Christianity Today and Donald Trump

Donald Trump holding the Bible (image believed to be in the public domain).

The editor of Christianity Today, a evangelical Christian periodical started by Billy Graham, has written an editorial entitled “Trump Should Be Removed from Office. ” Editor in Chief Mark Galli called an impeachable political action of President Trump “profoundly immoral.”

This has sent shock waves through evangelical Christianity and beyond. Some will, of course, try to turn this into a partisan issue, but I don’t believe it is. For one thing, Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham has been a very strong supporter of the Republican Donald Trump. For another, Christianity Today, which generally avoids divisive political issues, also had an editorial favoring the removal of Democratic President Bill Clinton during his time of facing impeachment.

Another important factor is that the article doesn’t sound like a political tirade, it sounds like a reasoned opinion based on Christian values that does not condemn the person. It says, “We love and pray for our president, as we love and pray for leaders (as well as ordinary citizens) on both sides of the political aisle.”  That, by the way, is what Jesus of Nazareth taught his followers to do.

My personal hope is that this will help Christians who have been hesitant or even afraid of going against the pro-Trump tide to assert and stand by their beliefs.

An opinion of an individual members of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Posted in Education and Learning, Media and News, Politics and War, Religion and Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

What if the Bad Guys Had Won?

“What if the Bad Guys Had Won?”

Guest post by Deby Fredericks

That question is the basis for my high fantasy novella series, Minstrels of Skaythe. Three hundred years ago, the cruel mage Dar-Gothull seized power after taking down his rivals one by one. Since then, he’s reshaped everything in his own terrible image. Skaythe is an upside-down world, where merciless strength is “good” and caring about others is “bad.”

In creating this setting, I wanted to challenge some of the standard assumptions in fantasy. Our great legends tell us that freedom from tyranny can only be won in battle. Or that some sort of “chosen one” will lead an army to rescue the people. Even in small matters, we are told we must fight for what we want or need.

Personally, I question that warfare makes anything better. So I set out to explore ways that people of good conscience might resist a despot without resorting to violence. My heroes travel as minstrels. Music and dance, juggling and puppetry are their weapons. Rather than fighting to overthrow Dar-Gothull’s regime, they try to comfort the suffering of the people, even if only for a short time. For this crime they are branded as renegades and hunted throughout the land.

—–

Dancer in the Grove of Ghosts

“He’s dead. He just doesn’t know it yet.”

Mortally wounded, Cylass is abandoned on the battlefield by comrades who would just as soon have him out of the way. But as he waits for death, a strange savior appears. The dancer, Tisha, heals him with her forbidden magic, but also draws the wrath of his cruel former lord.

Soon guardsman and renegade mage are on the run. Will Cylass help Tisha, as she helped him? Or will he do the smart thing, and turn her over to the vicious Count Ar-Dayne?

Illustrations by Tithi Luadthong.

An opinion of a guest of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the family.

—–

Amazon e-book:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZXLHC62

Other e-book formats:
https://draft2digital.com/book/496360

—–
Deborah Fredericks

Fantasy and Children’s Writer
Find out more at my web site or my blog
or join my mailing list.
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Donald Trump Asks How to Impeach the President

Back in June 2014, Donald Trump asked on Twitter: “Are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence?” He finally gets his answer.

My answer (and my somewhat tongue-in-cheek article) is at The Daily Nooze.  Feel free to comment there.

UPDATE: The article is now on three services that I know of:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/10/30/1896087/-Donald-Trump-Asks-Interesting-Question-About-Presidential-Impeachment

https://thedailynooze.com/2019/10/29/donald-trump-asks-interesting-question-about-presidential-impeachment/

https://www.huewire.com/donald-trump-asks-interesting-question-about-presidential-impeachment/

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

The photo of Donald Trump is from inquisitr.com and appears with the article.

Donald Trump Asks Interesting Question About Presidential Impeachment

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Florida Man and Dumb Blondes

For many years, I’ve been involved with a non-profit organization that, in its most fundamental document, promotes inclusiveness, acceptance of diversity and pluralism, and respect for all individuals.

And yet, in that group’s admittedly unofficial humor page on Facebook, my questioning its use of the “Florida Man” meme got me criticized by more than one person.

So what if we make jokes about men from Florida doing crazy crimes? Or make jokes about dumb blondes? Or about lazy Mexicans? Because jokes can reinforce prejudice.  According to an article in Scientific American, “Whatever the neural underpinnings of implicit bias, cultural factors—such as shopworn ethnic jokes, careless catchphrases and play-ground taunts dispensed by peers, parents or the media—often reinforce such prejudice.”

