Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Guest Blogger: Toxic Christianity has Its Roots in Slavery, Capitalism, and Middle-Class White Supremacy

Here is a new guest post. This poster is a friend of mine and we enjoy talking about religion, sociology and life together.  This article was one she wanted to do when I was discussing the article "The Deconversion Community:Why People are Leaving Christianity."

She was great support to me during my deconversion from fundamentalist Christianity. One topic we have discussed for a long time is the negative effective of the religious right in America. We live in very dangerous times now, and racism is a poison that has taken over this country. The desire to dominate, control and oppress has now entered insanity territory, where human lives are now put as a lower priority then making money. That said, the poor, and working class and African Americans who are among their number are suffering the worse in this pandemic.

I do not think the word "genocide" is too extreme to use in examining Trump's actions in ignoring intelligence warnings to keep the virus from spreading, horrific handling of supplies, and early re-openings forcing poor and working class people to return to their service jobs working with the public and crowded warehouses while a pandemic rampages. They literally will have the choice between working and risking death from Covid19 or quitting and facing homelessness no longer qualifying for unemployment for 'refusing work'. It has personally astounded me, watching conservatives and Christians on Facebook still cheering for Trump and demanding the economy be re-opened. I understand the economic problems here, but let's not forget people carrying Trump 2020 signs to protest on behalf of their haircuts, and for Red Lobster and their giant megachurches to reopen, have done everything they can to deny fair wages, social equality, universal healthcare. They also have advanced racism and classism on multiple levels.

 My friend has taught me a lot. I asked her if she wanted to post on this topic on my blog since we were discussing the latest controversies with COVID19. There are historical elements to how we came to where we are today and race has played a huge role. Religion and politics have combined to form a toxic stew.  While there are liberal churches and historically African American churches that stand against the right wing political evangelical poison, sadly religion has often served as a vehicle for racism, and served negative purposes for power and domination. White supremacy and racism forms a lot of the core of the position we now find ourselves in today with Trump and the religious right. It also has formed many of the false teachings and harmful positions of the evangelical church where authoritarianism has led to the loss of freedom in America and here too, I can point to that book "Dying of Whiteness:How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America's Heartland'. Racism has led conservative whites to their own self-destruction even. Aren't we seeing this now in this plague?

Toxic Christianity has Its Roots in Slavery, Capitalism, and Middle-Class White Supremacy

Have you wondered how and why some poor whites, people of color, and African Americans embrace or support a religion that harms them more than helping them?  Why are most evangelical Christians in the United States supportive of President Donald J. Trump and his policies that are not biblical?  Why are some Christians racist, classist, and bigoted?  Why do Republicans of the 1980s to the present decades call themselves Christians who are doing Lord’s work when you see that the policies they created work against people Jesus meant to reach?  I came up with my answers to these questions below based on my observations while I read about the history of the United States from the pre-Civil War era in the nineteenth century to the present.  

Conservative bullies and anti-stay-at-home activists recently use excessive forces, weapons, and threats of withholding financial resources to force and coerce others to give them what they want.  If you follow the news of protests in the state of Michigan, you probably notice that protesters held Confederate flags and carried rifles.  Republican legislatures in Michigan bullied, coerced, and forced Governor Gretchen Whitmer to curtail some of her policies.  Most conservative middle-class whites in Michigan are descendants of Confederate soldiers and Southerners who moved to Michigan for a job in the car making industry in the early twentieth century.  These descendants of Southerners know how to coerce and intimidate people into giving in to their demands by using weapons and taking “stepwise legal actions.”  Yes, they claim that they are evangelical Christians, and God-ordained President Trump to run the United States.

Several online news articles and videos noted these white supremacists and conservative protesters receive funds and support by conservative organizations that funded the Tea Party movement and lawmakers in the 2010s.  The purposes of these protests were to maintain white supremacy and to show their disregard for African Americans and Latinos who died from the COVID-19 virus in higher numbers compared to whites and Asians.  Checking on the news closely, I noticed that the protests began since the news came out that a higher percentage of those who died from the coronavirus were African Americans.  

These white supremacists do not care nor love Black and Brown people.  They hold complete disregard for people of color’s lives that they do not care if people of color would die if they continue to spread the virus by not staying at home and practicing safe distancing.  If a majority of people who died from COVID-19 were whites, they would not have protested.   

Most descendants of the Southerners and Confederate soldiers have a family history that includes members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and lynch mobsters.  Many Klan members are Christians, and some evangelist Christians are members of hate groups.  I left Christian churches as soon as I learned that Christian churches preached against interracial dating and marriage, members of hate groups are Christians, and Christianity supports the system of white supremacy.

Ku Klux Klan members and their descendants knew how to win their argument against Civil Rights policies and equality for African Americans, the people of color, and poor people.  Their ancestors did not go to prison or faced execution for lynching African Americans and liberal whites who fought for civil rights, voting rights, equality, and citizenship for African Americans.  The stories of the Ku Klux Klan’s conspiracy passed down for generations since the 1870s.  Some anti-stay-at-home protestors who carry Confederate flags are descendants of members of KKK, Confederate soldiers, planters, and business owners from the South.  

Most KKK mobsters were members of Christian churches in the South, and some pastors of Christian churches were members of the KKK.  Some pastors were Grand Dragons or leaders of their local KKK chapter.  Members of KKK, Confederate, and hate groups knew how to make the system work for them and how to make law enforcement agencies look the other way when they commit violent acts against others such as lynching.  Christian churches helped KKK and members of hate groups to stay out of trouble with the law. At the same time, African Americans and Latinx spent years in prison for committing a less serious offense such as shoplifting or trying to resist a police officer who harassed them.

Many toxic Christian churches you see today are churches that preach slaveholder’s religion.  The argument that Black and Brown women are single because God does not want them to get married until they give up their lives entirely to the Lord and become humble is an example of slaveholder’s religion.  

During the slavery days, African Americans had to be humble, servile, thankful, compliant, friendly, cooperative, childlike, and subservient.  Slaveholders and overseers used a whipping rope to beat runaway slaves or slaves who did not act submissive.  Slaves who did not possess docile behavior, personality, and attitude worked in the field where they faced abuses from overseers daily.  Slaves who behaved themselves and stayed humbled worked in the house.  You heard the terms such as Uncle Tom, Aunt Jemima, mammy, house Negro, Uncle Ben, or contented Black people.  

Racist white people expect African Americans to be religious, resourceful, spiritual, thankful, compliant, malleable, physically and mentally robust for backbreaking work, and contented. African Americans face bias and discrimination in the healthcare system because healthcare providers and administrators still hold racist views that African Americans do not need help, because they are physically and mentally stronger than people of other races. If African Americans protest or speak up for their rights, white supremacists will demonize them as angry people who need lessons.  Decision making white supremacists would withhold funds and resources, lynch successful or outspoken Black people to teach other Black people from speaking out, or create an adverse decision on Black people’s applications for a job, loan, apartment, license to own a business or admissions to a program.

The tensions between former slaves and their masters began during the Civil Wars because some slaves fought for the Unions to gain freedom while former masters fought for the Confederates.  After the war ended, Confederate soldiers came back home to face their devastating losses, including their slaves.  Many slaveholders, planters, and business owners opposed Reconstruction policies and Civil Rights for African Americans who were free Blacks and slaves before the Civil War.  To recover from their losses in business and properties, planters and business owners took political action to recoup their losses.  Slaves were one of the plantation owners’ properties, as they paid for their slaves.  

Many field slaves left their masters by moving to the North, Canada, or West.  Some former field slaves stayed in the South for a variety of reasons.  Several reasons were the system of debt peonage and the Black Codes that came into existence after John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, and Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, created the Black Codes. Planters and business owners prevented former slaves from leaving from the South by lynching, engaging in deceptive financial transitions, and taking former slaves to court.  Former slaves who stayed in the South suffered financially during the Reconstruction era in 1863-1877.  

Planters and business owners refused to sell their property, land, and animals to former slaves, especially former field slaves.  Some masters held racist, paternalistic, and narcissistic views that their former house slaves “betrayed” them by not staying with them, especially if they were “kind masters.”  These supposedly “kind masters” expected loyalty from their former house slaves who received free housing, clothes, foods, and pleasant things that field slaves and white indentured slaves did not receive.  

Masters expected their former house slaves to show their thankfulness and loyalty by accepting their offer of low-wages and free housing.  For example, a “kind master” asked a former head house slave who worked as a butler and a counselor if he and his wife would work for him for wage and free housing arrangement.  The butler was assertive about his rights, new freedom, and a life with his family.  The butler hesitated to take his former master’s offer because he did not want to be a slave.  He tried to settle down with his family, start a business, and enjoy his life as a citizen of the United States.  

