Answering Vaughn Ohlman

by Calulu cross posted from her blog Seeking The Light

(Writer’s Note: If I come across as snarky and insulting in parts I do apologize to you, gentle reader. It was oh so hard to reign in my desire to go into full sarcasm mode to reply to Vaughn.)

Yesterday I posted at NLQ about Vaughn Ohlman’s new blog True Love Doesn’t Wait. He posted a series of comments before blogging about the small piece I’d written. I’m going to address his remarks. Without emotion since most in the Patriarchal Movement seem to think that women cannot function without being overtly emotional.

Null problemo, Von, I cut my teeth debating in Free Speech Alley at my university plus worked in professional environments were emotion being shown is counter-productive. Women = over the top emotional reactions is a sexist old fashioned error-riddled maxim. But I have noticed that you do seem to prefer previous centuries in the art displayed with your piece, perhaps you’d fare better in an earlier century.

 

Let’s start with your comments on NLQ:

“Wow, you call that an ‘ad hominem’? I thought the very purpose of this site was a denial of (what I would define as) Biblical marriage: Ie the marriage spoken of in Psalm 127:”

There is nothing at NLQ that is a ‘denial’ of marriage, Biblical or not. Society is built of marriages but then again, I believe none of us at NLQ would define marriage as a master/slave or daddy/child relationship that seems to be the prevalent view by fundamentalists. Many of the women at NLQ are married. I am married for 27 years now without either of us trying to bury the other in the backyard. There’s no objection to marriage on our part. The problem starts when random people start trying to define what a marriage is.

Also, what is a correct view of Biblical marriage? The types of marriage present in the Bible include one man and his sister, one man and many wives, one man, many wives and a load of concubines, or a rape victim and her rapist, et al. No where does it state that ‘Biblical’ marriage is between one man and one woman.

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Seems like one man and one woman is some sort of rebellion against ancient Old Testament standards.

 

” I was speaking comparitively. I was in the sixth grade before we had our first student, in my public school, from a divorced home. Now it would be difficult to go into any classroom in the United States and not find several children, if not the majority, from divorced homes.”

Then you are either much older than your stated age on your online profiles or you grew up in some small stunted benighted place that didn’t get running water or electricity till the 60s. Speaking of the 1960s according to data available from the U.S. Census the divorce rate in the fifties was around 14%, meaning if you went to the school from that point on then it was likely at least 1 in 10 of your school chums was from a divorced family. Rates climbed from that point on till reaching 40% by 1979. Or were you homeschooled beneath a rock?

Personally, I think you’re being disingenuous to try and score a political and religious point.

 

Now onto the actual post at Von’s site True Love Doesn’t Wait

 

“Which needs to be kept in mind: we disagree. We don’t disagree with the fact so much, as with our goals. She calls me a ‘Quiverfull’ article and says that what I propose is ‘Quiverfull on hard core amphetamines’. And her goals and desires are, well, just the opposite: to destroy Biblical marriage and everything it stands for.”

Rolls eyes. Again, explain exactly where it says in the Bible that only one man and one woman is the Biblical model for marriage? You can’t. Please see above.

 

 “That said, she shows that she understands much (not all) of what I am teaching. She sees the results it would have on ‘our’ part of the church: the end of fruitless celibacy, the marriage and prevention of ‘old maids’.

So it is left to me to fix some of the small errors that there are in her article.”

To be factual, there aren’t ‘errors’ in my article. It’s called viewpoint, which, thankfully, is vastly different than yours. Old maids versus early marriage is actually fairly even on the scale of awfulness, like comparing arsenic and ricin. Both will undoubtedly kill you. The difference is in how much suffering do you want and which attainment method fits your own style and talents. You have to acquire a basic working knowledge of chemistry and lab procedures to come up with ricin but any boob can hotfoot it over to the local hardware store for arsenic laden rat poison. Neither are a good idea.

 

“Firstly she mentions the ‘life expectancy’ in the ‘old days’. She says that if you are going to die young, then you obviously have to get married young. True enough… except she has her facts wrong. It is an easy mistake to make. Most people make it, even PhD’s. You see, ‘average life expectancy’ does NOT mean how long the average person  actually lives. It sounds like it, but it doesn’t.

