Break Time

I’ll be gone through Sunday night. If your comment needs to be moderated, it’ll have to wait until then. Have a good weekend, and please consider donating to the Secular Student Alliance! You’d be making a difference for young atheists around the country.

And in honor of the Duggar family’s 17th child, here’s something to ponder until I return:

ClownCar



[tags]atheist, atheism, Duggar, family, Christian[/tags]

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    That’s not very friendly.

  • Karen

    These people are part of an anti-birth-control, anti-feminist, highly patriarchal Christian movement called “Full Quiver” or “Quiverfull.” The dad was a Republican state politician. Andrea Yates, who drowned her kids, followed the Full Quiver principles. Look up “Quiverfull” on Wikipedia and you’ll learn more than you ever wanted to know – some of it pretty scary stuff.

    Some of the fundie families I knew got into it in the ’90s. One of them had two girls for about 10 years and over the next 6 years they had four more children. It’s hell on the woman:

    Quiverfull advocates such as Hess and Hess, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and Rachel Giove Scott, believe that the Devil deceives Christian couples into using birth control so that children God otherwise willed to create are prevented from being born. A Quiverfull adherent quoted in 1991 in the Calgary Herald made the statement: “Children are made in God’s image, and the enemy hates that image, so the more of them he can prevent from being born, the more he likes it.”

  • Maria

    holy moly, what a lot of kids!!!!!!!

  • Logos

    What does that do to the mother’s body?

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    “What does that do to the mother’s body?”

    Why is that any of your business?

  • Claire

    “What does that do to the mother’s body?”

    Why is that any of your business?

    It’s called concern, it’s called compassion. It was a question, not about one woman, but about any woman in that position, and it’s a legitimate general question. And the answer – most women, it wears it out. Just like caring for seventeen kids with little or no help. But still, it was her decision (or at least so we hope), so that’s ok (again, we hope).

    On the other hand, this family has chosen to make themselves a public freak show (also their choice), so really, that makes most any question about their reproductive habits fair game, since they chose to put that in the public sphere. The Duggar’s made it everyone’s business – again, their choice.

    I do love the double standard – when it’s christian fundamentalists wearing out a woman’s body with (possibly forced or coerced) childbearing, it’s no one else’s business, but contraception or abortion, those for some reason are everyone’s business? How does that work? At the bottom, it’s all about women being possessions rather than people, and it’s a nasty way to think, and still way too common, thanks to (you guessed it!) support from major religions.

    Plus, it’s just a damn funny poster! Gotta love it….

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    I think it is kind of odd to be talking about concern and compassion for the women and then turning around and laughing at her.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I think if they both want to have more kids, then more power to ‘em (that’s their business). Though, I reserve the right to think that 17+ kids is a freaking LOT.

  • Claire

    I think it is kind of odd to be talking about concern and compassion for the women and then turning around and laughing at her.

    I feel sorry for the woman, I was laughing at the poster. Woman = person, poster = object. One of these things is not like the other…..

    On a different note, but same topic – why on earth do religious types always want to turn women into baby factories? Is it just another leftover from primitive times when the best way to defeat your enemy was to out-populate them? Or is it worse? It definitely has no legitimate place in a world of over 6 billion.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    Poster=making fun of the woman, you=thinks poster is funny, therefore you=thinks making fun of the woman is funny.

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    Poster=making fun of the woman, you=thinks poster is funny, therefore you=thinks making fun of the woman is funny.

    I think you might be misunderstanding her intent; I can’t speak for her, but even when I feel strongly about something, it’s still possible for me to occasionally back away from it and laugh about it. For example, I really like the band Green Day, and it irritates me when people call them anti-American, but I can also appreciate that it’s asenine to sit and argue with someone about it (past a certain point) because I’ll never convince them they’re wrong. In this respect, I can appreciate a joke that is made at Green Day’s expense, because I don’t always take everything anyone says about them as a personal attack.

    Another good example: look at Saturday Night Live. They often make harsh jokes about popular figures, but they don’t do it to be spiteful, they do it because it’s funny. These kinds of jokes are coming from people who demean their own self-image for the sake of comedy (and that’s okay, because it’s funny, and we know they’re joking).

    With those things considered, although I don’t have any real opinions about the subject matter of the poster one way or the other, I still think it’s funny.

