as racist actions practiced by missionaries.

Until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, most native religious practices were outlawed. William Carey’s, “Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use for the conversion of Heathens” was looked at, as one of the 1st greatest missionary treatises in the English language. This contained racist and prejudiced views within it. Most black people were banned from joining Protestant churches before the year 1750. Danish slaveholders in the West Indies violently attacked Moravian missionaries for baptizing people of African descent. In 1739, Africans had to write the King/Queen of Denmark requesting help and relief. The African Methodist Episcopal Church denomination began because Richard Allen and two black men kneeled to pray in a whites only section of St George’s Methodist Church. They were yanked off their knees by white trustees and asked to leave. These black men had to form their own church just to be treated with humanity and be allowed the same religious rights as white people. European missionaries that preached in African countries, often told African converts to give up their cultural identities and traditions. They made them dress like Europeans, taught them their version of theology and set up churches with European laws, spirituality, white theologians, and white leadership. This undermined and disrespected African culture and traditions. These were just some of the ways religion and culture would affect each other negatively.

Some pastors would preach racism and white supremacist views from the pulpit. James Henry Thornwell did that when he preached a pro-slavery 1861 sermon (Bondage). Politics would at times influence religious actions. In the case of Bob Jones University vs the United States(1982); the IRS removed the tax exempt status of Bob Jones University(Christian university) because of its racially segregated campus. A kneel-in took place in 1964 at 2nd Presbyterian Church in Memphis, when protestors decided to protest its policy of segregation. Religious practices and values can become political issues and lead to government intervention when unlawful practices or questionable practices are involved. There is no doubt that religion,politics and culture all affect each other in different ways, whether for good or for evil. We should be aware of the relationship between the three.

I am not a Yes woman, anti-black,political silencing

After a recent experience of being removed from a Facebook group,which shall remain nameless. The whole experience has me thinking about the First Amendment, black women and how their views are received in public spaces ,as well as white spaces.

Thinking back, when i joined a certain Christian group, and began to run into religious conservatives who took issue with my pro-black stances and BLM supportive posts, I knew I was in for trouble. As an individual who doesnt believe in political correctness, but blunt truthful communication, my postings and responses to other posts,which I found questionable or disrespectful, was not well received, as you can imagine. Specific white individuals/conservatives in the group began to show open hostility, to which I was much obliged to clapback and respond in kind. These individuals would then complain to administrators of said group, and then I would get a private DM. They were “offended” by the fact that I responded to their “offensive” dialogue. I get warned by an admin and labeled as someone who is not obeying the group guidelines regarding conflict; when in actuality I never started a conflict, but responded to an individual who I found to be either disrespectful or incorrect in an ideology. This continued for a period of time. Then eventually I was punished ,by taking away my ability to comment for 7 days. The conservatives in the group however were allowed to curse, make off color comments about women and slavery, and talk trash about Non-Republicans by calling them leftists, marxists, etc etc. The imbalance with which the non-conservatives were treated was glaring. It was sickening and disgusting to me,but I kept my cool.

In groups, there seems to be favoritism among what I call Yes men/Yes women. As long as an individual jumps on the political,religious bandwagon, and espouses a groupthink idea they are coddled and appeased by their supporters. The moment that an individual decides to engage in free thought,an unpopular,unique or controversial idea,then they become enemy number one. A scapegoat and a target for those who hold the majority viewpoint. Outspoken Black women have to deal with openly hostile aggression from men, who think they shouldnt be so outspoken. Negative dialogue from conservatives who can’t handle their views being challenged, are allowed to practice intolerance, by demonizing those that don’t agree. The admins tend to protect individuals like these.This is a pattern that I’ve experienced, especially in facebook groups, where there are a majority of white members, or conservative minded admins ;who tend to protect the speech of white and conservative members of groups; while policing and silencing the posts and speech of non-conservative members in the same group.

The admins look the other way when racist,disrespectful things are posted by their favorites and god forbid you try to confront it,your labeled as being “divisive”.You have to be the one to watch what you say or how you say it,why is that because I’m black and I’m a woman? One should not be bullied for telling the truth. Why should my speech be policed,while everyone else gets to have complete freedom of speech and post what they want? I guess,in some cases, only the conservatives or the white male members of the group can use strong,derogatory language and dialogue towards minorities. A black woman is not allowed to raise her voice in defense,or post her strong critical stances because she is seen as a threat and her views are not taken seriously. Especially if what she has to say ,challenges an incorrect ideology or isn’t what yes men or yes women in a group want to hear. I will not be a groupthink puppet for conditional acceptance. I am not a Yes woman,but a free thinking human being.

People seem more concerned with how people say things,or who says it, instead of whether or not a Truth is being spoken. Whats more important telling people the Truth or whether or not they get offended by it? Truth is the more important virtue for people that claim to be Christians. Silencing should not be practiced on a woman just because she is black and says a blunt Truth. She should be able to speak freely without backlash or people snitching to admins ;everytime they get in their feelings. Its just another way to try to suppress the voice of a black woman.