The butler said he would not take the job offer unless the master pays him back wages for forty-plus years of work as a slave.  The butler also asked the master to pay back the wages of his wife, parents, children, and siblings worked for some number of years they worked as slaves.  The master “felt slapped in the face” and a “sting of anger” at his former house slaves’ “disrespectfulness” and “ingratitude.”  The Christian’s message of God wanting Christians and decision-makers to withhold financial resources from African Americans and poor people came from masters’ perceptions, attitudes, and experiences after the Civil War ended and at the beginning of the Reconstruction era in 1865 through 1868.

The argument that God wants some people to be single and childless partially came from masters’ experiences with their female house slaves whom they thought should be thankful for a better living condition than those experienced by female slaves who worked in the field.  Singleness and childlessness is a modern form of slavery by another name because most single African American women do not receive financial and emotional support from their husband.  Single women without children come home without a family.  They spend holiday seasons without their family.  African American women are lonelier than women of other races for many reasons. Examples of the reasons are poor support systems in African American communities,  societal pressures to wait for African American men to choose them, and racism in the dating market.  Churches fail to provide support for single women who seek a husband.  In the recent decade, it became apparent that singleness and childlessness are enslavement and cultural genocide in another name.  

 According to history books, “kind masters” had sexual relations with house slaves, other white women, or free Black women.  After the Civil War ended, some former house slaves who moved with their husbands and family became assertive.  For example, a master claimed it upset him when his former house slave named Penny packed her suitcases and said goodbye.  The master did not like Penny’s way of saying goodbye because she was not as smiling, sweet, and subservient as she was before the Civil War.  Penny moved out of state with her husband and her family.  The premise that God chose not to answer our prayers for marriage, children, high paying jobs, admission to college, financial aid, or affordable housing came from slaveholder religion.  Churches in the South created slaveholder religion during the slavery days and customized their theological concepts after slaveholders, business executives, merchants, and landlords complained about their former slaves’ “behavior” when they moved out.

After Reconstruction ended in January 1877, federal troops left the South and stopped protecting African Americans there.  Reconstruction era policies lasted for fourteen years because white supremacists in the South resisted changes.  After fourteen years of violent incidents in the South, lucky African Americans left the South, while Southerner whites engaged in lynching and legal abuses against Black farmers, business owners, and families who tried to settle down. The election of 1876 was so contentious that Reconstruction policies ended when the anti-slavery Republican Presidential candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, had to compromise to take his presidency.  Rutherford’s opponent, Samuel B. Tilden, was a pro-slavery Democrat and anti-Black.  African American and Radical Republicans voters did not want Tilden in the White House and fought against the rigged election.  KKK attacked, lynched, and threatened African Americans and Radical Republicans during the year of 1876.  

After the Compromise of 1877, the Reconstruction era ended.  As soon as federal troops left the South, horseback riders and lynch mobs attacked and killed African Americans and their white allies.  African Americans and anti-slavery activists dealt with shotgun intimidation and death threats. White supremacist bullies forced Radical Republicans officeholders to resign, give up their property, and move to the North.  During the Reconstruction era, African American farmers became poor because they had to pay exorbitant fees for clothes and food and to rent land.  When their crops dwindled, African American farmers became poorer and deeper in debt.  White supremacist merchants and landlords took advantage of farmers’ financial predicament.  When Black farmers saw that landlord and merchant took advantage of their situations by taking their legal rights away from them in business transactions, they asked elite Blacks and anti-slavery white allies for help.  

Black farmers and their families had to pay exorbitantly high prices for foods and merchandise compared to poor white farmers.  Merchants and property owners held Black farmers to very rigid standards, making sure Black farmers and their families would not earn a profit and move out of the South.  When black farmers or their family members appealed against their contracts to the court, white witnesses, judges, and juries conspired to make sure Black plaintiffs lost their cases.  Landlords charged black farmers more for the rent of land than the price of the land.  In the 1870s, Black emigrants wanted to move to the West, because there they could earn over twelve dollars per month.  In the South, Black farmers made only six dollars per month unpaid in cash because they had a credit arrangement with the merchant.  At the end of each contracted year, farmers were usually in debt to white storekeepers and property owners. 

Churches in the South, especially Southern Baptist Churches, supported the system to re-enslave African Americans.  Churches changed their theological concepts and arguments to help planters, businesses, and white supremacists.  Also, churches set poor whites and non-Black people of color apart from African Americans by supporting business owners, planters, merchants, or landlords who offered African American workers lower wages for a job they held as slaves.  Before the Civil War, most poor whites and immigrants sought a position that slaves held and worked without pay.  During the Civil War, poor whites and immigrants “competed” with slaves for jobs, for example, manufacturing weapons and clothes for Confederate soldiers.  
After the Civil War, poor white job seekers still competed with former slaves for a job since most slaves accepted lower wages or replaced white workers who went on a strike.  Because of competitions for the job and African American workers’ apparent willingness to accept lower wages and replace strikers, poor whites held a hostile attitude toward African Americans that they agreed to take part in the system of white supremacy.  Some militant members of KKK and lynch mobsters were angry poor whites, planters, business owners, and pastors.  

Conservative Christian churches abused many poor people that most poor people left Christian churches.  Many poor people do not see that God has wonderful plans for their lives if they are poor, single, childless, unloved, ignored, rejected, and held back by adverse decisions.  During the Reconstruction era, when the South adjusted how they would treat African Americans, Christian churches contributed to the system of white supremacy and supported Jim Crow laws.  Ministers gave messages of hope to poor whites to set them against African Americans.  Powerful Southern elites did not want poor whites and African Americans to fight for their rights together, so they set the system of white supremacy to reward poor whites.  Some historians noted that most poor whites became violent KKK lynch mobsters in the 1870s.  

Since the COVID-19, (coronavirus) pandemic and people throughout the world stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus, racist incidents and speeches took place.  African Americans, African-descent people in other countries, and Asians face the worst kinds of racial attacks against them.  In mid-April, the United States experienced the most positive COVID-19 results compared to other countries.  It became apparent that the United States failed to flatten the curb compared to citizens in other countries because small numbers of Americans refused to practice social distancing and stay at home.  Several pastors in the South disobeyed social distancing and stay-at-home orders by hosting crowded worship services.  In late April, several Governors gave in to pressure from gun-toting white supremacist bullies by reopening beaches, golf courses, and some manufacturing companies.  A Governor in the State of Georgia reopened hair salons, barbershops, movie theaters, beaches, nail salons, and fitness centers.  People who disobeyed the orders claimed they had faith in God; therefore, they believe COVID-19 is a hoax or something like that.

In mid-April, the news revealed that most people who died of coronavirus were African Americans.  Several days later, conservative middle-class whites in Michigan, Minnesota, California, Florida, Ohio, Washington State, Oregon, and other states protested against the stay-at-home order and social distancing policies.  Protesters would rather reopen the economy and earn money than to keep people alive because they learned that the higher majority of African Americans were the ones who died of COVID-19 rather than white people.  I suspected these protests had racist and hatred intents because the protests occurred after the data revealed that the highest percentage of people who died from the virus were African Americans.  

Most ardent protesters in the Midwest are descendants of Confederate soldiers, KKK members, and Southerner whites who moved to the Midwest to take a job in the car-making factory or a manufacturing firm.  The first groups of Southerner whites were poor whites and immigrants who moved to the Western Territories and the North for a job in industries after the Civil War.  In the early twentieth century, Southerner whites moved to Midwest for a job in a factory.  During the twentieth century, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and states where factory workers lived, the tension between African Americans and whites occurred because some white factory workers fought to maintain the system of white supremacy while they worked to become middle-class.  

In the 1920s, the Second Wave of KKK congregated and lynched African Americans who asserted their rights as citizens of the United States.  If African Americans were successful, angry white supremacists felt a sense of rage.  They had similar rages as narcissistic people’s rages against their victims who spoke up or discard them too soon.  The Second wave occurred in the Northern States, where Southern emigrants moved for jobs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Lynching occurred in the Northern States, such as those in Indiana on August 7, 1930.  The lynching took place “to prevent African American men from marrying white women,” and African Americans from gaining freedom, citizenship, and equal rights.  Some white supremacists used white women as excuses to commit inhumane acts against African American men, women, and children.

Churches in the Midwest and states where many blue-collared workers lived held racist views on African Americans.  White supremacist churches hated African Americans because they held racist beliefs that Black people are genetically, socially, mentally, and physically inferior to whites and individuals of other races.  They held racist views about the way African Americans look (hair, skin color, lips, and nose).  Their racist views about African-descent people’s beauty colored their attitude when they deal with Black people in their everyday lives.  The white supremacy and the Jim Crow laws in the South later influenced makers of eugenic laws, creators of racist scientific theories and standardized exams, and Adolf Hitler’s policies during the Second War World.  Adolf Hitler claimed he was a Christian!

