Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Fat Lady

When I was little, before I started kindergarten, my mom took my sister and me to the PX:

  • In Texas at the time, kindergarten was a luxury for which a family paid handsomely, unless they were willing to leave their child in the tender care of religious instructors.
  • For military families, The PX is the “Post Exchange.” (The Commissary is for food. The PX is for the good stuff.)
  • Uniformed military personnel have priority at The Commissary and The PX. If they are in line behind you, they are actually entitled to be in front of you.

I honestly don’t remember what we were shopping for, and it doesn’t matter. When we finished shopping, we got into line. A lady got into line behind us. She was in uniform – and I knew that meant she should go before us – but more interestingly, I noticed that she was fat.

She was extremely, undeniably fat. In fact, she was fatter than any lady I had ever seen before. She was weird-fat.

My older sister was distracted, and as the baby of the family, I took my opportunity. I was very proud of myself for having deduced these facts all by myself. I turned to my mother, and blandly announced something like, “Mom. She’s in uniform. She needs to go first. Plus, just look at her. She’s… different.” [At the age of four, Southern manners had already established a beachhead in my brain. I knew how to use euphemisms.]

My mother grabbed me with more force than normal, and marched me to the walkway, away from prying eyes, leaving my sister to hold our place in line.

She bent down to me, staring intensely into my eyes. “Don’t ever say that again. That’s wrong,” she furiously hissed.

“What? Why? But, she is! What…?” I stammered.

“She is no different than you and me. We are no better than she is. Do you understand me?” my mother demanded.

“What are you talking about?” I begged, pointing back to the checkout line for emphasis. “She’s fat, Mom… Look!”

I can honestly say, there are few moments that stand out from my early childhood, but this is one of them. My mom froze for a moment, and I could actually SEE her thinking. She took a VERY long beat, turned back to me, and calmly explained:

“She is not fat. She is going to have a baby very soon. That’s her baby, inside her, and it’s almost ready to be born. That big tummy is not her. That’s her baby inside of her. Do you understand what I am saying to you?”

I looked back at the lovely lady in uniform in the line, and tried to imagine that humongous stomach as a person. It seemed ridiculously far-fetched, but I was willing to take my mom’s word for it.

“A baby? Really? When? Now?”

As I remember it, my mom hugged me, and explained it would probably not happen that soon, but that you could never tell. I was right. We should definitely let her go first in line.


I was around four years old when I went shopping with my mom.

The story was just a funny family anecdote until I was in the fifth grade, and it happened again. For real this time.

You see, at The PX, my mom was concerned that I thought the lady in line behind us was different because she was black… not because she was fat (pregnant).

My parents – who are awesome beyond the bounds of all expectation – never gave me the race stuff. To anyone raised with it, I cannot explain being raised without it. My best analogy is, imagine a world where curly and straight hair were germane differentiations… Where they were incredibly powerful sociopolitical identifiers. Now imagine that your parents taught you that hair was just hair.

[SIDEBAR: My hair is kinkier than… well, anything!]


When I was 10, wanted to ask Aklilu to my first school dance. He was not only smarter than anyone I had ever met, but he was nice, and he was a fantastic friend. [I believe in modern parlance, this is referred to as a “triple-threat.”]

The Principal called my parents to explain that this simply could not be tolerated, this potential interracial abomination. [Pre-pubescent 10-year-olds dancing to FM radio hits? SCANDAL!]

I was 10 years old. He was my best and most-admired friend. I’m not saying that if I were 16, I wouldn’t have leapt on him like a firefighter on a flaming victim. I’m just saying… I was ten. It wasn’t in the cards.

My parents explained the denial to me, but it was quite a different conversation than the one my mother had with me when I was four:

“Aklilu’s no different than you and me. We are no better than he is, but they can’t see that. You can’t go together. Do you understand what I am saying to you?”


Dear Reader, I didn’t understand then, and I didn’t pretend to. I was plenty pissed, and I believe I made that clear the way a 10-year old does to her parents.

I’m still pissed now.

If Aklilu ever found me, I would find a way to make that dance-date-that-never-was a dance date that he would never forget.

I could do it.


