The Conservative Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On!

Continuing its tradition of using unbelievably terrible strategies to ruin good ideas. From the end of the political spectrum that brought you Defending Freedom through Torture, Protecting the Unborn by Impoverishing Unwed Moms and the ever-popular “Deficits Don’t Matter” comes this bit of brilliance:

Purity Balls: Fathers Become Daughter’s Boyfriend Until Marriage To Protect Virginity

Definitely not creepy or anything.

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  • NicholasBeriah Cotta

    Whoa, I am conservative and I didn’t think that I opposed abortion by impoverishing unwed mothers?!? And I also thoughts it was Krugman & co. that said that deficits don’t matter…
    Why politically charge a portion of a website dedicated to Catholicism? Conservatism is not a monolith and treating it like one creates the opposite of dialogue.

    • sjay1956

      The quote “deficits don’t matter” is from Dick Cheney http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Dick_Cheney , though it is the practical principle of many on all parts of the political spectrum, generally when they are in a position to spend some money.

      • Jem

        “Why politically charge a portion of a website dedicated to Catholicism?”

        Because just about everything Catholicism and Catholic leaders and Catholic bloggers talk about is ‘political’. Even ‘feed the poor’ is a political position. ‘Defend marriage’ is, obviously. ‘An employer should be consulted about an employee’s health care’ is, obviously. The death penalty, torture, climate change, the minimum wage, Hollywood’s ‘agenda’. The Catholic Church spends a lot of money lobbying in Washington, it has a very beneficial tax arrangement with the US government. Cardinal Dolan campaigned with Romney.

        Senior American Catholic leaders have decided to enter party politics and taken a side. In doing so, they have made the Church a political entity. And made it wildly less attractive to half of Americans, including virtually all the ones who’ll still be around in thirty years. Any sensible discussion of Catholicism and its effects in the world will inevitably touch on contemporary politics.

  • Michael McCormick

    Wow — do you just look for excuses to insult an entire groups of
    people? Do you actually think conservative won’t find this just as
    creepy as you do? Do you really think because someone thinks that the
    government is the worst way to help people that they want to impoverish
    unwed mothers? Do you have any clue about basic logic and the number
    of fallacies in your diatribe? I have no idea why anyone would look to
    you for a model of Christ and do anything other than pray for your soul.

  • Heather

    Wow. How long before the fundamentalists put burqas on their daughters?

    • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

      Oh, c’mon. I came from those people. They have enough respect for their women not to do that. Notice that they’re not making rules, they’re trying to make a culture. It’s a wicked dumb culture they’re trying to make, but at least they’re trying to make one.

    • Jem

      They’ll be cloistering women together, making them wear modest clothing, pray six times a day and say they’re ‘brides of Christ’, next.

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        I upvoted you because I thought it was amusing, not because I think you’ve got a valid point. Just so everyone’s clear. ;-) Unless you were speaking TIC, in which case: hilarious.

      • Heather

        Right. Because a voluntary vocational commitment is totally the same things as daddies “marrying” their twelve year olds and forbidding them from touching a male other than them.

      • chezami

        You seem to think you have a point, but I’m jiggered if I know what it is. Unless it’s just your usual, “Catholic stupid. Me smart.”

        • Jem

          Are burquas really all that different from nun’s habits? Are you really, with a straight face, saying that Evangelicals can be weird because they’ve got a Cult of Virginity? Are you really saying that this is ‘creepy’ but the fact that ten percent of current Catholic priests have been accused of molesting teenagers is only what we’d expect because we’re all sinners?

          • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

            Are you one of those people who can’t seem to understand the difference between a woman who is forced to wear something and a woman who chooses to wear it for her very own reasons? We *are* capable of making this decision for ourselves.

            • Jem

              “We *are* capable of making this decision for ourselves.”

              I take it you believe that whenever there’s a decision to be made about a woman’s sex life, a woman should always be free to make that decision herself?

              • Joejoe

                Are you talking about a decision that is really about sex, or are you *actually* intending to talk about (a) forcing another person to pay for said woman’s sexual decision or (b) permitting a woman to have a “choice” over another person’s body and being free to make the decision to kill said other person for any reason she fancies?

                • Jem

                  “Are you talking about a decision that is really about sex, or are you
                  *actually* intending to talk about (a) forcing another person to pay for
                  said woman’s sexual decision or (b) permitting a woman to have a
                  “choice” over another person’s body and being free to make the decision
                  to kill said other person for any reason she fancies?”
                  All of the above, thanks.

                  A decision is made either way. You’re arguing that the woman shouldn’t be the person making that decision, it should be up to, in the case of (a) her employers (or her husband’s employers) and in the case of (b) the priesthood of a religion she may not even be a member of.

                  In both cases, obviously giving the woman the choice allows her to choose not to. And, in both cases, we live in a society where laws are decided democratically, with all sorts of checks and balances, and the woman should remain within the law.

                  I agree with you that in an ideal world there would be no abortions. I don’t agree with you that in an ideal world, we’d have no abortion because someone sat on a throne in a foreign palace says we shouldn’t.

                  • Jem

                    In the Hobby Lobby case, what it’s ‘about’ is easy enough to trace by looking at the amicus briefs and who is funding them. There are those on the Right who want the Supreme Court to grant corporations the right to ignore any laws they want by pleading religion. And others on the Right who will grab any stick they can to try to undermine Obamacare. And yet others on the Right who want sex to be about making babies and nothing else.

                  • ivan_the_mad

                    “I don’t agree with you that in an ideal world, we’d have no abortion because someone sat on a throne in a foreign palace says we shouldn’t.”

                    Heh, it’s Daniel Day Lewis’ Nativist character from Gangs of New York come to life! “Votes, you say? They vote how the archbishop tells them, and who tells the archbishop? Their king in the pointy hat what sits on his throne in Rome.”

                    You really should listen to Mark. Your rank bigotry is evincing your ignorance handily.

                    • Jem

                      “Your rank bigotry is evincing your ignorance handily.”

                      I’m not particularly bigoted against *that* foreign theocrat. I suspect if I was to suggest that all women should just do what an Ayatollah, the Dalai Lama or my own Dark Lord, his majesty Richard Dawkins (peace be upon him), said, you might object.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      Yes, I know that you’re not a particular bigot. That’s why I modified bigotry with the adjective rank, which means utter or complete.

                    • Jem

                      “Yes, I know that you’re not a particular bigot.”

                      Which foreign theocrats do you feel should have a say in American law over citizens who don’t follow their religion? Just the one?

                      To help, here’s a list of theocracies: Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Vatican City and Yemen.

                    • ivan_the_mad

                      I never spoke to that, nor am I interested in playing such a dishonest game. You introduced the topic into the conversation in a manner suited to a Nativist spokesman. I called you on your bigotry. Stop dodging and deal with it in a manner befitting adults. Education is an able antidote to the disease of bigotry.

                    • chezami

                      You are, as is your custom, dragging the conversation away from the topic of the blog in order to obsess, yet again, on your need to denounce the Catholic Church for not having the same sexual ethos as you. Stop it. Now. Or I will start deleting your posts again.

                  • Heather

                    Except that in the case of (a) no one is stopping the woman from making her own decision. What is being discussed is whether someone else should have to pay for a specific type of elective non-necessity designed to inhibit a normal function of the human body. She is quite welcome to take her own wages and purchase her own IUD if she really wants to.

                    And in the case of (b) the point is that the woman is not making a decision only about her own body but also about another person’s body. Which, I thought, was something that we were supposed to frown upon.

                    • Jem

                      “What is being discussed is whether someone else should have to pay for a specific type of elective non-necessity designed to inhibit a normal function of the human body.”

                      *Aspirin* meets that definition.

                      “She is quite welcome to take her own wages and purchase her own IUD if she really wants to.”
                      She pays for her health care already. And again, the issue here is ‘who says?’. She is ‘quite welcome’? Why, thank you, but the law’s clear that she’s ‘quite welcome’ to a policy that covers IUD.

                      “And in the case of (b) the point is that the woman is not making a decision only about her own body but also about another person’s body. Which, I thought, was something that we were supposed to frown upon.”

                      The IUD prevents fertilization. So how is ‘another person’s body’ involved?

                    • Heather

                      Is anyone advocating for aspirin to be covered? OTC medications aren’t usually covered by drug plans up here although it is possible that daily regimens prescribed for medical reasons might be covered. For that matter many drug plans don’t cover contraception either unless your prescription indicates it is actually being prescribed for medical reasons (hormone imbalances etc). Even up here in Soviet Canuckistan where abortion is completely unrestricted up to 9 months we accept that if we want the government to stay out of our bedrooms we don’t expect it to pay for (or force coverage of) non medically necessary accessories for our sex lives.

                      The (b) case refers to abortion. There are two lives involved.

                    • Jem

                      “The (b) case refers to abortion. There are two lives involved.”

                      The (b) case is about four types of contraception, none of which induce abortion. Abortion coverage is specifically excluded from the essential benefits package of ACA policies.

                    • Heather

                      Actually, the (b) case was as follows, from Joejoe’s original post higher upstream in the thread:

                      “(b) permitting a woman to have a “choice” over another person’s body and being free to make the decision to kill said other person for any reason she fancies?”

