Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden


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A Year On: Hate won.

It’s been a year since the swearing in of the supposed US President Trumpet man. It’s been a year since the all empowering women’s march.

It’s made me realise that hate still exists in people – racism is still alive and well in the US. Trumpet did not make these people racist/hateful, but he opened the gate for it to be shown. When he was elected, those racists and sexist people no longer had to hide away. If a man made fun of a disabled person and was elected president then surely it’s okay? If a man has been accused of sexual assault and rape by numerous women, but he is now the president – it’s okay to do those things. No longer is the president someone you hope your children grow up to become but someone you tell your children never to be.

Some people – I hope a majority – have shown regret in their choice to elect him as the president. But what you cannot forget is that they once heard him say racist things and decided it didn’t matter. The only reason they are now regretting their decision is that it affects them. 54% of white women voted for him. They counted on his racism to put them ahead of the game. But there are still some women out there that support him. Even after all the hate he’s thrown towards women. All I can think is how much these women must not love themselves if they are still supporting someone that thinks they should stay in the kitchen and speak when spoken to. Do they not want more for themselves? For their children? How can they not see that his hate does not stop at coloured people? He doesn’t care about anything but himself and his rich friends.

The quality of being a president has drastically decreased. I bet after his run, the next person will implement a requirement that candidates must have some kind of background that does not include a reality show and multiple failed businesses. It was a great novelty knowing that anyone can apply to be president, but now the realisation has hit that ANYONE can apply to be president. Even a racist, rapist.

A year on and he’s had no progress. Any other president would be called unqualified or unworthy of the seat if they had not passed anything by this point. Instead he’s treated with child gloves and he places blame on others. Anyone (any person who isn’t racist) can see that the things he’s trying to get passed are unjust, unfair, and boarding on – if not actually – illegal. You cannot make people choose between immigrants and sick children, just to fund a war that you (the US) started. Maybe if the US citizens didn’t have to pay for your every-other-day golf trips, then you would have the budget for both. It’s not about choosing between them, it’s about realising what’s important to require money and the military already gets 54% of spending, and in 2015 $598.5 billion was spent on the US military. Let’s put that into understandable terms:

  • If you were to travel 598.5 billion miles, you could fly around the world 24,035,179 times
  • If you could save $100,000/year, it would take you 5,985,000 years to save 598.5 billion dollars.
  • With 598.5 billion dollars, you could afford to give every man, woman, and child in Canada $16,625.00.
  • If you could live for 598.5 billion minutes, you would live until you were 1,138,699 years old.

That’s a LOT of money to spend on one thing. This is not about putting all the eggs in one basket and making others choose between everything else. This is about rationing. About giving everyone an egg to ensure they don’t starve.

It’s been a year of hearing about a million f*cked up things he’s done, and I’m tired of it – and he’s not even my president! Another year of fighting to allow human beings to exist is upon us. Just because he won the fight does not mean he will win the war. At the end of it all, we are just going to have to add up all the days he spent golfing and spend those days at a resort together. We’ll be tired, but we won’t have given up.

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Sandy Hook, Processing, and Keeping Kids Safe: Gun control should not be a debate

There’s no doubt if you’re reading this, you heard the news as havoc broke out in an elementary school in Connecticut USA. Just over five years ago a mass shooting occurred at a children’s school in the states, resulting in the death of 20 six and seven year olds and six members of staff. There was an outcry for gun control and stricter laws and regulations to be upheld regarding guns and who can obtain a license.

I have been fortunate to grow up in New Zealand where local cops do not carry guns, where firearms are not common as they are in the US (although they are becoming more so in recent years). Until watching this video on Twitter I never second guessed fearing my child not coming home from school due to a shooting. I most likely won’t ever have to either. I cannot fathom sending your child to school one day, with their lunch in hand and their school books all packed, their homework done – or maybe there wasn’t enough time to finish it all off – and I send them off with a big hug and watch them walk into school. I go out and work or run errands and don’t even blink about what could be happening. Maybe my child is making some Christmas decorations, what if they’re making me a Christmas card? I’m eager to hear all about their day and I can’t wait to see them. Then that moment is shattered. I sent my child into school and they never came home. School is a place you don’t question something like that happening, because you believe it never will. School is a place to learn, a place to grow – a safe place. You send your child into a place you believe to be safe only to be given the news that they are not coming back.

