February 05, 2009

Christian Party?

First: This is amusing. Christians want to get in on the act after atheists took out advertising on buses in London saying 'There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.'

Second: Now, Christians have taken out bus ads in London that say 'There definitely is a God. So join the Christian Party and enjoy your life.'

Priceless: When you Google "Christian Party", the first link that comes up is for christianparty.net, otherwise known as Father's Manifesto, an anti-semitic and misogynistic umbrella group for some of the nastiest fathers' and mens' rights activists out there.

Way to go, Christians!! I don't write about fathers' rights groups anymore, but this was so precious I had to post about it.

Posted on February 5, 2009 at 11:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 06, 2007

Bible Thumpers Get Bent Out Of Shape Over Wrigley's "Lesbian" Ad

I'm used to seeing fathers' rights activists get all twisted up over ads they think demean dads, so it was a surprise to see bible thumpers get their knickers in a twist over an ad that hinted at a lesbian encounter. It shouldn't have been that much of a surprise to me, though, since there are some ties between the religious right and fathers' rights groups.

Still, this post isn't about fathers' rights; it's about bible thumpers. Wrigley gum has a new ad that barely hints at lesbian attraction, but that doesn't stop the bible thumpers from gnashing their teeth and beating their breasts in indignation.

The ad is below. There is really nothing to get all worked up about, but that doesn't stop bible thumpers who see sin around every corner, and being a lesbian in their eyes is a horrible sin.

Of course, these protests are also publicity stunts for those who start them. They get publicity, alright, but it's not good publicity. Protests over ads like this one make the protesters look petty, reactionary, and humorless.




Posted on July 6, 2007 at 03:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 22, 2007

"Ex-Gay" Group Protests Proposed Sex Education Curriculum In Maryland

I used to live near Montgomery County, Maryland when I lived in Maryland. Montgomery County has come up with what is likely to be a very good sex education curriculum that includes instructiuons about using condoms as well as lessons about sexual orientation.

Three right-wing groups are protesting this curriculum, which isn't surprising. One group is Parents and Friends Of Ex-Gays and Gays. I am long familiar with ex-gay groups. One of the better known ones is Exodus International.

I've written about these scams before. Pam at Pandagon had written back in 2005 about a conference held by the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), a group which believes that homosexuality is not innate, and all those gay people can be turned into "normal" heterosexuals. The link to her original post no longer works, so I can't link to it. Here is what I had to say about NARTH when I first read about the conference:

The conference was packed with "more than 1,000 therapists, sociologists, and psychoanalysts who believe homosexuality is not inborn and can be changed." Now how's that for a cash cow? All those therapists, sociologists, and psychoanalysts who can't make a decent living with a plain old practice treating people for garden-variety depression or listening to patients go on and on and on about their lousy jobs or their sucky love lives... they can rake in the cash trying to "cure" homosexuals. Since homosexuality isn't a disease that can be cured, these people are bound to be in business for a long time. I bet this cottage industry of "curing" homosexuals makes even more money for therapists, sociologists, and psychoanalysts than the burgeoning "divorce industry". When they aren't raking in hundreds of dollars per hour draining the pockets of parents with custody and psychological evaluations, they can "cure" homosexuals. What a racket!

The press release below is about the former president of Parents And Friends Of Ex-Gays And Gays, reparative therapist Richard Cohen. He was "permanently expelled" from the American Counseling Association in 2003 for serious ethics violations. He calls himself a "reparative therapist", which means he thinks he can turn you straight if you are gay. An official and important-sounding title doesn't mean squat if your "therapy" is bogus, which "reparative therapy" is. Note that Cohen was Dr. Laura Schlessinger's advisor.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2005

website: www.WayneBesen.com

ANTI-GAY P-FOX PRESIDENT RICHARD COHEN EXPELLED FOR LIFE FROM THE AMERICAN COUNSELING ASSOCIATION

Revealing, Never-Before Seen Document Is a Devastating Blow For Outdated Pseudo-Science That Tries To Turn Gay People Straight, Says Besen

NEW YORK - Author Wayne Besen today released an explosive, never-before seen letter he uncovered from the American Counseling Association that "permanently expelled" reparative therapist Richard Cohen in 2003 for serious ethics violations. The ACA document can be viewed at www.rawprint.com/besen/012504_aca_letter.php.

As the outspoken president of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Dr. Laura Schlessinger's ex-gay advisor, Cohen's expulsion casts a dark shadow over the disreputable practice of trying to change sexual orientation.

"The Right wing should be ashamed for promoting the work of a therapist who has been officially rebuked for egregious ethical lapses," said Wayne Besen, author of Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth. "That Cohen is the best the far right can find in support of their position that gay people can change underscores the quack-like pseudo-science that they rely on. It is time they end the charade and admit that reparative therapy is harmful and ineffective."

According to the ACA's letter: "Mr. Cohen was found in violation of the following code sections A.1.a; A.1.b; A.5.a; A.6.a; C.3.b, C.3.f, and has not elected to appeal the decision taken by the ACA Ethics Committee within allotted timelines." (Please see below for full explanation of violations)

The letter referred to Cohen's violations which included inappropriate behavior such as fostering dependent counseling relationships, not promoting the welfare of clients, engaging in actions that sought to meet his personal needs at the expense of clients, exploiting the trust and dependency of clients, unethically soliciting testimonials from clients and promoting products to clients in a manner that is deceptive.

