Slurs are a slurry of swill. Urine and feces Served at wine tastings. Their bottles are fermented. Ours are fertilized. Drink up. It’s poison, And we’re all gonna die.
Forgive all this white noise. It’s just my religion. A holy mission To put women back in the kitchen. Because I need a sandwich in this man’s world. So break out the casseroles, And there better be raisins In that potato salad.
We conquered the world Just to dump its spices into the ocean, Like tea On a balmy Bostonian day. If we can’t handle it, No one gets to have it.
White pride. It’s a precursor to genocide. We’ve shackled dark skinned bodies And forced entire cultures to die. Go ahead, Write it down, it doesn’t matter, We’re burning entire libraries alive— With all the great works still inside.
So drink up— To the new world we’ve civilized. Or, colonized. Shout out to Jesus Christ!
There was something refreshing about the evening air in springtime. Much of the day had been put behind her save for those last nagging thoughts that tend to linger upon uncertainty. It was the season of war, and hubris pitted nation against nation (2 Sam 11.1). Her husband was among those fighting another man’s battle for glory–taken in by the illusion that bloodshed somehow brought honor or made men great (11.11). Fool, but still, she loved him (12.3; Kensky 155). Like the evening air, the water was cool and invigorating, providing respite in the midst of a tumultuous season. She was unaware of the gaze that held her like an object to be owned or the hunger rising behind those lurid eyes (2 Sam 11.2-4). When the king’s men arrived, Bathsheba had no recourse. Hers was but to submit.
The structures of power are aligned against Bathsheba. To position her as villain or vixen in the account of 2 Samuel requires leaps the text does not provide. Neither does the Hebrew provide wiggle room to frame David as the unwitting victim of feminine wiles. In the clearest (and least academic) terms, based on what is revealed in the text, Bathsheba was minding her own damn business. It is David’s lustful eyes that happen upon her private moment, and it is David who sexualizes and objectifies her body. Like Simba, who disregarded Mufasa’s warning that the dark places were not his to tread, David considers all he lays eyes upon to be his, for he is king. Therefore, he sends his messengers into the shadowlands beyond divinely established moral borders to take what does not belong to him.
David does what David does because he believes he can. He is king; who can challenge him? There is no hard evidence to prove that his audience with Bathsheba was anything more than a friendly chat. Rumors, after all, are only rumors. It is when Bathsheba becomes pregnant that things get a little more complicated. David can’t just shove $600 into her hand and tell her to “take care of it.” Instead, he does the next worst thing–he brings her husband home for a bit of r&r in the hope of hiding the truth surrounding Bathsheba’s condition. When that doesn’t work, the king murders her husband by proxy.
What transpires between Bathsheba and David is a sexual assault. Regardless of how force, intimidation, or coercion may have been used, the encounter remains an assault. From the moment the male gaze of David falls upon her, Bathsheba’s life is in danger. She cannot refuse the king, for he can put her to death (or worse). If her husband discovers she is pregnant and he a cuckold, he can put her to death to restore his fragile honor. The power differential is far too vast for Bathsheba to cross safely.
Bathsheba is damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. Her personhood is violated by a prick in a crown. She has no earthly means of getting the justice due her. Her assault and the murder of her husband go unresolved because the structural powers are set against her. Yet, the unfathomable injury against her does not go unanswered. The Divine Creator of the universe sees the harm brought against the “least of these” (Mt 25.31-46) and is enraged. Bathsheba, bearing the imago dei, has been grossly injured and God is not having it–not today, anyway.
This divine intervention reveals that our sacred cows do not always get it right–they don’t even get it mostly right. Yet, because we do not want to critique our idols, we miss what is happening before us. To frame this story as “what you do doesn’t matter as long as you love God” is to miss Bathsheba. The man after God’s own heart inflicts undue trauma on her. As Tikva Frymer-Kensky suggests in Reading Women of the Bible, Bathsheba–and not her husband–is the poor man whose lamb is taken and slaughtered (155). The “thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Sam 11.27) and he is held accountable.
God loves Bathsheba. Though her society makes her lesser because of her gender and renders her male property, the Creator’s action casts her in a different light. The Divine brings judgment down on the king’s head for her. Her personhood and dignity matter. She bears the same imago dei as her male counterparts. God equally loves her.
