My head almost exploded yesterday. I turned a color of red that caught my son’s attention and clenched my teeth until my brain hurt. My Lenten promise to live life more gracefully and with more patience was tested. I failed the test big time.
I’m getting ahead of myself. It bears mentioning that I intended to write my most official review of I Just Want to Pee Alone instead of this rant, but it just couldn’t be done. This got in the way:
Here is what set me off. You’ll see that the link takes you to a page that now differentiates between the rumor and the truth; when I received a copy of the email and picture, it was shared as truth. There was no disclaimer, no rumor. It was sent with the intent to make people believe that what they were reading was fact. Now, go. Read. I’ll go reheat my coffee for the fourth time while you do.
You back? Good, now let’s talk.
Supposedly, this is a conservative message about how the liberal media spins stories. That’s not what I see. I see an ulterior motive. Anyway, I don’t know who composed the original message, but I received it from my priest. He often emails the entire congregation, and once before he sent something about education that I found offensive. I let him know, he explained how he interpreted the message, and we hugged it out and moved on. But now? To say that I am unhappy would be the understatement of the century. To say that I am offended, livid, disappointed, and sad is just a start.
Let’s look at the facts:
1. Trayvon Martin is dead.
2. It’s George Zimmerman’s fault.
3. A mother is without her child.
4. The picture of the “17-year-old” Trayvon is actually The Game, a rapper from California.
What wasn’t included in the copy you read was this little diddy:
“A citizen who shirks his duty to contribute to the security of his or her community is little better than the criminal who threatens it.”
Wanna know how I interpret the aforementioned statement? It’s saying that Trayvon was a criminal. Why? Because he was black? Because he had gotten into trouble a few times? Because he had tattoos? I don’t give a flying fart if Trayvon was rude, inked up, or got suspended from school. If that’s what makes a person a criminal, well hell, cuff me. I’ve been called a bitch since I was 3, I have a tramp stamp, and I was caught shoplifting in junior high. Tell my kids I love them.
“A citizen who shirks his duty to contribute to the security of his or her community is little better than the criminal who threatens it.”
Know what else that little statement means to me? It’s a pass for George Zimmerman. It’s permitting, justifying even, his killing an innocent child. He took it upon himself to protect a community and we are supposed to be really grateful that he did. As long as people like him are doing it, we don’t have to. Our sons, fathers, husbands don’t have to. Well done, George Zimmerman, you overzealous, gun-toting, wanna-be nightwatchman murderer. Thank you for your contribution.
I understand that there are some brain dead people living among us, ones who forward ridiculous emails such as this to their friends, and they all have a good laugh and a “ah HA!” moment now that they feel they have cause to openly hate this dead kid–thank GOD! I heard he smoked weed!–, and I know I can’t change them. They are entitled to their opinions and they can openly be buttholes if they want. That does not change the fact that I am absolutely disgusted that anyone, let alone a PRIEST, would even entertain the idea of spreading such vileness. I thought Christianity was all about forgiveness, acceptance?
I also thought maybe I was overreacting; I have a tendency to let my passion (crazy?) control me, so I freaked out on Facebook and my pals responded. They, too, were offended. I called my mom, my most honest critic, and she assured me that I wasn’t out of line:
You should write to your priest and tell him how you feel.
I already did.
Of course you did.
I fired off this email to my priest, the man who blessed my marriage and baptized my kids:
It’s not my best work, but I think I got my point across. I’ve yet to hear back.
I am Catholic, but this is not about Catholicism.
At the core of what’s really bothering me is that anyone, especially a person who is the mouthpiece for a group of people, one who represents the values and beliefs of these people, wouldn’t look at that email and just think: “Who cares?” So what if Trayvon’s mother gave the press an old picture of him? My son will be 17 one day and I guarantee you that my eyes will always see the little boy, not the budding teenager.
A mother’s eyes love, and it’s about damn time more of us start seeing things with the same eyes.
So tell me, free of judgement, what are your thoughts? This is a safe place to share; I promise to lay the smack down on anyone who can’t have a respectful discussion, regardless of opinion.
Christine at More Than Mommies says
I think your e-mail back to your priest was respectful and I hope that it will be eye opening for him. I also hope that he takes the time to address his error to everyone to whom he sent that email!
Keep us updated on the response. I hope he listens to you.
