August 25, 2015

Raise your girls to breathe fire: A viral Facebook post warns parents about the dangers of religious extremism.

In a recent Facebook post titled “feeling like I’m fixing to preach about some Duggars” Jessica Krammes Kirkland, a suburban Atlanta mom, goes off on the sad fate of Anna Duggar, the wife of the now notorious Josh Duggar, in the wake of multiple public scandals.

Last month TLC cancelled “19 Kids and Counting,” after it was revealed that Josh Duggar, the oldest son of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, sexually assaulted four of his underage sisters plus an additional underage female victim.

Adding insult to injury, last week Josh Duggar released a statement declaring “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever” and admitting to living a “double life” while confirming his involvement with Ashley Madison, the infamous website for individuals interested in arranging extramarital affairs.

In her viral Facebook post, Kirkland pleads with parents to raise their daughters to have self-respect amidst the news that Anna Duggar is remaining by her husband’s side despite the recent scandals.

In her post, Kirkland comments on Anna Duggar’s upbringing, noting “Anna Duggar is in the worst position she could possibly be in right now,” before offering the following observation:

Anna Duggar was crippled by her parents by receiving no education, having no work experience (or life experience, for that matter) and then was shackled to this loser because his family was famous in their religious circle. Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother. Anna Duggar did that! Anna Duggar followed the rules that were imposed on her from the get-go and this is what she got in reward- a husband who she found out, in the span of 6 months, not only molested his own sisters, but was unfaithful to her in the most humiliating way possible. While she was fulfilling her “duty” of providing him with four children and raising them. She lived up to the standard that men set for her of being chaste and Godly and in return, the man who demanded this of her sought women who were the opposite. “Be this,” they told her. She was. It wasn’t enough.

Kirkland continues, asking:

What is Anna Duggar supposed to do? She can’t divorce because the religious environment she was brought up would blame her and ostracize her for it. Even if she would risk that, she has no education and no work experience to fall back on, so how does she support her kids? From where could she summon the ability to turn her back on everything she ever held to be sacred and safe? Her beliefs, the very thing she would turn to for comfort in this kind of crisis, are the VERY REASON she is in this predicament in the first place. How can she reconcile this? Her parents have utterly, utterly failed her.

Think of this: somewhere, Anna Duggar is sitting in prayer, praying not for the strength to get out and stand on her own, but for the strength to stand by this man she is unfortunately married to. To lower herself so that he may rise up on her back.

Kirkland states that parents must raise confident daughters that are not “beholden to men,” before concluding:

As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.

Kirkland makes some great points. The dangers of Christian fundamentalism like that practiced by the Duggars cannot be emphasized enough. However, Anna Duggar is not the only victim.

Ultimately, both Josh and Anna Duggar are victims: victims of Christian patriarchy, victims of Christian homeschooling, victims of Christian parents who raised their children to be ideological props in their perverted and deluded fantasy of Christian dominion.

Both Josh and Anna are victims of the radical Christian lifestyle known as the Quiverfull movement, a movement where children are considered canon fodder in the Lord’s army: culture warriors bred to promote an ugly, intolerant, sexist, and homophobic brand of Christian extremism.

As a product of the Quiverfull movement, both Josh and Anna Duggar were raised to be cannon fodder in a Christian Holy War. As such, they should both have our sympathy, as should their children.

Let us hope as parents, both Josh and Anna Duggar manage to escape the cycle of religious abuse they have been forced to live, if for no other reason, than for the sake of their children.

Josh and Anna Duggar (Image via Instagram)
Josh and Anna Duggar (Image via Instagram)
June 17, 2015

Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who pretended to be black, was a victim of extreme Christian indoctrination and Young Earth Creationism as a child.

Dolezal, the disgraced former NAACP leader, is currently at the center of a media firestorm after being exposed as a white woman posing as a black woman. However, what is not being widely reported is the physical, mental, and intellectual abuse Dolezal suffered as a child.

Dolezal is a victim of her parents radical Christian extremism.

Reports indicate that Dolezal grew up in an abusive home where corporal punishment was common, and access to TV, books, and other outside influences was strictly limited; a home where dinner was denied until the Bible was read; a home where the parents spoke in tongues and treated the adoption of additional children as a means of evangelism and proof of their extreme faith.

Reverb Press reports Dolezal’s parents, Ruthanne and Larry Dolezal, are Young Earth creationists. In fact, Larry once worked for Creation Ministries International, which is run by Ken Ham, the celebrity Young Earth creationist and Christian fundamentalist behind the infamous Creation Museum.

Before the scandal, in an interview with The Easterner, Dolezal discussed her extreme Christian upbringing and abuse, explaining that her parents abused her and her four adopted black siblings with a “baboon whip.”

Speaking of the abuse suffered at the hands of her extreme Christian parents, Dolezal said:

It’s a painful thing to talk about my childhood.

