Posts Tagged With: freedom

OUR President

I had to post this because I almost forgot what a REAL President and First Lady look like….

The photo to the left is a post I recently saw on facebook!  I shot off this post on facebook as my status, “I saw a post earlier today that was a photo of FORMER President George W. and Laura Bush with a caption that read, “I had to post this because I almost forgot what a REAL President and First Lady look like….”! How DISRESPECTFUL! I am sorry America… but PRESIDENT Barack Obama and FIRST LADY Michelle Obama are REAL and he is PRESIDENT! Even if you do not agree with their divisive politics that help the poor have insurance and teach children about nutrition and exercise… at least have respect that they ARE the PRESIDENT and First Lady of the United States of America!! Even when the person you did not vote for wins….he (or she) is still winner and comments like above just show you are a SORE LOSER!”  

I was ashamed and embarrassed for the person that posted it for so freely being disrespectful to OUR current President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama!  True, not all Americans love the current President and some may even miss FORMER President George W. and Laura Bush.  But for someone to infer that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are not REAL and deserving of our respect is a VERY SAD commentary of discourse in America.  To disagree with the politics of the President is completely normal if you have differing views, but the growing acceptance to disrespect the office of President is alarming to me.

I did not want to mention it in the very first paragraph, but now I am one sentence into my third paragraph I will say it – I think it may, in part, be because he is black!  But now I said it I will not dwell on it, but it does deserve mentioning.  I find ANY white woman pointing in the face of a black man to appear racist to me.  To see a sitting governor do it to a sitting President!  WOW!  I am not so naive as to think Obama is the first President to be disrespected, but to mention race one more time…. as a society, maybe this is a good place to start toning down the hatred, rhetoric, hyperbole – even if it is so we do not appear to be racist.  Political discourse will ALWAYS be a part of politics, but it is possible to disagree without being so blatantly RUDE!  

The following is a reply I recieved about my post, “We’ll just have to ‘Agree to Disagree’ on your post. Obama is NOT my president, and Michele will never be my ‘First Lady’. Disrespectful or not, what is disrespectful, in my opinion, is how fast Obama’s administration has managed to degrade and destroy what has taken millions of working-class families decades to accumulate. Perpetuating the ‘handout mentality’ of low and poverty-level Americans is like ‘keeping them in chains’, they might as well call it ‘Slavery’.”  All I could say to myself was WHAT THE FUCK?  I want to respect her opinion, but I am at a complete loss to know what she THINKS Obama has done?  It is rhetoric that has NO fact to support it!

Yes… we (she and I) DO have to agree to disagree! I in NO way have seen him perpetuate ANY such policy – namely because Congress has done NOTHING to support ANY of his polices since ObamaCare.  Even ObamaCare is not so much about entitlement for the poor (the poor already had Medicaid) but for people like me with pre-existing conditions like Multiple Sclerosis! I had no health insurance for 2

Our President is ALSO a loving husband and father!

years and so YES, I supported ObamaCare… because now I have insurance and I am getting treatment again. But I feel conservatives only see he is a Democrat and does not understand that ObamaCare was built on Republican Bob Dole’s health plan that was the basis for Romney as a Republican Governor to also use.  Even in an effort to gain bipartisan support, they tried to demonize the program that in Romney’s own suggested alternative (as Presidential candidate) to his own plan established in Massachusetts wants to keep the KEY provisions of ObamaCare! They FIGHT it just because it is a Democrat’s plan.  But even as a Democrat… I never said or acted as if Bush were not MY President, because at the end of the day we are all still Americans and that even includes President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama!  As all past Presidents, I feel they have represented America with ALL the best intentions that what they did (do) was (is) good for our country!  I feel both the President and First Lady have represented America very well, with grace, poise and  dignity – they are a GREAT First Family!

Repeating LIES does not = Truth!