"It is no surprise that Richard Cohen violated the ACA ethics because reparative therapy itself lacks integrity and attempts to meet their agenda's need, not the needs of client's," said Joe Kort, psychotherapist and author of 10 Smart Things Gay Men Can Do To Improve Their Lives. "Of particular note is that Cohen's violations are self-serving as he is accused of violating standard ethics of protecting his client from dual relationships, marketing purposes, and testimonials."

Richard Cohen is the president of P-FOX, a group that recently placed an ex-gay billboard in Virginia (www.Pfox.org ) and sponsored a controversial ad campaign in Washington DC's subway system. His website is www.gaytostraight.org and he is a conference instructor for the National Association for the Research and Therapy for Homosexuality (NARTH). Cohen is also the author of "Coming Out Straight", a book in which Dr. Laura Schlessinger wrote the forward.

"With intellect and care, he [Cohen] offers invaluable insight into the reason for same-sex attractions and, for those willing to brave it, he illuminates a challenging journey from isolation," wrote Dr. Laura in Cohen's book.

Cohen has also been prominently featured on Larry King Live, The Ricki Lake Show, The Salley Jessy
Raphael Show and 20/20. The sound bite he often uses on these shows is, "Born gay? No Way!" Reparative therapy is rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in America.

(http://www.anythingbutstraight.com/learn/exopinion.html)

The Rules Violated By Cohen

http://www.counseling.org/Content/NavigationMenu/RESOURCES/ETHICS/ACA_Code_of_Ethics.htm

Section A: The Counseling Relationship
A.1. Client Welfare
a. Primary Responsibility. The primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.

b. Positive Growth and Development. Counselors encourage client growth and development in ways that foster the clients' interest and welfare; counselors avoid fostering dependent counseling relationships.

A.5. Personal Needs and Values a. Personal Needs. In the counseling relationship, counselors are aware of the intimacy and responsibilities inherent in the counseling relationship, maintain respect for clients, and avoid actions that seek to meet their personal needs at the expense of clients.

A.6. Dual Relationships
a. Avoid When Possible. Counselors are aware of their influential positions with respect to clients, and they avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients. Counselors make every effort to avoid dual relationships with clients that could impair professional judgment or increase the risk of harm to clients. (Examples of such relationships include, but are not limited to, familial, social, financial, business, or close personal relationships with clients.) When a dual relationship cannot be avoided, counselors take appropriate professional precautions such as informed consent, consultation, supervision, and documentation to ensure that judgment is not impaired and no exploitation occurs. (See F.1.b.)

C.3. Advertising and Soliciting Clients
b. Testimonials. Counselors who use testimonials do not solicit them from clients or other persons who, because of their particular circumstances, may be vulnerable to undue influence.

f. Promoting to Those Served. Counselors do not use counseling, teaching, training, or supervisory relationships to promote their products or training events in a manner that is deceptive or would exert undue influence on individuals who may be vulnerable. Counselors may adopt textbooks they have authored for instruction purposes.

Posted on June 22, 2007 at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

February 26, 2007

Open, Honest Discussions About Sex - From A Church

This is cool.

Pastor Tim Kade at the Epic Lutheran Church wants to have open, detailed, and honest discussions in sermons about sex. Granted, I'm sure the talk is meant to be only for married people, and that unmarried people are expected to forego sex until marriage, but it's good to finally find a pastor who wants to get down and dirty (so to speak) about sex.

This is a new church. Already, some people are seeing red over this series about sex. Let the complaints flow in!

Here's the blurb to describe the series:

Sex wasn’t invented in a dark alley behind a pornshop. It’s part of God’s design. Did you know that the Bible is very open and frank about sexual matters? In fact, this may shock you but...God wants you to have GREAT SEX. In this series, we’ll ask questions and begin to unravel the myths and confusion about sex.

Here are the topics through April 1, when the series ends:

February 25
The Greatest Sex You'll Ever Have

March 4
The Bedroom: Battleground or Playground

March 11
Real Desperate Housewives, with guest Ron Farah,
Family and Marriage Counselor

March 18
Porn: What's the Big Deal?

March 25
Sex Ed: Teaching Children about Sex

April 1
Affair Proofing Your Marriage

Of course, plenty of people are unhappy about this series. The Detroit News article detailed the problems Epic Church is facing in light of the sex series:

"Instead of using scripture, he's using fads," said Gene Koessel, 70, a retired Lutheran pastor from Roseville, about Kade. "What's next?"

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's English district, headquartered in Farmington, has been fielding e-mails and phone calls from area churches upset over the Web site images and the sexual permissiveness they arguably convey.

"Maybe the Epic Church went over the edge of good taste in terms of the Web site," said Bishop David Stechholz, district president, who oversees 160 parishes in North America. "That had a few people pretty upset."

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, made up of 6,150 parishes worldwide, is the second-largest Lutheran faith in the world and considered the more conservative branch. In addition to making strict interpretations of the Bible, the faith does not ordain women as pastors; abortion and extramarital sex are deemed sins. Epic Church is awaiting official membership.

So far, it looks like Epic Church is going to have an uphill battle towards official membership. I hope it is approved. I like the way it's handling touchy issues, like sex.

