Christian Humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, rational inquiry and a commitment to the values taught by Jesus as a guide to the ethical life are not only compatible with Christianity, they are fundamental to a proper understanding and interpretation of Christian belief. Being a Christian means at the least feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, healing the sick, supporting the poor, comforting the lonely, seeking peace and standing with the powerless against the mighty.
Monday, June 11, 2018
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Monday, April 30, 2018
Saturday, April 28, 2018
We could cite numerous examples, but an opinion piece by Dana Milbank in the Washington Post about Paul Ryan's firing of the House of Representative's chaplain for his prayers for the poor and the defenseless nicely summarizes why current administration supporters want Reverend Patrick Conroy silenced. What the Senate Chaplain said in his prayers got the right wing angry becaused it showed their hypocrisy.
Here are some excerpts (elipsis omitted) from the commentary:
We know this much: Ryan’s office complained to Conroy about a prayer he offered on the House floor during the tax overhaul debate that those who “continue to struggle” in the United States would not be made “losers under new tax laws.” Ryan admonished the priest after the Nov. 6 prayer, saying, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics,” Conroy told the New York Times.
He was warned. Nevertheless, he persisted. Over the five months since Ryan’s warning, Conroy dared to continue to preach the teachings of Jesus on the House floor:
He prayed to God that lawmakers would help “the least among us.”
He prayed for them to follow the example of St. Nicholas, “who fed the hungry, brought hope to the imprisoned, gave comfort to the lost.”
He admonished lawmakers “to serve other people in their need” and “to pray for the unemployed and those who work but still struggle to make ends meet.”
After an immigration deal collapsed, he urged “those who possess power here in Washington be mindful of those whom they represent who possess little or no power.”
Only in this perverted time could a priest lose his job after committing the sin of crying out for justice for the poor. But then, look around: Everywhere are the signs of a rising kleptocracy. The $1.5 trillion tax cut did make winners of corporations and the wealthy.
And actions since then show that the Trump administration is making losers of the poor.
Conroy, of course, didn’t preach about such truly political things; he prayed, generically, for compassion. In the prayer that earned him Ryan’s reprimand, he merely reminded lawmakers that “the institutions and structures of our great nation guarantee the opportunities that have allowed some to achieve great success, while others continue to struggle.”
He prayed that lawmakers “guarantee that there are not winners and losers under new tax laws, but benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.”
Such heresies continued. He prayed for “peace and reconciliation where those virtues are so sorely needed.” He prayed for them to rise above “self- interest” and “immediate political wins.” He prayed for them to promote “justice, equity and truth.” He admonished them to “show respect for those with whom they disagree.”
Speaking truth to power has always been dangerous, but it is more so when it confronts the most powerful political forces in our nation on a daily basis in the corridors of power. This is what Jesus did and look what happened to him, so should we be surprised at what happened to Father Conroy? Should Christians acquiesce when power exerts itself against compassion and justice?
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Saturday, March 11, 2017
My story begins a long time ago, even times I can't remember. First off I am female to male transgender. When I was young, we were poor, in baby/toddler pictures you can see me and my sister in boys’ clothing handed down from my older brother. When we started to get on our feet I preferred the handing downs instead of my new girly clothing. I remember in pre-school kids would ask me if I was a boy or a girl. Even though I said girl something inside me made me extremely happy.
When I was 5 we went to see my family in Tennessee. (I do not remember this but my mom and my grandma’s sister told me this.) I guess I thought since I didn't know them, they didn't know me. And I said it over and over again, I am a boy. I refused to wear the dress for the family picture and I only did because my mom told me I could take it off right after the picture and the last time I wore a dress was to my dad’s funeral.
My mom really didn't care what I wore from the ages 3-8, I mean I still wore girl clothes willingly, but I had a lot of guy clothing too. Especially when it came to summer time, my mom didn't care as much what I wore.
I remember being 8 years old, always being shirtless and I wore boxers. I remember one day seeing teenagers with their pants sagging showing their boxers and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I started doing it all the time.
When I got a Nnintendo DS light I loved writing in the name section the boy names I wished I had. My favorites were Jangoe and Owen.
But when 3rd grade came my mom decided my extreme tom-boy "phase" needed to be over. When school came she only let me wear girl clothes, I got to keep my boy clothes but at a time when I grew out of them. From 3rd-5th grade my mom only let me wear girl clothes. But after shopping she would let me buy one guy shirt. When it came to the girl clothes I just got whatever my mom wanted me to get. I didn't fight what she got me but I also didn't ask her to buy me more. When it came to buying that 1 guy shirt I looked down every row looking for the previous one and I always wore those shirts at least once a week.
The years went by and 6th grade was here, my mom decided to let me pick the clothes I wanted and without thinking about it I got all guy clothes. I remember the day they came, I couldn't choose which one to wear. I changed a few times that day.
I started getting bullied and people would call me gay girl and dyke. And I would cry to myself because I didn't understand I was a girl, always acting like a boy. At this time I couldn't force myself to wear girl clothes, but my mom made me once going to Thanksgiving at my now stepdad's old house. It was the first time meeting my step sister who was in college and I hated that was my first impression.