                  • Rosemarie

                    +J.M.J+

                    How does an employer not paying for something render an employee incapable of making a decision? My husband’s employer doesn’t pay for us to have cable TV for free, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have cable TV. We have it because we *decided* to pay for it ourselves. Our freedom of choice remains intact.

                    Even so, a female employee is still free to decide to buy her own contraception even if her employer doesn’t pay for it. The notion that “I gotta get it for free or else I have no choice at all” is silly.

                    • Jem

                      ‘The notion that “I gotta get it for free” ‘

                      Right. There’s your problem. No employee ‘gets it for free’. Most people pay at least something, often a great deal, and even if they don’t happen to, health coverage is not some gift from a kindly boss, it’s statutory compensation for work done.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      None of that changes the fact that an employee’s “freedom of choice” is in no way impaired if an employer doesn’t pay for her contraception. She’s still free to purchase it herself.

              • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                Ooh, is that your sneaky way of bringing up the birth control thing? Absolutely it is a woman’s right to choose (or not) to use birth control, regardless of whether it is the correct moral decision. But who pays for the birth control is a separate matter.

                Or is it about abortion? Because there, I truly believe the fetus is a human life (I should know, I’ve had three of them inside me). The right to privacy and/or bodily control is not absolute, if the exercise of said right directly causes the death of another.

          • chezami

            “Are you really, with a straight face, saying that Evangelicals can be weird because they’ve got a Cult of Virginity?”

            No. You bigotry is poisoning your ability to even frame an honest question.

          • Heather

            Are burqas really all that different from nun’s habits?
            Well… yes. Yes they are. For one thing, anyone wearing a nun’s habit made a conscious decision as an adult after years of careful thought to join an order that wears a habit. If she doesn’t want to wear a full habit, she can join one that wears a partial habit or none at all, or skip joining a convent altogether. It is not a cultural norm expected of all women in that culture.
            For another, there is no rule saying nuns have to be virgins. You make certain voluntary vows pertaining to future conduct, but the past is understood to be the past.
            Also, I’d like to see a citation for your ten percent figure, please. The information I was able to find was closer to four percent. Which is still appalling, but less than half of your claim.

            • chezami

              Jem’s not interested in an honest conversation.

  • Rosemarie

    +J.M.J+

    If they’re really using that kind of language, that’s very disturbing. It’s apparently an Evangelical thing; I hope Catholics don’t start doing this. The last thing we need is another trendy novelty from the stranger quarters of Evangelicalism. We’ve suffered too many of those already (shepherding/discipleship, six-day YEC, etc.)

    • Dave G.

      In the early days of visiting Catholic blogs, I was taken by how many Catholics looked to the ‘separated brethren’ and said ‘Hey, we can learn a lot from them, just like hopefully they’ll learn a lot from us. Glad to see we’ve gotten past that pesky trend. .

      • Rosemarie

        +J.M.J+

        Well, I hope we’ve gotten past that trend. While we may have many things in common with Evangelicals as fellow Christians, we can’t safely adopt ideas that arise within the Evangelical subculture without very critical discernment first. If it is a true novelty, with no precedent in Catholic practice, it’s safest just to reject it outright. Just because they may claim that something is “Christian” or “biblical” doesn’t mean we can assume that it is.

        • Dave G.

          Oh, we’ve gotten past that trend alright. That’s the last thing to be worried about at this point. One could argue we’ve gone the opposite direction.

          • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

            Oh, we’ve gotten past that trend alright.

            I dunno. Sherry Weddell is in some significant ways introducing us to the Evangelical way of living Christianity in an individualistic American culture. The Evangelicals are natives to that culture, and they’ve been doing it since the Great Awakening (at least). We’ve been trying to live the faith quasi-European style, and it’s kicked us in the rear end.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              Sherry Weddell’s approach seems all right, from what I’ve heard of it. I’m thinking more about how some orthodox Catholics promote six-day YEC (including some homeschool curriculum providers, sadly). Also geocentrism – though I’m not sure whether that originated in Evangelicalism, it does take a basically Fundamentalist approach to Scripture interpretation, which is another example of Evangelical thinking seeping into Catholicism. Seems we’re still learning the wrong things from our separated brethren.

  • Aquinas Dad

    Let’s run down the Mark Shea Doesn’t Have Anything Prepared Today checklist;
    1) Gratuitous insults toward straw conservatives? Check!
    2) Link to a slanted, misleading article about the subject when good, unbiased links are easily found? Check!
    3) Tarring all members of a group with the actions of a fringe group? Check!
    4) Mentioning a trend or activity 5+ years old as if it were brand new and thereby admitting his ignorance of general religious culture? Check!
    5) Encouraging his readers to avoid/condemn/boycott a group, activity, or idea through vague emotional appeals of ‘it is icky’ rather than any actual analysis of the topic he presents? Check!
    The checklist indicates an 80% likelihood Mark Shea Had Nothing Prepared Today!

    • Gary Keith Chesterton

      Aquinas Dad’s avatar is the deadly Joubert from “Three Days of the Condor.” Mark, you have been defeated.

  • Sean P. Dailey

    A dad involved in Purity Balls is pastor at Living Stones Church.

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  • Cypressclimber

    I agree it’s creepy.

    But your grab-bag of things (a) you don’t like that (b) you want to blame “conservatives” for, en banc, is absurd.

    The human mind has this marvelous capacity for making careful distinctions and the language has an equally marvelous capacity for expressing them.

    Something to look into, perhaps?

  • LSpinelli

    I have two daughters. Their dad will protect and guide them so they don’t fall for “men” who are going to use them.

    But this ain’t the way to go about it! I was halfway through the article when I clicked off; I was that creeped out.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Agreed. What I wonder is, what about girls in that subculture with no fathers? My father passed away when I was nine. My mother remarried almost five years later but my stepfather would certainly not have been in any position to do this kind of thing – nor would I have wanted him to!

      I basically resolved by myself to remain a virgin until marriage. The idea that girls should be dependent upon their fathers for that just doesn’t sit right with me. Certainly parents must guard their children’s hearts when they are young, but as they get older shouldn’t there be a certain loosening of parental control as the adolescent learns to take a mature responsibility for his or her own life? If you train them well in virtue then they must own what they have learned and start to apply it. Parents in turn must show that they trust their children to act as mature Christians; they can’t shelter them until their wedding day.

      And no first kiss until they’re at the altar? Even back when I was in Evangelicalism as a teenager I would have considered that extreme. I sometimes wonder at what Evangelicalism has morphed into (though I guess this is just one subset of it.)

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        I sometimes wonder at what Evangelicalism has morphed into (though I guess this is just one subset of it.)

        This is just one subset. Single Evangelicals (Catholics, too, occasionally) kick the idea around: that maybe it would be worth it to wait for marriage for your first kiss. It’s often a scholastic exercise (and I mean that in every possible sense), and they don’t condemn people over it one way or the other.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          I guess my thinking is that a first kiss can sometimes be an awkward thing, and I’m not sure a wedding is the right place to have a potentially awkward moment – with everyone watching and applauding and whatnot.

          • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

            Like I said, it’s often tossed around as a nice idea (maybe), but it usually ends up being somewhat academic ;-) and nobody freaks out.

    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

      Oh, I know. This attitude has been around for a while, and it doesn’t seem to be going away. It certainly doesn’t help dispel the notion that Christians are inherently sexist.

      It seems to me a real mistake to place such a high value on virginity/purity, rather than chastity. What if a girl (or a boy! remember them? They’re supposed to save themselves for marriage too!) makes a mistake? Or, God forbid, is raped? Focusing so much on virginity means these people are “ruined,” their “purity” gone. Or what about all the neat tricks some employ to keep their virginity intact in some very non-chaste ways? It’s not the actual virginity that matters, nor even one’s past — it’s the decision to try to live chastely going forward.

      • Jem

        “It seems to me a real mistake to place such a high value on virginity/purity, rather than chastity.”

        Catholicism teaches that virginity comes down to a ‘virtuous motive’, so if a virgin is raped, she’s still a virgin.

        So, that’s all right, then.

        While Thomas Aquinas teaches that virginity is a special virtue:

        http://www.newadvent.org/summa/3152.htm#article3

        This is one of the occasions where he’s quietly ignored.

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          Even Aquinas distinguishes between “that which is material in virginity, namely integrity of the flesh and freedom from venereal experience” and “that which is formal in virginity, namely the purpose of safeguarding this integrity for God’s sake.” He says that the latter is what “gives virginity its character of virtue.”

          IOW, mere physical virginity in and of itself is not a virtue but a state of nature. The virtue comes from an intent to remain chaste, what you called a “virtuous motive.” This is basically what Beadgirl said as well.

        • chezami

          Your contempt is making you stupid, Jem. Rape is not “alright”. You should apologize for that filthy lie.

          • Jem

            I didn’t lie. I apologize for offending.

            • chezami

              You absolutely lied. In some cultures, rape is blamed on the victim and the mere fact that the hymen is broken is, regardless of the reason, taken as evidence that the woman is guilty of sin. Recall, for instance, the rape victims recently scourged in Saudi Arabia.

              The point of saying that a rape victim is still a virgin is not, as you viciously lied, to say that rape is “alright”, but to make clear that there is no moral stigma in being an innocent victim and that all the guilt attaches to the rapist.

