The Stir has been coming out with some “interesting” reports on Jessa Duggar and Ben Siewald’s wedding. According to writers for The Stir, Jessa and Ben’s decision to have their first kiss in private was made in the moment, and wasn’t something the Duggar parents knew of ahead of time (or were very happy with either), and also according to writers for The Stir, when Jinger went back to get Jessa at the conclusion of her private moment with Ben, the couple were caught in the middle having sex. The Stir gleefully declares it a “Duggar sex scandal.” Read more

Cameron’s remarks bring up important points about the way evangelicals view relationships and the way purity stands in for things like communication or caring. Because for evangelicals, sexual purity is the golden standard. It’s almost as though nothing else matters. Learning healthy relationship skills completely goes out the window, completely dwarfed by the overwhelming importance of a couple not touching each other in certain ways. Read more

The view of prayer Max Lucado promotes in his quote above is toxic. I am glad I was told to take my problems to God in prayer but not to stop also trying to fix them. I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to raise a family on Max Lucado’s view. You have a dead-end job that pays too little? Don’t go out job searching! Tell Jesus your needs and leave it at that! There is no way in which this is not a bad idea. Read more

Several months ago, I let the bathroom briefly to grab a towel while the children were bathing. Sally is five and Bobby two, but they actually rarely bathe together because they’re both so bath-resistant we usually end up running them through the shower with us instead. Standing in the hall grabbing a towel from the linen closet I heard something along the lines of “Can I see it?” When I reentered the bathroom a moment later I realized that Sally was looking at and touching Bobby’s penis. Sally looked fascinated, and Bobby was watching Sally in an interested manner. Read more

Not all “normal childhood sexual exploration” is harmless and okay. “It’s normal for children to do that” should not get an act off the hook. It is normal for adults to have sex, too, but that doesn’t mean sex is never exploitative or coercive. To state it directly, it is normal for children to want to see each other’s private parts, but childhood private part looking can also be exploitative and coercive, and can in some cause longterm feelings of violation. I think this is why I have found defenses of Lena Dunham based on the claim that childhood sexual exploration is normal so troubling. Read more

Today is the midterm election in the U.S. This year’s election lacks the pizzaz of a presidential campaign, but that doesn’t mean it is unimportant! So get out there and vote, everyone, and feel free to weigh in here on which races and issues you see as especially important. And feel free to pop some popcorn and join discussion as the results come in tonight! Read more

Organized atheism has a love affair with science. It’s not just that science offers explanations for things that have often been explained supernaturally, it also provides many atheists with a sense of awe. But it’s something more than that, too. For some, science seems to replace religion. I’ve had atheists tell me, for example, that science will show us the way forward, let us know how to live, and give us solutions to the world’s problems—never mind that, as I have pointed out, science does not come with built-in ethics. Read more

If you want a long-term relationship with the person you are courting, you need to fake it, and fake it, and fake it all the way to the alter, and then and only then will the parents take their hands off and let you actually get to know each other. When you’re courting, you can’t be vulnerable with each other, or real with each other. You have to keep your mask on. And so, Shoshanna did not get to know her husband James until after they were married. I don’t find that surprising, but I do find it sad. Read more

Campbell has in the past spoken against some elements of the patriarchy movement that pervades Christian homeschooling circles. She has set herself up as a reasonable voice against abuse, and so she seems to see herself. But her insistence that children of abusive parents should cover for their parents and only ever speak of them with love and respect makes all of that a lie. Read more

Today, the median age at first marriage for a man is 28.5. Yes, Walsh married three years younger than this, but so did lots of men—that’s how this sort of statistic works. If you line up all the male ages at first marriage, the middle one will be 28.5. That means half of men who marry do so before they are 28.5. That’s how medians work. Furthermore, male age at first marriage has historically been in the late twenties. Walsh’s grandparents were actually an abnormality—the 1950s saw historically low marriage rates not seen in the United States either before or since. Read more

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