I have a disdain for A LOT of the Tea Party’s divisive politics and how they feel cooperation and compromise are an evil part of politics.  Even

Hyperbole is BAD for the Nation and BAD for your soul!!

as a CHILD I was taught to share and play nice with others!  A concept that escapes most Tea Party idealist.  The Tea Partiers seem to ALWAYS go back to our “Christian” fore-fathers as their point of reference.  They want to legislate their Christian beliefs in a nation founded on Christianity – NOT FREEDOM!  The founders of our nation left England because the KING was basically “legislating” his idea of Christian beliefs .  The founders intentionally left religion out of our constitution because they knew religion and government were separate entities.  As a gay man in America, I am astonished at the idea that Christians (not all… but A LOT) in some way feel that if I am given equal rights and benefits of marriage, it in some way  effects their marriage.  They feel they have a responsibility to remove freedom in our nation and enact laws based on their beliefs.

MY Presidents!

Bush was MY President, Obama is MY president and even if Romney wins he will be MY President, because I am proud to be an AMERICAN more so than a Democrat (or even a Republican as I was most of my life)! People need to unite, love, support and encourage each other – not say things like Obama is NOT MY President… unless you have left the USA and surrendered  your Passport & citizenship- He is YOUR President…. just maybe not who you voted for! 

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Categories: Political | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The North Pike Pharisees

Why do so many Christians feel they are entitled to have prayer at public school functions? Don’t they have church and even Christian schools for those that find that important? Why do so many Christians STAND UP with outrage on an issue like being told to stop praying at ballgames, but so few Christians stand up for the poor, the hungry, the ones needing health care or for the civil liberties of others? Why can’t Christians understand that freedom of religion in the United States also means freedom FROM religion?  Most churches offer Sunday School, youth programs, worship, and some even offer mission opportunities for school aged children, teenagers and young adults.  Church provides a place to learn and exercise one’s religious beliefs and practices – not public schools – well not public school football games (or any school functions for that matter)!

North Pike Schools is one of the latest schools to be told by threat of lawsuits to stop praying at school functions. I graduated from North Pike Schools where I attended all 12 years of my compulsory education. On September 23, 2011, the North Pike School Board received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation reminding them of current laws regarding prayer at school functions. This of course has enraged the local Christian community. So many Christians forget all opportunities where they can exercise their religion, but tell them there is something they can’t do…. then they become livid!

Superintendent of North Pike Schools, Dr. Ben Cox handled the situation administratively saying, “North Pike will suspend prayer at sporting events and other functions. The school board doesn’t agree. Students, patrons and parents will still have the individual right to prayer.” (1) This would have been the best place to stop, but he went on to say, “It’s not a violation of federal law to have prayer at an event as long as the school does not initiate it. We encourage our patrons to express that right of religious freedom.” (1) This is how I translate the last part: it is not a violation of federal law to push the issue by trying to find a little loophole to bypass the law and have students and parents pray anyway. So I hope students at North Pike read this as I remind them it is not a violation of federal law to try to find loopholes in the school’s handbook, guidelines, or rules.  I encourage the students to exercise their rights to dress and behave how they want at school, and I challenge them to express this right.  When your parents say be home at 11:00pm for curfew, come home, then go right back out because they only said be home at 11:00pm; they did not say you cannot go back out. This is what Dr. Cox is suggesting; just find a way to justify doing what you want regardless of the law or rules.  Let us teach our students instead of following the rules and/or laws, let us just find a way around it.(2)

Christians’ arrogance is one of the main reasons I no longer self-identify as a “Christian”.  I do not see many that act Christ-like, but this fact does not make me less a follower of Christ to say – this is not what Jesus would do.  The Bible has often been used as a weapon against me because I understand its purpose differently, so let me turn the tables and use their “source” of how to behave against them.  Matthew 6: 5-6 says, ““And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  Now, I also know the Bible also has passages that support praying out loud.  So, like with most issues, we can all misuse and interpret the Bible to support just about any of our opinions.  But I also know the Pharisees (Luke 18:9-14) were not looked upon fondly by Christ as they patted themselves on the back for how holy they were.  I am sad to say, I see Pharisees in this issue and some will say they see the Devil in me. I feel God inspires me to stand up when I see injustice done in the name of religion or even freedom of religion; but other than God on my side, I also have the law on my side!

If more Christians stood up for “causes” other than those that only affect them, I would have more respect for their outrage.  Where is their outrage for how the poor are treated in the U.S., where is their outrage for how healthcare coverage is not available for all, where is their outrage for how Wall Street wrecked our economy with no executives being arrested – only given bonuses, where is their outrage for working Americans losing their homes in foreclosure?

