Category Archives: Terrorism

Not My Jesus: My Very Christian View on the Muslim Ban


“We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives – but in what we do for others”
Harry Truman

I am a Christian. I love Jesus. I am scared for America.

I never thought about whether people were upset or protesting during the Crusades until this weekend. To see “armies of Christians from Western Europe respond to Pope Urban II’s plea to go to war against Muslim forces in the Holy Land. “ – (source) . Do you think there was extreme outrage by any of the Christians at the time?

The executive order to temporarily ban visa holders from the 7 countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen has sent shock waves through this country and across the globe. There are a number of reasons it just doesn’t make sense. There are a number articles that detail the countries selected for the ban did not include the Islamic extremists who have been a part of the major terrorist attacks:

“None of the perpetrators of the major US terrorist attacks carried out in the name of Islam in the past 15 years have come from the nations on that list. In fact, the country home to the biggest number of terrorists who have carried out successful attacks inside the US is the US itself.” – (Source)  and (source) 

So let’s just be really clear, is this really about safety? ISIS is a problem. Islam is not. I am totally okay with the destruction of extremists of any kind, from any religion, sect, ethnicity, you name it. Let’s crush the threat. I am no pacifist. But neither is my God.

I had to stop and think about something. I am currently reading Jeremiah, a book from the bible, that details the destruction and impending captivity Yahweh (God) inflicted upon his own, chosen people for their complete, utter disobedience and disregard for his law. Not to mention their incessant participation in idolatry that was occurring in Judah and Jerusalem. Like… do you understand what I am saying? God used destruction against his OWN people, but not just for any old reason. Through the bible, he used war, pestilence to show his will, strength and love. Talk about some tough love, right. So of course, it’s cool to kill people, discriminate against people who don’t believe in God the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit?


Throughout time, Christians have found numerous ways to inflict war against whole groups of people. Yet, no one has been successful in completely wiping an entire race. (Caveat: I know there is probably one example, but you get my point… think about it). The bible tells Christians that we will grow, live and be surrounded by “tares” a.k.a. no-believers, but we are supposed to be a light, not this BEACON OF DARKNESS. Like what are you people doing? Christianity has nothing to do with the mistreatment of whole religious groups.

This ban smells like Islamophobia and just appearing to do something to fight against ISIS when in fact what has been done is completely missing the mark AND allowing us to become a bigger target from real extremist threats. Throughout the bible, God used “foreigners”, some who were believers and non-believers, for his purpose based on their heart which he intimately knows.

And here’s the other thing, empathy is important, but not about this. I am a firm believer that trying to walk in someone else’s shoes is important and having a positive experience with a marginalized group makes you more willing to speak up for them. However, you don’t need a warm and fuzzy experience with a Muslim to understand why the complete disregard for the people who are being detained. It’s like lumping all Catholics and Christians as a breeding place for sexual abuse. There is a long list, which continues to grow, of Christian leaders of all races engaging in that type of behavior, but we’re not banning every priest and Christian pastor from going to schools or having youth programs at their church. That would be ludicrous, but to some extent could be useful to save our young boys and girls who get abused. But there are so many more who do positive things for kids, so we have to be vigilant and strategic to protect our kids from people like that.

So let’s work on the ISIS problem, it is not a Muslim problem. We cannot unilaterally discriminate against all Muslim countries. Now, people are talking about the fact Muslim counties in which Trump has investments, but including them doesn’t change it though. Let’s include Saudi Arabia, which would probably never happen, we would still be having the same conversation. Don’t fall for that distraction conversation. Don’t.

Some people may be reading this and saying that there was no mention of Christianity as part of the reason for initiating this ban. But as the Republican Party, which I am a part of some days, they are using their beliefs as a basis for every decision that they make and I have just had enough, because you do not own his Holy name. Neither do I really, it stands on its own, but I will not stand idly and allow people to continually misuse it. It is time that the Christians who are standing idle while watching the bastardization of Christianity to justify these actions in these United States America to stand the heck up! We wouldn’t let a non-believer paint such an ugly picture of God the Son, why are we letting those who profess his name act as such?

