I Want to be White

african_sad_girl_by_psymfonius-d4bglwk

My heart sank into the quicksand of anger and frustration. The very self-hatred that I hoped and wished my children would never experience had shown up to play. As my then five-year-old daughter buckled her seatbelt in the school pick-up line, expressing her desire to not be black, anymore, hundreds of thoughts raced through my mind. I chose to reply with a simple, “Why?”

“Because white is just…better,” she responded.

I don’t know where she got that from, but it wasn’t from me.

I know where she got it. It’s all around. It always has been.

Kids repeat what they hear adults around them say, and clearly, somebody at school had made an impression on their kid, who then made one on my little girl. I can’t put it just on this kid, though. Children are brilliant and perceptive and pick up on everything, and my daughter notices the environment around her. She hears the reports on the radio. She sees news and commercials. She hears the conversations. She sees the responses we get, as a super-sized, black family, when we leave the house. Black parents are left wondering exactly what to do. She asks hard questions, and we give her hard answers. But what are we supposed to do to feel safe and accepted in this land that is also ours?

Martin Luther King, Jr. proved that peace doesn’t work.

Malcolm X proved that non-compliance doesn’t work.

The brutal murders of Tamir Rice and Aiyana Jones proved that age doesn’t protect you.

Neither does following the rules, as we learned in recent hours with Philando Castile.

Black people have had enough. Violence and prejudice against us, by those in power, is a reality that we all recognize, and as children, we’re taught how to try to avoid it. Then, when bad things happen, and people try to stand up, they’re called lazy for not being at work, or they’re told to get back in their place. Remember the Missouri college football players who stood up to protest against campus racism last year? All over my timeline, people called for them to shut up and do what they were there for—play football. Yes, please, do that. Be mindless entertainers. Act like you don’t know your rights. Let people call you dumb jocks. You’re here for one reason alone, and that’s to make people feel comfortable in your silence and watch you run up and down a field, once a week. I can’t help but wonder, would that sentiment have been the same if those athletes were fighting for gun rights or abortion?

Being black is work. It is constantly having to prove to the public that you’re not dangerous, you’re not an idiot who can’t accurately pronounce words, and you’re not looking for the next crime to commit. Most of us don’t commit crimes, but listening to the media and prejudices that have been instilled in the public since birth, you wouldn’t know that. It sucks to see the sigh of relief on the faces of our white counterparts when they realize they can let their guard down around us, because we’re not the kind of blacks who make them uncomfortable. Please know, we’re extremely aware that we must do this, because our society has been taught to fear us. Think I’m lying? What’s the main excuse cops use to kill black people? They feared for their lives.

Just like Michael David Dunn, the white man who killed Florida kid, Jordan Davis, because he felt like Jordan’s music was too loud. As Jordan prepared to drive away, he was fatally shot in the back of the head, because Michael feared for his life. The back of the head, y’all. However, in a rare show of justice, Mr. Dunn was sentenced to life in prison. If we will have more of the killings, we need more of the justice.

We go over and beyond to convince our daughters that they’re beautiful, because the world around us tries to teach them that not only are they incapable of beauty, but their lives have less value, altogether. Relax. Our loving our blackness has not one single solitary minuscule thing to do with your being white or any other shade. Nothing. It’s like you can love tacos without hating hamburgers. And we also don’t care if you declare your love for your own race. That is not what this is about. It’s supremacy and oppression we have a problem with.

My dad used to wear this shirt that said, “I Love Being Black.” I wanted it, but he wore it until he had to throw it away because it was thinner and holier than Bible paper. It’s important that we know it’s OK to love our heritage, our history, our hues. We’re amazing, and that amazingness goes beyond singing and dancing and carrying a ball up a field.

We’re intelligent. We’re professionals, entrepreneurs, and contributors to society. We are teaching kids how to excel in science, math, and engineering. We are mentors, role models, authors, principals and speakers. And contrary to popular belief, there are not more black men in jail than there are in college.

Statistics, and the emotions they evoke, humor me. Folks post gun stats and it’s, “Guns don’t kill people—people do!”

Those same folks post black-on-black crime stats, but I’ve never heard anyone say, “Blackness doesn’t kill people—people do!”

No, it’s the precisely the opposite. “They’re so violent—maybe they deserve the treatment they get!”

