I’ve written quite few posts about NC House Bill 2 of late and they’ve been…, let’s say, “less than complimentary”. As a young man growing up in the South, one of the lessons that was beaten into me that I learned was if I couldn’t say something nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all. Sadly, the ship concerning the latter part of that adage sailed a long time ago. So today, in an attempt to live up to my raisin’, I thought I’d take a shot at finding something nice to say about a law that I have referred to as a steaming pie of discriminatory shit. Something tells me this may not be so easy.
First up, we have to address the fact that HB 2 has rekindled conservatives’ love of laws. I mean, they’ve spent years telling us how laws (of the gun control variety) don’t stop criminals. Now, however, they’re convinced this new one will prevent the awful (and non-existent) threat posed by bathroom predators. It really makes me happy to see my conservative friends embracing law and order once again.
Next up, there’s the way HB 2 has revealed the bigotry that abounds when it comes to LGBT folks, especially the “T’s”. Okay, the fact that folks don’t seem to have a single fucking qualm about shitting on people who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and the rest of the alphabet soup that makes up that acronym wasn’t exactly what you’d call a huge secret. But, every so often, we seem to need reminders that people like to discriminate against those they don’t understand. And, more importantly, that doing so is wrong.
We can’t forget how House Bill 2 has helped shine a light on Republican hypocrisy when it comes to the best way to govern. For years, the GOP has championed small government and local control. But, since they took control in Raleigh 4 years ago, they’ve attempted to take over the operation of Charlotte-Douglas Airport, they didtake over Ashville’s water system and changed the make-up of Greensboro’s city council, all without these cities consent or public referendum. Even if you disagree with their methods, you’ve got to admire their chutzpah. Or not. I mean, it is pretty shitty.
Finally, there’s the fact that our esteemed legislators didn’t say anything about religion, freedom or anything else along these lines. This is good because, for once, bigoted assholes aren’t hiding behind their faith while they treat people like shit; they’re hiding behind their wives and children. Is that just as much of a dick move as saying Jesus told you to discriminate? Well, yeah; if anything, it’s an even bigger one. But, at least the J-man is catching a break this time. God knows, he could use one.
Well, would you look at that? Turns out finding the bright side(s) of HB 2 wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I mean, all I had to do was turn my already jaundiced eye on the fetid swamp that is North Carolina politics and look beyond all the bullshit the GOP-dominated General Assembly is spewing to find the actual benefits(?) of House Bill 2. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take multiple showers in what is probably a futile attempt to feel clean again.
Like pretty much everything else coming from conservatives about HB 2, Scharl’s article was filled with half-truths, obfuscation and outright bullshit. But, that’s pretty much the National Review’s stock in trade these days; hell, you might as well read “The Blaze” or “The Federalist”. But, as I said last Friday, you can’t let a little thing like facts get in the way of top quality fear-mongering.
Generally, the article continues the narrative that the whole thing is about bathrooms. Sure it is, that’s why it prevents local governments from enacting laws that extend protection to groups not included in its text, something that was ruled unconstitutional in Romer v. Evans (well, that’s inconvenient). And, it prohibits cities an counties from setting their own minimum wage. About the only thing these two items have in connection with bathrooms is the smell emanating from them.
On the Facebook post where they shared the article, the National Review claimed that “Liberals are PANICKING over something so very common sense.” Okay, let’s get one thing straight: there’s about as much “common sense” in the new NC law as there is truth in their article. HB 2 isn’t about the safety of women and children because there was nothing in Charlotte’s anti-discrimination ordinance that would’ve endangered them in the first place.
What Charlotte did with their now-overturned law was add “marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression” as protected classes. Now, you may be wondering how such a thing could lead to pedophiles molesting our little darlings in public restrooms (it wouldn’t, of course; but that’s irrelevant when you’re trying to scare people into voting for you). This incredibly creepy idea goes back to something I alluded to earlier, “the bathroom predator myth”.
The fantasy of evil men entering women’s restrooms for nefarious purposes is extremely durable, even though it has conclusively debunked. Probably because conservatives trot it out any time we talk about ensuring that people who are LGBTQ are accorded the same rights as straight folks. As, Enid Strict would say, “Well, isn’t that special?”
I’m not sure where this fable came from, but it blasted onto the scene last year, when the city of Houston attempted to pass an ordinance that contained protections for the LGBT community. In response, conservatives fought this effort by making it all about “men” having free access to women’s restrooms, even though they knew it was about much more, i.e. protecting “the gays” from discrimination (God knows we can’t that). The tactic was effective; the ordinance was defeated by a 22 point margin.
The myth proved less successful in Charlotte, where opponents used it in their effort to stop the city council from treating people who are LGBT like human beings. Fortunately, the ordinance was passed over the objections over conservative groups and evanglical preachers like Franklin Graham.