And jokes can even be a part of creating prejudice and discrimination. That is apparently true of the dumb blonde stereotype. In studies, a majority of people have viewed women with blonde hair as less intelligent and less capable career-wise than brunettes. In some studies, the same women were treated as less intelligent–and more sexually available–when their hair was blonde than when brunette (Psychology Today, Mail Online, The Guardian).

In regard to Florida man, in my own mind I admit that, if I heard that phrase 10 years ago, my first image would have been of a Caucasian man with grey hair. I have never been to Florida, but back then heard several jokes about Florida retirees. Now, when I hear “Florida man,” my first thought is of a man from Florida committing a crazy crime even though the Florida Man meme apparently became popular just a few years ago in 2013.

For anyone who thinks that making jokes about the people of a particular state doesn’t matter, it can. I am very close to two people who had problems getting a job in one state when they moved to a state where people commonly made fun of their home state.

In my Ethnic and Women’s Studies classes, I relearned something I already knew–the biggest obstacle to equality and fair treatment is usually not the bigots. The biggest problem is most often regular people, sometimes nice, loving people. And sometimes the problem is exacerbated by people making fun of their own ethnic, racial, gender, or other group. They often don’t realize they’re contributing to the problem for others and possibly themselves. If they did, I imagine they would stop.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

The image of the blonde doll used is from pixaday which allows its free use for editorial purposes.

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Education and Learning, Love and Sex, Media and News, Politics and War, Religion and Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Exchange Students from Anywhere and Anywhen

Cover art by Laura Givens for “Exchange Students.”

This is the last call for submissions to the anthology “Exchange Students.” I’m going to be in it; will you?

“Editor Sheila Hartney and I (David Lee Summers) have been enjoying reading the wonderful submissions that have been coming in for Hadrosaur Productions’ forthcoming anthology, Exchange Students. Although we have a full anthology at this point, we are willing to be tempted by a few more good stories and could make room for a truly exceptional story or three. That said, this is last call. We will be closing to all submissions on October 15, 2019. Any submissions received after the 15th will not be considered.”

They want science fiction, fantasy, and/or horror which could be serious, humorous, or something in between. Details are here.

UPDATE: The collection is now available in ebook or paperback form at:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1885093896

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0851SFVLV

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1005851

Alden’s SF story “Orange Sun, Grey Sky,” which takes place in a galaxy he created that was used in GURPS campaigns, was accepted for the anthology. The image by Laura Givens is used to spread the word about the anthology and no threat to its copyright is intended. The quote is from Last Call – Exchange Students by David Lee Summers.

Opinions of an individual member of The Loveshade Family do not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Posted in Education and Learning, Family and Friends, Love and Sex, Media and News, Religion and Philosophy, Science and Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Stop Funding Department of Homeland Security Abuse

Sometimes the only way to stop a person or organization from perpetuating abuse is to hit them where it hurts–in their pocketbook.

It’s no secret that the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), largely through its agencies*, has been separating children from their parents and locking those children up.  It’s also no secret that there have been dozens and dozens of deaths in its agencies’ detention centers, and over 1,000 cases of reported sexual abuse against both adults and children, only a small fraction of which were formally investigated.**

It’s also no secret that President Donald Trump bypassed the U.S. congressional appropriations process by declaring a “national emergency” to channel military money to DHS to build his border wall.

But now it may be possible for the U.S. Congress to work to return to the balance of power created by the American founders to prevent governmental abuse. Congress is right now deciding DHS’s budget for the next fiscal year.

The clearest way to stop the unprecedentedly massive, out-of-control budget given to the DHS during the current administration is to let your senators know you do not support taxpayers’ money funding abuse. You can do this relatively easily by going to the link below:

https://action.aclu.org/send-message/cut-dhs-budget-now

*DHS agencies include The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

**https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/23/613907893/aclu-report-detained-immigrant-children-subjected-to-widespread-abuse-by-officia
**https://theintercept.com/2018/04/11/immigration-detention-sexual-abuse-ice-dhs/
**https://theintercept.com/2018/10/11/adelanto-ice-detention-center-abuse/

Posted in Crime and Punishment, Health and Medical, Love and Sex, Media and News, Politics and War | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Media Bias/Fact Check–Biased?

I recently became aware of a service called Media Bias/Fact Check which calls itself “The Most Comprehensive Media Bias Resource.” That sounds great–unless the resource itself is biased.

So I did a rather informal check of my own. I chose 12 news/information services I knew pretty well, including what I believe are their biases. I then checked the fact check service to see if their claims of bias matched my own perception. Below are the results.