6th grade ended and it was summer time. I was about to go to a new school, 7th-12th grade, the school I still go to, and I really wanted to make a good impression. I wanted friends and to at least be cool to them. I was excited, I was planning for this great year and then my life changed forever. It was late June, early July in 2012. I was 12 at the time and I was alone at my grandparents’ house watching YouTube. While I was watching, in the sidebar a video called FTM timeline came up. No clue what it meant I decided to watch it, and it explained things. Talk about how they knew and the struggles they went through and by the time the video ended, I knew I was transgender.
It felt like a weight off my chest for but that weight came crashing down on top of me. When I started to think about my religion, family, kids at school, I wanted to erase my memory. I prayed to God, crying and begging him to fix me for 2 weeks straight, but got no answer. After that I just kind of accepted that God hated me (It even says it in the Bible, God hates many people!).
School started and I did make friends. It was great, I even got invited to y first sleepover and my new friends started asking me who I like and after they went through every single guy and in our grade and I said no to everyone, they said I had to like someone. And I did, a girl and I thought my new friends would at least accept me for liking girls so I told them the name of the girl. C told me she wasn't gay and had a boyfriend, I told her I understood and please please not tell K that I liked her and they both promised. The next day S told e C told K and all their friends plus the volleyball team that I liked girls. And I started getting bullied bad, very bad. People pushed me, called me names. No one even wanted to do class projects with me, I sat alone at lunch every day. (Side note, the harassment only came from middle schoolers, high schoolers couldn't talk to us.)
I went down to the principal many times, sometimes he gave a warning and even one time he yelled at me in front of the bullies and said maybe he should just call my mom because I seemed to be the problem. Then I went to the counselor and she made excuses for the bullies. “Well, gay means happy, how do you know they didn't mean that?” And of course the kids will say that is what they meant. She said it RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM.
I got so depressed, my grades were horrible, I didn't eat because I was sleeping all the time and after another day of hell I wrote a Facebook status stating I got bullied every day at school and I couldn't seem to find a teacher who cared. A lot of high schoolers were on my side and some messaged me asking who the bullies were, and I told a few, and some kids started threatening the bullies. Next day at school I get called down to the office and the school called the cops on me. They said everything I wrote on Facebook was lies. People were screaming at me and getting in my face and when my mom and the cops got there they asked me why I was getting bullied, and I said I wanted my mom to leave the room first, and then my principal said I had 10 seconds to tell my mom why I was being bullied or he will tell her. Yeah he forced me to out myself!
Then my life just crashed, my stepdad took away the wi-fi for 4 months, and my depression just got worse. I just stayed in my bedroom all the time because it felt like my parents hated me. The neighbor’s wi-fi worked in my room and I got a boyfriend who was in 6th grade, and even though I still only wore guy clothes I got ungrounded because I was dating a boy. But after dating him for 5 months I told him I wanted to be a guy and he broke up with me. During that summer I cut my long hair to my shoulders.
October 31, 2014 is the day I told my mom I was transgender, I thought my stepdad was the only problem, I thought she would accept me, I was SO wrong. She screamed at me, told me she would never accept me, looked me in the eyes and said I will NEVER be her son and then told my stepdad. They didn't take away the wifi, but I wished they did. I was no longer allowed to go to friends’ houses or even have a friend in my room with the door closed. They made me get this super girly haircut and made me grow my hair out months at a time.
In the summer of 2014 when they went on vacation I cut my hair short. It was my first boy haircut. High school had started and I decided to come out as trans. And even though most people didn't care or accepted me, it felt good not to hide anymore. In 9th grade I fell in love for the first time with a girl. She was a senior while I was a freshman. We were both in band and she lived close to me, my parents didn't take me to the games so she did. And I would say the games were earlier so I could spend time with her. We never did it, but we made and showed our love in different ways. After about 4 months I ended it because I knew in the end she would pick her boyfriend over me.
In April of 2014, I made a transgender page on Facebook and to this day it has 53K likes and I post every day and it is just not helping educate others, it has helped me. It opened my mind that there are more than two genders. Most of all it made me know that I am not alone….
Every day I go to school I'm forced to use the girls bathroom were people look at me like I don't belong but the school would never let me use the boys.
Sometimes I sit and think it would have been truly better if i never came out, more friends, more freedom, less hate from family and strangers. Teachers don't even try to use male pronouns on me because it causes problems in class. Why are you calling HER a him? Don't you know SHE is a GIRL? I've been publicly humiliated in class twice for being transgender, once in 9th grade my boxers were showing and one kid was loudly talking about how gross I was and it started a verbal war --"Wait are you a boy or a girl? Yeah that is weird/gross/ disgusting. So does that mean you have a weiner?" That's when I walked out of class.
Then in 10th grade my class was talking about how wrong and gross it was to be transgender and when the teacher asked what everyone was talking about, someone pretended to throw up in his mouth. I sat at my desk trying not to cry.
People don't bully me any more. I'm just labeled as the freak now a days, and I'm okay with that. Sure, no one talks to me at school except for my best friend, but at least I don't get bullied anymore. Now I'm a Junior in high school, everyone still calls me female pronouns, but I'm used to it.
In 8 months I will be moving out because I will be 18 and free. I can move out of this house, live with my supportive grandparents and start male hormones. Spending my senior year hopefully getting breast surgery, male hormones, name change and gender change. So when I go to college no one will know I am a girl, no one will call me she, they will just know me as Ash, not what's in my pants, or that I lived the first 12 years of my life as a girl. Just a normal person—what I've always wanted.Transgender kids deserve what every kid deserves--to be treated with respect. Being safe in their own schools seems like a good place to start.