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Category: Internal conflict

Getting Past Cynicism: Why We Need to Organize Like It’s 2017

Getting Past Cynicism: Why We Need to Organize Like It’s 2017

Here in the US, there’s been yet another school shooting. Not long after yet another grocery store shooting (that one caused by a white supremacist). And I have heard sooooo much cynicism this week. This blog post is designed to empathize with those who are cynical but also to call those who are cynical (and others who may be overwhelmed and frozen) toward fighting for change moving forward, however you’re able. See, we need you and your efforts. They matter….

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The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

The Toxic Side of “All Lives Matter” Rhetoric

Okay, so we all KNOW a bunch of us get annoyed with the phrase “all lives matter”–for good reason– when it’s abused. A lot of us even know a lot of the reasons it bothers us. But com theory and related research can really help us see why it bothers us in a new light, and since that’s what I study and teach, I hope to explore what happens when seemingly good concepts like all lives matter “go bad,” and…

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The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

The Toxic Side of “States’ Rights” & The Electoral College

Okay, so in the wake of the anniversary of 1/6, I find my mind increasingly drawn back to the disruption of the counting of electoral votes. Which makes me think about bullying regarding representation overall, including this conservative political rhetoric we’ve long had about STATES’ RIGHTS! As you’ll see, this often ties back to the Electoral College. In this blog piece I plan to unwrap this conservative rhetoric both from personal experience and my scholarly training to help us process…

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When Conservative Christians Demonize Deconstruction

When Conservative Christians Demonize Deconstruction

This past week an intense Twitter war has been raging between conservative Christians (mostly white Evangelicals) and their critics over the nature and value of those who are “deconstructing.” In this blog piece, I plan to unwrap some of the messaging these white Evangelicals—mostly men—have been using to demonize those who claim the term deconstruction by those who have been leaving white Evangelicalism, especially since the 2016 election in the United States. Specifically, I’ll be looking at the rhetoric of…

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When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

When Entitlement (Program)s Get Confused with “Pride”

This week I saw an image from a dating profile whose owner identified as politically conservative as well as Christian. Here’s what it said: “…if you voted for Joe Biden do not hit me up..I don’t date liberals that feel they are entitled..I believe in hard work, self accountability, and God!!!!!” There’s a lot going on here, and there’s no way I will have time to unwrap all of it in this post, but I wanted to discuss how these…

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How Humanism (And Empathy) Became a Conservative Christian Devil Term

How Humanism (And Empathy) Became a Conservative Christian Devil Term

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how we got to where conservative Christians are literally demonizing empathy. And this week I had a breakthrough: I think the rhetorical move that most undergirded the acceptance of this came from when conservative and conservative-leaning Christian leaders started casting humanism as a devil term. In this week’s post I plan to unwrap how this worked in my moderate pastor’s kid past, how it’s connected to my previous analysis of pride as a…

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When K-12 Education Becomes a Battleground: An Analysis and Call to Action

When K-12 Education Becomes a Battleground: An Analysis and Call to Action

UPDATE 4/2/22: Hey, look! Schools are still a battleground–it’s just that masking is no longer what’s being fought over. All the history (including my now-embarrassing personal history as a one-time unintentional Christian nationalist) below is still relevant. (Sheesh it’s vulnerable to even admit that I organized a See You at the Pole rally at my Christian school. Soooo cringey now!) –DS Leiter As I’ve been thinking about it, it doesn’t surprise me that once again educational settings—and especially K-12 education…

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When Pride Becomes a Devil Term: And How We Can Respond

When Pride Becomes a Devil Term: And How We Can Respond

As I’m writing this, it’s the 6th anniversary of marriage equality in the US, and the day of the first Pride Parade in a small city in the Midwest where I’ve resided. Because of these things, I find it fitting to confess that I, like the Supreme Court and that small city, was very late to the party of celebrating Pride Month and Pride Parades. And even, perhaps most sadly, to celebrating my friends’ and LGBTQ+ neighbors rights to celebrate…

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Not My Mark Driscoll? The Threat of Dismissing Extreme Christianity

Not My Mark Driscoll? The Threat of Dismissing Extreme Christianity

Mark Driscoll, the toxic masculinist megachurch pastor who was defrocked a couple of years ago, yet has formed a new megachurch in Arizona, is in the news again this week. This time it’s for reports of increasingly cult-like behavior in his church, including excommunicating and surveilling a family whose brown-skinned son kissed Driscoll’s 15 year old daughter (more details can be found here about the incidents). When I heard about this incident, my first impulse, I’ll confess, was to dismiss…

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Working Together Toward COVID-19 Vaccination Goals

Working Together Toward COVID-19 Vaccination Goals

I know we’ve been saying this for quite some time now, but this past week’s been quite the week. Thursday March 11 was the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a year later we’re in the throes of the both frustrating and optimistic process of COVID-19 vaccination. Others have written helpfully on many aspects of this situation; in this piece I hope to talk about how all the competing types of rhetoric at play, especially scarcity rhetoric, affects the human…

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Ashes to Ashes and Rush to Dust?

Ashes to Ashes and Rush to Dust?

As those of you who’ve been following this space for awhile may remember, I first wrote extensively about my experience with Rush Limbaugh here when he was disturbingly given the Medal of Honor at last year’s State of the Union. Ever since the death of this poisonous man on this past Wednesday—Ash Wednesday—I’ve been trying to figure out how to extend that discussion here. In this article, I plan to talk about some of the ways I’m mourning the continuing…

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Advent, the Inauguration, and the False Doctrine of Learned Helplessness

Advent, the Inauguration, and the False Doctrine of Learned Helplessness

As I write this I am angry. For good reason. You see, it’s taken me several weeks to write this public post, and that’s because of the way I was raised with what I’m calling the false doctrine of learned helplessness. Stay tuned for what that means, and why I’m angry about it, and how I’m working to direct that anger into healthy channels. Specifically I’ll be talking about how much it’s bothered me to admit publicly that I’ve extended…

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Thou Shalt Not Steal and the Rhetoric of Vote-Counting: An Open Letter

Thou Shalt Not Steal and the Rhetoric of Vote-Counting: An Open Letter

I grew up in a church where most Sundays they read the Ten Commandments and such. I knew them, and still know them, incredibly well. And my family’s been in this country, at least in one branch of the family tree, long enough for me to have relatives that went to war to fight for their rights regarding this no taxation without representation business–in other words, the right to have one’s vote count. The question of vote-counting has mattered since…

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Strategies for When You Can’t Fix Everything (Especially Now)

Strategies for When You Can’t Fix Everything (Especially Now)

NOTE: If you look at the date, you’ll see this post was written before President Biden was elected and before Russia’s invasion happened, and at a season when more wildfires were happening. But its advice is still starkly relevant here in March 5, 2022 when I’m adding in this note. Okay, so the world is scary and overwhelming. The Hopi, as a friend shared with me, have a word for this situation: kayaanisquatsi. It means “Nature that is out of…

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An Open Letter Re: White Evangelicals and Moral Disgust of RBG

An Open Letter Re: White Evangelicals and Moral Disgust of RBG

NOTE: I wrote the following to process my own grief about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg while also helping anyone else who might need to understand the dynamics of how right-leaning white Evangelicals feel about RBG from the perspective of a communication scholar who grew up that way. May RBG’s memory be a blessing, and may all of us be part of that blessing to the world. May we all fight for genuine truth and justice and the equitable…

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