Posted on February 26, 2007 at 06:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

January 22, 2007

First Purity Balls, Now Integrity Balls

Purity balls were all the rage not long ago. Girls pledged to their fathers that their hymens would remain intact until they married some guy with just as little sexual experience as they had. As I have previously noted, teens who make abstinence pledges are almost as likely to be infected with a sexually transmitted disease as those who never made the pledge. So much for the effectiveness of purity balls and abstinence pledges.

The focus has always been on girls, of course, since religious conservatives want to control girl's sexuality. I've always wondered where the purity balls for boys were, and now I have the answer. After a purity ball held in South Dakota was declared a great success, some parents said they wanted a similar event for their sons. Why the purity ball organizers didn't come up with this winning strategy on their own doesn't excape me - most of the focus on illicit sex revolves around girls and their sacred vaginas and hymens.

So, the organizers have arranged an event for boys. It's not called a purity ball, though. Purity is for girls. Boys don't need to be pure. They need integrity, so that's why these events are being called Integrity Balls. It's all about buying a wife.

The notion that looking for a spouse is like a major purchase was a big hit. The old adage "why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free" was present at this ball:

After the meal, Jackie Detweiller spoke to the gathering about her experiences. Detweiller is an attractive 19-year-old young woman who is practicing abstinence. She told the tale of a person who had waited a long time to buy the car of their dreams, but when the day arrived to drive it home, the dealer told them that the steering had problems, that it had a lot of mileage on it, and had been in a few wrecks. She likened this word picture to sexual purity and the hopes for a future spouse.

Detweiller made another "why buy the cow" reference for the guys in this quote below. Notice that all the focus is on these guys choosing a "pure" woman as their wives? There isn't much said about their own behavior.

Detweiller told another story about a man and woman coming to the altar, about to be married, when another guy comes up from the audience and holds the bride’s hand as the ceremony is performed. More guys come forward, until six are holding onto the bride. When the groom asks her what is going on, she replies, “These are guys from my past. They don’t matter to me now, but I gave them a piece of my heart. What’s left of my heart is yours.”

The analogies don't escape me. Guys purchase a wife, and she'd better be a top model without any "mileage" on her.

I found it ironic that Detweiller mentioned STDs as a reason to have integrity and be pure. Since Purity Balls and abstinence pledges don't stop teens from having sex, it's highly unlikely that an Integrity Ball will stop guys from having sex. The article I linked to mentioned a 2004 study by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health that found that "teens who make a virginity pledge are less likely to experience teen pregnancy, less likely to be sexually active, and will have fewer sexual partners." I wonder how accurate that statement really is, in light of a 2005 study that found that "teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases."

The study mentioned adolescent boys who were virgins. They were more likely to engage in anal sex. Oral sex was also a big hit, probably because many teens don't consider oral sex "real" sex.

Among virgins, boys who have pledged abstinence were four times more likely to have had anal sex, according to the study. Overall, pledgers were six times more likely to have oral sex than teens who have remained abstinent but not as part of a pledge.

The pledging group was also less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or get tested for STDs, the researchers found.

Data for the study was taken from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. An in-school questionnaire was given to a nationally representative sample of students in grades 7-12 and followed up with a series of in-home interviews roughly one, two, and six years later. It was funded in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Please note that the data for the study was taken from the same source the Integrity Pledge supporters claim for their own "facts" - the National Longitudinal Study fo Adolescent Health. I'm more inclined to believe researchers from Yale and Columbia Universities than religious conservatives with an agenda to push. Not surprisingly, one of those conservatives takes issue with the research that contradicts her views. The article quotes Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, S.D., who called the study "bogus," disputing that those involved had pledged true "abstinence."

Posted on January 22, 2007 at 11:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 23, 2006

Condoms4Life

I received e-mail from Catholics For A Free Choice. It's about the Condoms4Life campaign. The idea is to encourage the Pope to lift the ban on condoms, since condoms can help prevent the spread of HIV. It sounded like a good cause to me. Go to the link and read the press statement and sign the letter being sent to the Pope.

Posted on October 23, 2006 at 05:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)

July 21, 2006

The Judeo-Christian God's Jealousy

Here is something I've always wondered. You know how the first commandment is "thou shalt honor no gods before me"? Why would a god who thought all other gods honored by people in an area that early Christians were overtaking feel threatened by those gods, if those gods were so fake and ineffective? Maybe it's because God (Yahweh) felt threatened? Early Christians adapted the Mother Goddess into their religions because she was so popular with the people. Assimilation was a popular thing in those days. If you were the One True God, there would be no need to assimilate other gods into your pantheon because you would know that you are the Real Deal, and that you had more to offer to people than the fake gods they had already worshipped. Seems to me that Yahweh had an image problem.

Why does Yahweh feel so threatened by gods he claims don't exist, to the point of making his primary commandment about not worshiping them? That means that people the early Christians were trying to influence worshiped both Yahweh and their original gods.

Yahweh was jealous. It must hurt to not be the life of the party.

Posted on July 21, 2006 at 06:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Asshat Design

P. Z. Myers at Pharyngula takes out "dissembling fool" John McCain, who wants to see intelligent design taught in schools. McCain said that "From a personal standpoint, I believe in evolution." At the same time, he said, "When I stand on the rim of the Grand Canyon and I see the sun going down, I believe the hand of God was there."

I've been to the Grand Canyon. With my ex-husband. When he saw it, he said "it's nothing but a big hole in the ground." So much for Intelligent Design, from my ex.