  • http://de-conversion.com Roopster

    If conservatives keep having so many kids and liberals have 0-2, the voting patterns of the next generation will not look any better than the past 2 elections. There’s only a small window of opportunity for liberals coming open in the next couple elections.

  • Tammy

    I can actually give a little background on this couple because they’ve been featured on some TLC (I think) shows. First of all, you’ve seldom seen a better-behaved group of children, and secondly, that woman has lots of help. They were moving into a much bigger house in the episode I saw on TV, and it looked like a whole community came over to help. The entire move of furniture, belongings and everything took one afternoon, and it looked like with help from the relatives and neighbors, they had most, if not all, of their belongings actually put away before bedtime that night. We should all recieve so much support! Of course, the older kids are a huge help around the house, and I felt like we could all take a lesson in organization from this woman.
    I only have four kids, I love them all to pieces, and I’m done- I can testify, my body couldn’t go through it again! Not to mention that with each newborn, you feel a little like you’re being ripped away from the older ones too soon, but then again, if I had the kind of support from an extended family that these Christian ladies have, who knows? I guess for me, however, once my girls are a little older, if I feel that old maternal urge sneaking back up on me, I’ll start taking in foster kids as many of my friends are doing.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    Tim D,

    I just said it was odd. I can see making fun of her if she was in some position of power or if she was trying to push this quiver-full stuff onto other people or if she was abusing her kids or even if she was just an asshole, but as far as I can tell none of that is true.

  • Richard Wade

    Quiverfull advocates such as Hess and Hess, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and Rachel Giove Scott, believe that the Devil deceives Christian couples into using birth control so that children God otherwise willed to create are prevented from being born.

    If God’s will can be stopped by a rubber then he’s not as powerful as people say.

    This doesn’t seem very different from the Roman Catholic injunction against birth control with the exception of the “rhythm method.” It is the insect strategy of evolution: Overwhelm the competition with sheer numbers regardless of the large amount of death to the species. One slight change in the natural conditions and the insects die by the hundreds of billions, but that’s okay because the species still survives. Is this how we see ourselves? Is this a strategy worthy of big brains?

    This kind of huge family represents a selfish and short-sighted point of view. Most of the serious problems threatening the world today are either directly caused or exacerbated by over population. Six and a half billion people all wanting to live like Americans is burning the planet to a cinder. Pollution, starvation, epidemics, plundering of dwindling resources, extinction of plants and animals, poverty and it’s resultant civil unrest and war are the inevitable consequences of too many people.

    If we don’t voluntarily limit our numbers soon, nature will do it for us. What we see happening in Africa is just a glimpse of what we will all face. Within our children’s lifetimes the world population could drop drastically in not very pretty ways. If the Devil really wants all of us to die, then he’s encouraging families like the one pictured above.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    How the hell can they afford to feed those kids? That’s what I want to know. I know several ex-Mormons from polygamous families with lots of kids, and in almost every case, there are serious problems with poverty and sometimes even starvation. It’s not funny. It’s not reasonable. It’s not OK.

  • http://lifewithoutfaith.com Richard

    It may not be a clown car, but with all those kids, it is definitely a circus tent!

    Richard
    http://lifewithoutfaith.com

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I just said it was odd. I can see making fun of her if she was in some position of power or if she was trying to push this quiver-full stuff onto other people or if she was abusing her kids or even if she was just an asshole, but as far as I can tell none of that is true.

    I see. But what I said still applies; you don’t have to do something wrong to be the center of a joke. The point I was trying to make was that people can make jokes without menace; other people just tend to interpret menace where there is none. Nine times out of ten, a person who makes a joke (such as the poster) does it only for the sake of humor, and not to be offensive (though inevitably, somebody is offended).

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    Tim D.,

    My point is that I don’t think this poster is a case of a “joke without menace.” You have to admit that generally, the person who is offended is the person who is the butt of the joke, which, in this case, is the person you guys supposedly have concern and compassion for. Again, I just think that is odd.

  • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/fole0091/epistaxis/ Epistaxis

    My favorite is still the picture of the enormous Catholic family with the caption, “We got rhythm!”

  • Claire

    You have to admit that generally, the person who is offended is the person who is the butt of the joke, which, in this case, is the person you guys supposedly have concern and compassion for.

    First of all, I didn’t say I had concern or compassion for this woman, because frankly, I don’t all that much. I just said that it was ok for someone to wonder what it did to her body, out of compassion or concern. That’s legitimate.