“Don’t Skip The Vote” Lyrics

I can’t sing. At all. Can you? How about your group? Your campaign staff or volunteers? I wanna make this happen in the most adorable, awesome, viral way possible. I’d love it if zillions of people would get in on this. But I will settle for one really awesome version!

Audio or video… sing a line, a verse, the chorus, or the whole thing… Sing holding a sign supporting your candidate or issue… wearing a costume… my lyrics or your own… I’ll take what I can get…

The Original: The Hues Corporation – “Rock The Boat” [1974]
The Original Hues Corporation Video:
Robert Stansbury’s () Backing Track:

The Karaoke Video (not perfect, some singing):
More Karaoke Files (audio & video for purchase):

My Parody Lyrics:

So I’d like to know where, you got the notion
Said I’d like to know where, you got the notion

To skip the vote, don’t skip the vote, baby
November 4th, don’t let the vote slip by
November 4th, don’t skip the vote baby
November Fou-oo-oo-oo-ourth!

Ever since America began
She’s counted on her thinking citizens
To save her from some straight-up lunacy
To rescue her from darkness and advance democracy

Your vote can make the difference for everyone
Nothing matters right now more than Midterm…

So I’d like to know where, you got the notion
Said I’d like to know where, you got the notion

To skip the vote, don’t skip the vote, baby
November 4th, don’t let the vote slip by
November 4th, don’t skip the vote baby
November Fou-oo-oo-oo-ourth!

Two years into Obama’s second term
Republicans have vowed to destroy everything he’s done
It’s time for you to do what you need to do.
Get Barack’s back, get in that booth, see what you started through!

Your vote can make the difference for everyone
Nothing matters right now more than Midterm…

So I’d like to know where, you got the notion
Said I’d like to know where, you got the notion

So I’d like to know where, you got the notion
Said I’d like to know where, you got the notion

To skip the vote, don’t skip the vote, baby
November 4th, don’t let the vote slip by
November 4th, don’t skip the vote baby
November 4th, don’t let the vote slip by

November 4th!
November 4th!

Vote on November 4th, y’all!
Vote on November 4th, y’all!
Vote on November 4th, y’all!

Vote, yeah!
Vote, yeah!
Vote, yeah!

Vote, yeah!
Vote, yeah!

November 4th!
November 4th!

November 4th!
November 4th!

November 4th!
November 4th!

November 4th!
November 4th!

(et cetera)

FUCK THE POLICE: My Personal Story

When I was away at college, I was injured. Long story. But the short of it is that my calf was severed horizontally, through the tendon to the bone. I was not expected to walk again (but I eventually did). Once I recovered enough to be up and on crutches, I went shopping one night — just a few groceries, since I had to hang a bag around my neck to carry anything. I got home, and went up the stairs to my apartment.

[SIDEBAR: Going up stairs on crutches is a snap. Going down is the challenge.]

I put away the groceries, and made queso in the microwave. I put the chips and queso in my neck-bag, and went to my room to watch TV and eat on my bed.

I heard a knock on the door. This was around the time that my roommates got home from work, so I assumed one of them had forgotten their keys. I grabbed my crutches, and made good time to the door. I opened it, and on the other side was a man. The look in his eyes instantly terrified me. I tried to shut the door quickly, but on my crutches, I had no leverage. He forced his way in, and grabbed me around my neck from behind. He levered me so that my feet did not touch the floor, and moved right toward my bedroom.

I believe to this day that he saw me get home, saw my vulnerable state, and waited for my bedroom light to come on to make his move.

As he turned the corner into the hall towards my bedroom, I grabbed the door frame’s molding. It was a stupid idea. He kept on going, and I tore off all of my fingernails. He went through my bedroom door, and threw us both down on the bed together. When he did, the very hot queso flew up onto both of us. Understand: Below the point where my leg was severed, I had no feeling. The nerves were all cut. Plus, I was scared to death. I knew my skin was being burned, but I didn’t feel it.

He, on the other hand, was NOT terrified, and did. He back handed me across the face, said something profane, and ran away.

I didn’t have my crutches, so I dragged myself on my stomach (way faster than a three-legged crawl) to the front door and locked it.

I got up on my crutches that were lying there.

I went to my room.

I moved the food.

I stripped the bed.

I started laundry.

I ran a bath.

I got in the bath (except for my leg.)

