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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Lesson of One Minute

Photo by D Goska

At some point after we were first told that my sister Antoinette had glioblastoma multiforme, a terminal illness giving her very little time to live, her daughter Amanda and I had a conversation one day about symmetrical numbers. I don't remember what prompted this conversation or its substance.

After that, I vowed to pray for Antoinette every time that I noticed symmetrical numbers on a clock, that is, if I looked up and saw that the time was 2:22, or 11:11, etc, I'd stop and pray for Antoinette until the clock changed to the next minute. I vowed not to look at the clock again until I felt I had prayed for a full minute.

I engaged in other prayer: (almost) daily rosary, for example.

I noticed something about these one-minute prayers.

Stopping what I was doing, closing my eyes and beginning to pray felt like I had punched the clock to exit profane time to find myself suspended in sacred eternity.

Sometimes, I would surely feel that a minute had passed, and look at the clock again, and see 11:11 still on the clock.

I'd close my eyes, pray, look at the clock again – and it would still be 11:11.

And again!

I would often feel, during these one minutes that seemed to stretch for a long time, that God was inviting me to experience time differently.

When the one-minute seemed to last longer than I thought, I felt as if I were hearing – yes, your sister has very little time. But she has now, as do you. Time is the gift; you can make what you want of it. Time is the cage. It is that which sets limits past which you cannot go. Time stretches; it shrinks. Behind time is eternity. I Am That I Am. I Will Be What I Will Be. Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh.

***

I went to mass at Our Lady of the Valley Church in Wayne on Sunday, April 12. It was my first time in a large group of people after my sister died on the previous Friday.

Church was packed. It was the usual diverse crowd typical of Catholic churches. The man to my left looked Arabic. The girl to my right looked like an American teenager of Scandinavian descent. In front of me was a weightlifter in a tight t-shirt, a crewcut, and a heavy gold chain.

I reminded myself. "You have spent the past three days all wrapped up in your sister's illness and death. You are now in a crowd of people who are not in mourning. You can't start crying in the middle of mass. You need to start moving on. You need to be aware that not everyone is obsessed with what is obsessing you."

Father began to deliver his sermon. "Last Friday," he said, "I did something that, as a priest, I abhor. I had to bury a six-year-old girl who died of cancer." Father went on to mention that the parish had raised a five-figure donation to pay for her funeral and some of her medical expenses.

The burly man in front of me began to cry, as did the teenager to my right.

We are all in this together, though we choose to forget it so we can compete with each other. We all face the same enemy: death. We all are hiding wounds that are invisible to the naked eye. When we act on God's love and faith, we serve ourselves by serving each other.

***

A woman I don't know posted this story I had never heard before on Amanda's Facebook page. Antoinette was a nurse, an RN.

My sister Antoinette "went to her mailbox one afternoon and there was an envelope in her mailbox with 1000.00 cash in the envelope and a note that read 'Thank you for the exceptional care you gave my wife. You went above and beyond to make her comfortable.' No signature just a note of gratitude to a woman who makes us all pale by comparison."

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Sprig of Forsythia

Photo by me of the sprig in question 
When Antoinette and I hiked at Ringwood and Skylands Manor, we selected our favorite wildflowers. Of course I picked one sky blue: chicory. She picked buttercups.

She hated forsythia.

"It's the same color as buttercups, and a similar shape," I protested.

"It looks weedy and untamed," she said. "Buttercups are subtle and delicate."

I sent her emails with photographs of burgeoning forsythia.

"You're torturing me!"

Today, Monday, April 13, was my first day back to teaching after my sister Antoinette died on Friday, April 10.

As I walked to work along my usual route, a forsythia, hanging over my head from a terraced front yard on West Broadway, brushed my face. After a long winter, the forsythia was finally coming into blossom. "Well played, Antoinette, well played," I said. "You got out of Dodge before the forsythia began to blossom."

I walked on.

