by gisel flores
Christianity among other religions has been a gateway to spiritual salvation in the lives of many people since the beginning of time. By promising an endless amount of love and support from its followers and Jesus himself, Christianity hopes to extend their beliefs to as many people as possible. One of these conversion methods is by scaring children in horrific ways with their seasonal attractions, Hell houses. Hell Houses are Christian versions of haunted houses, combining theater and scare tactics that often reenact real-life scenarios, pushing certain viewpoints in order to literally scare people into converting to Christianity.
Hell houses act out graphic scenes of murders, suicides, rape, abortions, homosexuality, gun violence, and more. One of the most well-known Hell house being the Trinity Church Hell House, which recreated the 1999 Columbine Shooting only six months after the massacre happened. This church’s Hell house portrayed the two shooters as “agents of Satan” as they had never devoted their souls to God with the goal of slaughtering Christians. The victims of the shooters were sent to heaven because of their Christian faith and the two shooters were dragged down to Hell. Reverend Tim Ferguson, pastor of Trinity Church, claimed that the message of this scene was that “if you don’t accept Christ, there are consequences to that in a real place called Hell.” However, with some simple research into the two Columbine shooters, you’d find that in no way is there any evidence that has it ever been mentioned that it was a hate crime towards Christian believers.
These Hell houses also show the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community as being “lustful sinners,” and oftentimes show them horrifically dying of AIDS. In one instance, a Hell house in Chicago named “The Room: A Journey to Hell,” got shut down for planning to recreate the Pulse nightclub shooting that happened back in 2016. As something that was so traumatic for those who were present in the Pulse shooting, or any shooting, young children going through a recreated version of those events. On numerous occasions, people have broken down in tears from walking through these Hell houses, especially with common traumas like drunk driving accidents, suicide, and depression. The method that these Hell houses teach about sin by relating it to the real world leads to such a narrow-minded view on social issues. Participants that go through Hell houses are shown horrific scenes that claim are directly caused by Satan taking hold of that person because without the help of Christ, everyone is doomed to a tragic ending.
Scaring people into converting to a religion is unnecessary, especially when recreating graphic and shocking scenes that display false information about events that have previously happened. Hell houses allow all ages to participate, but mostly encouraging parents to bring their young children. These young children that are brought through these Hell houses are brainwashed at such a young age into believing that the devil and demons exist by using horrific scare tactics with the intentions of possessing those who do not attend church and allow Jesus into their hearts, and then dragging them to an eternity in hell once they die.
by Gabriella Gatchalian
Entertainment is used to give some sense of pleasure towards its viewers, the amount of details that is put in entertainment is meant to make sure that the viewers will continue to give their attention throughout. Movies for example, are most prominently used to entertain by any means necessary, meaning movies can project fictional stories or reenactments of true scenarios with the use of various props and materials that will sustain viewers’ attention.. However, the effects of the influence movies have on the minds and actions of viewers are often not talked about in media. The most susceptible victims of the media are teenagers, according to research done by Harvard Medical School which states, “[through the usage of f-MRI scanning] young brains have both fast-growing synapses and sections that remain unconnected. This leaves teenagers easily influenced by their environment and more prone to impulsive behavior.” This research shows how the environment that teenagers surround themselves with can greatly influence their minds and actions.
The susceptibility of teenagers to media influence makes movies prominent in impacting their minds. The ability of movies to influence the minds and actions of teenagers has been an issue that was brought to life when movies started to include the usage of drugs. The injustice that occurs with the utilization of drugs in movies is the romanticizing effect it has on the viewers. Movies rarely show the actual psychological effects of drugs. Most movies focus on the satisfaction of the drugs and not the downfall of a person after the effects of the heinous substances wear off. The aspect about movies that everyone has to understand is that they are designed to entertain. Therefore, to find a movie with an accurate portrayal of actual events is rare, as even tragedies are shown with great exaggeration to encourage people to continue watching. Movies are forms of entertainment that often show an unrealistic view of real life events. Drugs are a real-life issue, and the real-life effect of addictive substances are constantly removed from the final product of a movie.
