Everyone who knows me, also knows that I am an outspoken opponent of bigotry in all forms. Yet I have sympathy for Paula Deen. I don’t know her, nor do I watch her cooking shows. I have only the basic knowledge of her as a famous southern cook who is on television. I do, however, understand completely how a person can be a racist simply because they were raised to be one and yet grow to reject bigotry.
Growing up in my small hometown in East Texas in the 70’s and 80’s, that hated word was how most white people referred to black people (when no black person was present). While our schools were integrated, we had, for the most part, segregated ourselves. On the outskirts of town, across the tracks, was the “quarters”, which included remnants of the old “black school”, a dilapidated park, and a close-knit, all black community.
We all went to the same school and interacted through academics, clubs, sports, band, and riding the school bus together, but we usually kept our social lives separate. There were a few white girls who were ostracized for dating black boys though. When one of those girls was also one of my best friends, I began to see things differently. I realized my narrow view from “my side of the tracks” was wrong. We were not only not better, but not very different. However, culture and peer pressure are powerful things especially with the insecurities of being a teen.
Eventually, I grew up and moved away. I now adamantly object to the use of that word and all bigotry – racial or otherwise. I sincerely apologize to society for spending my first 18+/- years believing successful, white, straight Christians were somehow superior members of the human race. That is my most shameful admission, but it is the truth. While I can’t change those years, I am no longer that person.
I don’t know Paula Deen – the person or the celebrity – nor do I know that she is currently a racist. It is neither hard to believe or understand that at some point in her life she may have been racist. She didn’t choose to be born into the racially segregated south, and the reality is we know what we are taught. I believe I should be judged on the person I am today – the person who eventually rejected the bigotry.
Not that it matters, but I judge Paula Deen on her honesty about her past and how she chooses to handle this very important conversation. Children are still being raised to think in this bigoted way. We need look no further than Jackson, MS for proof. Even if Paula Deen is currently racist, we should reach out to her and teach her. If she is not, I encourage her to use this opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about the reality of racism in America.
I suppose I’ll get some shit for posting this on my Facebook page, maybe lose some friends. Oh well. I hope somebody asks me why I feel the need to constantly post about my non-belief. My family believes I do it just to piss people off, but that really isn’t the reason. I love my country, and I feel like the addition of God to the original pledge is constitutional blasphemy. America is a secular nation to ensure religious freedom. Why is that so hard to understand?
Living as an open liberal atheist in the Bible Belt is not easy. Everyone assumes everyone is a Christian; sending emails praising God and condemning those who want to “remove God from everything”. I usually correct anyone making that assumption about me. For some reason, people find any mention of my beliefs offensive, but never consider their own declarations offensive. I am willing to keep my beliefs personal – as they should be – when I am no longer expected to accept public displays of other’s beliefs or have to be subjected to public prayers or being singled out for not participating.
The purpose of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause is to guarantee an individual’s right to live by her own beliefs. If our government favors any one set of religious beliefs, then we no longer have religious freedom. Our founders realized the importance of religious freedom because they remembered a government sanctioned religion and its ability to oppress – and oppress it does. While we are far from having a government sanctioned religion, it would be untrue to say our government doesn’t favor Christianity.
As you can see from the Pledge of Allegiance, our money, and our motto, God has entered our government despite the egregious constitutional violation of the Establishment Clause. Our government is making the assumption that all of America’s citizens trust in a “God”. Even if you are a believer, this should be offensive as an American. Imagine the words “There is no god” printed on your money, or a world where no churches were allowed, and all religious texts were banned. That is not religious freedom and that is why our government should not favor any one set of beliefs.
While I am vocal about my non-belief knowing some will be offended, that is my constitutional right. To inject one’s religious beliefs into public life and force others to either participate or be singled out is unconstitutional and unpatriotic. So I will continue to be vocal and public with my beliefs until I am no longer subjected to the beliefs of others.
I am so proud to be an American. Today, and every day – especially in the face of tragedy – before we are republican/democrat, conservative/liberal, religious/non-religious or any other thing that divides us, we are Americans and united we stand.
The USA definitely can improve, and we’re not 1st in every category of measure. Americans bicker and argue over politics and religion and a long list of other things, but one thing most of us share is compassion for each other and love of country. When you hurt Americans, you hurt our country and threaten our way of life, and we will literally stop our lives to find you.
What unfolded in Massachusetts after the Boston Marathon bombing showed America at her greatest. Law enforcement agencies and citizens came together to show the world that while we are all individuals with individual ideals that sometimes divided us within, we are united as Americans always. When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us.
So today, and every day, let us look at each other as Americans first, knowing that while we may disagree on many things, we love the USA and united we stand.
I didn’t respond to her, but I wrote something to get it off my chest. Well, guess what? Today I received this email from another “friend”. So today, I’m posting it…to get it off my chest.
Which side of the fence?
I never wonder, because I’m too informed to vote for the current group called Republicans.
If a Republican doesn’t like guns, he doesn’t buy one. The main reason so many gun owners are Republican is because they believe this lie below.
