Archives For Politics

General-crop

I was twenty-three years old, naïve, and ready for my first full-time teaching position. I had just spent twelve weeks in a long-term substitute position for a fifth-grade classroom. It was the end of Spring, and I knew that I might be called in for interviews for the upcoming school year.  I had been a substitute teacher for a year and I was ready for my own classroom.

I decided it might be beneficial to get advice from the principal at the school where I did my long-term substitute position. I scheduled to meet with him after school. I let him know that I was looking for a full-time job and if he could give me some advice about interviewing and what I should expect. I don’t remember him giving me any helpful information. He said a few things, laughed a little and said, “Really, all you need to know is just look pretty.”

Yup, that was it, folks. My four years of college and all my efforts to become a credited teacher were summed up in three words- Just.Look.Pretty.

I remember turning a bit red and embarrassed at his response. I chatted a bit more but I realized he had no advice for me and THAT was his answer.

Now the present-day-forty-something-me would have probably got in my car and drove to the School Board office to kindly let them know Mr. Principal was a misogynist pig— or something to that effect. But my twenty-three-year-old-self lacked self-confidence and boldness. I didn’t know how to respond.  I just wanted a teaching position.

After that, I knew that I didn’t want to work in that school. Mr. Principal’s comments made me uncomfortable, but I really couldn’t pinpoint why. They weren’t harmful, but they were disrespectful. I started to think about all the teachers in that school, and I noticed there was a common theme. Most of them were thin, pretty, and all female.  In fact, I remember the interactions many of those female teachers had with Mr. Principal. They flirted and they stroked his ego. It was an environment that I often felt uncomfortable and out of place in. It was like High School all over again. I wasn’t going to be making out with any football players, so I wasn’t a part of the popular crowd (or some other High School cliche situation).

I tell this whole scenario to say this; we are all responsible for creating an atmosphere of respect. In a society where sexual harassment in the workplace seems to be a disease, let’s acknowledge that sometimes it starts with women to set the standard. Mr. Principal was a jerk. No question about that. But I watched many other female teachers laugh at his crassness and flirt in the most inappropriate way. They helped to create a climate where he was very comfortable in being unprofessional.  Now I don’t know if anything was going on besides flirtation and ignorant behavior, but it was enough to make me feel devalued in my role there as a teacher. I have often wondered, would he have made those comments if the other teachers held him to a higher standard?

I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Respect begins with me.

Looking back, I wish I would have been able to respond to Mr. Principal and put him in his place. He needed a lecture on respect for women, especially young women.  But I don’t put this story in the context of men verse women or equality. It’s simply about treating everyone with respect.  We (men and women) all have the choice to set our standards high in the workplace. We can enable a disrespectful atmosphere just as much as we can directly show disrespect. Our actions or failure to act have consequences. We can complain and point fingers, or we can set the standard for how we ALL want to be treated.

Now my story did have a happy ending. I taught in another school with an admirable male principal who helped me become a better teacher. He valued me as a young teacher, and I respected him for his leadership and experience. It’s amazing what can happen when respect begets respect.

Dear Hollywood

October 11, 2017 — 1 Comment

biggest_myth_hollywood_sign

 

Dear Hollywood,

Wow, things are exploding out there in La La Land. I have been watching and reading all the media frenzy over the breaking story on Harvey Weinstein and what a mess! My female empowerment side wants to congratulate all the women coming forward and commend them on their bravery. Weinstein is a monster clad in designer suits and dripping in Hollywood mogul riches. He’s a sexual abuser, predator, and here’s another word- he’s evil.

As I sit here taking it all in though, I have to tell you that I am not surprised. You are an industry that has increasingly rejected the values that most everyday Americans hold dear. You’re not quite the beacon of morality in this country. In fact, I rarely attend movies anymore unless a trusted friend recommends one. Why? Because you have taken the art of storytelling and have politicized it. You’re not even subtle anymore about your agenda. It’s blatant. I hold different opinions and values than most of Hollywood. That’s fine. I like the diversity of thought and beliefs. But you, Hollywood, don’t!

