Mark your calendar

Sep 13th, 2011 12:58 pm | By

Speaking of Janet HeimlichThink Atheist recorded an interview with her recently and will air it next Sunday September 18 at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern. You can find all past and future shows here.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

When they are in PR mode

Sep 13th, 2011 12:37 pm | By

I no sooner say that thing about the pretty picture out front and the kicks and blows behind the curtain when I read another example via Ed Brayton. The Reconstructionists are saying why the Dominionists are so scary while they (the Recons) are thoroughly reassuring.

There is no doubt, however, that the 7MDs do have a goal of top-down control of society. This is explicit in their literature in many places. The exception to this is when they are in PR mode: then they downplay and even completely deny that they believe in dominion….

Riiiiight – as so many control freaks do when they are in PR mode. The pope do, theocracies that sign up to CEDAW do, Michele Bachmann do. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Reconstructionists do.

Meanwhile, as Ed says, there’s a good deal of hilarity in one bunch of theocrats calling another bunch of theocrats “theocrats.” Back here on planet earth they all look like dangerous lunatics who would make life hell if they could.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Do the right thing, Tunisia

Sep 13th, 2011 12:14 pm | By

A bit of good news, potentially (though it could be just window dressing, or good intentions, or doomed): Tunisia “has become the first country in the region to withdraw all its specific reservations regarding Cedaw – the international convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.”

This is an important step, Brian Whitaker continues.

It reverses a long-standing abuse of human rights treaties – especially in the Middle East – where repressive regimes sign up to these treaties for purposes of international respectability but then excuse themselves from some or all of their obligations.

Saudi Arabia, for example, operates the world’s most blatant and institutionalised system of discrimination against women – and yet, along with 17 other Arab states, it is also a party to Cedaw. It attempts to reconcile this position through reservations saying it does not consider itself bound by any part of the treaty which conflicts “with the norms of Islamic law”.

In effect, the Saudi government claims the right to ignore any part of Cedaw it doesn’t like.

Seriously crappy and infuriating thing to do – sign something agreeing to protect equal rights for the sake of the prestige while intending to let equal rights go to hell. It’s much like the pope and the Vatican talking impressive bullshit about their compassion and their deep anguish for everyone who has suffered from yak yak yak while in fact protecting the very people who cause the suffering. It’s much like a lot of things – impressive bullshit out front and brutal self-interested cruelty and indifference behind the scenes.

The point of international conventions such as Cedaw, though, is that they take precedence over local laws. Countries that sign up to them are expected to amend their local laws in order to comply with international standards, not exempt themselves from selected parts of the convention.

If you’re going to exempt yourself, don’t sign up. If you’re going to sign up, don’t exempt yourself.  Fair’s fair.

Tunisia hasn’t gone all the way though. You know what’s coming next…

One possible hiccup is that the government has retained one general reservation which says Tunisia will not take any legislative action which conflicts with Chapter 1 of the constitution. Chapter 1 includes a statement that the country’s religion is Islam – which could lead to some Sharia-based arguments for keeping the law unchanged – but Human Rights Watch suggests this is unlikely. Until now, Tunisia has not used Chapter 1 as an excuse for maintaining laws or practices that violate Cedaw.

Here’s hoping.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Forgive but prosecute

Sep 12th, 2011 5:40 pm | By

From Janet Heimlich’s Religious Child Maltreatment website, a post about the abuse of forgiveness.

But the practice of forgiveness can be abused, and nowhere is this more apparent than in cases of religious child maltreatment. All too often, pious adults who learn that a child has been abused fail to do the right thing. That is, instead of reporting the incident or getting the victim counseling, they urge the child to forgive the perpetrator.

I did a post on this subject more than six years ago, about the Amish, via this article.

It is sinful for the Amish to withhold forgiveness—so sinful that anyone who refers to a past misdeed after the Amish penalty for it has ended can be punished in the same manner as the original sinner. “That’s a big thing in the Amish community,” Mary said. “You have to forgive and forgive.”

