4 Movements to Keep Discussing In 2018

4 Movements to Keep Discussing In 2018

Our New Years resolution is to keep raising our voices.
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One of my favorite professors once said to my class that we are responsible for making a change. That is was up to us to use our voices and influence to make a difference in the world. She also said that it was our job to take news and keep the momentum going, to keep people talking and thinking. So, when I thought about what I wanted my new year's resolution to be, I realized I wanted to make sure things I feel are important are not forgotten in the new year. It is a time where people need to come together and use their voices against discrimination and hate. It is also a time where we have discussions where people might not always agree. But, this is also a way for us to learn from one another. So I wanted to discuss some of the most controversial movements of 2017.

1. Taking the knee

There has been a lot of controversy over athletic players choosing to kneel in protest during the National Anthem. Some say it is a symbol of freedom of speech. Others say it is a sign of disrespect for the men and women who fight for our country. Many people have joined in this protest that seemed to have stemmed from racial injustice.

Started by Colin Kaepernick, a former 49ers player during the 2016 - 2017 season. Kaepernick isn’t the only athlete to start a movement like this but his gesture started a chain reaction. Even high school/college teams have joined in, during a time where the Black Lives Matter movement was running in full force. These players risked being benched/not being resigned to raise a message. With researching more about this, I can see both sides. Some feel like it is horrible to ignore something that is meant for the people who are risking or have risked their lives for our freedom. Yet, I also think that this protest is showing that not everyone feels free. In the U.S., we often pride ourselves on being the land of freedom, free speech, and possibilities. But that’s not the case for everyone. Especially now where our differences are being magnetized and used to break us apart.

Being born in the city I grew up with people of all nationalities and backgrounds. I miss the days where I didn’t wonder if someone was going to judge me or my family based on the color of your skin, the accent in our voices, or where our ancestors were born. Growing up you begin to learn that a social construct like race can define you and sometimes can even be used to determine your value. I feel like protests like these bring very real worries to light at the risk of confrontation. But like I said, this isn’t the first of its kind and I don’t believe it’ll be the last.

2. Pro-choice/Birth control debate

One, if not the scariest moments for women this year was the actions Trump was taking to prevent women from obtaining birth control. This makes it possible for people to deny selling birth control due to religious purposes. This is still an ongoing battle as the rollback has repeatedly been blocked but is still being brought up in court. Some say Trump is fighting for religious freedom. It is very hard for me to look at both perspectives. Woman have fought, and are sadly continuing to fight for our rights to OUR bodies.

I feel like there needs to be a huge sign that states unless you are a woman, stay the hell out of our business. I do not understand why men who have no idea what we women have to go through feel they have the right to take away our choices. Men who stopped plans for male birth control because they didn’t like the side effects- there aren’t even words to express how I feel about this. At a time where stories of sexual assault were/and are still coming into light, knowledge of how women take part in unhealthy abortions, and the fact that birth control isn’t only used to prevent pregnancy were presented. The argument has come up that if people are worried about getting pregnant, they should just not have sex.

People are focusing on the idea that birth control is an excuse for people to be able to have sex without worrying about pregnancy when they need to realize who else this decision affects. It is used for women who have severe PMS pains or migraines, endometriosis, or woman who need to regulate their period or control acne. Religious health organizations say having to provide birth control goes against their beliefs; what about the people who need this medication for their health and well being?

3. Deporting citizens

One of the most talked about events recently is, what is happening to DACA the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals”? This program allows undocumented children to be protected from deportation and allows them to obtain workers permits. This program has been fought against, and currently is not taking any applicants. This organization helps children who were brought to the U.S. before their sixteenth birthday. Individuals who wish to go to school and to work to support themselves/their families without fear of being deported. One of the scariest things about 2017 was that it was a time where diversity was seen as something wrong. Our differences were brought out and used against us.

People who came, or have come to the U.S. illegally are trying to make a healthy and safe life for their families. Those who do so are at risk of being sent somewhere that is no longer home. They are sought out by people who accuse them of stealing their jobs (the lowest paying jobs that no one wants to do). Children who were brought here by their parents are terrified of being discovered, and loved ones are separated. Children who are citizens are at risk of having their parents and guardians ripped away from them.

Growing up, I believed that we were a giant mixing pot. Going to college I realized that wasn’t the case everywhere. After the election, I realized that being “American” seemed to come with a set of rules. You had to be born in the U.S., you had to speak English (only), you couldn’t be too dark, and you didn’t have as many choices as you might have thought-- especially if you are female. When the reality is we are all immigrants, and in various cases, some might have forgotten that the land people are so scared of being taken over wasn’t ours to take in the first place. This was the Native Americans land, so who are the real illegal immigrants here?