You have politicized your films, your award shows, and even the platforms of your actors look more like politicians than entertainers. You’re an industry that has used your power and influence to manipulate your viewers. You wield a form of control of thought in your films, and we’re sick of it. Hollywood seems to be this mecca of collective groupthink. Does anyone think apart from the group anymore? Well, let me tell you Hollywood, there’s a whole population of people who have lost respect for you.

There’s no excuse for a man like Weinstein to be able to manipulate women to get what he wants. That’s disgusting behavior. But let’s just call your industry on the “red carpet” about something. Your films objectify and sexualize your actors and actresses to such extremes that I can’t tell the difference between pornography and an R-rated movie. I can’t remember the last time I could go to a movie theater with my children that wasn’t an animated film. Your industry sexualizes everything.

Harvey Weinstein is a symptom of this over-sexualization which also manipulates and controls. We all know sex sells but why do you let it?

So what do average everyday Americans want from the world of Hollywood?

We just want to be entertained. We want to escape into a story that might resonate with who we are as Americans. A film that captures our uniqueness of diversity. A history story that makes us cry over our human frailties but triumphs in our moral indignation to be better people. Maybe, movies that capture people who think differently or have opinions that we might disagree with but can find common ground without bias. The world of storytelling is beautiful. It heals and shapes us as Americans. But when Hollywood loses sight of who their viewers are, they stop telling real stories.

Hollywood, you have gotten off course. You’ve let your politics control your industry.  Meryl Streep once called Harvey Weinstein, “god.” Don’t go worshipping golden idols. That only leads to destruction. You have the potential to unite a politically divided country with your beautiful Technicolor stories. That’s all we want as viewers; to escape our everyday struggles and get lost in a movie.

Get out of your bubble, Hollywood, and look around. Many of us want to support you, but we want you to embrace our stories too. We don’t all live in La La Land nor do we want to.

I am sorry our world has men like Weinstein, but maybe he’s a wake-up call. Write your own redemptive story, Hollywood.

 

 

 

th

Several years ago I challenged a speaker. I was attending a conservative political event, and this particular person said, “Our public schools are cesspools of liberal indoctrination, and if your child is attending a public school, you are a part of the problem. Pull them out!”

Many people in the audience applauded while my blood pressure started to rise. Pull them out? Really? Aren’t conservatives known to be advocates of school choice? My husband and I made a decision to send our kids to public school. As Christian conservatives, we knew what we were up against. We read the headlines. The anti-religious push, the progressive agenda, the political bias, and even the social agenda that pushed against our values as Christ followers. But this was our choice, and I could see the benefits of educating our children in this “cesspool of liberal indoctrination.”

So I introduced myself after the speech and said, “I want to challenge your words about public education. I am a conservative, and my kids attend public school. I have seen the benefits of my children challenged in their beliefs and challenging others who differ from them. How are we going to make an impact as conservatives if we all pull out of public education and don’t challenge this indoctrination?”

She immediately dismissed my remarks, and I could tell she didn’t want me to question her. She responded kindly, but she didn’t want to get into a discussion with me. I was a fellow conservative with a different opinion.

That’s an excellent example of where we are in our society. We want to stay in our comfortable circles of thought and belief. We don’t want to be challenged. We don’t want to debate and defend our beliefs. It’s uncomfortable to confront people who challenge us and who dare have another opinion that differs from our own.

When Thomas Jefferson chartered the University of Virginia in 1819, he wrote about his vision for what would be a great public institution. He remarked, “This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error as long as reason is left free to combat it.”

Tomorrow my oldest graduates high school- Public High School! I am a firm believer and advocate of school choice. Education is about the freedom to choose what is right for your child. However, education is not conforming our children to thought circles where they are not challenged to reason outside of their beliefs.

I have witnessed public education become a cesspool of groupthink. Many times my kids have shared with us about the political bias of their teachers. Thomas Jefferson’s idea of illimitable freedom of the human mind has gotten way off track when a teacher will not even consider a difference of opinion in his or her classroom. One teacher even had the audacity to say, “Freedom of speech is not limitless because there is the importance of political correctness.”