As a black woman,I say: I am a Voice in this world. God gave it to me and I will not allow any individual to try to silence me, because they believe Black women should stay in their place. Don’t try to tell me in what tone I should speak/post ,what words to use,or what subjects to speak on or refrain from. I have the same freedoms as men,whites,and conservatives to speak my piece.I should be given the same opportunity to be heard. Don’t try to police my speech with your prejudices. Many have tried and failed. I will always speak my truth, Point blank.Period!

Intersectionality,CRT and the bible

As a Christian, I’ve heard many incorrect statements from other believers. Some Christians demonize secular viewpoints/philosophical ideas, but are unaware that some views, actually have their roots and sources from the Bible. The two I’m going to discuss are Critical Race Theory (CRT), and Intersectionality. I’ll start with short definitions. Critical Race Theory is a term used by Kimberle Crenshaw,Derrick Bell,Richard Delgado in the 1980s, legal scholars. It was the idea that white supremacy and racism were elements of American society, that would affect institutions, government, and etc. The idea that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist, and people of color suffer as a result, while white individuals reap the benefits. Transforming and making certain changes could lead to racial emancipation and greater freedoms. Some elements of this idea have their influences from feminism,post-modernism, and Marxism; which explains why many white evangelicals and conservatives treat this subject with hostility. They almost always associate Marxism with communism, and become defensive; when discussing the history of many of their racist ancestors who are directly responsible for the inequalities/contemporary state of society. No self respecting white individual wants to think of themself or ancestors as racist, but American history illustrates that many were and it caused permanent damage to society. It makes sense that many don’t want to accept this terminology of CRT because it makes them feel guilty and forces them to reckon with the past. Intersectionality is simply the idea that a person’s social, political identity combine to create different modes of discrimination and privilege. These categories (gender,race,class,sexuality,disability,immigration status, appearance etc) have an interconnected nature, which can lead to interdependent systems of disadvantage and discrimination.

In the CRT philosophy is the idea that the American legal system(laws), government, and institutions are inherently racist. Historically this truth has been illustrated thru different events, policies, etc. The first statute in the naturalization laws restricted citizenship to white people only. The Naturalization Act of 1790 stated, any alien being a free white person, who had been in the US for two years could gain citizenship. This historical statute omitted indentured servants, non-whites,slaves and women, that is the textbook illustration of discriminatory behavior and racial partiality. Many years later that statute was repealed and changed, but we cannot ignore the fact, it existed in American history. The fact that there were laws that codified racism or racist behavior, illustrates the inherent racism referred to in CRT thought. Jim Crow laws 1876-1965 , the Indian Termination Policy, the Chinese Exclusion Act 1882, the Greaser Act of 1885, as well as many others existed. The laws targeted minorities and allowed for discrimination against them. This led to partiality aka white privilege being codified into law. It set the tone for an unfair imbalance of preferential treatment to whites and unfair mistreatment to blacks and other minorities. The bible preaches against this type of behavior in the books of James and Hosea and the verse in Isaiah 10:1-3. The result of these racist laws; many of which eventually were changed ;led to segregation and unequal treatment of marginalized groups in contemporary times. The way that many laws are applied are by precedents and ideas, which came from these past laws. Like the fruit of the poisonous tree, the functioning of the law is now biased and tainted because it came from racism or was influenced by racist philosophies. The idea of dismantling a system which is based on sinful or poisonous thoughts is not wrong, but biblical justice. Similar to what Old Testament kings did in 2 Kings 18:4-8 and 2 Kings 23:4-8. They recognized the evils, wrongdoing in their society and took action to correct it. How is this idea of making changes and reconstructing an order of society only justified in “religion” or “religious communities” , but not in government, which has the power to make policies that affect people’s lives for good or for ill. CRT thought expresses that same thought process towards restructuring society for equity and equal treatment for all groups of people, and a balance of power. Why would that be wrong? Only the privileged who have something to lose would oppose it. They wouldn’t want their benefits stopped, which comes from partiality, which they preach against in Christian circles, but tolerate in governmental processes. Some would call that hypocrisy.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers once remarked, “Why increase the sons of Africa by planting them in America, where we have so fair an opportunity by excluding all blacks and tawnys, of increasing the lovely white and red”. This racist commentary was found at the end of an essay titled, (Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, 1751). Half of the 8 Founding Fathers owned slaves, and at least two of them fathered children with slave women, and history is currently being uncovered that George Washington may have also fathered a child with a slave. Thomas Jefferson slept with Sally Hemmings(slave), when she was a teenager. She supposedly gave birth when she was 16. That means not only was Thomas Jefferson a slave holder, but a pedophile. These type of men are who many celebrate as important figures in history, but they were racists, rapists and oppressors. Talking about the freedoms of men, while practicing slavery and treating human beings(in this case black human beings) as inferior or less then human. Why is the idea of Manifest Destiny praised and tolerated, while resistance movements(riots) of marginalized and oppressed people fighting for equal access to freedoms and equal treatment demonized? When the bible specifically states we are not to practice or tolerate partiality. We are supposed to resist evil according to James 4:7. In Ephesians 4:27, we aren’t supposed to give the devil an opportunity. So why tolerate evil behavior which some would say, comes from the devil, in government and societal systems? Why let an evil principality, like systematic racism continue to be the status quo in our society (1 John 5:19)?Did Jesus allow Pharisees to keep stealing from widows or did he confront the behavior? He confronted them and denounced the behaviors. CRT is a framework to confront the evil behavior and patterns of partiality in our government with regards to racism. It is a tool to help one understand how the system was set up, its racist foundations and how to change it by restructuring it and redistribution of power, to equalize opportunities. When one finds a reason to not support equal access to opportunity for all races of people; including non-whites; that individual’s ideologies are suspect. If anything can be criticized it would be methodology. I’ve heard many white evangelicals say its unlawful to riot, loot, destroy property; but their ancestors did those very same actions , when acquiring lands in this country. The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, and the Indian Removal Act, which led to the Cherokee “Trail of Tears”. I guess riots and mobs are only ok, when white individuals engage in it or their interests are threatened(Partiality in methodology). Is that unequal criticism correct?Does an oppressor really have the right to criticize the method; in which oppressed individuals fight for their freedom, or tell them how to resist; while the oppressors themselves are practicing evil and injustices towards those very same people. Some Christians and conservative minded people have a serious problem, making excuses for letting partiality continue in society. They will bash solutions created by secular organizations or institutions , but not create any tangible solutions for change. Religion, Theology, and God’s Word is not meant to be an escape route to hide behind; nor are they justifications for inaction concerning interests of social justice and correcting oppression. We are supposed to be taking action against what we know is wrong (James 4:17).