That horrible trap has stuck in my mind in a way that few things do.

More about life among the Amish.

What were the bad parts?

-The rape, incest and other sexual abuse that run rampant in the community

-Rudimentary education

-Physical and verbal abuse in the name of discipline

-Women (and children) have no rights

-Religion–and all its associated fear and brainwashing–as a means of control (and an extremely effective means at that)

-Animal abuse

Oh. Adds up, doesn’t it. And she hasn’t yet even gotten to the part about education.

I loved learning, and cried when I couldn’t go back to school the fall after graduating from Amish 8th grade. The Amish do not send their children to formal schooling past 8th grade. A Supreme Court case prevented forcing Amish children into high school on grounds of religious freedom.  I knew that, by US law, I wasn’t considered an adult until eighteen. I didn’t want to wait until then to go to high school.

For four years, I tried to come up with a way that I could leave before turning eighteen without my parents being able to take me back, so I could go to school.

Well done US Supreme Court – you made it impossible for that girl to go to school, by granting her “community” the right to take her out without granting her any right to say no thank you.

And there’s Chuck Phelps at that mad Baptist cult-church in New Hampshire.

A woman says she was sexually assaulted as a teen and that the pastor of her church told her to forgive and forget instead of doing what the law required: report it to authorities.

The woman’s allegation surfaced after a recent trial during which a prosecutor suggested the same pastor, the Rev. Chuck Phelps, didn’t do enough to help a rape victim.

That’s Tina Anderson, whom we read about a few days ago.

Too much forgiveness and not nearly enough accountability.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Picky picky

Sep 12th, 2011 4:52 pm | By

From Rethinking Vision Forum - a look at Vision Forum’s recklessness with data when it comes to women’s survival. They  recommend refusal of surgery for women with ectopic pregnancies and they use bad stats to do it.

I was ASSURED informally and emphatically that National Right to Life In NO WAY supports the Vision Forum position on withholding treatment in the case of tubal pregnancy.

So Vision Forum, like the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, thinks women should die along with their fetuses rather than terminating the pregnancy.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Bangladesh ties up some loose ends

Sep 12th, 2011 11:08 am | By

Bangladesh has a new broadcasting law, which will make things tidier there. The basic idea is to forbid just about everything.

[3] National ideology or characters cannot be criticized,

[4] The father of the nation [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] cannot be criticized in any of the programs.

[5] No individual can be criticized in the programs.

[6] No criticism will be allowed on national ideologies and goals.

[8] No program can be aired which would provoke deterioration of law and order situation.

[10] Programs related to trafficking in women, forced prostitution, rape etc will be barred from broadcast under the new law. This law will also stop broadcasting investigative reports on such issues.

[12] No program or content on mutiny or demonstration can be broadcast on television channels.

Pretty thorough, wouldn’t you say?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

His brazen feminist mother-in-law attacked him with vegetables

Sep 11th, 2011 3:56 pm | By


No Longer Quivering has a section for nlq stories. There are a lot of stories. I’m reading chapter 2 of one story, by Tess Willoughby.

It was the year when we went to a conference and met a pastor who advocated corporal punishment for wives, and Nate took to his teachings like a duck to water…

Nate and I were part of the Christian separatist movement of the late ’80s and early ’90s, rooted in the belief that liberals and “secular humanists” would destroy the moral fiber of America. Christian separatists— right-wing religious splinter groups including white supremacists, Y2K survivalists, secessionists, reconstructionists, and so on—believed that the upstanding patriotic Christian Americans needed to separate themselves and create a fortress of Christian homes where the true leaders of tomorrow would be raised…

When I was eight months pregnant with Jack, Nate ordered me to pick a paperwad up off the living room floor. I refused, and he took me by the forearm and “lovingly compelled” me to pick up the paperwad, while murmuring sweetly in my ear, “I’m sorry, sweetheart, but you need to learn obedience.”

