The new normal: parents making out with their kids

Incest, anyone?

The Anchoress has veins bulging out of her neck over this — and me, I’m just stupefied:

A pep rally prank intended to bring laughter and cheers at a Minnesota high school has instead sparked a firestorm of controversy after parents of some senior student athletes took a practical joke too far.

As reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a recent winter sports pep rally at Rosemount (Minn.) High featured a comedy skit which took advantage of unknowing captains of the various winter varsity squads. After the team captains walked into the gym blindfolded, they were told that they were going to be kissed by a special someone, and then were asked to guess who it was that kissed them.

You can see full video footage of the pep rally incident here, but beware, there are some moments that veer into “make out” territory and can come across as pretty inappropriate.

It turns out that the person who kissed the athletes — in every circumstance — was their own opposite sex parent.

Here’s how the Star Tribune described the sketch’s lowlights:

Some of the parents during the 59-second YouTube video are seen holding the kisses for several seconds, cupping their child’s faces or embracing and swaying.

One mother moved her son’s hand down to her behind during the encounter. Another mom has her son down on the gym floor to the delight of two male students nearby.

According to the Minneapolis paper, a number of those in attendance called and emailed to make it clear that they felt offended by the sketch, despite the fact that none of the students or parents involved in the kissing antics complained about the routine at all.

Besides stupefied, you can also describe me as nauseated.  Give that last line a gander, will you?   “None of the students or parents involved in the kissing antics complained about the routine at all…” Let that sink in.  Then read the rest. There’s video, too. If you watch the video, you’ll see grownups laughing it up and having a blast at the expense of teenagers who just unwittingly played tonsil hockey with their parents.

Comments

  1. It just boggles my mind. What kind of parent would participate in something that would humiliate their child? But this? I’m personally outraged.

  2. Yucckkk!!!!!!

    Why isn’t someone screaming sexual abuse or sexual harrassment? The whole administration should be summarily tossed out. Where is law enforcement and the DA on this one?

  3. Eeewww!!! This is disgusting!! I have no more words.

  4. Fr. Shaun Lowery, OSFS says:

    Worse, why are you sharing this?

  5. This is many things…but it is certainly not normal by any definition.

  6. Could be worse, could have been the same sex parent…

    I imagine Freud would find confirmation in this for many of his theories.

  7. I’m not at all surprised. The Marquis de Sade would be very proud of us today, as the body has been totally emptied of all moral significance. With piercings and tatoos, the body is now used as a billboard.

    In medicine, treatment decision criteria have shifted from morbidity and mortality to outcomes-based medicine where “quality of life” decisions are made by clinicians–the majority of whom–have undergone formation in a moral vacuum. Increasingly what can’t be cured is killed. Europe has a growing suicide tourism industry for people flocking to Belgium and the Netherlands for physician-assisted suicide.

    Porn sales in the US exceed $1 Billion annually.

    It takes a great deal of conditioning, habitual conditioning, to arrive at a vision of ourselves as having no intrinsic metaphysical worth. When we get there, anything goes. Even incest. These are liminal experiences from which the participants can never return. That’s the nature of liminality. We can repent and be forgiven, but we’ve eaten from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and we carry the scars forward with us.

    For our children to be out of bounds, we too must be sacred, as well as our bodies and their sexual expressions. We’ve lost the culture, the proof of which is that neither these parents, nor the school administrators were arrested.

  8. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Fr. S…

    Isn’t it obvious?

    Dcn. G.

  9. This is sexual child abuse.

    These parents might not all be premeditated sexual predators but they became guilty participants in the same way bystanders who join in a group rape do.

    Those poor children. How can they know what to do know?

  10. That something like this could be done in a public school shows how depraved our culture has become. I’m not saying we are all depraved, but that our commonly held cultural values did not tell these people not to do this.

  11. Irish Spectre says:

    I didn’t pose the question, but speaking for myself, Dcn., no, it is not obvious why you’ve posted this ultra sick story, although I’m assuming that it is meant to underscore how radically detached our culture has grown from its moorings.

    Having said that, I’ve long argued that the biggest single problem that’s killing our culture, other than its rejection of its Judeo-Christian heritage, is the widespread perpetual adolescence of its adults, which in this case has been taken to an extreme that I’d never imagined.