Too many have tried to dismiss these ideas, without doing the difficult work of researching and analyzing them. The research I’ve done on the subject points to ideas and examples that are in the Holy Bible already, but of course they aren’t called by the contemporary names we gave them: CRT and intersectionality. In intersectionality different forms of discrimination overlap, interact; an individual can be subject to multiple types of oppression, and belong to more than one disadvantaged group. CRT deals more with systematic and institutional racism, how governments,lawmakers and institutions practice racism specifically and how it affects the individuals on the receiving end of it (blacks,native americans, hispanics, etc); how it can be remedied.

In the New Testament book of James 2:1-10, the bible talks about a sin called Partiality. Partiality is a synonym for “privilege” or “favoritism”. Its a portion of scripture which is telling believers specifically to not engage in it. The type of people the writer is admonishing others not to discriminate against was the poor. To apply this to modern times, One can draw a parallel to the disadvantaged and poor of today, which in our society tend to be black, native americans and other minorities (immigrants/aliens).These groups sometimes struggle with poverty, due to the government’s partiality towards white citizens. White citizens tend to have easier access to jobs,housing, wealth, land and property, historically and contemporarily. Affirmative action, civil rights laws, and anti-discrimination policies had to be put into place just to ensure that the government wouldn’t consistently practice racism towards certain groups of people. There was great resistance to these changes being made and laws being passed. Some modern institutions have still found ways to practice discrimination. In Micah 6:10-13, Proverbs 20:23, Proverbs 16:11 the bible speaks out against unequal scales and mentions the rich men being full of violence. One can draw a direct parallel to how marginalized groups have been treated by governments and those in power, which was unequally and at times with brutality.

In Deuteronomy 1:16-19, Job 34:19, Galatians 3:28, these portions of Scripture deal directly with the subjects of aliens, princes, the rich , and different ethnic backgrounds (race). In each of the scriptures mentioned there is the same admonishment/idea not to show partiality/favoritism to the rich; and not to discriminate against aliens(foreigners,immigrants) or individuals of different races or classes. To me the CRT and the biblical admonishments to not discriminate against certain marginalized groups of people are not that far apart. Just the fact, that the bible mentioned these things is evidence that discrimination, racism existed in ancient societies during the bible times. The same ideas are reiterated throughout scripture more than once.

Women during bible times were treated as second class citizens, were dependent upon a father/husband, considered property in terms of marriage. The concept of the bride price or dowry can attest to that,as well as laws that dealt with war bride rules,and marrying rapists. They also were not allowed to read Scriptures publicly (remain silent). Lepers,the blind and the lame(disabled) were often outcasts of biblical society. Leviticus 21:8 gives us an idea of this fact. The disabled were seen as unclean, and were often not allowed to enter or serve in the Temple. Lepers had to wear a bell and yell out “Unclean”, if someone got too close in public. They often lived in tents outside the city or in the wilderness. They were shunned and separated from others in society. Some of this treatment are examples of what we would call discrimination. When this type of mistreatment or the oppression of these individuals are directly confronted, why are people more concerned about terminologies (CRT,Intersectionality) and what they are called, instead of the fact its elements are actually happening. Some can get so caught up in semantics, instead of the meaning.Why would the bible specifically mention oppression, if oppressed peoples or groups that suffer from oppression,did not exist?Many SBC leaders and individuals like Voddie would have us believe that ,we should not label groups as oppressed, but the bible does so in Proverbs 31:9. To me that looks like a straight denial of what the bible says exists .