Disclaimer: I worked for years as a journalist for a news service MB/FC says “is well sourced and factual in reporting with a right-center editorial bias.”  I also wrote for another service they say is “left-centered biased” for editorial content but “high for factual reporting (original content).” For both of them, I reported news but did not write news editorials.

While I checked 12, I’ll go into details on 5:

  1. The Washington Times: OK, so some of these are pretty easy; the news service’s masthead includes “Reliable Reporting. The Right Opinion.”  MB/FC and I both agree they have a right-center bias, some stories balanced while others lean strongly toward the right, and that they aren’t always very proficient at checking facts–not always “reliable reporting.”
  2. CNN: Again agreement; CNN has a bias towards the left. But what particularly impressed me was that MB/FC, to me, accurately pinned down how that bias is done, and that CNN does well on straight news.  “Overall, we rate CNN left biased based on story selection that often favors the left. We rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to misinformation and failed fact checks from guests and pundits. However, CNN’s straight news reporting would earn a High rating for factual reporting.”
  3. NPR: I really like National Public Radio which is perhaps one of the most accurate sources around.  But, unfortunately, I have to agree on the bias, even if very slight: “Overall, we rate NPR (National Public Radio) Left-Center Biased based on story selection that leans slightly left and Very High for factual reporting due to thorough sourcing and very accurate news reporting.”
  4. Christian Broadcasting Network: Yes, CBN is obviously biased to the right–except that they often present news that is pretty accurate and then “explain” that news in a highly biased fashion, and also freely mix up science and religion. Did MB/FC pick up on that? “Overall, we rate the Christian Broadcasting Network a right leaning promoter of conspiracy theories via Pat Robertson on the 700 Club. CBN News however, mostly reports accurate news that sometimes does not align with science.” Yes, they did.
  5. Christian Science Monitor: If any long-established news service (began in 1908) would have an obvious bias based on its name, this would be it. As Wikipedia describes it, Christian Science belongs to “the metaphysical family of new religious movements.” It took me literally years to, well, come to the same conclusion as did Media Bias/Fact Check: “Overall, we rate the Christian Science Monitor Least Biased based on balanced story selection and fair reporting coverage of both sides. Further, we rate them High for factual reporting due to proper sourcing of information and a clean fact check record.”

Media Bias/Fact Check is supported through Patreon. I’m going to support them right now.

The 12 I checked were The Washington Times, CNN, FOX News, NPR, BBC, Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, Christian Broadcasting Network, Yahoo News, The Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, and Snopes. I substantially agree with Media Bias/Fact Check on all of them. While I assume full responsibility for this blog post, thanks to Michael Lee Viviano and Sondra London for getting me thinking in the line that led to me finding MB/FC.

An opinion of an individual member of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Posted in Education and Learning, Family and Friends, Media and News, Politics and War, Religion and Philosophy, Science and Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Save The OA

Netflix said The OA is being cancelled! That’s after only two seasons and with a cliffhanger ending.

Wikipedia says: “The OA is an American mystery drama web television series with science fiction, supernatural and fantasy elements. The OA debuted on Netflix on December 16, 2016. Created and executive produced by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, the series is their third collaboration. The series consists of two seasons of eight episodes each, mostly directed by Batmanglij, and is produced by Plan B Entertainment and Anonymous Content. In the series, Marling stars as a young woman named Prairie Johnson who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years. Prairie now calls herself “The OA” (the “Original Angel”) and can see, despite having been blind before her disappearance.”

Many of you know the series had SubGenius and Discordian connections. The orphan Prairie Johnson is a reference to “Juicy” Johnson, childhood friend of Church of the SubGenius co-founder Connie Dobbs, and a SubGenius prairie squid. The show even features Azrael, which references not only the angel of death, but also Cthulhu and a SubGenius prairie squid.

Sign the petition to save the series here.

An opinion of an individual member or associate of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Posted in Discordian and Ek-sen-trik, Family and Friends, Media and News, Religion and Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Mystery of Screaming Schoolgirls in Malaysia

A 17-year-old schoolgirl felt a sharp pain in her back, thought she saw a face of pure evil, and passed out. Or did she pass out before she saw the face?

Whatever it was, it spread, with dozens of girls screaming. Is it demons or mass hysteria?

See the article about what happened in Malaysia here. What do you think?

An opinion of a member of associate of The Loveshade Family does not necessarily reflect the views of the whole family.

Posted in Discordian and Ek-sen-trik, Health and Medical, Media and News, Religion and Philosophy | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments