The Real Victims of Persecution: American Christians, Part II.

donald-trump-claims-accommodating-transgender-people-is-too-expensivex750_0Continuing the Art of Pandering with Donald Trump: America Is A Judeo-Christian Nation Because ‘That’s The Way It Is’. Well, that’s certainly a concise, well thought out, well researched conclusion. *Cough* On with the show…

In an interview following his speech at the Road to Majority summit today, Donald Trump told Christian Broadcasting Network pundit David Brody that he agrees America is a “Judeo-Christian nation” because “that’s the way it is.”

Trump also vowed to reach out to Religious Right movement figures, mentioning his upcoming meeting with a variety of extreme activists and preachers hosted by Ben Carson.

And here I was thinking that the nightmare just had to stop at some point, the rhetoric and reaching out to all the evil people had to at least slow down, but no. It actually gets worse.

When asked if he would “turn down” some of the controversial rhetoric that has come to define him,Trump gave a mixed response.

“Well, you have to be who you are. I’ve gotten the largest number of votes in the history of Republican politics, by far, and so I want to keep doing what we’re doing. But if you ask me to tone it down I’ll tone it down,” Trump laughed.

He also used the speech to reiterate his support of the pro-life community. It’s no secret Trump has had a shaky relationship with the pro-lifers in the past but conservative women groups seem to be warming up to the idea of a President Trump.

“From what I hear he has been very consistent in meeting with the conservative community and the life community and being there in support,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told CBN News.

That is seriously bad news.

He will also hold a closed-door meeting with many evangelical leaders later this month.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, will be in that meeting. CBN News asked Perkins how Trump can narrow the gap between himself and evangelicals.

“His vice-presidential pick is going to be extremely important. I think it needs to be somebody that has a relationship with the evangelical community, which he really has not had,” Perkins said.


“I don’t think he can necessary transcend the theological differences from a stand point of evangelicals and the centrality of their faith. He can’t rewrite the narrative of his business career. But I think he can say,’ I’m going to protect your right to believe. I understand how important you are to American and America’s moral fabric and I’m going to fight for you,’ Perkins continued.

Oh good, a closed door meeting with evangelicals. Who knows what he’s going to promise them?

Via Right Wing Watch (video)  and CBN.

Strong Reactions.

Ellie, left, who is transgender, hugs her brother Ronnie. (Courtesy Ford family)

Ellie, left, who is transgender, hugs her brother Ronnie. (Courtesy Ford family)

Ron and Vanessa Ford are the parents of a 5-year-old transgender child, and they recently wrote for The Washington Post about why they appreciate and support the Obama administration’s directive to schools on accommodating transgender students.


For the Fords, the debate about bathroom access is really a debate about discrimination, and about whether the government will or will not sanction discrimination against their child.

“We are an interracial couple,” they wrote. “Fifty years ago, in many places across the country, it would have been legal to discriminate against us because, many people said, a fundamental part of who we are was somehow offensive and perverse. Our daughter is transgender. In many places across the country, it is legal to discriminate against her because, many people say, a fundamental part of who she is somehow offensive and perverse.”

We asked readers to weigh in on how the bathroom debate compares to earlier civil rights debates. There were many responses, representing the wide range of views and strong feelings that have characterized the discussion about transgender rights in America.

It was good to see mostly support from readers, but it wasn’t just support. I dislike reading the non-supportive contributions, but I think it’s important to keep a current insight into how people are not only viewing certain issues, but how they are viewing people. It seems to me that in such views, beyond all the regular reasons for being anti and upset, there’s a distinct current of “no, not human”. This is othering, but it’s taking on an ugly extremism, with people even citing the violence directed at transgender people as a reason to refuse gender dysphoria being real, and gender affirmation as being absolutely wrong. Then there are those who are not concerned with actual people at all, just upset at what they see as co-opting the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s.

[Read more…]

Helen Chavez has walked on.

Helen and Cesar Chavez with six of their eight children in 1969 at the United Farm Workers’ “Forty Acres” property outside Delano. Standing from left are Anna, Eloise and Sylvia. Seated from left are Paul, Elizabeth and Anthony. (United Farm Workers)

Helen and Cesar Chavez with six of their eight children in 1969 at the United Farm Workers’ “Forty Acres” property outside Delano. Standing from left are Anna, Eloise and Sylvia. Seated from left are Paul, Elizabeth and Anthony. (United Farm Workers)

Helen Chavez, the widow of Cesar Chavez, who aided the farmworkers union her husband founded by keeping the books, walking the picket line and being arrested — all while raising their eight children — died Monday at a Bakersfield, Calif., hospital. She was 88.