P. Z. made some good points. He stated:

First of all, no one is afraid of Intelligent Design, or thinks kids need to be sheltered from the concept. American kids as it stands now get more exposure to creationism than to science—in the home and church. The fight isn't about hiding silly ideas from schoolkids. It's about not allowing crackpots to waste our children's time, and about promoting good, substantive science teaching. Do you want school to be a place where kids learn, Mr McCain? Or do you see it as a propaganda arm of the ideological apparatus of the state?

I'm not afraid of intelligent design. I know it's hoo-hah. It's no threat to me because I know it's not based on scientific fact. I can't remember where I read it - on a gay and lesbian blog, I think - but someone had made the opinion that why should human beings be convinced that there need to be laws to corral gays and lesbians, as in not recognizing gay marriage? In the Bible, God told Adam and Eve not to eat of The Tree. He told them not to kill each other. Then came Sodom and Gomorrah. Hey, if God can't get humans to stay in line with rules that he made, what makes anyone think that mere humans can get other humans to stay in line with rules that they make? That was a good point. If God can't control us, why should anyone think that mere humans can control us with laws, including feeding our children Creationist nonsense? Hopefully children will be given a well-rounded scientific education that will make them realize that Creationism is lint in their belly buttons, but McCain and others like him would not want to see that happen because it interferes with God's Word.

I don't want to see kids time wasted on nonsense either. Creationism is a waste of time that kids and teachers don't have. The DARE program was nonsense, and that wasn't even intelligent design. The Royal Spawn has to listen to that program at school when he would have been better served having his English teacher give him the low-down on improving his grades in English. English was always one of his worst subjects.

Thanks to my best friend, I came up with something about "intelligent design" that I had not considered before. I had mentioned one of my favorite jokes to him. The joke is as follows: "It's been said that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters could reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true." He replied to me that "I would be inclined to say "Intelligent Design". Judging from the products we see around, it could not have been a very intelligent design, wouldn't you say?"

I replied as follows: "I think you're wrong about "intelligent design". "Intelligent design" implies that there is a "Not-So-Intelligent Design", otherwise known as "Asshat Design". There is also plenty of that in the universe. Hmmm... you've given me the idea for a blog post. ;) "

The people who believe in that hoo-hah called "Intelligent Design" aren't really very intelligent. Maybe they are part of the contingency that promotes "Asshat Design", which misrepresent science to say things that science doesn't say. Just think, as The Count likes to say, that our Creation myth involved the world being on the back of a tortoise. How the heck would "Intelligent Design" folks explain that?

Posted on July 21, 2006 at 06:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

July 15, 2006

The Church Better Clean Up Its Own Mess Before It Condemns The Rest Of Us

This is amusing. I had no idea that people were showing up for church dressed in bikinis. I was raised Catholic. I no longer practice. I'm no longer religious, although I do like Wicca and Voudou to some extent. I have lots of candles, oils, and stuff. I remember girls showing up for church dressed in hip-huggers in the 1970s, and the priests would get all googly-eyed at them and tut-tut them. I think the Catholic Church should clean up its own house before it condemns those of us who live in the real world.

The text from Rev. Yanta is in italics. My comments are in bold.

-----

Modesty starts with purification of the heart

A Pastoral Letter by Most Rev. John W. Yanta, Bishop of Amarillo
June 18, 2006
Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the hot weather has descended on us and we are in summertime or vacation time, it is appropriate to speak of modesty of dress especially in participation in the Holy Eucharist, the receiving of Our Lord in Holy Communion, the privilege of being a lector of the Sunday Bible Readings, and serving as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

This isn't about "modesty of dress" for "us". It's about women. Men's dress gets a perfunctory mention at the end of the text.

This time of the year, I (and am sure many of you also) hear complaints about a lack of respect and reverence for the house of God, the sacredness of the Lord’s presence in the liturgy, and lack of respect for others and the lack of consciousness of the battle for purity in which the opposite sex finds itself even while attending Sunday Mass.

Translation - it's hot outside, and women shouldn't wear revealing clothing lest they incite lust in the men who see them. Let them wear burkas.

Immodesty in dress is governed by two citations from God’s Law:

1) The Ninth Commandment: “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife” (Exodus 20:17);

This commandment was not about blaming your neighbor's wife when you lust after her. It was about taking responsibility for your own lustful feelings. Then again, there is nothing wrong with lust. It's a natural emotion. It's how you react to it that matters. If you stalk your neighbor because you lust after her, that's wrong. The responsibility falls on the man who lusts, not on the object of his lustful affection.

2) Jesus said: “Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

Same thing. The man who "lusts in his heart" is the one who should be aware of his feelings and not act on them without the woman's permission. And why do Catholics and other religious people see lust as such a bad thing? It's a perfectly normal feeling. How you react to it is what matters. A woman a man lusts after is not his property to be pursued. That's what important to realize.

Dressing or putting on one’s clothes is a moral act and wearing them is a moral act. There are different appropriate modes of dress for different occasions, e.g. in the privacy of our home, with our spouse only or with our children in our home, at work or school, in mixed company, at the lake or swimming pool, grocery shopping, at church, etc.

