In Hate I Trust

 

On April 24, I participated in a peaceful, silent protest in Ashe County, North Carolina.

This is me:

kindness

Note that you don’t see my face in this picture.

I’ll come back to that. First, let me pause here and tell you about my life for the past few days.

Right now, it’s 1:30 a.m. My husband is trying to sleep beside me and I’m still lying awake after having cried my eyes out for the past few hours. Here’s why.

Hours ago, following two days full of verbal attacks and name-calling, I received a public notification on my facebook page that contained a hurtful, harmful comment about my child.

My child.

When I joined in this silent protest, I joined for two reasons. The first was that a staggering amount of money was used in taxpayer funds to place “In God We Trust” on a courthouse in one of, if not the, poorest counties in North Carolina. Regardless of my religious affiliation, I could not sit idly by and watch as funds went into a boastful display of Christianity on a public building while my neighbors in this county are going without food and a place to sleep. I wanted to do something about it. After a conversation with a Christian who didn’t mind the letters being on the courthouse, we realized that were more alike than we thought. While one of us was fine with it and the other was not, we could agree on the fact that the funds could have and should have been spent in more needed areas. Together, we developed a fundraiser called Agreeable Disagreers. Our goal was to collect the amount of money back that was used on this sign and put it back into the community where we felt it was needed most.

My second reason for joining the protest was that I believe in humanity. In diversity. In inclusion. Just the same as the speech I gave against HB2 last week in this small conservative community, I felt it was important to speak up for the minority. For the people who did not believe in the Christian God. Was I one of them? No. Just like I wasn’t a member of the LGBT community when I gave the speech, I was also not a “non-Christian.” I was just speaking on their behalf.

Now I wonder what I’ve done.

My life, and the life of the photographer who envisioned this protest, have been nothing but a living hell for the past few days. We have been called every name you can think of. We have been threatened. We have been told to get out of town. We have been called attention-seekers and cowards in the same breath.

All in the name of God.

But we kept going. We kept moving because we felt it was worth it. We felt the stares in public (real or imagined? we didn’t know) and feared the backlash. We were told by “well-meaning” friends (ha!) to worry about things such as our jobs and our standings with our hobbies and interests in the area. We were told both blatantly and subtly to shut up.

But we didn’t.

I was attacked by a “Christian” who was the recipient of my help a few Christmases ago. He and his girlfriend needed help providing presents for their children at Christmas because of their financial situation. Without knowing this man at all, I rallied the troops and my husband and I showed up at their home a few days before Christmas with a truck and carload full of presents for their four children. I’m not telling you this story to tell you what I did. I’m telling you this to tell you what he did. In the name of his God, he accused me of being someone who would go to hell because of participating in this protest. Me. The person who provided a Christmas for his family.

And he did this all in the name of God.

And then, to add to everything, tonight happened.

Tonight, someone brought my child into it. They told me that my child and I were going to hell. Yes, they told a mother than her child was going to hell. Along with also posting private information about her and her previous school.

And then you know what else? In my fury and rage while conveying the events to members of my family, they sided with this person. They said that I shouldn’t be doing all of this. That I started it.

I am beat up. I am tired. I am defeated.

Is it temporary? I don’t know.

I started this peaceful protest as a person who believed in love. Who believed that love would win in the end. A person who believed in tolerance. In compassion. I was a Christian who believed that everyone had the right and privilege to live in this beautiful America and be whomever they wanted to be.

This was me. Three days ago. A Christian who believed in kindness.

kindness

Not anymore.

I respectfully apologize for being in that picture holding that sign. I no longer believe in kindness. I no longer believe in anything.

And I will never call myself a Christian again. I wouldn’t stoop that low.

My face was hidden in that picture because I live in an area where I would be blasted and condemned for taking a stand like this. This photo and the others were symbolic of what it’s like to have to hide your voice in a land of bullies. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I’m turning around.

My name is Melissa. That was me in that picture.

But it’s not anymore.

 

 

 

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18 responses »

  1. I am *so sorry*….so sorry people have done all that to you (and the photographer) AND in the name of God. I wish I could make this better. I wish I could hug this pain away, hug-away the *obscenity* they call their faith. All I can do is give you a virtual-hug as your fellow trans sister, someone who cannot really call herself a “Christian” either, yet tries to let Jesus love through me. {long-teary-socially-inappropriate-hug} ❤

  2. Good Morning Melissa, I am always saddened by others actions, but not yours! There is such a thing called Freedom of Speech! You have spoken well about peoples “rights” and if nothing else, they shall always remember that you gave your heart with your words! If some one says you are going to Hell, tell them no I am not, my heart is pure!

    You need some good hugs! Bear Hugs…for you and your family!

  3. You are a blessing and YOU are blessed! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Keep shining your beautiful “Christ” light and KNOW that you are making a difference! You are not alone, YOU are loved.

  4. Dear Melissa,
    It’s becoming a heck of a crazy, fallen world for you to be vilified so appallingly for being kind and good 😦
    I want to encourage you (disregard if it doesn’t help!)….
    1. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…”. The people who are doing these things to you are allowing themselves to be deceived and used by forces of evil, instead of seeking and listening to God’s truths. So if the evil in them is *that* angry with you, you must be doing something very right!!! Don’t despair…
    2. God understands: they dragged His (only) child into the pits of hell too. Don’t hesitate to fall on His protection; He’s on your side.
    Kindness always wins in the end. If it’s not winning now, it’s because it’s not the end.
    Cheers and prayers for brave and faithful Melissa!

