I was born at a very young age.

Get your own house in order

When I was in high school, my sister and I once invented, on the spot, a rule against riding in cars with men we weren’t related to, in order to avoid being driven home from babysitting by a Growing Kids God’s Way dad who creeped us out. That was the last time we babysat for that family, we made up an excuse about being too busy with school work but the truth was that we didn’t feel safe. When we ran into the family years later as adults, he remembered how old we were during that short time we sat for them, something neither of us could recall, but that made me uncomfortable for my teenage self all over again. I tell this story because while everyone is running around screaming about how we need to ban trans people from bathrooms because a few predatory cis straight men might take advantage, I can’t stop thinking of all the times my creep-dar kicked into high gear. None of them were in bathrooms. None of them were around trans people. No, all the times I felt unsafe or uncomfortable growing up, the times when every fiber of my being were screaming, “run away, stay away, keep your distance and don’t ever be alone with this man,” were all around “good Christian family men.” I remember the man at my church who I felt strangely sexualized around, although I was too young to understand it, just that I felt very much aware that I had a body. He moved his family away, became quiverfull homeschoolers, his wife and daughters started wearing long dresses and head coverings. Some time later we got word that his wife was leaving him because she’d discovered he’d been molesting her oldest daughter, his stepdaughter, for years. Nobody reported the[…]

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The moment Bernie Sanders lost the chance of my support. Or, how I learned to stop worrying and embrace Hillary Clinton

Going into Thursday’s Democratic debate I was undecided on who I was planning to vote for. I know a lot of people on both sides think it’s pretty cut and dried, but I’ve never seen it as a particularly simple decision. There are things I like about both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and there are things I dislike about both of them, and the decision about who to support involves weighing all the factors. I’ll support whoever ends up with the nomination in the end because either one of them is a better option than any of the Republican field, but for now I’m backing Hillary. I’m glad Bernie is in the race. I thought all along that he should run because we needed somebody in the race who was running to the left of Clinton. I like the idea of Bernie Sanders, socialist. This first head to head debate made it clear though to me that he’s not the best option this go round.  Foreign policy is important to me. The world is a complicated place and I want somebody who’s president who knows what they’re talking about. There’s much I can say about how Bernie’s brand of socialism in domestic policy reminds me of a college freshman in a 100 level class who hasn’t yet learned enough to know how complicated everything is, but that’s nothing compared to his lack of basic global political knowledge. There’s a lot more to foreign policy than voting against the Iraq war, or opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership, and Bernie just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The following exchange is where he lost me. TODD: Alright, as Commander in Chief, Senator Sanders, you’ve got to prioritize potential threats to the United States. Three countries, North Korea, Iran, Russia. How would you[…]

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Top 10 Posts of 2015

This year brought us the World’s Worst Homesteaders, discrimination in the name of religion, mass shootings, and way too much Duggar. Seriously, every Duggar post I wrote landed in my top ten because people, you really need to stop paying attention to them. I’m really close to resolving that no matter what they do next year, I’m blacklisting them from my blog.  May next year be better than the one that’s ending. Read on after the break for my top ten posts this year. 10. What happens after Colorado Springs? My response in the immediate aftermath of the domestic terror attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.  We saw today what happened because people who should have known better were more interested in playing with fire and amping up the rhetoric in hopes of defunding Planned Parenthood than they were about the consequences. The last go round in the ‘90s, what happened next was a mix of halfhearted denunciations, insistence that “most” pro-lifers were peaceful, and a whole lot of debate that played out in living rooms, churches, and the pages of Life Advocate Magazine arguing back and forth about the theological and ethical merits of a philosophy of justifiable homicide. It was a debate that shouldn’t have happened at all and went on for far too long before Flip Benham pulled a power play and marginalized the justifiable homicide proponents. Meanwhile, the debate and the dillydallying successfully legitimized the justifiable homicide camp as holding a valid position worthy of debate. The result was more violence and bloodshed. 9. A Recipe for Disaster Coming in at #9 is a guest post by Sophie Anna Platt written in response to the Jim Bob Duggar quote above. Nooo… Really? And not once did it occur to you that maybe the way you and[…]