This divine act almost seems to foreshadow the coming Christ, who will fulfill the Law and tear down the barriers erected to segregate us from each other–in whom there is no distinction between “us” and “them.” Certainly, this should call to mind the foundation of the Law and Prophets–to love God with all we are, and to love the human beings around us as we ought love ourselves (Mt 22.36-40) regardless of the segregating barriers culture would have us erect. BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, female, male, poor, rich, homeless, disabled, white, cisgender, heteronormative, non-heteronormative, and everything in between, in Christ, we are one, and by our love we will be judged (Mt 25.31-46).
Perhaps, then, it is imperative that we strive to see the overlooked among us—for regardless of our own perceived standing before God, we will be held to account where we withheld love in favor of cruelty and self satisfaction.
Garry Bredefeld is a Fresno City Councilmember who often echoes the death rattles of hyper-conservative panic. Almost as a means to stay relevant, he takes to social media to opine the decline of Conservative Christian values, and, by extension, the decline of America. Though the connection between his rhetoric and white Christian nationalism are damningly clear to anyone with some understanding of the tense racial history in America, Bredefeld–and those like him–are quick to deny their roles in perpetuating a system of white supremacy. They claim that “bigot” and “racist” labels are unfair and that such accusations are made by those who are intolerant of their interpretation of Christianity and hate America. To be fair, Bredefeld may not speak so plainly, but his social media interaction clearly indicates where he positions himself ideologically.
“Radical left,” “unconstitutional,” “socialism,” and other conservative dog whistles fill the landscape of his Twitter account. Any current story/accusation intended to paint liberal and left leaning voters as American hating monsters–regardless of source reliability–Bredefeld is quick to seize upon. A brief perusal of his social media portrays the image of an individual easily manipulated by fear and conspiracy. In June of 2022, Bredefeld bemoaned the flying of the Pride Flag and the way a religious group, to which he did not belong, prayed to their God as being an attack on Christianity. Despite data showing child sexual abuse, grooming, and molestation as much more likely to take place at church or by family members, Bredefeld has engaged in the hyper-conservative dialogue that accuses Drag Queens (and, by insinuation, the rest of the non-heteronormative community) of being child predators. He has also engaged in other hot topics such as: CRT, pronouns, and Covid hysteria.
Bredefeld is largely ignorant of the topics he engages. From American freedoms to public education to public health to socialism to Christian theology, Bredefeld is a hot mess of misinformation. It isn’t surprising considering the sources he turns to for information. However, it appears that being morally, ethically, or factually correct isn’t the point of his pageantry. His panic and fearmongering play to a base heavy with the anxiety of weakening control. The power structure benefiting his base is disintegrating, they are being called to repent for the damage they have inflicted on everyone around them, and Bredefeld rises to assuage their seared conscience. The dying white supremacist power structure is choosing blind loyalty over intelligence, compromise, or competence, therefore Bredefeld remains in place–representing the interests of a disconnected affluent constituency.
Regardless, his exhausting outbursts appear to be little more than political pageantry. He waves the right flags, uses the right buzzwords, expresses disgust at the right subjects, but it is all a show. While Bredefeld gathered with faith “leaders” to decry LGBTQIA+ rights and representation and has been quick to voice his opposition to everything celebrity Republicans oppose, he has been silent in other areas which might criticize his own voters.
Recently, an advertisement for a “Fresno Aryan Meet and Greet” has been spotted in the wild. A quick check of the advertised website (and a thorough shower) confirms the event. The advertisement has made its way to Bredefeld’s Twitter account by means of an aggressive Fresno GOP parody account. The silence from Bredefeld seems to track as the real Fresno County GOP–with whom Bredefeld associates–has been known to partner with the Proud Boys and 1776’ers (basically “sanitized” reincarnations of the Ku Klux Klan). Where is the moral outrage we’ve seen from Bredefeld? Where is the righteous indignation?
Not just Bredefeld, but also the religious “leaders” he joined to condemn non-heteronormative individuals ought to be noted for their silence. While arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, identifying patterns has a way to give voice to the telling silence. Bredefeld has displayed indignation for just about every grain of sand in the collective undergarment of the hyper-conservative consciousness, but in the face of this gathering of anti-American fascists under the unifying umbrella of racial superiority in his city, he and his own are damningly silent.
For all of Bredefeld’s appeals to the Christian faith as justification for a number of his outbursts, he may be proving the frustrated colloquial true: “there’s no hate like Christian love.”