A statement from the Cesar Chavez Foundation said she died of natural causes and was surrounded by family members.

Though notoriously reticent and uncomfortable with media attention, Chavez sometimes found herself in the spotlight alongside her husband, who led the United Farm Workers of America for 31 years. In 1978 she was arrested and convicted with her husband for picketing a cantaloupe field where workers were represented by the Teamsters Union.

Yet at the height of the movement, she remained in her husband’s shadow. She seemed to push past nervousness whenever she spoke publicly. “I want to see justice for the farmworkers,” she told a reporter for the Los Angeles Times in 1976. “I was a farmworker and I know what it is like to work in the fields.”

The Chavez’s were another major window for me, in early life. They helped me to see past my own privilege, and I was honoured to help work with and for their causes when I was a teenager. Goodbye, Helen, and thank you.

Full Story Here.

The Black Woman Is God.



© Nicole Dixon.

The Black Woman Is God art exhibition tells and shows you the story of black women’s divinity through the lens of black women reclaiming their ancestry, culture, history and future. The brainchild of Karen Seneferu, this project is in it’s second incarnation in 2016 and will be featuring dozens of artists in at least three separate exhibitions at different locations throughout the summer and fall. The curatorial project is lead by a team that includes karen, Sasha Kelley, Zakiya Harris, Idris Hassan and many others including volunteers from the exhibited artists. As the team prepared for the first exhibit at the Oakland Museum, they held a series of meetings to help the participants get to know one another and to help plan and prepare for the exhibit.

This series is a documentation of these gatherings in an effort to recall and retain the importance of community and sisterhood in collaboration for social justice, ideology shifts, art, and, of course, love.

The Black Woman Is God: Reprogramming the God Code.

The show will be at SOMArts, July 7th through August 18th, 2016.

Muhammad Ali has walked on.

It’s a sad day. Growing up, Muhammad Ali was one of my first windows into thinking outside the white, Catholic box I had been stuffed in, and was being raised in. I owe him a great deal of thanks.

Statement from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on the Passing of Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali was The Greatest. Period. If you just asked him, he’d tell you. He’d tell you he was the double greatest; that he’d “handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder into jail.”

But what made The Champ the greatest – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you pretty much the same thing.

Like everyone else on the planet, Michelle and I mourn his passing. But we’re also grateful to God for how fortunate we are to have known him, if just for a while; for how fortunate we all are that The Greatest chose to grace our time.

In my private study, just off the Oval Office, I keep a pair of his gloves on display, just under that iconic photograph of him – the young champ, just 22 years old, roaring like a lion over a fallen Sonny Liston. I was too young when it was taken to understand who he was – still Cassius Clay, already an Olympic Gold Medal winner, yet to set out on a spiritual journey that would lead him to his Muslim faith, exile him at the peak of his power, and set the stage for his return to greatness with a name as familiar to the downtrodden in the slums of Southeast Asia and the villages of Africa as it was to cheering crowds in Madison Square Garden.

“I am America,” he once declared. “I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me – black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own. Get used to me.”

That’s the Ali I came to know as I came of age – not just as skilled a poet on the mic as he was a fighter in the ring, but a man who fought for what was right. A man who fought for us. He stood with King and Mandela; stood up when it was hard; spoke out when others wouldn’t. His fight outside the ring would cost him his title and his public standing. It would earn him enemies on the left and the right, make him reviled, and nearly send him to jail. But Ali stood his ground. And his victory helped us get used to the America we recognize today.

He wasn’t perfect, of course. For all his magic in the ring, he could be careless with his words, and full of contradictions as his faith evolved. But his wonderful, infectious, even innocent spirit ultimately won him more fans than foes – maybe because in him, we hoped to see something of ourselves. Later, as his physical powers ebbed, he became an even more powerful force for peace and reconciliation around the world. We saw a man who said he was so mean he’d make medicine sick reveal a soft spot, visiting children with illness and disability around the world, telling them they, too, could become the greatest. We watched a hero light a torch, and fight his greatest fight of all on the world stage once again; a battle against the disease that ravaged his body, but couldn’t take the spark from his eyes.

Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace.

The Fight Against Blue Lives Matter.

Getty Images.

Getty Images.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed the country’s first “Blue Lives Matter” law last week, a piece of legislation that makes a civilian attack on a veteran, police officer, emergency responder, or firefighter a possible hate crime. Louisianans convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes against officers will be slapped with a $500 fine and possibly an additional sentence of up to six months.