  12. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    You’re correct, IS.

    I’m shocked that this sort of thing could go on, with the implicit approval of parents and the cheering, giddy support of adults. And I’m frankly surprised that someone thinks exposing this to a wider audience is “worse” than the event itself.

    Dcn. G.

  13. Nancy Larrick says:

    Let me get this straight. You can’t pray in school, but you can sexually molest your own child there…

  14. Bad judgment, bad taste, and just EWWW. That said sometimes people do stupid things. I think this falls under that heading and seriously doubt it will happen again. Moving on.

  15. No country that has legal abortions killing 4000 babies a day is going to have anything close to a moral fibre so this should shock no one. In fact, if you had posted a video of men kissing men not that long ago, the posts seen here would have had the same revulsion and look where we are today. And since it is legal for men to marry men based on abuse of the constitution, the same distortion will also be used to make incest and polygamy normal with the same legal argument. So in 10 years or so, the comments on this type of thing will have changed as the water in the pot continues to get hotter as we are cooked of our moral true north. Today, Deacon is asked why he posts this trash for one reason, then it will be what is so unique about it and complainers will be viewed as intolerant of this type of relationship.

  16. Comment removed because of offensive stereotype. — Ed.

  17. If this had happened in private, arrests would have been made.

  18. Fr. Shaun Lowery, OSFS says:

    I do think that while immoral and imprudent decisions should be criticized and corrected by the Church (especially since our track record in the hierarchy hasn’t been so great on that, which I know is a tremendous understatement), that our principle purpose is to proclaim and present the Gospel as a legitimate (and the ultimate) alternative to much of the bad news, choices and the corruption of society. I do not think spotlighting heinous or disgusting and isolated events helps herald the Gospel. Rather, I think it fosters a negative starting point for one’s development of a theological anthropology, which despite the lack of ethical and moral formation our society suffers from, does not mean that our starting point when describing the human condition from the Catholic perspective is evil. And so still this leaves me still wondering with the link to the article and no suggestion of a Gospel alternative to such offensive news what was the original point? It has generated good conversation though. That generation of conversation perhaps is the good news. Blog and twitter followers gone up?

  19. As the headline of the next post on this blog says:
    “There are still people out there who feel this way.”
    Unfortunately.

  20. If same sex marriage is OK then what’s wrong with a little incest?

  21. Yeah, I saw this on Failblog.
    The weirdest thing about this is that it wasn’t part of some strange, spontaneous act. Instead, something like this had to have happened:

    Student 1: “So let’s think here, people. We gotta think of something funny for the thing next week. How about we get the moms and dads to kiss their kids, while the kids are blindfolded. The boys won’t know that the are getting snogged by their mom! And the dads? Well! They’ll get to smooch their daughters on the lips! Unbeknownst to them! It will be hi-LAR-ious.”
    Student 2: “I like it! Let’s call one of the moms to see if she likes the idea. [picks up phone] Hello? Doug’s mom? So next week, during the thing at school, we’d like you to make out with your son. He won’t know it’s you, ‘cuz he’ll be blindfolded.”
    Doug’s mom: “That’s a great idea! He wont’ know it’s me! And I’ll be kissing him! On the lips! That’s such a great idea!”

  22. I’m sure that’s exactly what is down the road in Satan’s plans.

  23. George Mason says:

    What if a football coach were involved? or a member of the clergy?

    Is sexual abuse of minors ok because it is done by parents?

    The law enforcement authorities should be informed of this.
    Those parents should face charges. The school officials should be fired.

  24. Brice Peters says:

    I don’t see how this can be labeled “the new normal.” This story has gotten a lot of coverage, and I can’t think of anyone reacting who made a case that this was normal.

  25. Re the prudence of posting this at all, reasonable minds may differ with Dcn. Greg’s decision. Re the acts themselves, prima facie it seems that some crimes may have been committed; given the direct evidence available, is it being investigated, or not? Also, it seems that some blindfolded (ie, non-consenting) kids have been humiliated, etc, and I can’t imagine some tort lawyers not standing on front porches already, and some school district execs not spending some sleepless nights waiting for notices.