As I passed through the parking lot of the DeLuccia-Lozito Funeral Home, as I do most mornings, my foot almost stepped on a – branch? I bent down and picked it up. There in the empty funeral parlor parking lot was a perfect, clean, artificial sprig of forsythia.

I shoved it into my backpack and carried it to school.

A sign, or a mere coincidence? I don't know. Saturday's bear was utterly beyond chance, and I am as sure as I am of anything that it was a sign. This? Coincidence, sign, not sure. Just saying.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

It's a Sign


Saturday, April 11, 2015, 8 p.m.


I woke up this Saturday morning feeling free, lighter, and elated.

The long haul was over. My sister was finally in heaven. I wouldn't spend my day eating myself up for not saving her, and not rushing ineptly and spasmodically through chores meant to hold my fraying life together so I could head to her house, or one of three different hospitals she's been in.

Then, after that rush of elation and lightness, I felt sad. My sister died yesterday.

Today is not the saddest I've felt. Three people have asked me in the past 24 hours how I am. One was Katie Lynch, a warm-hearted Facebook friend, who sent me a private message.

One was Susan Roxbury. She is the mother of Dan Roxbury, Antoinette's daughter's husband.

We were standing in Antoinette's kitchen when she asked. Antoinette's body was still in the bedroom. It took the hospice nurse a couple of hours to get there to confirm what we already knew. After she completed the death certificate, it would be time to call the funeral home.

The hospice nurse, a woman with a presence as soft, kind and fluffy as angel feathers, volunteered to clean Antoinette's body before the funeral home came to take it. She invited me to leave the room.

"No," I said. "I'm a former nurse's aide."

"Yes," she said. "But some people find it hard when it's family."

"No," I said. "I'll help."

We removed the many blankets we had piled on Antoinette when she had started to tremble. We used the nearby sanitary wipes to clean Antoinette's body one last time. We used nurse's aide technique to move her heavy body off the pad, roll the pad up and remove it, and reach all areas with the wipes.

To me it was all part of the deal. I slept in the same bed with Antoinette for many years. I bathed in the same bathtub with her. She punched me with that body and I gave back as good as I could, though I was younger and smaller. Once, during a particularly heated fight, I sprayed cleaning fluid into her eyes. Chemical weapons. That ended that fight pretty damn quick.

We didn't touch for decades, and then she surprised me by kissing me during the sign of peace at our mother's funeral. Then, when she got sick, I gingerly ventured the occasional touch. The sicker she got, the more I touched her.

One day when she was pretty out of it, I stroked the soles of her feet, and she said, "That feels good." I was surprised by the positive feedback. I was stroking the soles of her feet when she stopped breathing. Now I was washing her corpse.

Later I accompanied the funeral home guys, burly guys in suits, as they lifted the corpse onto the spring-loaded stretcher. Antoinette's sister-in-law, being protective, had tried to close the front door in front of me. She looked at my face and opened the door again. I walked outside as they moved my sister's body into the hearse. My parents never said goodbye to a departing guest at the front door. They always walked the person outside, down the sidewalk. It's all part of the deal.

Again, Antoinette's body was still in the bedroom when Susan Roxbury asked me how I was.

I replied in the same way to each of the three people who asked this question.

"I'm okay," I said. "The worst day was October 26, 2014, the day I saw the three bears. It hit me really hard that day. I thought of Antoinette's coming death every minute and I could not escape the grief. I felt pulverized by it."

I usually clean when I feel this bad. It's a way to impose order on a world out of whack. I spent four hours cleaning yesterday. I couldn't clean again today. I am obsessive compulsive and I ration when I allow myself to clean.

I washed laundry instead. I wrote – another way to impose order. And then I went where I always go when I feel freed up, when chores are done. I went to my favorite place on earth, Skylands.