Christian churches preach against interracial marriages, and it left many African American women single.  Many African American men chose women of other races.  Churches provide bad dating and marriage advice.  I was suspicious when I noticed many single men stayed away from churches, so I have not been an active churchgoer for years.  Several Black women told me they attend church because they have faith in God, and they do not want to be angry or hopeless.  I noticed young African American adults left churches after they left their parents’ homes.  

The lynch mobsters during the Second Wave committed horrific crimes against African Americans, but the authorities did not prosecute them.  Examples of appalling crimes are kidnapping, mutilation of bodies, burning bodies, cannibalism, cutting off body parts, showing public displays of murder victims, and taking pictures of lynching victims to use it for postcards.  Some pastors took part in lynching because they hated African Americans.  In some lynching incidents, pastors of Christian churches preached a sermon about lynching that would take place.  This is an example of white supremacists’ deep-seated hatred for African Americans.  Their hatred was so palpable that they invited small children and babies to watch lynching incidents on progress, to join them in the “BBQ” and cannibalize Black people’s bodies.  They taught white children to hate and desensitized their souls before they started kindergarten.  

Conservative Christian churches, including predominantly Black churches, are there to preach and convince poor people of all races, Black and Brown people, and marginalized groups to cooperate with the system of white supremacy and to accept their lots in life.  Every Sunday, pastors preached about why God did not answer people’s prayers.  Pastors claimed God did not help people to find their spouse, job, financial resources, homeowner loans, or favorable decisions, because God wants them to give up their lives to him completely.  Pastors claimed God wants people to give up their plans and goals, and let God control their lives.  Conservative pastors who lacked empathy claimed that God wants people to talk to him and accept his plans for their lives without questions asked, including giving up their plans for marriage and children.  Surrendering your life completely to the Lord means a life of slavery and abuses from Christians.  Many people could not meet these demands.

Thinking about a former butler and a house slave named Penny who did not stay with their “kind master,” I raised my eyebrows when pastors claimed God want poor people to be humble, get a thankful heart, and get along with people who made adverse decisions.  Most poor people and African Americans left Christian churches that preach slaveholder religion if their life situations never improved.  Many single adults left the church because pastors who talk about family denied single adults of gatherings or events where they could meet their future spouses.  Married Christian men or women refused to help single adults find their future spouses.  Churches talk about “faith” all the time when people complain about unanswered prayers.  

I left Christian churches two years ago after incidents with several Christians who spiritually abused and harassed me because I refused to give up my plans for marriage and children.  Since I left Christian churches, I felt free and a sense of relief.  I found liberal churches I plan to attend someday, as I am taking a break from churches.  Last year, when I got into an elite university without funds, I noticed that churches target poor people while I conducted a crowdfunding campaign.  Several people claimed that God was closing doors, so I could not go to an elite university that accepted my application.  I noticed I faced racism and classism for four months as I tried to raise funds for my education.

I also noticed liberal Christian churches like the ones Civil Rights activists joined compared to a conservative, predominantly black church I attended three years ago.  Prosperity gospel preachers meant to persuade African Americans and poor people from fighting for their Civil Rights or asking for funds.  It disturbed me when an African American member of a conservative church told me he did not believe in Civil Rights because he believes God would take care of his problems.  

The purpose of prosperity gospel churches is to calm down poor people and African Americans so that they would cooperate with the system.  Business owners and oligarchies do not want to deal with people who fight for their rights and opportunities.  They want poor people to cooperate with their profit-making schemes and oppression of poor people.  Thus, they paid ministers’ training for their positions with scholarships and full funding support in divinity school.  Wealthy powerful elites would not provide financial assistance to future Civil Rights activist ministers like Martin Luther King, Jr.  

Last year, I discovered a book about slaveholder’s religion and felt relieved when I read Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s "Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion."  Wilson-Hartgrove noted that Gospel we received at Christian churches that preach slaveholder’s religion is not Good News for African Americans, people of color, and poor people.  Slaveholders’ religion is the opposite of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ includes freedom, equality, Civil Rights, and full citizenship for everyone.  Jesus Christ demands those in power to look at their hearts and change the way they treat others.  White supremacists who enjoy the system that favors them have to give up their privileges.  As a white man, Wilson-Hartington gave up his white privileges by moving into the Black neighborhood and working with Poor People’s Campaign with an African American preacher, Dr. Rev. William Leroy Barber.  

Today, most evangelist Christians follow the paths of these white supremacists, KKK, and lynch mobsters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Most evangelist Christians who support Trump and heartless Republican lawmakers oppose laws that could have helped them because they do not want African Americans to receive funds and resources.  Churches and racist organizations taught them about American history.  KKK, Neo-Nazi groups, anti-Black groups, and conservative churches taught their members about the history of the Reconstruction era.  

The Reconstruction era was a point of contention to white supremacists’ narcissistic wounds because Black people who left the plantation “slapped” their former master’s face.  African Americans voted for Black and Radical white Republicans in election campaigns.  Because some African Americans already left the South during the Civil War, the Freedmen’s Bureau occurred to encourage former slaves to stay in the South and take land from plantation owners who lost their land during the Civil War.  White supremacists felt resentful when they saw that the federal government provided free clothes, food, property, and education to former slaves.  They felt enraged when they saw few African Americans who succeeded in business, and prospered ended up leaving the South.  

One hundred fifty years later, President Barack Obama was the epitome of successful African Americans.  Although many white people voted for Obama, most middle-class whites felt a sense of resentment and anger at Obama’s success and elite status.  President Obama’s class, grace, and connection with President Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, enraged narcissistic white supremacists.  

After eight years of the Obama Administration, most white supremacists voted for Donald J. Trump for President.  Today, most white supremacists, evangelist Christians, and Tea Partiers support Trump regardless of his status with churches.  They still insist that God ordained Trump for the presidency when, in reality, gerrymandering, Citizens United law, and rigged elections helped Trump win the election in 2016.  Trump’s administration is a symptom of racist white supremacists’ attitude toward African Americans, people of color, and poor whites.  Their Christianity is a sham because they follow the slaveholder religion rather than the gospel of liberation from Jesus Christ.  

Works Consulted:
Baker, Kelly J.  "Gospel According to the Klan:  The KKK’s Appeal to Protestant America, 1915-1930".  Lawrence, KS:  University Press of Kansas.  2011.  

DuBois, W.E.B. (William Edward Burghardt), 1868-1963.  "Black Reconstruction in America." New York: Free Press. 1935/2011.

Foner, Eric.  "Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877". New York:  Harper Perennial Classic. 1988/1989. 

Gates Jr, Henry Louis, Claude Steele, Lawrence D. Bobo, Michael Dawson, Gerald Jaynes, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Lisa Crooms-Robinson, eds. "The Oxford Handbook of African American citizenship, 1865-present". Oxford University Press, 2012.

Greener, Richard T.  “Southern Question II:  The Emigration of Colored Citizens from the Southern States, Read September 12, 1879.” Journal of Social Science, Containing the Proceedings of the American Association (1869-1909).  (May 1880) 25-37.  

Gilens, Martin. “Race coding” and white opposition to welfare.” American Political Science Review 90, no. 3 (1996): 593-604.

Painter, Nell Irvin. "Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas after Reconstruction." Lawrence, KS:  University Press of Kansas. 1986. 
Patterson, Orlando.  "Rituals of Blood: Consequences of Slavery in Two American Centuries." Washington, DC:  Civitas/Counterpoint. 1998. 

Ransom, Roger L., and Richard Sutch.  “Debt Peonage in the Cotton South After the Civil War.”  The Journal of Economic History, 32, no. 3, (1972).  

Ransom, Roger L, and Richard Sutch.  “The Ex-Slave in the Post-Bellum South: A Study of the Economic Impact of Racism in a Market Environment.”  The Journal of Economic History, 33, no. 1 (1973).

Tisby, Jemar.  "The Color of Compromise:  The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism."  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 

Tourgee, Albion Winegar.  "Bricks without Straw: a Novel."  New York: Fords, Howard & Hulbert. 1880. 

Tuck, Stephen.  "We Ain’t What We Ought to Be:  The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama." Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press. 2010.  

United States Congress. Joint Select Committee On The Condition Of Affairs In The Late Insurrectionary States. "Report of the Joint select committee appointed to inquire into the condition of affairs in the late insurrectionary states, so far as regards the execution of laws, and the safety of the lives and property of the citizens of the United States and Testimony taken." Washington, DC:  U.S. Government Printing Office, 1872. 

United States. Senate.  "Report and Testimony of the Select Committee of the United States Senate to Investigate the Causes of the Removal of the Negroes from the Southern States to the Northern States. In 46th Congress, 2nd session, Report no. 693, parts I, II, and III".  Washington, DC:  U.S. Government Printing Office. 1880. 