Let’s take a society where eighty percent of the people live until age eighty. Then let’s say that the other twenty percent die in infancy… at age zero. The ‘average’ life expectancy in such a society would be: 80 * 80 / 100… or 64. No one actually lived till they were sixty-four, but that is what the ‘average’ says. In reality, if you lived past infancy, then you lived until you were eighty.

Now take the exact same society with a little help in caring for their infants. Not cutting their umbilical cord with a rusty knife, for example. Let’s say that now we have ninety nine percent of the population living until eighty, and only one percent dying in infancy. Now the ‘average’ age is seventy-nine. No one dies at seventy-nine, practically everyone dies at eighty, but that is the new ‘average’.”

Then surely you understand that I was speaking of median life span rates, not as you imply maximum life span rates according to the actuary tables. It would help your argument if you understood how the actuary information is used instead of your piss poor assumptions and manipulation of data. Plus, there are numerous ways to compute life spans. Obviously you are excluding infant mortality rates, which also skew the numbers to higher life expectancies.

Back in the 1800s life span rates starting at birth were a mere 31 years but once you reach the age of twenty the life span rates jumped by around 43 years. It’s a matter of calculations but I stand by my assertion that life expectancy was lower in the times you long for. Rates today at birth at 77 to 80 years old and that, my friends, IS a huge difference.

 

“So, in the case of a woman just wanting to live her life, and not caring how many children she brought into the world, it would make no more sense to marry young in the old days than now. Of course, there were other issues. She did want to have kids, wanted to have a husband, the divorce rate was practically zero (and that was when I was a kid!), you couldn’t have sex except in marriage… so she got married young.”

Not so fast. Again, Divorce rates in the 1950s averaged around 14%. More information on the historic changes in American families in the 1900s from The Monthly Labor Review published by the US Dept of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The sex thing. There was pressure not to have sex in the 1950s but that didn’t mean that only married people actually had horizontal fellowship. Even back in the 50s the birthrate for out of wedlock babies was around 4%. But babies born to married couples full term at less than nine months was a whopping 40% by the mid-1800s. Since it was unlikely all of them were virgin conceptions like Jesus was it stands to reason that there was a whole lot of people doing much more than hand holding. Sex was, is and always will be the most fun you can have without laughing.

 

“The second mistake she makes is in imagining this poor young couple struggling all by themselves to pay the bills, etc. This mistake makes a lot of sense; it just means she hasn’t read that much of what I write. I write that one of the mistakes that our modern ‘conservative’ church has bought into is the divorce (pun intended) between a father and his son after marriage. Scripture never shows, or teaches, that the poor young couple needs to go form their own household, pay their own bills, eat their own cooking, etc. A man brings his wife back to ‘His Father’s House’.”

Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.     (see I can play your quote the Bible game too)

 

I suppose that you’ve never considered the stark reality of young married moving in with their parents. Ephesians 5:13 clearly shows that the man and wife relationship is supposed to supersede the parental relationship. It doesn’t say that the bride and groom arrive at the parents home to be children under the roof of the parents. How can a young couple be expected to settle into the new and differing roles of husband and wife in front of controlling family? Very emotionally unhealthy. The only thing you’re doing in that scenario is creating weak stunted individuals who will struggle to find their way when eventually they do leave. Serious disservice to your children. Statistics from Barna Institute show that a couple starting out by living with a parent are are 30% more likely to divorce and people aged 18 and under when they marry are 3 times more likely to divorce. Which means your model for young marriages conducted under daddy’s roof are the real practice for divorce, not the way the world sees it.

Shouldn’t you seek to help your children have the best advantages towards having a successful life that allows them to support your grandchildren? Statistics show that young marriages before completing higher education make a person more likely to live their entire lives in poverty much less the start of their marriage. Those odds are 30%, way too high to be acceptable! Wouldn’t waiting till you had a job and education make more sense for marriage? The Bible speaks repeatedly of being a good steward of your finances. Plunging yourself in poverty to marry young is foolish in this bad economy.