Say what?

I have witnessed this sociopolitical agenda in our public schools but I am here to say my kid made it. She graduates tomorrow, and she was challenged in her beliefs and has come out stronger because of it. Public education has forced her to see both sides. She’s had to reason and find the truth for herself, and has challenged others as well. I couldn’t be more proud of the person she has become. That testing of truth and reasoning is known as education. Pulling her out of public school was never the answer for us. It was about encouraging her to find her voice in a sea of opposing opinions. That’s not the choice for everyone but it was the choice for us.

My prayer for her is that she will continue to reason and test her opinions in an atmosphere of education where there is no fear of being challenged. Where reason is free to roam and truth –wherever it may lead- will open hearts and minds. That is the beauty of the human mind, and it’s what makes the freedom of education in this country so unique, if we have the courage to challenge and encourage the uncomfortable in our kids!

 

 

Trigger-Warning-620x436

They were four simple words but they somehow triggered a great offense.

“Please bow your heads,” the woman said to the audience before her prayer.

Let me set the scene for you to understand the context.

I was sitting at a table among a group of high school students in an enormous room of nearly 1000 people. I was chaperoning at a service club convention. High school service clubs from all around the Mid-Atlantic States were meeting for a luncheon to honor students who exemplified what it means to give of yourself and serve others. Some of these students raised thousands of dollars and volunteered hours of their time to help people in need in their communities and poverty-stricken areas around the world. Great kids were surrounding me. Virtuous students who seem to understand that serving others is a blessing and brings positive change to the world around them.

So imagine my surprise when these same students reacted to the woman’s motion to bow our heads in prayer before the food was served. As I closed my eyes, I began to hear the gasps and whispers of contempt.

“What? This is ridiculous.”

“How can they do this?”

The prayer was simple and very generic, and as I looked up I could see the students appalled by what just took place. They started a discussion amongst each other.

One student asked, “Is that even legal?”

Another questioned, “Is our service organization affiliated with religion?” (Gasp)

They then looked directly at the only Muslim student at the table. “How do you feel about that?” one student asked.

“It’s not a problem. It’s cool! I am fine with different faiths,” the Muslim student answered dismissing their concerns.

Four simple words, a simple prayer which triggered a great offense.

I sat there as the only adult taking in their reaction. Throughout the day, I let that scene sink in and became more and more discouraged and sad for this future generation of smart, talented, service-orientated students. Many sitting in that room had already received letters of acceptance to some of the best universities in this country. A majority of them are top of their class, and will graduate with honors. But I sat there thinking these are bright kids who know absolutely nothing about the freedoms we have in this country.

American History and Civics are not being properly taught, and our schools are failing our kids!

I must admit, I was sad that the students’ reaction shows the godlessness that comes from their generation, but that’s not entirely what troubled me. We are free to believe or disbelieve in God. We have the choice not to embrace religion, but that choice is the beauty of America and what is now so misunderstood.

Public prayer if not the enemy of freedom. It is the very definition of liberty. Many of America’s schools do not teach this definition. Our smartest students and teachers are ignorant about America’s History and our founding ideals of religious liberty.

The student’s question of whether or not a public prayer is legal should not come from the voice of an American Citizen. It’s something that you would hear in Communist China or North Korea where people are imprisoned for openly expressing their faith.

I’ll shout this from my rooftop. I’ll debate any history teacher or politician. Here are six words that will trigger the masses: You Can’t Have Freedom Without Faith!

What? Do I have to be religious? Must I believe in God for freedom?

No! Absolutely not. You are free to believe just as much as you are free to disbelieve in this country. Choosing to live godless is also freedom of expression. But our Founders knew that freedom does not work without allowing the open expression of faith. Yes, even public prayer.

The fact that we are graduating students from our public schools and universities who do not understand this founding principle in our Constitution is troubling and even dangerous. Our teachers and students are so fixated on Thomas Jefferson’s “separation of Church and State” reference that they don’t even realize how that wrong interpretation is breaking down our liberties.