Not long after, I was sitting in the tub crying quietly when my first roommate got home. I don’t know what she saw, but she KNEW. She started banging on the door, screaming for me to let her in. I wouldn’t. She grabbed a coat hanger and jimmied the lock. She got in. She got it out of me. She said she was calling the police. I said not to. She did.

Three officers responded — two men, and a woman. My roommate knew how I was raised. She knew if the cops came, I would be too polite to refuse to answer their questions. I told them everything.

One of the male officers (top dog, a Detective) who was taking notes ended our conversation by explaining to me that:

1) There is no such thing as “attempted rape.”

2) I let him in. Not really “breaking and entering.”

3) One backhand across the face is not the kind of thing that merits an assault charge.

4) If they did catch him, they’d never be able to make anything “stick.”

… and on and on. Lots of word salad, with one point: Don’t file an official report. It’s not worth the trouble. Nothing will come of it.

“Okay, Hon?”

As sorry as I felt for myself in that moment (and it was plenty sorry), I felt worse for the female officer sitting next to him. The look on her face… I’m not a mind reader, but she looked like she was in physical pain. She actually openly grimaced a few times. She looked straight into my eyes a few times, too, as if she was screaming at me, “I’M SORRY! I CAN’T DO ANYTHING! PLEASE DON’T HATE ME!”

I didn’t hate her then. I don’t hate her now. He was a Detective. She wasn’t. It wasn’t her show.

The one time in my life that I really needed to be protected and served, I feel that I got screwed.

You know what’s been going on lately.

Yesterday, I said it for the first time in my life, and I meant it.


Thoughts on Killing, and on Death: A Plea

I would like to try, if I can, to change your frame on death. There is a very high probability that you believe in the supernatural – a Supreme Being and an afterlife.

I would never ask you to stop believing, but I would like you to consider the implications of killing if neither a Supreme Being nor an afterlife exists.

What if taking a human life ends a person forever? What if you are not simply stopping the body, but also erasing forever everything that person ever was, or ever could be? What if everything they had ever been, done, felt, learned, planned and hoped for stopped when their body stopped?

What if there was no soul to survive?

Everyone makes mistakes, and accidents do happen… But what if there is no cosmic justice? What if there is no god to mete out that justice or to correct human error? What if death is an end, and not a transition?

For those of us who do not believe in the supernatural, killing and death are serious. They are final.

For those who do believe, I beg you to consider the implications if you are mistaken.

Thank you for reading this.

Riffs from My Father – A Daughter’s Tribute

I’m an Army brat, born overseas to military parents. The circumstances of my birth are not at all rare, but in 2001 after the World Trade Centers were attacked, my identity as an American suddenly became suspect. The birth papers that had always been sufficient were no longer good enough. My unnecessary naturalization (insisted upon by my mother, and a source of great mirth to the judge who administered a tiny me The Oath of Allegiance) was no longer good enough. For a tidy fee, I had to petition Condoleeza Rice’s State Department to recertify my American-ness (if I wanted to drive, or to fly, or to bank, or to vote, or… you know. Stuff.)

My personal experiences make me bristle at two political conversations we are having: Voter ID (for obvious reasons)… and absentee fathers.

My father served in Korea before I was born, and Vietnam after, but even when he wasn’t away at war, he was often away at schools, on duty or on maneuvers. Other Army brats will understand exactly what I’m talking about.

When I was very little and my dad was at war in Vietnam, my mom cast a magic spell to save him, and to protect our family from losing him. (As a child brought up in The Walt Disney Culture, that is how I perceived what she was doing.) She practiced The Sorcery of Silence with absolute discipline. No news reports, no TV shows, no radio broadcasts about the war were permitted to touch us. No conversations – casual or serious. An acquaintance could not ask her politely how my dad was doing in Vietnam. Her closest and best friends could not ask her. Other military wives could not ask her. She would shut them down before the question was even fully expressed. My mother patrolled the boundaries of her magic spell with fierce, zealous, unwavering vigilance.

It worked.

He made it.