I love cold and fear summer but even I have to confess that winter 2014-15 outstayed its welcome. Persistent snow cover, ice-locked ponds, overcast skies and cool temperatures meant that I didn't see crocuses or hear spring peepers until April 5, Easter Sunday, the latest I can remember.

Even today I saw one stray frozen fountain of ice escaping rocks facing the Wanaque Reservoir, and clumps of snow clinging to the north side of Ringwood Manor.

Other than that, though, the weather seemed to reflect Antoinette's release. Blue skies. Some high clouds. Temperatures in the mid-fifties. There was a strong wind. It's always hard to know how to dress in spring. In the shade, wind blowing, it's February. When you are walking uphill and the wind dies down and the sun comes out, you sweat. I wore a denim dress and a down vest. Perfect.

Right before I headed out, I noticed some earrings on my desktop. "Wear these," my little voice said, rather insistently.

I was surprised.

I am neat I don't leave earrings on my desk. I cleaned yesterday. How did these earrings get here?

I was also surprised by the message. My little voice generally doesn't instruct me to wear earrings. I don't wear earrings when hiking. They'd get in the way of my binoculars strap.

To get to Skylands I walk up Morris Road. Morris Road is a one-lane, paved road through woods. There are many beech trees, with their distinctive smooth, pale bark. Because of the silence and the pale trees, and because I am on a paved road, rather than a footpath, these woods feel sort of spooky. I've walked this path hundreds of times over a couple of decades. I rarely see or hear much wildlife, except for the old reliables: turkey and black vultures overhead, the phoebe on the WPA bridge from 1939, the yellow warbler in the brambles insistently informing all passersby, "Sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet!"

I always think of my sister Antoinette while walking up Morris Road. I think of her because she was the first person to take me to Skylands. I also think of her because there is a small pond along the road. The property adjoining Skylands used to be Mount St. Francis, a convent. Kids from St. Francis would go there for school trips.

Antoinette went after receiving a pendant as a gift when she was in grade school. The clasp broke when Antoinette was standing over the pond. The pendant slipped off her neck into the water, never to be seen again. If I scuba dived into the pond, would I find this pendant lost sometime during the Johnson administration?

As I walked up Morris Road today, I thought of that day of terrible sadness, October 26, 2014. Antoinette had received the terminal diagnosis in May of 2013. In October of 2014 she was in three different health-care facilities fighting a secondary condition, a life-threatening infection. Seeing her in such bad shape slammed me up against the inevitable.

On that October day I also went to Skylands. I saw two unusual things that day. I posted a blog about it here.

That day I saw a kinglet, a small bird. I don't often see kinglets. They are tiny birds who spend their time high up in trees, and they are only winter visitors. This kinglet was trapped on a branch. I could not make out what was trapping her – a thorn? A spider web? I approached her, hoping to free her, but she struggled and worked herself free and flew off.

Later on that October day, I saw three bears. I'd never seen bears on Morris Road. Again, I'd walked this road hundreds of times. Not only were there three bears, but they were almost eager to be seen. These bears turned, looked at me, and just stood there, posing.

When people yesterday and today asked me how I am in the wake of my sister's death, I kept saying, "I felt it all back in October, the day I saw the three bears."

Today, as I walked along Morris Road, past the pond that may or may not contain the rusted remains of Antoinette's pendant, my "little voice" said, "Wouldn't it be something if you saw a bear on Morris Road today? If you do, that will be sign from Antoinette."

And I replied, "Little Voice, shut the hell up. I don't want today to be all about hearing you telling me to wear earrings and look for signs. I want to chill out and breathe and just let things be for the next 24 hours."

And I kept walking uphill to Skylands. And I did not see any bears.

When I got to Skylands I opened a little box that contained a lock of Antoinette's hair.

I had tried to save a lock of my mother's hair after she died. Antoinette physically restrained me from doing so. "You sentimental weirdo! Stop it!"

No one was there to stop me from snipping a lock of Antoinette's hair.