I definitely will Wendy. Thanks for not thinking I’m a lunatic after my heated email to you yesterday! Ahahaha!
Like Wendy said, please keep us updated. I’m eager to hear his response to your email, which very nicely points that tattoos do not make a life any less sacred.
I’ll definitely keep you guys in the loop (see what I did there? Families in the Loop!…), I just hope he gets back to me.
He did get back to me: “I Agree the whole incident was sad. Any killing of anyone is wrong for any reason. But I thought it made a point. So often the media slants the truth, and I suspect that there may have been more to that incident that was reported. I was not aware that the picture was of a rapper, and for that I apologize. I am not up on rappers. Thanks for the clarification.”
So, yeah, I’m not exactly appeased. The point about media slanting the truth is taken; however, this was a horrible example to use, especially when there are SO many other illustrations of how liberal AND conservative media skew things in their favor. Sigh.
Thank you for your two cents Christine! As a fellow church-going Catholic, I appreciate you weighing in on this.
Jennifer H says
I’m really glad you wrote to your priest. I hope he takes the time to consider the real message of that disgusting e-mail and he addresses it. And apologizes. I left my church after HS for hateful speech (at gay people). Jesus is about love. And standing up for the little guy. Not hate, racism, or bigotry. I hope you are able to find some resolution with this, and have the strength to move on (or stay there) if you need to.
Jennifer, you said it best: Jesus is about love. And standing up for the little guy. Not hate, racism, or bigotry.
I have never commented on your posts before, but I thought this one needed some discussion. I see your point. Totally and completely. Trayvon was killed mercilessly and his poor mama is heartbroken. Having a child of my own makes these kinds of stories that much more difficult to read. I cannot imagine.
However, the point the article was attempting to make (poorly, I might add) still rings true and needs to be noted. The bias in the liberal media is completely shameless. We cannot ignore the fact that we are not getting much truth when we turn on the TV.
Got cut off, dang it. But my husband is a pastor and would never ever send out an email as heartless as that to his congregation! I don’t know what possessed your priest to do such a thing.
Beth, your comments are always welcome! Thank you for this one 🙂
While I understand the point the article was trying to make, I wonder if there were an ulterior motive. Why else would whomever wrote this use the Trayvon Martin case as an example of twisted media? There are a trillion other illustrations of bias in liberal (and conservative!) media; I just feel like this was in such poor taste. And then to have my PRIEST support it the way he did?! Blows my mind! I’m happy to hear that your pastor husband wouldn’t share this message. Hug him for me, will ya?
Thank you for reading!
Thank you! I love reasons to hug him. 😀
I do agree that there are several other examples that would better serve the purpose of pointing out media bias. Point taken.
And it is things like this, your priest blatantly supporting something so mean-spirited, that cause people to walk away from church altogether. I hate that. A whole lot.
Beth, you’re right about this being a reason people walk away from church altogether. We have high standards for our church leaders, and I for one expect them to practice what they preach. This isn’t a very good example of a Shepard leading his flock.
Chris Carter says
WOW. I am blown away that your PRIEST would send something like this to his “flock”… I would truly question HIS judgement. The world/media is a deep and vast sea of dirty water. There is little to trust anymore. SO sad…but unfortunately so true. GOOD FOR YOU to write him back with your concerns in the way that you did. Even in the dirt, we can still have a pure voice be heard! (Pure meaning kinda clean…cause lets face it- I would be right there with ya in your scenario!)
Pure meaning kinda clean–hahaha! Exactly!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Chris!
Mama G says
I didn’t reply to your post on Facebook because I didn’t really understand what you were talking about (I purposely avoid the news, both written and TV). So I Googled the name and coupled with this post and the email from your priest it makes sense.
Your priest IS out of line, and should have known better than to pass this along. If someone doing God’s work can’t show a more Christian attitude then the rest of us are screwed. If he didn’t read it through properly before forwarding it (as so many of us do) – then he should be more careful – in his position. And whether or not Trayvon was or wasn’t those things he’s being accused of – he didn’t deserve to be killed. It wasn’t that man’s place to take his life. In this country those on Neighbourhood Watch hide behind their curtains, take down vehicle registration numbers and phone the police if they see anything suspicious. Not take matters into their own hands. Very, very sad indeed. And you’re also right about the photo – what does it matter how old the picture is? A mother has lost her son. I have a son the same age. He is still a CHILD. This man has killed a CHILD.