Almost every marginalized group mentioned in intersectionality definitions are mentioned in the bible, as well as admonishments to refrain from mistreatment or unequal treatment; except for the sexuality category. Gender, class, race, disability, immigration status, the demon possessed are all listed as categories of people who suffered discrimination, research attested to this. The bible would not address the subjects of partiality, fairness, and equality if were not so. The woman at the well in John 4 is the perfect example of intersectionality illustrated. Jesus was thirsty and He saw a woman at the well and asked her for a drink of water. The woman spoke to Christ and wondered why He even spoke to her. In biblical society, it wasn’t proper to be alone with or speaking to a woman who wasn’t your wife or child. Many rabbis taught men back then, not to converse with a woman in public, strike one. Her first issue was that she was a woman, her gender was an issue. The second issue was that she wasn’t a Jew, she was a Samaritan. Her race, ethnic background was a reason that He should not have been even associating with her. Issue three was her religious status, the woman had had 5 husbands and was living with her boyfriend. In the eyes of the religious leaders, that would have made her unclean because of Jewish ceremonial law. Yet Jesus crossed the racial, gender and religious barrier to talk with her and offered her the message of salvation. The woman is an example of intersectionality. She was a part of at least three disadvantaged groups which would often undergo discrimination and unequal treatment in biblical society (women, Samaritans, and members of non-Jewish religions). The examples and ideas for Intersectionality and elements from CRT are very much alive in the bible, even if the terms themselves aren’t listed directly.

Hosea 12:6-7, Jeremiah 5:1 speaks about the idea of finding someone who does Justice and associates it with returning to God. That is something lacking in the modern day church; especially among conservatives and certain white evangelicals who are anti-CRT, or claim intersectionality is unbiblical, which is incorrect. They are more concerned with opposing the idea then acknowledging the truths that come from the ideas and doing something to remedy the issues of racism and inequality. There should be less talk,opposition, arguments and more Action; to stop discrimination of marginalized groups and unfair treatment of the oppressed, from actually happening.

Questions of faith

Lord, i have so many questions. The eyes of my understanding are opening more and more,and I find myself questioning my religious beliefs, the Bible, and my previous political affiliations. I used to be a hardcore Democrat and now I find myself leaning more towards the Independent political ideology. I’ve seen how religious dogma and hollow meaning of religious traditions can ruin the integrity and reputation of the actual religion.

If I’m honest, I consider myself even more “woke” (socially aware) then I was before about the religion I’m a part of, and the dark history of those who misused it to oppress, segregate, abuse and deny my ancestors their human rights. Those individuals being White evangelicals. Learning about how white churches in history were so racist and unwelcoming of black people, that they wouldn’t even allow them in their churches and sometimes ran them out; so they had to build and start their own churches. To this day, many churches are segregated by race still in many parts of the country, except for a few multiethnic churches springing up in a few cities.

When I was growing up, I attended Catholic private school and I would see crucifixes everywhere. When the nuns or teachers taught us religious material about saints and Christ, all I would see is pictures of a European looking Savior. I grew up with those images in my head, until I began to research and found out, that Jesus was most likely a Jew of color because of the region He came from. Judean Jews were speculated to have olive colored skin, possibly brownish skin, brown or black hair and dark brown eyes. That’s a lot different from the images I saw growing up, in the catholic art etched on church walls or in the religious textbooks we read. I learned another dark truth about certain Roman/European converts in positions of power being anti-Semitic. As a result of their white supremacist and racist beliefs they purposely created the image of a European looking Christ, because some of them hated Jews and the thought of worshipping a Jewish Messiah, did not sit well with some of them. Finding out that an image of the Messiah I hold sacred, was presented to me, to subconciously try to support white supremacy fills me with anger.

I’ve had discussions debates with White Christians, Trump supporting Christians and conservative Christians giving me excuses to support a racist, divisive, narcissistic, xenophobic, pussy grabbing, lying president and minimizing his questionable unethical behavior. Trying to use religion and bible scriptures to try to give justifications for wrongdoing and continuance in not doing anything about injustice and racism towards minorities and the marginalized groups in society. This type of BS reminds me of the time when slave masters tried to use the bible to justify slavery. Observing individuals that find the pursuit of money, ambition or keeping the status quo of political policies are more important , than how you treat your fellow man. If one can make excuses for denying other individuals human or civil rights under oppressive pretenses; or find a reason to support behaviors that are destructive to vulnerable individuals, then one’s religion must mean nothing. Seeing this type of dynamic not only pisses me off, but makes me question religion and what it truly means. Religion is supposed to be a personal sacred expression of an individual’s faith. Its disgusting when people try to use religion for evil gains or as a front to cover up immoral behavior.

The Messiah is who He is. I don’t care about what race He is, necessarily. Its more important to me to worship Jesus for who He truly is and not be worshipping a misrepresentation of who He is. When I see how many people are involved in the expression of their religion (Christianity in this instance) in a hollow, incorrect way; it causes frustration and a questioning within me. What are people really doing this for? I had a discussion with my kids about false teachers last week. We saw clip after clip of people in pastoral or church clergy positions behaving crazy and involved in illegal stuff. Two of these clips included a pastor who was sexually abusing male young men in his congregation and another pastor who basically body slammed a 68 year old woman into a wall.

I understand no religion is perfect, especially with imperfect individuals that are involved in it; however the amount of incidents that keep occurring makes me question things. My conscience is wide awake and my mind is constantly mulling over these thoughts. I would think if individuals hold their beliefs to be sacred, then the actions and expressions of what they claim to believe would be genuine. These are just some of the reasons I have questions of faith.