Movies, especially ones with great aesthetic, can lead to the romanticization of horrid events; the usage of hardcore drugs is an important example, for it desensitizes teenagers to such serious issue. Movies that demonstrate a temporary satisfaction from a drug that actually permanently damages brain connections give a wrong projection of the truth to teenagers. This is an ongoing and complex problem, however, the normalization of the consumption of drugs as movies do is a problem that can be easily changed. Even though the main purpose of movies is to entertain, the fact that people are easily influenced by anything the screen projects should lead to a change in the way serious issues are portrayed.
by megan irwin
Coral reefs bring up mental images of picturesque, vibrant ecosystems that are teeming with marine life, but the sad reality is that over one fifth of the entire coral population is dead and deserted. The only remainder of a once healthy ecosystem is a decolate, algae covered, ghost town. The substantial decrease in coral population should raise concern to everybody, yet, there continues to be an ever increasing amount of plastics and trash that find their way out to sea. The garbage that lies polluting the ocean not only blocks sunlight from reaching the coral but also spreads disease to the coral due to the toxins in the plastic. The dire situations of dying coral, and the general warming and acidifying oceans, need to be addressed. The fact that it remains human based, the only way to solve such a complication is for mankind to figure it out and fix society’s grave mistake in killing the oceans.
The grim story of the dwindling coral population sheds light on a new form of coral preservation. Scientists from Smithsonian Institute researchers in Hawaii have found a way to cryogenically preserve coral larvae, meaning that the diversity of the existing coral population may be preserved for centuries in order to figure out a good method of a mass reintroduction of coral to marine ecosystems. The preserved larvae can also be used to seed dead or injured reefs in need of a rebirth to flourish as an environment for marine animals. Before, the goal of preserving larvae was due to the inability to successfully cryopreserve and awaken the larvae, and now, with the newfound method of cryopreservation, the possibility to preserve coral reefs is even closer to achieving. Cryopreservation is just one of the many possible solutions that may save the planet, more methods of preservation not only directed for coral will save the planet from the ruins it lies in. Coral is vital to marine ecosystems because it is the center of the community to which other marine animals swarm. Due to the benefits that coral provides to the environment, it remains as alink that ties the food chain of coral reefs together. If these systems were to go extinct, it would have alarming influences on the entire ecosystem of marine life. Hence, the cryopreservation of coral is essential in protecting the diversity of coral species for generations to come.
The thought of coral reefs disappearing forever is calamitous, but with modern science, preservation of coral has become a more attainable option than ever. Cryopreservation is an investment in the future of environmental preservation, whether this generation bears witness to the rebirth of coral, or generations to come, it gives hope that one day, the world will have thriving coral reefs in no threat to extinction.
by Gabriella Gatchalian
The effects of human degradation in the environment affects the everyday life of every human being on this planet. Even the innocent, with deep care and sympathy towards every living creature, are not safe from the consequences of a deeply polluted ecosystem. Various scientific research has warned humanity about this continued parsimonious and down-right selfish act of ignoring the consequences of unsustainable living. The most recent scientific research was a report released by the U.S. Global Change Research program on November 29, 2018, in which they explained the alarming effects of humanity’s inconsiderate actions. It is no surprise that a change is needed and required if people want to experience the high-quality of life that nature provides. Such change needs to be enacted by every single person, but most importantly, the future leaders of the world.
Awareness of the challenges that are going to affect future generations is no secret. The effects of human degradation is rapidly affecting the lives of current and future generations. The amount of action that the world does for the improvement of humanity now solely depends on the new era. Selfishness and focusing on temporary wants instead of what the world really needs is no longer an option.Various teen-organized movements have formed for the sake of providing both awareness and action about ways in which society can change for the better. For example, the sunrise movement is a group that is “building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America.” However, even though forming an organization is an impressive step to take in figuring out a solution, it is not required, for example, even the most simplest acts, such as changing light bulbs to either LED or fluorescent is also a step to contributing to the solution. Being aware of the problem is a step to figuring out the solution, however, without further action, the change that is severely needed will not occur. It is easy to become aware, the difficult part is changing the cycle.
