Notes from the culture wars

John Hagee’s Creepy Christian Teddy Bear …”

“I guarantee you, if you see your table praying before the meal, you can mentally subtract a third from your tip.”

The Catholic Church had slaves as late as 1996.”

“Non-sexual self-bondage is not a recognized mental health diagnosis at this time.”

“When war, global devastation, and environmental ruin become things to celebrate as the ‘fulfillment of prophecy,’ then not only do we ignore clear Biblical mandates to be peace makers and stewards of the earth, we who should be working to bring the kingdom of God to earth, instead, become villainous co-conspirators in the reign of evil and death.”

“While he was alive, the right wing savaged King as a communist who hated America and a dangerous subversive. Now they’re claiming he was just like them. Not coincidentally, they’ve done the same thing with the Bible.”

“When the attorney general of the state of NJ decided that we had to put up a same-sex site, and we did it, we literally had to hire guards to protect our lives because the people who were so hurt and angry with us were Christian people who feel that it’s a violation to Scripture.”

Alfie’s Home, cited in PFOX’s Supreme Court brief, is the most horrifically disturbing children’s book we have ever seen.”

“We searched the Internet for any examples in which a religious group had been forced to host a same-sex ceremony against its beliefs. We couldn’t find any.”

“The story serves as an illustrative example of the way the conservative echo chamber can twist facts and turn baseless speculation into their controversy du jour.”

“While the ‘liberal media’ is often framed by conservatives as activist and acting on an agenda, it seems that the deeper criticism contained within that charge is the simple fact that, after hearing The Word of their side of the story, the media refuses to become an activist force for their cause.”

“When he lists all these denominations and atheists and Buddhists and Muslims it’s like we’re all equal, of equal proportion, and we are not.”

They never think about what the Jewish kid feels like, or the atheist, or, Powers forfend, the Wiccan.”

“Best wishes for your good health, and the speedy demise of the sham institution that employs you.”

“I still think that Ken Ham is genuinely out to make Christians look as foolish and dishonest as possible because he hates Christianity.”

“Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the bishops are still complaining about contraception — but the administration should stop listening. Catholics already have.”

“Frankly, the culture wars are kind of over and Republicans largely lost.”

“That’s why, from the outset, many of us have resisted the rhetoric of embattled religious freedom. — If you want to take the Queen’s shilling, you must play by the Queen’s rules.”

“What has always been the worst about Douthat is that his conclusions, supported by whatever he can scrape together, have rarely been true.”

No evidence exists that those quotations are authentic. Yet they are presented to students in Texas public schools as real and historical proof supporting an ideological point of view.”

 

  • Baby_Raptor

    I gotta disagree with the culture wars comment…The culture wars are FAR from over. Women are still being stripped of their bodily autonomy. Non-heterosexuals still can’t marry in most states. Christianity still enjoys massive privilege and bullying power. 

    And 1+3 keep growing. So how are the culture wars over again?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I drove past the local Planned Parenthood today. Protesters with ‘I want to be born’ and ‘HONK for LIFE’ signs.

    Um, lady with the ‘I want to be born’ sign, you’re already born. How about a little care for other people who are already born?

  • http://snarkthebold.blogspot.com/ Edo

    The culture wars are already over! Why can’t you just get over it already?!

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    From the Crumbs from the Communion Table link:

    No.

    No. No. No.

    Bad Christian. Bad! No!

    I really wish I could chastise that way, and that it actually worked.  Sadly, it only works on creatures that actually want your approval.

  • AnonaMiss

    I’ve been to Ronald Reagan’s Boyhood Home, and you, sir, are no Ronald Reagan’s Boyhood Home.

    (It’s in Dixon, IL. I have a friend who grew up there and described her town as having a “cult of Ronald Reagan”, so I had to go see the temple.)