I didn't know that dressing was a "moral act". I wear what feels comfortable. When I wear black tank tops and black stretch pants, I'm aware that some men may find that very sexy. That's not my problem. I'm also not bothered by men who find me attractive when I dress that way. What would Yanta want? Women to dress in long, shapeless burlap bags? Plus everyone has seen those shapeless bathing dresses for women that are favored by evangelical Christians. They look ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with wearing a bathing suit that shows legs and arms and the tops of the breasts. They are commonplace now, and considered normal wear for a beach. Wearing a bathing dress that makes you look like Laura Ingalls from Little House On The Prairie is what will get you stares, not a two-piece bathing suit that looks like what all the other women are wearing.

The four cardinal virtues are in play here (Wisdom 8:5-7). The wise person is guided by wisdom, the highest of riches that guides us to be prudent (doing and saying the right thing), justice (respects the dignity of other persons), fortitude (courage to go against popular, suggestive, provocative styles), and temperance (insures mastery over sensual temptations as occasions of sin). You can read more about these four cardinal virtues that play a pivotal role in our lives (CCC 1803-1809).

Wearing a bathing suit that looks like a tank suit from the 1920s may not be popular now, but it will get you noticed because it's so different and, frankly, silly. The same applies for the bland, loose-fitting, high-collared clothing fundamentalists (and I suppose Catholics) expect women to wear in the summer so that they don't show much skin. Can't arouse the men-folk, now, can we? Wear that kind of stuff and you will be noticed because you look so different. Being noticed in a crowd kind of kills the whole purpose of modesty, doesn't it?

Lots of tripe about modesty and purity deleted because it was too ridiculous to comment about.

“So-called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man” (CCC 2526).

Don't tempt children with news about the real world, or they may be tempted to take part in it. Can't have that.

There's more silliness below, including the admission from Yanta that women are showing up in church - dressed in bikinis!!! Who needs "Girls Gone Wild" when you have "Catholics Can Be Skanky Too"?

Yes, we can help the devil in many ways including the way we dress. In the Act of Contrition we promise “to avoid the near occasion of sin”. St. Paul writes about “provoking another” (Gal. 5:26).

Yet more nonsense blaming women for "provoking another" in the way they dress. If she's attacked, it's her own damned fault. It's this line of thinking that has caused decades of grief for rape victims who were deemed to have caused their own rapes because of the way they dressed. This nonsense has to stop now.

When the community of believers comes together for the Eucharist (Mass) let no one be a distraction from Jesus or provide temptation (an occasion of sin) to another because of our manner of dress.
Lectors, Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, and Hospitality Ministers should model modesty of dress for the parish as parents do in the family, the domestic church.

It is quite possible to find another person attractive even if that person is dressed very modestly. So, a modest manner of dress does not necessarily cause another person not to lust. I really think the Church is getting bent out of shape about modes of dress for no reason. You can't temper lust just by ordering women (mostly) to not wear spaghetti straps and short shorts when it's 90 degrees outside. Should she also wear boots in the summer? There are lots of foot fetishists out there who are turned on by painted toes in sandals.

May we cherish and bear witness to the virtues of prudence, temperance, chastity, and modesty for the sake of our own salvation and of others. St. Mary and St. Joseph, St. Ann and St. Joachim, parents and grandparents of their son and grandson, Jesus, intercede for us!

Translation: All the saints in Heaven, Jesus, God, and Mary, please make me avert my eyes from the nice bum that's sitting in front of me at church!!!

Excerpts from a Homily Given by Fr. Dominic Mary, MFVA on EWTN Televised Mass (6-14-05)
“Included in the virtue of modesty is not only humility, but also in how one externally dresses (cf. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 356). But many today have rejected to practice this virtue so desperately needed in our current culture. Even to the most casual observer, immodesty in dress is seen as common place in our Churches.

Damn popular culture! We can both be modest and engage in the sin of pride by wearing tents and bathing dresses so that everyone who sees us knows we reject modern society. We can be Godly in our pride by showing how unfashionable we are.

We have got to do all we can to help people to wake up and realize they are dressing way too immodestly, especially when it comes to entering a Church to worship God. We must be like the Vatican - just one example (cf., www. cathnews.com) - When there are heat waves in Rome the Vatican dress police, neatly dressed in pants, shirts and ties, turn back all tourists in shorts and bare shoulders trying to get into St. Peter’s Basilica. I’ve seen them do this with my own eyes. These immodestly dressed people have to go and buy paper pants and shirts from vendors eagerly waiting outside.

This one struck me particularly because the Church just admitted that people don't dress modestly in church. I haven't set foot in a church in years. What are people wearing to church? "The Ramones" t-shirts, cut-offs, and flip-flops in the summer? I think this is very funny. Even the Church can't keep its own flock in check, let alone damn those "heathens" for dressing comfortably immodestly.

"Many people come to Church dressed like they are ready to go to the beach. You should not come to Church dressed in shorts, miniskirts, swimsuits, bikinis, tank-tops, bare shoulders, low cut dresses, very tight fitting clothing, etc. “We must return to having a holy fear for God and for His true Presence in the Eucharist and for being in His house. How can we expect to grow in the spiritual life if we are dressed like we don’t care? How dare we approach the Holy Eucharist dressed like we are going to the beach.
“When a person dresses immodestly he or she can become an occasion of sin for other people. And this is the fashion for today. Each year it seems that the latest fashion is to see how little clothing one can wear and how much of one’s body can be shown. And what flesh is not shown is revealed by extremely tight clothing.