              Your apology is bullshit because the problem is not that I took offense, but you very clearly and deliberately gave it and still don’t admit it. You’re a bigot, Jem. It’s a shame, cuz you have a good mind. But you deliberately and persistently use it not to speak the truth but to look for every cheap shot you can make against the object of your bigotry. Why are you so obsessed?

              • Jem

                I apologize, and had virtuous intent when I did so. So it was an apology.

                • chezami

                  Ah! So you get credit for virtuous intent, but when a Catholic has virtuous intent, you get to say that he means rape is “alright then”. And when called on it, you don’t have to retract that damnable lie–because you are so virtuous.

                  Bigot.

                  • Jem

                    Mark, I clearly did not mean that rape is ‘all right’. My original point was a sincere clarification of Catholic teaching on the issue.

                    I suspect that teaching is meant to be comforting, and a way of reassuring the victim and those around her that God understands that she has not been ‘ruined’.

                    The ‘that’s all right then’ line was, yes, a little snide. It was meant to indicate my skepticism that ‘oh, don’t worry, the Church still teaches you’re a virgin’ would provide any comfort to a girl who’d been raped.

                    I do think there are peculiar double standards in play here, and an honest examination of Catholicism’s teaching and practice around virginity would uncover things just as ‘weird’ as this super creepy Evangelical dad-as-boyfriend thing.

                    My apology was sincere. You were offended by something I said, I was and remain sorry.

                    • chezami

                      “The ‘that’s all right then’ line was, yes, a little snide.”

                      No. It was a vicious lie meant to convey that Catholics have no problem with rape. And when asked to retract it you double down. Because you are a bigot, Jem.

                      A bigot.

                    • Jem

                      “It was a vicious lie meant to convey that Catholics have no problem with rape”

                      It really wasn’t. My apology was clearly composed in a way that made you think that, and I apologize – again – that it upset you.

                      I’m not hedging here, I’m not offering a non-apology apology. You were offended. I apologize. I did not mean what you inferred. Nevertheless, I apologize. You believe I was being vicious towards the Catholic Church. I have been vicious towards the Catholic Church in the past, and I understand why you would assume I was doing the same here. Again, I apologize.

                    • chezami

                      In future, try assuming that Catholics are not all utter moral morons and you might be less inclined to make stupidly offensive remarks.

          • Aquinas Dad

            Am I correct in noting that the moderator deleted a comment of mine in reply to this?

  • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

    I’m Jon W. And I come to this blog for intellectual bomb-throwing and the occasional excitement that ensues. There are plenty of very calm blogs, full of careful, reasonable thought, blogs which I don’t read.

    I just wanted to encourage Mark, since everyone seems to be complaining that he’s doing what we all come here to watch him do.

    Also, I’m a conservative, and he’s totally right about us. We’ve been really, really dumb since the Reagan administration. All rhetoric; no thought. I don’t think I’ve seen an American public conservative make a distinction since 1993.

    • Dave G.

      Heh, there was a subtle humor in your post when you think of what you say the problem with conservatism is, and why you like visiting Mark’s blog. ;)

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        Touché. ;-)

    • Aquinas Dad

      This isn’t intellectual and it isn’t bomb throwing. it is a slanted look at a relatively small phenomenon that gets a lot of press accompanied by attacks on straw men.

      Or do you agree that Conservatives are
      “… the end of the political spectrum…” [i.e., all Conservatives]
      that,
      “brought you… Torture… [and] .. impoverishing unwed mothers… [and] deficits don’t matter…”
      ?
      Face it, Mr. Shea is a a proud bigot – no more, no less

      • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

        I dispute your premise that “the Conservative end of the political spectrum” = “all Conservatives”.

        Mark Shea’s not a bigot. He’s got a big mouth, a ready wit, and a sharp tongue. But he listens to sense when people talk it.

        • Aquinas Dad

          Patheos allows us to search Mr. Shea’s blog through time. The search window is right up there near the top of the page. Simply search for ‘Conservative’ and filter it to this blog and read the frequency that Mr. Shea resorts to name calling, belittling, mockery, misrepresentation, etc. of conservatives.
          Here is another suggestion – cut and paste Mr. Shea’s ‘big-mouthed’, ‘sharp-tongued’, and ‘witty’ insults into a document, replace the word ‘Conservative’ with, oh, ‘Liberal’ or ‘homosexual’, email the same statements to Mr. Shea and e what terms he uses on *YOU*.
          Of course Mr. Shea insists he doesn’t mean ALL Conservatives – anyone who agrees with him in all ways is a ‘good Conservative’.
          Now – I seem to remember there being a name for people who treated those who are not like themselves with contempt….

          • chezami

            Wow! How terrible of me to say there are lots of good conservatives when you are so set on a tantrum claiming I hate all conservatives. Sorry to screw up your pity party.

            • Aquinas Dad

              This is very illustrative, actually. I am not criticizing, I am ‘set on a tantrum’. Using Mr. Shea’s own words to demonstrate that he is tarring many people of good will as supporting torture, actively harming the vulnerable, and supporting deficit spending (which is obviously not as broadly true as Mr. Shea implies) is a ‘pity party’.
              Let me repeat this in simpler terms
              - if you assume people who disagree with you are of good will but are reaching different conclusions, that is a charitable stance.
              - If you assume people who disagree with you are of ill will, stupid, mean, evil, etc. you are a bigot.
              -If you speak of and to people with whom you disagree in a polite manner, you are charitable
              -If you speak of and to people with whom you disagree in a rude, dismissive, and derogatory manner, you are intemperate
              If you find these four statements controversial I urge you to speak with your confessor.

              • chezami

                Please. Anybody who reads my blog knows a) that conservatives (and particularly conservative Catholics) support torture in greater percentages than the general population. This is a sin and a scandal and has been for the past decade as conservative degraded themselves to makes excuses for it. In addition, anybody who reads my blog knows that b) not all conservatives prostituted themselves for torture and a minority argued strenuously against the majority of conservatives who argued for it.

                I feel no shame about speaking dismissively of the appalling argument conservatives have offered for torture. I am quite happy to speak well of conservatives who do not prostitute themselves for torture.

                • Aquinas Dad

                  Mr. Shea,
                  I suspect that you are missing the point.
                  What must the percentage of ‘conservatives’ be that you would no longer make statements that imply that all Conservatives support torture? 49.9%?
                  Also, how do *you* measure ‘Conservative’? Via membership in the American Republican Party or by adherence to the teachings of the Church?
                  Can you demonstrate that a majority of Conservatives, especially Conservative Catholics support ‘impoverishing unwed mothers’? Is it possible that Social Conservatives whoa re Catholic might, oh, oppose tax-funded public charity as wildly inefficient and even harmful while working and giving greatly personally to the problems of poverty? What sort of evidence of charity would cause you to stop saying that ‘[all] Conservatives want to impoverish unwed mothers’?
                  [Yes, the all is implied when the object is unmodified]
                  I hope you can extrapolate my questions about deficit spending.
                  Further, Mr. Shea, since I see from the rest of this comment thread that you are rather liberal [yes, I use the word properly] in your use of the word ‘bigot’ against others, do you ‘feel no shame’ in your lack of charity against the many Conservatives you admit do not think or act in the manner you describe? Do you ‘feel no shame’ in your intemperate language?

                  • Cypressclimber

                    And…there’s no evident connection between the self-described conservatives who back torture (Mark’s right on that)….

                    And this purity ball thing.

                    In fact, since the one descriptor that is begging to be mentioned, about these folks, is that they are Christian, it would make far more sense if Mark’s headline said:

                    “The Christian anti-charism of discernment marches on.”

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      Agreed. As I mentioned in my first response, this post is an emotional appeal – ‘aren’t these things all just *gross*?! You should avoid all of them!’

                    • chezami

                      Didn’t say that. And by your own admission, I praise conservatives who don’t advocate obvious grave sin or loopy stuff like this. You’re the one asserting blanket condemnations. Not me.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      Mr. Shea,
                      You persist in inaccurate language. I am condemning no one; I am criticizing you.
                      You are aware that criticism != condemnation, correct?
                      My target is singular (you), not ‘blanket’ (“Conservatives”).
                      Words have meaning, Mr. Shea.

                    • chezami

                      Please learn to read. I didn’t say you were condemning anybody. I said you were the one asserting that I am offering blanket condemnations of all conservatives. I’m not And the proof is that, by your own admission, I am happy to acknowledge that minority of conservatives who do not enthusiastically defend the use of torture. Look at the Pew polls Jem posted. More than three quarters of conservatives support torture. I watched for most of a decade as Catholic conservatives prostituted themselves in its defense. Stop whining.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      I have been polite throughout.
                      You are rude, dismissive, and boorish; and not just to me.
                      Thank you for your time.

                    • chezami

                      Why on earth would I be dismissive of somebody who attempts, for the umpteenth time, to downplay and dismiss the fact that the overwhelming majority of conservatives are *thrilled* with torture? Thanks for sucking up my time with whining.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      If I did not know you were serious this would be funny.
                      I have downplayed nothing to do with torture. No, go ahead and re-read what I actually wrote.
                      I have criticized you for unclear language.
                      I have criticized you for tarring all Conservatives when you, yourself, admit that not all Conservatives support what your original post claims they support.
                      I have criticized you for being intemperate, uncharitable, and for cursing (although at least one post of that you have deleted. I have a copy if you would like me to show you, again?)
                      I have wondered what purity balls have to do with torture, deficit spending, or welfare programs
                      And I I have pointed out that you are rude, dismissive, and boorish.