I released some of her hair on my favorite bench. It's the stone bench with the cupids – or maybe they are nymphs – that overlooks the annual garden and the perennial garden. I released some in the apple orchard, at the exact spot where Artie, our poodle, flashed an elderly woman. I released some at the scenic overlook, where you can see nothing but trees for miles and people say, "I can't believe this is New Jersey!" and some in the lilac garden, on the circular bench around the tree.

I saw very few birds. I did see one kinglet. That was a nice surprise. I don't see them often. Then I started walking back down Morris Road.

I was almost to the pond when I realized that I was not alone.

To my left, a bear was walking through the woods, parallel to the road. The bear was walking in the same direction as I, at the same speed. Very little foliage separated us. I could see the bear's entire body, its signature bear-like sloped posture and ambling gait. It turned and looked at me a few times, but it never stopped walking, at my pace, same direction, close to the road.

We walked like that for some minutes. I walked slowly; the bear walked slowly. And then the bear walked onto the road in front of me and crossed it, into the woods to my right.

I thought it too risky to keep walking. I stood still in the road. Eventually two monster pick-up trucks, the kind with huge tires and shiny gear, drove past me and stopped.

One guy wearing flannel and a cap got out. "There's a bear over there. Do you want a ride?"

"Yes, please," I squeaked. I minced toward his truck.

"You shouldn't be hiking alone in these woods!" the man said.

He sounded Cajun. He was dressed in complete backwoods gear. I expected to find nutria pelts tanning in the back seat.

"Where are you from?" I asked.

"Bergen County!" he said.

Bergen County??? Home of Paramus, the world capital of shopping malls! Maybe he's just watched too many episodes of "Duck Dynasty." But New Jersey is unpredictable, with the wild folded into the tame.

"I hear a guy in Bergen County was attacked by a coyote the other day," I said. I always converse, charmingly, with strange men who give me rides. It's kept me alive so far.

"Yup," the guy said. "That coyote was rabid." He still sounded totally Cajun.

PS: As I have been typing this up, I looked down and again saw the earrings that my "little voice" had told me to wear this morning.

Some years back my sister and I went to Great Swamp. We stopped in the park gift shop. I looked at these earrings, inexpensive little things. I was attracted by their color; I adore turquoise. My sister grabbed them and bought them. I tried to pay; she wouldn't let me. It's like when she bought me pomegranates. I just realized right now that these earrings are in the shape of bears.

The blog post about seeing the three bears last October is here:
http://save-send-delete.blogspot.com/2014/10/in-all-my-years-of-birdwatching-i-have.html

Morris Road, in warmer weather. Source
Favorite bench at Skylands, behind the wellhead
Source
The earrings with foliage from a grove Antoinette liked

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thank You for Praying for My Sister

Letting Go by Bandico Source
Friday, April 10, 2015

I got up this morning and did my favorite thing – cleaned my apartment.

Amanda phoned me at around one to say that it had moved from "any hour now" to "any minute now."

I changed from grungy clothes and drove to Antoinette's house, missing the exit. Dissociative state. Made an illegal U-turn.

Antoinette was still doing the labored breathing she began yesterday afternoon.

Many people were in Antoinette's room, some of whom I have met before, some of whom I was meeting for the first time, some of whom I feel comfortable around, some of whom I feel less comfortable around.

A priest came. We locked hands and prayed the Lord's Prayer. When that was finished, before we could break the circle, I loudly announced that I had forgiven Antoinette everything, and that everyone else present had also forgiven Antoinette for everything. No one gave me any lip.

Antoinette's daughters stepped out of the room to look at a dress.

I was settling in in the corner, about to open up my computer and kill time. I looked at my sister's face, though, and something told me, "This is it." I moved closer to her and began stroking the soles of her feet. I had done that earlier and she said that she liked it.

One of the people I feel less comfortable around and I were left in the room with Antoinette.