What if that prayer was illegal? Then there would be no separation of church and state in this country. That would mean our government could dictate when religious expression is appropriate. Our Founders were brilliant for understanding the role of faith when it comes to freedom. They wanted a country free to express faith both in and outside the walls of our churches.

Freedom is about publicly bowing your head to pray for your food or choosing to not engage in that simple unthreatening act of religious freedom. The state or federal government cannot convict someone because they publicly prayed amongst a group of believers or non-believers. That would be persecution and tyranny.

What makes America so amazing is that we are free to live out our faith openly. The government cannot and should not get involved in how we choose to live out our religious beliefs. But America is changing, and our government is now getting into the business of regulating faith expression and our kids are buying into it. This is not America! The fact that the Supreme Court has ruled against prayer in our public schools demonstrates that the First Amendment is not protected.

Our country seems limitless in the “freedom” to express ourselves. Free to love who we want to love. Free to define our gender in the way we want. Free to publicly express our opinions through activism. But public prayer is now the new trigger for offensive speech?

The sad, ironic part of my story is that I was sitting amongst a group of students who are some of the most giving and selfless young people in this country. The fact that they have servants’ hearts is a great reflection of who they are as Americans. But they don’t understand that the very fact that they live in a free society is why they can sit there and be rewarded for their generosity. Freedom is a gift, and it’s a gift from God- whether you choose to believe in God or not. It’s why the Statue of Liberty holds her torch and has offered this freedom to millions around the world. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” as quoted at the base of Miss Liberty.

Teach your kids our country’s history. Don’t depend on your child’s teacher to teach it to them. Study the Founders. Buy books that represent the true American ideal of freedom as it was founded. Celebrate the heroes of this country that believed in and fought for the freedoms we take for granted in America. Teach your children to love America: who we are, why we were founded, our failures and successes, and how our freedoms in this country have helped to serve so many around the world. Most importantly, don’t hide away your religious expression only for the walls of your church. Live out your faith, freely!

One of my favorite authors/liberty preachers, Eric Metaxas, said it best in his book If You Can Keep It. (Which I highly recommend.) He noted, “America, that great and fragile experiment in Liberty, has become cut off from its roots. We need to see this and we need to do all we can to remedy it, and quickly.”

Maybe you think I have been too “triggered” by the offense of prayer by these students. But when discussing with my daughter this sad event that took place she said something that resonated the importance of this blog post. She reacted, “Welcome to my world, Mom.”

I don’t want my daughter to live in a country where she has to keep her faith private for fear of offense or retribution. If we have freedom to come out of the closet (so to speak) with any other self-expression, then faith should be included. In a room filled with people who love to serve others, my hope is that service would be the crux for teaching equality and the “unalienable rights” of “life, LIBERTY and happiness.”

And everyone said, “AMEN!”

 

 

 

c6ba98263dfbc755f4bbb58274b39853

I still can’t get those images out of my head. Women were marching on Washington clad in vagina suits and pink pussy hats. Just writing that sentence irks me. Am I really raising my daughters in this rude society of women?

The words of Ashley Judd’s speech at the women’s march on January 21, 2017, still have me shaking my head in disbelief. She recited a poem from a nineteen-year-old expressing outrage about our current president. The poem railed against Trump’s past vulgar remarks, ironically, with equal poetic vulgarity. It ended like this, “Our p__sies are for our pleasure. They are birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh, you name it for new generations of nasty women.”

Me: No, thank you!

Modern-day feminism has resorted to crassness instead of respectfulness. Women who call out injustices, inequalities and a man’s vulgar remarks with equal vulgarity…well, I guess feminism has risen to the occasion.

Today’s women’s movement uses celebrity platforms of women who think they speak for all of us. Their political and social opinions wrapped in hatred, anger, and crying out for justice that looks more like self-centered relativism. It’s not the generation of women I want to raise my daughters in. I am not nasty, and I refuse to raise a generation of vulgar females because it is not who God created women to be.