 

“The third mistake she makes, and this must result from her not being really cozy with a lot of quiverfulls, is in thinking that most of their sixteen year old daughters can’t cook. My sixteen year old SONS can cook better than it sounds like she could. They are homeschooled, after all.”

This is a downright lie. I never said I thought sixteen year old daughters can’t cook. I said I couldn’t cook at sixteen.  I wasn’t raised quiverfull and had no need to learn to cook since my parents employed a cook, several maids, gardener and driver for my father. It was anticipated that I would never need to learn to cook beyond make toast and coffee. I was fortunate enough to have a privileged upbringing that included private school, travel and many different types of after school activities such a ballet and piano. The longer I live the more I realize what an advantage my parents gifted me with. I wouldn’t trade it for any other sort of education.

Speaking of education, during my years in a fundamentalist-evangelical quiverfull church I had plenty of interaction with homeschooling, much of it dreadful, as I’ve cataloged it at NLQ. Since I hold a Masters in Art History I used to teach art classes to the homeschoolers. My observation was that those mothers that held legitimate degrees from universities tended to be quite successful in homeschooling their children, raising well rounded educated kids that ended up with scholarships from better universities. Those moms that had graduated high school. Not so much. Those kids seemed to be nearly universally lacking some portion of their education. I saw more children in my homeschooling art classes with unaddressed behavioral problems than those in the art classes I taught as a volunteer at the local public schools. Unless you have a good education yourself home schooling your children is not always a good thing.

There needs to be state and federal oversight into homeschooling to make sure all children are receiving a decent education that provides them with the skills needed in the future.

 

“The last mistake she makes is in calling what I teach ‘unpractical’. You see ‘practical’ is a word that can only be used in relationship to some given goal. War would be deemed ‘unpractical’ by her terms: the loss of life, the emotional cost, the financial cost, the destruction, the ruin of families, rape, etc. But, of course, war isn’t ‘unpractical’ if one considers one’s goal: conquering another country or avoiding being conquered. War has been going on for millenia and is in no danger of ceasing due to its impracticality.”

What practically does most war serve, such as the recent unpleasantness in Afghanistan? Really. War is not only impractical, it is indefensible – we humans should grow up and settle our differences in a manner which respects human rights and promotes human dignity.

 

” Certainly no one can ever hope to be “right” apart from an objective standard.  But the other problem for those who suppose to know better than the Bible is that they have become a god unto themselves, deciding for themselves what is right and wrong. Eternal ramifications aside, this is a much more arrogant and aggressive position than to submit oneself humbly to the clear teachings of the Word of God.”

Who is this “Jeff” that rubber stamps your postings like he is Jesus Jr.? Is he your editor? If so he’s doing  a sub par job. You shouldn’t pay him.

The clear teachings of the word of God. Oh, you mean where it says we’re supposed to treat each other with love always, help the poor, feed the widow and visit those in jail. To do what’s right always, even when no one is looking, to help others, to guide and lead in loving ways. That is moral, right and good, that’s what good people do, not throw out hateful quasi-Biblical positions.

That being said, it’s not like only the Bible or ‘the word of God’ or even Christians alone have a lock on morality. Morality is not dependent on the Bible, even atheists can be ‘moral’ yet have scant knowledge of the Bible. People in general, regardless of religious affiliation, are moral beings because we all have compassion and a sense of justice. These traits are hard wired into our brains, we evolved with core moral values in all of us, caring about fairness, loyalty and helping those who’ve been harmed. It’s not just a ‘Bible’ thing.

Obviously you think anyone lacking a penis cannot possibly be ‘moral’ or ‘right’ It’s pretty arrogant for anyone to claim they have the sole approval of God and correct translation of the word of God, which seems to be exactly what all of the things posted on TLDW and Persevero News does. Et tu? Perhaps it’s time you got off the internet and actually worshipped God just for who He is instead of pontificating mean spiritedly online.

My great grandmother used to have a phrase she muttered in situations like these. I cannot recall the exact Cajun French words but the translation was ‘No matter how much you polish a turd it’s still a turd’

No matter how you try to spin your words as “God’s Law” all I’m seeing from here are polished turds of your own making, not God’s.

