us has never been a christian nation and will never be a christian nation

A friend of mine is talking about trans veterans at a national anthropology conference.

He asked me to write a statement in response to the result of the 2016 election. This is it:

An open letter:

De Oppresso Liber.  To free the oppressed.  Nous Defions.  We defy.  Liberty and justice for all.  My country has long claimed to be THE symbol of freedom and democracy across the globe. We have always espoused these lofty ideals.

And yet.  

Here we are.  

I was never a patriotic “true believer” but gods I thought we were better than this.  In spite of losing the popular vote our electoral system is poised to emplace a man who campaigned on the promise to restrict the human rights, civil liberties, and bodily autonomy of black people, Muslims, immigrants, and queer people of all stripes.  We have elected a man who is staffing his cabinet with openly white nationalist figures like Stephen Bannon.

David Duke, the KKK, and the actual American Nazi Party are holding victory parades and celebrations for our new president elect.

I want to say I don’t recognize my country.  But I do.  The thing is, when I was a child I did believe that we were the good guys.  We were the greatest country in the world—freedom was what made us different from every nation across the globe.  Then again, in those days I was a male-assigned child who went to church 5 times a week and only ever got into trouble for bringing my bible to school and preaching to my classmates.  To say I was naïve is an understatement.  The scales fell from my eyes very quickly.  

When one of the faithful raped me for 5 of my first 10 years of life, it was somehow MY shame to bear rather than his.  My father convinced me not to press charges because once people knew I had been raped, he said, I could never take that back.  

I learned that words and actions rarely aligned.  The church sign always said “All are welcome” but the church bylaws, which were updated in the 1990’s by the way, still forbid members of the church from even being party to interracial weddings.  My dad “didn’t approve of black people” as if they somehow chose their race and threatened to disown me if I ever brought home a black girl.  My family fears that gays will “convert” good little Christian children.  

My country kills unarmed black children but takes white mass murderers into custody and buys them cheeseburgers.  In my country a man with a gun can harass, stalk, and kill a child and claim he feared for his life, but a black trans woman who accidentally kills her meth-addled neo-nazi attacker with a pair of scissors from her fashion design class will go to prison.

No, I absolutely recognize my country.  All straight cisgender white Christian men are created equal.  The rest of us are to be dominated, subjugated, incarcerated, or deported.  Or otherwise “protected” from choice and bodily autonomy.  The toxicity of whiteness and Christianity and masculinity is a swift current that swept me into the teeth of a war I never believed in.  I did terrible things for a nation that refuses to acknowledge my basic humanity, and I will never be able to wash that blood off my hands.  In special forces our motto was De Oppresso Liber—most often paraphrased as “to free the oppressed”.  Our direct action teams appropriated the motto Nous Defions—We Defy—from the French resistance in World War II.  To me they are more than just buzzwords. I took them to heart.  I recognize that America is an oppressor to people of color, women, queers, and the disabled.  My transgender status and my womanhood do not negate my status as a warrior, and I recognize president-elect Trump and those who back him as the same dark forces my grandfather battled in the 1940’s.  I recognize my country for what it is—an empire built by slaves on the bones of natives—but I still believe in what it could be.  I know what side of history I will be on.  My America is diverse, without the divisions encouraged by those who would put so-called state’s rights before human rights or federal protections for them.  My America has skin that is red and black and brown, not just white.  My America is queer and fat and femme.  My America is Atheist and Jewish and Muslim.  My people are disabled and incarcerated and undergoing “reparative therapy”.  I still believe in one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.  For ALL.  And I say to Trump and Pence and Bannon:  We defy you.  WE DEFY.  Nous Defions.  

Alana McLaughlin, former staff sergeant, United States Army

De Oppresso Liber.

Letter from Birmingham Jail

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling our present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom, if ever, do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all of the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would be engaged in little else in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I would like to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

I think I should give the reason for my being in Birmingham, since you have been influenced by the argument of “outsiders coming in”

I am in Birmingham because injustice is here …I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider …

We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our God-given and constitutional rights. The nations of Asia and Africa are moving with jetlike speed toward the goal of political independence, and we still creep at horse-and-buggy pace toward the gaining of a cup of coffee at a lunch counter. I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say “wait.” But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize, and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she cannot go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her little eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading “white” and “colored”; when your first name becomes “nigger” and your middle name becomes “boy” (however old you are) and your last name becomes “John,” and when your wife and mother are never given the respected title “Mrs.”; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of “nobodyness”–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience …

You express a great deal of anxiety over our willingness to break laws. This is certainly a legitimate concern. Since we so diligently urge people to obey the Supreme Court’s decision of 1954 outlawing segregation in the public schools, it is rather strange and paradoxical to find us consciously breaking laws. One may well ask, “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer is found in the fact that there are two types of laws: there are just laws, and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law, or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality …

There are some instances when a law is just on its face and unjust in its application. For instance, I was arrested Friday on a charge of parading without a permit. Now, there is nothing wrong with an ordinance which requires a permit for a parade, but when the ordinance is used to preserve segregation and to deny citizens the First Amendment privilege of peaceful assembly and peaceful protest, then it becomes unjust.

Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was seen sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar because a higher moral law was involved. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks before submitting to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire. To a degree, academic freedom is a reality today because Socrates practiced civil disobedience.

We can never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was “legal” and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was “illegal.” It was “illegal” to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. But I am sure that if I had lived in Germany during that time, I would have aided and comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal. If I lived in a Communist country today where certain principles dear to the Christian faith are suppressed, I believe I would openly advocate disobeying these anti-religious laws …

I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are presently misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson scratched across the pages of history the majestic word of the Declaration of Independence, we were here …If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands …

Never before have I written a letter this long–or should I say a book? I’m afraid that it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else is there to do when you are alone for days in the dull monotony of a narrow jail cell other than write long letters, think strange thoughts, and pray long prayers?

If I have said anything in this letter that is an understatement of the truth and is indicative of an unreasonable impatience, I beg you to forgive me. If I have said anything in this letter that is an overstatement of the truth and is indicative of my having a patience that makes me patient with anything less than brotherhood, I beg God to forgive me.

Yours for the cause of Peace and Brotherhood,

anonymous asked:

claire i'm so sad and scared. how do we go on after this election? why is there so much hate? :'(

Oh, my loves. 

My sweet, scared, sad, vulnerable, beautiful beloved angels.  Come here.  Snuggle up.  I’ve got you.  I’m right here.

The answer is … we go on by going on.

As we always have.  As we always will.  As we must.

Today, we do whatever we need to do to survive, to keep ourselves from crumbling, and we give ourselves what we need, whether that is staying home from work or eating chocolate cake for breakfast or calling a suicide prevention hotline (see resources below).  Today we let ourselves feel whatever we are feeling, without judging it or permitting it to be judged by others.  

No one gets to tell you, today, while you are aching, to get up off the mat to start mobilizing for the 2018 midterm elections. No one gets to tell you, today, that if you had voted differently in the primaries we would not be here and therefore you are not permitted to feel sad.  No one gets to tell you, today, that your grief and fear are not real.

Later, there will be things to do, and we can talk about what some of them may be.  But they will keep.  Barack Obama is still the President of the United States.  We are still safe for now, we are still okay for now, we woke up in the same country we have always lived in.  So take today.  Take this week.  Take the time you need to feel whatever you are feeling.  Hug your cat and your nephews.  Call your mother.  Say “I love you.”  Eat cake and watch sitcoms.  You are grieving.  The reason this feels like grieving a death is because it is grieving a death.  We were in the attic with the door closed so we did not know the house was on fire.

But we know the house is on fire now.  And that’s better than not knowing.

My friend Ijeoma Oluo is a brilliant feminist and anti-racism activist in Seattle, and she posted a video on Facebook last night that made me feel something like . . . not hope, exactly, but the germ of something that might sprout into hope at some time in the future.  She talked about the election like a cancer diagnosis. If you are sick, and you don’t know you’re sick, or you don’t know the name of what you have, you can’t treat it. You will just go on being sick until you die.  Those of us who have lived through the diagnosis of a terminal illness – for ourselves or for a loved one – know firsthand how terrifying and painful it is to hear those words.  But it’s also where hope resides.  Because once you can give the thing a name, treating it finally becomes possible.  

So we have been given a diagnosis.  We live in a white supremacist, sexist society.  And not just in the United States, but in countries all over the world.  Brexit and Trump are symptoms of the same illness – the white male patriarchy, who hates anything which is “other,” feeling oppressed and threatened and terrified by a rapidly-changing world which has unequivocally declared that it wishes to move forward and leave their antiquated ways behind.  The fear of women, of immigrants, of LGBTQ people, of nonwhite faces, of non-Christian religions, is driven by their certain knowledge that women and immigrants and LGBTQ people and people of color and non-Christians are rising and rising and rising, in their own country and all over the world, and clocks cannot be turned all the way back.  

So now we are freed from the burden of trying to figure out what is wrong with us and why we feel sick.  We know what it is.  We know that eight years of a black man as president and the rise of a movement designed to push police brutality against black Americans into the forefront of the national conversation awoke a strain of white nationalism so deep that a silent majority rose up from seemingly nowhere, millions of them, who were never counted in any poll, who we had no idea existed, and they voted into power the single least qualified candidate who has ever run for President of the United States.  Because that is how much they hate women and people of color.

There is a lot of blame being thrown around, already, for whose fault this is.  You could make a compelling case that this is the fault of James Comey, for example, with his letter to Congress implying that the discovery of new emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop somehow implied Hillary had covered up a crime, even though nine days later he was forced to acknowledge that the whole thing had been bullshit – but only after millions of people had already cast votes.  And certainly there is blame to be laid at the feet of the media, who spent more column inches and airtime on Hillary’s emails than on any of the categorically disastrous Trump/Pence policy positions, and who made the mistake of not treating him as a serious threat until it was too late.  I had to stay off Facebook today after I saw a friend who supported Bernie Sanders in the primary blaming Hillary voters for Trump’s win, and that if we had all simply voted for the Jewish socialist in the primaries, the horrifically anti-Semitic and bigoted Trump campaign would, I guess, not have gone after him as hard. But that’s a wildly inaccurate reading based on the fact that we never had to watch Bernie on the receiving end of a Trump smear campaign attacking him for his progressive socialist beliefs. We don’t have any idea what lies they would have come up with.  (And we would have lost Bernie Sanders in the Senate, where we desperately need him more now than ever.  His career would have been shattered by the Trump steamroller, just like hers; the only difference is that hers was already over.)  You can blame third-party voters in Pennsylvania and Florida, whose votes totaled higher than the gap between Clinton and Trump, meaning that if they had voted for her instead of Stein or Johnson, she would have won both those states and the presidency.  I will fully admit to having felt this anger, but I also know that this is only a tiny piece of the puzzle; the problem is not simply that third-party voters diverted enough votes to flip the election, the problem is that it should never have gotten close enough for third-party voters to matter.  

Progressive values did not lose this election.  White supremacist patriarchy won it.  That is our diagnosis.  We know what the sickness is now.  We’ve passed a point beyond which we can’t pretend that we aren’t sick. We’ve hit rock bottom.

So now what?

How do we go on?

I had an Election Night party last night.  I had a house full of people and 2 dozen homemade brownie cupcakes with different cut-out pictures of Hillary Clinton’s face on them, and a banner that says “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY” hanging over the buffet table. We started out the night so hopeful; friends came wearing pantsuits and Hillary t-shirts and we had ice cream and champagne to celebrate at the end of the night, when we predicted we’d be watching the Oregon returns roll in after tearfully hugging each other through a jubilant Hillary Clinton acceptance speech.

And I will never forget for the rest of my life the way it felt to be sitting there on my couch, feeling physical nausea, as we watched the CNN electoral map change color in front of us. As the inevitable, terrible thing we had all dimly believed was an impossibility became reality right in front of our faces.

And I don’t want to forget it.  Because this is one of the most important things that has ever happened in my lifetime. I want to spend the rest of my life fueled by the horror of that moment, motivated by ensuring that something like this never happens again.  I live in a country that knowingly elected a fascist, and it was not even close, and we need to talk about how this happened and how we all get through it and come out the other side.

I felt sick to my stomach most of last night, and started crying as soon as my house emptied out.  I cried for my friend Sam, who is queer in a small Southern town and is surrounded by Trump supporters who make her feel afraid to come out, and I cried for the fact that our new Vice President is a man who diverted HIV/AIDS treatment funding in his state to go towards conversion therapy for LGBT youth, and for the four trans teens who took their own lives last night.  I cried for my friend Ike, a black man in a red state, who was in my DMs last night drunk and in tears and told me “I feel like I’m surrounded by enemies.”  I cried for my friends who have young children, and who are trying to figure out how to explain what happened.  Kids who don’t know how the Electoral College works, but who do understand what bullying is, and that it is never supposed to be rewarded with access to more power and more resources so that you can bully more people more effectively.

I cried last night, until I fell asleep.  I woke up this morning feeling numb.  Then I talked to my best friend on the phone, and then my stepmother came by to visit, and my phone was blowing up all day with friends texting me to say “I just want you to know that we will always be here and we will always be allies.”  The group text of my college roommates was full of “What can we do?”  Sarah is organizing a monthly series of networking and mentorship events for women executives in her very male-dominated field, because there is no system of support in place for them.  Beth is going to talk her theatre company into investing more in rural outreach, bringing arts programming and discussion into the kinds of communities where conservative echo chamber thinking allows bigotry to fester.   My family has a small private foundation – we invested my mother’s assets and life insurance after she died, which allows us to make gifts to charitable organizations with it – and the family group chat has been all about ways we can use those resources to figure out what vulnerable populations in our communities are about to become more vulnerable, and what we can do to help.

How do we go on?

We go on by going on.  As we always have.  As we always will.  As we must.

The white nationalist and anti-immigrant backlash which led to the rise of Trump is not a political problem.  It is not even exclusively an American problem, although America is in many ways the festering heart of it.  It is bigger than misogyny, bigger than Brexit, bigger than race.  

It is not a crisis of politics.  It is a crisis of empathy.

If you see immigrants as a force which has swept into your country and caused economic instability, making it harder for you to find a job, then you do not see those immigrants as human beings like yourself. You do not understand or care about their lives.  You do not see them as humans equal to yourself.  If you see black men as inherently dangerous, if you see women achieving positions of political and economic power as a threat, if you see marriage equality as a threat to the sanctity of the establishment of marriage, if you see Islam as a home for terrorists – what you have lost is empathy. What you have lost is the knowledge that every one of those people has a humanity which is equal to yours.  You are accustomed to having 100% of the privilege; now you only have 99%, which feels like oppression, and so it does not matter to you how many people out there have had zero all this time.  

How do we go on?


We have to find it again.  We have to get it back.

We have to stick together, now more than ever.  We have to find common ground instead of losing the next two years to liberal infighting and wasting our shot at taking back the Senate during the 2018 midterms, our best shot to limit the damage of a Trump presidency.  We have to find, and unite behind, a truly kickass Democratic presidential candidate, and we have to balance realistic expectations about electability with a sincere commitment to progressive values, and then we have to address the fact that forty-five percent of Americans did not even vote in this election.  About a quarter of the electorate went for Trump and another for Clinton; the difference was just a few percentage points (with Clinton ahead, though losing the Electoral College).  And then another few went to third-party candidates.  But that’s still barely half of the country.  Decisions are made by those who show up, and last night we saw what happens when the ones who show up are the white supremacists who hate women.

They hate us.

They have always hated us.

You were not imagining that.  It is real.  It is ugly and it is awful and it is real.  And when we avoid it – when we stay in New York for Thanksgiving because we can’t stomach flying home to Kansas and sitting across the table from our racist grandfather and feeling that discomfort; when we read only the news sources which validate our worldview; when we immerse ourselves in the liberal bubble and don’t ever set foot outside – then we miss the signs, and lose out on opportunities for the conversations that lead to real change.

Those of us at risk – with less privilege and more danger – need to take care of themselves.  Queer people, people of color, young progressives, flee their small towns and move to big cities to make better lives, to find safety and freedom. That is real.  That is valid.  That may be what you need to do.

But maybe those of us who are progressive and who have more privilege need to ask ourselves whether, by avoiding our racist grandfathers, by filtering our political posts on Facebook because we’re too tired to get into a whole big thing with that girl from high school, by making the red parts of the map redder by gathering up our Democrat friends and moving out of South Dakota to live in San Francisco instead, we are choosing things that make us feel comfortable at the expense of the hard, messy, uncomfortable activist work that our friends of less privilege really need us to do.

I do not want anyone putting themselves into a position of danger.  I do not want anyone risking their safety – physical, mental, or emotional.  But this is how we go on.  We look at ourselves, at where we fall on the ladder of privilege, and those of us who are higher – who are white, cis, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical, middle class or higher, educated, economically stable – step up as much as we can on behalf of the people around us who have less privilege and can’t.  If you’re playing a co-op video game and you have six lives left but your partner only has one, you take the bullet.  Not all of them – not enough to endanger yourself – no one is asking you to do that – but as many as you safely can.  Because maybe sitting down across the Thanksgiving table from your racist grandfather and explaining Black Lives Matter to him is the only possible venue where someone he cares about and will listen to could actually change his mind. And maybe the way you show your love for your friends of color is to take that one bullet for them.

How do we go on?  

We look around our communities and we see who needs help, and we ask what we can do.  

Do you pay to subscribe to a good, real newspaper?  We are going to need a well-funded free press over the next four years.  The Washington Post did vitally important journalism over the course of the Trump campaign, breaking a huge number of stories – like the Billy Bush tape and the fraudulent Trump Foundation – before anyone else did.  They have more than earned the couple bucks a month I pay for this online subscription. They fought hard for our democracy, and we are going to need them.

Can you afford to make a small recurring monthly donation to an organization that supports vulnerable populations in your community? Women’s reproductive rights and protections for LGBTQ people are about to be violently imperiled; Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, homeless shelters that support queer youth, and organizations that support women’s healthcare in the U.S. and around the world are going to need your money.  $5 a month over the course of a Trump presidency is $240.  What if we all did that?

If you can’t afford to donate, can you volunteer?  Do you live in a district with a Republican House or Senate member coming up for reelection in 2018?  Can you contact your Democratic precinct to get on their mailing list so the second they’ve nominated a Democrat to run against them, you can get on board to start knocking on doors?  Do you have a few hours a month to help stock the food pantry at your church or volunteer to help with childcare at a domestic violence shelter?

Do you regularly watch or support any of the reality television shows produced by Mark Burnett, whose media empire singlehandedly turned Trump from the failed real estate mogul who was treated mostly as a joke in the 80’s and 90’s into a brand synonymous with business success which led voters to believe he was capable of fixing the economy?  Or any of the other shows, like Jimmy Fallon or SNL who helped Trump brand himself as a lovable straight-shooter, your quirky uncle with the weird hair instead of a genuine threat to the stability of the entire world? Turn them off.  All of them.  Right now. And tell them why.  There needs to be a reckoning.

Is your social media world an echo chamber, where you mostly hang out in communities where everyone mirrors your same beliefs, and spends most of their time talking about how everyone who has different sets of beliefs is wrong?  Can you expand that circle in a way that does not threaten your safety or emotional well-being in order to consume media from sources you disagree with, so that you are better armed and equipped for the real, difficult, substantive conversations we are all going to need to be having with that 25% of the American populace who knowingly voted for this man as President?  Can you have those conversations in a way that facilitates real change, through listening and educating and explaining, rather than attacking or dismissing in counterproductive ways?  

You do not have to do any of these things today.

You do not have to do them tomorrow, or the next day.

Today, we go on by letting ourselves grieve the promise of Obama’s America, of the country we thought we had become.  It feels like a funeral because it is.  You get to feel that.  No one gets to tell you that you don’t.

Today we go on by telling other hurting people we love that we love them.  By telling our scared friends that they have our support and that we will fight to keep them safe.  By checking in with the people of color, immigrants, Muslims, queer and trans people we know and love, who feel their safety directly threatened by the results of this election, and we do not “not all white people” them – we do not dismiss their anger and betrayal no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel – but instead we remind them that they are seen and they are valued and that we intend to show up.  

Today we go on by celebrating women.  

Women are amazing.  

Women watched a man rise to power and become the President-Elect of this country after harassing, abusing, belittling and insulting us over and over and over again.  By sexually assaulting us and then bragging about it.  By empowering an army of misogynists online and in person to dismiss the woman running against him not on the basis of her policies (of which many Trump voters could not name one if you asked them), but on the basis of her womanhood.  For daring to be a woman with an opinion who stood up to the absolute pinnacle of toxic masculinity and said, out loud, “You are a toxic man.”

Hillary motherfucking Clinton.