When we are presented with a story like this, any mass shooting, we lump them into figures and statistics. It’s hard not to when that’s what we’re presented with. “x many injured and y killed”, it’s nothing but shock value. Those are people. Each person has a domino effect to those that mourn them. Each whole number is a whole person who ceases to exist beyond that moment. The tale doesn’t just end when the news coverage does. For anyone watching it does, once we move onto the next story – another mass shooting in another state – we forget these lives that are lost. They aren’t known to us and their leaving has not affected us. But that doesn’t mean that they have not left behind aching hearts. It’s so easy as an onlooker to feel the sadness in the moment, and then return to the normalcy of our lives. Families that have lost loved ones will never get that. Prayers and words don’t mean shit.

There is no justification to the lives lost. They may be in a better place, they may be safe now – but why didn’t we keep them safe here? Why isn’t earth the better place? Nothing can change the fact that there is now a grieving family that lost a part of their souls. There is no words, no “sending prayers” or “families are in our hearts”, that can repair that piece. I can imagine that there is always going to be sadness in these families lives. They may go on living, they may find happiness in things, but each happy moment will be accompanied by a pang of sadness. A memory that their loved one isn’t a part of, a moment of celebration that is spent without their beloved.

I’m so f*cking tired of the “to keep my family safe” retort. If you want to keep a gun/s on your property with children in sight, you would have them locked up. If an emergency arises that someone breaks in – forgetting that a break in does not mean that a gun will be carried, but for arguments sake this person IS carrying a gun – you hear something downstairs, you fumble around in your room for your bedside light switch. Give yourself a few moments to be sure the noise is not just something you heard in your sleep, and then give yourself time to get to your weapon. Again, arguments sake is giving you the benefit of the doubt. You keep your weapons locked up in your bedroom, you reach them in a matter of seconds. You enter the code and are into the safe. Now you have to load your weapon – every safe gun owner knows you never store a weapon already loaded. Maybe this only takes 30 seconds (again, the argument is on your side), that burglar can have already injured your children, already have made it to your room and be standing right behind you.

Now I am 100% against in home gun ownership. I honestly wish they didn’t exist at all, the best I will give anyone is for hunting. That, to me, is the only logical reason I can find for the use of a gun – even then hunting is something I wish didn’t exist either. But for the sake of pleasing the “protecting my family” people, a single shot hand gun should be sufficient. In all honesty, a BB gun would be too – I mean have you ever been shot in the arm with one of them? Any weapon they are holding would be dropped. There is NO reason, NO. REASON. anyone needs to store an assault riffle in their home. In what instance can you believe you would need to fire enough bullets to cover your room in smoke?

Even a single shot hand gun can offer up to 15 bullets, so regulation on handguns needs to be more detailed and more strict. I cannot believe guns are sold in stores where you can buy diapers and baby formula. Want to know why there’s no mass shootings in New Zealand? Because we doesn’t sell guns in a fucking grocery/department store! If you are surrounded by ideas, of course you’re going to use them. It’s marketing 101, and it’s the reason the US has so many shootings. Guns are treated like they’re milk. I cannot imagine walking by someone wearing a firearm and just going “oh yep”. I went to Australia this year and freaked out when the police were carrying handguns. Police. People trained in using them, needing to pass many tests and licensing regulations. Because guns are so violent and so deadly. Even the most well trained person cannot guarantee the safety of the use of the firearm. Accidental shootings happen.