                      I have not whined, nor thrown a tantrum, nor dismissed torture, nor even purity balls.
                      As far as I can tell your responses are limited to
                      -personal attacks
                      -changing the subject
                      -repetition of “but, torture!”
                      Are you capable of actually discussing the topic at hand without personal attacks? I believe I have demonstrated that I am willing to be polite. Do you wish to actually discuss the topic of purity balls without dragging in extraneous politics? I am a Catholic theologian currently giving lectures on the theology of courtship and engagement (why I found this article).
                      Or would you rather ‘win points’ in a combox?
                      So?

                    • Jem

                      “I have wondered what purity balls have to do with torture, deficit spending, or welfare programs”

                      Well, let’s spend one minute trying to find a connection, then.

                      It’s the brainchild of Ron Johnson of the Living Stones church. Is he a political figure at all … tap tap tap … he stood for office as a Republican a couple of years ago.

                      http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/crown-point/vandenburgh-apparent-winner-in-bid-for-th-district-house-seat/article_07e2a316-dc24-5350-a2f5-0a3907a3d21e.html

                      Is he, by chance, a liberal Republican Christian Evangelical? I think I can guess the answer here, but … tap tap tap … turns out that’s a ‘no’:

                      http://drronjohnson.com/index.php/issues

                      He connects his right wing political views with his religion, I think we should do him the courtesy of assuming the same.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      Oh, I see. Like Mr. Shea you believe everything related to American Republicans is about torture?
                      [outside of American political discourse 'right wing' != 'American Republicans']
                      So let’s see. Is this how this works?
                      1) I’m a Distributist. Distributists prefer smaller, more local, and more personal government.
                      2) Republicans also like small government.
                      3) Therefore Distributism promotes torture! Or is related to it. Of should always be mentioned with torture and deficit spending.
                      Or something.

                    • chezami

                      “Like Mr. Shea you believe everything related to American Republicans is about torture?”

                      I don’t believe that. Learn to read.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      Mr. Shea,
                      Do you believe that repeated insults, failures to reply, rudeness, and similar behavior is somehow beneficial? Or do you truly expect everyone else to give you every benefit of the doubt without extending the same courtesy?
                      I believe you wrote to me something along the lines of
                      [paraphrase] ‘Please. Anyone who reads my blog would know’
                      Well, let me reply here,
                      ‘Based upon just my writing in this comment thread, isn’t it obvious that this was an example of exaggeration for effect?’.
                      Of course, you *do* seem to think that there is more than a coincidental relationship between purity balls and torture, so perhaps that level of nuance is lost on you.
                      So let me ask you very directly-
                      What was your goal in writing the original post? What was the purpose of the post these comments are in response to? To mock? To warn? To edify? To frighten?

                    • Jem

                      “Of course, you *do* seem to think that there is more than a coincidental relationship between purity balls and torture”
                      One of the distinct strains in right-wing US politics at the moment is a Christian movement that cuts across Mormonism, Protestant evangelism and reactionary Catholicism. I linked to Ron Johnson’s campaign platform, but you’ll have heard it before: low taxes, ‘pro life’, gays are destroying America, climate change doesn’t exist but lesbians cause hurricanes, we’re five minutes away from the Nancy Pelosi imposing Shariah Law and so cling to your Jesus-given assault rifles and homeschool your kids.

                      Are *all* Republicans that? No, it’s a box of mixed nuts, there are other strains in there. But it’s not some weird coincidence that just about everyone who thinks Jack Bauer’s in a documentary and just about everyone who believes in purity balls votes the same way. It’s all part of the same insane narrative that ‘the American way of life’ is under imminent threat from some grand alliance of secularists, climate scientists, Mexicans, homosexuals and Al Qaeda.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      Again – I know what ‘right wing’ actually means. It doesn’t really apply to the Republican Party.
                      You seem to be a bit fuzzy on how you logically correlate these sorts of things (not that this sort of thing isn’t common).
                      For example, a large study demonstrated that registered Republicans are ‘color blind’ in how they grant disaster relief (i.e., they gave roughly equal amounts to everyone, regardless of race) while registered Democrats gave more money to Whites, less money to Blacks, and roughly an average between those two extremes to Asians.
                      Does that mean ‘registered Democrats are racists’?
                      No.
                      Here is another example with more bite:
                      North Carolina sent all of its electoral votes to Republican candidates in 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2012. So North Carolina must support torture, right?
                      Not so fast – The people of North Carolina elected a lot of Democrats to congress during that same time; a majority of them were Democrats, as a matter of fact.
                      Considering that study, does that mean the people or North Carolina *don’t* support torture but *are* racists?
                      Hmmm. According to the FBI, though, North Carolina has only one third the per-capita race-based hate crime of California. Since we know that Democrats are racists (see above) and California is even more Democratic than North Carolina, does that prove that Democrats are violent racists?
                      Is the best way to combat violent racism and race-based hate crimes to reduce the number of registered Democrats? It sure looks that way, doesn’t it?
                      Or perhaps, just perhaps, the interactions, linkages, and connections between very different things are a bit too nuanced and complex to be shoehorned into a snarky headline and brief, emotion-laden paragraph.

                    • Jem

                      “Or perhaps, just perhaps, the interactions, linkages, and connections between”

                      Dude, purity ball guy *stood as a Republican* and he ran on a platform that doesn’t color outside the lines of the standard evangelical wing of the GOP position. It’s not some convoluted conspiracy theory – bless them, the one thing you can say about the evangelicals is that they’re not exactly covert in their beliefs and aims – in this case they are literally the same thing.

                      They believe that their Christian faith motivates them. I do the courtesy of taking them at their word.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      Dude, I don’t consider most Republicans to be Conservatives.
                      Dude, I certainly don’t consider Evangelicals as Catholics.
                      Dude, you completely missed the point.

                    • Jem

                      “I know what ‘right wing’ actually means. It doesn’t really apply to the Republican Party.”

                      [laugh track]

                      Go on, genius, define ‘right wing’.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      I do love talking with Americans that define left and Right from only the American experience.
                      Go take a look at the Liberal Party of Australia and its party platform. Easy to find online.
                      That didn’t take long. Notice how similar the Liberal party’s platform is to the Republican Party’s platform? That isn’t an accident or weird – The Republican Party’s core ideas are Liberal ideas.
                      Yes, really. laissez-faire Capitalism is a Liberal idea (ever wonder why Libertarians like to call themselves ‘classic Liberals’?); rugged individualism is a Liberal idea; equality of opportunity is a Liberal idea.
                      [Of course, Democracy is a Liberal idea, too, so....]
                      The American Republican Party is a member of the International Democrat Union, an international alliance of Centre/Centre-Right political parties.
                      Take a look around at the various parties in the International Democrat Union and you’ll soon realize that of the dead center politically is 0 and the utmost far-right is 100 then a Republican politician seen as ‘too extreme to get elected’ in the US is barely a 40 on that scale.
                      [Of course, the Democratic party is much the same – a politician Limbaugh would call a ‘howling Socialist’ is probably about a 40 in the other direction).
                      American Politics is so narrow it is damn near bland.
                      So, until you start getting anti-parliamentarian/Monarchist, you aren’t really right-wing.

                    • Jem

                      “I do love talking with Americans that define left and Right from only the American experience.”

                      Fascinating. I’m British-born, although I’ve been here a while at this point.

                      “So, until you start getting anti-parliamentarian/Monarchist, you aren’t really right-wing.”

                      So people who think government isn’t working and look to someone sitting on a throne for the answers are … ?

                    • chezami

                      My point, as I stated, was to note the not infrequent display of a complete lack of discernment on the right, displayed in seeking good ends by stupid and even evil means. The love of torturing in order to obtain freedom is one example of this frequently displayed on the right. The dumb and creepy purity ball are another example of the frequent display of seeking a good end by defective means. As you yourself note, I don’t say all conservatives do this. I do say it is a pattern seen frequently on the right. Evan gets this. Why is this so hard for you to grasp?

                    • Jem

                      “Oh, I see. Like Mr. Shea you believe”
                      Look, Mark quotes right wing nutjob Ross Douthat approvingly, thinks Timothy Dolan should have the ultimate decision which contraceptives I can use, wants – as I understand – businessmen to have the right to refuse to serve gay people.

                      All of which, sadly, are probably mainstream center-right positions in the US at the moment. And all of which, happily, are perfectly within his right to believe and defend, and he should be free to make his case.

                      But anyone who lumps Mark and myself together as likeminded is … viewing mainstream politics and thought from a distance.

                    • chezami

                      “thinks Timothy Dolan should have the ultimate decision which contraceptives I can use”

                      For the umpteenth time, false. Thinks neither Timothy Dolan nor I should be frogmarched at gunpoint into your bedroom to *pay* for the contraceptive you want to use.

                    • Jem

                      “Thinks neither Timothy Dolan nor I should be frogmarched at gunpoint
                      into your bedroom to *pay* for the contraceptive you want to use.”