Ha! Ha! Ha! I knew I was right. People really show up for church dressed in bikinis? That just strikes me as very funny. Plus, notice that Yanta is describing women's dress. What about men who show up for church in bathing trunks and ripped "Nirvana" t-shirts? Not a mention of them. Oh, no, it's the women the Church has to keep in line, lest women tempt men in church who see them in bikinis. The Church can't keep modern culture from "infesting" its own. Before the Church condemns non-religious people for the way they dress, it had better clean up its own shop first.

"To knowingly and intentionally dress like this is sinful, and can be even seriously sinful, because one can become a temptation to sin for other people. We are all weak and can easily fall into many sins of impurity by someone else’s immodesty.

I wonder if Yanta has been aroused by seeing women wearing bikinis in church? He should say five rosaries to get his lustful thoughts under control.

"Now how should women dress at Holy Mass?
"Indecency of women’s dress at the Holy Sacrifice is not a new thing. In 1921, Pope Benedict XV (Sacra propediem) lamented the indecent dress of women at Holy Mass this way: ‘...one cannot sufficiently deplore the blindness of so many women of every age and condition; made foolish by a desire to please, they do not see to what degree the indecency of the clothing shocks every honest man, and offends God.

"Most of them would formerly have blushed for those toiletries as for a grave fault against Christian modesty; now it does not suffice for them to exhibit them on public thoroughfares; they do not fear to cross the threshold of the churches, to assist at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and even to bear the seductive food of shameful passions to the Eucharistic Table where one receives the heavenly author of purity.

You mean the Church has had this problem with parishioners since at least 1921, and it hasn't solved it 85 years later? The Church has a problem. Gee, I can imagine all those priests and parishioners getting aroused by women wearing hair bobs, red lipstick, and fringe dresses to church. This is too funny to just let slide.

"Now how should a man dress at the Holy Sacrifice?
"If women exceed the virtue, it is common for men to come up short in practicing the virtue of modesty in dress. Men, we are inclined to be careless or slovenly about what we wear... (even at Holy Mass); and young men are prone to deliberately neglect their dress so as to attract attention.
"At Holy Mass, men should wear a coat and tie; or, at least, a collared shirt and nice slacks.
“Young men must be taught that baggy pants are not appropriate; that their hair be nicely cut and combed; that shirts be clean and without slogans or cross bones or a dragon,... or anything which may give Satan the appearance of being honored".

Finally, at the end of this long, stuffy letter, we get to men's dress. Men have been wearing t-shirts with dragons and cross bones to church? I had no idea that Goths went to mass every week. It's good to know that guys pick up a rumpled t-shirt and faded jeans from the floor, throw them on, and show up for church dressed like that. Baggy pants - the Hip-Hop look is popular in church? I bet The Church Lady just purses her stuffy lips over that form of dress, especially if you can see the top of the guy's Calvin Klein underwear. I can imagine all these stuffy church people getting all bent out of shape over the way young people dress for church these days. Hey, church attendance has been dropping steadily for years. The Church should be happy these young people show up at all, no matter how they dress.

On Galveston-Houston Archdiocese Website
"The Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Communion Under Both Kinds refers to reverent attire (cf. #29) but does not describe what is considered reverent. Does the Diocese of Galveston-Houston have guidelines describing what is considered appropriate attire for liturgical ministers?"
"Extraordinary Ministers should be appropriately dressed when distributing Communion during the liturgy. On several occasions I have directed that men, including young men, must wear a coat, and women modest dresses or pant suits. This directive is to be observed even for Youth Masses."
The Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Australia
"I am often asked about the dress requirements for people who perform the roles of readers and special ministers of communion in a parish.
"This usually comes about because complaints have been made about the way these liturgical ministers present themselves at Mass.

You mean to tell me that even Ministers are showing up in baggy pants and t-shirts? How can the Church set a "modesty" example when its own Ministers are handing out Communion dressed in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" t-shirts?

Posted on July 15, 2006 at 01:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

July 04, 2006

What The Fuck Is A Prairie Muffin?

I can't tell if this is for real or if it's a spoof. I'm betting it's for real.

What is a Prairie Muffin? It's a term of endearment for a good, Godly, housewife. Husbands are referred to as "Prairie Dawgs". All I can think of for that is that arcade game where you smack a mallet on the critter's head before it pops out of another hole.

I've known a few Prairie Muffins. They are holier-than-thou, and they wear long, ugly bathing suits to the beach. They keep their mouths shut in a demure, patronizing fashion. They pray to be grateful that they live "simple" lives even though they are jealous of those who have more than they do and are more accomplished than they are.

This Prairie Muffin Manifesto is too good to pass up. It's forty-four comments long, so I'll only pick on the ones that made me laugh the most. My comments are in bold.

2) Prairie Muffins are helpmeets to their husbands, seeking creative and practical ways to further their husbands' callings and aid them in their dominion responsibilities.

    Prairie Muffins place their own desires aside to encourage their husbands in their hobbies and careers. Since the dominion of the husband is The World and The Family, they must obey his every command, even if they don't agree with it. After all, The Husband is the head of the household. What he says, goes.

3) Prairie Muffins are aware that God is in control of their ability to conceive and bear children, and they are content to allow Him to bless them as He chooses in this area.

    So by the time the Prairie Muffin has a tenth Mini-Me growing inside her uterus, she prays to God to tie her tubes with Divine Intervention so that she doesn't have to deal with a pack of brats begging for attention every five minutes.