Williamson, Vanessa, Theda Skocpol, and John Coggin. "The Tea Party and the remaking of Republican conservatism." Perspectives on Politics 9, no. 1 (2011): 25-43.

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan. "Reconstructing the Gospel:   Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion." Downers Grove, IL:  Intervarsity Press Books, 2018.

They Destroyed the World!

                                     ......"and still his brainwashed idiots cheer for him"........

I've had some gallows humor lately....

I say to husband...

"Well they destroyed the world now"

Husband and I kind of laugh in a burst of dark humor....we have gone through so much shit, that nothing surprises us I guess anymore. Is jaded the word? Bitter?

I am sure some Christians would call me that, but they can tell their God for me if it exists, he held responsibility too for the way he made this world and the qualities he put in human beings. Mrs. Curses and my IFB churches with their cruel and monster god always promised apocalyptical horrors to befall mankind. I wonder if all those old fundies are now glorying in the mess. The Tribulation has begun! Stockholm Syndrome for all of humanity. There's no way a Jesus who believed in love for neighbor or any other spiritual figure who preached compassion is on these folk's side.

There's a point where the body and mind protects itself in trauma. If you can't flee, then you shut down. You learn to separate yourself from it all. It's combination of "I don't give a fuckitis" combined with just deciding to go forward day by day. Keep your care and concern but don't let small things bother you. The problem with this particular trauma so to speak is how long it's going. Anyhow we have food, no one's rioting [yet] and there's entertainment so enjoy good things while you have them. Chris Hedges is right, the outcome of this probably isn't going to be good.

Maybe my earlier poverty and hell hound life experiences will serve me in the new Mad Max America. I know what it's like to eat nothing but cheese crackers for 5 days and built a magazine fire outside of a motel, I am freezing to death in. I know what it is to dig food out of the trash. I know what it is like to have to feed 2 people for 2 dollars for 2 days. I know how to hide from would be rapists and robbers in a dangerous neighborhood. I know what it is like to have no medicine and be dying of stuff where you need it. Penny pinching, scourging and fighting to survive were developed skills long ago. I know what it is like to have the bottom fall out, where you have nobody and nothing and to almost die in a hospital bed alone [these were pre-Mr. Peep days]. Maybe they will be of use now.

If it were up to me, and I didn't have to take all these damn meds to stay alive, I would be buying a passport with the stimulus check, selling everything off, and outfitting the van, to drive for Uruguay or something once the borders ever opened. Of course now they may not ever be reopened.As for leaving for other countries, I did decide survival would be easier in a culture one was used too with some neighbors and UU church members willing to help. I am too deaf to learn a new language and it's hard enough to communicate in English as it is.

How hard is it to become an illegal alien in Canada? Just joking.

However I am going to accept it as a given, that the assholes have fucked up things beyond repair--- FUBAR in miltary lingo and will try and make the best of things. Knowing I may die soon if I catch it and if an old left over prednisone pack and emergency albuterol in a nebulizer doesn't save me, I am screwed anyway. My worse fear is my husband getting it even more then me. That haunts me all the time.

I am now telling him, if we ever get "normal" back for a short time, we need to revamp the lifestyle, and become permaculturists, and really take joining an intentional community seriously.  I knew years ago the American lifestyle was not sustainable. When we lived in the rural town years ago, I wanted to be one of the prepping people with gardens, but the money was never there. Life was always so much about survival and just staying alive was so hard.

I met this one permaculturist guy at my UU but he only shows up on rare occasions, I wish he would come back, I need to find some of those local networks. I also need to find a community garden or a place to plant some food. I live in apartment without any land. You know life is weird when you try to go see if there is a place you can stick a secret garden behind some woods next to your apartment complex. Well there wasn't enough room. Should I ask a friend to grow food in her yard? Should I go get a trowel and dig up the landscaped grass. I doubt the corporation that owns this place would be happy about it.

As an Aspie that wants to scream, and shout, "Look you fucked it all up!", watching the neurotypical reaction to disasters is interesting. Most are working very hard in appearing rational and hopeful and the kind ones do have an interest in helping others. I can pick up the hidden tears and despair most are invested in hiding. My emotions outside of my husband, friends online and here seem to have no where to go. The kind people are the ones to emulate, help who you can. I need to write some lonely people letters and cards. I have visions of people cracking up alone inside of apartments.

I've had my moments of despair thinking I am now one of those "burdens" not much use to anyone outside maybe giving a friend an extra package of toilet paper I found. The disabled and those of us who live on the edge in normal society are experiencing a level of fear many probably would not understand. With a pandemic, that monster in charge can do even more extreme and insane things, people can't gather in crowds to do a very needed march on Washington. In countries less satiated by bread and circuses which could be disappearing anyway, heads probably would have already been on pikes. Maybe one day there will be a Nuremburg trial for all these traitorous Republicans but most are so old, so probably not.

Human beings need community to survive. If you are young and reading this, the American lifestyle sucks, it will destroy your health and well, it's not viable for the long term. Find allies, Find a tribe. For the younger and healthier this will be easier. If you are an Aspie find other Aspies you are compatible with and then move closer together. See if you can find an alternative. Even if you are of the rare or privileged ones who scrambles up to the middle class and above, realize that can be taken away in a nanosecond with the disasters planned or otherwise they have in store for you. Use this opportunity to consider how life can be different. Some people have written about how this event could provide an impetus for some to throw off the worse chains of the oligarchy.

The cost to many of us with useless narcissistic families is immense. In the past kinfolk used to support one another, now they just try to destroy you. My family called me crazy before I went no contact for talking about the bad stuff that could happen.  I hope those reading this, have someone to help support them. Some of my friends and others have already helped us. You find out who your real friends are then. Hope these people know how much I appreciate them.

It does not escape my attention that my family's Nazi-esque beliefs and political endeavors has brought hell to all our doors. People need to break out their history books, and remember IT REPEATS ITSELF and humans went on a destruction streak many time before with sociopaths leading the charge.

Even if they "beat" this virus, and it looks like to me,they are trying to do everything to spread it far and wide with reopening everything early, there will be another one coming down the pike. That one could be far worse. Stephen King always wrote weird books about society imploding, I'm reading one now called CELL, where cell phones destroy all these people's brains and society collapses. Maybe he knew intuitively what was coming. All those zombie movies were true representations of Americans dying inside losing their souls, and rampaging for survival would be next on the agenda. This tragedy will produce some heroes and those who step up for their fellow man, but it should have never been allowed to happen in the first place.

When they are talking collapse of medical and food supply chains openly, it makes you wonder. What is to come? The insanity of food being destroyed too while people go without, shows the failure of this country and it's capitalist systems.  I have to spend today making decisions on getting some things I need from clothes which may not be available long to more canned chicken. I haven't gone into a store since early March, but may need to take the risk, to make some of the decisions about what is needed.

Everyone's too afraid to talk about anything. The positive culture has led to a culture of denial. It got us in this fix to begin with. People closed their eyes to the growing cracks in our society, "oh everything's alright" and judged people who said "Something is wrong here, one day it's all going to burst!" I think of all those mercurial women who told me I was "negative". No,  I was right. To survive this you better keep it authentic. Cuss and fume, but then also make the dark jokes if they make you feel better.

Maybe human beings all have a level of premonition, and they knew things were going to go to shit, and that's why we transitioned from the hope of the 1960s to the misery and would be dystopian nightmares of the 2020s. I was watching an episode of "Lost in Space" with my husband and said, "Look at that show, they expected things to ADVANCE back then!" There will be no exploring the stars when humanity always hoists itself on it's own petard.

And speaking of the "re-open" protesters. One thing I don't get, why didn't these people vote for Bernie, and why are the dummies carrying Trump 2020 signs when TRUMP DID THIS TO THEM?[Trump ignoring intelligence warnings and more]

I have been able to pay my rent because I am disabled, but I wonder what will happen to Social Security too. Husband's work has been massively cut but since he is at home gig employment, THERE'S SOME. He does not qualify for unemployment because he still makes 160 dollars a week. Yes that's the cut off for gig employees to get unemployment or not. How many people do you know that can pay all their bills on 160 a week? We are okay now, better then many. I won't take it for granted.

It has not escaped my notice that all companies are demanding payment from car insurance to rent. We had to know greedy insane America would not freeze bills like other countries. They want to destroy people. There's people who have lost all income and I am very scared for them. What will happen to them?

That said though, 1200 bucks for the average person, that's RENT alone in many cities, especially if you do not live in a small town. They may have succeeded in holding off riots for one month, but what about NEXT month?

I've been poor enough in my past to see where this is going to you think people who have no food to eat are going to ignore grocery stores right down the street. You think they are going to passively sit around when the cable and internet get cut off? What about power outages?