Mama G, I actually never thought about him not reading through the entire message. He may just have seen the title about liberal bias and thought, “Well, this pertains to me!” and sent the sucker on its way. If that’s the case, it’s irresponsible, but he’s human and makes mistakes. That said, he can always respond to my email and he and I can discuss this.
Oh and your line: If someone doing God’s work can’t show a more Christian attitude then the rest of us are screwed is RIGHT on!
I can see both sides of the story here. I am not a mother but I can imagine the pain of losing a child is more than anyone should have to bear. I don’t really have an opinion on this case because I wasn’t there and I don’t know what happened and either Martin or Zimmerman could have been more at fault for what happened. The fact of the matter is, Martin is dead and that is tragic.
With that being said, the email is not completely wrong. The picture was all wrong but there are plenty of pictures of Martin that made him look just as unlikable as the pictures that were shown of Zimmerman. There was a clear bias and that is what the email is trying to (crudely) get across. Martin’s past is also addressed in the email because people who follow the case should have a complete story of both people involved. I believe run ins with the law from Zimmerman’s past were brought to light pretty quickly but I watched the media try to shut down stories of Martin’s illegal activities which could have played a role in this case at one point.
I’m not saying Martin should have been killed but we can’t neglect the fact that he did seem to have a criminal history that may or may not have played a role in his actions that tragic night. I agree that your priest was out of line for sending something out like this though and I’m sorry he didn’t use better judgement. 🙁
Thanks for your two cents. I respectfully disagree with the idea that ANY background information on Trayvon was necessary or even relevant to this case. Had he been doing something illegal at the time he was shot (trespassing, etc.) or had he been acting in a suspicious manner that caught the attention of other people (sneaking around in the shadows?), then maybe–and that’s a BIG maybe–I could understand why a “background check” would’ve been included. Martin was the victim, regardless of whether or not he was a jerk, wore a grill, or had a prior record.
Maybe I have my facts wrong, but wasn’t Zimmerman told to stay away from the kid and let the police handle it? He didn’t; he confronted Martin, Martin reacted by punching him, and Zimmerman killed him, right? I don’t understand how Martin’s illegal activities would have been relevant. I personally feel like some people wanted a reason to dislike him, even after he was dead, so they could come to terms with this whole case. And that’s what emails like this are doing: giving haters more reason to hate.
What do you think?
P.S. I LOVE that we’re able to agree to disagree yet remain respectful. I think we should teach Congress how to do this thing 😉
I’m all about good, respectful discussion 🙂 I understand your point and it’s a very good one but Zimmerman told the police he did feel Martin was acting suspiciously. With his past criminal record, it might make sense that Zimmerman noticed weird behaviors from someone who was recently accused of robbing houses. I don’t deny that Zimmerman was in the wrong to follow him though.
I guess my biggest issue is that the media felt the need to report Zimmerman’s past crimes but completely ignored the fact that Martin also had a past. If Zimmerman hadn’t said he noticed weird behavior, I’d agree that Martin’s past is inconsequential to this event but Zimmerman said he noticed strange behavior. Clearly he was in the wrong though as he has been charged with murder but I don’t think the media handled the way they portrayed either of them very well. Conservatives had Zimmerman pegged as a saint and Martin as a thug and liberals said the exact opposite. Unfortunately, media is just playing into the big political circus and this case got caught up in it just like everything else. It’s really unfortunate but I feel it’s important to try to listen to both sides and keep an open mind which very few seem to be able to do these days. 🙁
I totally agree that it’s important to listen to BOTH sides with an open mind. Conservatives and liberals alike are very good at turning a deaf ear when the “other side” speaks.
Laura Grimes says
Hi everyone! I just wanted to say how I feel about their backgrounds brought into question. If a man rapes a woman his past rapes could be used to show his mind set or his history. But a rape victims history is never allowed. It doesn’t matter if she had voluntary sex the night before, or had six boyfriends and was sexually active with all of them. She could be a prostitute or a virgin and her history couldn’t be brought into it either way. Why is Martin’s past any different?