  5. Melissa, I do not know you personally, but I wish I did. I would give you the biggest hug and hold you and tell you that you are a wonderful, loving, caring person. I am so sorry you have been attacked and hurt this way. You are strong. It may not feel that way to you now, but you are Strong! Bless you, Darling. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. You have been since I first started reading about the actions you have been bold enough to take and the repercussions you and your family have now had to suffer. I thank God for kind people like you. Jeri Lyn Nichols

  6. I am heartbroken for you that you and your Daughter were told such a disgusting thing. You and your daughter are NOT going to hell. You may be living in hell because of being a loving and kind person who wants only to speak for those who cannot because they fear the retribution but you are NOT going to hell. There is a beautiful place waiting on the truly GOOD, KIND, CARING and THOUGHTFUL people like you, your daughter and all of us that speak for who are unable to speak for themselves. You know some of my story. You know why I keep quiet. When I am able to though, I WILL join you in your battle. Stay strong and BE WHO YOU WERE BORN TO BE!!!!!!!

  7. I so admire you for taking a stand. I also no longer identity as a Christian because of some of the most unChrist like behavior done in the name of the church, The Bible, and God. Keep your head up and know that I would rather be in Hell with someone like you, than be in Heaven with those who use religion as a way to keep others down.

  8. Please don’t loose your faith in kindness, don’t let those blinded by dogma take that from you. Your story touches my heart and I hope you will continue to try to bring goodness to this world. I once lost my faith in God because the dogmatic told me I was evil when I had done nothing wrong but be who God made me. I wish I had listened to folks like you instead. Living truthfully, whatever that may mean for each of us, will always be a hard road to travel, but it is a nobel one.

  9. I am so sorry for what you’ve been through by people who call themselves Christian. Although I don’t identify as Christian, I know many Christian people who would abhor the behavior you’ve experienced and would applaud the work you’ve done. You desperately need some allies, people you can talk to who will support you. There are PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapters all over NC. Use this site: http://pflag-chapter-map.herokuapp.com/ to get phone numbers and emails. You can find someone nearby who will support you. Please reach out. You don’t need to be alone with what you’ve been through. If I had a way to call you, I would. Hang in there, sister!

  10. I am terribly sorry for the blacklash you have gotten for this. But always remember the minority in Ashe like myself who stand for what you did and support you.

  11. I’m sorry that person acted in hate rather than doing what the Bible says and act in prayer. But to say God is just a loving God is a bit misguided. He is also a jealous and correcting God. Like a father to children sometimes he punishes us. (Not saying you’re being punished…just want to point out he loves but the bible doesnt just say love. I wouldnt in a million years begin to assume Gods intentions or will for another person. 😊) So I hope you take your problems to God in prayer as that other person should of. Dont turn from God because of a group of people. Because our truths come to us when we are in prayer and the Holy spirit speaks to us.

  12. Ps….not sure if you know this but not saying your last name is irrelevant since your full name, photo, what you do for a living and email is located at the bottom of this page. Just thought you should know.

    • I was not trying to hide who I am. What made you think that was the case? This is my blog. I’ve said my whole name on here many times and have had this blog for over four years. I’m aware of how it works. I’m sorry to be snarky, but after what I’ve had to deal with over the past three days, defensive is all I know. That will be my standard response for a while.

  13. After seeing the hate aimed at you, aimed at those in the LGBTQ community, and after having lived where you live where anything different is wrong, I can only send love. It’s the only weapon we have against hate and it doesn’t require a religion to practice it, either.

  14. Melissa-
    I want you to know your kindness is appreciated and admired. I don’t want the ignorant actions of a few to harden your heart. You must continue to be true to yourself and your convictions no matter the cost. Your child is watching and learning how to be strong, to fight for what they believe in, and to be kind even when that kindness is not returned. I am a nonchristian but I always try to do the right thing. I give money and time to the homeless, I deliver meals to the home bound and I donate my time to the food bank in my community. I don’t do this for God or to get into heaven, I do this because I have been lucky and want to help those that are down, who feel unloved or unnoticed and lift them up. We all get by with a little help from our friends. Right?
    HB2 is just blatant dicrimination written into law. It’s kept me up at night. I read all the homophobic and ignorant comments about an already abused and vulnerable population and it makes me want to lose faith in humanity, it makes me violently angry. That’s not the answer. I know that. I try to have reasonable conversations with those who support it. I hope to convince them that trans doesn’t equal pedophile. I try to convey to them that this law sets the civil rights movement back 60 years, that it teaches hate and fear of those different than them to their children. It seems the comebacks always are based on God and the bible and what their pastor said. I spent my time in the church and I’m pretty sure that these people are acting in complete defiance of what Jesus would have wanted. They judge, they condemn, they cast blame, they spread vicious rumours and they victimize those who are different. All because they are close minded, ignorant, hateful, and spiteful. Kinda makes me wanna tell them that people acting like they are got Jesus put on that cross 2000 some years ago.
    I am so sorry that people are hurting your child to hurt you. This is the lowest, despicable, and most unchristian thing I can imagine. They sound like Devils. Honestly. That is true evil.
    Please don’t stop what you’re doing. Keep up the fight. Things won’t get put right unless reasonable, good people continue to fight for justice. I will always stand up for my LGBT friends. They just want to live and love as anyone else. Ignorant people, filled with hate are not allowed to deny them that. Ashe is full of good people. A lot of them are worried about what their neighbors will think if they voice an opinion like yours. But, if you continue what you’re doing they will come around. They will support you. Have faith in them. I think you are awesome and brave!! Keep at it sister.

  15. I support you. You are clearly a compassionate woman, and it greatly saddens me to hear how you have been attacked. I wish it surprised me, but it doesn’t. If I were still a resident of Ashe county, I would be proud to stand beside you.

  16. Pingback: Agreeable Disagreers | Missyspublicjunk

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