The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner

This book made me angry. It enraged me and elicited emotions I long buried. Ruth Wariner was born and raised into a polygamous family.  Her mother, the former wife of a church leader who was later murdered by one of his brothers in the fight for power, remarries another church follower.

the-sound-of-gravel

Ruth’s engrossing narrative begins here- with a meager life of helping her mother with domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning and raising her growing number of siblings and half-siblings. In her memoir, Ruth recounts the despicable and painful details of the neglect and abuse she suffered at the hands of the very people that she entrusted the most. The depth of Ruth’s familial loyalty, her brave young soul and her ability to forgive are what is truly inspiring but it is also what ends up hurting your heart- page after page. For every former child who has ever felt the enduring failure of a parent, this book will test your spirit of forgiveness and may reignite those long forgotten memories. award

Let Me In – I’m With Jesus

In the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks that occurred last week Friday, GOP Candidate Jeb Bush proposed a ridiculous idea of only allowing Christian Syrian Refugees into the U.S. Now, in all cases and on all occasions I try to stay away from speaking and/or writing about political issues for many reasons but mainly because I don’t know squat about politics and I don’t want to pretend to know anything about politics. But this interview with Jeb Bush and his radical “suggestion” was so completely absurd, disturbing and baseless that it baffled me into writing an impassioned post about his idiocy.

So I don’t know politics – but here’s what I do know. I live a very privileged life (I have all my basic necessities met and I do not live in constant fear for my life or anyone else’s that I love) and while I am not as successful as my brightest peers, I am a contributing member to my society and this society has benefited from my contributions. I am one person- undoubtedly there are millions more like me. Yet none of this would be possible if Canada were not as gracious a country as it has been to people running from war-torn countries for refuge. I am a first-generation Canadian. My parents are the reason I am here today –whether I like them at the moment or not or agree with their parental guidance or not– I am in full agreement that without them I would not be here. And thus, without the generosity of this country and many other countries that have opened up their homes to strangers, Canada would not be as colourful, as rich and as culturally diverse a country as it is today. We have all benefited from this, whether you are fifth generation Canadian or new to this country.

So needless to say when the media was reporting on this story of Jeb Bush’s idea of only opening U.S. doors to Christian Syrian refugees it enraged me because if his party was in power during the time that my parents were running from their war-torn country, they would have been turned away simply because of their faith. What is truly scary is that the U.S. is a leader in many ways- should other world leaders see this type of consideration, it may just spark other countries to follow suit.

And so here’s the next dilemma – how exactly does one prove their religious status anyway? It is clear that Jeb Bush doesn’t really have a clue either because when pressed about this minor ‘application’ process, he said “they’ll be able to prove it”. How Mr. Bush, how? Will there be a skill-testing question? Maybe something like this: “what does the H in Jesus H. Christ” stand for? If you know the answer, does that really make you “Christian?” We’re not talking about a half hour game show here- we are talking about saving families just like yours, communities just like yours, lives just like your own. Will the refugees have to risk their lives by going out to find a printer amidst the rubble to type up a reference letter from their Christian pastor to sign? Is the U.S. going to accept reference letters from Church officials now? Seriously?

I don’t know what the answers are for the refugee crisis. And this post isn’t about having answers. It is just questioning the intelligence and common sense of potential leaders of our southern neighbor. World leaders face a crushing moral dilemma here but is closing the doors to people who need asylum really the answer? Are nations going to start operating their country and making important life-altering decisions based on pure fear of the unpredictable, the unknown?

And I am tired of hearing everyone characterising one entire population/group as terrorists. This is completely off-base and dangerous for obvious reasons. Saying that all Syrians are now terrorists is like saying all Americans are unabombers. We cannot and should not measure a whole population based on a few of their Ted Kaczynski’s and Timothy McVeigh’s. And if you do your research, you’d be surprised to find that there are many other American-bred bombers who have Christian ideologies. These stereotypes are generally never used in a discriminatory manner towards other Christians.

Now, I am not here to bash Christians or retaliate against any religion. I myself don’t particularly subscribe to any religious group and don’t actually take issue with those that do. My only problem is when people use the matter of religion to manipulate, attempt to convert and/or oppress already-disadvantaged individuals/groups or try to dictate what is considered “right” or “wrong” based on which religious beliefs you adhere to. And to me, deciding for all of America that only people of Christian-faith should be let into any country (especially a modern, civilized country at that) is unfounded and slightly deranged. After all, isn’t that the exact ideology that is at the root of terrorism? The act of using terror to wage war upon another group because anyone who disagrees with that regime and that faith has to suffer and be punished in horrific ways– that this need to serve your own faith supersedes all else, including the core values of humanity thereby justifying the killings of millions of innocent people.

Mr. Bush, you fail.