The modern-day lifestyle makes sustainable living extremely challenging, even with the new technologies that are created for the sake of sustainability. The prices for such advanced technology is often deemed unaffordable, however, it is extremely attainable. The amount of air pollution that oil-powered vehicles produce is damaging and a significant contributor to the pollution in certain areas, however, a switch to an electric vehicle is an option to reduce the amount of pollution. Because of the amount of attention and overall advertisement that certain pricey environmental companies receive, companies with the same quality of advanced technology are often left out of the spotlight. In order to change for the better, research is required. Search for alternative solutions, because there is no such thing as following one path to figuring out a solution to climate change. Belonging in the era of great advancements should lead to further advanced thinking to finding ways for making sure every living creature will have a future on this shared planet.
Climate change is unpredictable, but its effects will be tremendously damaging to the lives of future generations. The distorted perception of viewing the solution in one way needs to be altered, as several solutions and changes can be done to help prevent the worsening of the global situation. Waiting for a sudden epiphany in order to start acting for the betterment of the world is from now on, an option from the past. Scientific research stating the future consequences can be read anywhere, the predicted effects are now occurring in various regions of the planet. The accelerated effects of climate change is caused by human degradation, however, the way humanity prioritizes many idle events over a single serious event that will greatly damage the future is in itself a great evidence of the human greed and ignorance that caused the problem to both begin and worsen. An alteration in the way humanity thinks is needed, however, no matter how much research and statistics is served in the screens of people, a simple act of change is impossible. Humanity needs to start considering every living creature that will be affected by this horrendous event. Humanity needs to start being human.
by madison brown
Living in the United States has become a goal for millions of individuals around the world who seek to be a part of the land of the free and escape religious persecution. Promises of inclusivity and open arms welcoming all as they enter are quickly shattered by heavily forced Christian values as well as consumerism that drives the American lifestyle. Generation after generation, America has slowly become more diverse with over three hundred religions and denominations being practiced within the borders yet, old traditions of Christmas being pushed onto all residents have persevered.
The Christianity that is practiced today has strayed far from what our forefathers had used in the creation of American society as now, it is less about the actual honoring of religious figures and more about the capitalistic opportunities for the debt-filled economy. Furthermore, Christian values have been overwhelmingly woven into american society over generations of educational without any association to Christmas and other religious holidays. This phenomenon includes the Bible being used as a textbook in the schools and from the words of Frederick A. Packard, an educator and proclaimed musician, wrote, “No child should leave a daily public school in our country ignorant of the generally received principles of the Christian faith.” By making connections between a necessity to be involved in religion and day to day life, the two became increasingly intertwined and make things such as church chaplains being on public payroll seem like less of a problem than they actually are.
Many believe that the lack of representation for the non-christian members of the United States is not a bother as much as an accepted and known practice. In reality, these efforts of suppression only teach hate and lack of acceptance from a young age. The expectations set on younger, non-christian children to not spoil the surprise of Santa and other fictitious figures is completely unfair and often looked over despite this being the point where the process of prioritization begins. And to be clear, Santa is not a religious figure and rather stems from the once religious St. Nicholas who was once known for his generosity but now represents the capitalistic side of christmas. While the “gift” of things like Christmas Break and having Christmas Eve/Christmas Day off of work, in the United States, residents do not receive Election Day off of work. When compared to one another it is clear that a day dedicated to deciding the fate of our country under the hands of politicians is by far more important yet Election Day is only one of several examples of holidays that are not prioritized and often pushed aside in comparison to Christmas.
Within the confusion and expectations of those to conform to the principles of American society, there is some truth to statements of accusal in any other expectations coming into the U.S. being irrational. However, when Americans are travelling outside of the United States is there ever a worry about not knowing the native language or having to stick to a status quo? The answer is no, therefore, why should those that come here be expected to fit that standard? Furthermore, barring five or six countries, there is an overwhelming responsibility for English to be learned and be learned well. Despite efforts by these “diehard” Christians to prove the necessity in having strictly Christian holidays, Christmas is one day of Christian ideals while involve the practice of a day to day lifestyle. Straight from the Bible, Mark 10: 25 says, “It is easier for a camel to pass through [the] eye of [a] needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” meaning that it has become easier for the impossible to happen over one being accepted into the kingdom without having truly earned it.