If a Democrat doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed. Reasonable gun control is not outlawing guns, and it does work. Another Fox News lie (just one of a million)
If a Republican is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a Democrat is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone. Only a Republican would believe this.
If a Republican is homosexual, he demands legislated respect. If a Republican is not a homosexual, he demands a law to make it illegal.
If a Democrat is homosexual, he demands equal protections and benefits under the law as guaranteed in the US Constitution.
If a Republican is down-and-out, he points fingers because it is NEVER his fault.
A Democrat wonders how to better not only his situation, but the situation of others.
If a Republican doesn’t like a talk show host, he demands that they be shut down.
Democrats just switch channels.
If a Republican is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church, and he remains very quiet about his religious status, and when asked, usually pretends to be a Christian.
A Democrat non-believer wants any mention of God and religion kept out of our SECULAR government, as instructed in the Constitution.
If a Republican decides he needs health care, he just lowers his employee wages or cheats someone to cover the cost, thereby making everyone else pay his way.
A Democrat works and pays for his.
If a Republican reads this, he’ll forward it because his friends are also uninformed.
A Democrat will revise it… because it is so inaccurate.
Well, I revised it.
Marriage equality as it applies to being an American is a matter of respecting the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution. Our founders – remembering the power of religion to oppress, and recognizing the value of individual freedom – made a great effort to guarantee that laws were not passed respecting an establishment of religion or impeding the free exercise of religion. Unfortunately, there are those who either do not understand this effort or do not respect it.
Most opponents of same-gender marriage believe homosexuality and opposite-gender identity are wrong for religious reasons. The Constitution guarantees these Americans the right to live according to those beliefs. Some people believe – and science confirms – homosexuality and opposite-gender identity are a biological reality. The Constitution guarantees these Americans the right to live according to those beliefs. Unfortunately, this group is being denied that right by being denied equal marriage rights.
Vocal supporters of marriage equality – like myself – are often accused of forcing their opinions on those who believe differently. Nobody is forcing opponents of marriage equality to enter into same-gender marriage. Vocal support of marriage equality is a constitutional right, while supporting laws denying marriage equality supports a violation of the US Constitution by forcing the beliefs of some on all.
The serious consequence that opponents don’t understand is that these laws pave the way to forcing everyone to live by the beliefs others, including them. Something our founders understood to be a threat to all of our individual freedoms. All Americans should agree that each individual has the right to one’s own beliefs and the right to live according to those beliefs with equal protections and benefits under the law.
Supporting marriage equality is supporting freedom – yours and mine. As George Washington once said, “As mankind become more liberal they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protection of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations in examples of justice and liberality.” At this point, that is not the reality.
(CNN) -- Former Sen. Rick Santorum delivered a solemn but forceful rallying cry when speaking about the death of a close family member Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
With tears in his eyes, the former presidential candidate talked emotionally about his nephew who passed away Thursday in Pittsburgh from what Santorum described as "a horribly painful disease that almost overnight began ravaging his body."
This election was exhausting for me. There was so much information and not enough people willing to sift through it all. People were repeating stories they had read on The Onion, and the never-ending birther claims. What about The Donald? That guy should be embarrassed.
I live in Tennessee where almost 60% of the vote went to Mitt Romney. My Obama sign was stolen from my yard. Our lawn service thought no one was home, but they were seen putting my sign in their truck. The next week, I left a sympathy card with my payment. Above the “Sorry for your loss,” I wrote in “inevitable”. Then, “in the upcoming election. Your services are no longer needed.” I know it was childish, but man it felt good. Feels even better now that I’m right.
For this reason, I NEVER talk politics at work. Everyone knows I’m a Liberal. My truck has two Obama campaign bumper stickers, and my car has a HRC bumper sticker. I am very vocal about LGBT rights and my non-religious status, but only when faced with obvious prejudice against either. I also make it known that the “N” word is unacceptable to me.
Yes, it still happens often in the south, though it has improved since my childhood. The day after the election, one of my co-workers came into my office ranting about President Obama. I told him I respectfully disagreed, and he called me an Obama-lover, which felt a lot like “N” lover.
A former co-worker of mine, an older white man, consistently posts rants about President Obama and Liberals. Once he posted an Onion story about President Obama’s 19 year old son with a former lover who was present at the Democratic convention. He didn’t even know the Onion is satirical. Later in the election season, he posted another false claim that the President had signed 937 Executive Orders. When I worked with this man, he was a very vocal Liberal.
Another friend posts things like “Women don’t want free abortions and contraception, we want jobs.” Nobody is suggesting the government pay for abortions. We only want them to be legal. That choice should be made by a woman and her doctor and no one else. Woman should not have to prove to anyone they need an abortion or that they have been raped. Woman should not have to discuss that choice with anyone or undergo any unnecessary procedures to have an abortion. Provide affordable and accessible contraception and it is very likely the abortion rate goes down.
There is just so much information available that I cannot understand why so many people are so uninformed. This flood of information in the internet age is overwhelming making it hard to know what to believe. My approach is to try to stick to a few reputable news sources, cross-reference for accuracy, and research before I rant.