The 2nd amendment in the USA was created when guns were capable of much slower rapid fire. The right to bare arms should not take precedence over someone’s right to life. And lets take a look at that word – amendment –

noun
1.the act of amending or the state of being amended.
2.an alteration of or addition to a motion, bill, constitution, etc.
3.a change made by correction, addition, or deletion
Interesting…it looks as though it is something that can be changed…amended if you will…
The Sandy Hook shooting happened and the US said “never again”. And then Pulse happened. And then Las Vegas happened. And so many more in between. Do you know when “never again” should have happened? When the a child was shot by another child* How can you have that happen and not think “something has to change” and actually DO something – not just sit around waiting for another shooting to happen to say the same thing.
I am so tired of hearing about another mass shooting in the states. I am so tired of trying to process the emotions the loved ones would be feeling when I couldn’t even know what to try process. I am tired of school and mass shootings being used as media frenzies and political ploys that never amount to anything. I am tired of hearing about the US needing gun control and not nearly (never will be) tired enough of hearing legislation being passed to help control the use of firearms. I am tired of using Australia as an example of why the US needs to sort it’s crap out.
If only the american citizens cared as much about the lives of those lost to gun violence as they do the legality of abortions and gay marriage. Maybe then gun control would happen.

 


*I am not sure that this is the first child shooting child incident (I imagine it is not), but I believe it is the first child shooting child incident to happen on school grounds.


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Maori Language: “But the debate it’s over. We already had it.”

I am white. I grew, and will continue to grow, up with the privilege of being white. People will learn my name no matter how I write it or how many unnecessary vowels I add, simply because my skin tone is a few shades lighter and my family came from Europe. I grew up learning simple te reo in class as a means of communication. Around year 4/5 it stopped. And now I struggle with something that I wish I knew so easily, a language that belongs in the tongues of those that live here. If you move to France you are expected to learn French, if you move to Spain you are expected to learn Spanish. Why is it different for New Zealand? Canada does it so easily, no second guessing no questions. French and English. Simple. It would be so easy to have followed in Canada’s footsteps, but no, we had to remove Maori from every day life.

One debate is that “it’s an outdated language” and I have two counterpoints. 1) so is latin but schools continue to quote that sh*t relentlessly. 2) there’s a reason it’s outdated and it’s you. Funny how Spanish isn’t outdated in Spain, and French is still in effect in France. Why aren’t they outdated languages? We know that answer – because they’re still “european” languages….

If white people can name their child “T9c” and “KVIIIlyn”, then you can damn well learn someone’s name. It’s not even a race thing, it’s a respect thing. You know who’s names I don’t learn? The people I don’t care for. If you care enough and respect them enough you will learn their name. But we know that’s the issue. You don’t respect them or care for them – that’s when it becomes a race issue.

I want my kids to learn Maori. I want them to be more fluent than I ever was. I want them to be able to say the colours in both English and Maori, then I want them to be able to hold a simple conversation in Maori. As an ‘NZ/European’ I want these things for my children because I owe it to them. If I’m going to raise them in New Zealand, it is my duty to teach them about the land they live on and among. It’s my job as their mother to teach them about how language is a beautiful thing. Because it’s so much more than just a language. It’s another reason to shun someone from the prestigious seats we claim are hard earned but are really just pure luck for being born the ‘right’ colour. We say it’s New Zealand so they should speak English, but that’s not true. It’s New Zealand/Aotearoa so we should learn to speak foundation Maori. It’s our duty to preserve the culture we so rudely stole and exploited. That was our promise and we have severely broken it.

It’s not that hard to get your head out of your ass and learn. I’m not even going to lie, it makes me mad. It makes me so upset to think these people believe that this is their land. But as Kanoa Lloyd said “I know this is not gonna be some big wake up call moment for people that think this way. The Brash’s and Witherow’s and Gallagher’s of the world are not gonna wake up tomorrow and go “Oh I’ve been a bit bigoty” and then go and sign up for a te reo Maori class next week.” – They’re not. But what she does mention is that we don’t need to create a movement because there already is one. And it’s true. I see it in the early childcare centres, the curriculum incorporates te reo. You have these young children ready to take on the world and they have no internalised thoughts and prejudices to the language. And these are the kids that are going to lead us into the next generation. These kids will fight for te reo in primary schools, and in high schools – these kids will move mountains and remind us that it’s okay to celebrate that land on which we live. They will prove that there is nothing wrong with learning a language that belongs to this nation and it’s people.