Life as a Haunted House

The world we live in can be like a Haunted House. A haunted house is a dwelling, which contains elements of torment, horror, mischief, murder, and sometimes comedy within it. The circumstances of the lives of people can bring about emotions that have to do with: horror, fear, torment, and terror. Some unfortunately experience the loss of a loved one, child, friend due to murder, domestic violence or homicide. Some people have so much torment from the traumas, pains sustained in their lives they take drugs, get involved in addictions, or commit suicide; due to hopelessness. Mischief and trouble are also a part of life. The bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward”.

In a haunted house, there are many things .You might find mazes or a labyrinth. This life can also be like a maze in that there are many choices, paths, and directions one may take. You can also get lost. People lose themselves, their direction, or their souls depending on what paths and choices were made. The Christian faith walk can be similar to a labyrinth(unicursal).There is only one path to the center. The scripture John 14:6 says, “Jesus said , I am the way, the truth and life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” Christ is the only way to God, the only way to the center(destination). We should seek to be on that path that leads straight to Christ.

However, life and circumstances can take unexpected turns. This can lead to the betterment of one’s life or a descent into madness, despair or insanity. In a haunted house you may find characters like: serial killers, witches, vampires, warlocks, zombies, monsters, psychopaths, jesters or clowns. We find people who fit these categories, throughout society. Many of these individuals, with the exception of clowns, wreak havoc, cause fear, terror, torment, or hurt and pain in the lives of others around them. Some witches and warlocks cast spells to manipulate events, serial killers murder and spill innocent blood, vampires/leeches suck your time and emotions from you, zombies walk around in their ignorance and a catatonic mental state menacing/intimidating other people. Psychopaths bully and destroy property and other people, screwing with their minds and using violence to harm others. The clowns , with the exception of the diabolic ones (similar to the one in the movie IT) are the only ones who make us laugh and try to bring some type of positive human emotion, like humor ,into our lives.

In the haunted house, one may also find a mirror of illusion. The mirror may distort your appearance when you look into it. It may make you look tall if you are short, or short if you are tall. It may make you look skinny, if you are plump, and plump, if you are skinny. Your head may look misshapened and your eyes may bulge out , in the mirror. There are many individuals in life that have a distorted view of themselves and their lives. They make changes to their bodies with surgeries, artificial accessories, artificial hormone treatments, or present a persona to the world based on deception or a distorted view of their true selves.

Next, we then come to the room filled with porcelain dolls and spooky old antiques. The porcelain dolls are like polished idols. People have these prized trophies and objects that they worship. They treat these objects with delicate care, and sometimes treat the objects better than they treat the people in their lives, God included. The spooky old antiques are relics, snapshots and souvenirs of the past. Reminding people of the memories and times of yesterday or yesteryear.

The ghostly hauntings within the haunted house are consequences of past occurrences, daydreams. Dreams of deceased loved ones happen every now and then. The terrorizing by demonic forces of some people is a stark reminder of the reality and existence of the supernatural. There is forces of good and forces of evil, there are angels and then there are fallen angels. These occurrences make us question science, nature and the very logic we hold dear. It can cause someone to go crazy and lose their minds. The gory images that bombard us daily, reported by mainstream media lead to depression. Seeing police shootings and murders of black people by police and etc, mugshots of criminals who committed horrible crimes, photographs of war, violence and suffering around the world, its no wonder why people are sinking into hopelessness. The skeletons contained in the haunted house of secrets contribute to the dysfunction of the structure and foundations of the property. Its difficult to find life in a residence filled with dead men and women’s bones. Blood and dirt stains the ground, telling the story of past murder scenes, assaults, shootings, stabbings and filth. All contained in the haunted house, also existing in the haunted house of life.

Republican Platforms and White Nationalism

Doing research on the two main political parties in this country, proved to be interesting and informative. I consider myself independent and liberal, though I used to be a Democrat. I’m realizing that I don’t fit neatly into any political party, considering that I’m a Christian and a free thinker, I think that’s a good thing. No party can be one hundred percent trustworthy, and both have their issues, flaws, and their are things I disagree with. Both parties were actually linked to the KKK. The Klan at one time was largely made up of Southern Democrats who hated Republicans, for their anti-slavery stance and etc. Then the Klan went through an ideological shift (1960’s), where they changed their support to the Republican Party. The overwhelming majority of Republicans are white and push for white nationalist interests, whether they know it or not.

While researching I came across the Klan Constitution. In this document, the Klan spoke about protecting and defending the Constitution. It also spoke of new members being in favor of the white man’s government, being opposed to negro equality (social/political); lastly being in favor of the enfranchisement and emancipation of the white men of the south; as well as restitution of rights both civil, political and to property. It was the ideology of the Klan, that the Republic was established by white men, for white men alone, so it should not fall into the hands of an inferior and degraded race. They also supported violence to support white rule, as self defense. You can see the similarity in Republican circles that love to talk about blue lives matter, they justify the brutality and violence of the police against people of color. Those in court positions and juries with Republican ideologies acquit the police officers that kill unarmed blacks and minorities and always claim self defense, that has its foundations in white supremacist organizations like the KKK.