This person around whom I feel less comfortable challenged me, "Maybe she's holding on because she thinks that we have not given her permission to let go. Have *you* given her permission to get go? Have her children given her permission to let go? Should we get them in here and have them give Antoinette permission to let go? You're her sister! CAN YOU JUST TELL HER TO LET GO???"

Well, even if someone is someone you feel edgy around, that doesn't mean that the person doesn't have something wise and helpful to say.

I believe in telepathy, especially between my sister and me.

Several years back I was visiting some friends of hers down the shore. They had a dog. At that event, too, the house was full of people, many of whom I did not know, but I know I love dogs, so I grabbed the dog and took him for a walk. He was a boxer.

I thought, heck, a boxer, a strong dog, I can take him for a serious walk.

Not so. I don't think we had gone a mile when he collapsed on the road from exhaustion.

I sent Antoinette the message telepathically. Antoinette, the dog collapsed, I'm on such and such a street, come get him and me.

And she did.

So, I was watching her breath, and stroking the soles of her feet, and thinking, what could I say to Antoinette, telepathically, because she doesn't appear to be conscious and her hearing was not that good, that would make her let go?

I knew that "let go" was not the message she would heed. Antoinette was always in charge. So I said, "Antoinette, there are people you can boss around in heaven."

I continued to watch her breaths.

And.

They.

Stopped.

I motioned to the other person in the room, the one around whom I am less than comfortable, to bring in Antoinette's kids, and she gave me a hard time!

"She may start breathing again," she actually said.

Yeah, no, I don't think so.

But, eventually this difficult person got up, and gestured for the kids to come in, and they cried.

Scruffy, the rescue dog that Antoinette saved from death by parasites and pneumonia, had been glued to Antoinette. He licked her extensively after she passed.

My Sister Bought Me Pomegranates

Source
Holy Saturday, day before Easter, second day of Passover, April 4, 2015

I try not to cry in front of my sister or her family. I don't want to upset anyone. I don't like crying in front of people. I don't much like crying.

I was with her most of yesterday, Good Friday, and I don't think I cried. Strong like bull.

Today I spent the morning frantically doing what I do, now, on days when I am not teaching or with my sister: tried to catch up on email, tried to grade papers, tried even just to think about what herculean tasks or black magic I need to do perform to meet my own insurmountable health care needs.

I was invited to a Passover Seder and I wanted to try to attend. I walked in, realized it was a strictly family thing, and that I was in no condition to be charming enough to penetrate someone else's family event, and left pretty quickly.

In between I managed a brief visit to my sister.

She has been bedridden for a while. She is at home.

I was standing next to her bed, her daughter on the other side. I was thinking, hey, I'm superwoman. I got all dressed up for the Seder, and I am visiting my sister, too, and I am okay. On an even keel.

I suddenly thought of something and my sangfroid cracked like a dropped vase. I could not stop crying. This is what I thought of: the time she bought me pomegranates.

Before I moved back to Jersey from Indiana, where I got my PhD, except for a few stray and strained sentences, my sister and I had not seen each other or interacted much in over ten years. For good reasons, none of which I will go into here.

I drove a U-Haul from Indiana to New Jersey. She and I got together. No matter what else was going on, Antoinette and I could always bond over food: talking about it, shopping for it, preparing it, and eating it. We are Polish / Slovak! We went to Corrado's produce market, a legendary produce market in Paterson.

I adore them, but I am very careful about buying pomegranates. They cost a buck fifty or two bucks; not cheap. I wait till they go on sale, and I make sure to get good ones, and appreciate every morsel when I do let myself eat them. I eat pomegranates only on my day off. A work day is entirely too rushed for the delectation required in the consumption of a pomegranate.

There were some big ones on sale that year. It was a good harvest, not like this past year, 2014, when the pomegranates I saw were small and had shrunken cheeks.

As we approached the cash register, Antoinette, radiating her powerful aura, as if by magic, moved me backward and paid for all my groceries, including the pomegranates.

