Who was Joseph Smith?

Joseph Smith…..
……was born on December 23, 1805, in the town of Sharon, Vermont.

…..lived as a teenager in the “burned-over district” of upstate New York.

……was originally known as a treasure seeker and a teller of tall tales among his friends.

……married Emma Hale on January 18, 1827, despite the objections of her father.

……had a total of nine children with his wife, only four of whom lived to adulthood.

……claimed to have been visited by an angel named Moroni who instructed him to found a new Christian church and locate golden plates.

……..allegedly used the golden plates to write the Book of Mormon.

……named his new religious movement the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and its members “Mormons”.

…….founded the Mormon Church on April 6, 1830 with five other men.

……moved to Kirtland, Ohio, then to Jackson County, Missouri and finally to Nauvoo, Illinois to build up his religous community.

……..claimed that God now permitted polygamy in the Mormon church.

………faced bitter opposition from non-Mormons almost everywhere he and the Mormons settled.

……….was arrested for ordering the destruction of a printing press called the Nauvoo Expositor that had published criticism of Mormonism.

……….was killed on June 27, 1844 with his brother Hyrum in a gun battle against a lynch mob at the local jail of Carthage, Illinois.

A Critical Mistake in the UU World

The UU World is the official magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the religious organization I belong to. About two years ago, a controversy erupted over the embarrassing fact that despite its stated commitment to racial diversity, the UUA was far too white dominated and people of color were being passed over for positions in it that they were indeed qualified for. When this became too obvious to ignore, it forced President Peter Morales to resign.

Now, two years after that blew over, another problem has emerged: the disrespecting of transgender people by the magazine itself!

It started with this article published in it:

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/after-l-g-b

From a mainstream American point of view, it seems like a progressive article about advocating for the rights and dignity of transgender people. But from the point of view of transgender people themselves, it was a complete FAILURE! Reason: the article was written from a strictly cisgender perspective, which is as pointless as writing an article about blacks only from a white person’s point of view, instead of allowing the blacks to speak for themselves.

https://transuu.org/2019/03/06/putting-the-t-first/

Putting the “T” First: Public Statement on This Week’s UU World Article

Nothing We Do Will Be Perfect. The irony of the cover of the print issue of the spring 2019 UU World has not been lost on the membership of TRUUsT and our greater trans* community.

The UU World’s article titled “After L, G, and B” frames the trans experience by centering a white, heterosexual, cisgender woman’s experience. By doing so, it reduces trans people to objects—something that happens far too often in society and in our UU communities. The use of harmful slurs, the conflation of intersex and trans experience, and a repeated focus on surgery, hormones, and pronouns perpetuates stereotypes around trans experiences that devalues the gifts we have to bring to the world and Unitarian Universalism.

The impact of this article will have long-lasting effects. While the UU World has a vital role in communicating issues of importance to Unitarian Universalists around the world, often representing the leading edge and the best in our UU faith, it is that trust and faith in this magazine which makes this article all the more harmful. Well-meaning people who have no other known relationship to or interaction with trans lives will now believe that these words and actions are acceptable. They are not!

Soon after that was published, the UU World editors themselves admitted their mistake.

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/apology-spring-2019

Our story hurt people

Acknowledging that we have fallen short, UU World is committed to sharing in appropriate and respectful ways the inspiring and powerful stories of trans and gender nonbinary people within our faith community.

Christopher L. Walton | 3/6/2019 | Spring 2019
The “Progress Pride Flag” by Daniel Quasar adds new stripes to acknowledge the push for full inclusion by transgender people (with the white, pink, and light blue stripes) and people of color (with brown and black stripes).

Transgender and gender nonbinary leaders in the Unitarian Universalist movement, along with their allies and other UUs, are expressing alarm and sharing their pain at reading an essay in the Spring 2019 issue of UU World, “After L, G, and B” by contributing editor Kimberly French. I am profoundly saddened and deeply sorry to have caused pain to people who matter to me and whose dignity and worth I had thought we were promoting with the piece. As the magazine’s editor, I was wrong to decide to publish this essay and I apologize for the pain it has caused.

In consultation with the steering committee of TRUUsT (Transgender Religious professional UUs Together, an organization of trans leaders), we are keeping the essay on our website rather than taking it down, but are adding a preface that points to and quotes from this apology. My apology will appear in the original essay’s place in the online Table of Contents.