My first memory of my father was his return from Vietnam in 1970. I knew his voice from speaking to him long distance around the holidays, but not the face he came home with, or the body. When he landed at the tiny Airport in Killeen, Texas, I didn’t recognize him. I was afraid of him. My mother had shown my sister and me pictures of him, but he didn’t look like the pictures. He was painfully thin, very tan, and his hair was different. To me, he looked just like Elvis Presley in the movies broadcast by the indie TV station out of Fort Worth that my mom finally relented, and let my sister and me watch (but just cartoons, re-runs and movies… no scary news).


So… Here was my dad, finally. Only my dad was Elvis in Love Me Tender. It was disorienting.

My dad was born at the back end of The Silent Generation, in 1941, and picked up the guitar for real, after he entered the Army on February 28, 1959. By 1960, he was in Korea. By 1962, he was already Second Chair Guitar in the ship’s orchestra on his return. Understand: I knew none of my father’s biography until I was an adult, and screwed up the courage to ask him. (My mother’s spell had rubbed off on me.)

After Vietnam, my dad became my dad in my actual home, a little trailer in Harker Heights, Texas. Having him with us was brand new to me.


I was very little, so my memories are scant. What I do remember most is his guitar. My dad would play Something, and sing it to my mom. He would play Looking Out My Backdoor  as a lullaby to my sister and me at bedtime. This was way before I was allowed to have a radio of my own, so I just assumed that my dad wrote both songs… and many of the other songs he would play. (FYI: My mom and dad were in love and in lust with each other. Even as a little child, I picked up on that. Something, coming from my dad, sounded completely genuine.)

So, my dad was home. A few years later, my family moved into a real house, and we seemed more like the families I saw on TV. No sooner had we done that, than he was stationed in Germany. My parents decided that he would go alone, and my sister and I would start school in The States. After two years in Germany, he was back for the Bicentennial.

Having a dad in the service, dipping into and out of your life, makes for some interesting discoveries. Thus it happened that in 1976, I learned something new and amazing about my very own dad.

I was old enough now that my mom allowed me an alarm clock radio of my very own in my bedroom, and it even had a built-in cassette recorder. I listened to KIXS 93.3 FM religiously. They counted down the local top hits every night. They broadcast from local live music dives. They had a late-night DJ right out of Almost Famous. They also made a very big deal out of debuting new songs. When they debuted More Than a Feeling  by Boston, I was taping.


I couldn’t wait to play it for my dad when he got home. (He and I could often be found combing the racks at pawn shops for great music, and his collection of LP’s numbered in the thousands.)

When I heard his car pull into our driveway, I was ready for action. He barely made it through the door and put down his stuff before I pulled him into The Music Room (babbling like a maniac the whole time I’m sure). I popped the cassette I’d recorded in, and pressed play. He loved me, so of course he patiently listened. He reached for his guitar and noodled along distractedly as the song played. I thought to myself, “He doesn’t like it like I like it.”

I was a little crushed. Okay, a lot crushed.

At the end of the song, he plugged his guitar into his amp, looked up at me and said, “Play it again.” I rewound the cassette, and pressed play.

My dad, without missing a lick, played back the entire song flawlessly, his ’63 Sunburst Strat BLAZING AT FULL VOLUME! Every hair on my pre-pubescent body stood straight up. It was a moment. It was THE moment that I found out my dad was a Guitar God.

Holy crap. How did I not know that?

The next year, he was sent away again, this time to Indiana for “school.” That summer, my mom packed me and my sister into the car, and made the long drive to be with him. That was the summer that I learned what it was like to live in a hotel, swim anytime I wanted, eat every meal (and play pinball!) at the same diner, and see a By-God-Hollywood-Summer-Blockbuster on a for-real massive big city movie screen. It was 1977, and the movie was Star Wars.


By this time, I was at that age where straight girls start thinking about boys. (Not in a sexual way, in a Marcia-Brady-meets-Davy-Jones kind of way.) I knew my parents were nuts about each other, and I was curious about that. So, when we got back to Texas from Indiana, I started snooping. In my parents’ closet, I found a beautiful, diaphanous, orange negligee set. In their nightstand, I found The Joy of Sex. In their dresser I found girly magazines…

… And under the girly magazines, hinged boxes, like the ones you get when you buy real jewelry. One was normal-sized. The others were much bigger. The small one contained a pair of cufflinks, but not like any I’d ever seen. They looked military, and they looked old to me. Inside the larger boxes were medals. I didn’t know exactly what they meant, but I knew they were about war. My mom’s spell grabbed me by the throat. I put the boxes back. I put the girly magazines back on top of them. I got the hell out of there.