Advocates of this fairy tale found some kindred spirits in Governor McCrory and the Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly. These fine fellows vowed to introduce legislation to overturn the law if it was passed. It did and so they brought the hammer down on Charlotte for doing their job and enacting laws that benefit all their citizens.
On a side note, HB 2 supporters have yet to address is the fact that it doesn’t just negate some municipalities’ protections for LGBTQ folks, it also jeopardizes Greensboro and Orange County ordinances that covered veterans. Wait, what? Veterans aren’t a protected class? Oh well, I guess they were just collateral damage. Eggs and omelets, you know?
The truth is, laws like the Charlotte ordinance have been on the books in multiple cities and counties across the country and none of them report an increase in sexual assaults that can be traced back to those laws. In reality, HB 2 is about keeping trans folks in the closet where the Republicans in the NCGA thinks they belong. If they’d just admit that, I’d have more respect for them. I certainly couldn’t have less.
It would’ve been more timely if I had written this yesterday, but I had a prior engagement with some wisteria vines and privet hedge that had to be kept. That’s probably for the best because, yesterday, I was still pretty pissed off about today’s subject and things were a little raw. Had I written this post then, it would’ve been one long string of expletives and virtually unreadable (it may not be much better today). What caused all that anger? Wednesday, the North Carolina General Assembly shoved through a bill that pretty much ensures that LGBTQ folks in this state will be discriminated against.
If you haven’t heard about NC House Bill 2, it will, in the words of Governor Pat McCrory, “prevent basic local government overreach and intrusion into the expectation of privacy that people have, men, women and children have when they enter a restroom, locker room or shower facility,” So, you’re preventing “government overreach and intrusion” by engaging in …, government overreach? Right. I think that may be the most unintentionally ironic statement I’ve heard all year.
Of course, not everyone agrees with the governor. Senator Jeff Jackson of Charlotte and Rep. Graig Meyer of Charlotte worked hard on Wednesday to get the word out about some of things the law does, like preventing cities and counties from writing their own non-discrimination ordinances that protect LGBTQ folks and veterans; removing legal remedy in the NC court system (you have to sue in federal court which is much harder) and barring local governments from setting the minimum wage in their communities. Nice, huh?
But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as multiple companies are speaking out against the law and some are questioning whether they want to do business here. When the GOP took over the reins of government in this state, one of their stated goals was to make it more attractive to business. They are really knocking it out of the park with this, aren’t they?
So, now that we’re all on the same page, there are a few things I want to get off my chest concerning this big, steaming pile of shit questionable piece of legislation:
First of all, I want to thank our illustrious lawmakers for the additional anxiety they’ve put on my plate. I mean, I’m not quite stressed enough whenever my son walks out the door, worrying about him running into some asshole who takes offense at the fact that he’s trans. So, this extra dose of angst I get, wondering whether he’ll be denied a service he needs or be humiliated in some other way because he’s not “normal” is reallywelcome. When it comes to being douche bags, you guys are the douchiest!
Second, there are only two ways that I can see someone’s motivations for supporting this law. One is that you think my son is predator who might use an ordinance like Charlotte’s to find new prey. The other is that my child’s well-being is less important to you than an imaginary threat to some women and children yet to be named. Either way you look at it, that’s pretty fucked up.
Third, how is this going to work, bathroom-wise? Are we going to post someone outside each and every women’s restroom in the state to look in everyone’s pants and ensure they’re using the bathroom of their “biological sex”? I don’t think that will go over very well. I mean, if people are worried about their daughters being in the bathroom with men, how are they going to feel about some stranger taking a peek inside their little princess’ knickers?
I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but everyone’s favorite blue noses are at it again. Yes, it’s the One Million Moms and, now they have a new target for their ire: ABC’s latest sitcom, “The Real O’Neals”. And, why do they have their knickers in a twist over this show? Their website says it “ridicules Jesus and Christianity”. Maybe, but I have a feeling that the real problem is the fact that one of the characters is gay.
That character would be Kenny O’Neal, a 16-year-old who comes out to his Irish-Catholic family in the first episode. That, along with the fact that Kenny is played by Noah Galvin, who is openly gay, and that Dan Savage is on board as a producer (the show is also loosely based on his life) makes the show, in the words of D’Anne Witkowski, “a gay trifecta” and possibly “a sign of End Times”. If I hadn’t already watched it, that description alone would be enough for it to land on my list.
It’s not just the “gay” thing, though; there are a few other items that have also gotten under the Moms’ skin. Things like Jesus jokes (seen here, beginning at 0:03), the daughter’s “attempts to prove” (their quotes, not mine) that there is no God as a science fair project, and Eileen (Kenny’s mom) making Jesus-shaped pancakes to guilt trip the anorexic older brother into eating. I think their problem with that last one is less about offending Jesus and more about giving away trade secrets.