As a group of people, we cannot allow this. I am not sure what is more frustrating, the complete discrimination of a whole group of people or people standing behind a shroud of Christianity to cover their bigotry. Either way, you will not use my Jesus in this way.

Luke 9: 52-56

“… And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”

55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.”


If It Ain’t About the Money… What is it?


Law Student 1: Is that a body?

Law Student 2: Someone killed her?

Attorney: It was an accident

Law Professor: And we’re going to make it look like a bigger accident.

Law Student 2: Why would we do that? We should go to the Police

Law Professor: Do what I say and ask questions later?

Law Student 3: No, this is insane. You’re insane


December 4. 2015, in the New York Times, with a very short Op-ed called, “End the Gun Epidemic in America” (source)   described plainly and boldly that America is not doing enough to protect kids, families … PEOPLE.

“Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true.  They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulations. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did. But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not.”

So here is my confession. I like talking about politics, the news, and I love hearing arguments from all corners of the mind. When people grow tired of arguments, I do not, as long as valid points are being made. But I could probably on half of one hand could count how many times I have been in a legit argument about gun control or witnessed an argument about gun control. Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t people who are severally passionate about the subject, and rightfully so.  I will NEVER forget the argument between Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Selleck on her old TV show or more recently Amy Schumer’s stint as the host of SNL where she went out of her way to highlight her distaste for guns. (Not to mention working with her cousin Senator on gun control). Even on the other side of the aisle, there are a number of public NRA advocates who are extremely passionate about not being restricted from buying their guns and the best way to protect oneself is to be armed. One time a guy told me that the first time he held a gun was when he was four years old, and I really thought he was joking…. But he wasn’t. He told me that the reason he would never abuse his gun was due to that fact he was taught about guns at a very early age, and in fact, that’s the problem in America is that there needs to more gun education. Hmmm, I don’t know that, but to each his own.

So the script from the beginning of this post is from the fabulous Shonda Rhimes famous television show, “How To Get Away with Murder”.  A show that I have grown more and more uncomfortable with due to its focus and message. Many people are bothered by its overtures regarding sex, but I am more bothered by the cavalier approach to murder, death, and killing. Now, I have never been a fan of the ideology that art makes you act in real life. The idea that songs from rapper Eminem or rocker Marilyn Manson could contribute to the violence in the country or video games inherently make kids more violent. But the more and more I watch “How to Get Away with Murder”, I can’t help but feel a little desensitized. In every episode, the show literally gives excuses as to why people kill and the lead character’s drive to win gets numerous killers back on the street. I know Shonda isn’t promoting this in real life, but you can’t help but wonder if everyone walks with the idea that this is only a TV show, and not “what if this was me” in real life. Murder is so common place on all of the shows I watch except in sports and reality shows, I can’t help but wonder, if I became blindly extremist on a topic, would committing murder be so far fetched, because in reality why would it be? (seriously, stop and think about it). One thing for sure is that I could get a gun. We have to do something about guns in our country, because we truly are inundated with images of murder and that’s the reality. We inundated with happy stories. Violence, Drugs and sex, America’s visual cocktail of choice.

Many were upset with Speaker Paul Ryan for easily blaming mental health as the cause to Planned Parenthood mass shooting (source) as a way to deflect from gun control and I would agree. The excuse that you cannot change the heart, mind and condition of the person who decides to kill and murder innocent people is true, but you can change the laws around them, and we apparently we continue to do so. In an article in the Washington Post,  published on October 6, 2015, titled: “New gun laws pass often in the United States. But they usually make guns easier to get” (source)

Read and take away with it from what you will, because there might be a slight bias, but one thing is clear. The NRA feels strongly about promoting gun freedom. It’s America, the land of the free, I don’t have a problem with that. But my question is if they control Congress because of the money. When the lobbyists from both sides and sit down and discuss with the congressional staffers or the right hand people of our lawmakers, do they really agree or believe in what they are voting for, or just have a passive attitude towards guns. If it’s the latter, maybe I would feel a little better. Because I have been passive about the topic myself.