I was enjoying a cozy kitchen chat with my mom when Nate interrupted with this remark: “A woman is to be under a man at every stage of her life—her father, her husband, and then, if widowed, her son.” I looked at Nate in stupefaction.  The idea of a son’s authority over his widowed mother was a new one, even for me.

My mother had been shelling her garden peas during Nate’s little speech. She stopped, repeated “under. . .a. . .man,” and began hurling fresh peas at Nate’s balding head. Then she stalked out of the kitchen. I was ordered to gather the peas and pack the car—my visit home was over.

Incidents like these had convinced Nate that my Mom and Dad were not Christians—at least, not biblical Christians. They were a bad influence on his family.  They needed to be shunned.

And that’s the fun part. Then she gives birth to Jack, and Nate wants to sleep but newborn Jack keeps crying so Nate -

Read on.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

How to mess with children’s heads

Sep 11th, 2011 3:03 pm | By

Raise them on a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. Libby Anne explains.

As a girl, I was told not to “give away pieces of my heart.” That meant that I was to make sure not to fall in love, because if I fell in love with someone I would give him a piece of my heart, a piece of heart that I would now no longer be able to give to my future husband. I would essentially be emotionally cheating on my future husband. In order to keep myself pure, I had to guard my heart and my emotions carefully.

Practically, what this meant was that ever time I had a crush on a guy I knew I felt incredibly guilty. I believed that I was giving away a piece of my heart, and I would never get it back. I was so afraid to love, too afraid to even want to start a relationship. I must, must, must keep myself pure! I thought to myself time and again. Turn your eyes away! Turn your thoughts away! Guard your mind! More chores, more homework, more searching for wild herbs and learning how to can – anything to stay away from boys and any thought of guy-girl relationships! I must keep my heart pure!

This book is very popular in conservative evangelical circles, so there are lots of messed-with young people out there.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The very very Baptists

Sep 11th, 2011 1:26 pm | By

The Facebook group Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors (and their Supporters) is interesting.

You know what I’m talking about. You went to an IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) church three times a week. The Christian school you attended was connected to your church/cult, or you were home-schooled. Your church was committed to the “Doctrine of Separation” and strong discipline. You believed Billy Graham was the “bad guy” and that all other churches and religious organizations were/are disobedient and in “sin” (i.e. you were taught even the Southern Baptists were/are “compromising liberals”). Your church also controlled nearly every aspect of your life. Your family may have even needed to get permission from the pastor before going on vacation (if you dared leaving in the first place). If you are female (heaven forbid), you most likely wore long skirts and the IFB clothing item known as “culottes” most of your life whenever you went in public (you even went swimming in them).

You’re familiar with most if not all of the following:

“Bus Ministry”
Gospel tracts
King James Onlyism
“The Bible says, ‘Touch Not God’s Anointed’ and that means ME!”
“Let me tell you something big boy, you rebel against your parents and you go down across town to that Southern Baptist Church and let me tell you something, you’ve stepped out of the will of God! You hear me? You just want to hear that mamby, pamby preaching from those preachers who water down the gospel of Jesus Christ and that is nothing more than your rebellious heart crying out in your SIN!”
“Pants on women is sinful!”
“Christian Contemporary worship music is demonic!”
“Rock music played backwards tells you to kill your parents!”
“Going to the cinema is a sin!”
“Billy Graham has done more damage to the cause of Christ than any other man alive! He’s a heretic!”
Screaming, ranting, and raving pastors

And much much much more.