                      The idea that Catholic Cardinals are being frogmarched anywhere at gunpoint is so ridiculously counter to the truth that it’s a load of purity balls.

                      As I said in another thread, health care is not some gift from a kindly employer, it’s statutory compensation for work done. It’s something the employee *earns*.

                      Do you know one way Hobby Lobby proposes to enforce ‘not paying for it’? A woman would go to the gynecologist. The gynecologist would recommend a treatment. The claim would then go to Hobby Lobby, and they’d decide if they objected. If they objected, the claim would be denied and it wouldn’t be covered under the employee plan. On a case by case basis, they would like bosses – or people delegated the task – to have the right to look at details of every doctor’s visit an employee makes. Your medical history would go on your personnel file at work. Gynecological reports will discuss things like previous miscarriages, sexual activity, sexual history, histories of sexual abuse, sexual assault. And it’ll apply to everyone covered by the plan. Are you happy with the idea of someone in HR at the place you work being able to open up a file and look at an account of your wife or daughters’ sexual history?

                      But, you know, we mustn’t interfere with ‘liberty’.

                    • chezami

                      Contraception and abortion are not health care because pregnancy is not a disease.

                      Look. You want me out of your bedroom? Great! Happy to oblige. You don’t want me legislating what you do in your bedroom? Terrific. Then don’t stick a gun in my ribs and *force* me into you bedroom to pay for you contraceptive and don’t make me an unwilling accomplice to the murder of your child. Pay for you own damn contraceptives. They’re cheap as ditchwater (and so common they are actually screwing up the water in ditchwater).

                    • Jem

                      “Contraception and abortion are not health care because pregnancy is not a disease.”

                      Neither’s being hit by a car, so shall we exclude coverage for that? Most medical treatments aren’t about disease, they’re about preventing death, pain and disability. Pregnancy is risky for all women, it’s easily the most ‘dangerous’ thing the average human being does these days. In a surprisingly large number of cases, preventing or ending a pregnancy will save the mother’s life.

                      Would you cover alcoholism? Lung cancer? STDs? Snowboarding accidents? Drunk drivers who injure themselves?

                      “Then don’t stick a gun in my ribs”

                      What’s the ‘gun’ in this analogy, Mark? That you pay money into a pool that among a million other things pays out for contraception? I pay money into a pool that, among other things, pays Michelle Bachmann a six figure sum of money every year, for prisoners to be executed and to drop drones on wedding parties. And that’s with a guy I *like* as President.

                      “and don’t make me an unwilling accomplice to the murder of your child.”

                      The ACA explicitly, unambiguously, does not pay for abortions, abortion inducing drugs or anything even a little bit like it.

                      “Pay for you own damn contraceptives. They’re cheap as ditchwater”

                      Again, a silly argument. There’s no ‘too cheap’ for a lot of people. I think a healthy, autonomous sex life is a basic right, not some frivolous hobby. It certainly shouldn’t be means tested.

                      You didn’t answer my question: do you think that it’s a desirable trade that you have the comfort of knowing that the insurance plan you are paying into isn’t paying for a woman’s Nuvaring, but that someone in the HR department of where you work knows whether your wife’s ever had anal sex? Is that ‘liberty’?

                      .

                    • Jem

                      I think there’s something very interesting that you’ve twice said that you’re being forced ‘at gunpoint’ to do this. It’s … tellingly melodramatic.

                      You’re being asked to take out a private health care plan, the wording of which says that other people who take out the plan can use it to get legal, approved, extremely common treatments, if they so choose. Again, it needs to be stressed: this doesn’t include abortion, in any form.

                      This isn’t some D-Day landing where the Allied Forces of atheism, liberalism and science are storming your beaches and pointing a flamethrower into your bunkers. It’s just not that. For decades, now, Catholic institutions, and everyone else, have had policies with exactly this wording, and it’s never been a major issue before.

                      This is not a covert anything. No one’s going to be forced to use contraception as a result. And again, there are some astonishing double standards to be had. Is Tim Dolan really arguing that he’s complicit in great evil when pays for health care, but he was doing good when he paid pedophiles to go quietly?

                      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/31/us/cardinal-authorized-payments-to-abusers.html?hp&_r=0
                      Why is this being presented as some Manichean struggle? And are you sure that the side that’s vastly increased access to health care are the demonic voices of the night, on this one?

                      If it’s a point of great principle, perhaps Catholic hospitals could start refusing to take money from any insurance company with plans that cover contraception?

                    • chezami

                      When you use the power of the state, you are forcing people, at gunpoint, to do what you order them to do. That’s what the state is: the use of coercive force.

                    • Jem

                      “That’s what the state is: the use of coercive force.”

                      So when you Yield at a Yield sign, it’s ‘at gunpoint’? When the banks were bailed out, that was ‘at gunpoint’? When they installed that new set of traffic lights down the road, that was ‘at gunpoint’? The National Park System – imposed by tyrants on a cowed populace?

                      The idea that every single government activity is done with a gun to the head of the population is an extremely silly idea, and I suspect it’s not really one you hold.

                    • chezami

                      If I don’t yield at a yield sign, and a cop catches me, and I keep driving, you bet I will experience the use of coercive force. What the state *is* is the monopoly on the use of force by agents empowered to use force (at least in theory)for the common good. Sometimes, though, the state uses coercive force to impose evil rather than justice. That includes forcing me to pay for your contraceptive or for you to murder your kid.

                    • Jem

                      “If I don’t yield at a yield sign, and a cop catches me, and I keep driving, you bet I will experience the use of coercive force.”

                      Do you yield at Yield signs because you’re worried a cop will pull you over? I don’t. I yield because they tend to come in places with the potential for traffic or pedestrians and I want to drive safely and live in a world where people do the same.

                      Is this some deepseated belief in divine thunderbolts? Do you fear being struck down if you dare not to Yield? It would be a peculiar way to live.

                      “What the state *is* is the monopoly on the use of force by agents empowered to use force (at least in theory)for the common good.”

                      All this ‘frogmarched at gunpoint and being forced to pay for murder’ stuff … it’s silly. It’s boiling hot rhetoric over *insurance*, the driest subject in the world.

                      Car insurance is mandatory. Can you give an example of someone ‘frogmarched at gunpoint and forced to pay it’? I can give you examples of people getting a ticket for it, or having their license suspended.

                      Turning ‘not paying for insurance’ into some V for Vendetta narrative about resistance to totalitarianism … it just doesn’t work. If you follow that logic, the number of horrors you’re ‘paying for’ become, well, infinite. Or at the very least inescapable.

                      “Sometimes, though, the state uses coercive force to impose evil rather than justice. That includes forcing me to pay for your contraceptive or for you to murder
                      your kid.”

                      Mark, I don’t know what your health care arrangements are. Assuming you’ve had health care at any point, you’ve been ‘paying for other people’s contraceptives’ all this time. While the ACA doesn’t cover abortion, it’s possible *your* plan does. Do you know for a fact it doesn’t?

                      Again, abortion is not relevant to this discussion. You won that, the law enshrines your victory. Shouting ‘baby murderer’ might make you feel like the hero in this Manichean struggle you’ve got going on in your little echo chamber, but it’s not actually at issue.

                    • chezami

                      When the state puts up a yeild sign, the state is implicitly and always saying “or else”. Behind every action of the state is the threat of force and punishment if you do not comply. When the state acts justly, justice in the heart demands you comply before the the threat of force is enacted by the state. So I have no problem yielding at a yield sign because the state is acting justly. But when the state acts unjustly, forcing me to pay for your contraceptive and the legal (yet lawless) murder of your children rather than you paying for them yourself, it is merely using coercive force but not using them justly. As I can, I will resist, since the state is commanding an evil.

                    • Jem

                      “But when the state acts unjustly, forcing me to pay for your contraceptive
                      and the legal (yet lawless) murder of your children rather than you
                      paying for them yourself, it is merely using coercive force but not
                      using them justly.”

                      … oh, and *that’s* why they stormed the cathedrals, blasting away at anything in purple? I see.

                      Alternatively, no, what actually happened in reality is that all three branches of government sought to reach an accommodation, balancing various rights, exploring the legal contours of the law. Compromises were made, and the rights of the conservative Christian bloc of evangelicals, Catholic bishops and Mormons were felt to trump women’s rights, and the law was worded accordingly.

                      No guns, no gunpoint, no threat of force. Any examples of a policeman so much as drawing his gun on an anti-abortion rally, or picketing of a clinic?

                      The state can be a powerful thing, no doubt about it. The state can abuse that power, no doubt about that. The idea that you’re being forced at gunpoint to pay for contraception is … fanciful. It’s a stretch. This isn’t Lord of the Rings, and the police aren’t orcs.

                    • Jem

                      The issue seems abstract and indirect to the point where it holds us to a moral standard where literally no action would be possible. ‘Give a dollar to that homeless man … but he might spend it on contraceptives’, ‘Buy a meal from this place … but my server might spend her tip on contraceptives’. ‘Teach a man to fish … and he might sell the fish and buy contraceptives’.

                      It’s actually worse than that, you are saying that you are morally culpable for the actions of *other customers* of a service. That if you go to Wal-Mart, and Wal-Mart sells rat poison, that you are complicit when someone on the other side of the country poisons their husband with rat poison.