  • aunursa

    If I were a waiter, and every time I waited on a table of Christians, the patrons were friendly and I received a 20% tip – that would be more effective than ten tracts.  Or if every time I received a tract it was accompanied by a 25-30% tip, that would make an impression on me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    I think his point is that most of the opposition are clearly old men. Powerful old men, sure, but old nonetheless  In 50 years, they’ll be dead, and most of their children will know better. And the ones who don’t won’t have as much power-

  • Baby_Raptor

    I can see that reading, but it’s the wording he chose that’s wrong and potentially damaging. If enough people were to take his attitude, we’d be seriously boned. 

  • http://flickr.com/photos/sedary_raymaker/ Naked Bunny with a Whip

    There’s nothing like the stupidity of a religious group arguing that sexual orientation should not be protected from discrimination because it’s not “immutable” and can “shift over time and does so for a significant number of people.”

  • Baby_Raptor

    That says everything you need to know about these people. A pile of tissue that maybe doesn’t even have a brain, isn’t even fully formed, is the size of your average beta fish and is completely dependent on an incubator…But it “wants” stuff. 

    It “wants” to force it’s mother to submit to ~10 months of slavery so it can be…I’m probably thinking too much into this, but…Would we encourage that attitude in anyone else? So why is it supposedly a plus to a fetus fetishist? These are the same people who get outraged when someone has the balls to feel entitled to food and a roof over their heads!

  • Wednesday

    So, if she just wants fetuses/embryos to be born, she’d be okay with inducing labor before viability, then, right? So long as it’s alive when it exits the gestating parent’s body? =P

  • vsm

    Am I a terrible person if the children’s book made me laugh?

  • stardreamer42

     Precisely. I am fond of responding to people who say that anti-gay discrimination is okay because “being gay is a choice” by pointing out that by this reasoning anti-Christian discrimination is perfectly okay too, because one’s religion is ALWAYS a choice. The response to that is always, “But-but-but that’s DIFFERENT!” — but they can’t describe how.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ah, yes, I saw the first articles about the priest who called 911 because he was stuck in a pair of handcuffs. I’m almost willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt because I kind of sort of created the diagnosis of “non-sexual bondage and locking compulsive disorder.”

    It was for a character in a story I never got around to finishing, sadly. A young girl is babysitting her sister for a few hours while her mother runs out for a quick errand. The two girls take advantage of their mother’s absence to steal a couple of chocolate truffles from on top of the counter. Unbeknownst to them, one of the girls has a deadly vulnerability to rich chocolate and begins choking, asphyxiates and dies in her sister’s arms. The trauma from this incident is compounded by the surviving girl’s mother having a mental breakdown, blaming her, lashing out in a fit of psychosis and having to be rescued by CPS, who place her with extremely strict, religious grandparents, who make it no secret that they want nothing to do with her and one day let slip that her mother committed suicide soon after the incident.

    The girl grows up with a twisted interpretation of herself, believing that she is detestable and dangerous. She absorbs her grandparents’ religious mania, never quite believing in the harsh and judgmental God who faults her for everything she’s done and could ever possibly do. She hears about being “in bondage to Christ” and similar bizarre metaphors, which she eventually Googles at a library computer and… uh-oh. Something clicks. If I’m such a terrible person and this is what I need, then I should do this to keep everyone safe from me.

    Fast forward about twelve years and she’s a young adult with a severe disorder. She can’t stand to touch people without a plethora of locked chains, handcuffs or similar bondage paraphernalia, under penalty of panic attacks. She locks every door she sees in a compulsive effort to keep anyone from unknowingly approaching her, afraid that she might somehow lash out and hurt someone before she can get safely bound again.

    I’m 90% sure that’s nothing like what this priest supposedly suffers from, but the concept seems feasible to me. There’s no reason it couldn’t be a form of stress relief without being sexual per se. I’m just skeptical that such is actually the case, because… yeah. The 10% of us who know that our culture obsesses about sexuality to an unhealthy degree and try to do otherwise also know that the remaining 90% of the population is busy thinking “sex sex sex!”, so the odds are not in Mr. Donovan’s favor.

  • MikeJ

    So how are the culture wars over again?