Pastors and Christian leaders may ask themselves, why is the number of Americans identifying as “non-religious” growing? (3)   May I suggest behavior like this affects their Christian witness!  Maybe fighting to keep prayer in schools, this behavior makes fewer people see Christ and only see people that are unjustly angry?  Many Christians have forgotten to minister to people and only unite for self-serving purposes!  And before arguing that people identifying as non religious is growing because prayer is being taken from school, look at it as people have seen these same Christians fighting to keep prayer in schools while NOT seeing them stand up for the poor, hungry, sick or lonely.  They have seen them persecute, name call, and justify hatred while bullying groups of people in the name of God!  But I can speak for myself: I identify as non-religious, but I do still believe in a God, the principles of Christ’s teaching; however religion has done more harm to my faith than help it grow!

Christians can always pray to themselves, and I am lost to understand why they feel everyone should be exposed to the practices of their faith.  They are free to say a prayer to themselves any where, any time; no one wants to stop that, but praying to an audience gathered for a school function is not appropriate.  This arrogance of feeling persecuted because they are told to follow the law reminds me of how spoiled some act…. I can do what I want… this is a Christian Nation!  I fell to remember learning at North Pike that this is a Christian nation, I remember learning that the United States is a Nation founded on FREEDOM!  As they have freedom OF religion, the rest of us have freedom FROM religion!

The founding fathers came to America to escape forced religion.  King Henry VIII established The Church of England (the Anglican Church) as THE religion for England.  So escaping from being forced to practice a certain religion is what inspired the founding fathers to start a new nation….. not establishing another Christian nation or they would not have felt religious persecution in England.  Their intent was that religion would not be part of government.  In the United States, public schools are funded by government funds and Christian practices should not be endorsed by the school, nor should Atheism, Muslim, Hinduism, Buddhism or ANY faith. 

Schools and teachers have enough responsibility to teach, inspire and keep students safe in an academic environment; so, let’s not add religious education to the public schools responsibilities.  Could schools even compete with all the various Christian faiths as to what is appropriate to teach about religion.  I do not think many practitioners of the Pentecostal faith would want a Methodist or Baptist to teach Christian values to their children or vice versa… not to mention Catholics!  The only thing I have found they all can agree on is hating gays!  I have been told if someone does not like prayer at school functions, they can stay home – oh that is a great argument, the praying Christians get to decide who comes to PUBLIC school functions!  My response is, if someone objects to following the law… they can send their kid to private school where Christianity is part of their curriculum.  Christians could simply decide to meet before school functions in the parking lot, say a prayer, then go in to watch the game or better yet – just pray before they leave home for the game or function.  A moment of silence – that is a joke!  Spontaneously reciting something like the Lord’s Prayer out loud, in unison – WOW… group defiance and disrespect for the law 101!!!  But heaven forbid they try finding a simple, legal solution that even satisfies the people that see things differently instead of trying to find ways to just circumvent the law.

I love the teachers, coaches and leaders at North Pike, I received a great education there, and know the dedication it takes to be a teacher, but let’s teach the students right – they are are school to learn, to be educated in academics.  Children learn from the example set before them and North Pike’s leadership is encouraging anarchy, encouraging finding ways around the rules – so do not be surprised when this example is followed by the students in areas other than expressing their religious rights!  I am a former youth minister and I dare say that less than 50% of these students are even actively involved in church.  Many feel they are standing up for their Christian beliefs but how dare people that don’t agree with them stand up – even fellow Christians that see football games as a place to watch football… not a place to pray?  What is your goal North Pike?  Education or religion?  Embrace the lifestyle of the Pharisee or hypocrite and enjoy its consequences!!

*(1) –http://www.enterprise-journal.com/news/article_4215d664-f103-11e0-bb58-001cc4c002e0.html

*(2)http://www.enterprise-journal.com/news/article_4f643ef2-f282-11e0-82f2-001cc4c03286.html

*(3) – http://www.christianpost.com/news/survey-non-religious-americans-on-the-rise-in-every-state-37380/

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Only Successful Relationship Is With A Rock Band!!