My childhood was not perfect, but this was always true. When Antoinette and I went to the movies, to a restaurant, or to a store, she always paid for me. It was never discussed. I tried at times to treat her to a movie and she would physically restrain me.

So it touched me so much when, after a decade of silence between us, she paid for my pomegranates.

Today during my short visit, the thought suddenly occurred to me: she'll never buy me pomegranates again. Maybe no one ever will. That vital, statuesque, elegant, commanding woman I could not vanquish with my attempts to pay is going fast. I will never again be anybody's younger sister. 

And I could not stop the tears.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

On Watching Someone You Love Suffer

Mary's face. Michelangelo's Pieta. 
Watching someone you love suffer is hard. It is also a spiritual duty. Given how hard it is, and how necessary it is, I'm surprised it does not receive more attention. Charity, patience, hope, diligence: we know their names. We have examples. We are to have the faith of the centurion, who believed that Jesus could heal his servant though Jesus never met him, the charity of the impoverished widow who donated the mite, which was all she had, the humility of the Canaanite woman who said that she, like a dog, would be satisfied with the scraps that fell from the Jews' tables. The courage of the early martyrs.

I don't even have a word for what I and others have been doing: watching my sister struggle for breath.

I'm not talking about the heroism of her family, who drove her to one last doctor, a doctor who screwed them over with the sadism of a Nazi and the greed of a cannibal (karma will bite you so hard one day, Mr. Big Rich Physician who jerked good people around yesterday just so you could get bigger and richer.)

I'm not talking about that kind of heroism, that kind of hoping against hope, because then at least you are doing something.

I'm not talking about changing her soiled sheets. Again, at least, you are doing something. I was a nurse's aide for years. It was one of my most satisfying jobs. It feels surprisingly good to be nice to other people in an active, hands-on way.

I'm talking about just sitting there, watching her struggle for breath, and knowing you can't do a damn thing to help.

I get it that in my own life people have had trouble with this. When I had the vestibular disorder, and I vomited and was paralyzed for hours … days … years, and I stumbled from one experimental surgery after another, I lost friends. Good friends. They did not want to watch me melt; they did not want to watch helplessly as my life, bit by bit, hope and writing and plans and my future, get sucked up and disappear in the big wind.

They couldn't do it. They could not see with me and watch me suffer.

I know why they couldn't. It's hard to do.

We should have a word for this activity. One word, one verb, so we didn't have to use all these words together: to watch someone you love suffer, to travel several days a week to be next to this person just for this reason alone, to know you can't do a damn thing to help, and not to shrink from this, but to embrace it, so your loved one is not alone in his or her suffering.

Co-suffer? Not really. Because you are not the one suffering.

Witness? Too many other meanings. The word is already used.

We need a hero for this verb. So those of us doing it, and finding it unbearable but unstoppable – I can't stand this; I can't leave – can say, "I can do this because ____ did it."

I can donate money even though I'm poor because the Widow who gave the mite donated and she was even poorer than I. I can have faith because the centurion had faith. I can get up and work every day because my parents got up and worked every day until they dropped. These activities have heroes, poster children.

Who is the hero of this verb I don't have in my vocabulary? Whose hand can I hold to get me through this?

As is the case with so many Bible truths, the deep, deep story is in there. It's just not told in so many words.

You have to imagine it.

What did Mary Magdalene go through, watching Jesus on the cross? The man she funded and followed?

What did Elizabeth go through?

We know what Mary the mother of Jesus went through. "A sword shall pierce your heart." 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Who Are the Haters? Who Are the Victims? Christian Bakers and Same-Sex Weddings


Who are the real haters? Who are the real victims? Christian Bakers and same-sex weddings. 

The United States is in turmoil. Christophobes insist that Christians are imposing Jim Crow on homosexuals. Under Jim Crow, Blacks were lynched, denied the vote, and forced into substandard schools.