The ability to become more inclusive within American society and value all of the people within it at equal levels begins with the admittance that this lack of representation is wrong. Without a admittance of guilt, there is no reason to change what is happening. Furthermore, getting rid of expectations to uphold christian beliefs over personal affiliations needs to be a practice of the past. Each generation brings more diversity and knowledge into American culture and that should be reflected in a respectful and well-mannered way.
by Vannessa Banuelos
The laws in California for minimum marrying age is nonexistent. Teenagers can marry with parental consent and a court order in California. Some other states like New York have allowed children as young as fourteen to marry with parental approval as well. This law is rather odd considering that a lot of states require people to be eighteen before they can get married. According to a survey of marriage licenses by Unchained At Last, at least 167,000 children under 18 were married in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. A good portion of these children were in California. The fact that minors can marry in California is not acceptable. California should stricken these laws and make the legal age to get married eighteen
Mostly, young girls are forced into marriages by their parents for religious or cultural traditions.
This usually has happened for generations, it is tradition. Once women is seen as a woman, they are ready for the next step, marriage. Many will not receive support from their families if they refuse. Whether it is for money, guilt, or religious reasons, children are getting forced into marrying older adults all over the world. In California in particular, there is no restriction on this. In a place where drinking, working, and smoking has an age requirement, it is odd that there is no minimum age requirement for one of the most important events in a persons life. California lacks the minimum age for marriage, the law ensures that teens can marry by the age of fifteen this law is unjust due to the fact that teens should not be forced to do something as detrimental as marriage. According to the United Nations Children's Fund, “marriage under the age of 18 may threaten a child's human rights (including the right to education, leisure, good health, freedom of expression, and freedom from discrimination)”. Not only does this affect their mental health and future as an adult, experts on family law say that early marriage carries all sorts of costs. Socially, they can’t really have a normal teenage life. They can’t be a kid, they have to be an adult and a wife to their husband. Teens also usually have to stop going to school after getting married. They don’t get enough education or graduate to live their own life or get a job. Financially, teens that get married at a young age are not educated enough to earn a lot of money. Teen under this rule are restricted from all of these things which is unjust.. The fact that teens can marry under the age of eighteen in California, is scary and life-threatening.
Usually, when a child gets married, they have to produce offspring. Pregnancy is the leading cause of death for young women ages 15 through 19. As many as 529,000 women die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Since they are really young, they have struggles giving birth and often times die from it. Even if their babies are born, they are usually extremely sick and weak and do not live very long. Child brides also have a higher risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases as well.
The only benefit to child marriage is that it does help weaker populations grow. However, this does not make sense because if their children are sicker and weaker than children birthed from an older woman. So these children end up not living a long and fulfilling life. Also, the mother is at risk too, so in the end, one of them dies usually.
Child marriage, particularly forced child marriages to older spouses is not right. There are tremendous risks to the child including loss of education, socially suffering, and possibly dying. California has no restriction on the age for marriage, residents should put an end to it and speak out more online. This will spread the word that this is still happening in the U.S. It will bring attention and awareness to these children that are suffering. Children in California are suffering from forced marriages and the state is not doing anything to prevent this from happening. It is too easy for a minor to marry, this should not be allowed. California should make the minimum age to get married, eighteen. This will in the long run prevent child marriage and let children, be children.
by megan irwin
The world’s fiendish habit of ignoring humanitarian disasters has led to the ‘imprisonment’ of one million Muslims, mainly Turkic and Uighur. The detention of these Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang region is due to no other crime but practicing their religion, Islam,which inaccurately associates them with terrorism and subversion, due to the select few who participate in these religious extremes. The severity of these ‘political camps for indoctrination’ has left many with psychological damage as well as families and friends in fear as they beared witness to torture, mental imprisonment, and the renouncement of their faith.