Many have asked why we published this article. My intent was to model, through a personal essay about one family’s experience, ways for the majority of our readers to engage respectfully with trans and nonbinary people; the impact, however, was to hurt and alienate trans and nonbinary people. I can point to three editorial mistakes: I planned an approach to the important topic of trans and gender nonbinary experiences within Unitarian Universalism without enough input from people who identify as nonbinary or trans. We did not model respectful engagement. Additionally, it was hurtful to put a straight, cisgender person’s experience in the foreground, especially as one of the first major articles in the magazine on this topic. We should have developed another kind of story in such a prominent spot that centered trans and nonbinary voices. Finally, when we reached out to Alex Kapitan, a leader in the trans and gender nonbinary community, while researching the story and ze urged us against the approach I had picked, I erred in failing to grasp the important cautions ze offered: a story told from a cisgender perspective would cause harm. I believed, falsely, that we could address the concerns within the framework of the story I had commissioned. It was a mistake to disregard this caution, and I apologize.

Several readers have also pointed to specific language in the article that is painful if not traumatic to encounter in the magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association. These include a reference to jokes at a high school in the 1970s that involved a homophobic slur, a reference to “so-called corrective surgery,” and alarming statistics about violence against transgender people that one colleague told me felt “grim without hope.” As editors, we did not have enough experience with trans issues to notice the microaggressions throughout the essay that our trans readers are calling to our attention. These specific editorial choices added pain to injury, and for that I apologize.

If you can’t hire an actual transgender person to write about their own experiences, don’t bother with the topic at all. Seriously!

I can say that with conviction because the UU World already had a great article about the transgender experience back in 2017. It didn’t need that bogus article that came out with the current issue!

https://www.uuworld.org/articles/emptying-my-shoe

People are far more comfortable allowing the messy business of a gender transition if it is presented by storytellers as a foregone conclusion from the start.

But reality is nowhere near that neat. I spent the first fifty years of my life with no earthly clue I might be transgender. An observer might have found my teenage preference for female friends unusual, but I did not. Teenage gender norms and those of the liberated era in which I was raised allowed anyone to be friends with anyone else, and I put together a rich social life.

Things changed after graduation. People began pairing off, and social overtures toward single women were generally interpreted as romantic. Finding friendship among females became more challenging. However, I made the best of my opportunities, getting married and raising two children. I was mildly uncomfortable with my role as husband and father, but since I had never really felt like I fit in anywhere, that seemed unsurprising and certainly not an indication of anything unusual about my relationship with gender.

As a married man, I found that developing friendships with women was nearly impossible. I couldn’t come up with any way of approaching women socially without looking like I was interested in an affair. Luckily, my wife and I were great friends, keeping the loneliness of my married years partially at bay. I had family and career to keep me busy, so it was not until age fifty that I turned my focus toward the gaping holes in my social life.

<snip>

My wife supported my explorations until the clues began to suggest I might be transgender. “If you transitioned, I’d probably leave you,” she told me one night, and I did not object. I certainly would have been upset to find myself suddenly married to a man, and I understood why remaining in a marriage with a woman would not be her choice.

So I was cautious. I tested the waters, first presenting as a woman in public and then joining a transgender-friendly women’s reading group. A realization took shape: I was far more comfortable as my female self. Female social interactions seemed “right” in a way that male interactions never had. I began to see my female life as the “real me,” while the prospect of spending the rest of my days as a male looked unbearably dreary. I was conscious of a part of my being that demanded I be true to it by living as a female. I could no more change it through an effort of will than I could my height or eye color.

However, many whom I took into my confidence urged me to save my marriage by remaining in my male life and avoiding disrupting my family. I had survived a half-century as a male, surely I could survive the rest of the way.

After much soul searching, I still couldn’t agree. Imagine you are on a long hike, feet throbbing with discomfort. You soldier on, because everyone on the hike is complaining. But then you all take a break, and you find that your shoe is full of pebbles, while everyone else’s shoes are clear. You realize that, though no one’s feet feel fine, it’s been far worse for you than for others. A simple solution exists—remove your shoe and empty out the pebbles.

What would you say to those who remind you that you’ve hiked this far, surely you could hike just a little farther? That the hike is more than half done, and you’d inconvenience everyone else, who would have to wait for you to untie your shoe and then lace it back up again? What would you do? Would you just finish the hike, knowing that every step will hurt, or would you beg their indulgence while you emptied your shoe?