5) Prairie Muffins improve their intellect and knowledge as they have opportunity, first by seeking wisdom from God's word, then by reading good books and other materials which help them to make informed opinions about a wide variety of subjects.

    Prairie Muffins read Daddy Dobson and Ann Coulter. They don't go near Ursula Le Guin or J. K Rowling, lest their heads explode.

6) Prairie Muffins dress modestly and in a feminine manner.


7) Prairie Muffins protect the innocence of their children, until such a time their children are mature enough to be exposed to potentially-harmful cultural influences.

    Prairie Muffins homeschool so that their children aren't exposed to Satanic influences, such as critical thinking and opposing points of view.

9) Prairie Muffins do not reflect badly on their husbands by neglecting their appearance; they work with the clay God has given, molding it into an attractive package for the pleasure of their husbands.

    See Number 6. These women are in serious need of flattering clothing.

11) Prairie Muffins own aprons and they know how to use them.

    How much you want to bet that a Prairie Muffin would never be caught dead greeting her Prairie Dawg at the door wearing only that apron?

12) Prairie Muffins prefer others above themselves, seeking to serve God by serving others, especially members of their own household.

    A common Christian wife recommendation. Prairie Muffins place their own needs on the back burner to cater to their ten kids and their Prairie Dawg's demands for dinner on the table the moment he gets home.

17) Prairie Muffins place their husbands' needs and desires above other obligations, arranging their schedules and responsibilities so that they do not neglect the one who provides for and protects them and their children.

    Wait a minute, what happens to the ten kids who are demanding another helping of mac 'n cheese and for someone to fix the computer when little Hezekiah, Jr., hasn't killed enough nonbelievers while playing Left Behind: Eternal Forces? Wouldn't teaching little Hezekiah that smiting nonbelievers is a good thing is more important than picking up God's Head Of The Family's smelly socks from the floor?

18) Prairie Muffins are fiercely submissive to God and to their husbands.

    How many husbands does a Prairie Muffin have?

20) Prairie Muffins make significant economic contributions to their households in many ways. They are careful with the hard-earned money that their husbands bring home, wisely weighing expenditures to ensure that they stretch the dollars as far as they can go, without being parsimonious. They also may help their husbands in their husbands' callings or bring money into their households through homecentered business under their husbands' authority, as long as that activity does not detract from their very important homekeeping duties.

    Prairie Muffins water down the generic shampoo they buy so that it lasts longer. With ten kids, you have to scrimp! And don't let crocheting versions of The Ten Commandments that you sell for five bucks a pop at the annual church bazaar interfere with keeping a clean, Christian home!

21) Prairie Muffins recognize that all good gifts come from the Father of Lights (James 1:17) and they also realize their privileged position as "home despot," thus they are grateful to God and their husbands for enabling them to engage in the wonderful role of homekeeper.

    Prairie Muffins pray daily that they learn to submit to their Godly role as homekeeper, despite feelings from Satan that there is more to life than submitting to their husbands, wearing tents to the beach, and herding a pack of ten shrieking kids so that they don't get lost in the street. By the way, I nicknamed Home Depot "Home Despot".

22) Prairie Muffins try to maintain a peaceful environment for their families by keeping their voices quiet and their tones gentle as much as possible.

    Prairie Muffins never argue with their Prairie Dawgs, even when they have good reason to be upset. After all, the Prairie Dawg is the head of the household, and what he says, goes.

23) While Prairie Muffins seek to have a multitude of wise counselors, they are careful not to elevate mere men and women to a position where they are tempted to idolize those whom they admire. They also are aware that all have weaknesses, and they accept this reality without discarding the good teaching of those godly people who may occasionally stumble in their weakness or with whom we sometimes must disagree.

    God forbid a Prairie Muffin learn to question what mere humans have told her. She should pray to God when she learns that a minister in her church has molested boys, or that a good, Christian wife Prairie Muffin who has been her friend for ten years is getting divorced because her good, Prairie Dawg husband had been cheating on her, and he's fighting her for custody and he won't pay child support.

25) Prairie Muffins are tough on themselves, but forgiving of the faults and differences of others, without sacrificing their commitment to truth and righteousness. This is sometimes a difficult balance, but one which Prairie Muffins strive to keep.

27) The letter "P" at the beginning of their names should be the only similarity between Prairie Mufffins and Pharisees. Never should the Prairie Muffin haughtily pray, "Thank God I am not like that...(fill in the blank)." Rather, she should always say, "There, but for the grace of God, go I." This is not to say that obedience to God's law is not important, however. Prairie Muffins gratefully accept the yoke that Christ places on them, and they seek to have the mind of Christ with the godly perspective which sees the burdens of our Lord as truly light; He is the One who gives us strength to carry those burdens, and He is even the One who carries them.

    25 and 27 contradict each other. Prairie Muffins are given Godly permission to look down on others they disapprove of. These two give Prairie Muffins the right to be self-righteous.

28) Prairie Muffins mind their own business. While that business may include encouraging other women "to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored," it most emphatically excludes encouraging other women to run ahead of or resist the authority of their husbands or elders in pursuit of any PM distinctive.

    See 26 and 27.

