Meet Brad Henning, above, a Christian abstinence advocate who thinks that ‘immodestly’ dressed girls ‘unleash a guy’s God-given sexual urges’ and are therefore to blame for anything bad that may happen to them.
He’s by no means the only Christian (or Muslim or Jewish) knucklehead who thinks this way, but Henning, who runs an abstinence programme called Life Resources, specifically targets schools in America which are happy to allow him to to spread his abhorrent views.
But one school in Phoenix, Arizona, has expressed regret about allowing Henning to address 350 girls at a mandatory assembly in September.
According to this report officials at Payson High School in Gila County was left with egg on its face after an outcry over Henning’s message, partly funded by local taxpayers.
Henning told his captive audience that:
Girls should make sure they do not turn on a guy by dressing or acting in a way that unleashes a guy’s God-given sexual urge.
The “expert” added that girls:
Have a low sex drive so the planet will not get overpopulated.
Later, in an after-school session to which the boys were invited but not required to attend, Henning had suggestions for the boys on how to ask a girl out, what to do on a date, what to talk about on a date, and how to get a second date with a girl.
At no point did Henning advise the boys to take responsibility or to avoid taking advantage of a girl, no matter what she’s wearing.
His address exploded across social media. Some bashed Henning and the school district, while others defended the presentation.
Henning has been a thorn in the sides of liberals, feminists, the LGBT community, and secular groups for years. Rants and articles critical of his “outdated” message are easily found on the Internet.
Three years ago, his scheduled appearance at a Washington high school’s mandatory assembly was met with one Internet campaign informing students about some of Henning’s eyebrow-raising statements and how they could opt out of the talk.
Another demanded that the school cancel a presentation on the grounds that by excluding the LGBT community, the assembly violated the school district’s discrimination policy.
The Payson school district issued a statement to provide “clarifying facts” about the assemblies – plus its note of regret.
The statement, sent to to New Times by PUSD board assistant Lisa Conley, provided some information about the cost of the events, though the district could not immediately provide the total cost of the Henning appearances or full details about how it was funded.
According to the statement, Henning has been to the school before. In fact, it was student response to the same assembly two years ago that spurred the district to invite him back. Funding was secured after meetings with parents and school staff, the Gila County Health Department, “and a couple of local entities”.
The school also used funding from Credit for Kids, a state programme that allows Arizonans to donate money to a school for extracurricular programmes.
The school said:
The message of building healthy positive relationships when dating is an important message for our students to hear and that was the intent and focus of the presentations.
In 2010, Henning told the Western Catholic Reporter that he had reached about three million students nationwide since honing his Christian-based relationship presentation for the masses more than three decades ago, after beginning his career as a Christian youth group leader outside Tacoma, Washington.
Henning was quoted as saying that he:
Discovered that Grade 8 is the average time when girls become sexually active … the number one killer for these kids in their relationships with Christ was their relationships with each other.
On his website, Henning says:
God had to make the desire for sex so pleasurable that most guys would do just about anything to have sex, baby or no baby.
His claim that guys want a “fair maiden” and not the “town slut” spurred writer and yoga instructor Jen Pastiloff to make a YouTube video about him, entitled, “I’m pissed off!! This is NOT OKAY!!! No slut-shaming!”