In the end, I reluctantly and with much trepidation decided that, while I wished I could have remained as I was for the sake of my marriage, it was asking too much of me to insist that I spend the rest of my life pretending I was someone I’m not. I needed to change, and if my wife left me because of it, I couldn’t control that and shouldn’t try.

That decision shattered our marriage. After months of vitriolic wrangling we decided she would buy my half of the house. My daughter, then a junior in high school, remained living with her. I moved into my own place, my wife furious that I’d chosen transition over her. My son was away at college by then, so for the first time since getting married I was living alone.

<snip>

Fast-forward to the present, and nearly every friend I have I met at UUCC. I never miss a chance to hear Getty preach if I can help it, and I look forward all week to the lazy lunches after services, discussing the sermon, current events, and what’s going on in our lives, or just kicking back and enjoying our food. I teach religious education classes every week, have helped lead services, and have participated in reflection groups, fun feasts, game nights, and other events too numerous to name. When I had gender-confirming surgery, I came out as transgender to the entire congregation during the sharing of joys and sorrows. I spoke of my excitement and fear, and I was met by an outpouring of support and a promise from a lay member of the Pastoral Care Committee to call me frequently during my recovery period. 

As I write this, I have just returned from three days at a spiritual center after participating in the annual UUCC women’s retreat. During one of the fascinating workshops there, it occurred to me how amazing it was to bask in the love and support that warmed that all-female space. And how unremarkable it felt that no one had ever questioned whether, as a transgender woman, I belonged there. The subject simply hadn’t come up.

I can’t imagine where I’d be had I not found UUCC. My life would certainly lack much of its richness. The dark, lonely period after my separation now seems a distant memory.

That is what we should have stuck with, and it will always be what we need, now and forever.

UPDATE: I found this comic that spells out the problem with that first UU World Article I linked to, but refused to copy any part of here:Image may contain: text

Bigotry Against a Muslim Member of Congress

Read this disturbing story.

https://start.att.net/news/read/category/news/article/cnn-house_democrats_to_bring_resolution_condemning_ant-cnn2

House Democrats to bring resolution condemning anti-Semitism to the floor Wednesday

House Democratic leaders will bring to the floor Wednesday a resolution condemning anti-Semitism, a senior Democratic aide tells CNN, following outrage over comments made by Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar last week that insinuated pro-Israel groups are pushing “allegiance to a foreign country.”

This will be the second time this year the House votes on a resolution condemning anti-Semitism. Last month, Republicans were able to get similar language added to a resolution after Omar linked US support for Israel to money and lobbying.

The latest resolution was worked on over the weekend by staff from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel of New York and House Ethics Committee Ted Deutch of Florida. The text is still not final, per the aide.

At a Washington bookstore event last Thursday, Omar argued that critics labeling her as an anti-Semite looked to silence a necessary conversation.

“I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country,” said the Minnesota Democrat, according to The New York Times.

In a fiery statement Friday night, Engel called on Omar, who is a member of his committee, to apologize and to her to task for yet another controversial comment over the political influence of pro-Israel groups on politicians.

“I welcome debate in Congress based on the merits of policy, but it’s unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views, including support for the US-Israel relationship,” Engel said in the statement. “We all take the same oath. Worse, Representative Omar’s comments leveled that charge by invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur.”

Omar’s office did not respond directly to a request for comment on Engel’s statement, though she tweeted about the issue several times this weekend, including responding to fellow Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, who called on her to retract her comments.

“Our democracy is built on debate, Congresswoman! I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!” Omar tweeted.

Omar has previously apologized after she faced backlash for tweets condemned by both sides of the aisle as anti-Semitic, after suggesting Republican support of Israel is fueled by donations from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent pro-Israel group.

The parts of the article in red are the ones that concern me most.

First, the other members of Congress seem to be questioning the loyalty of this MUSLIM because she does not follow the pro-Israel line. But since she is neither Jewish nor Christian, it is actually an insult to her religion to demand she support a Jewish state.

Second, she clearly told the truth about Israel and its warped relationship to the United States. If she lied, her critics should be able to prove it with evidence and reasoned argument, neither of  which they presented.

Third, demanding she apologize for telling the truth is a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech.

Fourth, and most damning of all……why is PRO-Jewish bigotry more acceptable to Americans than anti-Semitism? Either oppose all manifestations of bigotry, or admit you are a bigoted hypocrite.

Stay strong, Rep. Omar. Someday the rest of Congress will have to admit you were right.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is kicking @$$ in Washington D. C.