    The US civil war was effectively over after Gettysburg.  There were many other battles, and many people died after that, but from that moment on, the outcome was never in doubt.

    That’s how the culture wars are over.  Yes, shitty stuff is happening, and shitty stuff will continue to happen.  But the outcome is not in doubt.

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

    The eHarmony thing.

    What the actual fuck?

    They’re a dating site, for Pete’s sake. They complied with the law after a discrimination lawsuit and that should be that. eHarmony doesn’t even seem to have tried the kind of stalling tactics that would win them points with anti-QUILTBAG Christians (like claiming venture capital was hard to find in the bad economy of 2008/9, etc), they’ve just gone with it and launched the appropriate website that caters to LG(B?) people.

    And some Christians still have to have a huge shitfit over it? Wooooooooow. (O.O)

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    On fetus-fetishism by the forced pregnancy crowd: I read somewhere that was a certain amount of overlap between the forced-birthers and extreme animal rights activists. Both groups tended to project their own fears and anxieties onto perceived victims who were voiceless and often hyper-idealized. 

    There’s a weird fear of retro-active abortion in those protests. “Be glad your mother chose life!” and whatnot, like the protester can’t grasp why such an argument is prima facae absurd. (then again, these folks have trouble with the weak anthropic principle)

    The culture wars are “over” the same way the Republican party is “finished”. Maybe in a generation or two, yes, but there’s a lot of rear-guard action, a lot of fighting retreats that will go on until then. On the bright side, what I’ve seen of a lot of the culture-war issues is that the opposition is “a mile wide, and an inch deep”. When gays are mysterious and frightening “others”, it’s easy to hate them, but once people start seeing them as friends, co-workers, etc. then the resistance drops away. Abortions are terrible… for other people. 

    It’s good to recognize and celebrate progress, but the fight is still going. 

  • Darkrose

    Not necessarily. His audience is other Republicans, and he’s trying to convince them that they’ve already lost, so they need to stop screaming into the wind of progress. I would love for the Republican party to get that message. 

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I know, but by then there will be a new (hopefully smaller) crop of angry old rich white guys, and sometimes people get tired of waiting. 

    Sigh.  It’s a good thing for a whole lot of people (including me) that I don’t own a Death Note.

  • Carstonio

    I read somewhere that was a certain amount of overlap between the forced-birthers and extreme animal rights activists.

    I question that, because “Guess which one isn’t protected” is a very common argument.

    There’s a weird fear of retro-active abortion in those protests. “Be
    glad your mother chose life!” and whatnot, like the protester can’t
    grasp why such an argument is prima facae absurd.

    It does seem like an existential fear. Perhaps they project these fears onto women, equating contraception and sex for pleasure with the possibility that they might never have been born or may not have been wanted.

    Maybe in a generation or two, yes, but there’s a lot of rear-guard
    action, a lot of fighting retreats that will go on until then.

    My fear is that we’ll win the war but lose the peace like Reconstruction, where the North gave up protecting the rights of freed blacks for almost a century.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     I want to know how he managed to cuff his hands _behind_ him.  I try to visualize it, and it’s like that Calvin and Hobbes strip where Hobbes (somehow) actually tied Calvin to a chair in a way that Calvin couldn’t get himself loose.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     The US civil war was effectively over after Gettysburg.  There were many
    other battles, and many people died after that, but from that moment
    on, the outcome was never in doubt.

    Are you kidding?  Sure, the open-field battles may have ended, but the Klan and Southern Congressmen have been waging asymmetric warfare on the rest of America ever since.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Well, am I wrong in saying that the fetus “wants” to be allowed to grow and live? The survival instinct is not so simple to shrug off.

  • Foelhe

    Keep in mind this guy’s a Romney adviser. There’s a good chance he’s sad that Republicans are fighting a losing battle.

    If you’re on the side of the culture war fighting for more rights, more freedom, more dignity, then don’t put your weapons away just yet because we’ve still got battles to win. If you’re on the other side, well, misery and disillusionment might just be your style.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    If your fingers are nimble enough I could see someone slipping the cuffs on and closing them, even behind your back; technically it’d be easier than tying a knot in a rope. But it’s still odd behavior. 
    Anyone got a link to the Calvin cartoon mentioned?