You know…it becomes more and more clear, the more I dig into this, that there are a lot of people being harmed by whacked-out fundie christianity in the US. I sort of vaguely assumed that they were mostly happy inside their bubble – I thought they shouldn’t be, but mostly were – but that was a lazy thing to think.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

I do like a nice mission statement

Sep 10th, 2011 4:22 pm | By

Cool; Vision Forum “Ministries” has a mission statement. Its title is

Preserving Our Covenant with God through Biblical Patriarchy and Multi-Generational Faithfulness

What covenant? They think they have a covenant? How can you have a covenant with someone you’ve never met or had any kind of bilateral communication with? And how can you sign multi generations up to anything? Why do future generations have to be “faithful” to something you’ve agreed to?

Item 6: Reinforcing Godly Masculinity and Femininity

Meaning, masculinity and femininity as seen in High Noon. All men are to be like Gary Cooper and all women are to be like Grace Kelly. Simple.

Item 7: Understanding Family Culture as Religion Externalized

With Daddy as God. Simple.

Item 9: Developing Biblical Worldview Through Presuppositional Thinking

Oh that’s a really good one. Decide what you presuppose first, and then develop your biblical worldview; that way no actual thought is ever required.

Item 10: Training Character by Hebrew Discipleship and Home Education

Say what?

Item 13: Preparing Men to Stand in the Gates

The better to smite the feminists and atheists.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Rethinking Vision Forum

Sep 10th, 2011 12:25 pm | By

I have more topics and sites to explore than I can keep up with right now. I keep meaning to dig into Rethinking Vision Forum but so far I’ve only scratched the surface.

Vision Forum uses a classic illustration but distorts it first, in a way both annoying and funny. They forgot to tweak her arm, so now it looks as if she’s…well, take a look.

I look forward to reading more about Elsie Dinsmore.

I’m fascinated by the Botkin daughters.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

“Feminist Whore”

Sep 10th, 2011 11:28 am | By

Okay this is fascinating. From a post on a gaming website:

Dead Island, whose PR and publishing team won an advertising award earlier this year for a pricey and very artistic trailer, finds its way back into the news this week in a much less pleasant way.  A non-final “developer’s build” version of the game, which was accidentally released on Steam a couple of days ago, has been cracked by an enterprising fan.  Turns out that one of the unlockable “Skills” for one of the two female avatars is called “Feminist Whore” in the original code base:  re-titled “Gender Wars” in the “sanitized fit-for-public consumption” version of the game, it allows the character to deal extra damage to anything male.

Now the game’s “International Brand Manager” and publisher have to scramble and apologize for what must appear, to any sane adult, as an unplanned glimpse of the naked, bald-faced, slavering hatred of women which lives and breeds in their developers.

They’ve hurried to say that the person responsible for this misogynistic snippet of code was a “Lone Gunman” tech monkey, who introduced the phrase into the debug code as a “private joke”.  Thus the notion that all feminists were angry whores would “represent the views of only a single person” on that development team—or in this industry in general—and only one guy (at most) should suffer any professional consequences, naturally.

Wow…how very very familiar that sounds. What a lot of it we have been seeing lately, some of us (like me for instance) with amazement shock horror surprise consternation alarm confusion.

…virulent misogyny is not a freak incident in this business.  It is actually the norm in many studios.  It’s extremely common in the culture of gaming as a whole, and it is present in developers, gamers, publishers and the gaming press in copious abundance.  Anyone who doubts that insults like “Feminist Whore” are unwelcome in gaming has only to check the forum thread where the “Feminist Whore” skill was first discovered.  You’ll see a typical string of comments which you might see on virtually any gaming forum.  Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few comments attached to this post later that will be equally cringe-worthy and repugnant.

This seems to confirm a thought I had when reading Skeptic Lawyer’s post on manners, in particular her thoughts about geek subcultures. The thought was that maybe that’s where a lot of (or hell, for all I know all of) the more frothingly and obsessively misogynist commenters on ERV’s elevator posts originated. Maybe they’re all members of the geek subculture community and maybe that community is particularly infected with unabashed misogyny. What Arinn Dembo at Gamasutra says and what her commenters say provide a lot of evidence for that.