One other point is that you can’t look at someone and tell their criminal past. I know clean cut businessmen who have been imprisoned for horrible crimes (look at John Wayne Gacy) and I know people, black and white, male and female who have tattoos and piercings, walk alone in neighborhoods at night and wear hoodies of all colors who have no criminal past. They have families and loved ones, help in the community and are upstanding members of society. Zimmerman couldn’t tell by looking at someone that they were criminal without taking is own personal prejudices (racial or otherwise) into account.
Sorry it was long and kind of ranty. I don’t know enough about the case and I wasn’t there, so I can’t form a real opinion except that it is sad a young man is dead. Thanks for listening, and have a great night.
Thanks for visiting and for sharing your two cents. We’re all about civil dialogue over here, and you’re welcome any time!
P.S. I worked with a Laura Grimes; any chance you used to teach English at a high school in PA? 😉
Laura Grimes says
Lol, nope. Wasn’t me. It’s also my mother in laws name, but she never lived in PA. 🙂
Janine Huldie says
Stephanie, huge props for not only expressing your beliefs on this to us, but for writing that letter to your priest. I too am Catholic, but like you said this is not about catholism, but about the actual loss of life and a mother losing her child. Well said my friend!!
Thanks, Janine! I appreciate you weighing in!
Hmmm Stephanie, I don’t think you overreacted. I admire that not only did you respond to his email but you’ve chosen to speak out about it as well. I tried to look at this from his POV and there really isn’t any justification for sending something like that along without reading it through to the end and understanding the implied message it is sending. From every angle, he has betrayed his own bias and ignorance.
Pray for him. I’m interested to know why he felt that that was an email/message to send out to his address book. We need to be so careful with the “Fwd” button.
You said it perfectly, Vernette: From every angle, he has betrayed his own bias and ignorance.
And while I respect the idea of “outing” media bias, I just feel like this was not the medium, audience, or example to use. Dang!
Thanks for your two cents, lady 🙂
As a Catholic and a mother AND a liberal (I confuse myself sometimes, too)- I do NOT think you overreacted. Because you’re right- that email was a pass to allow those feelings to come to the surface; he was a criminal, he was a thug, it wasn’t THAT big of a tragedy…
And that’s appalling.
WAIT! Another liberal Catholic Mama exists?! Well, you’re my favorite.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Keely. P.S. I love the name Keely.
Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. says
I am really proud of you for contacting your priest. That was brave, and the right thing to do. Please keep us posted if you hear back (not that it’s any of our business, but I’d like to hope he responds to you.) It is really disillusioning when someone we love or respect shared their agenda of prejudice with us.
Aww, thanks, Stephanie! I appreciate that you understand where I’m coming from.
I did hear back from my priest, too; you tell me what you think (I’m less than satisfied):
“I Agree the whole incident was sad. Any killing of anyone is wrong for any reason. But I thought it made a point.
So often the media slants the truth, and I suspect that there may have been more to that incident that was reported. I was not
Aware that the picture was of a rapper, and for that I apologize. I am not up on rappers. Thanks for the clarification.”
Penny Roach says
Steph, I have so many thoughts on this, so here goes.
First of all, so proud of you for being willing to address this with your priest. Many people would have deleted it or, even if they felt like you did, been afraid to speak up. You did so in a way that was heartfelt and respectful.
Secondly, you are right about the real issue at hand. The boy was murdered. That is what it comes down to. My first born son (who would have recently turned 26) died while at his babysitter’s house. I was at work. It was never proven what actually happened but it didn’t matter. When I want to visit my son for his birthday or Christmas, I go to the cemetery to do it. This boy’s mom will have to do the same. It sucks out loud no matter how many years go by.
This brings me to my third point ~ even though my eldest son would be a grown man today, he was a baby when he died and that’s how I remember him. Trayvon’s mom will forever have a life of emptiness now and she is entitled to remember him however she chooses. My youngest son is almost 14 and ready to shave and yet I use his pre-school photo as my blog picture. It’s a mother’s choice isn’t it?
And finally, skin color and tattoos are no reflection on the heart, intellect or talent of a person. I know people of color who are heavily tatted that are amazing and gentle and smart and funny and all kinds of awesomeness. And I know some people who are white as snow with nary a tattoo or piercing who are real d-bags.
Jesus himself spent time with everybody. He didn’t see people for their skin color, or their piercings or tattoos. He didn’t see people for how many mistakes they had made. Jesus saw people with the eyes of kindness, compassion and mercy. Your priest would be wise to remember that.