  26. Fr. Lowery,

    As one who worked with teen prostitutes for 7 years at Covenant House in Times Square, NY during the 1980′s (when the sex industry was going full steam), I support this posting by Deacon Greg. The ensuing shock, anger, denial, and revulsion are precisely why we need the information out there.

    It tells us something that few can fathom exists. I would get the same response type when I shared a typical week’s offerings from Covenant House. It reveals a cancer in its nascent stage, and invites us to treat this particular malignancy at precisely the stage that such malignancy is most treatable with the best possible prognosis, before the catastrophic metastasis.

    Also, posting such a story is diagnostic of the culture we are encountering with the Gospel, and calls us to reframe the approach to evangelization. This is orders of magnitude worse than anything I encountered in New York’s great sewer in the 80′s, and I thought I’d seen it all back then. These were unsuspecting children, blindfolded by a school administration knowing that these children were about to be sexually assaulted by their parents—all in the name of school spirit and entertainment.

    The worst of all was the principal’s response:

    “There is no question that people were offended,” Wollersheim said. “I apologize to those who were offended, and we won’t do it again.”

    Wollersham is only apologetic to the extent that others were offended, and not that children were sexually assaulted by their parents for the sake of entertainment. Presumably, if none were offended then such activity would become a staple at pep rallies in the future.

    Deacon Kandra has done something incredibly brave here, and I’ll take it a step further. Why haven’t we seen every christian clergyperson in the city leading a march on the school, the board of education, and the police department demanding justice for the victims? That should tell us how far the rot has set in, and the utter failure of the christian churches to engage the culture with the Gospel

    I understand your incredulity, Father. I believe, however, in this case it has been displaced. So, let me pose this question to you:

    If this happened in your parish (and it will soon enough), what would be your response?

  27. Regina Faighes says:

    This is disgusting and deeply disturbing on many levels and for many reasons. May God have mercy on our sick and misguided society, and bring it back to the right road.

  28. One can only imagine that this is a product of parents who no longer think of themselves as responsible adults, but as sexy post-adolesents. And their own children can be used and abused to reinforce the notion that Mom is super-sexy.

    There are a whole group of Moms who like to call themselves names like “Yummy Mummys”. And these moms dress like they are still 16.

    The concept of motherhood as being holy and dignified is unknown to these folks.

  29. Mr. Nadal has said it far better than I could and as an incest survivor, I absolutely support this posting.

  30. Good point, Momma Kyle. It makes me wonder how many of these parents are single parents. If married, what did their spouses say?

  31. How can we be outraged at Penn State, when the administrators of this school aren’t prosecuted? They should be criminally charged for child abuse! I am completely serious.

  32. On the other hand, the apology was unconditional. It recognized that people were offended. No “ifs” were connected to it. There was a promise it wouldn’t be repeated.

    It is asking too much for secular figures to get the apology to the satisfaction of those offended, who, at this writing, seem to be mostly people who watched it on YouTube.

    Count me as a skeptic that this sort of behavior is particularly worse than what has happened in the past (Gen 19:30ff, or 2 Sam 11), even including the history of this nation. This was a creepy and crass episode, juvenile from top to bottom. But let’s not make more of it than it is. It’s not sexual abuse. It’s a silly and tasteless prank reinforced by dittohead behavior. This sort of behavior goes on all the time on the internet among like-minded groups: stick with the majority thought, and don’t dare step out of line.

  33. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Gerard…

    The principal’s response is a non-response and, in effect, a non-apology. He’s only apologizing “to those who were offended”? Really? How about accepting some responsibility for an appalling lack of judgment? How about acknowledging that this didn’t turn out the way he, perhaps, intended? How about expressing a degree of contrition or shame?

    Don’t people get it?

    Dcn. G.

  34. No, Deacon Greg. They don’t get it. We’re back to Corinth.

    You’re right in that his apology was a non-apology. What grabbed me from the video was the howls of applause and approval from the audience. The principal is a product of the community and the preponderant moral norms, and that is frightening.

  35. That’s the part that really got to me – how affirming the audience was of the whole sad, outrageous event.

  36. Fr. Shaun Lowery, OSFS says:

    Funny you should ask since this very issue on a more serious and dangerous level just happened to come up in my parish the very day that this was posted with a girl younger than six and we reported it to the authorities and are praying for her safety now. And since we’ve shifted to an emotionally based argument rather than an intellectual or theological discussion, I will withdraw from further comment.