  • AnonymousSam

    With handcuffs? I’ve, um, managed pretty easily it with far less user-friendly cuffs…

  • Consumer Unit 5012
  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    I question that, because “Guess which one isn’t protected” is a very common argument.

    I phrased it poorly. I meant to say that there’s a certain amount of overlap in the psychological profiles of forced-birthers and extreme animal rights activists.

    Both groups see themselves as protecting the defenseless. Both groups hyper-idealize the subjects they’re “protecting” and the context they exist in, whether it’s releasing lab animals “into nature” (where they are grossly unprepared, and will starve or die of predation) or wanting to force women to experience “the miracle of childbirth” and “the glory of motherhood”. (with the attendant costs and health risks, regardless of the circumstances the child is born into) 

    Some of that carries through to the “What if Mary had an abortion?” signs, which ignores the Godwinning “Well, what if Hitler was aborted?” comeback. 

    My fear is that we’ll win the war but lose the peace like Reconstruction, where the North gave up protecting the rights of freed blacks for almost a century.

    I read a piece over on Metafilter about “everyday sexism” which managed to be both enlightening and grim.  Just because you celebrate how far you’ve come doesn’t mean you can’t keep pushing on towards where you need to go. 

  • Foelhe

    Depends on the handcuffs. Police style cuffs with short/no chains would be tricky, but your typical sex-play cuffs tend to have a few inches of slack. Might be a bit awkward, but definitely doable.

  • Beroli

    Well, am I wrong in saying that the fetus “wants” to be allowed to grow
    and live? The survival instinct is not so simple to shrug off.

    Yes, you are wrong in saying anything that doesn’t yet have a brain wants anything or has any instincts.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Well, am I wrong in saying that the fetus “wants” to be allowed to grow and live? 

    Yes.

    The word “want” incorrectly implies consciousness. My tree does not “want” to shed leaves, and my fingernails do not “want” to grow. These are simply process that happen as a result of biology, not choice or deliberation. 

  • Foelhe

    I don’t think want really makes sense in that context, to be frank. A fetus without a developed brain doesn’t have the ability to form preferences. Even if it’s biologically disposed to do something, that’s not the same as wanting it.

    In a slightly less ridiculous society, I’d just consider it somewhat poetic. You could say the same thing about a flower wanting to grow – even if it’s not strictly true it gets a point across. But a lot of people don’t seem to understand fetal development, so the metaphor gets lost.

  • AnonaMiss

    wrt “want”, that’s a metaphor that’s become so overused in English that we forget it’s a metaphor. If I say that water wants to flow downhill, that’s a totally reasonable English statement, and is both easier and more natural than saying what I actually mean: “unless impeded, water will tend to flow downhill.” That doesn’t mean I think water has a mind and preferences.

    A fetus wants to be born like water wants to flow downhill, not like a hungry person wants food.

  • AnonaMiss

    Aaand Foelhe beat me to it.

  • AnonymousSam

    Fetus birth is an exergonic reaction?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yes, you are. Unless you can explain to me how a barely developed clump of cells can have survival instincts? Pretty sure you at least need sentience for that. 

  • Worthless Beast

    I read the tip complaint somewhere before.

    There’s an anime I’ve seen… I haven’t seen the whole series, “Bento!” – it’s a comedy about poor college students having epic grocery-store battles over discount box dinners. They create a whole honor system and everything.  I remember a scene in which one victorious character was telling another not to just dive into his food, because they had to do a sort of saying grace – only it wasn’t religious.  The girl asked the boy to think about all of the people who made the food – the farmers, fisherman and people who prepared it. They thanked the people behind the food before diving in.  It was a mindfulnes thing. 

    I think that could be a neat form of “grace” for everyone to do – whether one believes in a God or gods or not.  The farmer might not know you are thanking him or her, but you still remember that your food comes from somewhere. 