    I, personally, would only be concerned if I thought this woman had been forced into this situation, and I doubt that’s the case here. I did say I felt sorry for her, and I do, but that’s for other reasons.

    As for the poster: it’s clever, it’s witty, and yes, it is rather barbed wit, but social commentary often is. This couple has put themselves forward in the public eye, AND they are proud of having done something destructive to the world by contributing to overpopulation. This combination makes them more than fair game, it’s makes them more like the kid jumping up and down and hollering “Pick me, pick me!”.

    On the other hand, the family in the photo is not identified, and it would be equally funny with a photo of any other family with seventeen children. The target of this humor is not this particular family, but the idiocy, the self-importance, and the lack of concern for the rest of the world that produces such a grotesquely huge family.

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    “First of all, I didn’t say I had concern or compassion for this woman, because frankly, I don’t all that much.”

    Okay, that’s all I needed to know. I no longer find anything odd about what you said.

  • Claire

    Okay, that’s all I needed to know. I no longer find anything odd about what you said.

    Ok, now I’m curious – do you see any reason why this woman needs/merits/wants my compassion and concern? She seems perfectly happy to me, with all the kids and publicity she wants. Why should I be concerned for her? Unless you know something about her that I don’t…

    Saving that possibility, I’ll use my compassion and concern for the starving, sick, trapped, and destitute of the world, and all those who will have less because this couple had to have more.

  • Eliza

    From the Fox news story that Hemant linked to, above; the father is quoted as saying

    We are just so grateful to God for another gift from him,” said Jim Bob Duggar, a former state representative.

    Three comments:
    (1) The dad was a state representative…that means enough people agreed w/ his views to vote him into office (on other things, not necessarily family size & nonuse of contraception, but one gets the impression he’s pretty conservative). Not a shocking surprise, but still…Yikes.

    (2) Sex without contraception at or just before ovulation in a fertile couple, then egg meets sperm, then embryogenesis and pregnancy proceed normally…yeah, that sounds like a gift from God rather than a natural occurrence…sheesh.

    (3) “Jim Bob” – ahhh, yes, we are in the South with this story.

    I wonder when the older kids will start moving out of the house – sounds like their 19 yr old is still living with them, rather than away at college – or already married & pregnant – oh, sorry, that was uncalled for. ;-)

  • http://prosthesis.blogspot.com macht

    “do you see any reason why this woman needs/merits/wants my compassion and concern?”

    No, not really. At least, no more than any other human being.

  • http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/~ludtke/prof/index.htm cautious

    Saving that possibility, I’ll use my compassion and concern for the starving, sick, trapped, and destitute of the world, and all those who will have less because this couple had to have more.

    Claire, I totally agree with that.

    To toss in my own bit, I think it is really quite odd to see how much mother-worship occurs in this country, when general womens’ rights are still being highly violated. Women just…what, a month or two ago, were told by a majority of the Supreme Court that they are too stupid to know when their pregnancy would cause them irreparable harm.

    To try to tie this woman and that issue together, has this woman ever said anything positive about a woman’s right to choose, or does she think that all women who choose to not be mass breeders are satan worshippers?

  • http://www.christiansontheclock.org Matt L

    Maybe you should change “friendlyathiest” to “judgementalandselfrighteousathiest”. The more I read this blog, the more the premise seems completely bogus.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    It’s interesting how many of the comments here focus on the mother. While those concerned about what this does to someones health (generally not good, from what I’ve read) would have to focus on her it’s almost as if it is assigning her the blame. The caption is pretty offensive, why not something about his penis?

    I came from a large family, though not that large. Everyone in my family who has children stopped at two. Not even the best and most efficient parents could give seventeen children the care they need. I suspect the older ones, and I suspect it’s mostly the daughters, do a lot of the parenting.

  • Claire

    To toss in my own bit, I think it is really quite odd to see how much mother-worship occurs in this country, when general womens’ rights are still being highly violated. Women just…what, a month or two ago, were told by a majority of the Supreme Court that they are too stupid to know when their pregnancy would cause them irreparable harm.

    Really, can you think of a better way to make sure that women are seen ONLY as child-bearers? It’s a standard among most religions – women have been given this wonderful, this amazing gift of being able to have children, so you just run along home and be content with that. Your children will love you, no one else needs to hear from you.