You know folks with guns, right? How many have killed someone?

Along that same vein, do you know folks with black skin? How many have killed someone?

The black-on-black crime argument makes me cringe, every single time. Encouraging black people to not talk about police brutality until black-on-black crime is non-existent is like saying don’t treat people with breast cancer until the colon cancer patients have been addressed. Think about that. Then think about why people don’t post stats on the intra-racial murders of other groups. While you’re at it, consider the amount of convictions and wrongful convictions (you’ll likely have to imagine these numbers based on the little bit of information we actually have, because these numbers are not available to us, naturally). I’m constantly seeing stories of black men who were released from jail after serving years and years for crimes—MURDERS—they didn’t commit.

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In addition, when people talk about black-on-black crime, they always bring up Chicago or Crenshaw, or a few other specific locations. So maybe there’s more at play here than blackness. Maybe the stresses of location and environment? Mental illness??? What do we need to do to get the same benefit of the doubt? Or what do others need to do to get the same punishment?

Can we take an honest look at the color of crime, for a moment? During the discussion of whether we should allow refugees into the States, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings expressed that he was more afraid of being killed by a white American male than he is a Middle Easterner. People immediately lit into him like a flame to fireworks. I found it funny though, because I’d said the exact same thing the day before. Danger is all around us. It’s in movie theaters, elementary schools, high schools, and churches. Yep, it’s dangerous to ride around Crenshaw, but it’s also dangerous, randomly dangerous, to go watch the newest Batman movie. And which demographic is committing these random, large-scale crimes?

Something has got to give. Everybody needs to get mad. All the right and good people need to get mad. We don’t want pity; we want equality. Those of us who claim to love liberty and justice and say that it’s for all of us need to get mad, get up, band together, formulate a plan, and do what we can to ensure that ALL of us get to experience the same brand of American liberty and justice.

All cops aren’t bad. We know that. That’s not even the issue. But what is bad is the silence and protection that the good cops display when the bad ones screw up. Silence is bad. Silence is bad. Silence. Is. Bad. Stop backing a group because you’re one of them or can relate to them, and start backing what’s right. THAT is good. And this man right here put it perfectly, when he called out a law enforcement officer who wouldn’t say that overzealous cops are wrong.

“I want to be white,” my daughter said. I don’t think she really wants to be white. What she wants is to be accepted without disclaimers. She wants to feel safe and at home in her homeland. She wants to feel welcomed without first handing out a personality resume. She wants to be loved, like we all do. But we cannot feel love where we’re constantly reminded that we are not enough, and we do not matter.

 

Photocredit to psymfonius.deviantart.com
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We Are Headed for China!

Photo credit: visitweihai.com

Photo credit: visitweihai.com

That’s right! This August, our family of four will be starting anew in Weihai, a lovely beach town in Eastern China, as teachers and students at a Christian international School. Click here to learn about the school and here to learn about the city.

We are selling everything, telling our family and friends goodbye, and heading out to live the life we envisioned for ourselves close to 10 years ago. And let me tell you–it feels sensational!

You’re probably wondering where all this came from. James and I always knew we wanted to see the world, and we also knew we wanted the same for our kids. The experience that travel affords is unparalleled, and we want it to be the norm in our daughters’ lives. A few weeks ago, we stopped joking about leaving and wondered, “What are we waiting for?” Immediately, we looked into the necessary qualifications to teach English abroad. We have some friends who have done it, so we began asking them questions. One friend told us about the opportunity in Weihai, so we sent an inquiry email.

The recruiter emailed me back and asked for resumes. Very quickly, we were on to interviews, then second interviews, and two days into the two-week window in which the school leadership would make a decision, we received an offer.

Boom. Just like that.

So here we are, wrapping our heads around this massive change, telling all the people we love that we’ll be on the other side of the world, and trying to reconcile our excitement with a to-do list that looks impossible, but will most definitely be completed in the matter of a few short weeks. Eek!

In the meantime, we’re fundraising to help offset the costs of a move like this. Please take a second to look at our Go Fund Me campaign, and consider giving.

I’ll be posting our adventures on here. In the meantime, pray for us to make sure we get all the big and small things done in time with the least amount of stress, possible. I’m serious.

Love to you!

Want the Fighting to Stop? Get Over Yourself.

cutouthands

Ok. Here it goes.

