For the month of June, we asked all our writers to use a video in their piece.
As a mother, I’ll take the flu—or measles—over autism any frickin’ day of the week. Wake up. Think about it. We live in a country controlled by pharmaceutical companies. They just want to get rich off more frickin’ injections, and guess what? If your kid gets autism, do you think they care? Do think they care what happens to my son, or your daughter? All they care about is selling you pills and surgeries and more vaccines to “fix” the autism they caused. Seriously. Think. Stop trusting whatever bullshit these companies force down doctor’s throats and listen to real people.
I can tell you, as a queer woman of color, that your perfect, real people are not kind or safe, and that yes, thank you very much (I know what you’ll say because I’ve heard it all before), the world is out to get me, because as a queer woman of color, I live in a culture of rape and misogyny and systematic discrimination, and maybe that’s not your world, but it’s mine, and I’m sorry if you don’t believe me from the safety of your cul-de-sac suburb and white skin and heteronormativity, but the world is a very different place as a queer woman of color, and I’m sorry if it’s not convenient, but you can’t ignore me any longer. You can not ignore me.
Rape is never okay. And racism is wrong. I’m with you, I’m right there with you. But as a Christian, as a broken, saved-by-grace Follower of Christ, I just can’t support homosexuality. Or transsexuality, or queerness—I’m sorry, I don’t know the P.C. terms for this stuff. I know it doesn’t seem fair, or nice, or tolerant, but as a Christian, I have to live by God’s Truth. God’s perfect, unchanging Truth, and sure, it’s not black and white on everything, but it is black and white on some things.
You know that saying, “Mother knows best”? It’s a saying for a frickin’ reason. We’re the backbone of every decent household in America. Not the liberal agenda, not some church dogma. Not men, or medicine, or public frickin’ education with brainwashing and new math that doesn’t even teach—it’s us. The mothers. We hold this country together. We keep our husbands in line, we keep our families fed and clean, and we make damn sure our children grow up honest and healthy.
I don’t need facts about pre-pubescent gender dysphoria or statistics about white-on-black assaults because as a queer woman of color, I am a fact, and you cannot deny my breathing, sweating body or reject my hours in therapy after three failed suicide attempts. I am the marginalized. As a queer woman of color, I am argumentum ad nonverecundiam, I am liberation theology, I am the tyranny of the minority. Don’t speak about me, don’t speak for me, and don’t speak to me. Listen and learn (isn’t that what you say?), you mysoginistic, offensive, oppressive, appropriating, privileged bullies. Look on my victimhood, ye mighty, and despair.
Let’s all take a step back. Deep breaths. Deep, deep breaths. There we go. I’ll be the first to say I don’t know all the answers. We’re talking about some serious stuff, some personal stuff, and it’s easy to let our sin nature get the best of us. We’ve been turning our enemies into scarecrows so we can knock them down with a few mean words. You know why we do that? Because it’s easier than admitting our enemies are made in the image of God. It’s easier than admitting our enemies are broken humans just like you or me. Now, in the book of James, God tells us, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” Let’s go back to those scarecrows for a minute. Do you know what they stuff a scarecrow with? I grew up on a farm in Kansas, so I know this answer. They fill ‘em with straw. And I can tell you firsthand: straw burns real quick. Now, again, I don’t know all the answers. I don’t have a fancy degree, or big words, or books with my name on the front. I haven’t figured out parenting or racism or any other “controversial issue,” but you know who has? Jesus. And as a Christian, He’s given me those answers right here. He’s given you them, too. All you have to do is open it. And if it’s confusing, or you don’t like it, well, as Christians, we’ve got Jesus’ cell phone number on speed dial any time we get down on our knees.
You expect me, as a mother, to trust my child’s health to a two-thousand-year-old frickin’ book?
As queer woman of color, I will not—
But what about him? A white cis fake-Christian who hasn’t changed a single diaper. He made the three of us into combustible villains to keep his argument safe. As a mother, as a Christian, as an anything—that phrase can be useful, you know. It can give context. It can show humility, admit weakness. It can do the opposite of speaking for other people.
It’s not about the phrase. The phrase is just a vehicle.
Then show real problems. Don’t hide behind scarecrows.
As a hitchhiker, I think Nevada sucks. It’s a do-anything-but-hitchhike state filled with rude, glaring people and environmentally-unsustainable extravagance. As a hitchhiker. That one-word identity I share with those dredlocked hippies with golden hair and a life on the road, who spent days between rides and months between stints guiding river rafts or maintaining trails; and with the shy, homeless mother who was hitchhiking into Taos for groceries and who smelled like a dog; and with the felon I met in a North Dakota McDonalds who bragged to me, “I thumbed it to Alaska before they kicked me out, and the girls there, friend! ugly-ass girls like basketballs, but you buy ‘em a drink and they’ll rub up on you like cats.” I need them to hate Nevada, too. As hitchhikers.
And as a man, I believe—or as a heterosexual person with a natural penis and normal testosterone levels, 175 pounds with not much body fat, who rarely cries, tries to be emotionally stable, and values grit and hard work? As an Episcopalian—or as a non-confirmed staff member who goes to vesper mass but skips Sundays, who carries evangelical baggage and Calvinist theology and a morally-convenient tolerance for sex, drugs, alcohol, and questions?
An entire set of opinions buried within the part of the statement that’s meant to be taken as a given. An indisputable subordinate clause with no room for reply, no space to protest what was just claimed as an essential part of self. It invites a response, but only to the other part—the second, lesser opinion that waves and blusters like a decoy. As a white, straight, male, gun-owning, pro-gay-marriage, anti-censorship, pro-privacy Episcopalian hitchhiker with four part-time jobs and a college degree and a gym membership, I have already disguised my beliefs as identity.
NPR called Josh “a modern-day Jack Kerouac” after he wrote about his 7,000-mile, no-money hitchhiking journey through the United States. Since hitchhiking, he’s found homes in the Pacific Northwest, the Episcopal Church, and the post calvin. He builds websites as the director of Branded Look LLC. Josh’s writing has appeared in places such as The Emerson Review, Front Porch Review, and Perspectives.