Spanning across the Xinjiang region, these concentration camps have had many reports from previous inmates that over the course of several months, they heard and experienced tales of torture, death, forcible rejection of Islam, the criticizing of the beliefs of other inmates, complying to moral sins of their religion, as they were forced the eat pork and drink alcohol; as well as the recite Communist Party propaganda songs for hours. The portrayal of these concentration camps carries an eerie resemblance to both the Holocaust and the rounding up of Japaneses Americans in World War Ⅱ, but still remains unknown to the majority of the public. Whether the imprisonment of Muslims be ignored as attitudes towards those are vilified due to several attacks that are a far fetched representation of Islamic culture; or the ignorant bliss that society has set in place to prevent the realization of complications that bedevil the world. Regardless, the persecutions of the Uighur Muslims for their faith is another example of ethnic cleansing because of the imbecile ideals of those who refuse to accept diversity in religion and ethnicity. Rather than atone for the discrimination towards Muslims, the Xinjiang region not only denies the concentration camps, but instead calls them ‘vocational schools for criminals.’ The pretense of these vocational schools is to religiously discriminate against Muslims due to the lack of religious reciprocity in society. All religions base their devotion on scripture from thousands of years ago, which have a different interpretation to each individual, yet scripture is the basis of key principles in most religions. Society has advanced in a multitude of ways leaving religion vastly dated. Due to the deeply rooted pious forces of religions, most religious groups have prejudices pertaining towards certain groups of different ethnicities, religions, and genders.
The false imprisonment of over one million Muslims in China shows the lack of religious tolerance in society today, and how previous heinous experiences in history, such as the Holocaust and the Japanese internment camps in the United States, have taught global powers nothing in the hopes further acceptance. One religious group will always fear another, making rash decisions according to fear and anger fueled by resentment to individuals of other religious groups. The animosity of the stereotype towards followers of Islam culture, being that all Muslims are terrorists, is utterly misinformed in presuming that a select few of millions of Muslims represent the whole populace.
by emily lusung
California became the first state to abolish cash bail under the reform bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown on August 28. California’s cash bail system was not always favorable because it privileged wealthy people to buy their own freedom. The old system will be replaced with preventive detention, which is the imprisonment of an individual who is considered a danger to society. Judges will have flexibility in the decision of whom they hold. What we fail to recognize within this problematic system are the possibilities of mass imprisonment and racial biases.
California reformed its cash bail system with the intention of fair treatment between the rich and the poor. Matter of fact, cash bail had a few upsides which include: being released under no conditions, money was returned as long as the defendant obeyed the terms and conditions of bail, and it gave the defendant the advantage of showing a promise to return to court. As there were upsides, there were also downsides which include: unaffordable cash bail and if the defendant were pleaded guilty they could potentially cause financial stress for their loved ones. The problem is that the new system, which will take effect in October 2019, will create far more pernicious ramifications. California will continue to give judges the authority to keep people incarcerated before any alleged conviction. The protracted fight California has gone through to end cash bail is no more than pointless. California is set up to diminish under the new system that’ll perhaps increase the numbers of people detained before their trials, and increase chances of mass incarceration.
In 2016, mass incarceration in California was never a considered factor of a bad justice system, fewer people were being sentenced to prison, and those who were released from prison were less likely to return for violating conditions of their paroles. With preventive detention, mass incarceration will generally be glorified. Judges can hold people in jail for which no amount of bail is sufficient. This will allow mass imprisonment to occur; the progress that occurred in 2016 will be neglected.
California’s justice system must underlie actual justice for the people within the legal process, and undermine a system with similar and precarious aspects to cash bail. The end of cash bail in California has become a relief for many, knowing that the wealthy will no longer be privileged. The new system is highly unjust, advocating the light that will shine power on incarceration and continuing to allow judges to have the power. It’s simple to create a fair justice system: ending the tyranny of unaffordable cash bail, but avoiding another system that replicates the problems of cash bail.
by Gabriella Gatchalian
Teachers are bestowed the power to teach students skills that are necessary in becoming contributing citizens of their community, however, with great power comes less acknowledgement. It is a well known fact that educators gets paid the least, even for their significant contributions to the nation. The reasons behind teachers receiving less pay is a complicated case, as it involves questioning the system behind the scenes of education.