Our country is in disarray right now, but you already know that.

The war we’re waging requires everyone to pick a side, and I encourage you to do so. However, before you do, at least be aware of what the sides are.

At its core, the killing, rioting, and mudslinging isn’t really about black vs. white; the recent murder of two Hattiesburg cops proved that. Pieces of the puzzle make it look that way, but that’s not what’s at the core. Racism is a real, living thing, as real as a consistent, sharp pain or lingering fever. But like a fever, it’s a symptom of a bigger infection.
It’s not about cops vs. civilians, because we all know good cops; one of the most respected men I ever knew, Paul Acker, was a cop, and a great one, at that.
It’s about what every single wrongdoing since the beginning of time has been about: good vs. evil.

In every city, there are good cops, and there are bad cops.
There are good black people, and there are bad black people.
There are good white people, Mexicans, Asians, and Indians, and bad ones.

As humans, we tend to side with the people we relate to most, whether that relation is through skin tone, profession, common interest, or some other factor. If we relate to a myriad of people, when we feel forced to choose whose side to take in a debacle, we tend to side with the ones who reflect how we most identify ourselves, or the part of our identity which we hold most valuable.

If your melanin represents your deepest self, you’ll side with people of the same skin tone as you.
If your job represents your deepest self, you’ll side with those of the same profession.
If your love for people represents your deepest self, you’ll side with love (which, by the way, is the answer to all of this).

But if we get to know the person, the individual, stereotypes aimed towards specific groups lose their power, and we stand for the good of the person, not for the perceived good of a group of people, or against the perceived bad of a group of people.

Cleaning up this mess isn’t complicated. There are a lot of “solutions” being offered that we don’t need. All we need is to get past ourselves and get to know people who are different from us on a real level instead of believing everything we’ve been taught about “them.”

The friend I’ve had longer than any other in my life is white. We’ve been riding with each other for 26 years. And let me tell you something; if anybody–ANYBODY–or anything causes her pain, I will be there to listen, to offer a shoulder, to fight, or whatever else needs to happen. And if the situation dictates, I will tell the people close to me to take up a collection and where to pick me up, because she matters to me, and what’s important to her is important to me, and I adore her, and I don’t want to see her hurting.

That’s love, and it transcends every difference between us; our ethnicities, our upbringing, our religions. Honestly, other than being raised in the South and loving sports, Shannon and I don’t have a laundry list of similarities. But I love her, and I’m passing this kind of love for people down to my daughters (read more of my thoughts on that, here).

Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, too many biases blind us and muddle our view of who’s right and who’s not. We start ignoring people, disregarding their truth as fabrications, or privilege, or as meaningless anecdotes that lack all the facts. Watching the hate unfold has been disheartening. The way I view several people has changed, because love and friendship dictate that what’s important to one party becomes important to both parties, but that’s not what’s happening, here.

I could list the incidences of harassment that my friends, family, and myself have experienced at the hands of cops, but if you were not willing to listen, it would be a waste.

I find it interesting, however, that when I share about the time I channeled Whitney Houston through my most captivating vocals and dance moves while driving down a back road in Hattiesburg, MS, and made eye contact with a motorcycle cop, and we shared a smile, nodding our heads in agreement that my skills were beyond awesome, not once has anyone ever doubted that story. Herein lies the problem.

If you’ve already decided whom and what you’ll believe, if by default, certain people are automatically right or wrong, then there’s no conversation to be had, and subsequently, no changes to be made. The bloody cycle of hatred continues (and I mean that literally, not in a British way).

However, if we swallow our pride, close our mouth, open our ears, and listen, incredible things could happen. We might learn that our experiences aren’t the only ones that count, that others’ experiences are valid, even valuable. We’d exercise empathy instead of blame. Maybe we’d even begin to see people who are different from us as worthy of justice and respect, as just as human as ourselves. Maybe.

I’m not naïve. My thoughts here probably won’t do a whole lot to put a dent in the immense frustration and confusion in the air of our nation right now, especially since it will likely be lost in the sea of blog posts about this same topic. But I do know that the people I care about deserve for me to acknowledge the things that are important to them, and if you care about people, that same principle applies. Step one of a real solution would be to intentionally approach somebody on the opposite side of the spectrum and ask, with a genuine heart and open mind, “Hey, what’s your view of all this? Would you mind sharing your experiences with me?” Then, listen. People deserve to at least be heard; it makes them feel significant.