  37. I agree with Taad. The administration and parents should be prosecuted. Why was no one in this case acting as an ADULT?! I think the teens should be taken away (even if temporarily) from the parents who participated in this.

  38. Umm, wouldn’t this stuff fall under the term “child sex abuse”? I don’t have the guts to watch the video so I have to ask, did the parents actually put their tongues in their own kids mouths?! If so, what indeed is wrong with them. My kids kiss me on the cheek and not the lips. Some parents are okay with kissing on the lips, just not me. So the thought of going even further than a peck on the lips makes me want to vomit. All of these parents, and I mean all of them need to have their heads examined!

  39. Todd–it is precisely sexual abuse, and sexual abuse of minors at that. The fondling of a non-consenting person is sexual abuse. These kids were blindfolded and kissed by their parents under the guise of being someone else. They were minors. They were not-consenting. On top of that, it was done for the amusement of others. What is the matter with this school administration? What is the matter with these parents? The onus is always on the ones with control, the ones who should have known better, the ones with the authority. This is the Holocaust or My Lai in miniature. What was the excuse? Oh, I was just following orders! Herd mentality! These parents and administrators were just going along with the crowd. Our Christianity teaches us to stand up for Truth! “The gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.” Contrary to what the world teaches, it is not necessarily true that there is safety in numbers. Our only safety, our only treasure is in Jesus Christ and his gospel of life. Anything else is counterfeit.

  40. I spend time in community chaplaincy ministry with sex offenders released from prison. What I find most troubling about this story – and I too am in support of Deacon Greg’s posting it – is the similarity in the thinking between the folks I know and those connected with the event who suggest that this kind of activity is no big thing. It’s a very big thing, as some commenters here also attest.

    As Regina says, it’s “deeply disturbing on many levels and for many reasons” but perhaps to me the main reason is that it continues to blur the line between acceptable and unacceptable. I would like to think that we do not live in a slippery slope culture, but things like this make me wonder.

    Why post the story Fr. Shaun? Simply because there are people who sincerely maintain that there is no real risk of this kind of blurring taking place, and they need to be shown evidence that there is and it does.

    Among my ministry contacts are ex-offenders who genuinely believe that they have “done nothing all that wrong.” One fellow was simply unable to understand why his victims “couldn’t just get over it.” I don’t like to overuse quotation marks, but these two comments are verbatim and direct from the ex-prisoners.

    In some jurisdictions, I believe this activity could be described as criminal. I simply can’t bring myself to watch the video – the reports of it and the stills are upsetting enough. God help those kids.

    God bless.

  41. That’s a cowardly cop-out, Father. We don’t need a theological argument here about responding to incest and child sex abuse. What we need is a body of clergy with the guts to venture out of their rectories and parsonages and demand justice. God gave us all the commands and moral precepts around this issue, and He did it 3,500 years ago.

    It’s not an emotional argument, as you say. It’s about our religious leaders reclaiming their roles as the moral leaders of society, and you sir have abandoned the moral high ground.

  42. A thousand Euuuuws, and gross disgust. I have teens and …ugh, I just can’t even GO there.

  43. John 8:7

  44. The most important news is that, as always, nobody got fired.

    I especially enjoyed the “insight” that this had gone on for years before without controversy. Darn youtube, for making it tough to organize incest games.

  45. “Ryan says: John 8:7″

    That is undoubtedly so Ryan, but then there’s Matthew 18:6 / Mark 9:42 / Luke 17:2.

    What we do and how we react to what others do does matter. I don’t see it as casting stones to say that according to the principles I was taught and hold dear, there’s something seriously wrong with this activity.

    God bless.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] think? These are the people teaching in our public schools? That explains a lot!UPDATE: Deacon Greg a line from the story that didn’t quite register at first:Besides stupefied, you can also describe me as nauseated. [...]

  2. [...] guess I haven’t seen it all. On their blogs this weekend, both Elizabeth Scalia and Deacon Greg Kandra covered a horrifying incident in Rosemount High School, Minnesota. From the Star Tribune: A prank [...]

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