Yesterday was my last class ever as a student. I thought it was fitting to post this photo from one of my first days of school. Back then I wanted to be an astronaut, I dreamed of being the first person on Mars. Funny how the dream seemed so much more attainable in the ’80s than it does now, and not just because 5 year old me liked visiting NASA better than Disney. It wasn’t that long after this picture was taken that the lightbulb went off in my head and I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I especially loved reading books about things like black holes, the idea that there were things out there that were so dense that nothing could escape blew my mind. My nerdery started early. I look at this picture with me sitting there, pencil poised, wearing my birthstone ring that had been a bribe to get me to stop sucking my thumb and I think about how little me had no idea where the years to follow would take me. And yeah, I never got to go to Mars, but I did get to visit places that as a child of the Cold War I never dreamed I would ever get to see. I may not have gotten to make history in as the first person on Mars like my 5 year old self dreamed of, but I got to play a tiny role in a landmark Supreme Court case and high school me would be proud of that. I don’t know how the next chapter in my life is going to unfold but here’s to the future.

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Franklin Graham wants you to think he cares about child exploitation

Franklin Graham wants you to think he cares about child exploitation He doesn’t. Franklin Graham is busy pretending he cares about child exploitation and that’s why he doesn’t want to let gay people adopt. He thinks gay people recruit children. Aside from pointing out the utter absurdity of this idea, I have one thing to say to Franklin Graham. Speak out against the abuse in the church. If you really care about children being harmed, then use your voice and your famous name to do something about the abuse and exploitation of children in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and institutions. Speak out against the way churches protect child molesters while shaming their victims. Speak up for the children. Condemn the Bill Gothards, the Doug Phillipses, the Sovereign Grace Ministries, the Christian colleges that refuse to do anything about sexual harassment and assault and punish the victims. Speak against the system that enables the abuse and looks the other way when it happens. Speak out. Speak against the child abuse. Against the Pearls, the Ezzos, the parenting “experts” who tell parents that the way to create godly children is to beat them into submission. Speak out against the forces in the homeschool world who are fighting tooth and nail against any efforts to protect children from abuse and neglect. Franklin Graham, you need to get your house in order. Instead of cozying up to the human rights-abusing quasi-dictator that is Vladimir Putin, just because he hates gay people as much as you do, take some of that effort and do something about the very serious and very real abuse problem in the church. And as for me? I’m too busy trying to do what you won’t do, working hard to keep any more children from being beaten or starved to death[…]

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Think of the children?

UPDATE: As of this afternoon, World Vision caved to their critics. I don’t blame them, I blame the people who forced them into the position where they had to choose between their projects continuing and keeping their policy change. What happened is shameful and tarnishes the name of Christ. I can’t emphasize just how unbelievably saddened I am about this turn of events and how the evangelical world demonstrated their willingness to use children, poor children, as leverage. It’s a dark day. My point below still stands. 31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the[…]

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Leaving, on a jet plane

Well folks, come tomorrow I’m skipping the country for a week to do study abroad in Belize. I’m studying international environmental law as it relates to sustainable development practices. Here’s hoping that I don’t get any bot flies, get bitten by a fer-de-lance, or get eaten by a jaguar. Well, the odds of any of those things happening are rather small. It’s not like I didn’t grow up on the edge of a swamp and spend more than my fair share of time poking around where there were poisonous snakes without getting bitten, and I don’t intend to start now. It just sounds way more dramatic to talk about snakes and jaguars in the jungle than to say that I’ll be wandering around a forest not entirely unlike the kinds of places I’m more than used to here. I’ll post pictures and such when I return to the US, while I’m in the jungle for four days I’ll be out of cell range and have no internet to blog or tweet. I’m not quite sure how I’ll handle that, I haven’t been completely out of communication with the rest of the world like that since before Al Gore invented the Internet in the ‘90s. I’m the one who was tweeting from the very top of Angkor Wat just because it could be done, this whole concept of being in a jungle without cell coverage will be like time warping. I just might go through technology withdrawal. Anyway, so long and thanks for all the fish, see you again next Saturday.