What I want to tell you about my dad:

He was gone a lot. There were years when he probably saw a lot less of us than a divorced dad living in the same city would. When politicians talk about “two-parent families” and “absentee fathers,” I hate it. When I was growing up, the most important thing to me was knowing that my parents were happy, that they were in love with each other, and that they loved me. Sure, I wished my dad was around more, but I had a good childhood.

My dad was a soldier, but he never brought his work – or his weapon – home.

My dad had one Army buddy that was invited to our home for football and food, and only one, Cosby. My parents were so perfect on the issue of race that I didn’t know there was such a thing until I started school.

How this all started:

This afternoon, someone tweeted me More Than A Feeling. “I closed my eyes and I slipped away,” right back to 1976.

Tonight, I called my dad. I asked him if I could ask him a question. He said, “yes.” I told him he could tell me no. He said, “okay.” I told him he could not answer me if he didn’t want to. He said, “okay.” I told him it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if he didn’t want to talk about it.

He told me to ask him.

I told him what I’ve told you about the girly magazines and the boxes.

The cufflinks were awarded to my father in the early 60’s when his band, The Stardusters, won the talent contest in Korea.

The medals were The Good Conduct Medal, The Campaign Medal, The Cross of Galantry, and The Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster. All of these medals were awarded to my father for his service to his country in Vietnam.

My father.

Guitar Hero.

War Hero.

My Hero.

Confessions of a Liberal

I’m ready to come a little further out of the closet, and admit to being a deviant.  Hi, I’m TheoloGOP… and I’m a liberal.

I don’t like to shop. I hate shopping. Look, I’ll scoop a dirty cat box, detail the car, even watch “Meet The Press” quicker than I’ll go to the store without a fight.  Don’t get me wrong.  I have shopped.  I’ll even do it on my own sometimes, around the holidays, but I don’t like it.  And what’s worse, I don’t understand the thrill others find in it.

I don’t want a Lexus, BMW, or Mercedes.  I drive a clunker.  I like my clunker.  If I had a gazillion dollars, I’d still like my clunker.  Wanna know what I think when I see a car that costs over $30,000?  I think, “Oh my god! That car costs over $30,000!!!”  I don’t think, “Gee, I’d sure like to have one of those!”  I think, “Man, I’m sure glad I don’t want one of those!”

I think boxing is nuts.  I don’t get it.  I can’t figure out how it can be legal, actually.  Basically, as I understand it, it’s illegal to beat someone up unless you are acting in self-defense.  It’s also illegal to beat someone up for money.  And yet… we have boxing.  Whenever I surf past a boxing match (for instance on HBO) it makes me queasy.  I feel sorry for the guys in the ring.  I can’t understand how a tape of two guys beating each other up for real isn’t obscene, but a tape of two people pretending to get jiggy is.

I have the Circadian rhythms of a raccoon.  I prefer to stay up all night and sleep during the day.  According to my mother, I have always been this way.  As she tells it, when I was a baby, I would play quietly with my toys in my crib at night, and go to sleep around sun-up.  As for me, I don’t remember ever being any other way.  I get my second wind at about 8 or 9 at night.  That’s when I feel the best, and I’m raring to go.  Noon to me probably feels the same way 3 a.m. feels to most other folks.  I’m nocturnal.  An owl.

I have a Samson complex, and not just about me.  I like long hair.  I like it on everyone, male or female.  To my eye, short hair looks funny — unnatural.  I hate getting my hair cut.  I don’t like anyone near my head with a pair of scissors.  When I do get my hair cut (or more often, cut my own hair), I feel weird for days.  I sort of have to work up to it, to cut it.

I don’t like any sports except for Baseball, and just The Red Sox.  I watched a ton of football with my dad growing up, and I loved spending that time doing that with him, but as soon as I left home for college, I stopped cold.  I went to Texas A&M, where football is a religion, but I only went to one game in four years, and only under duress.  I have also never understood, AT ALL, why sports coverage is part of every regular local newscast.  Personally, I’d like to see the “News-Weather-Sports” lineup become the “News-Weather-Furry Mammals” line-up.  I’d like to see all the sports reporters be replaced with Jack Hanna clones.  Come to think of it, you could throw out the weather part, too, and I wouldn’t mind in the least.  That’s what the internet’s for.