Fusion has a very good look at why this legislation was unnecessary, and how it can be used to further crush those already deeply marginalized and poor. As most people know, across uStates, there’s an automatic add on to any interaction with a cop. Punch someone, it’s assault. Punch a cop, it’s assault of a police officer, and cops do love taking advantage of that little add on. Everything is worse if it’s directed towards a cop, it’s always been that way, so why this legislation? How would Ferguson have played out under such legislation? I think maybe there wouldn’t have been a Ferguson at all with such a law in place. This simply adds yet more weight on the side of authoritarianism, more protections for any tale a cop might spin.

Julie Baxter Payer, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, told Fusion in an email that the governor does not view this law as targeting communities of color. In the statement about the bill, Governor Edwards said “coming from a family of law enforcement officers, I have great respect for the work that they do and the risks they take to ensure our safety.”

Anneke Dunbar-Gronke, part of BYP’s leadership in New Orleans, told me the law is redundant and that she sees “no existing precedent that can trust this [law] will be used in a way that will protect citizens,” adding “when it’s a police officer’s word against civilians we see how that’s played out specifically when it’s a black person or a person from a community of color.”

“The danger in that redundancy is that it further criminalizes black people, poor people, and those with the least access,” she said.

The vague language of the law, Moore-O’Neal said, also leaves communities more susceptible to legal trouble. “The purpose of these sorts of legislation is not public safety for the public but safety for the elite,” she said. “The purpose of this is to quell social unrest.” Moore-O’Neal, who is black, explained that the law can be easily interpreted to quell free speech.

“Who is to say if I am protesting or having direct action against cops?” she said. “Who is to say that isn’t a hate crime?” In late May, BYP helped organize the “National Day of Action to End State Violence Against All Black Women and Girls,” with actions that took place in at least 21 cities across the country.

Pork-dipped Bullets and Armed Idiots.

Texas militia member -- (AJPlus screen grab)

Texas militia member — (AJPlus screen grab)

In a video posted to Twitter by AJPlus, weekend warriors in Texas explain that they will be using bullets dipped in pigs blood or smeared with bacon’ grease when the time comes to stop the “Arab uprising” they believe will overrun their state.

In the video, one unidentified militia member explains the importance of using pork-dipped bullets.

“A lot of us here are using either pig’s blood or bacon grease on our bullets, ” he explains, adding, “So that when you shoot a Muslim they go straight to hell. That’s what they believe in their religion.”

Added another militia member, “Don’t f*ck with white people,” before showing off his shooting prowess with a shotgun.

I don’t think I can say anything remotely reasonable about these people, so I’ll just go with Fuck. Scary.

Via AJPlus and Raw Story.

The religion of fundamental social justice…

Student activists during a nationwide "Hands up, walk out" protest at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif.

Student activists during a nationwide “Hands up, walk out” protest at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Photo: Reuters/Adrees Latif.

Another day, another screed. This one certainly gave me a good laugh, as it seems I now have a religion. I guess we SJWs are upsetting everyone these days. Tsk. Be sure to put your melodrama meters away, critical levels here, of the “I’m a libertarian, of course I’m right!” kind.

NEW YORK — There’s a new religion exploding on the campuses of American universities and colleges, says Thomas Cooley professor of ethical leadership at New York University, Jonathan Haidt. And if it isn’t stopped, it might just be better to shut them all down in the next 10 or 20 years.

The religion of fundamental social justice sweeping across college campuses is so alarming, intense, and dripping with such extreme liberal fundamentalism, says Haidt, it has created an existential crisis for American academia while punishing heretics with public shame.

“There is an extremely intense, fundamental social justice religion that’s taking over, not all students, but a very strong [space] of it, at all our colleges and universities. They are prosecuting blasphemy and this is where we are,” Haidt warned an audience about the religion at a lecture billed “The American University’s New Assault on Free Speech,” organized by the Manhattan Institute in New York City this week.


When social issues like racism or sexism are treated as sacred, he says, it becomes difficult to have honest conversations about them.

“So if that’s the basic psychology and as religion itself has been retreating and kids are raised in a more secular environment, then what takes the place of that? There are lots of sacred spaces. Fighting racism, a very, very good thing to do, but when you come to sacred principles, sacred, this means no tradeoffs,” Haidt said.

“There is no nuance, you cannot trade off any other goods with it. So if you organize around fighting racism, fighting homophobia, fighting sexism, again all good things, but when they become sacred, when they become essentially objects of worship, fundamentalist religion, then when someone comes to class, someone comes to your campus, and they say the rape culture is exaggerated, they have committed blasphemy,” he said.