    I would question, though, how much mother-worship is actually embedded in our culture. It gets some lip-service, but once the child is grown it’s more mocked than celebrated, if the child is male. Father-son relationships are all over popular culture (Field of Dreams, Finding Nemo, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter) and often the son is an adult. Mother-daughter bonds in popular culture are common and viewed positively (seldom easy but usually good). Father-daughter is rarer, but still, usually positive. But mother-son relationships where the child is no longer a little boy? Not so much. In fact, the first one that comes to mind is Psycho. I believe the usual pejorative term is “mama’s boy”…

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  • http://globalizati.wordpress.com globalizati

    Eliza,
    Being from Arkansas, I would say one can be quite kooky and still make it to the state legislature…

    Here’s a great story to read about Arkansas politics. Though he didn’t actually get elected to represent Arkansas as a Congressmen in DC in 1988, Warren Carpenter got a disturbing amount of support in some little pockets of the state. Mr. Carpenter was a segregationist who claimed to be the target of a vast right-wing conspiracy (specifically, he claimed that the government was bombarding his mobile home with radiation from a satellite and it was causing him to go blind).

  • http://noncredodeus.blogspot.com vince

    I would question, though, how much mother-worship is actually embedded in our culture. It gets some lip-service, but once the child is grown it’s more mocked than celebrated, if the child is male. Father-son relationships are all over popular culture (Field of Dreams, Finding Nemo, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter) and often the son is an adult. Mother-daughter bonds in popular culture are common and viewed positively (seldom easy but usually good). Father-daughter is rarer, but still, usually positive. But mother-son relationships where the child is no longer a little boy? Not so much. In fact, the first one that comes to mind is Psycho. I believe the usual pejorative term is “mama’s boy”…

    There is a pretty funny comedy bit on this topic done by Bill Cosby originally; and then “borrowed” by Carlos Mencia . It involves a father through the years sacrificing and spending time teaching his son football. Endless afternoons at practices and games in the cold and rain through the high school and college years. The son finally makes it to the professional level and scores a touchdown the television camera focuses in on him and he says…”Hi MOM!”

    pretty funny.

    I posted on the topic of this family on my blog obviously I am of the opinion that they are fair game for joke making.

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  • Rachel

    From one of my favourite Art Blogs, this is the best picture of this family I’ve ever seen:
    http://galleryoftheabsurd.typepad.com/14/2007/08/go-forth-ye-and.html

  • Tracy

    Like we don’t have enough people on this planet! come on people…do they get state aid for their 18 mouths? That’s ridiculous!

  • http://jase.dufair.org/ Jason Dufair

    Every sperm is sacred
    Every sperm is great
    If a sperm is wasted
    God gets quite irate
    - Monty Python

  • http://blackskeptic.wordpress.com blackskeptic
  • Kori

    I dunno; I didn’t take the caption as so much being offensive to the woman as to anyone who would make such use of her body. In this case, it is her own choice (we hope), but it is also the case that many women do not have the luxury to be able to choose what comes out of their vaginas, and it could also be a commentary on whomever (partner or relative, etc) or whatever (legislation) took from her that luxury, which should be no less than a right.

  • 5ive

    3 words:
    Prolapsed uterus, incontinence

  • Miko

    Pollution, starvation, epidemics, plundering of dwindling resources, extinction of plants and animals, poverty and it’s resultant civil unrest and war are the inevitable consequences of too many people.

    I agree with you that we’d be better off if our population was, say, half of what it is now. However, the effects you mention are in no way a necessary consequence of population size. While there is most definitely a maximum population that our planet can support, advancing scientific knowledge is steadily increasing that number (for example, before vaccines and sewers, there’s no way our planet could have handled 6 billion). The claim about war in particular is suspect: while a greater population would create land-use strife, wars have historically been about aggrandizing sovereign power and nothing else, since war can’t create new land but only change who collects taxes on it.

    On the plus side, UN statistics suggest that the populations of free-market societies are growing logistically (that is, approaching carrying capacity and then leveling off). Whether this trend will extend to non-free countries remains to be seen.

  • Aj

    macht,

    I think it is kind of odd to be talking about concern and compassion for the women and then turning around and laughing at her.

    It’s the normal state of affair for me. They’re not mutually exclusive. Often times, I find tragic things funny. I think it’s called “dark humour”, people make entire films with it, they’re in the “black comedy” genre.


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