A Few Thoughts
Ok, so first and foremost, those views are persecuted. There are hundreds of hate crimes committed against Muslims in the U.S. every year, as well as more around the world, and lots of people think of the religion of Islam as inherently evil and antithetical to proper "western" values.
This "well maybe we should discriminate against this religion because its bad" logic is ridiculous and isn't a good moral position even when religions are causing harm. We should not be discriminating against people's personal faiths. We should be calling out and challenging the way that those beliefs are twisted and used by people in power to maintain that power and to subjugate others. I don't hate Christianity or think that Christians should be persecuted. I do however absolutely despise the people who try to use Christianity to justify cruel and inhumane laws to control women's bodies and deny gender affirming care to transgender people. I am sure that there are people who use Islam for similar purposes, I am just less familiar with them because in the U.S. Christianity is vastly more influential and used for far more violent oppression.
Religion at its best creates community and love and draws us into the beauty of the world. However most religions have been used to oppress and control, by painting others as enemies of the faith and demanding strict obedience to a deity through obeying a very human tyrant. Viewing a religion as the tyrants who have used it, is not helpful, but we must always be watchful for those tyrants, name them and cast them out.
I wasn't sure if I was gonna write something for this given that I haven't been that active on here recently, but here goes. I made my account 5 years ago in my junior year of high school. I haven't been especially prolific in the time since, but some of my stuff is sort of halfway descent, with some juicy identity crisis ramblings along with both teaching angst and dead dad angst. So I guess feel free to check some of that out?
Red Sunken Dream
I blame David Bowie. If not for him maybe I wouldn't have stormed up to my room that night and clicked the link to secure my non refundable seat. My mom was listening to Life On Mars when I got home. My acceptance letter was open on my phone. I'd read it three times. I was gonna walk up to her and hand her the phone let her read it over and then I'd ask her what she thought I should do.
It had been her and her brothers idea that I apply in the first place. They were drunk and elbowing me on the couch whenever the "apply now" adds came on during NCIS episodes. It was during the second break in the third episode that they finally got me to open the application and fill it out. They didn't even suggest that I replace Rose with Fart when it required a middle name.
I was looking at her a moment in the doorway when David Bowie ruined everything. She was working in the kitchen. I took in the sight, the idea of being on a different planet then where she licked the spoon after each time she stired whatever sauce or soup was cooking making me suddenly greatful for her.
Then she opened her mouth. "Close the door would you! Ever since that stupid green bill or deal or whatever we pay double for our heat!"
I started to open my mouth to explain that the 'stupid green deal' was a conceptual piece of legislation that had been sitting on Mitch Miconell's desk for fifteen years and as such could not possibly be effecting what we payed for heat in a typically warm december and that in fact the cause of the increase in price was due to de regulated utility companies having the power to charge whatever they pleased, but she was already singing. She launched right into the chorus.
I closed the door softly, feeling sick at the words. Words written ten years before she was born about a world that was already falling apart. Falling apart in a way that my mother had happilly voted for and cheered when other's were prevented from voting against. Suddenly I wanted out. I wanted to be as far away from her as I could possibly be and never see her again. I looked at my phone and realized I could. I could put 54 million miles between us and I could look out at a different sky only sometimes seeing a light that was a planet that she was a small insignificant part of.
I rushed to my room before she could sing about Mickey Mouse or Lennon. I clicked the link to accept and clicked the box for the terms and conditions and clicked one last button and it was done.
There were austronaut classes and terriforming classes and fitness trainings in the next few months. I told my mom I had joined a buisness club. She liked the sound of that, thought it meant I had learned some good values.
The day of the launch I slept a few hours after supper and then snuck out at two in the morning. The house was silent and dark, I took my one allowed memento, a small frog keychain I won at a fair for my dad and took back after the funeral. I thought about leaving a note. I even started one, but as soon as I'd written the words "dear Mom" I realized I had nothing to say to her.