This religion of fundamental social justice is so frightening, even liberals are worried about it. But they aren’t speaking up, says Haidt, who describes himself as a libertarian.

“The great majority of people are really alarmed by what’s happening. There is a small group on campus of illiberal people. The illiberal left against the liberal left. The liberal left is uncomfortable but has so far been silent,” Haidt said. It is this illiberalism on campus that has given rise to groups such as Black Lives Matter where “nobody can say no to them.”


Haidt, however, doesn’t think life will continue down this road for American academia pointing to a growing counterculture movement involving projects such as the Heterodox Academy. […] So we are doing all these projects to use market forces to swamp the illiberals and basically take advantage of people’s disgust with the current situation.”

The two page screed is here.

San Francisco 49ers Call for a Repeal of N.C.’s Anti-LGBT Law

Jed York, The CEO of the 49ers called HB 2 "bad for our employees, bad for our fans, and bad for business."

Jed York, The CEO of the 49ers called HB 2 “bad for our employees, bad for our fans, and bad for business.”

Jed York, the CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, is calling for a repeal of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT House Bill 2.

The National Football League hosted meetings in Charlotte, N.C., this week. Chris Sgro, the executive direcctor of Equality N.C. and the only openly LGBT person in the North Carolina legislature, says it was during this time that York chose to meet with LGBT advocates and transgender North Carolinians to learn about the impact of the anti-LGBT law. Sgro announced that the 49ers were contributing a gift of $75,000 to the Equality North Carolina Foundation to support the work of the organization.

In a statement published Tuesday, York said the San Francisco 49ers are “deeply concerned” about HB 2 because the team believes that “discriminatory laws” are “bad for our employees, bad for our fans, and bad for business.”


HB 2 will “make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country,” said York, the CEO of the 49ers. York echoed a fear many North Carolinians have expressed, which is that HB 2 has and will continue to create loss in business for the state. The law will “diminish the state’s draw as a destination for sporting events, tourism and conventions, and new business activity,” the CEO said. York added that his team “prides” itself on inclusivity and will “strongly urge” Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina legislature to repeal HB 2.

Perhaps the threat of no more new NC sports stars will get through to McCrory. Nothing else has worked so far. I am not remotely into sports, but a big Yay! for Jed York and the 49ers.

Full Story Here.

Offended by the Redskins?: An Indian Country Twitter Poll.


As some of you know, The Washington Post recently ran a story on Thursday about a poll of 504 people which indicated that 90% of Native Americans are not offended by the Washington Redskins name.

Shortly after the article, I tweeted the hashtag #IAmNativeIWasNotAsked, which trended on Thursday night.


It’s true that some Native people say they are not offended by the Redskins name, but in my experience, they are rare. I have also been told on numerous occasions where I was asked to appear on television, online or on national radio to discuss the Redskins, the organizers and producers had an extremely difficult time finding a Native person who approved of the Redskins name.

The Washington Post says they spoke to a random selection of 504 Native American people. In a country with 566 federally recognized reservations (not including the Pamunkey up for Federal and the multitude of State or unrecognized tribes) this roughly equates to less than one person per federally recognized tribe.

According to the Post’s numbers, available here interestingly, the percentages reflected in 2016 are identical to the poll numbers from the National Annenberg Election Survey from 2004.

A Twitter Poll

I know this is not “scientific,” or acceptable standards for a national poll, but a simple Twitter poll I created Thursday evening at 11:59 pm est generated 200 responses in just a few hours. As of Friday afternoon, 83% of those people say they are offended by the Redskins name.

Full Article Here. Vincent Schilling talks about this specific issue in his ‘No I Won’t Just Move On’ Hashtag: Why I Made It, We Need It Column.


Chester A. Arthur, 20th president of the United States, viewed cultural diversity as a threat to the country.

Chester A. Arthur, 20th president of the United States, viewed cultural diversity as a threat to the country.

Chester A. Arthur viewed cultural diversity as a threat to America.

The 20th president of the United States, Arthur took office in September 1881, after the assassination of James Garfield. He inherited a country still wrangling over civil rights for African Americans, and bristling with anti-immigration sentiment.

The animosity was particularly pronounced in the West, where large populations of immigrants and Native Americans lived, said Tom Sutton, a professor of political science at Baldwin Wallace University and author of a chapter about Arthur in the 2016 bookThe Presidents and the Constitution.

“The country was growing more diverse, more industrialized, and out West, we were starting to get to the end of the development of the frontier,” Sutton said. “Arthur wanted consistency in population. He had this idea that everyone needed to be assimilated into American society, and those who couldn’t assimilate were excluded.”


