Smart people saying smart things

Libby Anne: “Who Are the Real Babies? House-Proofing and Modesty

When you’re raised in the movement, even the smallest children are taught to have self control and to not touch what is right in front of their eyes. In fact, it’s considered quite the accomplishment to be able to leave an expensive vase or dish of candy on a coffee table and know that even the child just learning to pull herself to standing won’t touch them. It’s a way of showcasing your children’s obedience and you’re success at child training.

For some reason, doing the same for adult men – i.e. placing a woman in a miniskirt or low-cut shirt in his line of vision and expecting him to not act on his desires – is unacceptable. Babies have to have self-control. Adult men can’t be expected to have self-control. Parents shouldn’t remove objects of temptation from babies’ line of vision. Women should cover up everything that might prove tempting from men’s line of vision.

Frank Schaeffer: “How could they believe this stuff?

It takes training for years to reject what is true. That training starts in a million Sunday schools and carries on through home schooling or private religious “education” and is completed in a hundred alternative Christian “colleges.” It is sustained by a network of magazines like Christianity Today, World and many more. It has its own celebrity culture with heroes that no one outside the religious ghetto has heard of but who are selling literally millions of books to their followers.

Is it any wonder that a bedrock article of faith in the Republican Party is now that public schools are evil? Is it any wonder Santorum says he objects to President Obama saying all kids should work to go to college? In fact anything public and open to accountability is to be feared. Education is feared most of all.

All public space is hated because in that space, from infrastructure projects to the Federal Reserve to the UN to all government agencies, there has to be an acceptable baseline of fact that everyone buys into. Universities and the media — both places where ideas are discussed openly — are hated most of all.

Brian Cahill: “Religious liberty and credibility

American Catholics and the rest of the country know that the real agenda of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is to stop any government health care mandate. This is sad and ironic because the Catholic Church has historically been a strong advocate of health care access for those who need it. Worse, the conference is specifically demanding an exemption for any employer who would have a “conscience” problem with providing contraceptive coverage for employees. In other words, in the name of “religious liberty,” these bishops want to force their religious belief on employees who do not share their belief. Not only is this effort turning religious liberty on its head, but it ignores the reality that affordable health care, including contraception, is the most effective way to significantly reduce abortion.

… The Catholic bishops who have led the charge on this issue have succeeded only in showing how wide the gap is between the Catholic faithful and some of its bishops, have left the impression that the issue of conscience only seems to arise over matters of sexuality, have ended up intentionally or otherwise in bed with the likes of Newt Gingrich, have inadvertently become a potential obstacle to affordable health care for those most in need, and have further diminished the moral influence and teaching authority that many Catholics used to respect and desire from their bishops.

Barack Obama: “Remarks by the President to UAW Conference,” Feb. 28, 2012

You want to talk about values? Hard work — that’s a value. Looking out for one another — that’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together, and I’m my brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper — that’s a value.

They’re out there talking about you like you’re some special interest that needs to be beaten down. Since when are hardworking men and women who are putting in a hard day’s work every day — since when are they special interests? Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing?

 

  • Anonymous

    “Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing?”
    Because that means having to care about THOSE people! The gays, the poor, women, people who depend on welfare…Think about the sheer evil the president is encouraging here! /snark

  • Anonymous

    Frank Schaeffer: “How could they believe this stuff?”

    “By the way, did you know that I wrote a book called Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back?  Because I totally did, and you can buy it right now at Amazon.com or your neighborhood bookstore.  Why are you still reading this?  Go buy it now.  Now!”

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    That first one particularly strikes me as a good one; because it’s right on the money.

  • Anonymous

     “Since when is the idea that we look out for one another a bad thing?”

    Since that goddam commie from Jersey wrote a song about it?

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Ugh I’m too fucking tired of America’s ridiculous levels of individualism to make fun of it anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Nice to see Libby Anne getting some rub from Fred, I’ve developed a huge braincrush on her work at FTB

  • Anonymous

    “Boys will be boys”

    Words cannot express how much I hate that sentiment. 

    I’ve told guys in public before that if they feel they can’t control themselves around women because “it’s a natural thing” I’m buying them depends diapers. If they can’t control that drive, I don’t want to be around if they can’t control any other natural drives, either. It humiliates and frustrates a lot of them, but you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself for believing that tripe and using it as an excuse.

  • http://accidental-historian.typepad.com/ Geds

     “By the way, did you know that I wrote a book called Crazy for God:
    How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and
    Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back?  Because I totally did, and you can buy it right now at Amazon.com or your neighborhood bookstore.  Why are you still reading this?  Go buy it now.  Now!”

    I stopped reading his blog about a month after it popped up on the blogosphere’s radar precisely because of that.

    It’s actually one of those things that should be an Internet Marketing 101 class or something.  Like, if Fred wrote a book and just put an Amazon link at the top of his right-hand column I’d be all, “Sweet, Fred wrote a book.”  Then I’d probably buy it.

    Authors do that sort of thing all the time.  I know, for instance, that Scalzi writes books because I’ve read them and own most of them and from time to time I buy more.  I’m looking forward to Redshirts and find the way he writes about it from time to time makes me want to read the book more.

    Frank Schaeffer, on the other hand, managed to turn me off, not only from reading his blog then, but also from reading his blog now, and from ever buying any of his books.  He might say interesting things, but other people also say interesting things without making me feel like I need to respond to a high-pressure sales pitch.  Schaeffer might as well be trying to sell me a time share or insurance.

  • Anonymous

    Whenever the topic of women covering up for ‘modesty’ comes up I’m reminded of the classic SF short story the “The Screwfly Solution” by Alice Sheldon (published under her pen name Raccoona Sheldon).

    http://lexal.net/scifi/scifiction/classics/classics_archive/sheldon/sheldon1.html 

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    Like, if Fred wrote a book

    ATTN Fred: Do this.