4. Power over consent

Recently in the media, a lot of people have been coming forward-- especially in Hollywood about sexual assault. Every day it seems we are getting another story about a man or woman who was sexually harassed or assaulted by someone who is viewed as “powerful”. Whether it be a famous director, a team coach, or a coworker. A lot of people are asking the question, why is this only coming out now? In one of my classes, my professor talked about the first time he had kissed his wife when they had just started to date. He told us that after the kiss, he had asked her if he had overstepped his boundaries. Of course, it was awkward to ask that, but he made the argument that instead of going through the discomfort of checking with others, we have decided that this “assertion of power” over someone is the norm.

We don’t often like to feel uncertain, but we become lost when you assert this “power” over someone else, you are taking away their right to choose. These “powerful” people use reputation, status, and assertiveness to push themselves on others and convince them of things they did not choose to take part in. All of these stories we are reading today show how “normal” these tragedies are becoming.

As my professor so amazingly put it, we should take part in the “slow burn of intimacy”, where going through the discomfort of “checking” is the normality, not these acts of “forcing” others. In another one of my classes, we talked about women being attracted to men who display chivalry. We also talked about what we associate chivalry with; a man who does things such as opening doors, dissolving conflicts, etc. Then we discussed how the women in these types of situations look. The woman was described as weak, stereotypical damsel, and more. This made me think because of course, we don’t want to have to be weak to deserve to be treated nicely, but that didn’t change the fact that it was synonymous.

These are just a few of so many movements that took place in 2017. Now as we enter 2018 I am anxious to see what is in store for us. I feel that the new year will be a time for people to use their voices to empower others. A time for us to stand together against injustice and negativity. It is the time for us to take our future into our own hands. Also, a time for us to reflect and see other people’s viewpoints. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me just like how I don’t always agree with everyone opinions, but I will continue to try to see where others are coming from. So here's to a new year full of possibilities.




Cover Image Credit: StockSnap.io

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Islam Is Not A Religion Of Peace, But Neither Is Christianity

Let's have in honest converation about the relgious doctrine of Islam

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Islam is not a religion of peace.

Christianity is also not a religion of peace.

But, most people in both religions are generally peaceful.

More specifically, bringing up the doctrine of Christianity is a terrible rebuttal to justify the doctrine of Islam.

That is like saying, "Fascism is not a good political ideology. Well, Communism isn't any good either. So, Fascism is not that bad after all."

One evil does not justify another evil. Christianity's sins do not justify Islam's.

The reason why this article is focused on Islam and not Christianity is the modern prevalence of religious violence in the Islamic world. Christianity is not without its evil but there is far less international terrorist attacks and mass killing perpetrated by Christians today than by those of Islam.

First, let's define "religious killings," which is much more specific than a practicer of a religion committing a murder.

A religious killings are directly correlated with the doctrines of the faith. That is different a human acting on some type of natural impulse killing someone.

For example, an Islamic father honor killing his daughter who was raped is a religious killing. But an Islamic man who catches his wife cheating and kills her on the spot is a murder, not a religious killing. The second man may be Islamic but the doctrine of Islam cannot be rationally held at fault for that killing. Many men with many different religions or experience would make the same heinous mistake of taking a life.

Second, criticizing a doctrine or a religion is not a criticism of everyone that practices the religion.

It is not even a criticism of everyone who make mistake while inspired by the religions. Human are willing to do heinous things when governed by a bad cause. Not every World War 2 Nazis was a homicidal maniac but human nature tells them to act this way in order to survive in their environment. It is hard to fault a person from traits that comes from evolutionary biology and natural selection.

However, commenting on a philosophy, ideology or a religion is not off limits. Every doctrine that inspires human action should be open for review. The religion may be part of a person's identity and it holds a special place in its heart but that does not mean it should be immune to criticism.

Finally, before going into a deconstruction of the myth that Islam is a religion of peace, there needs to be a note about the silencing of talking about Islam.

There is a notion in Western Society that if a person criticizes Islam, then that person hates all Muslims and the person suffers from Islamophobia. That is not the case, a person to criticize religion without becoming Donald Trump. In Western Society criticizing fundamental Christians is never seen as an attack on all Christians because there is a lot of bad ideas in the Bible that Christians act on. Therefore, criticizing Islam should have the same benefit of the doubt because the Quran has many bad ideas in it.

The Quran advocates for war on unbelievers a multitude of times. No these verses are not a misreading or bad interpretation the text. Here are two explicit verses from the Quran that directly tell Followers to engage in violence:

Quran 2: 191-193:

"And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah (disbelief or unrest) is worse than killing... but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah) and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists and wrong-doers)"

Quran 2: 216:

"Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not."