The Supreme Court has toppled the separation between Church and State, trampled on State’s Rights to enact common sense gun control, have given ICE agents free reign to terrorize citizens, have empowered police to violate the rights of citizens, and have chosen to enslave people through incarceration even if evidence exonerating a prisoner comes to light in just the last few months.
The conservative judges have chosen to legislate from the bench. Enough is enough.
REPUBLICANS have proven themselves the enemy of progress and the enemy of the people. They employ white, evangelical, Christian nationalism to hold power. This November, VOTE THEM ALL OUT!
They don’t care about you. Need proof? They stood in the way of the COVID relief for those in need during the pandemic. They stopped the Child Tax Credit which has significantly brought down childhood poverty. They have stood in the way of common sense gun control. They voted against initiatives to prevent price gouging at the gas pump by corrupt oil and gas companies. They voted against initiatives to relieve the baby formula shortage. They voted against expanded care for veterans. They voted against investigating the violence caused by white supremacists. They defund public education. They stand in the way of improved infrastructure for all.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Fresno County GOP, along with several other far right conservative organizations within Fresno County have released a hate filled divisive press release condemning the LGBTQIA+ community for existing in the public space.
As expected, these far right groups have portrayed themselves as victims while actively seeking to silence diverse communities and people in the public space.
As long as they think themselves the prioritized voices, they will continue to strike out at our diverse communities and silence their representation in local government. Perhaps all residents of Fresno County, and those who conduct business in Fresno County, should reach out and let the Fresno County GOP know their hate has no home here!
Those interested in letting them know how you feel:
Fresno County GOP Headquarters 770 E Shaw Ave, #220 Fresno, CA 93710 559-225-2566 email@example.com
On May 31st, we were given a demonstration as to why declaring June as Pride month is a necessary message that no matter how deep your pockets, how loud you get, or how old you are, you do not get to determine who does or does not belong in our beloved city of Kingsburg.
Immediately following a twenty minute public speech by the Constitutionalists for California that simultaneously substantiated the facts I brought to the council and misrepresented them, an associate among them declared the LGBTQIA+ community an “abomination.”
The far right organization acknowledged the increased violent victimization experienced by the LGBTQIA+ community, but then attributed that violence to “aliens, for all we know,” as if violent victimization only counts from sources they deem valid. The twelve murdered transgender Americans in 2022 were also substantiated, but 12 dead transgender Americans is deemed by them to be low enough to be acceptable—much in the same way that 19 children and two teachers in an elementary school is deemed acceptable. Pro-life, am I right? Their factually deficient organization asserted life saving care isn’t life saving if it is merely preventing the suicide of American youths struggling to fit in a world where they are told time and again they are “abominations.”
Twenty minutes they stood here an opined on the audacity of one resident standing up and saying ‘here’s a problem and here’s a symbolic gesture that would make a world of difference to a marginalized segment of our community.’ They all but said, ‘because we showed up last year and were loud and intimidating, we win. Case closed.’ If that was the case, the segregation era they enjoyed as children would be present in America today.
White supremacy is more than wearing a white hood, burning a cross, and saying the n-word. It is gathering with a hate group (with whom they would partner with again that same holiday season) and an angry mob to enforce their narrow and bigoted views on the whole of our community. Literal, fascism. Not hyperbole. Fascism.
At some point change is inevitable, and while I wish I had twenty minutes to breakdown the fallacies of their arguments or school them in the 1946 introduction of the word “homosexual” to the Bible and its 1971 retraction by the same translating body, I don’t have the time, and this isn’t the place.
Neither is this about a flag. T-Mobile took care of that already. This is about sending a clear message that we don’t view our residents as abominations regardless of gender, orientation, identity, race, religion, or creed. It is simply, not acceptable.
And as long as we fly the Swedish flag outside City Hall, uplifting one cultural influence into the spotlight over others, the argument that we don’t shine a spotlight on some and not others is a lie at best—a malicious oppressive lie at worst.
And as for any that suggests we ought ‘accept the answer no’ in calling to the attention of the public the humanity of the dehumanized, “woe to you, O Pharisees and scribes.”
Finally, what took them four people and twenty minutes, I have now done in less than five. Do not let those who would associate openly with a Southern Poverty Law designated hate group be our voice. Please, for the good and confidence of our whole community, consider declaring June Pride month in the City of Kingsburg.