  • Ken

    [The Bishops] have inadvertently become a potential obstacle to affordable health care for those most in need

    Personally I would remove “potential” and “for those most in need”, and I’m wavering on “inadvertently”.

  • Anonymous

    “[The Bishops] have inadvertently become a potential obstacle to affordable health care for those most in need”

    “Personally I would remove “potential” and “for those most in need”, and I’m wavering on “inadvertently”.”

    My church holds an annual ecumenical service.  At the last one the sermon was preached by a Jesuit priest.  The topic was the importance of his mission to minister to the rich.  It was very weird.  If it was about calling to rich to social justice, that would have been one thing.  But there was nothing of that at all.  I was sitting near a fellow parishioner who is a former Catholic.  He was practically bursting an artery during this sermon.  My wife was mystified about what he was getting so worked up about, while I understood it exactly
     
    The most generous take on the sermon I can give is that he was rationalizing away his guilt over neglecting the poor.  The less generous take on it is that his career in the church has a bright future, as he will fit right in with the Council of Bishops.

  • Tricksterson

    This reminds me of the To Lehrer line about the doctor who specialized in “diseases of the rich”.

  • Anonymous

    [T]he conference is specifically demanding an exemption for any employer who would have a “conscience” problem with providing contraceptive coverage for employees.

    Why are they thinking so small? These are hospitals we’re talking about after all- they have a lot more patients to potentially coerce into “good” behavior than they do employees. Why not invoke “conscience” to refuse to do business with any patient that has contraception coverage with their insurer? Or better yet, invoke “conscience” to refuse to accept any insurance from a provider that covers contarception at all? If the hospitals that provide care for 12.5% of the populace decide not to work with an insurance company anymore, the insurer will surely blink first! Think about all the extra unwanted pregancies and abortions the bishops could cause if they just set their sights a little higher!

    What’s that? Not for profit hospitals are heavily regulated by the government and mandated to provide a minimal level of acceptable care? This is “conscience” we’re talking about; surely avoiding complicity with an insurance industry that enables s-e-x trumps petty earthly concerns like government mandates and medical ethics. Religious liberty demands it!

  • Anonymous

    “Frank Schaeffer, on the other hand, managed to turn me off, not only
    from reading his blog then, but also from reading his blog now, and from
    ever buying any of his books.”

    I was unaware of his blog before now, but I read the book he is heavy-handedly  flogging.  It is actually very good.  It is in the genre of “recovering fundamentalist memoir” but with the added insight of someone at the center of power in the subculture.  He also wrote a semi-autobiographical trilogy.  I have read the first, and it was quite good.  The rest are in my to-read pile.

    That being said, based on reading just the one blog entry I see your point.  He really should back off on the blatant self-promotion.

  • Anonymous-Sam

    Ahh, shades of the post I was just reading elsewhere on patheos about SlutWalk — I loved the signs people were holding up there.

    “DON’T TELL WOMEN WHAT TO WEAR, TELL MEN NOT TO RAPE US.”
    “MY SHORT SKIRT IS NOT AN INVITATION.”
    “WHEN I SAY NO I DON’T SECRETLY MEAN YES.”
    “A FEW DRINKS? WALKING ALONE AT NIGHT? DRESSED NICELY? STILL DOESN’T MEAN YES.”

    A lot of backlash on yet another case of blaming the victim. What saddens me is this is older than dirt: The Bible blames the victim. Deuteronomy 22:24 condemns non-virginal women who are raped because, hey, they were asking for it.

    I vote for removing Deuteronomy from the Bible. 90% of our ugliest religious-based conceptions about sex and women come from it. <.<

  • Hth

    The thing that frustrates me about Libby Anne’s post is that the attitude it describes reveals the utter lack of empathy that these guys have.  They know from personal experience that Just Do Right, Always is a hugely difficult thing to do, for everyone, all the time, and their solution for *themselves* is to ask for — *demand* — assistance.  But suggest that anyone else should ever need their assistance — women, babies, the poor, foreigners, *anyone* — then let the wailing about nanny states and personal responsibility commence.  One more case where they have infinite forgiveness for their own weaknesses and infinite contempt for imperfection in anyone else.

  • ako

    I always found it rather telling when “You can’t expect me to control myself” is accompanied not by “So please help me get treatment to gain self-control and/or put me away somewhere where I won’t hurt people”, but “So therefore rearrange your life to cater to me while I walk around free despite loudly proclaiming myself an uncontrollable and dangerous beast.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    IAWYC.

    It’s one thing to be attracted to a person wearing revealing clothing; it’s another to claim that said revealing clothing made it utterly impossible to adhere to basic social standards like respecting their personal space and their bodily autonomy. (i.e. don’t stare, don’t touch, and certainly don’t assume their being drunk allows you to do things to them)

    (>_<)

  • Alicia

     It’s not a real argument though. They developed that argument to displace responsibility for rape culture and to justify exerting that level of control over someone else’s life. As you pointed out, if they really couldn’t control themselves, they would have locked themselves away or gotten some kind of medical treatment by now. The fact that they haven’t indicates to me that it’s not something that they really believes (at least about themselves; they might believe that ‘other people’ are rutting dogs, but I think they know that they personally have free will).

  • ako

    I completely agree.  If I actually believed I was dangerously out of control and likely to inflict appalling violence on others based on something as trivial as what they wear, I would be begging people to lock me away where I couldn’t hurt others.  It’s the petty bullies who know they can control themselves, but either they don’t want to, or they enjoy the power over others that “Do all of these things!  You don’t want me to snap and hurt you, do you?” provides.


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