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Vulnerability

I like to pretend that things don’t bother me, that I’m tough and sarcastic and let things roll off my back, but that’s not really true. I’m not sure how I didn’t know this already, but I discovered tonight that the inaptly named Alliance Defending Freedom helped draft Arizona’s bill, that, unless it is vetoed, will legalize discrimination against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom. There’s nothing in their arguments for the bill that I haven’t heard before. Heck, I heard ADF attorney (and once upon a time HSLDA staff attorney and former faculty member at Bill Gothard’s fake law school) Jordan Lorence make those same arguments when the Federalist Society brought him to speak at UF. In a staggering display of bad theology, in their minds discrimination is what god would want and so when they fight to usher in Jim Crow 2.0, they’re really standing up for religious freedom. I can’t even capitalize the word “god” in that because the god they worship may be a lot of things, but it’s not the one, true God. It’s a twisted perversion of the Gospel that gives a middle finger to everything Christ said and did while He was on this earth. That’s not why I’m sitting here wanting to cry though. On their own, hateful organizations doing hateful things make me angry; I don’t get emotional over the shenanigans at Family Research Council or NOM, I get mad. Alliance Defending Freedom is different. See, they’ve got this program called the “Blackstone Legal Fellowship” designed to train the next generation of lawyers. It’s a program that more than a few of my friends have done or will be doing. I’m probably a coward, for everything I’ve said and done elsewhere, I haven’t ever brought it up. I don’t[…]

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Belize

When most people hear the word, “Belize,” the first thing they think of is the Central American country, or, if they have a particular affinity for Breaking Bad, then perhaps, “Send him to Belize,” as a euphemism for murder comes to mind. For me, though, “Belize” evokes memories of one of the weirder episodes of my childhood.  In the fall of 1993, around the time I turned 13, several family friends all decided they were going to move to Belize. I’m getting ahead of myself here, so let’s rewind back to the end of 1992, when Bill Clinton had just been elected president. This was back during my I-was-a-teenage-activist Operation Rescue days, and to say that everyone lost their collective shit over the election would be an understatement. Never mind that in the end, it turned out that Clinton governed from the middle, people were sure he was going to be the WORST EVAR, and in the anti-abortion activist circles everyone was convinced that persecution of Christians was imminent. This paranoia was confirmed with the introduction of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) in 1993. We’ll just ignore the fact that the law was precipitated by an increase in violence and the murder of David Gunn in Pensacola, since that part of the story got ignored in the increasing paranoia of the time. The whole paranoia thing is ridiculous in retrospect, and while my reactions can be excused by the fact that I was almost thirteen and teenagers are supposed to be overdramatic about everything, as for the adults, I don’t know what their excuse was. It was a weird time. In any case, a few people my family knew took the paranoia to the next level and decided that it was only a matter of time[…]

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When the horrible becomes routine

There was a mall shooting yesterday. And the day before that, a student was shot and killed at South Carolina State. On Tuesday, a student was killed at Purdue, and on Monday, a student shot and injured at Widener University.  Those are just a handful of the victims of gun violence every day in this country. Most of them don’t even warrant anything other than a local blurb, and if it’s an inner city shooting, victims hardly even get that courtesy. Even mall and school shootings have become so routine that it barely even registers anymore. I didn’t even know about the South Carolina State or Widener shootings until reading a story about the Maryland mall shooting. Unless there’s a massive body count, it’s now so common place that it’s a blurb that is forgotten the next day. I don’t have any solution. I hate that violence has become routine.  What does it say about a society where life has become so cheap and violence so routine that you have to have massive body counts for people to even care anymore? Where you become numb to the violence and have to stop caring because it’s all too depressing to handle?  I don’t have a solution. But whatever we’re doing now clearly isn’t working.  I’ve gotten mad, I’ve gotten upset, I’ve been unable to feel anything. And while I don’t have a solution, I do know that as long as we’re a society that views guns as a solution, and as long as we’re a society that refuses to put in money and effort to treat mental health problems, we’re going to keep seeing this.  And each time we do, it’s going to be a little more routine. 

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Link Roundup: What others are saying about the continuing saga of my alumni update

I would be lying if I said that the continuing saga of my censored Covenant College alumni update hasn’t been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I try to pretend that things don’t bother me, but the truth is that from getting my copy of the View and finding my update censored, to the communications I’ve had with Covenant, to the stress of wondering what kind of reaction I’d get to going public, it’s been a long month or so.  Thus far, Covenant has been silent in response to my post, I suspect that it’s going to remain that way. Covenant isn’t Michael Farris and Patrick Henry College, with their unique talent of responding the exact wrong way, they’re far more skilled at PR than that. Other people have picked up the story though. My friend Libby Anne at Love, Joy, Feminism mentioned the censorship in her post It Matters Too Much Not to Speak, about the importance of speaking up against homophobic comments, though since at that time I was still holding out hope that Covenant would reconsider, it’s mentioned under a pseudonym. When I decided that I needed to go public, she volunteered to repost it at at LJF, which I greatly appreciate. My original post is also reposted at Believe Out Loud. Many thanks to them for that. What’s more than a little bit surreal and mind blowing to me is that the story got picked up by major gay blog Towleroad. It was kind of crazy to wake up and check my site stats and see that I was getting a bunch of hits from there.  And, last but definitely not least, fellow one-time PCA kid Evan Hurst covered the story for Truth Wins Out. Hurst gets it like only someone who grew up in the PCA could. And, in what is entirely coincidental,[…]

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“You went to a Christian college, what did you expect?”

I thought I should address one of the responses that my story of the continuing saga of my censored alumni update has garnered. There’s this idea out there that if you went to a conservative Christian college that you should just expect them to behave badly and that’s that. A corollary to that idea is the one that says that says that you picked the Christian college, you shouldn’t complain about the results. I’ve got several problems with that attitude. First, as I’ve discussed before, LGBTQ campus climate issues are not just a Christian college problem. It’s a college problem. This idea that it’s just something you should expect when you go to a Christian college lets secular institutions off the hook. As a current student at a state school, I would be lying if I said that things are copacetic here. I’ve lost track of the number of times that I’ve spent my Saturday gameday listening to the people sitting behind me scream “faggot” at the football team. Sure, the school wouldn’t tolerate it if it was reported, but who’s going to report a bunch of students whose identities you don’t know? That’s not even going into all of the discussions I’ve had with other students about how the overall student body atmosphere at the law school feels unwelcoming. Having a supportive administration and faculty with policies in place doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant problems to work on. Going to a state school, that’s not something I expected, but it’s what I got. The campus climate problems may be different at Christian colleges than secular ones, but don’t kid yourself, the environment can be pretty bad at state schools too. I don’t want my criticism of how Covenant handled my alumni update situation and the erasing of LGBT alumni[…]

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On belief

It was a confidence that got you byWhen you know you believed it, but you didn’t know whyNo one imagines it will come to thisBut it gets so hard when people don’t want to listen Shivering with doubts that you left unattendedSo you toss away the cloak that you should have mendedDon’t you know by now why the chosen are few?It’s harder to believe than not to –Steve Taylor, “Harder to Believe Than Not To” I’ve written before about how I believe even though sometimes it seems that it would be easier to just toss out my faith and stop caring. Faith is hard. The very idea that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen speaks to the intangible at the heart of the discussion.  Belief is hard, there’s always going to be doubts and questions, and anyone who says that they do not doubt is lying. All of the apologetics books in the world aren’t going to erase doubt because faith is about more than logic. You can’t logic your way into making yourself or anyone else believe in God, the supernatural, the divine, or anything outside of themselves and the physical world. That’s why when Tony Jones attempted to explain why he’s still a Christian despite his doubts, he failed miserably. Aside from the fact that arguing that God must exist because 7 billion people can’t be wrong does nothing to prove that the supernatural entity is the God of the Bible, it doesn’t actually prove anything. It’s like arguing that McDonald’s must be good because billions of people eat it. Hemant Mehta is right, it may possibly be the worst argument anyone has made for belief in God.  Humanity has been wrong about a lot of things. Wildly wrong. So[…]

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