In all honesty, I’m vowing that if I ever hear someone tell me they aren’t going to pronounce someone’s name correctly because it’s Maori, I’ll butcher their name in the most ridiculous way and refuse to stop until they realise how idiotic their understanding is. Some final words from Kanoa, “I actually felt a bit sorry for these guys. Like sorry the world is moving too fast for you my bros.”


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Dear Laura L. – Why Islam is not ISIS and you’re an ass…

First of all, how can you live in New York City and be as racist and as horrible as you are? That’s like an oxymoron. Now if you’re reading this and you’re thinking “thank god my name isn’t Laura Loomer” – well this is an open letter to anyone that believes Muslim’s are responsible for terrorist attacks.

You ask her why she’s wearing her hijab “right after a terror attack” as if she takes it off for certain events. Did Christian’s take off their crosses when Las Vegas was under attack? No? Is that because the christian faith does not condone
those views? Interesting…

Are muslim and Islam races? No. But in the 21st century – especially after September 11th, cultural racism has become common. People are discriminated against because of their culture and even a culture they look to conform too. So no, it’s not a race, but it is racist. For more reading on this matter see [here]

You say Islam calls for the death of all non-believers, but so does the bible.

Deuteronomy 13:6-09 – If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people.

If you look hard enough you’re going to find a verse for anything – in any book; the Qur’an, the Hebrew bible, the Christian bible, the Talmud. Especially killing non believers. Yes the Qur’an is out dated; so is the bible and many educational textbooks. My understanding of that verse you just put (and the Christian one) is that it was made in a time when there was no communal law. This was when this area was for this religion, and that area was for that area. Luckily, we aren’t so segregated and are able to experience different cultures and upbringings. In all honesty I believe it’s fair to shun a non believer of that faith from the grounds that worship it. In means of a chapel or a mosque, these are places of worship and sacred to those who believe. It’s unfair, especially for Muslim believers, to have to put up with non believers (who are typically against their religion) invading their place of safety and sanctuary. Chapels and mosques are places where those within them are vulnerable. They hold no emotional armour. When you walk into a chapel, you can feel many emotions. There’s hope and fear and worry and despair and grief and happiness and faith and basically any emotion you can think of – I imagine it to be the same in other places of worship. It’s where you are your most vulnerable, so why would you want someone who makes a mockery of your faith to be among it? To update that verse I would say it means to dismiss non believers from the grounds of worship. Because in today’s society faith and religion is no longer as bordered as it was back in the day. It is not “here are the Christians, here are the Muslims.” We also have laws that bar religions and are laws of the land you are upon. It. Is. No. Longer. 3000BC.

How many Christians have committed acts of terror? How many Christians have committed acts of terror in the name of their god?

Funny how when a christian, white man kills a bunch of people he’s “mentally ill” and it’s a lone incident unrelated to any other Christians or white men. But when a terrorist – from a terrorist group, not a religion – kills people it’s suddenly the religion he’s supposedly killed in’s fault. The majority of people hold a Christian faith, so any other faith is deemed different and “wrong”. But these faiths – Muslims and other – are not violent and do not want to bomb and kill people. It’s just like how not all white people are killers and mass murderers but the majority of the mass murderers are white. This is not an act of Muslim faith, this is an act of terrorism and the two are not interchangeable. Just as Catholics believe differently to Mormons, Muslim’s believe differently to Christians. It’s not hate, it’s not an act of terror, it’s simply a belief. Islam is not a synonym for ISIS – I know, they have the same two letters but c’mon, you have to be smarter than that don’t you? Between 1.5 and 1.8 billion people identify as Muslim and their religion as Islam. If terrorism was a part of Islam faith then “you wouldn’t stand a chance, good thing it’s not”.  Muslims are as connected – if not less – to Isis as Christians are to the KKK. Every religion – even those deemed “terrorist religions” – hold the golden rule of doing to others what you want them to do to you. Every religion. That is the rule above all rules. When you are at a loss for what to do, you refer to the golden rule.