I recently did a study on the book of Ruth amidst all of the recent news on women’s speeches and marches. Now juxtapose this recent news with Ruth’s story, and you might be able to find the humor in it with me. Modern-day women who are screaming about their inequalities and then there’s Ruth; who loses her husband and her only means of income in a culture that does not treat women with equal footing as men.

Yes, yes, it was a different time and place in history, but you have to look at this woman and realize there is a reason her story is set aside as a complete book of the Bible. She is the exact opposite of the characteristics that define modern-day feminism. She was humble, selfless, giving, honest, hard-working, and defined love as serving others over her needs. You don’t find Ruth on a platform screaming about her “rights” that have not been afforded to her. Instead, she’s picking up scraps of grain behind harvesters so that she and her mother-in-law would have food to eat.

If you have never read the book of Ruth, I won’t give the story away. You have to read it to understand that charity defined her life and eventually, it was her selflessness that redeemed her widow’s story. A redemption story that ultimately would become a divine legacy.

The story of Ruth is really about what it means to be a generation of women who follow Christ. It celebrates womanhood amidst the struggles of life and real injustice. There are no words of self-empowerment, filth, vulgarity, or pride. Ruth is the very definition of what I want to teach my daughters to be in this nasty woman’s world.

Women who use their talents and strengths to serve others.

Women who find worth and value in their relationship with Christ.

Women who see humility as a strength and not a weakness.

Women who value their sex with virtue and respect.

Women who celebrate life and the God-given miracle of carrying a child in her womb or in her adoptive arms.

Women who celebrate their differences with men and find equality in those differences.

Women who don’t strive for perfection but emulate grace through all the struggles and imperfections of life.

I know that raising my daughters in the philosophy of Christianity over modern-day feminism is not popular. It’s turning away from all things progressive and marching against a tide of women who will look down on them and probably ridicule them. I don’t care! We will not be judged or known by how loud we scream and our “performance” in this secular world. Instead, like Ruth, if we follow the call of Christ in our lives, we will be known for our charity and humility.

I have this t-shirt that says, “Ruth. Mary. Sarah. Esther. #Squad Goals.” It’s a reminder of the women I want to emulate in my life. Biblical representations of women who followed Christ in a culture that often rejected the things of God. I am nowhere near imitating the selfless characteristics of Ruth. She’s a squad goal, but she’s also my hopes and dreams for a future generation of women, especially the young women I am raising.

I’ll keep wearing my biblical #squad goals t-shirt against the tide of pink p__sy hats. It might not be popular, but I’d much rather carry the title of a follower of Christ than a feminist.

political-voice-bug-icon-final-9-21-15

Four years ago, God set me on a path to be a writer. A struggling, imperfect one who has learned so much and is still in the learning process. I have written for political sites, Christian news sources, and pro-life groups. If you read my past articles, it won’t take long for you to realize where I lean politically or socially. Within these past years, there is one thing that God has taught me about having a voice. It is to STOP being reactive and start being prayerful about the message I write.

What a difficult lesson to learn in a social media frenzy world. In a media driven society where “gotcha” titles compete for attention and followers. Everything seems to be in an instant and reactionary response mode.

The results of the recent 2016 Presidential Election have been a test of this lesson God is teaching me. I am to STOP and LISTEN before I REACT. We live in a diverse country where free speech is cherished and valued. Where differing opinions and beliefs make America such a unique place to live. A melting pot of cultures, religions, and races. Where my view differs from another’s perspective based on life experiences and upbringing. I think another word for it is simply-humanity.

Right now, in this moment in time as a follower of Christ, I have a testimony to live out. It’s not about who won or lost the election. It’s not about my view points, fears, or convictions. It’s about who I am in Christ and how I portray that to my world around me. Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ does not rise and fall with who sits in the White House. That’s all I need to know to stop me in my tracks before I respond in this heated post-election environment.

May God continue to mold me as a better writer but one who reacts less and responds more to the importance of being a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ- politically, socially, and to those around me who are listening.

 

As followers of Christ, we have an obligation to love our neighbors and to love our country especially during an election year.

Continue Reading...

#VoteTheirFuture

October 7, 2016 — Leave a comment

Thank you, Hollywood!