You don’t have to agree with her policies.  You can have real questions about what the potential challenges might have been had she become president, and still look at what she did and feel that, as a woman.  How fucking brave that was.  She stood there next to a man who was less qualified for her job than anyone who has ever run for that job in the history of the republic, and she smiled like we told her to because she would be called a bitch if she didn’t, and while he foamed at the mouth spouting lie after lie, she never once cracked.  And then after the first woman major-party presidential candidate was forced to concede to a rapist, she gave a concession speech that kept the dream alive for the next generations of women and girls coming after her.

Women are amazing.

Feminism is amazing.

We are going to need each other over these next four years. We are going to need to rally behind the women in our government (some good news last night, there are more women and especially women of color in Congress than there were before, and my home state of Oregon elected Kate Brown, a bisexual woman as the country’s first-ever openly LGBTQ governor) and our future women candidates.  We are going to need to speak up about the right to control our own bodies which may be back on the chopping block, again.  We are going to be up against a culture of toxic masculinity that has just received an unprecedented stamp of approval, as though Gamergate itself has been elected to the presidency.  

We need each other.

We need to stand by women – queer women and women of color and trans women and altered-ability women and low-income women and immigrant women and Muslim women.  55% of all white women voters picked Trump, and 45% of all Americans – including millions of women – didn’t vote at all.  

Let’s make that our work over the next four years.  

Today we grieve and we watch Parks & Rec or The West Wing and we eat brownies for dinner and we call our moms and we cry and we do what needs to be done.

Tomorrow – or whenever it is that tomorrow comes for you, however long you need to take to feel like you can pick yourself up off the mat and lace up your boots and get back in the game – we raise up a feminist army.

We go on because we always have.  Because the white male patriarchy has always been here, stomping us into the dirt, telling us that we deserve nothing and we are greedy bitches for asking for more.  Telling us to shut up, to stay in the kitchen where we belong.  Telling us that our most important job is motherhood and that the person best fit to decide what we do with our uterus is Mike Pence. Telling us that we are too fat or too black or too loud or too ugly or too poor or too gay or too weird or too shrill or too old or too young for our opinions to matter.  

You never, ever have to apologize for the fact that this hurts you.  You never, ever have to feel guilty for the fact that it feels terrible to know how many people in this country – in this world – insist that you do not have a place here.

But you do have a place.  This is your country too.  

How do we go on?  How do we survive this hate?

With love.

You don’t have to love the people actively trying to destroy you.  You don’t have to turn the other cheek when someone hurls racial slurs at you or jokes about grabbing you by the pussy or calls you “objectively disordered.”  But we have to love each other.  We have to model for all the kids and young people in our lives what real masculinity looks like – good men who aren’t afraid to show emotions or parent their kids or use their privilege to speak up for women – and that no one can go through life alone.  That being the king in your lonely golden tower is not a fate to aspire to, even if you can get elected president that way.  We have to remember that anytime we call a woman a bitch for speaking up too loudly, every time we roll our eyes at a celebrity on a magazine cover who gained 15 pounds after she had a baby and we call her gross, every time we use “kick the chair” or “kill yourself” as an insult, every time we believe lies about someone we don’t like without checking because it’s more satisfying to believe the shocking lie is true, we are complicit in the system that elected a vicious, superficial and cruel reality television star to the presidency.  And that was only possible because we made him a celebrity and gleefully enjoyed the train wreck because it made good television for YEARS before it finally became clear what its devastating consequences would be. How do we go on?  We never fucking call another woman “fat” or a “bitch” ever again.  We turn off the reality television shows that provide an enjoyable trainwreck, create abusive environments for our entertainment, and pour money into the pockets of genuinely terrible people.  We stop being the kind of people who find other people’s suffering funny or empowering, who let the bully say terrible shit to other people because then at least he isn’t saying it to us.  

We built the kind of culture where a Trump could thrive long, long before he declared he was running for President, and we cannot prevent another Trump until we have dismantled it from the penthouse down to the foundations.

Cry today.  Take care of yourself today.  Put on your own oxygen mask before you help the person next to you.

But tomorrow – when you’re ready – there are vulnerable people who need you.  

We go on by going on.  As we always have.  As we always will.  As we must. Because there is simply no other way.

Thanks to @reblogginhood for the tips and resources below, which I copied directly from her Facebook post; please share with anyone you think may need these.

-National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255, chat:
-for LGBTQ+ youth: 1-866-488-7386, text/chat
-Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860,
-Crisis Textline (any crisis):
-Substance abuse hotline:
-Alcohol abuse hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

-guided mindfulness meditation (also available as an app):
-more guided meditations:
-tips for managing anxiety symptoms and attacks:…
-take deep breaths in sync with this:
-If you can, talk to someone you love in person, or at least on the phone, rather than via text or chat. Physical contact is important to combat feelings of isolation and fear.
-When push comes to shove, better out than in. Cry if you’ve gotta cry. Scream if you’ve gotta scream. Write it out, in a public space or in a private journal.
-If you need to disconnect, disconnect. There is no shame in stepping back to take care of yourself right now.

I was asked on Facebook how I could support Bernie Sanders in light of his “support of abortion.”

To provide some context, here are the highlights of what was posted on my wall: “His form of socialism involves raising taxes in a ‘steal from the rich to give to the poor’ kind of way.” Further, he writes, “I believe his policies would actually end up hurting ‘the least of these’ …because he supports the abortion industry, Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood, etc.” Lastly, he encouraged me to “thoughtfully reflect on Bernie’s policies from a biblical perspective before voting for him this Tuesday.”

I’m sharing my response on tumblr because I understand that a large majority of my followers are Christians, and my support of Bernie confuses the conservative portion of those followers. I’m here to provide my thoughts on that to let you inside my brain in a way, because I truly value electing a candidate who I think upholds my convictions the best. Here are those convictions:

While I understand that Bernie is an imperfect politician with imperfect policies, I have decided that he is the candidate that aligns the most with my convictions. While there are candidates in the GOP that confess their affiliation with Christianity, I mean it when I say that the majority of Bernie’s policies remind me of Jesus. I see that you can’t fathom it due to Planned Parenthood, but there are so many other policies worthy of my advocacy and support. I think it is an overstatement and an exaggeration of facts to say that Bernie “supports abortion.” He supports Planned Parenthood, and 3% of their funds are related to abortion services. I support the other 97% of their funding and I’m genuinely grateful for how they care for women. But I will not spend any time defending that 3% because I stand with you, agreeing that it is a heart wrenching thing that could never fit into my biblical ethics. While I have a more conservative view than Bernie, it’s important to understand that his stance is that it is not and should not be the government’s right to tell a woman what to do with her body and while I get that this disqualifies him in your eyes, I have to acknowledge that there are many other things going on in our nation that cannot be overlooked. I can’t write off Bernie because I disagree with one of his beliefs when compared to the other twenty-two policies.

