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So. I was born in 1976. I started school in August 1980, just before I turned 5, at home - my older brother had attended an ACE kindergarten, and it was deemed too liberal by my parents (his teacher wore PANTS when she wasn't teaching!) #thread CW: Abuse
I was literally part of the first wave of Christian Right-wing Homeschoolers; my parents had planned to homeschool us illegally, and it became legal that month in Louisiana because a legislator's relative wanted to homeschool.
I learned to read when I was 4. I also was acutely observant and aware - because by that time I'd already survived broken bones in my arm and neck, at least one rape, and an STD. This made me hypervigilant, and also primed me to be skeptical of everything around me.
I read and read and read and read, voraciously. I used to climb into a tree outside whatever home we were living in, high enough that my brother wouldn't follow me, and stay there and read all day long.
Some of them were subversive books I snuck into my library pile, biographies of strong women who overcame adversity, stories told from the perspective of the colonized rather than the colonizers (those were hard to find. It was the 1980's.)
Some of them, of course, were assigned reading for homeschool, books designed to influence and shape me, books designed to push a worldview on me.
Raise your hand if you, too, read:

The Hiding Place
The Cross and the Switchblade
God's Smuggler
Peace Child
Journey Through the Night

multiple times before you were 12 years old.
We had to write essays on these books, dissecting their meaning, learning the key messages.I remember being told that I was weak,and I'd never be brave enough to stand up for anyone if fascism rose to power again,but I should at least try to be strong enough to be killed for God.
I learned, alright.

From The Hiding Place, I learned that people who love God will always protect those who are persecuted, will open their homes and hearts to those seeking refuge, even to the point of endangering themselves.
From The Cross and the Switchblade, I learned that people who love God will eschew comfort, and instead reach across racial, cultural, and economic lines to blend their lives with those without privilege, will stand with them and for them and give their lives over to them.
From Bruchko, I learned that people who love God will not try to colonize, Westernize, or present a white God to Indigenous people, but will instead simply walk their trails with them, loving them, whether they come to believe in your God or not.
From Vanya, I learned an unwavering faith - a determination to hold fast to Truth, to proclaim Truth, to stand up for Truth no matter what the system around you tried to say should replace your Truth. It was ok to stand up to a corrupt government.
From God's Smuggler, I learned that it was not only courageous, but mandated, that people who love God be willing to break national and international law to bring relief and light into the lives of people suffering under a cruel government.
From Peace Child,I learned that people who love God & want others to love God have to be willing to live among those people,willing to leave those people's culture intact, willing to share word of God in a way that fits within their culture rather than giving them white culture.
From Journey Through the Night, I learned that it was incumbent upon everyone, even children, to fight fascism - even when their parents and their churches disagreed. That even people who love God can (and should) punch Nazis. That collaboration with evil is evil itself.
These books, force-fed to me in an attempt to mold me into a malleable and submissive woman who would bear children for a Christian right-wing warrior, had the entirely opposite effect.
They opened my eyes to what was going on around me; while my family wasn't #TheFamily I certainly heard that dogma preached, saw it play out at the local level, and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was being played out at a national level.
I was, I think, 16 years old the first time I told someone that right-wing Christianity was on a course to take over not only the USA, but the world. That it was a reality, it was coming, and that it was slithering unchecked through DC even then.
Of course they looked at me like I was crazy - this long-haired, dresses-wearing, no-makeup-or-jewelry member of a Christian sect most notorious for jumping around during services and talking in tongues. They knew that most people were immune to that kind of religion.
But I was dead serious. I knew what was coming, and I knew denominationalism wasn't a factor in it;what mattered was power.What mattered was being able to bring about a theocracy in the hope of bringing about Armageddon, so they could rule & reign with their god in the hereafter.
It's here, now, this world I've been warning against for the last 27 years. It's only been the last two years that people seem to recognize that I've been speaking the truth. That deliberate manipulation for decades is the only thing to bring us to 2019.
And those books, the ones I read over and over and over as a child? They gave me a roadmap for fighting against it. Courage. Resistance. Loving. Risking. Believing.

The world has been through this cycle before. Literal Nazis have been in our streets before.
It is possible to break this cycle, yet again, just as all of those "Heroes of the Faith" broke it before. It is possible to use their own propaganda against them. Or in the words of one of the poems I had to memorize:
Onward! right onward!
Be one of the few
Who have courage to dare,
and patience to do.

Onward! press onward!
For triumph is sweet,
And the rust of inaction
Is worse than defeat.
~George Johnson, 1876 The Roll-Call and Other Poems
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