Now, here comes the serious part…

I don’t want to have children.  I don’t want to start a biological family.  I love other people’s kids, and I’m great with them (I have family and a long list of former neighbors who can back me up on this one), but I know I am happier without children of my own.  I’m also sure that the kind of life I now have would be gone for good if kids came into the picture.  That’s the way it is.  And honestly, that’s the way I WANT it to be.  I will admit to the occasional pang of baby-lust, but I’ve never had a case of baby-love.

God has never spoken to me.  Not once.  I grew up in a religious home.  I went to church, to Sunday School, to Vacation Bible School, to CYF summer sleep-away camp near Athens, Texas.  I prayed A LOT.  But I still vaguely remember, even when I was very young, going to church and peeking out from between my clasped hands when people were praying.  I remember watching them and thinking, “They’re playing make believe.  They’re not talking to God, they’re talking to each other…”  As I got older, I realized the heresy of such a thought, and I stomped it down DEEP.  I put all of my energy into getting right with Jesus.  (Those of you who have spent any time on twitter know that I have energy to spare NOW — just imagine what I was like THEN).  I made god my raison d’etre.  I did everything I was told — and everything I could think of on my own — to get him to talk to me.  He never did.  As much as I like to hear myself talk, I hung up about 25 years ago, and it has made all the difference for me.

So, there you have it.  I am a deviant — different from the norm in a multitude of ways.  So, why am I telling you this?  What’s the point?  Here’s the point:  Everything I have said is true, but so is this…

I don’t want to outlaw shopping or shut down the malls.
I don’t think people who like to shop are bad.

I don’t want to outlaw expensive cars like Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes.
I don’t think that people who own expensive cars are bad.

I don’t want to outlaw boxing, or lock up boxers or boxing spectators.
I don’t think liking boxing, or making boxing your career, is bad.

I don’t want to pass a law to make people adjust their clocks to suit me.
I don’t think being awake during the day and sleeping at night is bad.

I don’t want to outlaw barbers, or cosmetologists, or scissors, or baldness.
I don’t think having or liking short hair, or no hair, is bad.

I don’t want to outlaw sports, or sportscasts, or sports reporters.
I don’t think that liking sports, or making sports your career, is bad.
(Dave Zirin, I’d make out with you on principle. Also, ‘cuz you’re wicked hot.)

I don’t want to outlaw parenting.
I don’t think that being a parent is bad.

I don’t want to outlaw god, or prayer, or churches.
I don’t think that people who believe in god are bad.

That is what makes me a liberal.  As a liberal, I know I have my own personal opinions, my own personal preferences, and my own personal tastes, and I know that is ALL THEY ARE.  I know that other people can have different opinions, preferences and tastes, and they don’t threaten mine.  I know other people can make different choices, and they don’t diminish mine.  I don’t believe that there is only one right choice to make for everyone.  I respect and appreciate diversity.  I don’t want the government taking sides — even if the side they take is mine.  I don’t want to be told people who are different than me are wrong or bad.  I want the freedom to make up my own mind, and I want you to have that freedom, too.

Here is what I DON’T want to hear from my government ANYMORE:

If you’re not straight, you’re bad.

If you don’t believe in god(s), any god(s), or the most popular god(s), you’re bad.

If you weren’t raised in a two-parent family (whatever the hell that means when they say it) you had a bad childhood; your (grand/non-traditional/absent military) parent(s) is/was are/were bad.

If you don’t have children of your own, you’re bad.

If you don’t get married, whether or not we’ll let you, to a person of whom WE approve, you’re bad.

As a liberal, I don’t want society cleansed of people that are different than me, or that make different choices.  I don’t want a homogeneous society.  I don’t want everyone to be JUST LIKE ME.  I don’t want the government to make it easy to be me, and tough to be you; to say it’s right to be me, and wrong to be you.  As a liberal, I know the difference between an opinion and a fact, and I want the government to stick to facts.  I want the gray areas left alone.  I want to make up my own mind. I want to be free to be who I am, believe what I believe, like what I like, say what I say, love who I love, and live how I live.  I want the same thing for you.