For most of American history, the federal government in the USA, including its Congress, has been a haven for elitist jerks with no interest in relating to the average American. Most members of Congress are millionaires, after all.

Enter Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young New York woman who was a waitress only a year ago, but who this year upset all expectations by overthrowing a member of the Democratic establishment in the primaries and then went on to win a seat in the House of Representatives. And what is she doing now to change things?

New Congresswoman Will Pay Her Interns $15 An Hour. Is That A Big Deal?

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes office next month, representing New York’s 14th District, she will be a part of the “blue wave” of new Democrats in the House. But the 29-year-old may end up being a part of a different kind of wave, too: a bipartisan effort for members of Congress to pay the interns they employ.

“Time to walk the walk,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “Very few members of Congress actually pay their interns. We will be one of them.” And she pledged more than just a stipend: Her interns will make $15 an hour.

Last year, two former unpaid House interns, Carlos Mark Vera and Guillermo Creamer, founded an organization called Pay Our Interns. They collected data about who pays what on Capitol Hill, and they found that about 90 percent of House offices don’t pay their interns at all — a figure that Creamer called “abysmal.”

The numbers are a bit better on the Senate side: Half of Senate Democrats pay their interns at least a stipend, while 55 percent of Senate Republicans do.

As for the $15 hourly wage, only three members of Congress currently pay their interns so well, Creamer tells NPR: Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington state.

In the for-profit world, the Department of Labor’s rules on paying interns have been clarified in recent years to state that that an intern must be the “primary beneficiary” of the internship, rather than the company. If the company is the primary beneficiary, then that intern is really an employee, and employees are entitled to minimum wage and overtime.

But those laws exempt internships at nonprofits and in the public sector. Thus congressional offices are not obligated to pay interns, and often, they don’t.

The House and Senate both passed bills earlier this year appropriating money for intern pay. The House approved $8.8 million, giving each member’s office $20,000 per year to pay interns. The Senate version includes $5 million, to be allocated according to a state’s population, providing an average of $50,000 per office.

Despite those new pools of money, most members haven’t started to advertise paid internships, Creamer says, because they’re waiting for new guidelines about using the funds. And that’s an issue, because the congressional offices are accepting applications for the January class of interns right now.

He points out that Ocasio-Cortez isn’t waiting for guidelines: “Her intention was to pretty much pay her interns regardless, and that’s because they allocated that in their budget.”

Whether an internship pays has a profound effect on who is able to apply for and accept it. Young people without wealthy parents or a university footing their expenses may find themselves juggling second or third jobs in the evenings after their internship.

But a congressional internship can be an important step toward future opportunities in government or elsewhere. If such positions are open only to children of the wealthy, then the wealthy will very likely continue to be overrepresented as public officeholders.

As Congress prepares for the next session, Creamer urged its members to start making plans for paying their interns — something his organization is more than happy to assist with.

“They know the money’s there; they know the money is coming,” he said. “Why not try and start structuring it now?”

You’d think with slavery having been abolished after the American Civil War, unpaid interns would already have been illegal, and in any case, it should be.

Ocasio-Cortez should be only the beginning. Over the next few decades, more and more young people need to vote out the establishment members of Congress of both the Democratic and Republican parties and replace them with members of the working class that are like themselves. Then we will truly have a government of the people, by the people and for the people. And NO ONE should be in Congress for several decades anymore! Such power entrenchment is a disgrace!