                      Meanwhile, of course, you presumably don’t – nor should you – accept that you are complicit in child abuse by materially supporting the Catholic Church.

                      Do you believe that Tim Dolan would be guilty of a moral evil by
                      paying premiums into a health plan that covers contraception? Do you believe that he would be guilty of a moral evil if he’d ordered that hush money be paid to pedophiles? Do you believe those moral evils are equivalent?

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      “Pregnancy is risky for all women, it’s easily the most ‘dangerous’ thing the average human being does these days.”

                      Really? Even more dangerous than drug use, or smoking, or speeding? The CDC has a handy list of the top 10 causes of death for women in 2010, and pregnancy’s not on there: http://www.cdc.gov/women/lcod/2010/index.htm

                      “In a surprisingly large number of cases, preventing or ending a pregnancy will save the mother’s life.”

                      I call shenanigans on this. For one thing, the vast, vast, vast majority of abortions are performed because the couple either did not use birth control or had the method fail. What are you basing this statement on?

                      Kind of a failure on the part of evolution that the only way to propagate the species is “easily the most dangerous thing” we do.

                    • Jem

                      “What are you basing this statement on?”

                      I should have qualified it by saying that it’s about the most dangerous thing a woman of childbearing age can do, and it was a mistake on my part not to.

                      The main point remains: there are some very sensible reasons why some women might not want to get pregnant (or have more children), either for their own health or that of a prospective child.

                      Look, it’s easy enough to point to the central hypocrisy here: no one’s arguing that their health insurance shouldn’t cover guys who get STDs.

                      But, as you’re here – do you think your employer should be able to keep a file on its female employee’s sexual activity?

                    • Jem

                      “For one thing, the vast, vast, vast majority of abortions are performed because the couple either did not use birth control”

                      *Obviously* you get pregnant if you didn’t want to because birth control wasn’t used or it failed.

                      http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html
                      The reason women choose to have abortions are usually socio-economic rather than medical, yes. They feel they are too young, want to complete their education, are not in a stable relationship, do not feel they can afford it, they already have children (over half the women who have abortions already have a child).

                      If Republicans were serious about cutting the abortion rate, they would pour money at poor women. They would make sure they were educated, make sure they had jobs, empower them. Because educated women with resources and autonomy tend to have far fewer abortions.

                      Look … I’m not going to be able to convince anyone on a Catholic website that abortion is great. I don’t think it’s great myself. I have never had an abortion. I think the ideal number of abortions is zero. I don’t think a fertilized egg is ‘alive’ in a meaningful sense, I do think it’s a potential life and that an abortion ends that potential.

                      But ‘pro choice’ is a misnomer. The option for abortion is there for every single pregnancy. Abortions happen whether they’re legal or not. And no actual live woman has ever taken the decision to have an abortion lightly or easily, and it’s yet another attempt to strip women of autonomy to suggest that when a woman says she can’t afford a baby it means she’s a flibbertigibbet who’d rather buy an iPhone than face up to the consequences of her sluttery.

                      What I would like is for it to be the *woman’s* choice, not her employer’s, not someone else’s priest, not some politician. And she can choose not to have an abortion. She is more likely to choose not to have an abortion if she feels she can afford to bring up the child. It is her right, I think, to decide to look to the future and decide that she’d rather be a 28 year old mother, married, with a degree, with a job than an 18 year old and none of those things. Who is to say that’s the best course of action? Well … her, not me. Her, not you who’ll never meet her.

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      You won’t get any dispute from me that Republicans (and everyone else) need to do much more to help women who find themselves pregnant and alone/in dire straits/scared/etc. I myself do what I can, in my tiny insignificant way.

                      I have never ever ever accused a woman who got pregnant of being a slut or a flibbertigibbet or any other name. In fact, I am sick and tired of the assumption that because I am pro-life I hate women, or I’m a big meany who doesn’t think we should help single mothers, or that I in any way fit the gun-loving, social welfare-hating, Republican stereotype (I’m not even Republican!) This may surprise you, but I used to be very pro-choice, and all the reasons I was are still with me — I just no longer think killing babies is the solution to those problems.

                      Finally, of course the “choice” of abortion is always there, legal or not — so is the “choice” to commit murder (Think murder is wrong? Fine, don’t kill someone. But don’t you dare tell me I can’t kill someone!). Yet we still have laws against them. Despite previous comments I’m not completely against paying for birth control via preventative medicine (but pregnancy is not a disease to be prevented, dammit!) because of concepts like remote material cooperation and because of the gigantic issue-laden mess that is employer-based health care, but abortion is where I draw the line. It is the death of innocent lives, pure and simple, and it must be stopped. There are other solutions than killing. There always are.

                      I can’t address everything else in your comments, because my damn wiener kids are insisting on things like dinner, help with homework, and attention.

                    • Jem

                      “You won’t get any dispute from me that Republicans (and everyone else) need to do much more to help women who find themselves pregnant and alone/in dire straits/scared/etc.”

                      That, but also … look, I think this is where the official Catholic position just makes no sense to me, women have to know that contraceptives are available to them, that there are various options, at various stages, that there are always places to go to ask for advice.

                      “I have never ever ever accused a woman who got pregnant of being a slut or a flibbertigibbet or any other name.”

                      I wasn’t accusing you. But I’m sure you’ll appreciate that there are plenty of people who have said exactly that, and that does seem to be the assumption of a lot of people, particularly older people. This is a debate driven by people pushing 70, a lot of the time, if you look at who is vocal in it. It’s basically a lot of old men who either never married or who are on their third wife.

                      “Finally, of course the “choice” of abortion is always there, legal or not — so is the “choice” to commit murder (Think murder is wrong?”

                      Again, we’re not going to agree on the general point of abortion being murder. In this debate it doesn’t matter – the ACA *doesn’t* cover abortion, it doesn’t cover contraceptives that cause abortions. The religious groups have managed to negotiate a special deal in which a legal medical procedure and FDA approved drugs aren’t covered by medical plans. You won that one.

                      “Despite previous comments I’m not completely against paying for birth control via preventative medicine (but pregnancy is not a disease to be prevented,
                      dammit!)”

                      Again, ‘medicine’ is not about ‘disease’. Does pregnancy involve doctors, nurses, midwives, hospitals, drugs, health education and do newborn babies need all those things, too? Then … it’s health care.

                      It would be just as easy to turn this around and say that today pregnancy is elective. You choose to get pregnant, so why should that be covered by health care insurance. Why should I pay because you want a baby? A very silly argument, I think. Although it’s basically the same logic that Fox News pundits use for contraceptives. Why should we pay for smokers, drinkers and snowboarders? Because once we go down that dark path, we’re not treating sick people, we’re punishing people we think are sinners.

                    • AnsonEddy

                      “My damn wiener kids” – oblique references to the Simpsons hidden like little Easter Eggs in serious debate warm my heart!

                    • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

                      I’m glad someone got it! it’s such an old and obscure reference, I assume people think I’m a bad mom when I talk that way.

                    • Jem

                      A reply didn’t post here. I made a mistake: I meant to say it’s just about the most risky thing *a woman of childbearing age* is likely to do.

                      A big difference, and I apologize for the error.

                    • Jem

                      “Like Mr. Shea you believe everything related to American Republicans is about torture?”

                      Learn to read. Most Americans think torture is justified. If someone’s a non-Hispanic Catholic (regardless of political persuasion) they’re a little more likely still. If they’re a Republican they are a lot more likely to, still.
                      It’s not a coincidence that the footsoldiers for George W Bush are more prone to support torture, no. And many of the footsoldiers of Bush were recruited by Christian imams from the evangelical, Mormon and right wing Catholic pulpits.

                    • Aquinas Dad

                      If I did not know you were serious this would be funny.
                      I have downplayed nothing to do with torture. No, go ahead and re-read what I actually wrote.
                      I have criticized you for unclear language.
                      I have criticized you for tarring all Conservatives when you, yourself, admit that not all Conservatives support what your original post claims they support.
                      I have criticized you for being intemperate, uncharitable, and for cursing (although at least one post of that you have deleted. I have a copy if you would like me to show you, again?)
                      I have wondered what purity balls have to do with torture, deficit spending, or welfare programs
                      And I I have pointed out that you are rude, dismissive, and boorish.

                      I have not whined, nor thrown a tantrum, nor dismissed torture, nor even purity balls.
                      As far as I can tell your responses are limited to
                      -personal attacks
                      -changing the subject
                      -repetition of “but, torture!”
                      Are you capable of actually discussing the topic at hand without personal attacks? I believe I have demonstrated that I am willing to be polite. Do you wish to actually discuss the topic of purity balls without dragging in extraneous politics? I am a Catholic theologian currently giving lectures on the theology of courtship and engagement (why I found this article).
                      Or would you rather ‘win points’ in a combox?
                      So?

                    • Jem

                      “not all Conservatives support”

                      It’s eight out of ten, at least. It’s hardly a mischaracterization.

                      As I say, most atheists, most Democrats, supported torture, too. No group gets the moral high ground, here. But it’s true to say that a Republican is more likely. It’s true to say a Catholic is more likely.

