Riley Speaks

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


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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 The bible is essentially a book, just like the encyclopedia it becomes outdated as time goes on.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.

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It’s Not Okay.

20th January…the third Friday of the year…the most horrific of them all (and we had a Friday 13th already).

It is the day supposed President elect Donalda Trumpet gets sworn in. We watch as Barack Obama has to leave the oval office for the last time. Our hope of pushing forward is leaving with him.

To those that are scared sh*tless, I understand. I’m scared and I live on the other side of the world. I’m terrified for you. I’m terrified for the immigrants that face the fear of being deported back to a land that is destroyed. I’m terrified for the blacks, Latinos, and other coloured groups that will face racism beyond anything we’ve seen.

When you elect a tyrant, a mean and racist man, you allow hate to prevail. People voted for him with the prayer that they would be able to hate on specific groups of people. That’s what’s horrible about this election. We have seen how many people hate minority groups. We have been shown that the citizens of U.S do not care for disabled people. What should have been the end of his campaign was nothing but a stepping stone. We have seen that the citizens of the U.S do not care for woman – wanting to destroy their rights, the people of colour – being called rapists and other horrid unjustifiable things, and the LQBTQ+ community. Hate won out this election and it’s not okay.

Many voted because he promised to send the immigrants back to other countries. He promised job opportunities that will not exist. Immigrants are not stealing your jobs. We are stealing them from ourselves. We have created an excess of technology that complete the job at a lower cost – forcing many people out of jobs. There was no ONE group to blame. People wanted an answer, even if it was wrong. And Trumpet provided one. Remind you of another time in history?

It is an eerily similar election to that of Hitler. There is nothing that will compare to the holocaust, but this election is headed there. Fortunately with technology and the worlds ability to be aware of the situation in America, I predict Trumpet will not get far in the likes of Hitler’s regime. Other countries will force America to rethink their elected presidential choices. But the fact that we are in this place yet again proves that we are facing hard times ahead.

Sexual assault victims/survivors must watch a man known to think woman are his entitlement and a man with multiple assault claims under his name, woman are forced to watch him for four years. It’s not okay. I weep for these woman (and men) that have been through this and now have to watch a man known for sexual assault change their rights. They have to live with the knowledge that those that voted for him don’t care about woman (and men) being attacked. And they shouldn’t have to. None of this election is okay.

To anyone in the U.S, these next four years are about surviving. About making it through. Do not fear if progress is not made – if it is then what an accomplishment! But progress most likely will not happen in these next four years. You may see rights we’ve fought for be taken away. I want to say it’s okay, but it’s not. It sucks. But you will make it through. You have to. There is a fight on the other side of these four years that we need you for. There is a revolution growing and you are going to be apart of it.

If you need to remove religious items for the safety of your own life, your God will understand. It does not mean you believe any less, it does not make you a sinner or a pariah among your faith. This world is far worse than any God would have ever imagined it to get and people have deterred further from humanity. It is about keeping you safe and alive so that in four years from now – or earlier! – you are here to fight.

To those woman, men, and children that are taking to the citities around them in protest, bless you. You are the strength that so many of us are pulling from. I know many people felt alone after the news, seeing the solidarity proves no one is alone. Thank you.

It is okay to be upset. For all those saying “it’s just an election, you don’t need to cry” well aren’t they lucky? They don’t have to face the fear of losing their family, they don’t have to face the fear of having their medical insurance destroyed, they don’t have to face the fear of walking down the street terrified for their life. They are lucky. But they are wrong. It is not just an election, it is not just a loss of a vote. It is a hateful man being put in a place of power that can (and will) destroy minorities out of pure hatred. Nothing more. And it’s not okay.


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Hardships /= privilege

Following a YouTube video I watched, I have lost a little more faith in humanity. Reading through the comments I was so happy to see so many people were aware that going through a hard time and struggling with trauma is not the same as privilege. And it’s not.

It’s one thing to struggle with hard things in life – the person in the video surely has had a hard life and it’s important to acknowledge that. But to deny that privilege exists is a little immature. People will always be handed things, or given them easier because of things like their skin colour, their abilities, their religion, their gender, their sexual orientation, etc. My fight as a woman is a lot harder than a man’s. As an able bodied person I have an upper hand in the world. I’m white, I have the privilege of walking down the street with my hands in my pocket and not be shot at because I’m a “threat” and was hiding a possible weapon…As a member of the LGBTQ+ community I struggle against society and the privilege of straight people. I have more obstacles to face than someone who is straight, and that’s a fact.

Be as positive as you want, be as much of a go getter as you can be, but at some point you will have to admit that privilege exists. You can’t be a go getter when you’re dead. And many people are beaten to death or down right executed because of their lack of privilege. It has nothing to do with what hardships they’ve been through. Do you think the person on the other end of that gun or those fists gives a damn if they had a hard upbringing or if they went through a hard time? No. They only care that they are black, that they are a woman, that they are gay, that they are disabled. They don’t care about your hardships. They care about your privilege – or lack thereof.

I myself have been through hard times, I will bounce back from those. But I will continue – until the day I die – face the disadvantage of certain areas of my privilege and non-privilege. It will always be a fight. No matter how many positive quotes I tell myself, no matter how many well I bounce back, my privilege will always be at either an advantage or disadvantage.

Denying privilege exists is part of the problem. As someone on the YouTube platform it’s important to educate yourself and not be ignorant about things. Going through a hard time is not the same as being discriminated against for differences. It just isn’t. Privilege exists and it’s okay to admit that. It’s okay to say “hey look I do get it easier than a gay person”, “I do get it easier than a black person,” – It’s okay to admit that, in fact it’s important. It has nothing to do with how you were raised, what trials you went through. Privilege exists within society and it will always be an advantage or disadvantage depending on what side you are on. It’s ignorant and immature to assume otherwise.