Are American Christians lynching homosexuals, forcing them into bad schools, and not letting them vote?

Let's turn back the clock to July, 2012 in Lakewood, Colorado. Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig want to get married. They ask Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips to make their wedding cake. Phillips doesn't make same-sex wedding cakes. He also doesn't make Halloween cakes or sexually explicit cakes. He is an artist and he must feel inspiration. Phillips offers Mullins and Craig any other cake they want.

The government steps in. The state compares Jack Phillips to a "despicable" slave-owner or Nazi. The state orders Jack Phillips to make the cake, and orders him and his 87-year-old mother to attend state-mandated re-education. Jack Phillips has to think and feel and create what the state wants him to think, feel, and create.

What about Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins? Are they the new victims of the new Jim Crow?

Charlie Craig and Dave Mullins were "inundated" with offers of free cake from "as far away as Japan." They have free cake. They ate free cake. They are not cake victims.

Below is a list of homosexuals who have had to go without cake, food, flowers, venues, and photography in the US because of the new, Christian Jim Crow:

1.) ________________

2.) ________________

3.) ________________

4.) ________________

5.) ________________

Yup, that's right. Not one single homosexual couple in the US has had to go without all the trimmings at their weddings. None. Zip. Zero. Nada.

There are no homosexual victims of the new, Christian same-sex wedding Jim Crow. Not a single one.

Same-sex couples have been championed in the mainstream press and "inundated" with offers of free stuff, often from Christians and churches.

How about the Christian artists and businesses who declined their commissions?

Check out this partial list of casualties:

1.) Jack Phillips

2.) Barronelle Stutzman

3.) Crystal and Kevin O'Connor

4.) Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin

5.) Cynthia and Robert Gifford

What has happened to them? Some of the following:

They have received death threats so credible their businesses have shut down and there is doubt they can ever re-open

They have received thousands – literally thousands – of hate letters

They have been ordered to attend state-mandated re-education and thought-control sessions

They have been vilified in the mainstream press and on the internet by writers calling their Christian faith "cannibalism" "trailer park trash" "pigs" and much worse

They have been forced to pay massive fines for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings, including by refusing to host a same-sex wedding on their own, private property. Even if they offered to host the reception on their private property, that was not enough. They were ordered to host the actual wedding ceremony itself

They have had forfeiture of their place of business and their home threatened by the state

They have been compared to Nazis by representatives of the state

They have been told in explicit language by state representatives that they must give up their religious beliefs – that their surrender of their religious belief "is the price of citizenship."*

Please note: none of the above-listed people ever denied services that they offer to all customers. If a gay person entered their place of business and asked for a cookie, that gay person got a cookie. Or a flower. Or a photograph. Or a slice of pizza. Haters are lying about them, saying that they deny services to customers based on sexual orientation. That's not true. All they did was say, "I can't participate in a same-sex wedding. Not with my art, not with my private property."

Activists like Steven Crowder have exposed massive hypocrisy at work in the Christophobe camp. Crowder went to Muslim bakeries in Dearborn, Michigan and asked for a wedding cake. He was refused. The state is not going after these Muslim bakeries. Video at this link here.

Theodore Shoebat asked gay bakeries to create pro-traditional marriage cakes. They refused. Video at this link here.

Lesbian activist Tammy Bruce, former Act-Up member, denounced Christophobic "fascist bullying," video here.

America's current turmoil over Christian bakers is just another Big Lie. It's 1984-style "two minutes of hate." The re-education the state wants to subject Christians to is comparable to "Clockwork Orange."

In the same week that my Facebook feed overflowed with Christophobic hatred, the very same "human rights activists" who posted those messages ignored the massacre of around 150 innocents at Garissa College in Kenya. The killers announced that they were killing their victims because they were Christian.


* The government said that Christians who decline to create art for same-sex weddings are "now are compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives," adding "it is the price of citizenship." Source