So I titled this post, “If it ain’t about the money”…. , because what scares me if our elected officials are making decisions based on the money, because if ain’t about the money what is it? Cause people continue to die. Everything we do, the decisions we make, the number one reason for divorce is always about the money. But there is something about life and death and money that makes me feel disgusting. I don’t want to believe that we aren’t creating better gun laws because of money, because when innocent people die, it costs everything, because human life is priceless and we need to start acting like it.

“Oh, no. It costs a lot more than your life. To murder innocent people?” says Peeta. “It costs everything you are.” ― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

So if it isn’t about the Money? What is it? Share your thoughts below


To Be Thankful and True


” I prefer to be true to myself even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence” – Fredrick Douglass

 I was very excited about today’s post. It is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I have a lot to be thankful for when I think about where I was last year. But as I sat down to write, and caught up on all the news from Tuesday, I couldn’t write about my personal matters. It didn’t seem true to myself, didn’t seem real. There were a number of events that happened yesterday that compelled me to write a feature for Alibi X called, “Just Thankful To Be Alive”.  We cannnot be afraid to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable, change will not come any other way. Please go check it out on their website: Here



Do You Know Where You’re Going To


“The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that man may become robots” – Erich Fromm

Lately, the traffic in Austin has been worse than normal, so I have attempted to try several different routes, and it’s been somewhat of an adventure. I’ve been doing so for my morning and evening routes, and I feel like I have driven all over Austin. One day this past week, a thought came to my mind. As I drive around Austin, I never use a GPS. I take great pride in learning and knowing my surroundings. Yes, I am that person who looks down on someone who’s lived in a city more than 2 years and doesn’t know how to get around a city in which you live.

I believe a GPS, although it has purpose when you are somewhere unfamiliar, I find it mentally frustrating, because it doesn’t always take the best route, it more times than not, takes the long road (“safe route”) , and ignores the shorter road (“riskier route”). So it is interesting how so many people are addicted to the GPS.  You also do not learn your environment or you’re too busy paying attention to the GPS that you might miss out on  scenery that surrounds you, and it’s a shame. But more than anything, to some extent you are a robot, following a voice and the mind isn’t thinking.  To some extent, you become a robot.

Now when I had these thoughts, I had no idea what I would sit down to write about this week or how it would relate to the topic of my choice, but I knew it would be relevant, and boy is it ever.

As I peruse my timeline, news feed, or any other social medium since the Friday attacks in Paris, a question comes to my mind:

Are we in the land of robots or the land of the free?

I think the only thing more disturbing than the actual terrorist attacks in Paris, or any other terror attack or violence in any country at any given time, is the arguing about what people should or shouldn’t do or say on their Facebook profile. There has been a lot of social media riff raff about the media attention and sympathy for the attacks on Paris versus other acts of violence whether it be in the black community, in Beirut, or in Kenya, and so on.  In all reality, there are thousands if not millions of people who live in constant danger every day, and should be on your habitual prayer list, but I am not even going to get into that. What’s really surprising is that people are ACTUALLY getting annoyed when the seemingly majority comes together to change their profile picture to the French flag. Now, I would agree that there are plenty of people who couldn’t have pointed out the French flag before Friday, but what you are learning is that some people follow the crowd. Sometimes that crowd is your family, or friends, and now it can be your Facebook friends, strangers, or the mass media. Either way, everyone isn’t paying attention to what’s going on in this world, and are just passing a widget in the assembly line.

So I ask, are we in the land of robots or the land of the free?

In a country where we are free to mourn, cry, and pray in the manner in which we choose, more and more, there are so many people judging each other publicly about the decision that they make. I was listening to the radio on Friday, and they were discussing a report that stated, “A week without Facebook leads to a happier, less angry, less lonely life” (source)

I believe that story without an ounce of double checking of the research. I get frustrated on Facebook at least 3 times in a week, and on Veteran’s day, I think I was upset 3 times in that one day. But the reality is today, as was when I wrote it here, here AND here, you cannot complain about the media not covering certain news or Americans caring about certain people. A lot of people are mad about the unfair coverage of the news, but THIS IS NOTHING NEW. Similar to when my black friends and I had the tough conversations about the police and brutality, that my little conservative, uppity Negro ears didn’t want to hear or believe or listen. But you all are mad at institution that has failed you for years, yet you continue to tune in, re-tweet, and share the news that give you crap and when you wake up and realize that all International Lives don’t matter, I don’t have sympathy for you.

I really do not watch any form of cable news, besides ESPN – and they too, are becoming ratings obsessed. I boycott, not because I am into boycotting, they do not cover or represent mine or anyone’s interest. They continue to prevail, because we are becoming more and more like robots. Following as the winds blows, and rarely making are own decisions. Not to mention, people are constantly trying to change our MIND for their gain and not our enrichment! In fact, sometimes, going against the grain feels like it’s a part of the crowd when too many begin to follow. I mean this shouldn’t be surprising, didn’t you hear, the First Family, are a bunch of robots. Yes, I am referring to the Kardashians. But beyond this seemingly unsurprising robotic nature of many people, I wonder if telling people what they should do, and then they do it, do they really believe it? Cherish it?

I think more than anything, we are doing and saying things without really thinking about why or who we are saying it to, and social media has made everyone’s opinion relevant.

The more important question were the seemingly “Christian” folks on my timeline who took the time to remind us that we shouldn’t allow refugees into this country. Now, I am not negating that they didn’t play any role, but the quickness in which many took to discuss whether or not the refugees contributed to the terror attacks is alarming. What I can tell you is that the hate and fear mongering that we are spewing to each other is not going to help these robots that this world is creating. The part of this that scares me are the young people influenced by ISIS across the globe including America.  We are creating robots, and when they fall into the wrong hands, their fragile minds can be swayed to do and be a part of really bad things, in a million different names, including religion.

There are a few traits, psychologists have found, “They tend to be young, male thrill junkies, craving purpose, glory, camaraderie and a fresh identity….They hunger for significance, even infamy. Some barely understand the Islamic faith. And many are just plain bored.” (source) …. sound like a robot trying to feel alive again doesn’t it? I do not mean to over simplify the issue, but many of the recruits in the Western world are pulled in a social media recruitment, and with the wrong psyche, many things could trigger a person to search and reach to ISIS as did Andre Poulin, a common westerner to join the Islamic State. (source). I cannot sit here and write about how to change the terror attacks in Paris, Beirut, Kenya, and so forth, but I know I see more hate then love on my timeline, and more blind allegiance, than true thought.  America we cannot create any more robots. Our lives depend on it.


Since the Day I Was Born ….


For me, the hardest part of watching the movie Selma was the first five minutes. It is the scene when the young girls, doing what young girls do in church, were blown up. I have thought of this scene multiple times prior to seeing the movie and just the thought of this scene was chilling, but Ava DuVernay captured it even more poignantly in the movie. So as I woke up this morning, June 18, to hear that 9 black people were shot in a historic church in South Carolina, I couldn’t even imagine what was going on in their minds and hearts as it was happening. As a child who grew up in the church, the thought of some one coming into our sabbath school, choir practice, youth service or a sermon brought me to real tears for so many reasons. Cried for their kids, their families, but also that our people have to be killed in a church, for everyone to find outrage. To utter the words that this IS a hate crime unlike all the other incidents. Because when our people are in the streets, not wearing the right clothes or defending themselves (if only with our words), the life of a black person is not of the same worth. We have to be doing what society deems appropriate for there to be outrage.


See what’s so troubling about this shooting is that the black church is a center piece to black culture. Despite our difficult past, the church has been a place of refuge for us. It IS a place of refuge for us. Despite its faults, because no establishment is perfect, it represents so much for black people. This feels like the highest violation, because almost every black child can relate to some degree when it comes to matters of faith. So now, in 2015, we are still being terrorized in our places of worship like in the days of MLK. How are we supposed to attend our places of worship? Of course, this won’t keep us out of our churches, but it will make some look over their shoulders. And it shouldn’t be this way.