The Foundational Lie at the Center of all Conservative Politics

One of the biggest problems with our modern society is the limited vision far too many people seem to have and their unwillingness to look beyond that vision and outside their comfort zone to see all of reality and what it involves.
For example, the average white person in the USA rarely deals with black people on a personal level and thus has no idea of how racism affects blacks on a frequent basis. Because their dealings with police are usually pleasant or at least respectful, they assume that blacks are treated the same way by police. So when they hear of cops shooting unarmed blacks, they assume that the black suspect must have provolked the cop in some way. But even if that were true, being defiant towards a cop should not merit the death penalty, so the excusing of the killings is racist on its face.
Let me emphasize one important point about those in the media who defend the political status quo and those who are privledged because of that status quo; they are ALL liars. Because those in power want to feel comfortable about their power, these media thugs rush to tell their followers what they already assume to be true, thus the followers express confirmation bias rather than looking for objective truth to take all the facts into account.
Rush Limbaugh is a liar.
Ann Coulter is a liar.
Bill O’Reilly is a liar.
Shawn Hannity is a liar.
Michael Savage is a liar.
Dinesh D’Souza is a liar.
I could go on with dozens more names of media personalities as well as hundreds of names of officials in our various federal, state, and local governments, but you get the point, right?
And what are all these different conservatives lying about? One basic concept, which can be summed up as follows.
“There is no need to reform or improve society, what we have right now (or had in the past at some point) is what we should have forever in the future, because change will be too painful for us to endure.”
Doesn’t that sound like self-serving cowardice to you?
In the 1960s, there was a tremendous struggle over civil rights for blacks in America, especially in the south where they were kept in dire poverty and even denied voting rights in most cases, as well as cut off from the same opportunities whites enjoyed. The U S Supreme Court ruled against these racist institutions and forced most of them to change. Afterwards, most whites across America thought the racial problems had been solved. But the white supremacists, while they were down, were certainly not our and they began to strike back.
Indeed, I have come to believe that the Religious Right of the 1980s and the Tea Party that rose up in response to Barack Obama becoming President were both scams that enabled white supremacists to sneak into and take over the Republican Party and then through that to grab control of the entire political apparatus of the United States federal government, not merely taking back control of the southern states. And with Donald Trump they have finally succeeded.
Why is conservatism so harmful to society? Because human nature is corrupt and abusive. When people allow themselves to act according to their default biological programming, the result is always tribalism, the placing of members of your own group above outsiders instead of promoting equal justice for everyone.
Ironically, Christianity, which most American conservatives claim to believe in, teaches this very thing, that we are all sinners who can’t be trusted to control ourselves without guidance from above. However, it is clear that even authorities in conservative forms of Christianity can’t always be trusted; they promote religious bigotry rooted in the past instead of ethical standards that fit the real needs of real people in this present age (ironic, considering that Christianity itself started as a rebellion against Jewish legalism). That’s what secular humanism does. And democracy is a humanist ideal.
Whenever people believe, for any reason, that society is good enough and needs no improvement, they actually open the door for society to become corrupt and abusive later; the only sure way to protect the people is to constantly look for ways and means to improve society. I am therefore a champion of “perpetual revolution”; the American Revolution of the 18th Century was only the beginning of reforms and progress and should never end as long as we have viable societies of any kind. There should be NO place whatsoever for Conservatism in American politics, period. To be consistent, the aforementioned conservatives in the media should be bowing down to the British government that Americans rebelled against in 1776, but they don’t because they are hypocrites.

Sinéad O’Connor goes off the deep end

I’ve written about Sinéad O’Connor before:
https://dalehusband.com/2010/03/27/sinead-oconnor-was-both-wrong-and-right/

And I’ve also written about the Irish and the abuse they have suffered from the Catholic Church:

https://dalehusband.com/2011/01/20/the-irish-people-must-abandon-catholicism/

So it does not surprise me that she would finally reject any allegiance to Catholicism, just I would have urged her to do. But I never expected this:

Sinéad O’Connor Says She Never Wants to ‘Spend Time with White People Again’

Sinéad O’Connor is taking her commitment to her new religion one step further.

The 51-year-old “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer, who now goes by the name Shuhada Davitt, shared in a series of tweets early Tuesday that, a few weeks after officially converting to Islam, she wants to avoid everyone who does not share her spiritual beliefs.

In the first message, she wrote, “I’m terribly sorry. What I’m about to say is something so racist I never thought my soul could ever feel it. But truly I never wanna spend time with white people again (if that’s what non-muslims are called). Not for one moment, for any reason. They are disgusting.”

If her spiritual orientation is indeed Islamic, by all means she should embrace it. But this sounds like bigotry against non-Muslims. How can you promote the virtues of Islam except by interacting with non-Muslims to show them how good the religion is for you?

Then, O’Connor called into question the social platform’s policy about blocking hateful content. “Interesting to see if Twitter bans this when it allows people like Trump and Milbank spew the satanic filth upon even my country,” she said.

The musician also addressed the role of violence in Islam, Judaism and Christianity. O’Connor is a known critic of the Catholic church.

“BTW if one IS an intelligent theologian and has taken the journey, one would know there is no more talk of ancient violence in the Q’ran as the Tanukh, the Bible or The sodding Mahabarata. And its ALL EQUALLY [IRRELEVANT] TO OUR TIMES,” she mused, adding in a follow-up tweet, “Everyone says the Poor Americans are the victim of Trump. But you hired him. So fire him. Otherwise you’re complicit. It is the same with all so called Islamic Terrorism. Which is exactly what the devil wants and loves.”