I like this one:

Rushing to dismiss feminist questions stinks. Always. A vicious dismissal of the concerns of others because you have some haughty anti-PC bent doesn’t make you George Fucking Carlin. It makes you a vicious pig. You are not an iconoclast and your protection of a broken and diseased culture also stinks.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Secrets and lies

Sep 10th, 2011 10:15 am | By

Tina Anderson, age 15, was forced to stand up in front of her Baptist congregation and “confess” to her “sin” – she’d had sex with a married man and she was pregnant.

What she wasn’t allowed to tell the group was that the pregnancy was the result of being  raped by a church deacon, a man twice her age.

She says her New Hampshire pastor, Chuck Phelps, told her she was lucky not to have been born during Old Testament times when she would have been stoned to death…

Her mother sought help from the pastor and they agreed to send her thousands of miles away to Colorado to live with another Baptist family.

There, she reportedly was homeschooled and barred from seeing others her age until she gave her child up for adoption.

Meanwhile the church deacon of course was reported to the police. Right?

But in February 2010, after keeping her secret for 13 years, Anderson — a 28-year-old mother of three more children who lives in Arizona — was contacted by police and agreed to press charges.

All the years that she lived with the memory of the alleged abuse, she held it tight. “You are told not to talk about it,” according to Anderson, who also accuses the pastor of concealing her whereabouts.

Today, the man charged with rape has been arrested and Concord’s Trinity Baptist Church is at the center of that scandal for allegedly protecting one of its members and perhaps hiding the victim from police scrutiny.

Oh. Well hey, 13 years isn’t such a long time.

Ernest Willis, now 51 and a former church member who lives in Gilford, N.H., is accused of raping Anderson twice — once at Anderson’s home where he showed up when her parents were away and a second time in the backseat of a car when he was teaching her to drive.

In a seven-page statement to police obtained by, Anderson said Willis offered to take her out of state where abortions for minors are legal, then asked if she wanted him to “punch me in the stomach as hard as he could” to trigger a miscarriage.

Willis was convicted of rape last May. He was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in prison on September 6.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Instant personhood

Sep 9th, 2011 6:24 pm | By

Brilliant. The Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that voters can decide the “personhood” of the fertilized egg – human egg, that is, not chicken egg or salamander egg.

The measure would amend the constitution to extend “personhood” to the unborn, likely rendering abortions illegal in the state if upheld.

Anti-abortion forces hope the amendment, if passed, would ultimately be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, providing another opportunity for the justices to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.

“Although our opponents were beaten in this lawsuit, we know that they will not stop in their desperate attempts to deny the obvious truth that life begins at conception and that every life deserves to be protected in the law,” said Steve Crampton, general counsel of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel. “Not only Mississippians, but all Americans, should support this commonsense amendment.”

He doesn’t mean “life,” the damn fool. He means human life. He doesn’t think every virus  deserves to be protected in the law.

Mississippi is the only state with a “personhood” initiative on the ballot this year. Similar measures are being planned for next year in Florida, Montana and Ohio, say supporters. Efforts it at least five other states are in the planning stages.

Something to look forward to.

H/t Ezra Resnick.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Child torture the biblical way

Sep 9th, 2011 4:52 pm | By

Anderson Cooper had a piece at CNN about the Schatzes and about Daniel Michael Pearl’s horrible child-rearing advice:

The Pearls

You hear a cop talking to Zahria about her injuries – they beat her on the bottoms of her feet, like any torturer. She says – well, you’ll have to listen. Good luck with not falling apart.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The death of Lydia Schatz

Sep 9th, 2011 11:50 am | By

The deeper we dig into Patriarchal Christianity, the more rot and corruption we find, so we dig again, and find more, so we dig again, and…

We find for instance (via Janet Heimlich at Religious Child Maltreatment) Elizabeth and Kevin Schatz of Paradise California, who beat their adopted daughter Lydia, age 7, to death.