And in case you’re wondering? Bullet holes in dead children are not a gray area.

I may not want kids, but I want kids to live.

“God Hates Fags” Answering The Taunts of The Religious Right

(Originally published January 11, 2001)

Biblical texts demand the execution of persons committing homosexual acts.  Some Christians today urge the same thing.  Though our laws do not follow scripture in this case, straight Americans kill gay Americans in shocking numbers every year.

1.  The punishment for engaging in sex during the menstrual period is “kareth“: the worst spiritual punishment in the Bible.
2.  The punishment for adultery is execution by stoning for both parties.  The Bible defines adultery by the marital status of the woman involved only.  A married man having sex with a single woman does not constitute adultery. Also, a man can never commit adultery against his own wife, only against another man, by having sex with that man’s wife (that is to say, infringing on his property).  
3.  A woman who is not a virgin on her wedding night is to be executed by stoning.  The virginity-until-marriage rule does not apply to men. 
4.  Nudity is shameful, and viewing it an accursed sin.  No exception is made for the private home or the marriage bed.
5.  Polygamy (marriage in which a spouse of either sex may have more than one mate at the same time) and concubinage (cohabitation of persons not legally married) are not prohibited.
6.  A son-less woman who becomes widowed must have sex with each of her deceased husband’s brothers, in turn, until she gives birth to a male heir. Jesus mentions this custom (levirate marriage), and doesn’t criticize it
7.  Sex between heterosexual singles is not condemned, so long as the woman is not a virgin, and her property value is not being diminished.
8.  Semen and menstrual blood are unclean, as are those who come into contact with them.  Sexual uncleanness lasts until sundown.  Menstrual uncleanness lasts for seven days.  Childbirth renders a woman unclean.  She remains unclean twice as long after having a female child, as she does after having a male child.
9.  Prostitution is natural, and necessary as a safeguard of the virginity of the unmarried and the property rights of men, as regards their women.  A man visiting a prostitute is not sinning, but the prostitute is.  
10.  Endogamy (marrying within faith and race) is required, miscegenation (interracial marriage or cohabitation) is a sin.  
11.  Mosaic law allows for divorce.  Jesus strictly forbade it, though he never mentioned homosexuality at all.
12.  Celibacy is abnormal, and a sign of heresy, though not expressly a sin.  Jesus and Paul were both celibate.
14.  Slavery is normal, and not a sin.  Female virgins are the spoils of war.  It is not a sin to use female slaves for sexual or breeding purposes.

Two extremes exist (as well as everything in between) when it comes to members of the Christian faith.  I will refer here to the extremes of that faith continuum as the “cold and prickly” and “warm and fuzzy” wings of Christianity.  The “warm and fuzzy” wing believes that the radical love of Jesus, and his death, replaced the biblical law that preceded it.  The “cold and prickly” wing took Jesus at his word: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.”

Christians of both “wings” have one practice in common, made unavoidable by all the contradictions in the Bible:  picking and choosing which parts of scripture are the “real” or “important” parts, and crediting the Bible for beliefs it does not espouse.  I include biblical literalists in this statement.  Many Biblical literalists rely on the Bible to support their conservative sexual taboos (such as opposition to homosexuality), yet withhold their fiery rhetoric on other practices Jesus condemned, such as divorcespeaking in angerprotecting assets in a lawsuit, and possessing personal wealth.

Many outdated laws (such as “sodomy” laws) are outgrowths of ecclesiastical laws that existed under the Church-State in Europe, and were duplicated by early American colonials.  The religious right uses this argument to falsely assert that our laws are based on scripture, and that we are a Judeo-Christian nation.  Not true.  Not only was the founding of our nation a repudiation of the Church-State, but the vast majority of these laws have been overturned or repealed because of their barbarity.  We are no more a Judeo-Christian nation than we are a British nation.