Living in America has never felt safe. Oh sure, they told us, this was a great country but I knew it was a rotting hulk they cleaned out for their useless wars by 2001. Remember that black pastor who used to warn that the chickens were coming home to roost? He was right too! Idiocracy became a reality 20 years ago, and things just got worse. There's people who have been warning for years. The ones who try to stand against the darkness. The world needs people like that more then ever.

I wonder if starvation, eviction, and worse, will get some to back away from the Trump Kool-Aid.

Covid 19 articles

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

A Card I Got From My Father in College

I wonder if Aspies, see dead people in a different way. I think of them more then normal people, which includes people long ago forgotten by others. I think of the deceased even people I knew years ago like old co-workers or even a student of mine that died in a canoeing accident while out on a juvenile home trip. My deceased friends are always in my mind too.  Dead people were never spoken of again in my family. To become too old or disabled also seemed to bring an early erasure.

 I am always cleaning out papers and found this folder of some more old cards. In it was a card and letter from my father. This is the only card and letter I got outside two other letters in years. He sent me some post cards as a child and signed birthday cards my mother bought. There was one letter where I and my brother were thrown out of the will for some forgotten offense in my early 20s. In the 1990s, there was one email where he complained about my mother's strange family--no argument there--the grunting cousins grunted at him too.  Of course, there was one email where he gave me some family back ground and history that all turned out to be false.

What is sad is out of earshot or sight of my mother, is at times "he tried" on rare occasions when it came to our relationship but it would be wiped completely away as he was abusive himself and always betrayed me for her. It was too little too late.  He would have been a far better person without her influence, and she continually worked on poisoning him against me. Digging through the archeology of my life, I found this card to be kind of interesting.

The sad thing about my father is at times he "tried" but he was "so owned" and controlled by my mother and his own narcissism. I sometimes have my regrets in relationships that are major. With my father, I wish I had been more brave but I had the several conversations where I said, "She hates me." and he would do nothing but defend her. So that was a useless venture. He definitely served in the classic enabler roll but in my case was a severe abuser himself.

Sadly he was very abusive himself and a narcissist but there was more the Jeckyll and Hyde thing going with my father where he would make a few concessions to "communicate" to try to be something resembling a normal father, but I noticed with my father, those few crumbs were pinned on my success.

So when I appeared to be "doing well", he was a little bit nicer to me then the usual. This happened during college and also while I was an art teacher at the juvenile home. There was still intense abuse after all this man left me gasping for air on the stairs from a severe asthma attack, and physically abused me all the time. It was strange when he would flip into "being a father" mode and gestures like this card, were more viewed with suspicion and fear rather then sharing and communication on my part.

This card had some weird things to say, maybe you will notice as I go One close friend met my parents and siblings before, and said of my father, "He is the most sad man, I have ever met." I have no argument with that there. I realized with horror with the ascension of age, he spent his whole life trying to please a woman that never would be pleased. He was miserable especially in his later years and with severe health problems including lupus. He was under my mother's thrall but also her thumb.

Later I will post a photo of this card with this article--my camera is on the fritz and borrowing one that has to be downloaded elsewhere, but it was a Ziggy Card that says...with a sad Ziggy grasping his hands on the front...

"When everyone says we can't win.....

When the odds are 100 to 1 against us.....

Let's give it all we've got, and remember this....

We'll probably get clobbered."

I found this an interesting selection of a car. The card is dated Dec 7, 1986 and has been mailed to my freshman dorm at a state school. He is not yet disabled, and has had a long time career in government, by this time I estimate making around 80-100,000 a year which probably would be equal to around 250,000 a year today.  The attitude in the card speaks for itself. By all accounts he is a successful man, living in a 2500 square foot house--probably 3000 if you add the basement,  5-6 bedroom house, two blocks from a country club on the wealthiest street in a medium-small sized town. He is renowned enough to have his job and awards reported on in the local newspaper.  So what made him feel so clobbered? Her?

My comments in italics for readability etc....
Peep [my real name],

Please note this is probably the first, very first letter/card you ever got from your Dad. [actually it was] Please note this is also the infamous Pearl Harbor Day. Nothing ever stays the same. Today's enemy is tomorrow's friend. Actually the "enemy" usually wins.

Look at the history of US aid. Anyway in case you didn't know it, we saved all hard work for when you came home. This past week your mother has had laryngitis and I've been going crazy talking to myself. I'd get lonely if I didn't have Mimi  [GC sister] to yell at me. Your phone call Friday night reminded me of my days in college. In my freshman year I came home almost every weekend but when I didn't I was bored except when my roommates and friends and I when [went] to a movie or game or a party.

In my sophomore year, I could have my own wheels so I didn't come home as often but went out to visit more on weekends. Oh I did have a moped in my freshman year I got it around [one] semester to get around campus faster. (I used a bike first semester--the one that got stolen) I even rode home the 15 miles a couple of weekends at 30 mph on roads where cars traveled 50 or 60! I remember my first exams at college. They were....well I'll tell you after you take yours! In the mean time remember this will pass and anyway you can always join a nunnery or the Army or sling salad! [reference to my high school teen jobs of salad girl and prep cooking] Whatever you do have fun you only go to school once!

Good luck on your exams anyway! I know you can do it!


Ps. I searched and searched to find this card, not that. [not sure what this is referring to]

A lot stood out to me about this card. With my father, I do have the conflict that there were times he showed niceness or care on a few rare occasions, although SHE would shut that down post haste. Even abusers will be kind or give friendship or presents.

My mother never gave me any of those nice moments, I can't remember one hug, sharing of the past or kind word EVER outside of presents handed to me, but those usually given with a disgusted face attached to it. However with my father, there were a FEW of the nicer moments. While I was in college though, he joined her in plenty of the abuse. Threatening to cut off the help they were giving, telling me nothing ever was good enough. Screaming at me that a 3.2 grade point average wasn't good enough freshman year, well you all know the drill. I still was afraid of him after years of emotional and physical abuse.

I find this card telling though, the whole defeatist attitude. I had succeeded in academics most of my life though I did not realize yet the ass whipping that awaited from the career world that did not welcome me with open arms. What did that say about his own ideas of success? There definitely was evidence in my own geneaology pursuits, that he grew up among narcissists, especially with his mother. My grandmother was sued by someone for trying to force them into a nursing home in the 1950s, there is evidence of a 'possible' affair, since I learned my grandfather was not my real grandfather nor my last name really my own biological last name.

The sentence...."actually the enemy usually wins" is a telling sentence. What happened to him to bring him to believe that?  Who am I to argue as I have written on this blog, that I got tired of evil winning and this is one reason for my own changes regarding religion and more. That one says a lot to me.

One thing about my father is he had no friends, and was totally dependent on my mother for all social interactions. She probably would have chased anyone away and most likely did.  He only had himself to talk to literally. I was a dutiful daughter type making phone calls and visits but was he close to me? Not really. She gets layrngitis and that's enough for him to knock around the house alone.

You can see the usual "Cinderella" theme in the sentence, "we saved the hard work for you".

Then there's the sentence about my GC N sister yelling at him. She hated him and disrespected him all the time. Because she was the GC, he never abused or hit her unlike I and my brother. When my N sister got older, she got more abusive to him and would scream at him in the house. It was crazy, he would sit there and take it too and never dare to yell back at her.  I am sure this was encouraged by my mother. He could just be sitting somewhere and she would come up and scream. He was a yeller too but weirdly subservient to my sister and kissed her butt. My mother never defended him either from her onslaughts. Those were some strange family dynamics.

He reminded blind to his situation and never woke up about it. I also realized how conditional everything was and dependent on success and conformity.  His own narcissism kept him trapped.

So I found this card interesting. I do have some weird thoughts about my father how he could have been a much better person. One can have conflicting thoughts about complex people.  I got the feeling narcissists crushed him too and that began very young. Many men brought up in narcissistic families will go on to choose wives that continue the abuse.

I made completely different decisions in my life and followed another path. He was being abused in his own home. Sometimes even abusers and lower level narcissists will be abused by higher level narcissists. So wonder he was miserable. The feeling of being "clobbered" had to be there.

There was a spark inside, where I think on occasion he "tried", but it was dampened out. I think about all the various low level narcissists and minions who always did what they were told and rejected and betrayed the people who still had empathy. They are on the path to misery lane themselves. It's all a shame.

The Expensive Trip of a Lifetime

Articles on my Father

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Conspiracy Theories

When I deconverted as I have written about, I left the world of bible prophecy and most conspiracy theory behind. I still study and read some "conspiracy", I still have questions about 9-11, Bill Gates and still believe that a lot of bullshit goes down, in the interest of profit and people doing bad things. Astroturfing is real. Governments and other organizations use propaganda to sway populations. Connections do rule this world but this is more organic then planned.