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If you were looking for my Army of God series, check back tomorrow for the next installment. We apparently can’t go a week between major mass shootings in this country, and while I would like to draw attention to the way that the cable media is going on about self-radicalization in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings and ignored it here, my heart’s not in it right now. Pay attention to the San Bernardino coverage though, and see how much of what is said by cable news “terrorism” experts applies just as well to Robert Lewis Dear and Army of God.

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If you’re a Covenant College student, you may have heard by now that Covenant applied for and received a Title IX exemption granting the school permission to legally discriminate against LGBT students. As a Covenant grad I’ve got a few things I’d like you to know. To the straight students, whatever you may believe about the morality of same-sex relationships or attraction, or about gender identity, please remember this. Some of your friends and classmates may be hurting and feeling unwelcome at the school that they call home because of this news. You may not know that the friend you eat breakfast with or sit next to in class is one of those students. Be sensitive and compassionate in what you say because you don’t know who you could be hurting because of your words. Whatever your theological beliefs on this, remember that Jesus modeled love and compassion for the marginalized. To the LGBT students, whether you’re out or not, whether you believe that this is a temptation you have to struggle against or you’ve decided that it’s something you can embrace, know this. God loves you, and no matter how constraining the Covenant bubble may feel, there is a whole big world off the mountain. I’m not saying that what you’re feeling and experiencing now isn’t hard, because the stuff you go through in college is very real and when you’re in a closed bubble everything is magnified. It can definitely suck big time. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, no matter how much Covenant and the PCA can feel like all there is, there are so many options out there for you. If you need to get away from the bubble for a while to maintain your mental health, don’t feel bad about[…]

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Inside the Army of God Manual

Introduction Several years ago I happened across an archived copy of most of the anti-abortion domestic terrorism handbook the Army of God Manual.  I thought it might be useful for background research somewhere down the line, so I saved PDFs of the archive and they’ve been sitting in a Google Drive folder ever since. With the news in the New York Times that Planned Parenthood attack terrorist Robert Dear was influenced by the domestic terror group Army of God, I’ve decided it’s time to publish some excerpts from the Army of God Manual. All of the parts of the manual that I have were at one point readily available on the Army of God website. I’m not going to link you to the website because I have a policy against linking to terror groups. Today and tomorrow I’m going to publish excerpts that are still available on the Army of God website as of the time I’m writing this. These are materials that were readily available for Dear to access. After that, I’m going to publish excerpts from my archives. It’s still possible to find those archived documents without too much trouble, however because they do include detailed how-to instructions for making bombs and incendiary devices I’m not going to provide links or publish those portions of the manual that could provide others with the information necessary to carry out a terror attack. The reason for this series is because I believe it’s important for the general public to understand that this isn’t lone wolf terrorism. Just like Al Qaeda and ISIS publish online “terrorism starter kits” that enable others to take up the cause without contact with the main group, the Army of God website provides plenty to inspire would-be terrorists. The excerpts that I’m posting today show that[…]

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But don’t call him a terrorist, right? I happen to have managed to track down all but the bomb making instructions section of the Army of God Manual a while back and have been trying to figure out what I can do with it for ages. Tomorrow I’ll be starting a series and publishing excerpts. I’m not going to dump the whole thing online because even the sections I have include instructions on things like the best way to firebomb clinics, but there are things the public should see and understand.

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What happens after Colorado Springs?