Let’s do this. How about all the people who believe in what’s good and right band together to fight for justice, no matter what the other factors look like? Do you think it would make a difference? Do you even think it’s possible? I’d like to hear your thoughts. However, before you post a comment, please,
1. Make sure your reading comprehension is on point, and
2. Be respectful.

On Sex, Girls, and the Church: Are we being honest?

Warning: This article is about sex. Proceed at your own discretion.

Valentine’s day is Friday, and we all know what that means. Flowers, candy, packed restaurants, and sex. Lots and lots of sex. If you’ve watched TV at all in the past week, you’ve noticed that the KY and Durex commercials have been in full swing. This isn’t by happenstance. Valentine’s Day and Christmas (yes, Christmas) are prime time for sexual adventure, and many of the new explorers are teenagers. That’s right, teens, some of which are in your youth group, small group, community group, home group, and congregation.

I’m concerned, but not for the reason you may think. I enjoy long talks with young women. I believe there is so much power in that demographic to change our society and the world. I love to hear about their dreams and see their eyes light up when they share their most recent accomplishments. They give me hope and encourage me to reach my own goals. I especially appreciate when they share their personal lives with me—struggles with friends, college and career options, their new boyfriends. But my heart never ceases to crack a bit when I sense their struggle with sexual sin. More than that, my heart breaks when they hesitate to share the truth with me because they think they know how I’ll respond.

These days, churches are making the effort to more effectively address the topic of sex. If they can find an adult who can talk about it without crumbling into a red, awkward, babbling pile of embarrassment, they’ll say how we’re sexual beings with desires that are best experienced within the confines of God’s plan for marriage. A few congregations have successfully figured out how to go a step or two further, while others avoid the topic, altogether. Some will even break the guys and girls into separate groups to talk about sex, and this is where the real fun begins.

I’ve been in countless meetings like this, and there are a few quotes that are as organic to these assemblies as green is to grass. All three of these concepts were foreign to me until I was halfway through college, and even today, I wonder how honest we’re being with young women when we teach these things. Let me explain.

1.“Girls are turned on by what they hear, not by what they see.”
I was shocked to learn that I wasn’t supposed to be “turned on” by what I saw because, up until I was told this (and after; it didn’t change the truth), if a silent set of thick biceps or chiseled abs strolled by me, lust ensued. He didn’t have to say a word. In fact, it was better if he didn’t, because talking might have subtracted from his mystery and made him more…human. Once this concept was pushed enough times for me to openly question it, I was informed that I was turned on by a man’s physical attractiveness simply because I had too much testosterone. The more I questioned and got people to answer me away from crowds, it was confirmed that I wasn’t an anomaly. Girls everywhere, Christ followers or not, had lust in their lives. Don’t believe me? Ask a girl who watches porn (there are many) if she watches it for the shocking plot twists or compelling dialogue. Better yet, do you know anybody who’s listened to Magic Mike on audiobook? Me either.

2.“We need to be careful how we dress as to not become a stumbling block to our brothers.”
I am going to say this once as a precursor to the rest of my exposition on this topic. THERE IS MUCH VALUE IN NOT BECOMING A STUMBLING BLOCK TO THE PEOPLE AROUND US. Don’t email me about this. I know it’s true. I also know that it’s not primarily anyone’s responsibility to keep me from sinning except my own, and that goes for each and every one of us. Here are my problems with pushing this concept as a primary reason to maintain modesty and purity:

a.It reduces young men to animals who have no self-control.
This kind of thinking is characteristic of rape culture. Read up on it. Relinquishing responsibility for your own mental and physical purity is childish and dangerous. It makes sinners victims, and we need to get past this thinking in order to come to true repentance. Sin, regardless of circumstance, is always a choice. Job made a covenant with his eyes that he wouldn’t look at a woman lustfully (Job 31:1). How about that for a role model?

b.Keeping other people from sinning, in my opinion, should not be the main reason for practicing purity in dress, talk, and other actions.
Instead of looking in the mirror and asking, “Will this cause my brothers to stumble?” the conversation should instead go like this:
i. Is the way I look/talk/act acceptable to a holy God?
ii. Am I accurately representing what I claim to believe?
iii. Will my appearance and behavior be a problem for young men and women (because, like it or not, girls lust after other girls)?
Truthfully, if you answer the first question of these three honestly, the other two become non-issues.

c.Where do we draw the line of being so careful about keeping others from stumbling?
I know a man who said women in baseball caps turned him on. Baseball caps! At some point, we have to recognize that men like thinking about sex, and while we can take several measures to attempt to ensure we’re not on the receiving end of these thoughts (for those who even want this to be the case, because, in reality, some girls’ entire purpose in life is to get men to see them sexually), there’s only so much we can do. I once knew a man who was very clear about his desire for black women. What was I supposed to do about that? If you have an answer, I’ll wait for it.

d.This thinking exposes a double standard in the church.
I wonder how many sessions Christian men have sat in that encouraged them to put on a shirt while they worked out as to not be a stumbling block to me. I know that one has existed, for sure, because I was the one to say it. However, after I made such a statement, an older man interjected, accusing me of behaving like a loose woman, claiming that his mother’s and grandmother’s generations didn’t struggle with lust, and neither should I. Apparently his matriarchs were older than Potiphar’s wife.

3.“Girls give sex to get love; boys give love to get sex.”
It won’t take long to explain this one. Boys like sex. Girls also like sex. We’re sexual beings. I know women who like sex simply because they like it. They have healthy relationships with their dads, they’re not looking to fill a void, they just simply enjoy the act of sex. While many, many girls sleep with people so they can feel loved, this is not a blanket situation, and we can’t approach it as such.

When teaching our girls about sex, if we refuse to approach the topic with complete honesty, regardless of how uncomfortable it may make us feel, we are taking a massive risk that we can’t afford to take. One day, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who works in the adoption industry. She frequents an abortion clinic to try to convince girls to walk away from the crushing choice they’re about to make and to meet them at the door with love once they’ve made a life-ending, life-altering decision. She informed me that the abortion rate among preachers’ kids is high because they don’t want to ruin their dads’ careers with a pregnancy, or they don’t feel comfortable telling Christians that they’ve made a sexual mistake. How ironic is that? The very place a person should feel welcome to come clean and turn away from sexual sin is the very place they run from to hide it.

So, where do these girls go for healing, instead? Nowhere. If they couldn’t talk about lust, sex, or a pregnancy with fellow Christians, they’re certainly not going to talk about an abortion! And why do they feel like they can’t bring these mistakes to the church? Because lust is expected among young men and approached accordingly, but it’s detested among young women.

I used to struggle with lust because I’m a person, not because I’m a whore, and not because my testosterone level is off the charts. And honestly, it wasn’t always a struggle; sometimes it was straight up submission. I turned away from this sin because I knew it was displeasing to God. Unfortunately, there weren’t many people I could talk to about it, because I knew there weren’t many safe places to discuss sexual sin for women. My hope is that this will change. I pray that the same way young women feel at ease discussing recipes and wedding plans, they can also feel at ease going to other Godly women about wanting to turn away from sexual struggles without being met with concepts that don’t apply to them or with condemnation.

Agree? Disagree? Comment!

To read more of my views on church culture, click to buy my book, Shift: Finding True Faith Beyond Church Culture.

Jesus for President

Photo credit wikimedia.org

Photo credit wikimedia.org

The White House was incredibly beautiful, and I was honored to be in it, especially since I was the event’s keynote speaker. I sat at a small table with the former president. He was so dignified, even though he was shaking a little. He had certainly aged over the years, and his health was deteriorating, but his presence commanded respect. I studied the grey in his hair as he looked down to check my speech. He gave me a few synonyms to replace some of the words I’d written.

“Putting this word here instead of that one will get more of a response from the audience,” he said. I took heed. We chatted a little bit. He looked me in the eye when we talked. He smiled. He made me feel important and comfortable. I appreciated that.

I got up from the table, shook the former president’s hand, and headed down a long, winding walkway into the banquet hall. I don’t know why I had on a chocolate-colored evening gown that was three sizes too big. Didn’t I know better? I mean seriously, Jasmine, you’re about to deliver a speech in Washington, D.C., at the White House, in front of your country’s leaders. I was especially perplexed as to why I was wearing that dress since I’d been wearing something totally different just seconds earlier while talking to the President. I held the dress up with my arms and walked awkwardly down that hallway, ignoring the ushers’ giggles as I made my way through. Finally, I reached the end of the tunnel and entered a breathtaking banquet room that was graced with Southern decor. In true Southern fashion, the portions were enormous, and instead of cups, we each had our own pitcher of sweet tea. I was to speak before we dined. It was almost my turn, but I wasn’t very nervous. Preparing to take the podium, I made eye contact with Former President Obama who had been so gracious to help me put the finishing touches on my speech. Then I woke up.

