Contradictions: Who’s the Visual-est of Them All?

by Sierra

Fundamentalists argue that women should dress conservatively because men are visual. This is supposedly something women can’t possibly understand, because women are emotional, not visual. Women become attracted to men through flirtation and flattery; indeed, male visuality is like a foreign language to them. Men are not obliged to cover up for women for this reason.

However, Libby Anne has brought up the following argument that a fundamentalist father made against women’s right to vote:

The first impact of women voters was really felt after the televised Nixon / Kennedy debates.  Nixon, the superior statesman without question, looked “old” and “sweaty”.  But Kennedy?  He was “cute”! The same thing was true for Clinton.

Incidentally, this guy didn’t make this up himself. He may not realize it, but he’s part of a tradition. William Branham made the exact same argument in 1960:

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How the Doctrine of Hell Justifies Quiverfull Authoritarian Parenting

by Libby Anne

From my experience, I would argue that hell is the worst Christian doctrine of all. I’m not even going to get into how there is no justice in punishing finite transgressions with eternal torture, or into all the other problems with the theological ins and outs of hell. Instead, I’m referring to the practical implications of the doctrine.

I am a mother. I look at my beautiful young daughter, so full of life and joy and excitement and curiosity, and I feel my love for her bubbling up in my heart. If I believed that there were any possibility that this sweet little thing could end up tortured in a lake of fire for eternity, I would leave no stone unturned in desperately working to keep her from this fate.

In my quest to keep my daughter from unimaginable pain, I would probably be highly susceptible to religious leaders offering various methods for raising good Christian children, and easily taken in by their promises to keep my daughter’s soul from destruction. I would do anything I had to do, buy any book, try any method, risk any hurt. What parent wouldn’t?

Fundamentalist preacher and author Michael Pearl promises parents that if they discipline their children just so, including an emphasis on absolute obedience and the use of hitting to back it up, they will not stray from God’s path, and if he warns that if children are allowed to grow up without such discipline, they will be set on the path to hell. Is it any wonder that so many parents follow Pearl’s highly problematic parenting methods?

Leading Christian patriarchy organization Vision Forum promises that if you raise your children according to their teachings, homeschooling in order to “shelter” from “evil influences” and “teach God’s truth” and emphasizing the hierarchical teachings of Christian patriarchy, your child will not stray from Christ’s side like all those willful pagan children in the public schools. Is it any surprise Vision Forum has such a draw?

Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles also promises a perfect godly family, with highly problematic consequences. Mercy Ministries and Hephzibah House promise to restore your rebellious teenage daughter’s faith, though both have been linked to abuse.Exodus International promises to “cure” your gay son or daughter, though actual science is nowhere on their side. And on and on and on it goes.

If I believed there was any chance my small daughter could go to hell, I would turn to any method I could to keep her from this unimaginably horrible fate.

Attend church three times a week? Check. Homeschool using only religious textbooks? Check. Control her every interaction with others to keep her away from “bad influences”? Check. Follow strict child training methods that involve enforced obedience and hitting her if she so much as has a bad attitude? Check. Employ emotional manipulation or even threaten to cut her off if she grows up to make wrong choices, hoping that tough love will bring her back? Check.

Simply put, I would do anything I had to to keep my daughter from eternal torture. I suspect any parent would, really.

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Bring Me The Flaming Head Of Barbie! – Adventures In Recovery

by Calulu

A few weeks ago I was witnessing internet wide that one thing is certain. Just about everyone has a strong reaction to the news that Michelle Duggar is enceinte again. Of course I snicked like the sarcastic wise-cracking gal I am and some of us tossed around those hoary old chestnuts we always say when discussing Duggar child bearing. “It’s a vagina not a clown car” and “Looks like Jim Bob tossed the hotdog down the well again”

In most of the online discussion of how dangerous her playing maternal Russian roulette actually is no one seemed to hit upon my first thought, how quickly would Jim Bob replace her with a newer, younger, prettier model.

I mean, really, it’s like shooting dice, eventually snake eyes is going to come up. Bad things happen if you keep repeating the same risky behavior. Look at the last of her pregnancies. Something did go wrong. It’s just simple statistics that sometimes things go haywire and we can’t do much about them. But why put yourself in those types of risky situations in the first place?

Back when I was with my old church I got to see this numerous times. Lady either gets pregnant that probably shouldn’t be or would contract a very serious illness. They’d start praying, asking for prayer but refusing medical monitoring or intervention by the medical world at all. They say the same things Michelle Duggar does about this is God’s will and God would either deliver her safely or He would heal her.

One of the saddest cases of this was a lady named Christina who contracted breast cancer and refused all medical treatments, saying only God alone would heal her. She wasn’t going to have any surgery, no chemo, no radiation, she would simply rely on God.

Everyone at church supported her decision. Except for me. I’d had a bout with breast cancer many years ago, had the joyous fun (it wasn’t fun, I’m just joking) of surgery, chemo, radiation till I beat the cancer. Oh heck, I had chemo four summers ago for my auto immune problems. Big deal, so your hair falls out, you get the excuse to wear lots of fun hats. It is what it is, a temporary season. If it turned out that solving my ongoing immune problems meant eating a bowl of cockroaches or something even more disgusting I’d say ‘Gimme a spoon and a bottle of Tabasco sauce right now!’

Not getting health care while you have children in the home to finish raising is just irresponsible.