On June 1, 2022, the largest Mennonite denomination in the United States, Mennonite Church USA, affirms the LGBTQIA+ community as equal members in the body of Christ. The church body acknowledges the harm they’ve caused by denying an entire community of people their identity, and they are lifting their ban on same-sex marriage. The denomination also vowed to be inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community in its theology moving forward.
This weekend 31 members from “at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas…” and only “…one from Idaho” (Bellisle) associated with the white supremacist organization Patriot Front were arrested and charged with “criminal conspiracy to riot” (Pietsch). The “little army” (White), bedazzled in matching military stylized outfits depicting stars and stripes, Patriot Front insignias, and shirts with typical fascist slogans such as “Reclaim America,” loaded up into a U-Haul truck outside of a hotel with plans to riot at a PRIDE event in the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Security had been augmented when authorities were made aware of increased threats against the event and its participants, but it was a tip from an eyewitness who saw the gravy seals loading into a U-Haul outside a nearby hotel that ultimately foiled the plan for mass violence.
Right-Wing Extremist violence is steadily rising across America (O’Harrow, Ba Tran, Hawkins). The right-wing extremist groups, Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, in partnership with the disgraced former president Donald Trump, for example, led the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 (January 6 Committee) after the national embarrassment failed to get re-elected.
The country is slowly crawling towards progress, and as a result, conservative values–which lean toward anti-diversity, exploitative practices and policies, white nationalist philosophies, etc.–are falling by the wayside.
Extreme conservatism is dying, and its death throes are being expressed through lies and violence. As the lies lose the power to hold the masses in check, violence increases. A cursory glance at the Civil Rights Movement in history provides a clear example of this–which plays a role in why conservatives and the GOP are actively putting forth anti-Critical Race Theory propaganda.
Not only is this outburst entirely inappropriate for a sitting city councilmember in California’s fifth largest city, but it is entirely false and illustrates the far-right conservative tendency to lie, cheat, and steal when they don’t get their way. No one was attacking Christianity.
Prayer, for the record, is not the sole practice or intellectual property of right-wing conservative Christian nationalism. Prayer has been participated in by a variety of cultures, religions, and people throughout history. Written sources record prayer as far back as 5000 years ago.
Not only is Bredefeld incredibly mistaken, but his message attempts to divide the community into us (straight Christian nationalists with a priority for old world western European ideals) vs. them (everyone else) camps. The “us” camp often self-identifies as flag waving patriots–a dog whistle and moniker for white nationalists. While some might object to the fact that “patriot” has become a moniker for oppression, bigotry, and fascism, I simply point to the hyper nationalism common in hate groups and right-wing extremist organizations such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Patriot Front, Ku Klux Klan, Save California, Act for America, Mass Resistance, Occidental Dissent, and many more.
Now, more than ever, events and programs promoting diversity, inclusivity, and positive community building are crucial! Events such as PRIDE help to breakdown negative stereotypes, ignorance, fear, and reveal the humanity inside all of us. (Why do you think many of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents wanted to keep society segregated?)
Power is shifting away from those who have excluded members of our communities across the country. Their system is failing, and as their death rattles grow, so will their lies and acts of violence.
Only we, American citizens, can put an end to the madness gripping this nation. Only by voting out illiterate knuckle draggers like Bedefeld from local, state, and federal government, and replacing them with leaders who can build up and unite our country, can we ensure changes for the good of the entire community. By coming together and refusing to allow bigotry a place at the table, we can reduce the strength and violence of the far right.
Episcopal Church of the Saviour (ECOS) is an LGBTQIA+ affirming church in Hanford, California–the only LGBTQIA+ affirming church within a 20-mile radius. For months ECOS has been flying PRIDE flags on their property to encourage, welcome, and show love to the marginalized community located in the conservative city of Hanford. Not only has ECOS provided a safe and inclusive space for all people–including BIPOC and LGBTQIA+–but they are also hosting the only PRIDE event in Hanford! The event promises to be an open and inclusive celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community.
For as long as they’ve flown the flags–specifically the inclusive LGBTQIA+ flag—they have been the target of theft. Local bigots have stolen PRIDE flag after PRIDE flag no matter where, or how secure, the flags have been placed. As of this weekend, they are down to their last flag.
