Riley Speaks

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

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We Are All Immigrants.

On the 27th of January, american president Trump made a law that refused entry to the United States from seven countries if they were not 100% american residents. The law was created as part of his attempts to stop immigrants from coming into America. It resulted in many people that had been citizens of America being denied entry back into the states.

The law was a direct attack on the Muslim faith and those that are Muslim. All seven countries have Muslim as it’s predominant religion. The idea is that stopping immigrants, specifically Muslims, will decrease the amount of terrorist attacks within the United States. What it does not take into account is that no terrorist attacks have been made by Muslim people. All seven countries that are denied entry have never killed ANY american citizens.

The idea that he can only keep certain religions out is very dictatorial. And what makes Muslim’s the target for this ban? Who got to decide that? Why not Christians? Do you know how many Christians have killed american citizens? A lot. Dylan Roof – a mass murderer and perpetrator of the Charleston shooting – was a¬†“devout christian”. Jim David Adkisson was a christian too, he shot at innocent children.¬†Timothy McVeigh, the notorious Oklahoma City bomber, was a christian. And yet a Muslim has never killed any american citizens…

I am devastated by the idea that the president believes he can dictate what religion is good and what religion is bad when he is denying the fact that his own religion is “worse” in terms of killings. I am devastated by the fact that many people were held up in airports for hours on end and refused entry back to the place they call home. Where their children and husband live, where their life is. My heart breaks for those that were put into that position for no reason other than pure hatred and greed of power.

But the real message of this is not my pain and anger over a certain man. It is to remind us all that we are all immigrants. We have all come and sought refuge or home in another country that was not ours. I am an immigrant. I am a European living in a Maori country. My people (Europeans) migrated to New Zealand from Europe. That makes me an immigrant in my own homeland. Humble yourself. Realise that everyone has migrated from somewhere else. We are all immigrants. It’s what makes our countries so great. It’s what allows cultures to adapt, and people to be more diverse. It’s important. Immigrants are important.

Please, it’s so important that you show love and appreciation to these people that are targeted by the new president. It’s beyond important. They have seen enough hate and felt enough pain. Show them that the world is not all bad, that there is still some good left. Don’t let hate win. Be the light in the dark. Love one another and be kind to your neighbour. It really is that simple, but we forget. We forget how easy it is to say “hey look man, I am proud you practice your religion even when you have every reason to be discouraged.” We don’t say enough the kind thoughts we think. So do it. If you think something nice, say it. Even if you think it sounds silly, or cheesy, or boring – it matters. It may be the only good thing they hear that day. Be kind and spread love not hate.


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What are you living for?: A look into my spiritual journey.

Since I was little, I’ve been a part of religion. I was born to a mother that took my brother and I both to church as soon as we were old enough to be quiet, or old enough to join the “sparklers” (toddlers/babies care during the sermon). Growing up around the belief that God and Jesus are there was something that I think was hard to escape – I still haven’t. Having that idea around me as a child made it stick regardless of the fact that I haven’t stepped foot in my church actively for five years.

As I’ve grown up I’ve explored my own spiritual identity by engrossing myself in others’ ideas and beliefs. To label my beliefs as christian, or Buddhist, or anything is hard and unjust to those cultures and religions/beliefs. I do know my beliefs are parts of everything. I have parts of religions and to claim I am these religions is not something I would ever do. I am not these religions just because I believe in parts of them. I don’t claim to be a religion at all. If I had to, I would claim Anglican because that is the church I grew up in, that is what I am baptized as. But when I put the notion of Christianity upon myself I feel like I have to uphold those strict beliefs.

I do believe in Jesus, and God, and the Virgin Mary, and every story within the bible. I know that it existed before. What I don’t believe is that I must live by the teachings that relate solely to the times in which they occurred. I don’t believe that God still cares if “man shall lay with man” as He did when the bible was written. I don’t believe that God cares that I love a woman as I ‘should’ love a man. I believe that in the time that God believed that. He truly did. Maybe He encountered someone that was homosexual AND happened to be a horrible person. I don’t know and quite frankly I don’t think it matters anymore. (It would be something interesting to know, is God as petty as me?) I think as time wore on God realized that people can be gay and a good person. The two share no correlation – not like He had believed before.

I also swear…a lot. I try not to swear at people because I know that while they are just words, they do carry a harmful effect to others feelings/emotions. But I don’t think God cares if I swear to make a joke funnier. I don’t think God cares that I swear because I’m frustrated and all other words I know don’t express this frustration. God doesn’t care for these things. He cares if I swear with the intent purpose to belittle another. He doesn’t care if I swear so long as my words hold no negative affect to another life.

I don’t believe in Christianity. I don’t believe God does either. I believe He is watching these “Christians” turn up to church by the number and demean everything He worked for. He wanted the Children to follow His way because He knew they would lose sight of what it was that was important – love to another. If I could recreate the bible I would. The only verse it would contain is Matthew 7.12

“In everything, then, do to others as you would have them do to you. For this is the essence of the Law and the prophets.”

I believe that regardless of if you smoke, drink, do drugs, have sex with the same gender, don’t have sex, have orgies (please use protection…), I believe that it doesn’t falter the love God has for us. We must be good people, and love one another and that is ultimately what will matter when we are called home.

That is my belief.

But in saying this, I also believe that to have only one God is something unfathomable. My belief is we have many God’s. Allah, Buddha, Tetragrammaton (Jewish god), and many many more. I don’t think that My God is solely here for everyone. Yes He could – and does – love all the Children (even those that do not claim Him), but my ultimate belief is there is something greater than all our God’s. It may not even be a God, but a power, a space, a feeling. I don’t know. But I believe this creator knew that the Children would not all identify with one God. That these Children would need guidance, but may not find it with the Christian God. These Children would need a home, a father, a mother, a leader, or a power to believe in. So this creator created many religions. Created many something’s that the Children can believe in.

My overall belief is that we are here to better this world for the Children already on it, and the Children that will come. I don’t care if you are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Islam, Sikh, etc. I doubt the creator above that decides our eternal fate cares either. All that matters is that the world is a better place and we are good, and kind. That we love one another whether they believe in our God, in their own God, or no God. We are here to love, to create a world worth protecting. We are here to accept and not to judge. We were never put here to create havoc and pain. I don’t believe that any God/power/etc would have wanted that.