All across the nation, various rallies in regards to teachers’ pay have come to light. On August 15, 2018, one of the more recent teachers’ pay rallies occurred in Western Washington. Teachers from different school districts in the Western Washington area argued that because of the growing population of students attending their districts and the rising costs of living, they are deserving of an updated pay. The noticeable growth of student population results to a great increase of responsibility towards teachers; however, due to the complicated structure that surrounds the American education system, the growing expectations does not justify a raise in teachers’ salaries. The American education system is set in a way that the entire education board is a hierarchy: those who are at the top have their voices heard louder in regards to the curriculum and overall management of the entire system, while those who are at the bottom are simply forced to follow the rules placed.
Indeed, throughout the deterioration of time, education has been institutionalized [and in several occasions manipulated] causing the various branches of the educational board to grow. Because of this, the distribution of the budget has become a complicated issue. The guarantee of quality education is from teachers, the very purpose of school is through the education that is provided by teachers. Which is why it is so sickening to watch this wretched system prioritize the salary of those who barely converse the students directly, of those who rarely experiences the stress that is involved with countless grading, of those who rarely contributes to the process of education. Teachers deserve more credit, more payment for their arduous job, they are essential in the process of creating better citizens of society and deserve more from what they are currently receiving.
Analyzing the complicated reasons behind the [corrupted] branches of the educational board leads to the a complicated question, what does this nation prioritize? The distribution of salary is often based on a hierarchy instead of the amount of contributions that a citizen commits to the nation, there are times when such system is reasonable, but with the case of education, such system deserves to be eliminated. Education is essential, every single individual in the United States of America has the ability to receive primary and secondary education. As the population of students taking advantage of such ability is growing, the teachers behind each [public] school in America deserves to receive better pay.
BY madison brown
The instatement of the thirteenth amendment in 1789, and more specifically the clause within it, into American policy brought about the abolishment of slavery while alternatively paving the way for generations of mass incarceration for those that had previously been enslaved. In the past two hundred years since the amendment was added, this clause has transformed into a corporate scheme backed by movements such as former President Richard Nixon’s “War on Drugs” with two million individuals in the United States alone being subject to the cruel conditions of these institutions. However, not all fifty states are staying silent to the trend of poor circumstances as California has progressed within prison reform by instating measures such as rehabilitation for those convicted as well as passing of progressive laws such as Proposition Fifty-Seven which allows those convicted of non-violent felonies and similar crimes to be considered for parole.
Within the late 20th century as drug use and free-spirited protests came as a result of an unconstrained amount of wars as well as the end of segregation, prisons began to overflow and a solution was quickly sought out. Major corporations were allowed to invest in these public prisons and turn them into private institutions funded by themselves. For the remaining public facilities, the corporations were employed to cover services such as medical care, inmate transportation and food servicing. While many saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on a struggling aspect of society, having these powerful individuals at the head of the prisons, in some cases such as food handling, made life for the prisoners worse. According to the American Public Health Association, “[Incarcerated] persons suffer a disproportionate number of outbreak-associated foodborne illnesses.” accounting for six percent of all foodborne illnesses in the country.
On the contrary, the establishment of prisons and other similar operations was centered around the removal of dangerous individuals from the public and treatment should be nowhere near being pampered. However, we are no longer in an age of disproportionate offenses, as according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, forty-six percent of all individuals imprisoned are solely due to drug offenses while a combination of homicide, assault and kidnapping only accounts for three percent of the total amount.In the same way, those convicted of terrible crimes are often sent to higher security prisons that have different protocols surrounding the treatment of prisoners. For the highly populated states such as New York, California and Florida, maintaining a healthy alternative to stopping the trend of imprisonment is the only chance to relieve a large percentage of their residents of minor charges turned life sentences.
As the end of another decade approaches, the responsibility lands in the young people’s hands in taking advantage of voting and reaching out to local legislation. If correctional institutions continue to cage and deny human beings of their basic rights how can any rehabilitation be expected to come out of imprisonment?