As a sign of solidarity and to stand with queer affirming spaces located in hostile, conservative, bigoted little rural communities, I would like to challenge any who read this post to consider sending the church a PRIDE flag in order that they may continue to encourage and reach out to offer a safe and affirming space to all people.
If you can, and would like, to donate a PRIDE flag, please send them to:
Episcopal Church of the Saviour c/o The Rev. Julie Kelly 519 N. Douty St. Hanford, Ca 93230
It is 2022. It is time to let bigots and racists know they are no longer welcome to decide who is or is not worthy of being part of the public space!
Last year, around this time, we heard this phrase during a good portion of a four-hour nightmare of public comments. Last council meeting, June Hess insisted Kingsburg was pro-God, pro-Life, and pro-America. In that same meeting, Councilman Pursell informed a group trying to take on the multi-faceted issue of homelessness, with regards to location, that Kingsburg was not a good candidate for the program because his constituents have made it clear it is not the kind of thing they want to see here. A bit ironic for an allegedly Christian prioritized community—it seems the least Christ-like thing. In fact, when I posed the question of Christ-likeness to an active community page online, I found some odd defenses for the seemingly contradictory behavior as well as those who perceived the general “Christian” nature of the town as a sort of ruse of hypocrisy.
I open by highlighting the way the Bible and Christianity have been used to oppress some things in this chamber while remaining silent on others where they ought to speak up. Inconsistency. None of us need hear what the Bible does or does not say on what I bring before the council today.
According to an interview with Melissa Block, an NPR Special Correspondent who covers Gender Issues, there have been “more than 200 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in nearly 40 states.” Many states are taking their cues from Texas and Florida which have all but declared war on their LGBTQIA+ citizens—their fellow Americans. More than 58,000 youth will see a loss of necessary, and life-saving, medical care as a result of these bans (Williams Institute).
The Human Rights Campaign reports there have been “at least 12 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means” in 2022 so far (HRC Foundation). They emphasize “…’at least’ because too often these stories go unreported – or misreported” (HRC Foundation).
According to the Williams Institute School of Law, LGBTQIA+ individuals 16 years of age and older are “nearly 4 times more likely to experience violent victimizations, compared to non-[LGBTQ+] individuals” (Williams Institute).
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the LGBTQIA+ community is at a 3-6 times greater risk for suicide than non-LGBTQ individuals. While some may point to this to say, ‘hey! See! This is a mental health problem,’ I point them to the testimonies which demonstrate that the poor mental health statistics are a result of mistreatment, bullying, violence, and other forms of abuse used to marginalize these human beings—your fellow Americans.
Last year, in light of similar statistics and testimonies, we failed to assert that Kingsburg stands with the whole of its community. The motion to declare “Pride Month” died without a second. The traditionally marginalized community members were told: the sensitivities of a prioritized group within this same community were of far greater importance than their public existence.
In failing to approve the motion set forth by the youngest and, arguably, bravest councilmember, the council affirmed the message of the bigots who stood outside with the hate group, Proud Boys, along with those who represented the far-right “Three Percenters” ideology. Councilman Palomar went as far as to say “the city has spoken” referring to the few hundred—not thousands as some reported—making noise outside.
“The city has spoken?” White supremacy, fascism, bigotry—this is who and what speaks for our city?
Worst was the invocation of our nation’s flag. Often associated with our troops. As a retired United States Sailor who served a career in the Navy, it may come as a surprise for some of you to learn that 6.8% of our military identifies as LGBTQ. They serve openly and honorably. I served with them. They put on the uniform every day and fought for the country they love. Tell me, how are they not worthy of an act of solidarity—especially from a uniquely, military honoring, patriotic city?
We have an opportunity to assert that Kingsburg is a place that welcomes to the public spaces all its citizens as equal members. Last year we hid behind the matter of a flag because there were ‘other flags’ that should have been prioritized. It has been a year. No flag requests. It was never about the flag. There was fear of a Pride Event taking place. It happened. It was family-friendly, showcased the talents and skills of our LGBTQIA+ community, was attended by a number of outside dignitaries with zero incidents, and no one was made gay against their will. The surrounding communities saw our shame in the headlines and, as a result, passed their own Pride Month declarations without incident and without fear.
I implore this Council to consider declaring June 2022 as Pride Month. Let us send a clear message to our community that we stand with our LGBTQIA+ members and that we will not engage in, nor tolerate the same abuse and discrimination that is facing their communities across this nation.