If the violent stories in the Quran are indeed irrelevant to our times, why would anyone assume that the dogmas and rituals associated with Islam are relevant to this present day? Does simple logic not occur to her?

Tying in her own Irish culture, the singer continued, “No Irish person on earth would disagree. We didn’t fire the church. We let them please themselves in our children right under our noses and there is no recompense. No balm in gilliad for Irish human beings under ‘[civilization].’ “

To conclude, O’Connor acknowledged the bizarreness of the rant: “Final word. If its ‘Crazy’ to care. Then by all means, spank my ass and call me Fruity loops : )”

It is never crazy to care, but remember when you tore up that photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live and the fallout resulting from that? That was a crazy stunt. And it seems you learned nothing from that failure.

Last month, she confirmed on Twitter her conversion to Islam, explaining that her new faith “is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey.”

“All scripture leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant,” the Grammy winner added, before revealing she would henceforth be known by a new name. “I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada.’”

In addition to changing her name on her Twitter page, she also replaced her profile picture with a photo that reads “Wear a hijab just do it” alongside the Nike swoosh logo. Additionally, her Twitter bio now reads, “PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IF YOU POST RACIST OR ANTI MUSLIM RHETORIC ON THIS PAGE YOU WILL BE BLOCKED.”

Demanding tolerance for your beliefs while being intolerant towards those who disagree? We have a word for that.

I wonder if she ever considered the Baha’i Faith. A Baha’i could just as easily proclaim that “all scripture leads to the Baha’i Faith. Which makes all other scriptures redundant.” As a Christian, I was taught that most of the “Old Testament” pointed to Jesus as the fulfillment of the Jewish covenant, which would have been an offensive thing to claim to any Jews that heard it. Well, as a non-theist, I think they are ALL wrong. There is no final religion, no perfect religion and no “true” religion. And no one can prove otherwise. That’s why we have so many religions and the many, many, MANY divisions within all of them.

The day after revealing her big news, O’Connor shared that she had been given her first hijab, writing that she wouldn’t be posting a photo because it’s “intensely personal,” before humorously adding that there was a second reason for her decision.

“I’m an ugly old hag,” she wrote. “But I’m a very, very, very happy old hag.”

Over the next couple of days, the Irish singer went on to share a number of photos of herself wearing a head covering, simply writing that she was “happy.”

O’Connor was ordained as a priest in 1999 in a dissident Roman Catholic group.

She has previously spoken out against the abuses of the Catholic Church, even ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a Saturday Night Live appearance in 1992.

The singer has struggled with her mental health in recent years, including suicidal ideation, yet said she was open about her issues in the hopes that it would inspire others suffering to seek help.

Could her conversion to Islam also be a sign of mental illness? I’m not saying that all Muslims are mentally ill, of course. But her stated contempt for white people, while herself still being white, reminds me of THIS lunatic, Rachel Dolezal:

https://dalehusband.com/2015/06/14/lying-to-fight-racism/

And both should be ignored.

What will it take to end the abuse?

Look at this disturbing news story:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/04/america-minority-rule-voter-suppression-gerrymandering-supreme-court

Rigging the vote: how the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule

Underhand Republican tactics – gerrymandering, voter suppression, more – underpin a vice-like grip on power

The American right is in the midst of a formidable project: installing permanent minority rule, guaranteeing control of the government even as the number of actual human beings who support their political program dwindles.

Voter suppression is one, but only one, loathsome tactic in this effort, which goes far beyond just winning one election. Minority rule is the result of interlocking and mutually reinforcing strategies which must be understood together to understand the full picture of what the American right wants to achieve.

Examples are everywhere. Take North Dakota. In 2012, Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, won a surprise victory in a Senate race by just 2,994 votes. Her two largest county wins were in the Standing Rock and Turtle Mountain Reservations, where she won more than 80% of the vote. Her overall vote margin in counties containing Native reservations was more than 4,500 votes.

Observing that Heitkamp literally owed her seat to Native voters, North Dakota’s Republican legislature enacted a voter ID law that requires voters to present identification showing their name, birth date and residential address. There’s the rub: many Native voters do not have traditional residential addresses, so this law effectively disenfranchises them.