The Covid19 tragedy hasn't been a good event for a recovering conspiracy theorist. What am I to think when it turns out the doomsday preppers were right? Society could be on the edge of collapse. In the privacy of my home, I talk to my husband about my fears of Mad Max becoming reality in the next few months. He seems to think everything will "return to normal". I had to shut down my fears to mentally survive, so am doing art work, and trying to enjoy life day by day. He told me once, "Even if this stuff is true, really what can you do about it?" I suppose that made sense, one has limits on health, resources and there's no way I can afford a bunker.

 With all conspiracy, research everything, a lot of conspiracy is bunk. I do still believe there is stuff going on that is not good which is hidden from the public and where propaganda/astroturfing etc rules the day. Maybe my belief that Trump is a traitor would be considered a conspiracy by some, but actual conspiracies in war and other events are real. Society got too complex, and that's a problem for much of the public. Science education in America is very poor. I have had to deal with immense holes in my own science education, even the man I had for a college general studies science class was a fundie at a public university. My uber Catholic education as a child had overlaps with those stuck in the fundie world. There's too much I do not know.

I still have friends into conspiracy like me, though obviously most of the Christian ones and I parted ways. I said to a few people about Covid19, "Wait and see, don't believe it's a hoax, listen to the scientists on this one." Sure our concerns about the destruction of more civil rights still applies, but pandemics have happened before. Obviously we are at this point now, where everyone knows someone who has had it--I do, and many know someone who has died. I don't like those who get upset if you talk about bio-weapons, because that is fact, that we have had labs studying those things and containment is an issue.

Conspiracy and Christian fundamentalism often goes hand in hand. It did for me. While there's non-religious conspiracy folks or ones in other religions, I have noticed even on secular conspiracy websites that are not Christian, there is often this underlying world view that Satan and his minions are running things at the top layers. While yes there are greedy people who do bad things, this explanation is too simple.

Even David Icke who has more New Age/Source beliefs refers to Satan or "the Satanic Elite". I suppose he means it to use the word "evil". I believe evil is real, but some of the Satan talk obviously weirds me out given my beliefs of today. Humankind is limited in the big picture often. Seeing the world as a scripted battle between good and evil especially in the religious mode affects one's view of it. It does not provide discussions or explanations that lead to SCIENTIFIC ANSWERS. 

It leads one deeper into fables.

As a UU, I am embracing complexity again, but it's difficult in this traumatic world. These answers aren't doing much for humanity anyhow. Fear itself leads to dystopia. Brene's Brown's conjecture about "lack of data" [aka questioning why do so many BAD things happen] fits here.

Here's the problem, a lot of conspiracies are harmful. I believe there is some bad stuff that is real that goes on, but a lot of conspiracy is propaganda, full blown lies, and rests in anti-science or not understanding science. Conspiracy can make people mentally ill. I've seen it happen. People in my old fundie rural town sold everything off, and "went off the grid", it made two people homeless, I used to be friends with.

I wonder if abuse and trauma can take people into conspiracy more easily. I was LIED to so much within my abusive family, I had to be hyper-vigilant detective just to get through the day.  This article claims that conspiracy brings comfort out of chaos to some. Betrayed by medical experts for too many years, I learned long ago not to "trust the experts". I do believe a lot of lies and social constructs runs society too. Learning to listen to the voice within here is important. Extreme religion leaves one open to more absurdities. America seems to be a traumatized country in general, where fear rules, so conspiracy runs this place now and people have rejected science and rationality for Trump.

Carl Sagan warned about what would happen in America with religion and conspiracy.  I do still read conspiracy stuff, but am trying to "unravel" things still. I am exploring now as an outsider, breaking down the worldview. I didn't buy everything even when in. One thing that disturbs me now, are there are conspiracy people still saying Covid19 is a hoax, or exaggerated. So there's real life effects for society and individuals from this stuff. The anti-vaxxers brought measles back as a problem.  These individuals suffered.

America as a whole is being run by extreme conspiracy believers now via Trump and his minions instead of those seeking after science and rationality, that's a problem. Oh I think it is better for someone to say, "I don't know" instead of making up explanations out of thin air. Extreme religion demands answers for everything, while the scientific minded would be more likely say, "I don't know but let's explore the evidence together."


Yeah this says something. Well I didn't realize how many places I went before COVID19 broke, but probably my lifestyle changed the least of anybody's before quarantine. I feel for ANYONE who LIVES ALONE in all this, how are they suppose to cope with what amounts to solitary confinement outside of phone calls, zoom, computer interaction or the sad distant communicating with people wearing masks standing 6 feet away from you. I said of this mess to my husband, "Like America needs an excuse to become even more antisocial and with more cracks to community!"

"12 Things The Family Scapegoat Will Know to Be True"

I wanted to share this. I got it off Facebook, written by Ebony F and then shared. It is a good summation of things that people who are scapegoated by entire family systems go through. Scapegoats know they will be blamed for everything even things other people do or if their car breaks down. If they drop a glass or get injured they will be told, "There's no such thing as accidents!". Verbal abuse is a given. Scapegoats are isolated, only kept track of via hoovering because of the narcissist's desire for control. They know how it feels to be isolated and left out too even if the family keeps track of them and later won't leave them alone. Sadly many scapegoats face the entire family system being turned against them even into later ages, despite their desperate attempts to communicate, and the futile attempt to prove themselves to the narcissists and their brainwashed minions.

One sad fact of abuse, if a bully is in a room abusing people, others join in. Just look at Donald Trump. Many scapegoats will report narcissistic parents not attending high school graduations, and dismissing their achievements and more. Sabotage is life long for those going through this type of scapegoating until they go no contact.

"12 Things The Family Scapegoat Will Know To Be True

"The truth is, you will succeed, you can do it and you are good enough."

Every family has its own dynamics that govern how members relate with one another. Not only do our familial relationships set the tone for how we interact with the world, but they can also have a strong impact on our development and life trajectory. In families where dysfunction is prevalent, it's not uncommon for one member to be selected to carry the guilt, anger and frustration for the entire family.
Scapegoating allows for appearances to be kept up as the family targets one party for unmerited negative treatment, criticism or blame. Those who are cast as the family scapegoat develop their esteem in a toxic environment. Once free, it's vital for them to examine and dismantle the dysfunctional patterns of their upbringing in order to break the cycle and adopt a new, healthy script.
Here are 12 points of examination to determine if you were cast as the family scapegoat:
1. Blame
"You can’t do anything right. Everything is your fault." This kind of early training breeds insecurity and debilitating self-doubt. Know that this simply isn’t true. You were just a convenient receptacle for someone who was incapable or unwilling to take responsibility for their own faults.
2. Verbal Abuse
"You are so lazy, stupid and irresponsible." You wore every negative adjective they could summon. No matter how hard you tried to disprove these labels, your perpetrator never missed an opportunity to belittle you. This is a reflection of them, not you.
3. Ignored
When you told the truth and called out the blatant contradictions, family members and loved ones, even those outside of the household, might have denied or minimized the validity of your experience. This can be hurtful and tough to reconcile, but trust your spirit. You don't need a co-signer to validate it. It's possible that the entire family has a skewed concept of what healthy relationships look like.
4. Isolated
The scapegoater goes to great lengths to create dissension between you and anyone who supports and encourages you. If they can't keep you physically separated from your loved ones, they will create drama, manufacture dissension and assassinate the character of your loved one to turn you against them and minimize their influence. Their cult-like system hinges on keeping you small and marginalized. They are threatened by anyone who might interfere.
5. Spun
You are portrayed to family members in the most negative light possible. The scapegoater goes out of their way to destroy your credibility by telling anyone who will listen how bad you are. This serves two purposes. It proactively aligns people on their side should you try to seek outside support, and it unifies a choir of people to echo and reinforce their strategy to make you believe you are bad and worthless.
6. Accused
You are often accused of behavior that the scapegoater is actively engaged in. For example, you could be in the act of folding the laundry, ironing clothes and washing dishes while a family member, who is sitting around and watching tv, accuses you of being lazy. Clearly, this is not true. They are describing themselves and literally projecting their own self-hate on you.
7. Labeled
The scapegoater has trained the entire family, by example, how to treat you. Once you have been labeled as the bad one, you are fair game for siblings, spouses, relatives, even family friends to pick on. New people who enter the dynamic quickly pick up on the fact that you are the family’s punching bag. Scapegoated children often find themselves in adult relationships and situations that mimic this dynamic.