The federal government used similar anti-immigration language to exclude Native Americans, who were not considered citizens. Indians were required to go through a naturalization process similar to that of immigrants in order to qualify for the same rights and protections as other citizens.

“Arthur wanted what he thought was best for Native Americans—this idea that they needed to be assimilated into American society,” Sutton said. “In terms of citizenship, we continued to treat them as foreign nations, so they had to go through a naturalization process.”

This applied even to Indians born in the United States who voluntarily separated themselves from their tribes.

In 1880, a Winnebago Indian born on a reservation in Nebraska tried to register to vote. In a case that reached the Supreme Court in 1885, John Elk claimed he surrendered his tribal allegiance and was therefore a U.S. citizen. His claims were denied, and the high court ruled that Indians were not considered citizens until after they had been “naturalized, or taxed, or recognized as a citizen either by the United States or by the state.”

Arthur, who had natural empathy for the plight of American Indians, did little to protect them from oppression. Instead, he viewed assimilation as the answer to what he called the “great permanent problem.”

Full Article Here.

WaPo’s new Redsk*ns survey: Faulty data and missing the point.


CREDIT: Carolyn Kaster, AP

This morning I woke up to phone notifications. Blinking awake, I clicked over to twitter on my phone, and was greeted with the news: “New poll finds 9 in 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by Redskins name.” I sat up, let the phone fall in my lap, and said some choice words that I won’t print here.

The Washington Post has apparently devoted a lot of time and resources to conducting a “nationally representative” poll of “Native Americans” to find out whether or not they find the Redsk*ns name offensive. In their survey of 504 “Native Americans,” they found that 90% did not find the name offensive. They published a follow up  that gives the details on the survey and answers some FAQ.

Before I dive in, a note: This is not something I should have to do. For the last 7 years I’ve been writing this blog we’ve made huge gains in the way the public thinks about Native peoples and Native mascots. It’s been the hard, hard work of a huge community of activists and community members for decades, and I just don’t understand why WaPo felt the need to do this poll. More on this in a minute, but we’ve got psychological studies, tribal council votes, thousands of Native voices, and common decency and respect on our side, yet that was not enough. The Washington Post needed their OWN survey. The perspectives of Native peoples, who this effects directly, apparently aren’t enough.

So the poll. WaPo has generously provided (that’s not sarcasm) the actual questions, the breakdown by demographics for each, so feel free to explore. Look here.

This is where I want to focus my attention: 56 percent of this “nationally representative sample of Native Americans” was non-Native. I need you to understand this. 56% of the sample has no tribal affiliation.

Dr. Adrienne Keene’s Full Article Here.

A love letter to bigotry

Former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Jim Webb (Flickr Creative Commons)

Former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Jim Webb (Flickr Creative Commons)

Sen. Jim Webb scolds supporters of Harriet Tubman’s new home on the 20-dollar bill, because they’ve been disparaging President Andrew Jackson too much.

One would think we could celebrate the recognition that Harriet Tubman will be given on future $20 bills without demeaning former president Andrew Jackson as a “monster,” as a recent Huffington Post headline did. And summarizing his legendary tenure as being “known primarily for a brutal genocidal campaign against native Americans,” as reported in The Post, offers an indication of how far political correctness has invaded our educational system and skewed our national consciousness.

This dismissive characterization of one of our great presidents is not occurring in a vacuum. Any white person whose ancestral relations trace to the American South now risks being characterized as having roots based on bigotry and undeserved privilege. Meanwhile, race relations are at their worst point in decades.

Aaauugh. It’s too bloody early [here] for this ineffable twaddle. Race relations are at their worst point in decades? Yes, I’d say they are, but perhaps you should figure out just why that is so.

Far too many of our most important discussions are being debated emotionally, without full regard for historical facts. The myth of universal white privilege and universal disadvantage among racial minorities has become a mantra, even though white and minority cultures alike vary greatly in their ethnic and geographic origins, in their experiences in the United States and in their educational and financial well-being.

Into this uninformed debate come the libels of “Old Hickory.”

Old Hickory. Did you know that Jackson was known as Sharp Knife among many Indigenous peoples? Ever heard Indian Killer Jackson?

As president, Jackson ordered the removal of Indian tribes east of the Mississippi to lands west of the river. This approach, supported by a string of presidents, including Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, was a disaster, resulting in the Trail of Tears where thousands died. But was its motivation genocidal?

I can answer that. Yes. Yes, it was. Fuck, I can’t take any more right now. Need tea.

Op ed here. Raw Story has this also.