Every time, I hear a Republican give me excuses about why they support a racist, narcissistic, incompetent leader like Trump, I inwardly cringe inside, like someone who just watched a gory scene from a horror film. Willful ignorance and willful blindness is the flavor of the day , I guess with these types of supporters. Emotionalism clouds the very judgement of their reasoning, and I find myself wishing that they would remove their heads from their asses. Trump is not Jesus Christ or some type of white savior, who will save this country, so people need to stop worshipping him, like he’s the golden calf. Idolatry is a sin, and no one should be putting man before God; or trading morals and ethics for political views. I saw a poster, posted online which read: Some Burn Crosses, While others Hide behind them. Using religion as a cover or justification for godless, wicked behavior has its roots in European colonization, from the days of slavery. The days where the slaves were handed a Slave bible with portions. of the bible missing on purpose, so they wouldn’t get any ideas about resistance or being free from oppression. The days where colonizers would rape, beat their slaves; attend lynching’s as a spectator sport, sexually abuse children and then go to church on Sundays, like nothing happened. Religion and Christianity is used by some racists, as a hiding tool for evil. I see the duplicity and hypocrisy and it sickens me and fills me with rage. Angry for the evils being perpetuated, angry for what was done to some of my ancestors, angry that people continue their charade of religion and continue on in their sins ,of dehumanization of minorities.

Most Republicans do not evaluate what they are truly supporting and what they believe, or where its roots came from. In 1915, William Simmons (ex-minister) created a new Ku Klux Klan dedicated to 100 % Americanism & white Protestantism. The new Klan was reinvented as a new organization, stripped of vigilantism and dressed up in Christian virtue and patriotic pride. It was to be the savior of a nation in danger, the way to reestablish the cultural dominance of white people. The enfranchisement of the African American community and immigration, threatened this dominance, which meant America was no longer great. H.W. Evans, 1st Imperial Wizard of the Klan, wanted to restore the U.S, to its former glory. The Klan spoke a message of Christianity, white supremacy, and hypernationalism. They found an audience. These concepts sound very if not completely similar to the political rhetoric of Donald Trump (Make America Great Again), white militias, and white evangelical Christians and conservatives of today. They often try to use their Christianity (Protestant values) to justify political views, but historically those views are founded in racism and white supremacy. Religion should not be misused in that manner, should not be used to manipulate or espouse white supremacy over non-white citizens.

Xenophobia, fear of immigrants from different religions led to the creation of nativist political parties. Those who were very pro-americanism and anti-foreigner. Look up the Know Nothings of the 1850’s, as well as the Immigration Policy of 1924, with racist rules; prevented Asian immigration until about 1965. Donald Trump supposedly fueled rhetoric that Mexicans were criminals, and that security needed to be beefed up at the border wall. That idea that immigrants bring crime or disorder is nothing new. The lynching of Leo Frank because of Anti-Semitism, and anti-Irish panics of the past illustrate this misplaced idea and harmful stereotype.

The prevalence of white militias (Proud Boys,Good Ol Boys,etc) walking around armed , as well as the crime of Kyle Rittenhouse shooting/killing protestors, also illustrates a nativist and white supremacist mindset. Historically , white vigilantes thought it was their duty to protect towns. With the support of law enforcement, police officers, and laws of the town/state then attacked, stoned, drew guns on, harassed black people and some other minorities ; when they would drive thru or travel through a gray, sundown, or all-white town/vicinity. Does this sound at all familiar? It sounds very familiar. The white militias think its their job to patrol areas, land or places under the guise of safety. However the real reasoning and mindset behind it, is in fact white supremacy. They see minorities and their fight for civil rights as a threat to their white dominance, and will attack, kill anyone who threatens it, even white allies of these minority civil rights movements. I’m beginning to see that there is nothing new under the sun. History repeats itself in different ways.

In the past, the KKK used rhetoric in a way that appealed to white voters. They influenced them to vote for white candidates that favored segregationalist and pro-white policies. They used to intimidate, attack and even lynch black voters , so that their political interests would not count. There were more whites voting, therefore the whites had more power and political sway. This also sounds familiar .The voter suppression tactics, though no longer extremely violent, like in the past, still end up having a similar effect today. The passing of laws to make voting more of an obstacle for minorities, the changing of rules at the last minute, the shutting down of voting polls, and etc are all history repeating itself, in contemporary time.

Dear White people

I am a POC, afro-latina that identifies as black. This reality makes me different from you. Within the past month, i have had the experience of being a part of facebook groups, which ended up having a large amount of white males. In these groups, different topics like BLM matter, police brutality, and politics would often come up. I would see posts with racist comments or prejudiced ideas. The blackness in me could not stay silent. I would respond to these comments. Calling out the racism and prejudice in them. Then proceeded to be gaslighted by white administrators telling me that I’m accusing others or minimizing the racist commentary by the white person who posted it. They would often try to explain away the discriminatory generalization, as something else, but I knew that i knew it was a racist posting.

Dear White people, stop trying to silence black people or minorities, when it comes to them expressing their experiences with racism. We will continue to speak out,no matter how much you try to change the subject or shut us up.

