By Ed Raymond
Double Jeopardy: Being a Member of the LBGTQ+ Community and College Debt
In the 16th Century, King Henry VIII told the Roman Catholic Church in England to go back to Rome after Pope Clement VII refused to give him an annulment or divorce from his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon, because she did not give him a male heir to the throne—plus other reasons. Besides, he wanted to marry the beautiful Anne Boleyn, the sister of one of his mistresses.
There’s lots of politics, religion, and sex mixed up in this “get out of Dodge” church story. Horny Henry went through six wives and numerous mistresses before he died of exhaustion, alcohol, and obesity. He never accomplished his all-consuming task of fathering an heir, although he did produce a daughter with Boleyn before he had her head chopped off. She became the “Virgin Queen,” Elizabeth I, who served for 50 years and walked on Sir Walter Raleigh’s cloak while defeating the Spanish Armada. Real history can be fun.
After Henry divorced himself and England from the Vatican and Catherine, he confiscated the Catholic monasteries and other church properties, kept some for himself, and gave his political friends bonuses. Before all this happened, he was declared “Defender of the Faith” by the pope because he attacked Martin Luther and his 95 weird Wittenberg ideas. Henry created the Anglican church at Canterbury after sending the Vatican packing, named himself the leader, and gave himself a divorce! After all, he was a king! I am reviewing all of this because it shows how long it takes to change a culture—decades or centuries.
Some Anglicans Have Accepted Same-Sex Marriage and Homosexuality, but…
Some have not. If England were still Catholic, it would not have accepted same-sex marriage+ because of the Vatican’s “intrinsically disordered” diagnosis. The Anglican Church currently has 85 million members worldwide, with Episcopalian members in the U.S. and members in New Zealand and many African countries.
In late July, 2022, in attempts to keep the church together, Justin Welby, archbishop of Canterbury and the leader of the Anglican Church, said the church rejects ”homosexual practice as inconsistent with scripture.” This after the U.S. Episcopalians named a gay bishop in New Hampshire and had approved same-sex marriage in 2015. And this has caused trouble in a number of river cities.
What will the Anglicans do? A majority of members believe homosexuality is condemned in the Bible, but more than 170 English and North American bishops signed a letter emphasizing the “holiness of LBGTQ+ people’s love” and challenged the rejection of same-sex marriage by Anglicans in foreign countries.
They say this is a battle between “rainbow” Christians and conservative Anglicans. The chance that the Anglican Church will remain one church is listed as slim to none. And Slim has already split. Where would England be if it were still Catholic for five more centuries? Let’s remember, Ireland was “the most Catholic country in the world” until it kicked the Vatican out, approved abortion, same-sex marriage, the homosexual lifestyle, and elected a gay married prime minster—all in about a decade.
So many countries are accepting LBGTQ+ communities the United Nations has a Human Rights Council to assist countries in resolving homosexual problems. President Joe Biden had requested the U.N. under the direction of Victor Madrigal-Borloz to study the LGBTQ+ problems in the U.S. His conclusion: “Equality is not yet within reach for lesbian. gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the United States. In many states it is not even in sight. I am strongly concerned about actions at the local and state level based on prejudice and stigma to attack and roll back the rights of LBGT persons. Access to health, employment, education, and housing the LBGTQ community suffers. A recent study showed 47% of the LBGTQ+ community have suffered at least one act of discrimination or harassment or disproportionate impact of violence.” Madrigal-Borloz met with 70 federal, state, and local leaders and more than 100 civil society representatives in making his report.
There’s Evidence Saint Joan of Arc Was Non-Binary or Transgender
What would happen to Vatican conservatives and Roman Catholic bishops around the world if one of their major teaching precepts were proven to be terribly wrong? Homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.” There is now a play opening at the old Globe Theater in London proposing that Joan of Arc was a transgender made a saint of the Catholic Church in 1920 because of she-he actions taken in the Hundred Years War 600 years ago. The play is I, Joan written by a non-binary playwright named Charlie Josephine.
The play is based on the life of a 17-year-old French peasant who claimed she was selected by God to lead the French army to victory in the 16th century. There are many stories written by historians, but very little material survived the war and her trial. Google her name and you will find contradiction after contradiction about what she experienced. Being 100% French and a Roman Catholic for my first 27 years, I have had some interest in her story. My family came from Normandy, migrated to Quebec, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, in that order.
Joan of Arc’s story often didn’t make sense. How did an illiterate peasant girl with no formal education convince sophisticated priests, bishops, generals and kings that she should lead the army against the British? Was it because she-he wore men’s clothing most of the time, had a short haircut, and was muscular enough to wear armor and fight with a big sword left behind an altar in a local church?