The final argument many Christians make is that, without the Bible, we have no “controlling moral authority” to show us right from wrong.  This is a false argument.  The humanistic changes in our laws have increased social justice and social morality, not decreased it.  We have outlawed slavery, spousal battery, spousal rape, executing children, child marriages, and summary execution.  We do not force a woman to marry her rapist.  And all of this in direct contradiction of Biblical law.  These are not the acts of a Judeo-Christian nation, but a humanist one.  It is time to continue this proud tradition and enter an “Age of Reason” by overturning laws against homosexuality, and by including sexual orientation in the protected classes covered by hate crime legislation at both the federal and state level.


Letter to My Senators… Brevity is the soul of snark.

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Date: July 8, 2014

Subject: Confirm Pamela Harris to the Fourth Circuit

Dear Senator:

I’m a Texan. Please do your best to control your impulse to act in an irrationally partisan manner, and support Pamela Harris for confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

I don’t have to tell you what an extraordinarily well-qualified nominee she is, because you already know that.

Just do your duty already.

Austin, TX

Postscript: I put in “Ms.” in as my prefix, but John Cornyn’s website kept asking me for my title… So I put “Watership Down.”



Senator Ted Cruz: My Constituent Letter, His Hilarious Reply

I wrote my Senator, Ted Cruz, regarding guns:

March 29, 2014

Senator Ted Cruz
B40B Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Cruz:

Please indulge a bit of background. I am a single, childless 40-something lady, and so is my best friend, Joy, who has been my rock since college (Texas A&M… Gig ‘em, Aggies!). Since she is also childless, her only niece, Lily, is our pride and joy, and all but an adopted daughter for both of us. When she was a high school sophomore, Lily fell in love. I know what you are thinking… 15 and in love? Please… Still, Lily is a firm believer in THE ONE.

So, she did fall in love, and FOR REAL. About 18 months later, her boyfriend, Christian, found out that his little sister was using methamphetamine, and drove in a fit of brotherly rage to extract her from a home where she had gone to acquire her drug of choice. When he arrived, Christian confronted the drug dealer who was there with his sister, and was shot in his lower back (among other places). It is my understanding that the assault rifle was illegal, in that the drug dealer/shooter was a convicted felon at the time of purchase. Honestly, no one has ever been able to tell me with any certainty how this happened exactly – Web seller? Gun show? Straw purchaser? I don’t know for certain to this day, and it is not as though I haven’t asked.

Christian was paralyzed by his injury, and unequivocally rejected Lily after he was diagnosed. She hung in there, but he was unmoved by her loyalty OR her persistence. About 18 months later, she left for college. Boyfriendless.

Lily recently celebrated her 23rd birthday on Saint Patrick’s Day, and I called her (as I always do) to wish her a Happy Birthday. We exchanged the normal pleasantries, and eventually I asked her if she was seeing anyone. She told me she was, and his name was Michael. He was the best kisser she had ever known, and the best friend she had ever had. To me, this seemed like a recipe for TRUE LOVE (honestly, I would pay good money for a guy like that… top dollar!). I asked her if she thought she might be able to fall in love with Michael. She calmly explained to me that she is in love with Christian, and always will be, and since he will not let her be with him anymore, she will always be alone.

Senator Cruz, when you are considering the arms control proposals that are coming before you, I BEG YOU to consider the lives of ordinary, unexceptional, forgotten constituents like my best friend’s niece, Lily. No one dies in her story, but futures were changed and lives were ruined nonetheless. Guns are a part of American history and culture, and I appreciate that as a Texan. But there is no rational excuse for not enacting legislation that, at a MINIMUM, would:

  • Keep criminals and those adjudicated dangerously mentally impaired from acquiring arms – COMPREHENSIVE BACKGROUND CHECKS and STRONG FEDERAL GUN TRAFFICKING LAWS
  • Keep the body count for any single act of violence as low as you possibly can. Institute a ban on military weapons and their knock-off cousins, as well as high-capacity magazines and drums – ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN and AMMUNITION CAPACITY LIMITS
  • Empower academia, government agencies and law enforcement to gather and analyze data on gun crimes, to shut down bad actors, and to require product improvements that protect gun owners and child safety.

Sir, you will soon have the opportunity to cast a vote that will literally save lives and bodies and futures. That chance doesn’t come along every day. Please find the personal courage to do the right thing.


Here is his reply. I think he got all confused, poor thing. (Maybe Laura Bush can help him out.)

Can’t quite figure out why I’m so upset right now. I thought I was a cynic. Maybe not.