There is no rational way to interrupt these passages in a peaceful way. The whole premise of both passages is to inspire followers that war against the unbeliever is justified.

The first verse advocates for genocide against non-believers for the mere transgression that a society worships a different god or worships another god along with Allah.

The second passage is arguable more dangerous because the first passage just advocate that fighting may be a necessity, while the second passage encourages it. The second passage claims that war on the unbeliever is a good thing under the eyes of Allah.

The reason why these passages are dangerous is because they directly incite religious violence. For most followers of Allah, these passages are ignored or they convince themselves the passages means something they do not. However, for a large numbers of followers that view the text of the Quran as the unedited words of Allah, these texts become extremely dangerous. These passages become all the rational they need to wage war on non-believers.

This is dangerous because there are millions of followers of Islam worldwide that believe every statement in the Quran is true.

Therefore, the Quran becomes a direct motivation and cause for its followers to attack non-followers. Rationally one can understand where the Islam follower comes from, if a person truly believes that Allah or God himself wrote these words then why would you not comply.

Especially when there is verses in the Quran that says the Follower who does not fight the infidel is not as worthy of a Follower that does wage war against the non-believer (Quran 4:95). Finally, when male Followers are told that their martyrdom fighting for the faith will be rewarded with an eternity in paradise with 72 virgins for personal pleasure. If a Follower truly believes all of this is the spoken word of Allah then there is more rational why a person would commit these atrocities then why they would not.

Men and women are radicalized by these passages on a daily basis.

No, it is not just the poor kid in Iraq that lost his family to an American bombing run that indiscriminately kills civilians but also the middle classed Saudi Arabian child or some Western white kid that finds the Quran appealing. If radicalization were just poor people, then society would not have much to be worried about. However, Heads of States, college educated people and wealthy Islamic Followers are all being radicalized and the common dominator is the doctrine of Islam.

Osama Bin Laden, one of the most infamous terrorist in history, was not a poor lad that was screwed by the United States military industrial complex. Bin Laden was the son of a billionaire, that received an education through college from great schools. There is no other just cause for Bin Laden to orchestrate such grievous attacks on humanity besides religious inspirations. A person can rationally tie Islam Followers gravitation towards terrorism to a specific verse. Quran 3: 51 tells readers,

"Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers."

Any rational person can tie Islamic passages like this directly to terrorism. It is not a complicated correlation to like Nazism and Jewish persecution to Christianity. The Holy Book of Islam directly encourages the Followers of Islam to inflict terrorism unto the non-believer.

So why do some many people deny these obvious truths about Islam and violence?

Political Correctness and the want to not be viewed as a bigot. The correlations here are as direct as the terrors of the Spanish Inquisitions and Catholicism and no one is afraid to retrospect and say, "Yes Christianity caused the direct murder of thousands of people". A person would not even be controversial if one stated that both World Wars has significant religious undertones. However if anyone states that terrorism and violence has a direct link with Islam then there is an outcry.

Even President Obama refused to use the terms Islam and Muslim when publicly talking about the War on Terrorism. I am a hypocrite also because I used the term Islamic Follower instead of Muslim in an attempt to sound more political correct.

That is a problem when society refuse to use terms that are correct in an attempt to not offend anyone. Imagine if scientist could not report their findings because the underlying politics. Society needs to be able to have open dialogue about this problem or else it will never heal. Society needs to throw away the worrisome about being politically correct and focus on identifying the problems and solving them.

The world of Islam needs to open themselves up to this criticism.

There can no longer be a closing of dialogue where the West cannot speak on the doctrines of Islam because they are not partakers (That applies to all organized religion too, especially the Catholic Church). People who draw Muhammed must no longer be threatened with attacks on their life.

When Islamic women and men speak up about the sins of Islam, they must stop being silenced. If humanity is going to take steps into the future with better technology and more dangerous weaponry, then we need to solve this problem with Islam and gradually to organized religion at all.

If not it will doom us way before we get there…

Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this article follow my podcast on Twitter @MccrayMassMedia for more likewise discussions.

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If Liberals do not get a footing down pat by 2020 Then They Could Potentially Lose The Election–Again

How liberals are going too far-left for most Americans

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Dear Liberals,

Do you remember in 2008 that Presidental candidate Obama did not support gay marriage?

Neither did the other serious competitor in the Democratic Primary, Hillary Clinton.

A decade ago the two leaders of the liberal party in the United States where not for gay marriage.

Fast forward to 2018.

Now if you are a liberal and do not believe that gender is a social construct, all sexuality is fluid and socialism is the only economic policy that can end racism and sexism in America then you are not a true liberal. That is a huge progressive jump in comparatively in a short period. A person who was in the first grade during that election is barely an upperclassman in high school now. Like I said that is a huge ideological jump by liberals in a short period of time.