Dear White people, stop denying that there is a serious problem in society, that needs to be confronted. We as people of color don’t have the luxury to belittle the subject of racism, because we are too busy experiencing it from the members of your white community, and some even losing their lives over it.

Dear White people, stop telling us that you are colorblind and don’t see color. Because our skin color and racial makeup is a part of who we are as black people/people of color. If you don’t acknowledge that,your not acknowledging who we truly are. Your telling me you don’t see the blue jeans you put on,or the red lipstick you wear ,but don’t see the color of my face, smh…you’re in denial big time. I’m not buying that.

Dear white people, stop giving us the excuse that if he/she just complied, the police officer would not have shot him/her. George Floyd complied and still died with a white officers knee on his neck. Breonna Taylor was shot, at first she was sleeping in her home with her boyfriend, to be awakened by police,after cops busted into the wrong house, on a suspicion, with incorrect information in a search warrant. Police officers not only can be racists, but also engage in wrong/unlawful behavior and unnecessary brutality towards unarmed citizens.

Dear white people, don’t tell me about how All Lives Matter, when all lives are not treated the same in this country, by white led institutions. Most of your churches are still segregated by race and many of your communities are also segregated from minorities. If Sundown towns still exist in this country, which they do, then that statement is incorrect and a hypocrisy on your part. If you will fight to protect unborn lives in the womb,but not black/ immigrant lives outside of the womb which are in danger, then that hypocrisy is even more pronounced.

Dear white people, it is not divisive to talk about Race and Racism. The race baiting terminology was created to silence minorities. Racism is a real problem with real and serious consequences. Ignoring it and not confronting it, is a coward move. If some of the members of your community have the boldness to call members of my community “niggers” and stereotype us as being some sort of problem; then have enough of that same energy to face the problem and behavior that members of your community engage in. The division between the races was already there before we started discussing it, just ask members of the KKK.

Dear white people, stop using the terms leftist, marxist, and etc without knowing what they actually mean, and wrongly labeling others that don’t kiss Republican asses or agree with the conservative right’s ideologies. This is America and others do have the right to disagree with your political views,especially if they support white supremacy or encourage the oppression of non-white people. We do have a right to challenge your narratives, we are no longer your slaves and you are no longer our colonizer slave masters.

Dear white people, stop denying that white privilege exists. Our government admitted it existed when affirmative action policies had to be put into place, just to be able to create a level playing field in a competition for jobs and schools. Also title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had to be put into effect to keep white employers from discriminating against black workers. Your white skin color, isnt one of the things that makes your life more difficult or a target,like members of my community experience.

Dear white people, imagine someone telling you,you cant wear a certain cultural hairstyle, because it is unprofessional aka doesnt meet the European beauty/approval standard or having to research a place before traveling to or moving there because of the danger/prejudice you might face. Your sons are able to carry guns and even shoot someone,(like Kyle Rittenhouse), but a black teen gets shot down or killed for carrying a toy gun,RIP to Tamir Rice.That type of inequality and unfairness is a part of the black experience daily.

Dear white people, some of your community don’t realize that they are racists and bigots. Let me ask you one more question,”Would you want to be black and experience the same treatment that I just described?” Answer honestly. If the answer is No, then you just admitted that racism and discrimination is a problem. If you try to change things and take action against it,you have my respect. If you, however do nothing but complain, minimize the subject or make excuses for it, then you are a part of the problem, because the status quo needs to be changed.

Dear white people, just like the character Sam stated at the end of her film, she presented in her class, in the actual movie, (Dear White people) “Nevermind”. I expect a whole lot of criticism, denial of my assumptions,and excuses, because thats how white supremacy operates. Dealing directly with a problem, that your community indirectly benefits from, will always be met with defensiveness and resistance. So even if i hope to reach a few anti-racist members of your community. Nevermind. This was a rant and now you have heard my response.

Thoughts on Relationships and attractions

Have you ever been attracted to someone who you knew was bad for you, already in a relationship(forbidden), or in a position that makes it impossible for you to date them? Why is human nature so jaded or dysfunctional that we are attracted to those or what we cannot have? There are times when I have found myself in that dynamic in my life. Temptation is a strong and very real thing and struggle.

Whether it’s a married or taken man offering to give you the best sex of your life? Or you being attracted to a hot teacher in a classroom that is flirting with you and looking at you like he wants to undress you, temptation can be so strong and the struggle is real.

You try to be moral and ethical in your dealings with people. But there are times when the human body or your flesh has a mind of it’s own. There are some delicious, handsome gentlemen out there. It can be quite difficult to not notice and keep my mind pure as the abstinence I practice.

Why are people sometimes attracted to the emotionally unavailable? Men will cheat on their wives with a sidechick without a second thought,putting their marriage and everything they have in jeopardy. Some women will betray a hard working man just to be a sugar daddy’s toy. This is the part that is very difficult to understand.

Is it mental illness? Is it just the sin nature or something else. Why do people desire who they cannot have or what sometimes belongs to someone else.

Anarchy? Goth thoughts..