8. Dismissed
There is no reward for good behavior. In fact, your proudest achievements and accomplishments are belittled, ignored or all-together dismissed. This is where many scapegoated children give up and resign themselves to the negative characterization assigned to them.
9. Magnified
The only deeds that are ever highlighted or broadcasted are the bad ones. Your family is happy to share anything that affirms their negative characterization of you. You might find that the worse you screw up, the kinder you're treated. Your scapegoater won't take proactive steps to help you succeed but they are happy to provide a safety net when you fail. This is because the scapegoater thrives on "I told you so..." They are affirmed when your actions begin to reflect the negativity they've planted.
10. Sabotaged
Scapegoaters can fall anywhere on a wide behavioral spectrum. Although some demonstrate a total lack of interest and engagement in the life of the child, others go hard to actively sabotage any success their target seeks to have. In the later case, normal developmental milestones that your peers enjoyed were met with resistance in your household. If you were presented with an exciting opportunity, they deflated it and present a million reasons why it would fail. The goal is to kill your drive and destroy your ambition. As a result of this indoctrination, many scapegoated children settle to live below their potential and sabotage their own success.
11. The Lure
Oddly, as bad as they claim you were, if you manage to escape their control, they will likely attempt to lure you back in with emotional manipulation. They might start with a guilt-inducing angry rant before evolving into a softer, more supportive approach, playing on your desire for their approval. This might be followed by a fictional recounting of history — when they were loving, supportive and always well-intended. They will try to convince you and everyone else that their unfair treatment of you was a figment of your imagination. But you know were there.
12. Script Flip
If these attempts don't reel you in, prepare for the level 10, code red, frantic fire drill as they embark upon a rage induced campaign of unprecedented petty proportions. Watch as they go hard to convince everyone in their realm of influence that you’re crazy. Stand back as they frantically use every tool in their kit to assassinate your character. Marvel as they cast themselves as victim and magically spin you as the troubled one. Because they are incapable of owning their own guilt, anger and pain, they have to manipulate and project their insecurities outside of themselves. This is precisely why they needed a scapegoat to begin with.
If you were the scapegoat of your family, what you have experienced is emotional and psychological abuse. Victims of scapegoating often suffer from addiction, depression, PTSD and/or obsessive compulsive disorders. They might go to great lengths indulging in superficial highs to numb feelings of low self-esteem and lack of self-worth. Because the scars aren't visible, people tend to dismiss it as no big deal but studies show that the effects of excessive prolonged verbal abuse are the most damaging, because the victimizers voice embeds itself into the psyche as their own negative self-talk. This tape is played on constant repeat in the victim's mind, convincing them of their worthlessness and sabotaging any efforts at success. The key to overcoming is changing that tape.
As hurtful and damaging as it is, know that your perpetrator was only acting out of their own dysfunction. They, too, were tormented by their own internal recording and feelings of inadequacy. Instead of dealing with their issues, they chose to project them on you. This is how the vicious cycle is perpetuated generation after generation, but here is where it stops! This will not be your story.
You can learn to reprogram the dialogue in your head that tells you, "You're going to fail, you can't do it, you're not good enough." Those are lies. The truth is, you will succeed, you can do it and you are good enough. If you're willing to be vigilant and put in the work, you can go on to live a healthy, unlimited and fulfilling life ensuring that your offspring (should you choose to have them) will never have to endure what you've experienced.

By Ebony F

Thursday, April 23, 2020

The Deconversion Community: Why People are Leaving Christianity

Conversion and Deconversion

For three years, I have been involved elsewhere online, helping people who have deconverted. This includes people who got sucked into the evangelical or fundamentalist fold like I did as an adult and those who were raised in evangelical and fundamentalist households. Talking to them, I realized the overlaps with my uber Catholic background with their fundamentalist upbringings. There were parallels, I was indoctrinated by a lay teacher into last days who was obsessed with Fatima, they were told the Rapture was nigh.

This being my second deconversion with the first from Catholicism and the second from fundamentalist Christianity, I had practice at it, and decided to at least help others who had gone through what I have. The deconversion community has been a source of support for me.  Only those who had been there, could really related to how into conspiracy and bible prophecy I had been or how I had moved away from extreme fundamentalist rural town, that impacted my mind so strongly. Fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity really has it's own culture understood by those within. Normal secular folks or those in more sane churches aren't going to understand the ins and outs of the evangelical and fundamentalist cultures.

The numbers are growing of people getting out and leaving. Life has changed so radically, that Christianity is not holding up to reality.  Just like Zeus and his pantheon of gods ceased to have meaning to Greeks, the same is happening with Christianity. Jesus, Yahweh, angels, the Holy Ghost, are fading just like Aphrodite, Zeus, Mercury and Hera. Younger people are realizing it's not holding up.

Many modern people are asking questions like, "Why do we have to worship something?" "And why does something in the first place want narcissistic supply with legions of bowing and supplicating humans before it? Can you truly worship something, and have it love you?" I noticed most of the deconverted realized God [in the conservative Christian sense] had some major short comings like me. Yahweh's character was poor, capricious, outwardly murderous in the Old Testament, and in the end had nothing but cruelty to dispense along with his fireballs upon earth promised in the book of Revelation.

Christianity's promises of fellowship, companionship, answers for life's problems and misfortunes were really found wanting.  The religion offered me no solace, only judgment and blame for my life problems and the message that I lacked the blessings of God because I lacked faith. I noticed without hesitation this one applied to many others who ended up leaving like me. None of us expected God to show up with suitcases of money but a few kind words, or help or guidance, was what we failed to find. If God had merely shown up in some way, I believe many would still be in the religion.

Sure the Bible warns of trials and tribulations but then one takes note, Yahweh threatens people too with as much bad stuff, as the world does, with sending your loved friends to hell, or planning a big planetary blow-out in the end. Yahweh rarely was a source of comfort to me, it only gave me silent treatment.  It occurred to me like so many others that everything was drummed up out of my imagination, with vague feelings of discernment, leading, and the rest. It was a one way relationship.

Christians are loaded with too much guilt for wondering why God doesn't show up, or asking hard questions why prayers are never answered. Some people face the facts that regular prayer is more often then not a waste of time and whistling into a silent wind. It is a would be spirit who never literally answers back except in imagination or troubled dreams that brings no real solutions. Many deconverted people spent years trying to reach out to "god", working the religion hard like me hoping for something, but we faced the facts, it simply wasn't real, and didn't work the way we had been promised.

Sadly most conservative Christian communities when these doubts were expressed, always blamed the person in part. There came a point for me when I knew "nothing was good enough for Yahweh, just like nothing was ever good enough for my parents". I felt no love, comfort, involvement in my life, or real leading. Christian communities were one of judgement and never measuring up too. I noticed these feelings were rife among other deconverted people too. Some had faced major hardships, and expressed their feelings about the uselessness of prayer. Many felt judged and punished by religious communities that expected them to shut down their minds, hearts and feelings. God was always perfect while whatever problems you faced were supposedly your own fault.

The people who seemed to do the best in fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity, were ones who had lives that followed the script. I've written about this before on other articles. They always had good jobs. They had loving families and were able to have children and grandchildren. It does not escape my notice now that most of the conservative Christians I see on my Facebook, the ones who are left, all have endless pictures in large suburban or country homes of themselves and extensive generations, pictures full of 20 people easily. Their families are huge, and no one is down and out. One thing discussed in the deconversion community, was how if life was different from this script, one simply didn't fit in. Given the economic realities of most younger people of Gen X on down, Christianity especially in America failed to address how our lives really were.

Many who ended up deconverted, did not have the 1950s version of the nuclear family and did not experience  this scripted life. They were gay and rejected over it, or trans, or childless like me and simply didn't fit in. Many tired of abuse simply for being who they were, while others shared the horrors of homosexual bigotry or having their lives limited via homeschooling and lack of real educations. Economically,  many ended up leaving as church programs about being a good wife and the promotion of homeschooling didn't fit in with the world of part time jobs and struggling to make it in a studio apartment. Christianity in other words expected conformity to a life, that really didn't exist for many people. The churches all lived in the past. They demanded the impossible.

Our troubles, reality and more were ignored. Even now we see the majority of Christians who ignore economic and other realities. Few realize it but the conservative Christian world has become one of privilege, this is why they hate social justice so much. For those of us in need of some social justice or income equality, this was unacceptable.

The bibles warnings about "trials" seems like extreme understatement. There's little in that book that really deals with reality for some of us especially in this society. Sure everyone faced "trials" throughout history, but modern society has brought complicated onslaughts of them. Life definitely was more simple for the average person. Christianity in other words is failing to provide any answers to an increasingly complex world full of new challenges.This was a common feeling among other deconverts.

Conservative churches all claimed to have all the answers to all of life's problems, they would do seminars on money, marriage, health, work life, children, and more.  All the answers were always written to a lifestyle that doesn't even exist for many people. They were written to middle class or above white [mostly suburban but sometimes rural] people. The idea that there is a handy answer or a set of instructions to every life problem to be found in the bible became absurd. That turned out not to be true either. Many deconverts tried for years to follow the formulas which failed.