Over the last two years, we’ve seen our young sons and daughters killed, and protestors and activists lambasted for speaking out against the police. Here’s the truth, we are racially profiled, wrongfully jailed, unjustly sentenced, and leniency is rarely given, yet a privilege white boy can receive leniency for a disease called “affluenza”, because he was born in privilege so he couldn’t grasp his actions.

Am I missing something?

I’m not radical. I actually love the police and respect the 5 -0 , the men in Blue. But when I sit here and speak to older black people who are not seeing why we are upset. That in some way, they implicitly say that we are the problem, is when I realize I have to say something. To speak up.

TODAY, we have earned the right to be angry,  to be sad, but we must not sit. We want equality in every area. But there are certain things I want right now from three groups of people:

1. The Media and the People Who Watch It
2. “Educated” Black People
3. Everybody else


For the last week, I was saturated about the Rachel “whogivesashit” Dolezeal story. Wake up media and get some respect about yourself. How can this nation grow, the people learn and understand,  if the information you give us is horrible. You ARE dumbing down America.

The People Who Watch It


Until its worthy of our attention


Lately, I’ve heard a lot of my peers talk about how they are numb. STOP. You’re still living, breathing and have a sound mind. Do something. I’m not asking you to move mountains. But all of us need to have a hand in making a difference in our communities. It’s about each of us contributing in some capacity. You don’t need to live in Baltimore, NYC or Cleveland, but help where you are. You can protest, but there are other ways too. Use your unique gifts and talents. More importantly, as I’ve said so many times, have real conversations with your White friends, your Hispanic friends, your Asian friends, your Jewish friends. We need allies. Don’t have any of “those” friends? Well, we can not sit in our little educated black circles and expect people to understand or care if we’re not out here shouting from the mountaintop.


Wake the HECK up to the world we actually live in and not the world you think we do. Get out your shell or your/our world will fall apart, and it won’t be the underprivileged, the mistreated, and upset young people’s fault, it will be yours.

Since the day I was born, I have loved America and I have been a Black American. Since the day I was born, I believed I lived in a post-racial America. That is not true. I have been proud to be an American, I just hope those days are not numbered, because we are blind to reality. I now know,  since the day I was born, there is still a lot of work to be done about race. I have taken off my rose colored glasses, won’t you?


Privacy? …. Do You Want It?


“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”     Benjamin Franklin
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. – George Orwell

I wonder how George Orwell would feel about America today. A number of writers have continuously written about the dismantling of America’s privacy in the name of safety and to fight terrorism is akin to the infamous Big Brother from the science fiction novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Not suggesting that our government has taken total control of our lives by any means, especially compared to many other totalitarian regimes that exist today; but in terms of our privacy, advocates decry that more and more of our rights are disappearing to the point we will soon have a faint remembrance of privacy is used to be like.  The definition of privacy reads, the “state or condition of being free from being observed by other people”. (Source). But privacy involves so much more than that now since technology allows us to have self-identifying data which  for some needs to protected, but this data is often be shared, downloaded, used in marketing tools, bought and sold like cattle. It is no longer just our actions and thoughts, we are data, and it’s worth a pretty penny.  This self-identifying information used to just center around our social security number, birth certificate, tax information, etc. but now it is our preferences, shopping habits, emails, thoughts, dreams; if you really think about it, it’s almost everything that we can produce, any thought or action can define us, and it can be captured in some sort of way.

 Now usually I have an opinion, but I am on the fence with this one, as I believe as many other Americans and Millennials alike. It’s not that we don’t care, I think it’s matter of actual double mindedness. I think our privacy is important and a fundamental freedom given to us by our founding fathers. But in the same breath, I believe Americans’ safety is important to the survival of this country. This dialogue has been going on since 9/11 and the Patriot Act first emerged, then Facebook, Google, and other companies came along that can track just about anything. As a sidenote: I am sure there were other mechanisms that could track our internet behavior, but those internet sites are mechanisms that we use willingly, and is not quite an invasion of our privacy. So we know these companies report our self-identifying to the government, should this raise a red flag in our heads OR maybe the recent revealing of YET another surveillance program that sifts through the American people’s data  will do.