Some say Joan was wounded in battle while others say she was never at the point of conflict. Real evidence is scarce. Was she cisgender, non-binary, or transgender? Inquiring minds want to know. When asked during her trial of 70 charges why she wore men’s clothing, she replied:” Because God guided me to.”
Playwright Charlie Josephine says: “This child who grew up in a peasant family wouldn’t have understood the Latin spoken in church. She couldn’t read, couldn’t write, but they had to go to church to listen to some bloke talking in Latin, and be told that’s how you experience God. Joan experienced God walking through nature.”
Even her burning at the stake for heresy has its strange moments. Did she die of smoke inhalation? “Twas written her organs still wouldn’t burn after three tries. Others say she lived to be 57. Others found her ashes in a Paris attic in 1867 which were transferred to a museum in Chinon where they are stored. How do you make a saint out of this mess? Of course, only the pope and God know.
Another 16th Century Celebrity Tells Us Politicians Haven’t Changed in 600 Years
Niccolo Machiavelli wrote The Prince in 1513, describing the true character of European kings, queens, and politicians, as translated by historian Garrett Mattingly: “The Prince lays down as its major premise that men in general are selfish, treacherous, cowardly, greedy, and, above all, gullible and stupid. It therefore advises a prince who hopes to destroy the liberties of those he rules to employ hypocrisy, cruelty, and deceit, to make himself feared even at the risk of making himself hated, to divide the people and destroy their natural leaders, and to keep faith with no one, since no one will keep faith with him. It views the world of politics as a jungle in which moral laws and standards of ethical conduct are merely snares for fools, a jungle in which there Is no reality but power, and power is the reward of ruthlessness, ferocity and cunning.” Hey! This guy should be writing for the Democratic National Committee instead of the first printing presses.
Trumplicans Have Started Another Series of Culture Wars by Yelling “TRANS!!”
Machiavelli was right about many politicians, particularly those who want to preserve the status quo under the Trumplican label. Think Trump, Bannon, Cruz, Graham, Cramer, Jensen, and about 45 million members of the Trump MAGA cult.
To the anti-LBGTQ+ and the anti-transgender MAGAS, evangelical “Christians” and other White Nationalists: We know what you’re up to. In order to win Congress in 2022 you have to start a culture war. This election year you hope to create political panic by attacking evil transgenders who represent Lucifer, Satan, and Bernie. You lost the same-sex marriage war in two decades when homosexuality has been “disordered” for more than a thousand years. The Divided States of America have reached a 70% approval rate of same-sex marriage and the world is evolving toward that rate. It’s possible that two states will elect lesbian governors in 2022. LBGTQ+ members have doubled the total of elected and appointed officials in local, state, and national government positions in just three years. Transgender Rachel Levine, a pediatrician, is Assistant Secretary of Health in the Biden administration.
In the last decade you have pushed the great bathroom scare in many states. My God! A transgender is propositioning, peeking and peeing in the wrong bathroom! That’s total nonsense. You have pushed 18 states to ban trans athletes from competing in sports. Michael Phelps won more Olympic medals in swimming than anybody else because he had unusually large hands, feet and longer arms. Should he have been banned?
You have pushed 18 states to ban transgenders from competitive athletics. Utah passed it because they had two trans high schoolers involved in athletics. You have pushed 300 anti-trans bills in many states. You are responsible for the increase of suicides (A survey revealed 82% of trans had thought of suicide), the increase in trans children on the homeless streets, the anti-gay legislation that discriminates and isolates gays, and the firing of gays for being gay. You will eventually lose this culture war also because real Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Great Spaghetti Monster followers, Atheists and Agnostics will reject your hate.
Why We Should Pay Off All Student Debt: It’s a Mess Destroying the Country
We have many seniors who are still paying off college-student debt. A few have had Social Security garnished. A 90+ woman is the record holder. She owes more than $300,000. In 1995, among the top 37 states in the Organization of Economic Cooperative Development (OECD) we ranked second behind New Zealand in the percentage of 23-34 year-olds with higher education at 42%. By 2010 we ranked 13th by slipping to 38%. During this period the OECD average went from 20% to 39%.
We now rank 14th and are sliding down a slippery slope. What happened? Ronald Reagan and George Bush with huge tax cuts happened. We made the rich richer, the states poorer, and the parents poorest. Who could afford to send their children to college when tuition almost doubled by double digits every year?
Many European countries offer free college through moral capitalism. We put many students in debt for life while our amoral rich have many mansions, hundreds of bathrooms, and superyachts. Machiavelli is alive and well in Washington. English poet John Donne wrote: “No man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent.” Not in America.
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