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Tag: social justice

When the GOP Fails to Denounce Nazis—A Call to Action

When the GOP Fails to Denounce Nazis—A Call to Action

I have to confess—I’ve been choking back an awful lot of “I told you so’s” this past week or so as people marveled at the fact that the former president of the US (you know, the one who still thinks he didn’t lose a legitimate election in 2020 and has been shown to have fomented an insurrection to maintain power) hosted alt-right extremist Nick Fuentes for dinner at his home, and so so few GOP leaders decried the choice. In…

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When Women Use Abortion as a Devil Term

When Women Use Abortion as a Devil Term

This week an AS follower came to me with a request. She had been engaged in a lot of recent discussions with right-wing women, specifically, about the questions around abortion rights. She was very frustrated with these discussions and wanted my take on them as well as my encouragement and advice. In today’s blog post I plan to talk about some breakthroughs in understanding I had in the process of analyzing these situations with her, specifically understanding better why and…

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When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

When “Open Borders” Becomes a Right-Wing Devil Term Yet Again

Okay, so I’ll confess I had to go back and read up on Heather Cox Richardson’s latest update when I started seeing memes and posts about GOP immigration nonsense in my feed again. At any rate, it doesn’t actually feel all that new at all. That’s because this rhetoric is old as the fascistic hills. So today I wanted to unwrap a bit more of what happens in general with unhealthy rhetoric that frames “open borders” as a devil term—and…

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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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Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Millstones and Such: The Gospel of Mark as Anti-Abuse

Editor’s Note: This guest blog piece by Matthijs Kronemeijer was written before the recent horrific anti-trans legislation was passed in Texas. This legislation accuses healthy loving parents and caregivers of trans children of child abuse for affirming trans children’s identities and trying to protect them from the disturbingly high suicide rates among trans folx. I hate the fact that I even have to write a note about how much it is NOT ABUSE to affirm children who don’t fit pre-existing…

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Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: A Spirituality of Equitable Tangible Support

Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: A Spirituality of Equitable Tangible Support

Okay, so probably many, if not most, of the people reading this blog KNOW they get super frustrated when they hear the words “thoughts and prayers.” If you are in this group, you may have even developed an allergy to the phrase. You probably even know that it bothers you because of a combo platter of hypocrisy and a lack of action. But you may not understand why you have such a visceral reaction to it, or why and how…

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What’s in a Hashtag? #DefundThePolice and the Politics of Interpretation

What’s in a Hashtag? #DefundThePolice and the Politics of Interpretation

It’s been coming up a lot lately. People will ask me, as someone who specializes in communication studies, what I think about the #DefundthePolice hashtag. The implication is always that if the movement just marketed itself better people would be on board. OR people will show willful misunderstanding of the movement in their response to similar matters, as a troll on the AS FB page did earlier this week. The present article will unwrap the communication dynamics behind these kind…

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How to Be a Moderate Ally in the US Today

How to Be a Moderate Ally in the US Today

As I’ve explained before, I grew up in a denomination which many describe as falling *just* on the Evangelical side of what’s known as the Evangelical-Mainline divide among more conservative and more progressive churches in the US. That means I know many people in the US today who claim to be religio-politically moderate. Most of these are polling in the “independent” category on political surveys–but some are more independent than others. I’ll be frank—I believe the country has swung so…

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Unwrapping the Unhealthy Immigration Rhetoric in Dobson’s July Newsletter

Unwrapping the Unhealthy Immigration Rhetoric in Dobson’s July Newsletter

Last week I helped you compassionate folks who want to help with the concentration camps at the border to think through how to help out without freezing up or looking away. One of those options I suggested was to speak up against authoritarian religio-political rhetoric. This week, I will provide a brief analysis of unhealthy immigration rhetoric in Dr. James Dobson’s July Newsletter piece (here’s a link that hopefully won’t give his site credit!) about his visit to one such…

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Lead Us Not Into “Family Values” as a “God Term”: Devil Terms Part 3

Lead Us Not Into “Family Values” as a “God Term”: Devil Terms Part 3

NOTE: This piece was originally written at the time when the United Methodist church decided collectively to continue as nonaffirming, as noted early in the piece. This was long before the current early 2022 push to demonize trans kids and other pushes to demonize LGBTQ+ folx. Thankfully the principles hold despite slightly changing circumstances. And this piece unwraps some key dynamics that sadly continue today. In the last couple of articles (see here and here) I’ve been analyzing what rhetorical…

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The Fear of Tyranny that Could Unite Us: The Politics of Devil Terms Part 2

The Fear of Tyranny that Could Unite Us: The Politics of Devil Terms Part 2

As a communication scholar, I found the social media reaction to last week’s article about socialism as a devil term fascinating (if also disturbing). This week’s article will dive into some—er, differences of opinion I hold with many of the commenters. But it will also get into some unexpected common ground I found in the comments section among those who support the current US administration and those who dissent from its rhetoric and policies: a fear of tyranny. NOTE: This…

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“Leftists” and Socialists, Oh My! The Politics of “Devil Terms”

“Leftists” and Socialists, Oh My! The Politics of “Devil Terms”

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This post was originally written in 2019, which means that references to the “current head of the administration” refer to the now-former 45th president of the United States. Sadly, his unhealthy use of devil terms continues in the right wing (not that that’s new–“socialism” has been a right-wing devil term since at least the 1920s–sigh), so this post still applies. In the US State of the Union speech, the current head of the administration used the word “socialism”…

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Colin Kaepernick and the Politics of Respect

Colin Kaepernick and the Politics of Respect

It was Super Bowl Sunday in the US this past Sunday (February 3, 2019). I posted a timely Black History Month-themed meme honoring Colin Kaepernick, the African-American football player whose kneeling during the national anthem to protest black deaths lost him his job. Thankfully, the game was really boring, because I spent a good chunk of that night and sporadically throughout the week continued to respond to the comments. That experience inspired me to focus this week’s article on the…

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The Seductive Absolutism of “Conversational Narcissism”

The Seductive Absolutism of “Conversational Narcissism”

A couple of months back a friend sent me an article about the dangers of practicing “conversational narcissism” around those who are grieving. She said “isn’t this such a great term? It explains so much about what feels wrong about talking about yourself around someone who’s grieving.” I was a bit more cautious, as usual. “Well—” See, I had seen a couple of articles with this term going around lately. And I was particularly nervous about this particular term, and…

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The Complexities of Ostracism

The Complexities of Ostracism

As I post this we’re just entering Advent on the Christian liturgical calendar—and that means we’re entering a new year as well as a season when many are being asked to listen to voices “crying out in the wilderness.” The problem, of course, is that toxic societal patterns and trauma alike often push people to the wilderness and then tell us that their voices ought not to be heard. Whether or not you follow Christianity or practice Advent, hopefully this…

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