You may think Planned Parenthood is wrong, you may think they’re immoral. Dehumanizing their employees, which is something I’ve been seeing a lot of on social media over the last few months, helps fuel violence like the kind that happened today. I haven’t said a lot on social media about the Planned Parenthood videos and the associated reactions other than to point out that one of the board members of the group that released the heavily edited videos is a bona fide terror group leader closely associated with the man who murdered George Tiller. My general silence on the matter aside, I’ve been worried for the last few months because the tenor of the rhetoric, both from the chattering class and Republican politicians, reminded me eerily of the talk I heard in the months leading up to David Gunn’s murder in Pensacola. There are times I hate being right and this is one of them. We saw today what happened because people who should have known better were more interested in playing with fire and amping up the rhetoric in hopes of defunding Planned Parenthood than they were about the consequences. The last go round in the ‘90s, what happened next was a mix of halfhearted denunciations, insistence that “most” pro-lifers were peaceful, and a whole lot of debate that played out in living rooms, churches, and the pages of Life Advocate Magazine arguing back and forth about the theological and ethical merits of a philosophy of justifiable homicide. It was a debate that shouldn’t have happened at all and went on for far too long before Flip Benham pulled a power play and marginalized the justifiable homicide proponents. Meanwhile, the debate and the dillydallying successfully legitimized the justifiable homicide camp as holding a valid position worthy of debate. The[…]

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I Stand With Ahmed

I made this piece of art from wires and circuit boards. Would the Irving school district and police department think I should be arrested too? Or does the paleness of my skin mean my harmless projects are given the benefit of the doubt?  Ahmed Mohamed’s story–nerdy kid builds something cool, wants to show it off–is a story as old as time. That’s why his story has resonated with so many across the science and tech sector, because we’ve all been there. The kid building things because we’re excited about making, excited about figuring out how things work. There’s a joy in finishing a project and finding that yes, you puzzled through and it works!  I saw that joy in Ahmed’s face when he was asked on MSNBC to describe how he made his clock. It’s the feeling I got from building model rockets as a kid, and I can’t imagine what I would be like to go show off one of them and end up in handcuffs. All because someone was scared by what they didn’t understand and could only see destruction, not fantastic creation. It’s utterly shameful that an ignorant, bigoted school administration and police department tried to take away that joy of creating because all they could see in wires and circuit boards was an instrument of destruction. Because all they could see in him was an agent of destruction.  I’m glad to see though that so many powerful people have rallied around Ahmed and have turned his terrible experience at school into something positive. I think I’d be having the best day of my life too, if the President of the United States, NASA engineers and astronauts, Mark Zuckerberg, and so many more big names are all inviting me to hang out and telling me my clock[…]

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Three things you should know before writing about Josh Duggar

With the latest round of Josh Duggar scandals, it’s time to address a few things that have been floating around, both in the religious blogosphere and tabloid and mainstream media. If you’re going to write about the Duggars, here are some things you need to know. Before I begin with my list though, I want to say one other thing. If you defended Josh Duggar the child molester I don’t even want to hear your condemnation of Josh Dugger the adulterer. Consensual sex between two adults isn’t in the same universe as child sexual assault. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to reexamine their life. With that said, here are some things you need to understand if you’re going to write about Josh Duggar. 1. Fundamentalist ≠ Quiverfull It’s tempting to conflate the two concepts, especially since those who were involved in the latter insist that they’re the only true fundamentalists, but they’re not the same thing. Fundamentalism is, at its core, a theological position dating to the formulation of the Five Fundamentals of Christian doctrine and the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy of the early 20th century. The five fundamentals were the core doctrinal beliefs that those who came to be called “fundamentalists” believed were central to orthodox Christian doctrine. Those fundamentals were the inspiration of scripture by the Holy Spirit and Biblical inerrancy, belief in the virgin birth of Christ, that Christ’s death was an atonement for sin, the bodily resurrection, and that Christ’s miracles happened. Pretty much every Evangelical church in America believes in those Five Fundamentals, though most of those churches would eschew the “fundamentalist” label because of the additional baggage the term has taken on over the years. It’s entirely possible to believe in the Five Fundamentals and still believe in women’s equality, marriage equality, evolution, and left-wing politics.[…]

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