The Schatzes adopted Lydia and her sister Zariah, a year older, from Liberia…and proceeded to beat them for hours on end. Lydia’s casus flagendi was getting a word wrong during a homeschooling lesson.

 According to authorities, when the Schatzes beat Lydia, they took breaks to pray. They then resumed the torture, as one held the child down while the other whipped her with 1/4-inch wide plumbing line. Lydia died from the beatings. Zariah barely survived, having suffered kidney failure and other injuries.

The Schatzes did not come up with their disciplinary methods all on their own. They were followers of the Tennessee-based No Greater Joy Ministries, which is operated by a fundamentalist Christian minister named Michael Pearl and his wife, Debi. The Pearls’ book To Train up a Child is hugely popular among Christian homeschooling parents; it has sold more than 650,000 copies and has been translated into many foreign languages, according to the Pearls’ website. The Pearls strongly advocate for the spanking of children—even those who have committed minor infractions—saying that God demands that parents spank. The Pearls suggests that spankers use implements rather than the hand, because “hands are for loving and helping.”

In particular, the Pearls believe that 1/4-inch-wide plumbing line is ideal for spanking children. “It will fit in your purse or hang around your neck. You can buy them [sic] for $1.00 at Home Depot or any hardware store,” notes Michael Pearl on his website. He adds that sections of the pipe “come cheaper by the dozen and can be widely distributed in every room and vehicle. Just the high profile of their accessibility keeps kids in line.” The Pearls’ book was found in the Schatz home with passages underlined. Police photographed a section of 1/4-inch plumbing pipe lying on the parents’ bed next to a children’s book.

What else is there to say?

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Sep 9th, 2011 11:17 am | By

Dan Satterfield at AGU (whom I hadn’t read before: thanks Greg Laden) connects the epistemology of the Tea Party (or rather of Tea Partiers) with the Dunning-Kruger effect and authoritarian thinking.

Ed Maibach and Anthony Leiserowitz at GMU, and the Yale Center for Climate Change Communication have released a fascinating study of the opinions of different political party members on climate change. This is all the more fascinating because it defines the Tea Party as a separate group and asks some interesting questions about climate science. Take a look at the highlights from the survey below and see if you notice what stood out glaringly to me.

Yup; it jumped right out.

Tea Party members are much more likely to say that they are “very well informed” about global warming than the other groups. Likewise, they are also much more likely to say they “do not need any more information” about global warming to make up their mind.

Classic illustration of not knowing enough to realize you don’t know enough, in short, Dunning-Kruger.

According to Psychologist Bob Altemeyer this is classic authoritarian behavior…

When it comes to issues surrounding their world view, authoritarians show almost no critical thinking skills. You could say these people have a much stronger force field around their idea of reality than other people do and It’s nearly shatter proof. Authoritarians can easily dismiss and minimize the overwhelming evidence on climate and replace it with global conspiracy theories, involving thousands of researchers, that to most people are obviously downright silly…

The media is often frustrated by scientists who are reluctant to plainly state an opinion or make a concrete prediction about something. They are always qualifying their answers and for a reporter looking for a good solid sound bite, this can be maddening and puzzling. i.e. if the expert doesn’t know, who does! The Dunning-Kruger effect explains this as well, and in their original paper Dunning and Kruger ( you expected someone else??) quoted Thomas Jefferson in explaining it:

Thomas Jefferson once said, “he who knows best, knows how little he knows.”

It’s true – that’s one of the things you learn when you learn about anything – how little you know about it. You learn this because you find out how much other people know and how much there is to know.

It’s too bad so many people don’t know this.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Victimhood makes rudeness ok, yes? No.

Sep 8th, 2011 5:57 pm | By

Skepticlawyer has a great post with great comments on manners and geekdom and victim status as all-purpose excuse for off-the-charts rudeness.