Some people become liberal Christians, and inject a loving God into the mix. I can handle the mystical Christians who don't believe everyone goes to hell, if someone has a nicer God, that's better then the God of Copeland and Trump who seems more akin to the classic portrayal of Satan. If someone believes in a Jesus Christ who is the opposite of Republican Jesus, my view of them is going to be more positive. In the deconversion community I am part of, we allow liberal Christians, we know the journey of deconversion can take people to different places. Some become full atheists, others find a different and more liberal Christianity that rejects the right wing nonsense. Others become in the middle somewhere like me, agnostics, who believe a god of a different sort is possible, or join the Unitarian Universalist Association or explore other religions. Most deconversion boards do wisely allow criticism of Christianity so a liberal Christian in those places must understand, that our view and experience of Christianity may be vastly different from their own.

One thing to note is that Christianity in it's conservative forms was a misery producing juggernaut, that added trauma, repression, and unhappiness to many lives. Many of my fellow deconverts shared the same experiences of trauma and PTSD from religious abuse, and oppressive. edicts. Abuse from parents, and religious figures was rife in conservative religious circles. There were multiple others who fit into the ACON criteria and dealt with narcissistic and other toxic parents and relatives who abused via the lens of religion.

Many lived lives like me under extreme guilt and being told they were never enough or that they suffered because God deemed it necessary. Repression was a big one too, where we were silenced or taught that conformity was the most important. Women realized the inner sexism and denial of their humanity in these conservative religious circles. This applied to me in Catholicism where the ability to have babies came first. We were lonely and told we had to believe or else. Some suffered like I did, rejection from their families in leaving a church or no longer believing. In my case, the uber conservative Catholicism was different from the fundamentalist and evangelical world but there were overlaps. Many of us did not have wise counsel to be told to keep our true religious feelings secret until we were financially independent adults.

Toxic Christian culture and politics brought a lot of us out. The religious political right is cruel. It was willing slaves to capitalism and taught authoritarianism to horrible political leaders like Trump. We watched our churches defend war, and policies that made us poorer. They were almost without limit all Republican. Many like me grew fed up with the poison pouring from the pulpits.

After all if you watch all your church members bow before the Orange Sociopath, what good is a religion? It is rot then. The love for the Republican party along with racism, hatred for the poor were reasons many people left. We questioned ourselves and did not want to stand for evil. . One thing I have noticed since I have left, is that Christians  [and I am talking about the conservative ones] seem to have gone mad. Their hatred, and arrogance, now has them demanding all the poor go back to their service jobs even in the middle of a global pandemic. They don't care if people die. Many even have said directly, that "death is a part of life".

There is a darkness in Christianity now, and we can see it in the faces of screaming people who carry assault rifles to their state legislatures, and who carry signs like "I want a haircut". They don't care if the elderly or people like me die, with COVID being allowed to rampage through the population. I noticed every evangelical Christian left on my Facebook wanted the lock-downs ended. I worry about civil liberties too, but did not understand people who did not care about others staying alive. The darkness is lack of empathy and it controls a lot of Christians. I suppose this goes with the economic privilege and scripted lives, they figure they won't catch Covid19 because they are "blessed by God". That's supposedly for the heathens and non-believers.

Christianity has changed in the USA. Even in my own lifetime, I remember the Christians of yesterday being a bit different. Sure there was always Elmer Gantry and extremists in the old days too, but as I got older, the number of televangelists, ministries and para-church organizations grew.  There were more liberal Christians when I was young.  Science was advanced in mainline churches as being important and compatible with religion.  Jesus preached messages of love and helping the poor. There is almost a madness in Christianity today. At my UU we still discuss the positive teachings of Jesus and the decent messages.

Watching this farce, I'm glad I parted ways from such deluded people. When I was a Christian, I was against Dominionism, and wrote about this on line in Christian circles. I was rare, and realized as discussed in other deconversion articles, that I was in an authoritarian religion that was all about power and dominance.  Well, the dominionists have power now. Our country is being hurt by extremist religion. We face a time in history where America is suffering directly from religious extremism. It helped advance this plague along. I believe right now a defacto Dominionist theocracy via Trump is in power now, and the anti-science and intellectualism of religion has taken over. If not for the few government scientists and Democrats listening to them, this country would be more in danger.

 IFB people used to write things all the time, that when bad things happened to people maybe God deemed it necessary. The religion itself, I believe destroys empathy, blessings are to come from God and if something bad happens to you, it's your fault. So we have the religious right now with it's death cult beliefs, now wanting to literally unleash death upon us all via plague. Maybe a religion that has human sacrifice at it's foundations, doesn't mind sacrificing humans to capitalism in modern times.

Somehow this does not surprise me. I left Christianity seeing the lust for all the wars I protested against, now we see lust for death. Many deconverts like me saw the writing on the wall and got out! Our own lives were under assault by a harmful religion and philosophy but many others were too. We left the religion because it was evil, and it's followers assigned to evil. I do not want to color every Christian with this, there are those who are liberal and those who reject the right wing, although in America, liberal Christians are far fewer in number. Sadly many of the mainline  and other churches have fallen to the Republican brainwashing. Every Catholic except a few liberal ones I know were going with the Republican party line.

"God's party" in other words and it's Orange Sociopath are now being allowed to unleash eugenics and genocide against the American population. One thing too I want to mention here too, is noticing most of the conspiracy websites [probably owned and astroturfed but full of many right wing Christians too] all are trying to say the virus is fake or is "not that serious". It's weird when those who believe in the "new world order" all think supposedly evil people are going to have "less people die". That makes no sense.

Liberal, sane and educated people want us to "flatten the curve" and have more people survive the epidemic. This week we watched the uneducated Fox news, conservative and Christian-evangelical element go to protests for things to be "re-opened". Someone online wrote that in big cities, everyone knows someone who died or got it, and it's been less common in areas with less population. I am not sure this explains everything, while some certainly are afraid of not having money to survive, with their lost jobs , many seem just to lack any empathy.

They are such brainwashed slaves to capitalism, fear of death gets lower priority.  I had weird thoughts about Trump voters and especially evangelical Christians, some seem immune to the worse life can do in their privilege. I can't help but think, that these are clueless, spoiled people who have never witnessed someone dying in front of them, violence or real economic struggles beyond a missed haircut. Most of the jerks with their giant automatic weapons strapped to their belts pointed to their feet, looked like they had plenty of money, they just wanted poorer people then them, to get back to work, and serve them no matter the cost, even of their own lives.

I sometimes wonder if America is going to collapse. I have my worries about civil liberties too, but when a society is so fractured, that some are protesting against protecting people from dying there's something wrong. It's like there's no cooperation here. There's no love, care or compassion for neighbors either.

The rest of the world watches more and more in horror. America has become a farce to the rest of the world. Here's a new joke, I saw being told in non-American circles online.... "What's stupid inbetween?"------ Canada and Mexico". I hate to say it but extreme religion and rejection of reality has made America dumb as a box of rocks.

Watching the protests on the news, I felt some growing anger. Where were these "Constitutional Scholars" when rights in America started being ravaged especially around 9-11? They were silent as trillions were spent on useless wars in the middle east, silent when American rights were cut down like right to trial by jury with the passage of the NDAA and Patriot Act. So when I see them now talking about freedom and rights? I shake my head. They pretend to be morally superior, but they were silent when it counted. Their selfishness shines on through.

I believe Covid19 is real and like 9-11 they will make use of it, to limit more freedoms, go on a money-clean out--we are seeing that now, the 1200 dollars to the average American is eclipsed by the trillions going to big business and millionaires and billionaires and worse. The conspiracy websites claiming it's not real and that no one is really dying, are absurd. It is scarier then hell to see where America has gone. The cruelty, the coldness, the absurdity and religion has helped fuel it all. I believe Trump is a traitor, that allowed a virus to fester to bring America down. He wasn't stupid and lazy, he let it come here on purpose.

Watching the majority of Christians support this sickening man, told me I got out just in time. I never was a Republican but for many of us deconverting was about conscience. We no longer wanted to be part of an evil religion or one that supported evil. We were tired of an abusive, cold, hard, silent God and tired of being associated with people who no longer were of light but who chose darkness and advanced oppression.

Spiritual abuse was common to many of my fellow deconverts. Some were abused by families but many experienced it from the pastors and other religious officials as well. Guilt, control, compliance, the focus on being fixed, many went through many of the same experiences I went through especially with the deliverance minister of years ago and an abusive family that shoved a religion I did not believe in down my throat. I know many were like me, they simply no longer wanted to live in guilt and shame anymore, where nothing was ever good enough, and they realized they were told to believe things that weren't coming true in real life.

I was glad to find the deconversion community and while some Christians will see us as "fallen away" heathens, my fellow deconverts were people of conscience who wanted goodness and no longer wanted to follow lies and deceptions or be part of a religion and system that brought so much misery to themselves and others. One thing we hold in common is seeking truth. Truth is not in the extremist Christianity of today. Religion has a dark side, and it's ruining America.