My favourite quote is about 9/11 and it appeared on Bones. It talks about how it was not the act of Islam and it was not the work of the God Muslim’s worship.

“Those horrible men who hijacked those planes hijacked my religion that day, too. They insulted my God.”

Terrorists who use the Muslim faith to justify their actions are not templates for the Muslim faith. Muslim faith is shown through love and kindness and community. It is shown through mosques welcoming hurricane victims silently, without thought, while churches deny those seeking shelter. It is them loving one another as every human being should do. They don’t have to donate organs and save animals, and find cures to cancer to be good people. They just don’t have to shout at other people on the street in New York amid a tragedy…

And it shouldn’t be the job of the Muslim people to have to explain these simple truths. They should not have to have their faith questioned because you’re too ignorant to learn. They are not responsible for our racism, they are not to be held accountable for our inability to know what is their religion and what is a terrorist attack – two unrelated issues. And it is not a Muslim’s job to prove they aren’t a terrorist. They do not have to have a rally condemning a terrorist attack – they condemn it just like anyone does. If you actually gave half of your time spent being ignorant, to learn about the Islam faith and to hear Muslim’s talk about their God in an environment they feel safe in, you might actually learn this. If you go in with the notion that their entire religion is terrorism then why should they show you what they believe? You obviously don’t care for it.

All in all, religion is good, racism is bad, and Muslim/Islam /= terrorism. Ka pai, thank you for your attention.


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If I Were Prime Minister…

A look into what life would be like if I were to ever become prime minister of New Zealand. I’m going to tell you now – there will be no building of god damned roads because there are far bigger things that need tending to…

I would have medicinal cannabis available without scrutiny – people would not be looked down upon for treating their illness with medicine. Recreational use would be available to people with a limit on how much can be carried on a person. Only certified vendors can sell the cannabis and each store would be equipped with state of the art security to ensure no one is injured. Those in jail for cannabis related charges would be released on their own recognisance – depending on the type of charge. Those that are jailed for other charges such as violence would still keep those charges, but those jailed for carrying weed or selling weed would be released with the notion they will comply with the new laws.

It would be illegal to sell caged eggs. Only free range eggs will be able to be sold. And I would ensure free range is where the chickens are able to roam and they lay their eggs and they are treated with respect, dignity, and care. They aren’t given additional hormones to up their output, they are feed properly, and are not clipped. Those selling caged eggs would recieve a $750,000 fine for a first offence, a second offence would result in the persons being imprisoned.

Out of country buyers would need to provide proof they are going to be moving to New Zealand in three months before they are able to buy a home. This will weed out those buying houses to rent from overseas. Rentals will undergo new rules where they must receive an official “stamp” that certifies it is rental ready. This will mean there is no mould or mildew, no cracks in the seals of windows and doors, and that all promised amenities are working. Rentals would undergo these examinations annually to keep renters held accountable. I would build 300 new three bedroom houses spread across the major cities and 150 new three bedroom houses in non-major cities. These houses would be sold for no more than 400,000 dollars but the aim would be for them to sell at 350,000$.

Child poverty would undergo a huge investigation. Main factors would be found and fixed. Those living in poverty would be given highest priority for jobs and receive free childcare hours for under 5’s. This ensures they can attend their job and earn money that doesn’t go straight to childcare. Rentals/state housing would be supplied for free or at a low cost with subsidies to gas and electricity bills. Schools with lower deciles – which are typically known to have children from low income families – would receive free morning teas and lunches. These schools would have their own gardens with fruit and veges and chickens on site supplying eggs. This would lower the cost of providing lunches but also teaches children about the food process and involves them in the process too.