But the men of the church always had medical intervention, and it never seemed to strike anyone there that was some sort of warped double standard. I never understood why that was so I’m guessing the lack of serious health care was because in the world of Fundy-Gelicals women were without intrinsic value and considered interchangeable.

Christina died after an agonizing torturous 18 months. What did did Mr. Christina do? He did what I’ve witnessed a number of Patriarchal men have done. He collected that big insurance check, bought a sports car and within six months married a much younger, better looking, newer model. And the cycle continued. Even our Pastor did it, boom, wife dies of cancer, 9 months later Pastor has another wife and life goes on as before.

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But They Look So Happy!

Excerpted from Dulce De Leche:

All of the recent news about the Duggar’s newest baby spawned a number of online arguments.  One of the most frequent comments was about how cheerful their family is, especially the children.  How Michelle is a great mom who doesn’t yell.  It must be working for them, because the kids are well behaved and look happy.  Sounds reasonable, right?

I might believe it, if I didn’t know what I know of Gothard/ATI and the Pearls.  The Duggars are deeply enmeshed in ATI, and ATI takes allegiance very seriously.  It isn’t a vague Statement of Beliefs that you sign so your kids can take the courses.  It is several pages of in depth info that covers what kind of music you can listen to (no Christian rock), the kind of TV you watch (mainly Christian DVDs), the way you dress (those jumpers are about modesty), the kind of punishments the parents use (spankings), and more.  It isn’t just a curriculum–it is a lifestyle that delves into family finances, child planning and every other detail.

There has long been a lot of speculation about whether the Duggars use the controversial punishment methods taught by Michael and Debi Pearl in To Train Up a Child.  Things like the blanket training, certain phrases that are used, and the general popularity within that subculture have fueled that, as well as many people who claim that it was recommended previously on the website.  I can’t prove that they follow TTUAC, but as of yesterday, the Duggar’s website included it in their Amazon links along with a glowing recommendation.  Considering that some of the other recommendations list personal details about how the materials were used by the family, I cannot believe that it was randomly included on their site without their approval.

One of the creepiest things about Gothard and the Pearls is that they teach that happy is the only acceptable emotion.  If you do not have a joyful countenance, you are publicly shaming your authorities.  In other words, if the kid looks unhappy, it is a personal offense against the parents.  Pearl also has nauseating quotes and anecdotes about how any time his kids expressed unhappiness or anger they were hit even harder and longer until they were cheerful.  How twisted is that?  These children are taught from babyhood to always be cheerful, or else they deserve a spanking.  As they grow older, it is not just the fear of a spanking that causes them to keep smiling.  It is the sincere belief that they are sinning with ingratitude, rebellion and more if they don’t present a happy face.

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Maternal Martyr, Michelle Duggar, Willing to Risk Life for Baby #20

by Vyckie Garrison

Mega-family parents, Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar of TLC’s “19 & Counting” fame announced on TODAY they are expecting baby #20 – due in April 2012.

Despite a difficult pregnancy and premature delivery of now-23-month-old, Josie, Michelle told TLC viewers she is willing to “lay down her life” for another baby.

“We do not take for granted the wonderful blessings of life that God has bestowed upon us!” writes Michelle on The Duggar Family website. “Many years ago, Jim Bob & I gave this area of our lives to God, allowing Him to grant life as He saw fit.”

The flip side of the Quiverfull ideal of “trusting the Lord with our family planning” which Jim Bob & Michelle embrace and promote through their TV Reality show, website, and numerous books, is that Michelle also accepts the possibility of her own or her baby’s deaths, should such tragedy occur, as God’s will.

In her book, The Way Home, Beyond Feminism and Back To Reality, Quiverfull proponent, Mary Pride explains that mothers who risk their lives for the sake of building the Kingdom of God are to be honored the same as missionaries:

“Routinely we send missionaries off to work in unsavory climates, knowing full well that they will probably come down with amoebic dysentery, be overheated (or frozen), receive inadequate medical care in second-rate hospitals, and on the average live ten years less than other people. But we don’t tell people not to be missionaries. Instead, we commend missionaries for their courage. 

“Missionaries go to foreign countries to beget new Christians; mothers get pregnant to be beget new Christians. Even if maternal missionary work has some hazards (and what missionary work doesn’t?), the noble way is to face them with courage. Likewise, we really ought to honor women with medical problems … diabetes, asthma, quadriplegia, arthritis, heart problems … who are willing to serve God with their bodies as mothers.  These are the unsung heroines of the modern church.  (p. 57 emphasis in original)”

To further understand Michelle’s willingness to risk her life, consider that Quiverfull leaders routinely downplay the health risks when questioned regarding the prudence of prolific motherhood.  Again, Mary Pride, citing page after page of examples of supposedly bogus health risks and throwing in as an added bonus, the “medical dangers of not having children,” encourages women to trust the Lord in the face of suffering:

“Devotees of evil will sacrifice all they have — money, health, reputation — to maintain their lifestyle.  If the actual threat of venereal disease or AIDS does not deter the wicked from their pursuits, why should the mostly phantom threat of “medical problems” deter us from ours?  God will stand by His daughters who are willing to serve Him.”

I explain this idealism which led me to repeatedly endure high-risk pregnancies and life-threatening deliveries in greater detail at No Longer Quivering: here and here.

Quiverfull moms are nothing if not consistent in their submission to the will of God – for better or worse.

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