30) "Home, Sweet Home" is more than just a sentimental saying for the Prairie Muffin. Her home is the center of the Prairie Muffin's activities. Of course, she needs to occasionally go away from home to engage in various activities related to her calling, but her focus is on making home a haven for her husband and children and using it to glorify God in whatever ministry to others He may call her. She is content in her home and does not see it as a prison from which she constantly must escape. She wisely rules over her domain by keeping busy in her full-time calling as homekeeper. Chocolate bon-bons may be a rare indulgence, but Prairie Muffins don't have the time or inclination to waste their lives on soap operas or other inane and inappropriate entertainment.

    Number 30 wouldn't exist if lots of Prairie Muffins didn't see their homes as "a prison". Those women are questioning their own choices. I'm not a Prairie Muffin, but I don't like soap operas either. I'd rather watch a special on National Geographic about how maggots are used to clean wounds. That beats "General Hospital" any day in my book. Also, Prairie Muffins crave chocolate bon-bons, but they are told to resist Satan's temptation of food lust, lest their heads explode.

33) Prairie Muffins are not clingy, they are clinging. There are many things in this world that it is tempting to grasp, even good things such as our homes, our marriages and our children. Our hands need to be firmly planted in the Savior's hand, not clinging to those things which are good gifts from Him, but clinging to His will for our lives. When those good things are sometimes taken away, we must accept what is better, knowing that our loving Father wants what is best for us.

    Prairie Muffins have lost their homes, their marriages, and their children. Number 33 admits that Prairie Muffins have been divorced, and sometimes lose custody of their children. Blame it on the Prairie Muffin - she must not have submitted well enough to her Godly Prairie Dawg and to God. Otherwise she wouldn't be divorced, and wondering how she can bring in enough money selling crocheted Ten Commandments to pay the mortgage, utilities, and food every month. Number 33 also admits that Prairie Muffins also want "things". Prairie Muffins should resist wanting a plasma TV, even though her kids watch one at that Pharisee neighbor's house, and they want one now. Tell the kids the ten year old TV is fine, and don't allow them to be tempted by Pharisees anymore, and forbid them from staying friends with those kids. Not that a Prairie Muffin would allow her kids to befriend Pharisees anyway.

36) Prairie Muffins are happy to be girls—they rejoice in the distinctives which God sovereignly bestowed on them which make them feminine. They are also happy that their husbands are masculine, and they do not diminish that masculinity by harping on habits which emanate from the fact that boys will be boys, even when they grow up. In addition, Prairie Muffins are careful not to use their feminine, hormotional weaknesses to excuse sinful attitudes and actions, but learn to depend more and more on God's grace and strength in the midst of any monthly trials.

    Prairie Muffins never complain about the smelly socks their Prairie Dawgs have left on the floor. They never complain that he doesn't help clean up after the dog, and that the boys keep pulling the heads off their sisters dolls. Boys will be boys, even when the boys are their husbands. They keep their Godly mouths shut, and clean up after their Godly men silently. After all, that's their job as Dawg's Helpmeet. Or they train their daughters to clean up after their brothers and their father, since that would prepare them for their Godly, wifely role. Plus, when Prairie Muffins have their periods, they should never speak out of line, lest their hormones get the better of them.

40) The women who will have the greatest impact on the world, those who will have the greatest influence on history, are those "well-behaved" women who faithfully serve God in their daily lives, seeking His approval rather than the world's admiration. Prairie Muffins know that while engaging in the kingdom-building work in their homes of loving, training and disciplining their children, the world may not express its approval, but it will be turned upside down.

    "Well-behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

41) Self-fulfillment is not a motivation for the Prairie Muffin. As time flies by, she senses the urgency for living a "real" life, really living life for eternity. Our goal should be to please ourselves less and please God more: our pleasure should be pleasing God.

    Number 41 just admitted that Prairie Muffins want more than being servants to their husband and their ten kids. It's not Godly to want a "real life".

42) We are reminded in Proverbs 10:19, "In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise." Prairie Muffins must refrain from being mouthy, including online. It is not our place to always set everyone straight or tell everything we know. In fact, Proverbs also warns us not to answer a fool according to his folly (Proverbs 26:4), so pray for wisdom before unleashing your opinions like any fool with a keyboard. This entreaty to restraint particularly applies to battles of which you have no part. She who has ears to hear, read carefully the admonitions of the great Puritan preacher, Matthew Poole, on the issue of detraction, an admonition that is never more timely though written hundreds of years ago. Then go back to Proverbs, starting with chapter one, because if you want to be a Proverbs 31 woman, then that's the place to begin.

    Prairie Dogs are often mouthy, including online. I know. I've seen it myself. Prairie Muffins see those who disagree with them as "fools". See 25 and 27.

44) As we pour out our lives in service to God and our families, we do not measure success by the visible return on that investment, as if we are accountants keeping record on a balance sheet. In the economy of God's kingdom, our sacrifices are of great value, even though we may not see all the benefits now, or even in this life. We mustn't regret any effort given in service to our Savior, and we ought to follow the example of Paul who rejoiced to be "poured out as a drink offering" (II Timothy 4:6), knowing that in pouring himself out on the sacrifice and service of the faith of others, he did not labor in vain (Phillipians 2:16-17).

    Prairie Muffins are told that accomplishment outside their Godly spheres is not Christian. Resist achieving success, ladies, no matter how much you enjoy it and like it.

Posted on July 4, 2006 at 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)