The launch was scheduled for 5 AM. I sat in the waiting room with the other 23 choosen travelers. We were all silent and nervous. Some were still crying from their tearful goodbyes to their families. Others wore my bitter expression that tried to say fuck you to a whole planet. I pittied the criers until 4:30. It was then that we made the walk out to the shuttle. The families were in a glass walled room to watch they waved and blew kisses at their favorite children. It was then that I began thinking that the ball in my stomach might be partially made of doubt and regret not just nervousness at being launched into space.
As soon as I had been securely fastened into my launch seat I knew for sure it was regret I was feeling. I knew for sure that I had to see my mom at least one more time I had to talk to her, thank her for all she'd done for me maybe, or tell her how stupid she is sometimes. I was just getting the courage to tell one of the technicians that when the sedatives kicked in.
I woke up in my new room a few minutes ago. I don't remember what tecnical marvel got me all the way without waking up. It hadn't seemed that important in the classes and it seems even less important now. I have a window in my room, a clear view into the red desert that leads to an empty sky and beyond that somewhere is earth. Earth which I'll never go back to. I wish I knew what I would say to my mom if I could go back. I wish I could scream those words into this desert, to get it out of me, but there aren't any specific words. What I want is the chance to be near her again. To have a chance to fight that bitter hatred that rises up my throat at the thought of her, and show her with some empty words barely released that there is love to go along with them.
I won't have the chance. I'm stuck here in my Red Sunken dream.
God loves Everybody Don’t Remind Me
You’re watching me and loving me, right now. In this moment where I’m a piece of shit wishing I was nothing. How could you do this? Let me be this in this world you’ve created? How could you not help me? How could you allow my existance to damage your world? All of my thoughts of you come apart at the seems. I just can’t make sense of it. Whatever path my mind takes it comes to the same conclusion. I’m useless, worthless, graceless. You can’t imagine how I hate this. But you must be able to, you’re all knowing, all powerful, and all loving. Or your supposed to be. I try to be positive, look for your love, put the flowers I find in a vase, but I’m not my rosy self. I left my roses behind me in some cavern of my childhood. I can’t find them. I’m left here in your world completely graceless, screaming out for grace.
“An unsolved mystery is a thorn in the heart.”
The pretentious dejectedness in his voice sets me off. I want to hit him, shove him out of my life, out a window even. I bite my tongue though, I know the signs, know the state he’s in right now. I’ve weathered such storms before, I know it’ll pass.
He’s looking at me expecting a response, he’s learned by now that I try to be nicer when he’s like this, pretend that I have answers that’ll draw him back. I can’t leave him waiting.
“What mystery? I think I’ve been perfectly forthcoming.”
“It’s all a mystery to me,” he says with a shrug.
I keep my first angry retort in, shove it down with a gulp. A second one slides out, nicer and more distant. “Can you stop pretending you’re being insightful just because you’re miserable.”
He wasn’t expecting that, I went off script, let myself out. He shrugs and watches his feet.
I watch them too. They’re the same pair I always see him in, worn down and plain. He doesn’t do change well when he is like this, he is spiraling, thinking it’s over. I wonder if he’s right.
I try to find something to say, but my voice is empty.
He looks at me. I sense the same hurt in his eyes that’s always there and a desperation that I just added. I don’t meet his eyes.
“If I said I was sorry for always being underwater would you stay?”
I chuckle, I can’t help it. The quoted lyric is just so him. Him who I heard sing along to it on the way to the beach once. Him who I want to be here, who I dance with, circling around until we get to these moments again. I don’t dread them I realize, I’m not blissful until we hit them, they’re how I keep time with him, swirling about as we do, separated by our motions. These are the moments when he’s willing to be close to me, and the rest is when we can talk to each other.
I’ve been quiet too long. He’s already desperate, drowning in the silence, knowing what it means.
“It’s not a mystery,” I say. “I just don’t have what I need here.”