Mental health professionals would be trained efficiently and the rules for inpatient facilities would be looked at for change. Schools would have trained mental health professionals on site to help those with worries and stresses. Schools with higher mental health issues would have blocks of “calming time” with activities like yoga, outside reading, naps, or group talks to help with the stress of school. Local GP practices would have mental health professionals on site and working within the building. Small towns would have greater access to mental health facilities and people. Online services will be available too as some people may find it easier to talk not face to face. Online services would begin with an initial face to face interview, then continue online with face to face meetings when desired by the client. Mental Health programmes would be set up in schools to allow students to understand what depression is, what anxiety is, what bipolar, schizophrenia, and personality disorders are. In the likeness of Harold the Giraffe, it would be taught at every school and students will be reminded that it is okay to ask for help.

NCEA would drastically change. Schools would be encouraged to teach the children about things, not how to pass tests. They would be scored on their passion and understanding not their memory and ability to write fast in 30seconds. External testing would be brought down to a few exceptions as internal testing is much better for students’ stress levels. All/most testing would be open book – a pamphlet may be given out containing basic information that would then be used to test their understanding and knowledge. In the case of mathematics it may be the equation/how to work it out, but they must be able to apply it to different equations. In today’s society, calculators are there, phones are connected to the internet, and knowledge is abundant. Making students have to memorise information rather than interpret it hinders their ability to process information and interpret it in the greater world. Memorising information is no longer a test to knowledge and ability.

I would also make te reo a compulsory lesson in school. In primary and intermediates it will be a lesson that is compulsory. In secondary school; year 9 would have it compulsory, and the following years will have the option of taking it up. It is our duty as New Zealand citizens to keep the language of this land alive. We owe it to the Maori that we hurt when Europeans came to New Zealand. If we have it as a second language, why is it not compulsory? In Canada packaging has both english and french – here I would make it that New Zealand grown and made products have both english and te reo. Eventually pushing for total duo-lingual packaging.

WINZ services would pay livable wages not minimum wages. Mothers will not have to disclose the fathers name if he is not living on site with them/not sharing custody. If sharing custody, a name will not have to be given so long as the days of custody are given. Those working in WINZ will be given a zero tolerance of discrimination and if any case of discrimination is sought upon, action will be taken. They will be inclusive and welcoming to everyone regardless of what the situation is. No one WANTS to depend on the government, but sometimes it’s the only option.

I would make abortion an medical procedure and not a criminal act. Moving it from criminal acts into a medical procedure will mean those considering and having abortions will not face the inner turmoil of performing a “criminal act” in an already had time. This isn’t to promote abortions as many believe. If Christians (and other) have the right to choose NOT to have an abortion, then why don’t other woman get the right to choose what happens to their body? I would take away the signing by two doctors and would make it available to anyone seeking it. I would have caring people in the procedure room who are non-judgmental and understand what a hard decision it is. No one wants an abortion. It’s not a want like you want ice cream for dinner, it’s a want like you want to rip out the tooth that’s decaying in your mouth.

This is my “100 day plan” if I were to ever be prime minister for NZ. As a prime minister I would be as hands on as possible. Helping out in the community and in times of need. I would also ensure that when debating laws that involve other parties (Maori, trans, etc) I would have their opinion heard and work alongside them to create the best plan for them. Being prime minister is not about being in control, and proving powerful among the masses. It is about working alongside the nation to create a world and community we are proud of. To do that, you have to involve the community.


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Faith. Hope. And love – What is religion if not providing a shelter in a storm

Seeing a man, who runs a church, deny entry to those seeking shelter is the most sacrilegious thing I can think of. A church is a place of refuge, of shelter. It’s a place to go when no where else is open or welcoming. Any excuse is not valid. “Oh we don’t have facilities capable” – you don’t have to have the necessary things, you make it work. A church is a place of God and prayers, but it is also a home for those of his children without one. You are not a true voice of God when you deny his basic principle – love thy neighbour.

It brings up the debate that is on a continuous loop in my head – what does God truly want anyway? Who is God? What about the bible?