Comments open below

Read everything by Calulu!

Calulu lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago. Her blog is Calulu – Seeking The Light

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce

 

About Suzanne Calulu
  • texcee

    Good rebuttal, Calulu. One of the reasons it was important for young women to “catch” a husband early in their lives was economic security. Before “women’s lib”, many if not most women were dependent on their husbands for a roof over their heads and food on their tables. This was especially true before World War I when women had few if any rights, such as owning property or controlling their finances. That’s still true in a good part of the world, but thankfully not in developed countries. Patriarchy seeks to reverse our rights and put us back in the category of chattel. In other words, it’s all about controlling women.

  • gimpi1

    Mr. Ohlman seems to just get weirder and weirder. Let me see if I can paraphrase:

    For everyone: Marry young, to someone you have never met. Have lots of kids. Don’t worry about learning how to make a living – God will provide. Don’t expect to be happy. Any expectation of happiness or security is sinful. Isolate your family. Be suspicious of everyone not like you.

    For women: Don’t presume you have any rights. Your father will arrange a marriage for you, around puberty. Don’t expect to have any say in your marriage or future. After marriage, live with your in-laws. Don’t dare to have or express any opinions that differ from your husband. Don’t value your life or the lives of the children you already have, just pump kids out. Don’t have any goals, ambitions or confidence in yourself, that’s sinful.

    For men: Marry whoever your father tells you to. Live with your parents. After you wed, you’re in charge, weather or not you want to be. Don’t worry about weather or not you’re good at it. You have to educate your own children, no matter how limited your own education was. You have to make every decision, oh and you better be telepathic, since no one can give you any input. That would be disrespectful. You are a tyrant. Oh, except for you own father. He is in charge of you, forever.

    For Children: You are property. Do whatever you are told. Don’t think. Don’t question. Expect abuse, it’s all you deserve. (Sinful nature and all.) At puberty, marry whoever your father has arranged for you, and start pumping out the next generation.

    For Everyone again:If this doesn’t work for you, you’re not trying hard enough. If you get sick, it’s your fault, you’re being punished. If you were really faithful, you would be healed. If all this depresses you, that’s your fault. You’re in rebellion. You’re evil.

    How did I do?

  • NeaDods

    And then he gets so *shocked* when people think that’s evil!

  • KarenH

    Speaking as an old maid….but wait back up here. Although I’ve never married, I *have* had a child out of wedlock, so maybe rather than an old maid, I’m a dirty slutting whore. Anyway, speaking as an old maid/dirty slutting whore, I have to say, it’s not that bad. I have a job I like, friends I enjoy, a grown son with a lovely wife who lives nearby and who both seem to like me despite my whorish ways and a nice house (Sorry Debi Pearl! I left the comfy condo and jumped right over the tacky duplex to a little brick house for me and my cats).

    Yeah, I do have the cat lady thing going on. And I like to quilt–I make receiving blankets for preemies and shrouds for the little ones who are still births and occasionally help out with quilts for Project Linus. Despite being a dirty dirty whore. But it keeps me busy :)

  • NeaDods

    Project Linus lets someone with cats work on their stuff? I ask because I’ve wanted for ages to knit for Linus, but with 5 cats in the house, I was considered too much of a possible allergen source. I totally understand their point of view, but if there’s a way a crazy cat lady can work with them, I want to know it!

  • KarenH

    I sew at a guild workshop when I sew for Project Linus. Check around your area; I bet there are groups that meet for things like this.

  • alfaretta

    Also an old maid — with a full life. Sure I’m a dirty slutting whore as well.

    Growing up in a traditional and tragically dysfunctional family made marriage very unattractive. It’s been more challenging for me than for KarenH, but I have to say that as a square peg, I’m glad I didn’t try to cram myself into the pairing off round hole just because it was something I was supposed to do.

  • Sarah-Sophia

    Couples who live with a parent are probably doing so because they lack a livable income. It’s probably the money problems (poverty) that causes the 30% increase in divorce rate.


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