    Also, pay some grace to your waiter/waitress, and since you can do something physical for them, leave them a good tip for good service. Whatever you believe in.

  • Worthless Beast

    End sentence came out weird… I meant it as “Whatever you believe in, leave a good tip for good service.” 

  • Foelhe

    Oh, that’s really nice. I try to practice gratitude whenever I can, but that idea never occurred to me.

  • Carstonio

     Thanks for the clarification. Excellent point that the two groups are psychologically identical.

  • AnonaMiss

    Fetus birth is an exergonic reaction?

    I deserved that.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Our culture does not obsess about sex to an unhealthy degree. The way our culture regards sex is unhealthy, but it’s the way, not the amount. In fact, at the root of the problem is the idea that thinking about and doing sexual things is ipso facto unhealthy, and you should only partake in it occasionally, if it all. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with thinking about, and having, sex a whole awful lot. 

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Imo, there was someone else in the room with that priest, and that person was either a total asshole and left him like that, left him like that for good reason, or (most likely) they lost the key. Whatever happened, the saddest thing is that the priest cannot be honest about it. Dishonesty over one’s sexual desires inevitably leads to some pretty terrible things. 

  • Steve Morrison

    The girl asked the boy to think about all of the people who made the food – the farmers, fisherman and people who prepared it.

    That reminds me of the “Thank you, Jesus, for this food/De nada” graphic Fred linked a while back!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Lipton/100001171828568 Jeff Lipton

    Re “Alfie’s Home”:  The moral is that touching of private parts leads to gay-ness when Uncle Pete does it, but it cures gay-ness when Daddy does it.

    Poor kid — he’s going to be gay again when Nancy touches him…

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

    That actually happens? OMFG Ew. D-X

  • AnonymousSam

    Misphrasing. I’m referring to how people seem incapable of private sexuality. Too many people are obsessed with who’s having sex with whom — and what kind of sex, and how liable they are to have sex with others, and whether they’ve ever had sex with someone they’re not supposed to, and if they look sexual or dress sexual or do sexual things or have sexual items and… so on and so forth.

    I know I’m guilty of having the same thoughts (and that I’m probably hypocritical of it in spades in this discussion). While I’m admitting that, I should also remind myself that there are asexual people who might not be like this at all, but their perspective is so alien to me that I honestly can do nothing but give them a nod of bemused respect. I can’t (and I’m not sure I’d want to) do that, but I aim for being aware that people’s sexuality is none of my business and trying not to think beyond that.

    (Aside: Recipe for potential argument demonstrating my point- children’s fashion. So many flame wars
    over whether or not certain children’s clothing styles are
    inappropriately sexualizing children, when perhaps a better question is
    why clothing should automatically be a message about sexuality in the
    first place.)

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    So how are the culture wars over again?

    The US civil war was effectively over after Gettysburg.  There were many other battles, and many people died after that, but from that moment on, the outcome was never in doubt.

    The Pacific theater of World War II was pretty much decided after the Battle of Midway.  

    Here is hoping it does not take a nuclear detonation to get the other side of the culture wars to stand down, but with how determined they seem to be I sometimes wonder… 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     What does it mean for something without a human-like consciousness to “want” something? What does it mean to “want” to “be allowed” to “grow and live” when you have no conception of what it means to grow, what it means to live, or, for that matter, what it means to “be allowed”?

    You know that thing we were talking about with God making a rock so heavy He can’t lift it?  I’ll tell you if God can make a rock so heavy He can’t lift it when you can tell me in nice sensible, rational terms, what that would mean. And I’ll tell you if a fetus “wants to be allowed to grow and live” when you tell me what it means for a fetus to “want to be allowed to grow and live”

  • EllieMurasaki

    I would call what you describe an inability to keep their noses out of other people’s business, particularly when pertaining to sex. ‘Private sexuality’ it seems to me would describe the sexuality of somebody who doesn’t discuss their own sexuality in any context other than with the [potential] sex partner(s), which is an entirely different thing.


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