Weekend Coffee: January 25

Is conservative Christianity itself bad for marriage? The research says yes. Michelle Goldberg lays out the facts:

Ironically, the very practices meant to shore up marital security in conservative communities end up sabotaging it. By promoting abstinence until marriage, these communities encourage people to marry young. Poor sex education and limited access to contraception for teenagers lead to unintended pregnancies and shotgun weddings. Gender-role traditionalism leads to single-earner families with precarious finances.

See also my earlier post, “The Price of Abstinence“.

• While the U.S. shivers under a polar vortex, XKCD speaks truth, pointing out how common frigid weather like this used to be. Our shocked reaction to subzero cold is a sign of how far global warming has already progressed.

Rarely has the term “mansplainer” ever been more apropos than when it’s applied to Mike Huckabee. And as a bonus bit of hypocrisy, Huckabee himself, as governor of Arkansas, signed a contraception mandate even stricter than the one in Obamacare which he now thinks is the worst thing in the world.

• “How to Write about Africa“: Hilarious, stinging satire from Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, who’s just come out as gay in a brave stand against African conservatives who insist homosexuality is a Western invention.

• I hadn’t written before about the tragic story of Marlise Munoz, a legally dead woman whose pregnant body was being kept on life support against her wishes and the wishes of her husband by repugnant Texas anti-choice laws. This tragedy finally came to an end when a judge ordered the machines to be turned off.

• The schadenfreude rained down like manna from heaven this week, with criminal charges for three of the nicest guys you could imagine: Hunter Moore (“revenge porn” king who ran a site dedicated to explicit pictures of non-consenting women), Dinesh D’Souza (far-right-wing pundit and Christian apologist, for campaign-finance law fraud), and Bob McDonnell (Virginia’s former “Governor Ultrasound“, indicted in a lavish bribery scandal).

• “Alive Inside“, a documentary premiering at Sundance, showcases the astonishing and seemingly magical effect of music as therapy for people with late-stage dementia. Even a few minutes with an iPod can have dramatic results on nursing-home patients who were mute, unresponsive, nearly comatose: restoring them to wakefulness and awareness, kindling the fading embers of self back into flame, even if only for a little while. Warning: This clip will make you cry.

Image credit: Or Hiltch

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Jon Jermey

    XKCD mentions one city out of over 150 that have suffered from this year’s cold spell. What about all the others? And its records apparently go back only as far as 1971 for some reason. Smells like cherry-picking to me.

    Here’s a chart showing warm Missouri winters between 1925 and 1960 similar to those between 1990 and 2009: http://climate.missouri.edu/charts/chart2.php. Now, why didn’t Randall use that one, I wonder?

  • David_Evans

    So you found a different cherry to pick.

    The current cold spell in the US is local, not global. The UK, for instance, is having a mild winter. When talking about global climate change it’s best to look at global temperatures, which are clearly rising. See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/12/the-global-temperature-jigsaw/

  • Azkyroth

    It’s not even “the US.” California had a one-week cold spell and from then on this has been The Year Without A Winter.

  • smrnda

    I’m not surprised that the divorce rates of fundamentalist and evangelicals is so high. If you reject the notion of compatibility and decide that marriage works as long as 2 people are big into Jesus and everybody follows strict gender roles, you’re promoting nonsense that doesn’t work.

    Something I never get is how a subculture that’s so into gender segregation (compared to the norm) thinks that’s a good preparation for marriage. The men have the men’s group where men tell men what to do in a marriage, but never listen to women. Oddly, occasionally men lecture the women on what to do in marriage. But there’s this fear of unpoliced cross gender socialization, which is really probably doing a lot of harm.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism Adam Lee

    In my more cynical moments, I’ve wondered if that’s precisely the point. The evangelical Christian system depends on people feeling shamed and guilty so they can be easily shepherded by the churches, and to facilitate that, the churches have set up a system where people are thrown into difficult life situations with as little preparation as possible, to increase the chances that they’ll fail. If that wasn’t anybody’s conscious intent, they’ve achieved a result that looks strikingly similar.

  • 8DX

    Thanks for the link to “How to write about Africa” .. lines such as “If you are a man, thrust yourself into her warm virgin forests. If you are a woman, treat Africa as a man who wears a bush jacket and disappears off into the sunset. ” are priceless =D

  • ORAXX

    That the divorce rate is high among people who consider compromise unthinkable, should be a big surprise.


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