I had that dream July 31, 2012. The next day, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Was it prophetic? I sure hope so. I would LOVE to be the speaker at a White House function. When I woke up, I spent a few minutes wondering what I would say given the opportunity to deliver a speech in a setting like that. It didn’t take me long to decide at all.

1 Peter 2 says:
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

What would I say in front of President Obama? The first words that come to mind are “I’m sorry.”

I’d apologize on behalf of every Christian who was misrepresented by all those who hated him, claimed he destroyed our country, and called him the Anti-Christ. I’d let him know that the word of God called us to honor him and submit to him, and although every Christ follower didn’t do that, many did pray for him and the rest of the government, whether we agreed with their views and decisions or not. I’d tell him his wife was a joy to watch during his presidency, and I took it as a huge compliment every time somebody told me I had biceps like hers. Then I’d ask if we could shoot free throws after the banquet was over.

Now, before you roll your eyes or yell a’men, there’s something you need to know. I didn’t vote for Obama. I didn’t vote for Mitt Romney, either. I understand that a lot of people fought and died for me to be able to vote. How could I not? I’m American, I’m black, and I’m a woman. I also have a dad and a brother who are both military. I understand that it’s my privilege, as an American, to vote, and I appreciate that privilege deeply. I don’t, however, believe that all those people sacrificed in order for me to vote for something I don’t believe in just to say I did it. I believe in truth, and I don’t think either candidate represented that, so I praised God that on that cloudy November day, I lived in a free country where I had the right to choose my actions. Then, I went to work.

That night, I watched the election coverage like it was the Olympics. I get a kick out of that stuff. I like the thrill of the competition. I like the suspense of waiting for the victor to emerge. I like to hear the biased comments of people who are sure they are right. That night, however, it wasn’t the experts’ commentaries that really got to me. Thanks to my Facebook news feed, I went to bed sorely disappointed and deeply saddened.

I was appalled by the hatred that was suddenly unleashed as the results were announced. Stereotypes and accusations of racism and close-mindedness blew up statuses of otherwise reasonable citizens. Republicans bashed Democrats, Democrats berated Republicans, donkeys and elephants were engulfed in a royal rumble, many of whom were sure they’d voted the way that God would have had them to. I wondered if Jesus Christ himself would have been an American citizen (you do know he’s not, right?) on November 6 who he’d have voted for. He’d have probably been somewhere washing the feet of poll workers and passing out drinks. Maybe he’d have shot hoops that morning with Obama or hit some last-minute campaign spots with Romney. Maybe he’d have fasted and prayed for a country whose people oftentimes pay way more attention to our politics than we ever did to how he said we should treat our politicians.

Whether we like our government leaders or not, we are called to honor them. When Peter and Paul wrote this mandate to the Church in 1 Peter and Romans, please know they were not being led by the most favorable of leaders. Ever hear of Nero, the emperor who blamed a fire that destroyed most of Rome on Christians (word on the street was Nero started this fire), thus beginning Christian persecution and torture in Rome? In light of that, I gotta say, honoring the folks in D.C. doesn’t seem like that great a task compared to what our brothers and sisters back in the day endured.

What if the problems in our country have nothing to do with conservatives, liberals, and policies, but everything to do with the fact that the Church isn’t doing what we’re supposed to be doing? We’re supposed to be loving people and being accurate representations of Christ, not bickering with those who oppose our views and trying to force people to agree. If all of us who claim to love Jesus Christ decided to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors (democrat, republican, tea party, green party, libertarian, communist, hippy, red, yellow, black, white…) as ourselves, would we even have time for endless arguments, pointless fighting, and ineffective social network statuses? Maybe we’d change the population of God’s kingdom for the better. Maybe we’d all get our heads chopped off. Definitely we’d be obeying our Father who rules the ultimate theocracy. I think all of us who love God can vote for that.

Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Romans 13:7

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
Luke 10:26-27