                      In 2007, the US Conference of Bishops was absolutely clear on it:

                      “A prime example (of intrinsically evil actions) is the intentional taking of innocent human life, as in abortion and euthanasia. Direct threats to the sanctity and dignity of human life, such as human cloning and destructive research on human embryos are also intrinsically evil. Other direct assaults on innocent human life and violations of human dignity, such as genocide, torture, racism and the targeting of noncombatants in acts of terror war, can never be justified”

                      For some reason, Catholics agree with that when it comes to abortion, but not when it comes to torture.

                      Now, I’m not about to get mushy on Mark. I think the Church knows that if they spent a lot of time talking about taxing the rich to pay the poor or not torturing people, they’ll alienate a lot of people. I’ve got friends who work at Catholic universities and their advice is this: never, ever underestimate the power of rich donors. We know that some of the super-rich Catholics have been very uncomfortable with things Pope Francis has said. You can make more money for your Church roof fund being mean to gays and women than you can telling the rich they’re the problem.

                    • chezami

                      Except for the fact that they are both trying to defend good ideas with hopelessly stupid tactics. Which was my point.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Except for the fact that this stupid thing — the purity ball — has no demonstrable political aspect. So the link to other dumb ideas by political conservatives exists only in your feverish keyboarding.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Okayyy…I’ll write you a headline, no charge:

                      “Example number 51365 of stupid tactics used to defend good ideas.”

                      No need to try to lump purity-ballers and neo-con torturers in one category that makes sense only to you.

                  • chezami

                    I don’t imply what you keep wanting to believe I imply, as you yourself have already admitted. Stop whining.

                  • Jem

                    “What must the percentage of ‘conservatives’ be that you would no longer make statements that imply that all Conservatives support torture? 49.9%?”

                    There’s a breakdown here.

                    http://www.pewforum.org/2009/04/29/the-religious-dimensions-of-the-torture-debate/

                    http://www.pewforum.org/2009/05/07/the-torture-debate-a-closer-look/

                    There’s a strong correlation between being a Republican voting Catholic and supporting torture.

                    78% of non-Hispanic Catholics think torturing terrorists can often, sometimes or rarely be justified. That’s higher among Republican voters. Not ‘all’, just ‘more than eight out of ten’.

                    Americans support torture. Catholics are slightly more likely than the average American to support torture. Republicans are more likely still to support torture. Republican-voting Catholics are much more likely than either the average American or the average Republican to support torture.

                    It’s appalling. No group gets to lord it over another, here. There was a profound moral failing, one that most people were prone to whether they were a member of a church or not. Religious people were not more prone to take the morally correct decision, but neither were atheists.

      • Cypressclimber

        Posh. He’s not a bigot. But sometimes those who can draw and shoot fast, can’t aim all that precisely.

  • Evan

    To all the people saying, “Mark is unfairly slandering conservatives; he’s a big meany, insulting entire groups of people, blah blah blah:”

    1) Where did Mark say that all conservatives are doing or supporting this?
    2) Can you seriously say that this idea is not creepy, completely brain dead, and it deserves all the mockery it’s going to get?
    3) Conservatives who get on this bandwagon should get used to the ridicule. If you’re not on this bandwagon, the criticism does not apply to you.
    4) No one is denying that purity before and after marriage is a good thing. But a father daughter ball, and especially a father being his daughter’s boyfriend, has overtones of…oh, I don’t know, maybe…pedophilia and incest.

    And am I the only person who initially thought of a very different type of “balls”? (As in the kind it takes to sell real estate?)

    • Joejoe

      Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman. It’s a tough racket.

    • chezami

      You’re ruining a good sulk.

    • Cypressclimber

      Your droll comment evades my question. What, exactly, does this story have to do with, quote, “conservatives”?

      Since any connections are attenuated, let’s try other versions of his headline, on other, attenuated connections:

      The Male Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On!

      The 21st Century Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On!

      The American Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On!

      The Middle-class Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On!

      The Colorado Anti-Charism of Discernment Marches On!

      I’m not “sulking.” It’s dumb. I’m mocking. Step up your game.

      • Cypressclimber

        By the way, I just noticed Mark emphasized political “conservatives,” which is even more dumb. What in this article even identifies the political views of these people? The whole thing is about morality and spirituality.

        • chezami

          Right. Such idea aren’t concocted by conservatives or anything. Lefties totally go for this stuff.

          • Cypressclimber

            Please share with us your basis for saying that political conservatives concocted the “marry daddy” purity balls.

            Or is your assertion all that we should accept?

            And — unlike you, I don’t find it particularly hard to imagine that the people who concocted this “purity ball” idea might not be terribly political at all. I’ve met lots of religious folks who are very zealous about their faith, but who aren’t terribly political.

            So maybe your insistence on this being a political thing, belonging in a category of “left” or “right,” is the problem?

            • chezami

              Because, as everybody is well aware except for people who are wilfully ignorant, it is primarily conservative Christians fundamentalists and Evangelicals who spend their energy on such matters while Lefties tend to advocate for more birth control. You can pretend these guys are not conservative Evangelicals if you like, but they still are.

              • Cypressclimber

                Dude. Conservative theology does not equal conservative politics. Do they overlap? Sure.

                You are treating them as synonymous. Wrong.

                • chezami

                  No. I’m not.

                  • Cypressclimber

                    “From the end of the political spectrum…” — that’s in your original post.

                    Then, in your defense just two or three posts up, you emphasize that this Purity Ball thing is the project of “conservative Christians fundamentalists and Evangelicals.”

                    That doesn’t explain including a story about “The Purity Ball crowd,” in a grab-bag of complaints about dumb things political conservatives do. These folks, while doing something dumb, related to conservative in theology, have no demonstrable political aspect to it.

                    What do John Woo (the torture memo guy) and these Purity Ball folks have in common?

                    Is it the word “conservative”? Is that it?

                    So why don’t you throw in Conservative Rabbis? They’re “conservative.” And how about people who dress conservatively, like Harry Reid?

                    Just admit you were too glib — it will hardly be the first time.

                    • chezami

                      Correct. Because these people are *obviously* political conservatives as well as Evangelicals. Obviously.

                    • Cypressclimber

                      Obvious only to you. There is absolutely nothing about the political views of the people involved, not a whisper.

                      As the saying goes, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

                • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

                  These people are my people. I can guarantee you these people vote Republican. ;-)

      • Evan

        When I posted that comment this morning, there were about ten other comments on this post. Several of them essentially boiled down to: “Mark’s unfairly attacking conservatives, and saying ALL of them are like this.”

        Mark’s criticism is not even remotely unfair. An idea this stupid and destructive deserves to be ridiculed. (“The devil is a proud spirit and cannot endure to be mocked.”) And nowhere does Mark say that all conservatives support these stupid ideas. However, the fact remains, like it or not, that the vast majority of people who support purity balls, torture, etc. are religious and political conservatives.

        • chezami

          There you go, stating the obvious. You need to get in the spirit of wounded hysteria.

        • Cypressclimber

          You’re not really responding to my argument. I AGREE the purity ball idea is dumb, so that’s not the issue.

          I know people who are morally and theologically conservative but who vote for Obama and the Democrats. Are they politically conservative?

          I know people who are conservative politically who are anything but in matters of religion.

          So this idea that there’s a set we can call “conservative” that has some explanatory power across the categories of politics, ideology, morals and theology is just dumb.

          It’s sloppy thinking. Embarrassingly so.

          • Evan

            *sigh* Yes, there are people who are 1) religiously conservative and politically liberal. There are those who are 2) religiously liberal and politically conservative. There are also those who are 3) liberal both religiously and politically, and there are those who are 4) conservative both religiously and politically.

            The vast majority of people who support this sort of thing are going to fall under 4). I’m addressing only those people within 4) who support purity balls, etc.

            • Cypressclimber

              Ah, the dramatic *sigh*.

            • chezami

              There we go. Not complicated at all.

        • Cypressclimber

          Also, when you harp on the question of “fairness,” again you’re not responding to me — but those other comments you complained about. Fine, complain to them.

          I don’t think I said Mark was unfair. I did say his argument was “absurd” and dumb, albeit pithy.

  • SteveP

    Creepy in the eroticization-of-everything sense. We just celebrated Mary who pledged herself to her Father. Why would we find a contemporary teenage woman’s pledge to purity creepy yet ask a teenage woman, who bore our Savior, to intercede for us?

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      The Annunciation wasn’t a purity ball. God the Father isn’t a man. Mary vowed her virginity to her Creator forever; she didn’t take St. Joachim as her “boyfriend” until marriage. There’s really no comparison.

      • SteveP

        Precisely my point: there are denominations who erotize the Father-Son relationship as well as the Lord-Mary relationship. We are impoverished as a society if we can only see the erotic in a Father-Daughter pledge of purity.
        .
        It is reasonable to suppose that Mary, betrothed, lived in Joachim house under his protection. Is it inconceivable that the two had an intimate – as in heart-to-heart – relationship? Again, like the word “boyfriend,” the word “intimate” has accrued erotic undertones which make it difficult.
        .
        So that is the big deal – fathers who have an intimate relationship with their daughters. Please, re-sanctify our language by rejecting critical appropriate of words.

        • SteveP

          Should be: “Please, re-sanctify our language by rejecting critical appropriation of words.”

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          I don’t think anyone here objects to a daughter being close to her father. The problem is in the romantic undertones of these purity balls: roses, vows, rings, the father as a “boyfriend” – that’s what people find disturbing.