Or take Georgia, where the Republican nominee for governor, Brian Kemp, is the secretary of state and in that capacity has placed more than 50,000 voter registrations on hold, many from urban areas with high black populations. That is in keeping with Kemp’s privately expressed “concern” that high voter turnout will favor his opponent – Stacey Abrams, running strongly to be the first black female governor in US history.

Exacerbating voter suppression is the ongoing partisan gerrymandering effortthe redrawing of electoral maps to favor one party over another. After the 2010 census, the Wisconsin legislature (controlled by Republicans) drew a map for the state’s legislative districts explicitly designed to ensure they would retain control of the legislature even if they received a minority of votes. It worked: in 2012, despite receiving only 48.6% of the vote, they won 60 of 99 seats. Democrats won an outright majority of votes cast but secured just 39 seats.

To this, Wisconsin added a voter ID requirement designed to make it harder to vote at all. Voila: voter turnout in the 2016 presidential election was the lowest since 2000 and Donald Trump carried the state. (To be sure, there were other factors at work.) The combined, national effect of partisan gerrymandering is such that in the 2018 midterms, the Democrats might win the popular vote by 10 points and still not control the House.

Legislative maps designed to promote minority rule plus voter suppression of the constituencies opposed to it is a potent combination. And there’s more.

The two most recent Republican presidents have entered office despite receiving fewer votes than their opponent in a national election, thanks to the electoral college, which systematically over-represents small states. (California gets one electoral vote per 712,000 people; Wyoming gets one per 195,000.) With the presidency in hand in the run-up to the 2020 census, minority rule will be further entrenched by adding a citizenship question to the census. This will result in systematic undercounting of the population in heavily Democratic areas, which will in turn further reduce their influence as legislatures draw maps based on the data.

Then there’s the Senate. Because of its bias toward smaller, rural states, a resident of Wyoming has 66 times the voting power in Senate elections as one in California. Thus, in 2016, the Democratic party got 51.4 million votes for its Senate candidates. The Republicans got 40 million. And despite losing by more than 11 million votes, the Republicans won a supermajority (22 of 36) of the seats up for election, holding their majority in the chamber.

The hideously malapportioned Senate and electoral college permit the last piece of the minority rule puzzle to snap into place: the supreme court. In 2016, after losing the contest for the presidency and the Senate by millions of votes, the Republicans were able to install two supreme court justices. There may be more.

In fact, when the Senate confirmed Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, it was a watershed moment in American history. For the first time, a president who lost the popular vote had a supreme court nominee confirmed by senators who received fewer votes – nearly 22 million fewer – than the senators that voted against him. And by now, it will not surprise you to discover that the senators who voted for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh represent 38 million fewer people than the ones who voted no.

With the supreme court in hand, all those other tactics – partisan gerrymandering, voter ID and the rest – are protected from the only institution that could really threaten them. But it doesn’t stop there. The supreme court can be used to do more than approve the minority rule laws that come before it. It can further the project on its own.

In 2015, the court came within one vote of holding that independent redistricting commissions (which reduce partisan gerrymandering) are actually unconstitutional. The swing vote in that case, Anthony Kennedy, is gone. And the court in 2013 famously invalidated a major portion of the Voting Rights Act which put checks on voter-suppression efforts of the kind now taking place all over the country.

Taken together, this is a powerful set of tools. Draw maps that let you win even when you lose. Use the resulting power to enact measures to suppress the vote of the other side further. Count on a minority rule president to undercount your opponents in the census, and a minority-rule Senate to confirm justices who will strike down any obstacles to the plan.

With the deck this stacked, it isn’t enough to win. Wresting control back from the entrenched minority will take overwhelming victory. It may take, in other words, a genuine political revolution.

  • Ian Samuel is Associate Professor of Law at Indiana University Bloomington’s Maurer School of Law. He is also the co-host of @FirstMondaysFM
In short, the USA is  becoming the 21st Century version of South Africa under apartheid.
Which brings up the obvious question: Who will be the American version of Nelson Mandela? Who will be willing to fight, to be imprisoned, or even to die to put an end to the Republicans’ efforts to destroy democracy and freedom among us?

We can start here:
Then proceed with:
More details on gerrymandering:
And also see:
Unless and until people of all colors, both genders, various religions and even different social classes are finally willing to rise up and OVERTHROW the Republican Party and its march towards fascism, we won’t have freedom, period. We can only truly be free if we fight for it.