Liberals have claimed the moral high ground on these issues and are not willing to compromise. There is a moral tie between liberals in these progressive policies. A moral inspiration that causes them to completely break all bonds with people who do not feel the same. If they truly believe that this is the next steps in evolving human society than morally I cannot condone them. I personally believe that there are better ways to discover the truth on the nature of reality.

However, there will be consequences to this extreme liberal push in the United States.

You do not have to look any farther than Pres. Donald Trump as a response. Eight years ago, the Republican Party would have never elected a Donald Trump-like figure to the presidency. A man who is the farthest thing from having Christian morals and has absolutely no idea about functioning political policy. Conservatives were happy with their Bushes, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. But the strong leftist push in America created a breeding ground for Donald Trump.

Somethings liberals could not control from the conservative reaction from Barack Obama's Presidency. There is no denying that some conservatives were angry about Obama's race and the racial tension in America. There is no redemption from blatant racism. There is no denying that some conservatives were angry about the rational progressive steps like legalizing gay marriage. Again there is no redemption from homophobia. Finally, some conservatives were just angry that there was a Democrat in office. There is no redemption from tribalism.

However, a lot of the reactions and Donald Trump's presidency was a direct consequence of your actions liberals.

Liberals believe that the Obama Presidency was the final nail in the coffin for conservatism in America. Obviously, a lot of liberals did not pay much attention to politics at the state and local level, where conservatism is striving. In the liberal mind, Obama was supposed to be penicillin to the plague known as conservative beliefs and liberals planned on injecting that penicillin wherever this plague showed its face.

Liberals began shutting down Conservative speakers on campus, definitely infringing on their freedom of speech. Liberals used their belief that they possessed the moral high ground as an excuse to not speak with conservatives. Conservatives definitely started the identity politics campaign but liberals mastered it. If a person was a social conservative then liberals immediately wrote them off as racist, misogynist monsters and if a person was fiscally conservative then they were labeled capitalist that did not care about starving poor people.

Then the attacks became even more personal from the liberals. Conservatives were doing it just as much but they were not in power at the time and do not control much of the media. Politicians like Paul Ryan were labeled monsters. I disagree a lot with Ryan's political policies but I do not believe he is a monster or even a bad person. NRA members were labeled as people who have supported child murderers. Again, I personally know many NRA members of none are ok with the murder of children.

These type of attacks led to an acceptance of politicians like Donald Trump. Conservatives wanted a guy who would throw haymakers back, Trump did exactly that, where guys like John McCain were honorable and Mitt Romney did the typical dog-whistling, Trump bluntly insulted and said gross things to his competitors. Conservatives loved it though because they felt victimized by some of the attacks by the left. Conservatives were no victims; they had rallies were the hung dolls of Obama in effigy and said Sandy Hooks survivors were faking. However, they felt as if they were being victimized nether less and Trump represented the answer. That is not the final stone that is creating America's resistance to liberalism.

Liberals are making many Americans uncomfortable.

America is a county of Christian values. I am agnostic at best but leaning towards atheist and I know that America is a land of Christianity. Institutionally, as a country, we are a couple steps away from a full-blown theocracy. Most Americans are Christians, most politicians and other public figures are Christian; America has never not had a Christian president.

Then liberals attacked Christian values.

There is something, that no matter how uncomfortable it made Christian Americans feel, as a country we needed to get done. Not allowing homosexuals to get married is a violation of their human rights. Obama and Clinton were far behind on not supporting gay marriage. Homophobic people will be homophobic but most American's either got behind or grew to not care about gay marriage. Same thing with transsexual rights. Again, that is something that is a worthy fight and should be respected as on. As long as the argument is defined by reason, it does not matter if people are bothered by it.

Then liberals kept pushing farther past facts and into ideology and personal feelings.

They began advocating that there is no difference between a man and a woman. That everything we see as evidence that men and women are different is socially constructed. Evolutionary biology explicitly says that is wrong. The ultra-left make many other truth claims that science says are explicitly wrong.

The radicalization of the left will cost the Democratic Party a lot in the future. Americans will start leaving the Democratic Party as fast as they are leaving the Republican Party now. Whichever party modernizes will win the hearts of the American people. The democratic party should fight against real discrimination and unfair treatment. Fight racism through policy like fixing lead pipes in African American neighborhoods and putting more money into the public school. Fight for LGBTQA+ rights by fighting The Trump Administration's law that allows people to get fired for being gay. The Democratic Party needs to appeal to the rationality of the American Citizen and not try to match the radicalization of the Right.

If Liberals do not get a footing down pat by 2020 then they could be in serious trouble of losing the election.

If you enjoyed this conversation check out my podcast by following me on Twitter: @MccrayMassMedia

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