There are various manifestations of these atrocious manners, but they seem (to me, at least) to boil down to an inability, on the part of certain men, to take ‘no’ for an answer. I think this is tied to participation in various ‘geek’ subcultures (both on-line and off-line, so while it may be convenient to blame the internet, blaming the internet is unfair). Participation in these varied subcultures is seen to give people something of a pass for rudeness. The justification proffered is that participation in the subculture resulted in bullying when the man in question was young, conferring victim status on him as an adult. And, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere on this blog, wrapping oneself in victimhood is often a way to avoid having to take personal responsibility–for anything.

Read the rest.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Slumber parties are sin parties

Sep 8th, 2011 5:07 pm | By

Libby Anne examines the ideological straitjacket of Christian Patriarchy.

The parents of Christian Patriarchy have one goal in mind: to raise children who believe and act as they do. The reason, of course, is that they see their beliefs and lifestyle as the only one that is truly Christian, and anyone who steps outside of their beliefs and lifestyle turns their back on God. Within this framework, parents of Christian Patriarchy act quite rationally.

Vision Forum and No Greater Joy and the Institutes for Basic Life Principles tell them that if they do just so, they will turn out perfect godly Children. This is the appeal these groups have, and parents buy it. They then live by the formulas these groups present and expect complete conformity from their children…

This is one aspect of the whole thing that I find quite opaque. What reason do people have for thinking this way of life is particularly “Christian”? What about it is specifically Christian? To an outsider it looks much more simply old-fashioned and off-the-charts strict, neither of which has anything at all to do with “Christian.”

I suspect it’s the other way around – people develop ideas of “religion” as being about purity (especially sexual purity) and related qualities, all of which are opposed to ordinary worldly secular life – pop culture, gossip, raucous music, advertising, sexy clothes, singles bars, non-marital sex, teh gayz, consumerism, the whole vulgar package. They think of the rejection of all that as religious and then they do a back-formation in which their particular religion turns out to mandate that rejection. Only it doesn’t. It forgot to, because it didn’t know about it.

Pascal Boyer talks about this way of thinking in Religion Explained.

As far as anthropologists know,  people in most places conceive of some supernatural agents as having some interest in their decisions. This can take all sorts of forms. Christians for instance consider that God expects some particular kinds of behavior and will react to departures from the norm…

For instance, religious codes like the Christian Commandments specify a simple list of prescriptions and prohibitions. But the range of situations about which people have moral intuitions or uncertainties is far greater than this. [p 173]

And people just fill in the gaps, and assume that’s “Christian/Muslim/whatever.”

With the Patriarchy set, the results can be pretty stringent. Libby Anne quotes from Michael Pearl:

Over the years as our children were growing up, Deb and I offended about every family member and some of our friends by being “overprotective” of the innocent charges God sent into our care. We guarded them from any suspect company and thoughtfully planned their associations. We have not trusted, “good Christian families.” We have not participated in churches where the children were separated from us. After church, we watched them and their associations. When kids stop running around in circles, screaming, and start talking, or drawing aside, you’ve likely got the beginning of troubles brewing. Keep the little ones standing right beside you after church. They should always sit with you, never with their friends. If they go out to the bathroom, go with them. Never allow them to spend the night with friends or cousins. Slumber parties are sin parties. Never allow them to listen to music through headphones. Three-minute phone conversations, no chat rooms, no surfing the web for any reason. Parents should make it physically impossible for them to even access the web. We didn’t allow our children to spend time in their bedrooms unless they were working on a project or reading. Bedroom doors were always kept open, except for two minutes while dressing.

Wouldn’t the Pearls have been happier with a set of robots for children?



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

English as a 47th language

Sep 8th, 2011 4:26 pm | By

There’s a little chat I did with Jonathon Narvey of The Propagandist last week. If you listen to it I recommend skipping at least the first three minutes, because before that I keep sounding as if I’m translating from the Jupiterian.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)