          EDIT: When a purity ball contains many of the trappings that we associate with romance/eroticism, that just makes it more difficult to *not* see something quasi-erotic in it.

          • AquinasMan

            The creep-factor is not the pledge. The creep-factor is the need to turn it into a public ceremony with “sacramentals” such as rings. If a Father-and-Daughter have a good enough relationship they could engage in a spectacle without a hint of embarrassment, I would imagine the whole “let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’” principle applies in their private life as well. i.e, what’s the point of the ceremony? Look at our purity? Look at our humility? By all means, make that pledge in the privacy of your home. Give your a daughter a pendant or a locket that signifies it, as a gentle reminder when temptation comes along.

            But this is just strange. Can’t wait to find out about the annulment process.

            • chezami

              No. The creep factor is making your Dad your boyfriend. Sheesh. No wonder you can’t read me. You can’t even read this article.

              • AquinasMan

                Seems uncalled for. Not sure what you’re referring to when you say “you can’t read me”. Maybe you’re thinking of a different poster. But I’ll offer it up so it doesn’t go wasted.

                • chezami

                  Oops. My mistake. I mixed you up with Aquinas Dad.

                  • AquinasMan

                    That’s what I was thinking :-) And yeah I get the creepy Dad/boyfriend part. I was just commending the idea of committing to chastity before marriage.

                    • chezami

                      Yep. As I say: a good idea supported by yet another terrible and stupid strategy.

                    • SteveP

                      If I recall, you mentioned the other day we might just mind our own business. I say let propaganda lie. ;-)

                    • bob cratchit

                      I give my daughters a claddagh ring when they reach 13. We have a little family ceremony but nothing like this.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              I agree that a purity pledge, in and of itself, is not creepy. Yet if made between a father and daughter in a wedding-like context with a ring… that’s where the creep-factor comes in. I agree, a pledge could be done privately without all these trappings and there’d be no problem.

              • SteveP

                I think if the same actions happened in a person’s home and what photographed and an article written there would still be cries of “creepy.” I really do think we need to acknowledge that the piece was propaganda precisely aimed at “ick”. It seems to have worked.

                • Rosemarie

                  +J.M.J+

                  I said that if it were done privately *without all these trappings* there would be no problem. If it still contained those same quasi-wedding-like actions then yes, it would still be a bit creepy.

            • SteveP

              With this I agree: public spectacle is usually not directed by the Spirit.

          • SteveP

            I really do understand your objection. I’d just chalk it up to the Freudian bedrock of the contemporary milieu: everything is about sexual desire and repression of that desire is both unhealthy and impossible.
            .
            Feminist deconstruction of the tradition of cotillion has turned it from a formal dance to a slave auction where fathers present their daughters to the highest bidder . . . in time of course, nothing so crass as an immediate offer of cash on the barrelhead. I do not think we need to see chattels in gowns any more than we need to see a Purity Ball as a channeled erotic expression. In neither case does our understanding of the person grow.

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              And feminist deconstruction of these purity balls says that they are patriarchal attempts by men to control women’s sexuality. I don’t put much stock in such feminist misinterpretations.

              I’m not saying that a purity ball is “channeled erotic expression.” Just that it’s not appropriate to call ones father ones “boyfriend” and the like. I make no judgment about any alleged repressed desires in the participants; they obviously mean well but are doing something strange and a bit disturbing. Kind of like the single Evangelical women who “date” Jesus and call Him their “boyfriend”:

              http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/december/17.56.html

              It’s well-meaning but odd.

              • SteveP

                Odd indeed! It is not anything I can see myself doing but I’m not in the situation either with a teenager daughter or as a single Evangelical woman. However I do thank you for the clear explication of your thoughts.

  • AquinasMan

    Yeah no.

  • AquinasMan

    The liberal spectrum will just demand Mother-Daughter purity balls. Bakery owners, you’ve been warned.

  • Jenny Cook

    These men have not thought this through. By taking on a girlfriend while (presumably) still being married would make them adulterers and their daughters their mistresses..and what about the dads with more than one daughter? Now the siblings can become sister wives in the truest sense!
    And if a dad finds out that his daughter has somehow “been compromised”…well, now she’s not only let him down as a dad but as a boyfriend? How crushing would that be?! I know that for many of these girls it will not be a burden but I’m sure for some it will cause them to rebel and run from their families and their faith.
    I have to wonder if some of this comes from the lost tradition (albeit very class-based) of debutantes “coming out” into society. In my hometown there is still a debutante culture, although it seems to be primarily just an excuse for everyone to drop a couple grand on dresses and tuxes. Seems to me that a Purity Ball is just another chance for dads to celebrate their daughter’s passage into womanhood without having to talk about or acknowledge her changing body, because that’s, you know, awkward.
    Unlike this.
    Riiiiight.

    • Jenny Cook

      Also, I suspect that some of these dads will, horrifically, take advantage of this title as their daughter’s “boyfriend” in a sexual sense. Shudder.

      • Dave G.

        Really? Are you serious? You know that’s what some other audience that reads articles about Catholic priests may say, and Catholics are appalled. Not to mention that sexist notion that us guys just can’t love our girls without, you know. Really everyone. Is this what the Catholic Blogosphere is being reduced to? I’m starting to get embarrassed.

        • Jenny Cook

          Sorry, speaking as a Protestant interloper…don’t blame the Catholic blogosphere for my comment! Of course, I am sure that the vast, vast majority of the dads would never dream of such a thing, just as the vast, vast majority of Catholic priests would never be abusers. But it could certainly happen. And obviously men can love women chastely. I’m sure most of these dads won’t do anything untoward, but you can bet that the few who will, will have a great “excuse.”

          • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

            These dads are not going to do that. And dads that would aren’t going to bother justifying their behavior with this kind of goofiness. These practices, while lame, are a million miles away from incest.

          • Dave G.

            Jenny, I blame the Catholic blogosphere in that it’s the tone being set that encourages such comments. Sure it could happen. It could happen without such things. Do I think the whole thing is a bit goofy? Yeah. Sad, too. But this or not, it means nothing. As Jon W says, anyone who wants to do such a thing won’t need a ceremony like this.

            But again, it’s just this kind of thinking that these posts encourage. And for that, I blame the Catholic blogosphere. Not for being any different than the rest of the internet. But for not being any different than the rest of the internet.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Thank you for pointing out that many of these fathers are already married to a woman, which makes the idea of them having “girlfriends” problematic on yet another level.

  • Michael McCormick

    “Sound bites seem to carry more weight than moral principles. The way we
    engage in political debate polarizes rather than unites.” hhmmmm ”
    Peter suggests we respond with hope filled gentleness and
    reverence for the other person, so that while speaking the truth we will

    also be imitating our humble savior.” (Looking at Mark’s post and
    comment) Might be a problem here. “Did Jesus verbally assault opponents
    with clever arguments in order to embarrass them? Did he summarily
    condemn people who were in error, or did he patiently lead them to the
    right path” uh oh “A sarcastic comeback may grab a few laughs or give a
    momentary sense of satisfaction, but we have failed if we have not
    spoken the truth while imitating our Lord.” Sounds like good advice —
    from Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, Washington.

  • Dave G.

    I read the article again. I can say this. Most of the comments I’m reading seem to be pretty much what the article was shooting for. The author of the piece is to be commended.

  • Almario Javier

    And this is why I tend to be suspicious of cribbing ideas from the Protestants. Their beliefs are not the same as our beliefs.

    • Dave G.

      So it’s not just conservatives, it’s “Protestants” as well. The number of those we should keep an eye on is growing on CAEI. Tunneling under our houses I think it was once said.

      • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

        … to say nothing of Catholics.

  • Newp Ort

    Purity balls:just plain creepy, yes.
    implies virginity as something owned by father and passed to husband, not something of worth to a young woman for her own spiritual well being
    no purity balls for boys. makes young women the gatekeepers of sexuality. boys just can’t help themselves, I guess. it takes two to tango. could leave woman with negative impression that all guys will take it if they can rather than positive concept to seek out young men who share their values.

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Well, to be fair, the same crowd that holds these purity balls would require that their sons abstain from sex until marriage, too. Remember the Jonas Brothers and their purity rings? Okay, maybe you don’t (not everyone paid attention to that group) but the point is that males wear them, too. It’s not like Evangelicals want their sons catting around.

      If I had to guess why they don’t seem to have mother-son purity balls, I think it’s because a teenage boy wouldn’t like having his mom as a quasi-prom date, let alone calling her his “girlfriend.” The explanation given for these father-daughter events is that girls need affirmation from their fathers, so the purity ball will supposedly provide that and make her feel better about herself. They’re partially correct; girls do need affirmation from their fathers (though I’m not sure this is the best way to do that). My guess is that they don’t think boys need or want the same kind of affirmation from their mothers. Or boys just aren’t as into fancy dances as girls. Or something like that. Anyway, that’s my guess.

      • Dave G.

        It could be because they still hold to an old, archaic notion that differences in gender are beyond just the genitals. That there may still be room for different roles for different genders outside of the priesthood and procreation. I think these purity balls are a throwback by a group still clinging to the last, dying breaths of a time when there were actual differences. Good or not, my guess is there’s some of that there.


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