To date… I have only had one successful relationship in my life and that has been with Maroon 5.  As relationships have come and gone (or been absent) in my life, Maroon 5 was singing just what I was feeling.  From their first hit Harder To Breathe to the most recent Give A Little More, each single released by Maroon 5 matched what was going going through in my life at that time.

Now I will break the relationship down:

Harder To Breathe

When I first heard Harder To Breathe in late 2002, I was asking myself, “Is there anyone out there?”  I loved the music but it did hurt that lead singer Adam Levine also took my breath making it even harder for me to breathe!  So now my relationship with Maroon 5 had begun!

This Love

Next came This Love.  At the time, I was paying the price of loving someone unworthy of my love and it was taking its toll on me.  This is a pattern for me – loving people unworthy of my love.  Maroon 5 was proving worthy!  But this was still a début album – could it last?

Sunday Morning

I met someone late 2004 and all of 2005 and 2006, Sunday Morning had a real connection for me with lyrics like, “Steal some covers share some skin” and “That may be all I need, In darkness she (for me HE lol) is all I see, Come and rest your bones with me, Driving slow on Sunday morning And I never want to leave”.  I was in love!  I had found the person who I wanted them to “Come and rest your bones with me”

Makes Me Wonder

Late 2006 Maroon 5 released Makes Me Wonder.  So in January 2007 all I could say about my love was, “… it really makes me wonder If I ever gave a fuck about you”.  I was heart-broken! “I wake up with blood-shot eyes, Struggled to memorize, The way it felt between your thighs, Pleasure that made you cry, Feels so good to be bad, Not worth the aftermath, after that, After that, Try to get you back” were the lyrics that had replaced Sunday Morning.  All I could tell him is , “….I don’t believe in you anymore”.

Wake Up Call

“I didn’t hear what you were saying. I live on raw emotion baby, I answer questions never maybe, And I’m not kind if you betray me. So who the hell are you to say we, Never would have made it babe.” are lyrics from Wake Up Call.  This song I pick parts that were for me as I mourned the loss of my love.  “Would have bled to make you happy, You didn’t need to treat me that way.”  Again, Maroon 5 was singing to me.

If I Never See Your Face Again

If I Never See Your Face Again

All American Rejects were giving Maroon 5 a little competition with Gives You Hell then even Maroon 5 stepped up and came to my rescue with If I Never See Your Face Again.  My love and I did have one more night that gave my heart hope to only be crushed again, but “Cause you keep me coming back for more, And I feel a little better than I did before, And if I never see your face again, I don’t mind, ‘Cause we gone much further than I thought we’d get tonight.”

Misery

Almost 2 years have passed and I have never had to see his face again, but now I am in Misery.  “So scared of breaking it that you won’t let it bend, And I wrote two hundred letters I will never send, Sometimes these cuts are so much deeper than they seem, You’d rather cover up, I’d rather let them be, So let me be, And I’ll set you free.” I did, I FINALLY set him free by setting myself free.  I had learned while in Colombia that there is a chance for me to be be truly loved as I deserve.

Give A Little More

Now Maroon 5 knows what I am feeling now and has taught me what to say, “I’m waiting for something, always waiting, Feeling nothing, wondering if it’ll ever change, And then I give a little more, oh babe ohhh, Give a little more, oh babe ohhh, I’m not falling in love with ya, I’m not falling in love, I’m not falling in love with ya, I’m not falling in love, ’til I get a little more from you baby ohhh, Get a little more from you baby.” Anyone wants my love now has to “GIVE A LITTLE MORE!!!

My love affair with Maroon 5 continues and is the longest lasting love I have achieved in my life!!  And short of Adam Levine coming to rescue me himself…. I expect they will nurse me through any more attempts I take with love!! I love Maroon 5!!
🙂

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This, That & the Other – Really Don’t Matter!