Continue Reading...

The conservative collective voice has great potential if we just agree to collectively use it…

Continue Reading...

fb-cover-life-fight-for-it

Photo courtesy of theradiancefoundation.org

The only way to describe it is my soul just grieves.

The undercover videos from the Center for Medical Progress have caught everyone’s attention on social media. In the initial video, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services Dr. Deborah Nucatola is caught casually eating her lunch while describing how she kills babies in routine abortions – all while carefully trying to preserve fetal body parts for outsourcing.

It was mind-dumbing to watch. How could a person talk so casually about human life, and in such a callous and calculated way?

But really, why am I surprised? As a writer, I have done enough research on the subject to discover that many medical and pharmaceutical companies use fetal organs for research purposes. Those human remains have to come from somewhere.

I am also not shocked at the fact that Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortions in this country- with a staggering average of 327,000 abortions a year.

But in order to face the facts about abortion in this country, I do what many other people do: I compartmentalize this type of horror. It’s not a part of my immediate world so I draw a curtain over it and try to forget what I cannot change.

These viral videos are a dose of reality for all of us who try to place a veil over what we know is the reality in our world. We came face to face with evil, and she looks just like us. She acts just like us while casually enjoying a lunch. She is the product of what our society has become and there’s no way to describe it but soul grieving.

As I began to grieve over the reality of that undercover video, I decided to ask God for a scripture to encourage me that He is in control even amidst such evil. I decided to look up my daily Bible scripture on my phone app;  Proverbs 22:6 was the day’s verse. “Train up a child in the way they should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Well, I thought obviously that didn’t really apply and I began to search my bible for more revelation to the day’s events.

The next day, as I was scrolling through article after article – some commenting on Planned Parenthood’s callousness for human life, and nearly every news organization coming to its in defense- Proverbs 22:6 came back to me.

I have always read that verse as a reminder to train my children in God’s Word, but I never really  thought about how that scripture applies to guiding my  children through the everyday events of our world. Walking out God’s commandments is about teaching our children how to apply those commands to the world they live in, where evils like abortion exist.

I asked God to encourage me, and instead he gave me a mission call.

I may not be able to end abortion today, or control the reality of evil that I often want to pretend isn’t there – but I can train my children to love the value of God-given life.

My generation has grown up with abortion as a part of our society. We’ve grown up with the lie that abortion is the answer to a mistake. But the world will never be able to teach our children what we know through the love of Christ: redemption and mercy.

I want my children to understand what abortion is, and I filter the events of our world based on their ages. As parents, we need to share with our kids how we react to the evil we see in the world. If we don’t, they will only witness the reaction of the world that rejects God’s commands and sees abortion as a solution.

Don’t throw a curtain over the world’s events to shield your children from evil. Evil exists and it’s our job to train them to live among the darkness offering hope that only Christ can bring.

My children know that abortion is a sin, but more importantly I want them to be able to understand that Christ already paid a price for our sins. I want them to know that life is messy, and there is evil in this world. Yet there is a freedom we can walk in that the world will never be able to give.

I hope my children are never faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I hope they understand that they are sinners and they live in a fallen world. I hope and pray that they understand forgiveness and grace so that they might be able to help future friends who are caught in what seems like an impossible situation.

I hope that my children know that abortion is never the answer because God’s grace is sufficient for all our needs. Sometimes God uses the ugly events of our world to remind me of my life mission as a parent.

As parents, God has given us all we need to change the world- if we just train up our children in the way they should go. This doesn’t mean there won’t be struggle and hardship; it means there will be freedom to walk out the unexpected in their lives.

I pray one day that there will be an end to abortion in my children’s lifetime. I pray that organizations like Planned Parenthood are put out of business from profiting off of destroying life. But until then, as a parent, I have a mission to train my children about the precious value of all human life.

The world gives us abortion as an answer but God gives us an ocean of grace that says, “Choose life and watch what I can redeem.” Let’s train up our children so that they can offer up that same grace, a grace  the world fails to recognize.

“These commandments that I give to you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9