I do not think that America is a Christian nation. “One nation under God” never meant my Lord and Savior. Our forefathers came to America for freedom of religion. They had a theist worldview—not a Christian one. So, please don’t misunderstand me to be apathetic about my Christian principles. Even if you don’t agree, at least understand that my perspective is that I do not view the government as my moral leader, and I am for a separation of church and state. The government’s job is to maintain order in our nation, not to outlaw sin. Similarly, the government’s view of life is not the same as the biblical view. So as for PP, I understand the value and biblical calling to defend the helpless, but while conservatives are rallying outside of abortion clinics, they are also pro-gun and pro-war and tens of thousands of innocent, helpless lives are lost in the middle east and here in our country’s schools every week due to gun violence. I consider myself far beyond the rhetoric of pro-life which argues something that sounds a lot more like pro-birth to me. As much as I am for defending the unborn, I am also for defending those who are born into a corrupt society that does not defend them, and the overwhelming majority of Bernie’s policies seek to care for and defend the marginalized.

The policies that do remind me most of Jesus are the ones that stand up for minorities, fight for the middle and lower class, and seek to be good stewards of what we have by addressing our crumbling infrastructure, addressing the corrupted criminal justice system, and seeking to provide education, jobs, and security for veterans and the elderly. When politicians support policies that push others down to uphold the wealthy, they’re able to pass legislation that perpetuates this economic divide, and when that continues to happen you get major wealth inequality, which is a reality for America right now and the reason the middle class continues to shrink. The poor get poorer and the rich get richer. If this inequality remains unchecked our society will suffer. Saying “Socialism” is a dead end is just wrong. The US has many socialist government programs that are super necessary: social security, Medicare, Public schools, the roads, the army, national parks etc. The real problem is the socialism of the rich: bailouts on Wallstreet, the continued increasing of subsidies for big agriculture and pharmaceutical companies, monopolization of cable companies, big CEO tax breaks, companies like Walmart abusing welfare by paying their employees low wages and guiding them to the government for the rest of the money they need to survive… It is very ignorant to suggest that Bernie wants the US to model Soviet Russia. The reason people like Bernie is because he is a candidate who hasn’t been bought. We like to see a candidate who is honest. We like to see a candidate who cares about ALL of the American people, not just the ones on top.

I don’t think of it as “stealing from the rich.” It’s an increase in taxes that doesn’t go up too much for anyone except the extremely rich, but mostly the billionaires, and it will not affect their lifestyle in any way. It is hard for most people to conceptualize what a billion dollars is, but you don’t get that kind of money by simply being a hard worker. That kind of money multiplies off of privilege in a corrupt economy. I encourage you to recall the content from The Working Poor that we read in our first semester. The poverty in our country is not due to laziness, but a broken system. I don’t see how maintaining our current system would even vaguely reflect biblical principles. I remember from the last time you commented on a Facebook post of mine that you think that generosity should depend on an individual’s own prompting. While in a perfect world, people—especially Christians—would live lives marked by generosity, the majority of people are self-focused, worried about money, and cling to the proverbian verses about working hard to dismiss the notion that we should give to the poor. Leaving it up to the goodness of people’s hearts to give has never worked and it never will. It is the government’s responsibility to care for the basic needs of the people. Today 62 people own HALF of the world’s wealth. Five years ago that number was 388. That is sickening. Trickle-down economics does not work and capitalism really only benefits those who are born into privilege. I like that Bernie loves America, but that he is humble enough to acknowledge, confront, and proactively change the policies that hold us back as a nation. Out of all the candidates, Bernie’s economic platform is radical not just because it’s something no other president has done, but because I believe it models the gospel.
Tomorrow Michigan and Mississippi will vote in the primaries. I live in MS and have many friends in MI, so it’s going to be a big day. Hilary is the projected winner of both. I hope that if you live in MS or MI, you will consider showing up to vote for Bernie Sanders. 

OK Bernie Sanders Fans, lets get serious

Here is the thing, Bernie Sander is the only presidential candidate who offers some hope for the country actually addressing the major issues that are destroying this nature rather than ignoring them in favor of the old standbys.  I judge presidential Candidates on the basis of their answer to this question “HOw do you win a war on terror?” and Sanders is the only one who seems likely to actually be able to answer that honestly without common off like a moron.  But lets be honest, he is a long shot, so if we want to promote him, we need to get serious.  Here are some things we need to get worried of soon/be prepared for 

1) If he wins the first Primaries, then the DNC is going to tighten its ranks.  See Sanders is in this magic sweet spot right now where he can get national attention and the support of the base because even establishment democrats want him to pull Hillary to the left.  But remember when Mike Huckabee won the early primaries 2011 and the GOP suddenly rallied around Romney because they realized that Mike might win and he was a candidate who will never win a national election.  Now MIke would never win because he was a fucking psychopath and Bernie sanders has a chance, but the DNC is traditionalist and they will all rally around Hillary when that happens.  So what ever happens, don’t get into a celebratory mood if Bernie wins, because that is when things are going to get tough, and plenty of Democrats are going to come out with the old “You don’t want to see Jeb Bush be president?” phrase.  Here is the thing, no GOP candidate except MAYB Rand Paul can win a national election, they are just too damn racist.  So take advantage of the period right now, before the New Hampshire primary to spread the word as much as possible and try to get enough of them on the bandwagon before Clinton gets really scared

2) Don’t fall into the trap of Clinton inevitably.  Its a myth, it isn’t true, Hillary is a very weak candidate, because she is a damn Clinton, we know how they work.  They are corrupt to the core.  But that myth is going to be popular, it is going to be pervasive, and comparison to Ralph Nader costing Gore FLorida are going to happen (he didn’t).  The establishment is no longer needed as much as it once was, and if the internet is used properly, Bernie Sander’s strengths and Clinton’s weaknesses can be promoted.  But once Bernie starts getting to the debates, we are going to hear more and more about how Clinton can’t possibly lose

3) He is Jewish.  This won’t be a problem for the primaries, but if he goes up against what ever GOP hack they spawn, suddenly his not being Christian is going to be a very big deal.  Lots and lots of people are going to come out and start saying how MERICA IS A CHRISTIAN NATION and “DA JEWISH CONSPIRACY”.  Be prepared for that, get your defenses ready for that, turn that into a strength.  

right lets talk about some things that Bernie Supports need to do right now make him stronger

1) Appeal to minorities.   Right now.  Here is the thing, the reason why the GOP can’t win this next election is that not enough of the electorate are white men.  Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, GSM, young people, and women mostly vote Left, and they are making up more and more of the country.  the most dedicated of the Right wing voters are old and they are you know…old and are dying off.  ALl of the GOP candidates have spent the last few decades proving to the world that they are horrifically racist, sexist, and religiously intolerant, so winning the majority of the country will be difficult.  The only one who has a chance is Jeb Bush and….well this country isn’t ready for another Bush.  Now Bernie Sanders as 4 main groups who like him in this country.  Jews obviously, the all important student demographic is interested in him because you know….student loans reform, old people because of his age (even some conservatives and independents like him because he wants to reform Social security) and a surprising amount of white people like him.  But minorities in this country are distrustful of him because he hasn’t been on their radar and they are generally mistrustful of whitey (for good reason).   The clintons are well known and connected to Obama.  Notice how Clinton has passive aggressively been saying that Sanders is not invested immigration, when he has done more than Clinton has.  But they really don’t have any reason to, he has a good record on immigrant reform and you know…he actually knew Dr. King.  He marched during the Civil Rights movement, which is more than any other person here can say.  I mean, he was the only president candidate who not only called the Charleston massacre both the result of Neo Confederate racist culture in the south AND called it an act of terror.  And considering how many of the problems minorities face are descended from the economic inequality in this country, a candidate who can address that will be doing more to help ethnic minorities in this countries than Clinton’s connections to banks ever will.  

2) Talk to women.  Sanders again has a good record on women’s issue, and is pretty evenly tied with Clinton in that regards, so why should women vote for an old man?  Well two things, first his proposed healthcare reform will go a long way to helping with various women’s issues (Like affordable birth control) and unlike Clinton, he is more trustworthy.  The Clintons infamously will change their stance at the drop of a hat (she voted for the Iraq war for god’s sake), and so even if she can talk the talk it isn’t guaranteed that she will walk the walk.  Women are essential to winning any election, and Bernie Sanders has made his views on hate groups quite clear.  If he can just stand up to the MRA crowd he’d be perfect.  

3) Rally the base.  Try to get anybody who cares about real liberal issues to come out and get behind Bernie now before the establishment has its chance to turn him into traitor, with the internet this is actually possible.  Everybody on the left needs to start talking about the issues that the Clintons are too sacred…or well connected…to talk about.  Like ending the War on Drugs, ending the war of terror, addressing the wealth gap, bringing wallstreet under control and addressing the main issues of Social and Civic Rights.  AKA, addressing police brutality and the government disregard for the 4th amendment.  

4) Really go on the attack towards Clinton.  Because she voted for the Iraq war, and is a Centrist more than a liberal.  She (and her husband) are corrupt and utterly connected to all of the worse aspects of government.  She is the standard politician joke, utterly untrustworthy and just competent enough to get herself elected, and just likable enough because she is better than anybody the GOP puts up.  But she is not your friend, and she is not trustworthy, nobody with a Super Pac is.  

For that matter, the only GOP candidate you really need to focus on attacking is Jeb Bush, because there are many desperate people in this country who will vote for him even though the Bushes have been nothing more than a parasite on this nation, because he is the only one who seems to offer (on the surface) a reasonable chance of the conservatives winning.  

5) Finally, you know what Bernie Sanders offers?  A great deal of independents, and in fact Republicans might vote for him.  Because while the TEA party is mostly just full of vile paranoid racist sexist homophobic super racist theocratic conspiracy theorists, many of them are pissed about Wall Street corruption.  Many of the conservatives who cry about this country becoming “dechristinized” are also really poor and suffering.  Certain social issues are used to divide people who have something in common.  Famously in the south, the issue of race has been used to keep poor blacks and poor white from uniting against the rich, because poor whites will choose racism over their own well being.  Sanders is going to try to get people to vote there interests, and so its important to try to get people who normally don’t vote democrat to realize that the only candidate who is honestly suggesting to bring jobs back to the US in a real way, because you can’t be cozy with big business and want to bring jobs back to this country it doesn’t work.  

But finally here is the most important thing to remember, the Clintons (and they do work as a team) are old.  They are very old in politics, and lets be honest, they have a lot of dirty little secrets as most political high rollers have and there are MANY people who hate the CLintons.  And lets be honest with ourselves here, some scandal or gaff is going to come out in the next two years which is going to seriously damage the champaign and once that happens, Bernie needs to be strong enough to take advantage of it and present himself as a reasonable alternative before she can recover 

The fact is, this is age of the internet, random people have the power to change political elections…….if you organize.  If you focus and take these steps, Bernie has a real shot at office and we can finally have a real liberal in office not one of these centrist dopplegangers.  

You know, yesterday I woke up without a doubt in my mind that the decision was clear for most Americans- who I believed valued progress and all of the other beliefs that our nation has stood for- but in the end I was proven wrong. Instead of making history by voting for the first female president, who was almost overly qualified for her position in comparison to the presidents of the past with her years working in politics and knowledge of the military; People chose a man who had zero experience in the field- someone who despite all of their money never took the time to learn about the nation’s workings. 

In the end, people fell for Donald Trump’s rhetoric, the repetitive and hateful messages that he uttered on every stage. All of the derogatory and dehumanizing comments he made about everyone and anyone who was not a straight, white, Christian, male somehow not being enough to deter people from voting for him; His claims that Mexicans are all rapist and murders, that he has a right to harass women as he pleases due to his celebrity status- that he could just grab them pussy, along with saying that he would revoke a woman’s rights to her own body- the way that he characterized people of color every time that he mentioned the inner cities, and the way that he has referred to Muslims in general- the way that he has grouped them with a terrorist group even though that is far from the truth, just the way that he insulted prisoners of war, and veterans who have PTSD, who have served this country, who have fought to protect the rights of every United States citizen- their freedom of speech, their freedom to practice their own faith, and so much more. Donald Trump even insulted a Gold Star family of a muslim american soldier, who gave his life in the line of duty. 

^That is the man who people have decided to vote for and make the president elect- who is more of a liar than Hillary Clinton, who has been hiding more than her- like where are his tax returns? 

Clinton used the wrong email, sure. And you know what’s the contents of those emails? Nothing worth sending her to jail for as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has deemed. And the whole chant of “Crooked Hilary” was just a way for Trump to take away her credibility- like lil Marco- and everyone who voted for him fell for it. 

Also all of that talk about sending her to jail is fucking fascist, seriously, jailing your political opponent is fucking fascist. You know fascism? What Hitler and Mussolini did? Remember the atrocities they committed because of their hatred for immigrants and a specific group of people- like I don’t know the Jewish people who were unjustly blamed for the economic strife of the time? Remember the othering that occurred during the time, the way that the majority shifted the blame to a smaller faction of people- claiming that it was all their fault? 

Like all of the pride that I had as an American is dead. The notion that if I work hard enough, despite my social standing, I would be able to achieve my American Dream is dead and gone. It is clear that this nation is filled with people who feel like they have had their opportunities taken away from them by immigrants, but honestly, immigrants are the ones that have worked the hardest in this country. Even illegal immigrants, who have the jobs that no one really wants: house maids, gardeners, and any physically demanding job falls on their shoulders. Immigrants have worked more for less- most of the time to give their family, their children, a life that they would have never been possible anywhere else, places that they might have fled due to the horrors that have occurred there. Seriously, to all of those who believe that immigrants have taken job opportunities from them: no one has taken shit from you, you’ve just always felt yourself entitled to them and believed those things to be yours- you should have worked harder if you wanted it. Also blame the institution that has grown just to take advantage of illegal immigrants’ work for the sake of saving a buck- you know like Donald Trump did in building his Trump tower. 

I don’t know what is wrong with the people who have voted for Trump? When was America great? Was it before minorities-African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and just any American that wasn’t white started demanding the same rights? Was it before the abolishment of slavery? Was it before women had a right to vote? Was it before individuals of the LGBTQ community had the right to marry the person they loved? When exactly was it that America was great? Was it when the United States was ruled by only white Christian males? Was it when the genocide of the Native Americans was happening? When it used to be a rich man’s war, poor man’s fight? I don’t understand when America was great! All we have been trying to do as a nation was improve ourselves with time, but now we’ve gone back I don’t know how many years! 

Trump’s hateful candor spoke out to people, I guess. It awoke that silent majority in the country- the racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic people of this country, who voted for him. And if you say that you’re none of those things yet voted for him, then you’re a crooked person because something about the way that Donald Trump spoke made you think, “Yes! That’s exactly right. Those people are the problem.” And it compelled you to choose him, urged you to put him on your ballot. You supported and voted for his ideals, so you have no right to say that you’re not as bad as him. 

Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. All of the things that Trump has done should have left him out of the race, yet he won. And I am terrified. I am horrified about all of the violence that will surely follow his hateful messages- all of the hate crimes against minorities that will most likely emerge throughout the nation. I’m shocked at the fact that people have voted for reversion instead of progression.

anonymous asked:

I don't know what your religious beliefs may be, but do you think it's okay for a Christian to believe in astrology? Does it contradict God in any way? Beyond that, do you know of any biblical relation to astrology? Just something I've been curious about..

I personally do not follow any religion, but I do believe in God, higher power, and higher self. This is actually a very interesting topic, and as I answer this question, please keep in mind that I am not Christian and I do not intend on offending your beliefs or telling you what to believe in; this is just what I know and have learned. Just to get this out of the way, it is okay to be Christian; I respect your relationship to God.

Lemme tell you a little bit of history, believe it or not, the original use of tarot cards (something I personally do not use because I believe it does not belong in the hands of people who do not understand their purpose) was to have direct communication with God. Long ago, particularly priests would use them to communicate to God; it was not meant to be in the hands of common people for they did not know how to use them. The occult (whether it be astrology or tarot) was originally a very holy thing. The only reason why certain religions now disagree that astrology or other occult practices are bad is because people use them for selfish reasons; “how can I get rich?” or “tell me my fortune” instead of searching for who they are and who God is. Also, Christianity has changed a lot over the years, everyone wants to interpret the bible differently or how a priest tells them to.

It all traces back to the fact that all religions are connected. The earliest depiction of religion is traced back to men with higher knowledge wanting to give faith to people with lesser knowledge. So for them to give faith or an explanation for why we exist materially, the men with higher knowledge told the people with lesser knowledge that the sun was their God; because he gives us warmth, light, and life.
From that spread other religions to help people understand our world on a different level and to have someone or something to rely our faith on. You’ll notice MANY MANY MANY religions have a main deity that depicts the sun, for example, the Greek God Helios or the Egyptian God Ra. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all connect back to Egyptian religion, and then back to the sun and men with higher knowledge. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism share a lot of the same teachings.
Going back to the topic of tarot and its relation to religion; in tarot there are 22 major trump archetypes and it just so happens that there are 22 letters in Hebrew that have a close connection to the tarot’s meaning. Tarot traces all the way back to Ancient Egypt as well. There is even a card that represents the pope, it is the 5th Major Trump card and it represents the high priest of Christianity. The 2nd Major Trump depicts a female pope. The only female pope was named Joan, considered a fictional person from 1099 A.D., but in the tarot she is depicted holding the Torah; the Book of Law. The book of Torah is quite literally the old testament. There is also a card that represents Adam and Eve, and another card that depicts a Magician that stands behind a table on which are spread a number of objects, one of the objects prominently being the Holy Grail. Every single tarot card is traced back to a holy meaning; a lot of them hold biblical meanings.
To put it simply; tarot was originally used to understand the bible and God. It was never meant to be evil and was never meant to be used by common people. The only people who were ever supposed to use tarot were prophets.
A really good book to read more about this sort of stuff is called “The Secret Teachings of All Ages” by Manly P. Hall

Moving onto biblical relations to astrology, there is a lot of relation actually.
I have a HUGE quote from a website that puts it perfectly, but it is quite long so I hope you’re ready to have a long read

“The following are some of the most interesting Biblical references to astrology.

 "I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the THIRD HEAVEN. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know - God knows. And I know that this person - whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows - was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that humans are not permitted to tell.“ (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)

The phrase, “I know a person,” is a euphemism people used in those days to refer to themselves in a humble manner. Paul explained that he was taken to the “third heaven.” The phrase, “third heaven,” is a reference to the multi-level realms of the afterlife. This is an astrological/religious concept believed by Jews, Christians, Gnostic Christians, Platonists, and other people in those days. A correlation with Paul’s third heaven can be found in the Gnostic book entitled “The Apocalypse of Paul.

The Apocalypse of Paul also describes Paul’s afterlife visit to the third heaven. It also describes how Paul travels through a hierarchy of heavenly realms all the way to the “tenth heaven.”

According to Flavius Josephus, the famed Jewish historian, the Jewish temple at Jerusalem had the twelve signs of the zodiac inlaid in its floor. Josephus also stated that the twelve loaves of showbread in the temple was a reference to the zodiac. In modern times, Israel issued stamps with the zodiac signs identified with the twelve tribes of Israel and the astrological symbolism of the temple.

The Bible states that God made the heavenly bodies to show us “signs” of his intentions. These signs can be read by anyone who knows how to interpret them. Astrology is about interpreting these signs in the motions of the sun, moon, planets, and stars. “And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as SIGNS to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the Earth.” And it was so.“ (Genesis 1:14-15)

"And there shall be SIGNS in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the Earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the Earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27)

In the verse above, Christ uses astrology to reveal the “signs” in the sky of his coming.

The Bible states that the first communication from God came from the stars. David writes in his Psalm:

“The HEAVENS declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day after day utters his speech and night after night shows his knowledge. There is no tongue or language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the Earth and their words to the ends of the world. In them (the heavens) he has set a tabernacle for the sun.” (Psalm 19:1-4)

“Can you bring forth the Mazzaroth (the zodiac) in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? (an astrological constellation)” (Job 38:32)

This Bible verse shows God using astrology to answer Job.

The Bible also describes an astrological sign called the “Morning Star” which is a reference to the planet Venus. The Morning Star, also known as the “light bringer”, is also an astrological symbol that functions as a sign for the onset of dawn. It appears as a brilliant “star” at night just before the sun rises and brings light each morning to Earth. The greatest function of this “light bringer” is as a symbolic reference to the Messiah who brings the light of God to the people. The Bible also uses the term “Morning Star” as a reference to all sons of God including Lucifer, the “light bearer”.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright MORNING STAR.” (Revelation 22:16)

“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the MORNING STAR rises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)

“Just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the MORNING STAR.” (Revelation 2:27-29)

“How you have fallen from heaven, O MORNING STAR, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the Earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the STARS of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14)

“After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: "May the day of my birth perish … May its MORNING STARS become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn, for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes.” (Job 3:1-10)

“Where were you when I laid the Earth’s foundation? … On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone - while the MORNING STARS sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)

In one of the prophetic dreams of Joseph, he saw the sun, moon, and eleven STARS bowing down to his star. The interpretation of this dream was obvious and that was that Joseph’s father (SUN), mother (MOON), and eleven brothers (ELEVEN STARS) will bow down to him.

“Then he (Joseph) had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the SUN and MOON and ELEVEN STARS were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” (Genesis 37:9-11)

Of course, we all know the rest of the story that they indeed had to bow down to Joseph when Pharaoh made him a prince because of his ability to interpret dreams. Here is an excellent Bible passage that describes the astrological influences on humanity:

“There is a time for everything, and A SEASON FOR EVERY ACTIVITY UNDER HEAVEN: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Astrology refers to every 2160 years as a new “AGE” which is a different sign of the zodiac that comes into position to influence the Earth. The Bible describes events that will occur according to the signs of the astrological “ages”.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the AGE.” (Matthew 28:20)

“Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this AGE or in the AGE to come.” (Matthew 12:32)

“The harvest is the end of the AGE, and the harvesters are angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the AGE.” (Matthew 13:39-40)

“What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the AGE?” (Matthew 24:3)

“No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this AGE and, in the AGE to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:29-30)

“We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this AGE or of the rulers of this AGE … None of the rulers of this AGE understood it.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8)

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the AGES has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:11)

“[Christ was raised] far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present AGE but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:21)

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened … who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming AGE and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)

“Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the AGE of the AGES.” (Hebrews 9:26)

“Just and true are your ways, King of the AGES.” (Revelation 15:3)

All these Bible verses are referring to the end of the AGE of Pisces (the fish, the Church age) and the beginning of the AGE of Aquarius (the water-bearer, Christ).

Jesus was born under the end of the age of Aries (the ram or lamb) and this may explain why he called himself the “lamb of God.” By the time Jesus began his ministry, it was the beginning of the age of Pisces (the fish, the Church age). The sign of the fish has special significance to Christianity because the sign of the fish has been known throughout the millennia to be the sign of Christianity. Jesus recruited “fishermen” as disciples to make them “fishers of men.” He fed the masses with a miraculous draft of fishes. His followers were know in Latin as “pisciculi”, the “little fishes.” A commonly used icon in Christian churches is the “Vesica Piscis”, which is Latin for “mouth of the fish”. Its shape resembles a fish without a tail. It can be seen in the shape of stained glass windows in many churches and cathedrals. The Pope wears a ceremonial hat in the shape of a fish head.

Around the year 2300 A.D., the end of the age of Pisces will occur. The world will then enter a new age, the age of Aquarius (the Water-Bearer). It should be obvious to Christians that the identity of this “Water-Bearer” is the one who (1) came from the waters of Galilee (2) baptized with water (3) changed water into wine (4) walked on the water (5) washed the feet of others with water (6) calmed the ocean waters (7) gives living water (8) says we must be born of water (9) drank the cup from the Father.

Sometime before the age of Aquarius arrives, major Earth changes were foretold by Jesus and Edgar Cayce to occur. Jesus said that before this happens, there will be wonders in the sun, moon, and stars signaling this coming age of the Christ consciousness. This is a good reason why every Christian should study astrology so that these heavenly signs can be interpreted.

Another astrological reference concerning Christianity deals with the winter solstice which begins on December 21. It is the day of the year when the night is longest and the daytime shortest. The ancient Egyptians noticed that on the autumn equinox, the sun does not set farther south and sets in the same place on the horizon for three days. This is an astrological reference to when the sun (Son) goes down for three days (dies) and then begins to rise again (resurrection). Using the crude instruments available, ancient astronomers were able to detect by December 25th of each year that the daytime had become noticeably longer. This date was chosen, and remains, the traditional date for followers of many different religions to celebrate the “rebirth” of the sun. Following the equinox, each succeeding day has slightly more sunlight than the previous day. It was seen as a promise that warmth would return once more to the Earth. Numerous pre-Christian religions honored their gods’ birth or rebirth on or about that day. The ancient Egyptians knew that as long as the sun rose in the morning, life would continue on the Earth. This explains why the Egyptians used the sun as their symbol for the eternal life of the cycle of the seasons. In many Christian churches today, the symbol of the cross with a circle in the center of it appears on church steeples. This icon of the circle as representing the sun, comes from the Egyptian belief that the sun represents eternal life.

The Egyptian religion held that the Sun of God, Horus, was killed under the sign of Virgo (the virgin) but was resurrected in the age of Leo (the lion). This is why the Egyptians built the Sphinx with the head of a woman (Virgo) and the body of a lion (Leo).

During the days of Moses, the Hebrews were subject to the religion of Egypt. Before the worship of Amun-Ra (the major Egyptian deity) was instituted, Egyptians worshipped Isis (the Mother of God). When the Hebrews left Egypt and arrived in Canaan, their religion was influenced by the Canaanite religion whose God was named El (the planet of Saturn). The Star of David is a symbol which comes from the star of Saturn (El) which is the planet the ancients used to refer to the Hebrews. The Hebrews adopted Saturday (from Saturn’s day) as their day of worship. Christians, whose astrological influence was the sun (also from Egyptian origin), worshipped on Sunday (or the sun’s day).

The story of Jonah (Semetic for “sun”) is about a man who is swallowed by a whale (death) and remains in it’s belly for three days at which time the man is freed (resurrection). This story is another symbolic of the astrological account of how the sun remains still for three days during the winter equinox. It is also symbolic of the resurrection of Christ.

When Moses came down from the mountain, he saw the people worshipping a golden calf. This idol came from the Egyptians astrological worship of the sun. Golden represents the color of the sun. The calf (Taurus the bull) represents the age in which the Moses lived when he wrote the Torah. When history moved into the next sign (Aries the ram), the Hebrews celebrated the approach of their Messiah by blowing rams horns. The sign of Aries influenced many religions to adopt the lamb of God concept.

The concept of the zodiac is very ancient, with roots in the early cited cultures of Mesopotamia. Astrology is, more than likely, the oldest religion created by humans. The first twelve-sign zodiacs were named after the gods of these cultures. The Greeks adopted astrology from the Babylonians, and the Romans, in turn, adopted astrology from the Greeks. These cultures renamed the signs of the Mesopotamian zodiac to symbols of their own mythologies. This is why the familiar zodiac of the contemporary West bears names out of Mediterranean mythology.

The concept of reincarnation is a necessary tenet of astrology. The notions of reincarnation and karma together explain why some people are born into lucky circumstances and others into unfortunate conditions. For astrologers concerned with the question of why some people are born into a life of hardship written large across their horoscopes and other people seem to be born under a lucky star, reincarnation and karma prove important explanatory tools to understand divine justice. Reincarnation also provides a framework for explaining why a person has certain personality traits. They are carryovers from past lifetimes. “There shall be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars.” - Jesus Christ, Luke 21:25″ - The website where this is from is here
 So basically, the tie between Christianity and astrology is very close. Even with the Ages. It is said that when we enter the Age of Aquarius, Jesus will return.

Astrology does not contradict God; it is a passage to be closer to God. I hope that by learning of this you do not get criticized by your friends and loved ones for it. You have to understand that when people are so steadfast with their faiths and beliefs, that new ideas can be unsettling and difficult to accept. So, I strongly suggest you do not try to convince these people of any of these facts. You cannot change a way a person thinks. People who are ready to become enlightened will readily learn and listen from others.