The physical abuse of children is common among extreme conservative Christians like Young Earth creationists. In such homes discipline is often confused with corporal punishment and beatings, and often those beatings involve a “rod,” or some other implement beside the hand.

In fact, many Young Earth creationists feel unable to make moral decisions without divine guidance. The man who Dolezal’s father went to work for and supported when she was a child, Ken Ham, recently argued that without God’s guidance there would be nothing preventing him from sexually abusing children or animals.

Ham is not unique among Young Earth creationists in his self-reported inability to engage in moral reasoning without the crutch of an imaginary God.  Recently another leader of the Young Earth creationist movement, Eric Hovind, argued that if evolution is true, it wasn’t wrong for Josh Duggar to sexually assault little girls, including his sisters, “because what one evolved bag of molecules does to another bag of molecules just doesn’t really matter.”

Such obscene and immoral arguments are common among Young Earth creationists, where morality is dependent upon the commands of some imaginary God, and without a God to judge, everything is permissible, including the sexual assault of little girls.

Growing up in such an emotionally and intellectually confusing and threatening environment is difficult for any child. To be taught the patently false notion that the earth is only 6,000 years old, that the Biblical flood is an actual historical event, and all the other attending nonsense associated with such radical and extreme views does real damage to children struggling to distinguish reality from the fantasies of their deluded parents.

While the emotional, intellectual, and physical abuse Dolezal suffered as a child at the hands of her Christian extremist parents is no excuse for her deception and dishonest behavior, it may be useful in trying to explain and understand her actions.

After all, being raised in the upside down, backwards world of a Young Earth creationist or similar Christian extremist home must have devastating effects on any child. The fact is children are vulnerable, and lack the emotional and intellectual tools to process and come to terms with their parents profound failure to understand and accept the world as it is given.

To be indoctrinated and brainwashed at such a young age would be a difficult hardship for any child, and perhaps for Rachel Dolezal, it proved too much. Escaping the ugly world of her parents’ Christian extremism, Dolezal may have reinvented herself, exchanging one fantasy world for another.

(For more on this story, see Love, Joy, Feminism)

(Image via YouTube)
(Image via YouTube)
June 11, 2015

Celebrity creationist and Christian fundamentalist Ken Ham argues that the only thing preventing him from having sex with animals is his imaginary God.

For Ham, without his imaginary God, everything is morally permissible, and he seems to be particularly fixated on the possibilities of bestiality.

Earlier this week Ham used his blog to attack pop star Miley Cyrus, after the young entertainer made some wise remarks concerning the poverty of conservative Christian values and the ignorance of believing that the story of Noah’s Ark is true.

In the NSFW interview, Cyrus also spoke about her experience being a sex-positive, gender-fluid, bisexual:

I am literally open to every single thing that is consenting and doesn’t involve an animal and everyone is of age. Everything that’s legal, I’m down with. Yo, I’m down with any adult—anyone over the age of 18 who is down to love me.

Ham responded to the pop star’s revelation about her sex-positive stance with several rhetorical questions that reveal much more about Ham than Cyrus.

Ham writes:

Question for her: Why not involve an animal? On what basis does she decide that? Besides, if there’s no God and she’s just a result of evolution, then she is merely an animal anyway. And those she interacts with sexually are just animals—so why not any animals? In other words, she has decided to draw a line for some reason—but what reason? It’s actually because in her heart she knows God exists (Romans 1), she knows she is different from the animals as she is made in God’s image (Genesis 1)—and she has a conscience (as seared as it is because of her sinful rebellion) because the law is written on our hearts (Romans 2).

Question for her: Why only those over the age of 18? On what basis did she decide that? If there’s no God, why have any age restriction? On what basis would she argue against pedophilia? Why not do whatever anyone wants to do?

Ham’s comments indicate that without his imaginary God, he would feel no moral prohibition against raping animals or children. Apparently, Ham has no moral compass, and without his imaginary God to tell him right from wrong, he would not know that it is morally reprehensible to have sex with beings that do not and cannot give consent, beings like children and animals.

This strange and perverse idea that if evolution is true, everything and anything is morally permissible, including the rape of animals and children, is a common theme among Christian creationists and other Christian fundamentalists.

Recently, another leading Christian creationist, Eric Hovind, argued that if evolution is true, it wasn’t wrong for Josh Duggar to sexually assault little girls, “because what one evolved bag of molecules does to another bag of molecules just doesn’t really matter.”

The simple minded moral arguments (if they can be called arguments at all) made by creationists like Ham and Hovind are absurd obscenities that reveal a profound poverty of both intellect and character.

Bottom line: In a contest of intellectual equals, Ken Ham challenged the moral reasoning of Miley Cyrus, and lost. However, for the sake of the innocent children and animals, let’s hope Ken Ham keeps believing in his imaginary God.

The Devolution of Ken Ham (Image via Facebook)
The Devolution of Ken Ham (Image via Facebook)

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