 Last week, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the  U.S. Marshals have a  surveillance program that targets Americans cellphones in order to catch criminals. So many questions come to my mind when I heard about it. Do I care? Are they tracking my information? Do we need it? OR why the hell did the  Wall Street Journal even release the information! Did I mention the program has been going on for seven years?

 So here’s the quick run down: (If you’re visual, click here)

U.S. Marshalls are using small planes, to carry these things called dirty boxes which act like fake cell phone towers that can trigger thousands of personal identifying information from cell phones. (source) This information allows officials to catch criminals as close as three yards. When the dirty box locates the criminal, the dirty boxes release the general public’s information.  The program is supposed to look for fugitives, drug dealers, and other serious criminal offenders. It’s coming under scrutiny, because through the criminal seeking process it snags millions of Americans’ data. The U.S. Marshals denied the existence of the program, and stated, “The Marshals’ investigative techniques are deployed “only in furtherance of ordinary law-enforcement operations, such as the apprehension of wanted individuals, and not to conduct domestic surveillance or intelligence gathering,’’ . (source)

Which is their way of saying that they do not keep information of regular law-abiding citizens.  At first glance, I get it, catching criminals is a good thing, because they don’t really want to know what’s in my emails or if I have naked pictures but THEN they also indicated that the FCC knew nothing about the program. The Federal Communications Commission which monitors the airwaves, knew NOTHING. AND this is where I get on the side of the privacy diehards. I just don’t believe that the FCC would have no idea about this program, or if it was classified above the ENTIRE agency’s pay grade, that they would not find out eventually, by doing their,um, job? Maybe not, apparently the technology used by the U.S. Marshalls is the most sophisticated of it’s kind. But here’s the thing, I either feel they are lying about the FCC not knowing, which would make me think, that there are lying about a number of other things OR they did not notify any officials in the FCC, because there are pulling things that they don’t want us to know about. If the program is doing what they actually says its doing, surely a top official is aware of the program. This is where my frustration lies. You want to mess with my privacy, but there is no honesty surrounding what is actually going on, and if it was as top secret as it should be, how are journalists able to uncover the information in the first place! and if  you were only doing what was necessary,  employees would not be disgusted by the behavior and leaking the information to journalists.Edward Snowden, who I believe is a traitor for the way he unveiled the information, put it like this, “I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building”  (Source)  And that’s the hypocrisy, I find with the way privacy is dealt with. Mr. Snowden you didn’t want the government to destroy privacy, yet you release private information?At the same token, the governments say that are not doing anything illegal, yet their actions and behaviors seem so suspicious!


In a poll, by Quinnipiac University, in January 2014, they asked if the anti-terrorism program is too much of an intrusion into American’s personal privacy or not? 57% of people said it was too much of an intrusion, and that was 4% higher than it was 6 months prior in 2013. (source)  . So will this concern continue to increase?  Megan Meagher, director of Red Peak Youth, a branding and design agency that connects brands with the Millennial mindset, said it best that “we are at a unique turning point where the waters of online privacy are only just beginning to be navigated by the government, by companies and by consumers. For Millennials, a generation that lives its life online, the issue of consumer privacy and data use won’t go away. Brands that take a stand now and join the conversation proactively will set the stage for a lifelong relationship with their customers built on trust and respect.” (source)

She really say’s it exactly right. Whatever is or going to happen around privacy, we need to be paying attention. Not just because “Big Brother” is watching, but we are still at point where what happens on the world of privacy matters, and some power is still in our hands, but it may slowly slip out of our hands if we continue to let the status quo stand. I want my safety and life continued to be protected, but at what cost? Maybe we need to give it a serious thought.