Sunday, May 1, 2016

Occasionally, I use this column to comment on current events. Many readers react favorably, but a few accuse me of careening out of my lane: “Stick to religion,” they say.

However, as a student who double-majored in religion and journalism, I believe my lane is wide enough to include spirituality and current events. If you disagree, you might want to skip this column. Because look out, I have three things to get off my chest that you won’t find in the Bible.

First, the bathrooms. Enough already, OK?

Where do you think the LGBT community has been “voiding” before now? The bushes? No, they sit in the adjoining stall or stand in the urinals right next to you, minding their own business. Frankly, I’d be more bothered if a transgender person in a skirt stood beside me at a urinal.

In fact, when I visit gas station convenience stores that have identical single-toilet restrooms, I take whichever is open. If you want a practical solution, divide every bathroom with floor-to-ceiling stalls as done in Europe or like the military does in deployed locations.

In the meantime, relax. Just pee, OK? And as the kitschy saying goes, “Please, be a sweetie and wipe the seatie.”

On a bleaker note, I raised the ire of readers in 2012 with my comments that “George Zimmerman is the product of the same racist society in which all of us belong. Trayvon Martin’s death was not isolated. Unfortunately, neither was the heart of his killer.”

A lot of readers disagreed with me back then, but since then, police dash cams have exposed the killings of several unarmed black men. Race riots have erupted in our streets.

If you still think authorities don’t disproportionately single out blacks, maybe you’ve never walked beside a black man. Maybe you could accompany me into a store with my black chaplain friend and notice the clerk examine his every move. Or come with me to an event with my black son-in-law and observe the security folks frisk him and not me.

We have a racial problem in this country and it’s not necessarily being made better in these elections.

And speaking of the elections — I’m among the many who believe that the office of president has lost a lot of power.

Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton won’t be our savior any more than Barack Obama or George W. Bush saved us. Those who look for a presidential messiah to emerge from this race might better find their place in the fairy tale days of Camelot.

If you really want your vote to make a difference, pay attention to whom we’re sending to Congress and the Senate. These are the folks who make the laws and approve Supreme Court nominations.

The thing that scares me the most in these elections is how polarized our country has become. It now seems that no matter who’s elected, there will emerge a vocal minority who will refuse to give the democratically elected side a chance to make a difference.

No worries, though. No matter who’s elected, I won’t be running to Canada or become a survivalist in the Tennessee hills. Instead, I will remain here in my “religion lane,” following the Biblical advice of 1 Timothy 2: 1-3:

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.”

With that verse in mind, I pray blessings on all my readers, regardless of your race, political party or whichever restroom you use.

— Write Norris at or P.O. Box 247, Elk Grove, CA 95759. Twitter @chaplain, or call 843-608-9715.