So I was doing some research and I came across the terms anarchy and Christian anarchy. I also met some who think of themselves as anarchists. I took an interest in the subject. I wanted to understand the meaning behind the symbol on the anarchy t-shirts that I see non-goths as well as goths wearing. The meaning of anarchy: means a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority. An absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal. Anarchism is a political philosophy and movement that rejects all coercive, involuntary forms of hierarchy; as well as calls for the abolition of the state. The state is seen as unnecessary, harmful, and undesirable. The philosophy is seen as left wing and anti-authoritarian. Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin were proponents and supporters of anarchism.

During my research, I also came across the term Christian Anarchy. I was in shock. It sounded like a paradox, but the philosophy actually exists. Christian Anarchism is a movement in political theology that claims anarchism exists in Christianity and the Gospels. The philosophy expresses the belief that there is only one source of authority to which Christians are ultimately answerable. They are under the Reign of God; which is the authority of God embodied in the teachings of Christ. Christian anarchism renounces the state, which they believe is violent, idolatrous, and deceitful. Many Christian anarchists are pacifists that don’t believe in war and reject theĀ  idea that human governments have ultimate authority over human societies. The passages in scripture that they highlight to express their viewpoints are the Sermon on the Mount (teachings in Matthew 5,6,7), Judges 21:25, and 1 Samuel:8. The Judges verse literally states,” In those days the Israelites did not have a king. Everyone did what he thought was right”. The teaching in 1 Samuel was a warning to the Israelites that rejected God as their king and wanted a human king instead. Samuel warned that having a human king would lead to taxation, conscription and militarism, and if the king’s demands were not met, he wouldn’t show mercy. Kevin Craig, Alexandre Christoyannopoulos, and Leo Tolstoy were supporters of Christian anarchism.

When I contrast some of the gothic community’s characteristics with the ideology of anarchy, I can draw some parallels and I see some similarities. Many goths are non-conformists to the social norms of society. The way we dress, to our views, and our lifestyles are sometimes perceived as rebellion to social hierarchies set up by the state. Some goths are anti-authoritarian and anarchists, while others are not. The music goths listen to, some of it is rebellion music, expressing anger at the system (state)

Fighting Demons, Spiritual Warfare

As a Christian goth, I am aware of the spiritual things of life. In the goth community some people are into witchcraft, Wicca, the occult, sorcery,casting spells and etc. Some are very aware of the supernatural and dabble in things they probably shouldn’t. Since I don’t involve myself in the occult because of my Christian beliefs, my view of spiritual things,the supernatural and how involved I should be differs in contrast to other goths. In the past, I dabbled in occultic things,because of curiosity,but renounced it when I became born again.

I have read the bible and my belief is more in line with what is mentioned there. The bible describes demons,evil spirits,principalities, thrones,dominions and spiritual wickedness in high places. I believe those things exist and have seen them at work in people and in society. There are times I have walked in neighborhoods ,where you actually feel the spiritual energy/vibes in the air. The feeling of desolation, apathy, violence, etc. I wondered sometimes if these places were cursed or if demonic principalities ruled over the neighborhood.

There’s times I’ve even wondered, if I was wrestling with or fighting demons. I know that Jesus saved me ,when He died on the cross for my sins,but there is a nature in me that fights against God, sometimes. The bible calls it the flesh. I’ve been thru two three deliverance sessions, in my whole life, and each one completely scared,frightened , and freaked me out. Your praying and all of a sudden you can’t control yourself, you begin shouting,screaming, or throwing objects across the room. But it doesnt feel like its really you doing it, it’s like some other force is pressuring you to do it. Could I have had a demon? Or was a demon tormenting me or attacking me?

I am a person that is non-politically correct, I prefer blunt truth, to tell others the real deal, like it is. Because of this ,this often brings out ugly and demonic behavior in others. It’s like people would prefer to live a lie and in their illusions, then Reality itself. This behavior by others; whether its indifference,dismissal, insults, argument, or a complete denial causes something within me to lash out at them. When others disrespect me or slander me, I end up repaying the favor and then some. I defend myself pretty well, because I come from an abusive background and have plenty of practice having defend myself,my thoughts,,my character,my views and who I am. But there are moments where I can be nasty , due to my temper. And after the conflict or exchange I feel gratified, but later my conscience bothers me and I begin to feel bad about the situation. It’s like an inner struggle. There are times I’d rather live in isolation like a monk, to be away from the drama,complications,and ugly behavior that comes from other people. Other times I want to be an anarchist rebel or a misanthrope because I get tired of other people’s bullshit and ways. There have been moments in my life where, I even got weary of my own flaws or wrongdoing and wondered if the world would be better off without me.

This tension within me sometimes can be like an inner torment and causes me to wonder if I’m fighting demons. I dont want to label everything a demon spirit, when there is a difference between a mental struggle and a demon spirit or devil. But I do wonder about the supernatural, I do wonder about angels, archangels,Nephilim, demons and other spirits.

The existence of the demonic spirits ,which I have never seen, causing so much trouble, grief,and havoc in people’s lives and sometimes my life, at times thru the actions of demon possessed or demon influenced people. I’ve been thru violations of my body,my spirit, my emotions and my soul by others. I’m trying to heal and to build a life of normalcy and stability, but the struggles I face within me,sometimes hinder that.