I’ve been around, I’ve seen some things. I would tell you that 98% of the churches today (not to point fingers but a majority of the catholic churches) are created to put forth false prophets and untrue words. You can read the bible all you like, that doesn’t make you a believer. In fact, following the bible word for word would make you as unchristian as it comes. The bible is essentially a book, just like the encyclopedia it becomes outdated as time goes on. It holds no meaning for how we are to act today aside from that that is the history from which our faith came from. It is the telling of the times back many years ago. It is not comparable to today.

Why are there more gay people? Aside from the fact that it’s not as horrible to be out in today’s society – I bet God wanted more of them. He saw that they weren’t from the devil but that they were just like anyone else. They loved with all they had. They loved better than some straight people. I don’t believe he holds the same principle as written in the bible, because just as society has – God has grown. If two people get to heaven and one is a gay man who spent his life loving and caring for his partner, and the other is a preacher from a church that shunned one of God’s children for being gay, then the gay man would get into heaven and I doubt that the preacher would.

But then what God do you listen to? – which God is yours; the Catholic, the Anglican, the Lutheran? Maybe another religions God? That’s the thing – it doesn’t matter. The God you listen to and the God that is yours is the God within your soul. The God that tells you how to love his children and how to forgive them and how to lead them to him – that’s the God you listen to. That’s the God that’s real. He would not force you to hurt another or treat them with ill hands. He is not the God you have been told he is.

Yes, God used Jesus and other people to share his message, but in today’s society these people are the Average Joe. They are the milk worker on the farm, the homeless man on the street – they are not the preacher in the church. Too often now people use God for their own agenda. They preach about this and that and say the scriptures prove it to be so. It’s just not that way. The bible was a telling of those days. The God I know would be embarrassed to know this is the world he created. He would be disgusted to see people killing their own neighbours for skin colour or sexuality.

And what about the devil? Is he this big demon with red horns? No, he just doesn’t want the best for you. He wants to see you kill your neighbours and hurt those around you. The devil wants you to be so full of hate that you cannot love anymore. The devil is that part of you that holds a grudge, the part that wants to see another person fail. But everyone has a little bit of that in them, following in God’s light is to not be overpowered by hatred.

And science? That surely holds no place in religion! But it does. Jesus was sent to earth to show the way to God, but before that no one believed in him. Even as Jesus was born, people still didn’t believe. But that didn’t mean God didn’t exist. It just meant no one had “proven” it. It’s the same with science. It still exists even if we don’t have the answers yet. The two are reliant on one another. Just as we are reliant on science today, God was when creating this world and his children. God has since provided us with people who have been beyond inquisitive and smart to give us these answers – answers God may not have even held.

Jesus was sent to save those from all they were doing wrong. Who’s to say another Jesus’s hasn’t been sent to earth to make changes? Who’s to say that the storms and global warming isn’t God’s way of telling us to sort our shit out? The destruction we are seeing today is something six-year-old-me could not have ever imagined. The hatred of white people wanting to ban black people, or jews, or anyone from existing; the hatred of anyone who thinks it’s okay to beat up someone because of who they are – none of this is God’s plan. I believe God had already created another world, before this one, and it got too horrible to exist anymore and so the big bang became. He said “stuff it” and threw his work into the trash can to start again. With us. And now he’s saying the same thing. But he’s trying to tell us. What about Noah’s ark? He told the floods were coming to wipe out everything, and now the floods are coming again. Now the screwing up of the paper is happening and eventually we too will be in the trash can if we can’t sort it out.

None of this probably makes any sense to anyone else. All I know is that the God I know, the God that speaks to me, does not want me to judge. He wants me to love, He wants me to be kind, He wants me to be as welcoming to his children – all of them – as I can be. It was and is never our job to judge. We do not get to say who gets into heaven and who doesn’t – we cannot make that call. We are not the judge of God’s decision. All we have been put on earth to do is to love one another and somehow keep this world moving forward and progressing towards peace.