Again Steph…very proud of you for stepping up!
Oh, Penny. I just don’t have words. I am so, so sorry to learn of your first born. That is every mother’s nightmare. I said a special prayer for you last night <3
Thank you for your kind words and your loyalty to my crazy blog–you’re a gem, Penny! In fact, I’d like to rename you Diamond or something that’s more valuable than a penny. Quarter? I’m not trying to make you sound like a stripper, though, so maybe I’ll just keep calling you by your proper name, but know that you mean at least 100 pennies to me!
Penny Roach says
Girl, you are so crazy! I’m still a little mad at 50 Cent for stealing my idea and not giving me any credit. What up, yo? And true story – my daughter’s BFF’s name? Diamond. Fo’ reals.
Seriously, thank you for the prayers and for just being so awesome. All. The. Time.
Wow! I just can’t get over the fact that your priest sent his congregation this. Shouldn’t his job be to teach his church members how to be better people? It is not his job to blow the cover off news media…it is to inspire hope, selflessness and kindness. This did not do any of these things with this email.
He actually wrote back to me and thanked me for the clarification re: the rapper, but said he still thinks things happened in this case that the media didn’t tell us about. Kinda missing the point, isn’t he?
Kellie Abbott says
You embody the behavior that we try to teach our students. It is so important to stand up and voice your concern when confronting injustice.
On one hand I am encouraged that your priest communicates with the congregation (assuming this is not the only email he sent) beyond the yearly Lenten appeal letter. However, I’ve never been a fan of “forwards” and I think that is where he ran into trouble. The text of the piece is difficult to follow and makes a poor argument for media bias, if in fact that was his point in forwarding it. It does make several racist remarks and for no other reason should not have been passed on.
Our church needs to figure out have to espouse conservative values without hating people who do not share the same values or who “we” think don’t share these values.
Keep fighting the good fight,
Thank you for your kind words, Kel. And you’re right about finding the ability to agree to disagree respectfully. I’m confused because I thought that’s what Christianity was all about: being accepting and tolerant of others. Sigh.
I am so proud of you for writing a letter to your priest. Sending an email of that nature to the congregation in unacceptable and I hope you weren’t the only person that fired off a letter.
Maybe he should focus on forgiveness, personal reflection, and spiritual reflection, you know, the things we are supposed to focus on during lent.
Shout out to my other liberal Catholics!
Keep us updated on his reply.
Hiya! 🙂 He did reply; apologized for not being up on his rappers and thanked me for the clarification that The Game is not Trayvon Martin. He also told me he thinks there was more to that story than we were told and I had to sit on my hands as to not write back SO WHAT? He should’ve joined the FBI if he wanted to do investigations; send me a forward of puppies praying and call it a day.
Jill Pinnella Corso says
Great response, Steph. That email is ridiculous. It’s not about alerting you to media bias. It’s about slandering a victim so white people can maintain their sense of entitlement. Meaning, white people should get the benefit of the doubt in conflicts with non-whites.
I am not satisfied with your priest’s response. He clearly does not see why sending this was wrong. And is it really a priest’s job to alert you of media bias, anyway? Should that really be his focus?
Anyway, there’s a lot of news about educating kids on responsible use of the internet, but I think (and I don’t know how old your priest is) but people over the age of, say, 45 need to be educated most of all. I am constantly seeing my mom’s friends repost stupid shit on facebook without the slightest fact check. Or my husband’s aunt forwarding chain emails from 1995… Sigh. I guess people just want to forward things that reinforce their own views.
Ugh, sorry this is so long. But also why are tattoos and gold teeth and age proof that someone was a thug? This shit makes me angry.
Makes me angry, too. Also makes me sad that a person of God doesn’t understand WHY it’s wrong/mean/hateful to spread messages like this.
Thanks for reading, Jill!
you could try this out says
Baptism Quotations – Baptism is subsequent to conversion and not a saving ordinance, but an outward sign of an inward function. Baptism is not optional for the believer, however a command of our Master to be followed. Baptism is a sign to everybody watching that he or she has accepted Jesus as Savior and which he/she plans to stay to please Him and mind Christ. Everybody who is remorseful for his or her sins, repents, and believes in Christ as Savior should be baptized. When a person is stored and understands what baptism signifies, he/she needs to be baptized. As offered in the Holy Bible.