This, That & the Other

Desperation and necessity makes my decisions for me – who or what makes your decisions?  Americans (for the most part) always feel the freedom to make whatever decision is best.  But for some of us…. we lack the freedom.   Actually we have the freedom, but not the money to back the decisions we want to make.  I know people who have choices and I envy them.  They complain about this, that and the other.  If they saw things from a different perspective, I think this world would change.  I have a friend here in Bogotá that gets upset (like I do) about the lack of common courtesy used by Bogotanos in public ( in private, it would be very difficult to find friendlier people).  I told him “you may not be able to change the world, but you can change YOUR world”.  Smile, say hello, be nice and he has noticed what I said is true, he is changing his world – in general people are more polite than at first.  He made a good decision and has changed his world and I do feel changing the world is possible – one step at a time!

Desperation helps make nontraditional decisions.  But is the a decision-making process you are familiar with?  I am too familiar with this process.  Two years ago, I found myself one of the millions of Americans with no health insurance.  I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and 2 years with no insurance made me desperate to find a solution.  I tried and exhausted all possible solutions I knew to try.  I even found living only on social security, I made $14 a month too much for Medicaid.  That close but still to far!  After all traditional alternatives were explored, I tried being creative.  After my private insurance quit paying my private disability I had begun to explore places to live on limited a limited income and Colombia was high on the list.  Soon I found they had a government option health care system that even as a resident I could participate in.  Desperate for insurance I made the move to Colombia, South America.

Necessity also makes bad decisions for us.  Some decisions are made and made too late even when necessary.  A friend from junior high school was on disability due to cancer and had a 2 year waiting period for Medicare (same as me) and he had used his COBRA time during the approval stage of getting on disability.  The cancer returned during this waiting period.  There was a front page story about his situation in the local paper and still, he found no help.  I chose to share my stories.  Necessity left him seeking help even from having his story shared with strangers to no avail.  Healthcare reform came too late for him. Charles Aaron Jackson III, 43, died November 21, 2009 at his residence in Osyka.  I often tried to remind myself – it could always be worse.  I hate my friend was one that had it worse. I shared the struggle and when I reached out, it was too late.  Cancer got him before Medicare did.  Insurance was necessary but the decision was out of his control.

This – I often see “this” is little to complain about.  As I complained to a friend about what I felt was a desperate situation, I saw a homeless man walking up the street and picking trough a garbage bag.  My problem is a big problem, but it could always be bigger.  I am not homeless or dying from cancer.  I need that homeless man and the memory of my childhood friend to remind me to keep things in perspective.  I am so lucky, I will NEVER be homeless, my family let me sleep on their floor until they find me a bed.  Even with little medical assistance I will ALWAYS have help getting out of the tub because when my legs are too tired to stand in the shower, they are also too weak to get me out of the tub and again, my family (even elderly parents) help me out of the tub.  More than once, I have NEEDED a cocktail and I have friends that will buy me a drink (lol) even when I am broke – I will ALWAYS have great friends because they care more about helping a friend than hoarding their money.

That – “that” is not my problem.  In the last few years, I have had so many problems I NEVER thought I would have.  As with the healthcare debate, I saw it from a different perspective being one of the uninsured.  Why do we have to find ourselves in a situation before we empathize.  President Obama was faulted for wanting empathetic Supreme Court Justices.  I like that a judge can empathize.  To understand law, I think a judge should empathize with the writers of the Constitution to understand how the law should be applied and also to empathize with the people who the laws are applicable to.  Only a politician would think empathy to be a bad thing!!

& the other – It is not me so why should I worry?  I was told that I gave up my right to share an opinion about healthcare reform because I had “chosen” to leave the country (actually a cousin told me that – distant cousin).  Her complaint was she worked hard for her money and did not want to be paying for others insurance.  I have been so surprised that there is a price for life and health and there is a point people think it is too much to help.  I have alienated myself from religion because of attitudes from Christians like this.  I am happy she can find comfort in her faith because it repels me from sharing her faith.  Maybe she even prayed for Aaron, but thank God she did not have to pay more taxes to save his life.

So let’s try keeping in mind desperation and necessity hinder decision-making.  We will be desperate at times, but knowing we are not the most desperate can help keep this, that & the other in perspective.  We will feel things are a necessity at times, but keeping in mind people are doing without necessities ALL of the time makes this that & the other less important.  This, that & the other are things we need to keep in perspective, empathize with others about and also know how our actions reflect to others our priorities.   In desperate times we should know it is a necessity that “this, that & the other” are kept in true perspective.

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