Of course, the Moms aren’t the only ones with their drawers in a knot. Google “The Real O’Neals Christian” and you’ll find a plethora of pissed off Christians, all incensed over the show’s take on “The One True Faith”. Do the same search on YouTube and you’ll find several videos lambasting ABC and the show for the same basic reason. The best is one titled, “The Real O’Neals TV Show on ABC Mocks Mocks God! (Satanic TeLIEvision EXPOSED)”. Why is it the best? Did you not see the words “Satanic TeLIEvision EXPOSED” in the title?!? Oh, it also ties the show to “an End Times deception”: “acceptance of homosexuality”. That’s right, boys and girls, accepting “homosexuality” (aka treating people who are LGBTQ like fellow human beings) is a sign that Jesus is coming back any day now! Wow, just…, wow.
Of course, all these other dissenters are mostly copying and pasting the information on OMM’s website (or, just reading it out loud on the videos). I guess they’re so upset about gays and Jesus jokes appearing in the same show that coming up with some original content is beyond their capability. I cannot imagine how tiring maintaining this level of outrage must be. Geez, relax people.
If ever a group needed to “Netflix and chill”, it’s this bunch. A nice bottle of wine, a blunt the size of my thumb and some quality television (by “quality television”, I mean, “vigorous boot-knocking”) would be the perfect way for these oh so tightly wound wowsers to de-stress a little. If they tried it, they might find that shows like “The Real O’Neals” aren’t all that bad. I’m not holding my breath until it happens, though.
So, the Charlotte city council recently voted to allow transgenders to use whatever bathroom they damn well please. Well, beloved, if you need a sign of the moral degeneration currently taking place in the United States, here it is. I mean, we’re seriously going to let men use women’s bathrooms just because they claim to “feel like a woman”? If it’s not immediately struck down, we’re headed for a disaster of biblical proportions! Complete with human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together and mass hysteria.
You may think that response is a little over the top, but you’d be oh so wrong. You see, in the two days since Charlotte passed this abomination, some of North Carolina’s most God-fearing leaders have begun shouting from the mountain tops to alert the citizens that the dreaded “gay agenda” is attempting to take over our fair state.
As I told you a couple of weeks ago, Franklin Graham spoke up about the menace to our children represented in this legal anathema. And, right before the vote, Governor Pat McCrory emailed the two conservative stalwarts on the council to inform them that passage would “most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention.” Yesterday, Speaker of the NC House Tim Moore released a statement that legislators are planning a bill to block not only Charlotte’s ordinance, but also in any other similar laws passed in the state. Thank you, God, for men such as these.
Make no mistake, brothers and sisters, this is the moral crisis of our generation and we need to stand strong. Oh sure, several NC communities are all over lists of the hungriest cities in the nation and, a list of municipalities where poverty is growing the fastest includes the four largest cities in the state, but who cares about a bunch of deadbeats now that the government has decided to take up for the gays? Even worse, they want to protect a bunch of she-males? There’s a word for those people and we all know what it is (it starts with “pr” and ends with “edator”).
Is there any basis for the fear that child molesters will use this “bathroom bill” as a way to find little girls for their nefarious purposes? Of course not. Are there, in fact, multiple places where such ordinances have been on the books for several years and haven’t resulted in an increase in sexual assault or rape? Absolutely (see above link). Stop clouding the issue with facts, damn it!
Look, I know that persecuting gays and trannies seems to fly in the face of Christianity since Christians suffered awful persecution in the days of the early church and we follow a man who taught to us love and accept everyone, not just people who look like us. And, a Republican-controlled legislature passing laws to subvert a city council’s decision seems utterly absurd, as they constantly remind us that the GOP is the party of small government. But, seriously, none of that matters. Things are changing and, as a straight, white, cisgender (and by “cisgender”, I mean “normal”) man, I am terrified that gays and the transgenders might treat me as bad as I’ve treated them. I’m not sure I could stand that.
You may not know this, but being a homophobic asshole is not without its pitfalls. Don’t think so? Just ask anti-LGBT activist Linda Harvey. PinkNews reports that Ms. Harvey is having a hard time finding places to shop because almost no major businesses oppose LGBTQ equality anymore. Or, in Linda’s words:
“For any Christian who wants to spend hard-earned dollars with family-friendly, Christian-affirming retailers, restaurants and service providers, the list is growing shorter all the time.”
Oh no, businesses have figured out it’s more profitable to treat everyone like a human being, making it hard for you to find like-minded bigots to patronize? How awful.
Right about now , you’re probably wondering just who the hell this Linda Harvey person might be (I know I was). Being the helpful, caring soul that I am, I put on my detective hat and started digging that info up for you. Granted, that entailed typing her name into Wikipedia and spending a couple of minutes reading. But, still…
It turns out that Harvey is the president and founder of something called Mission:America, a ministry which she established “to equip Christians with current, accurate information about cultural issues such as feminism, homosexuality, education and New Age influences. ” While there are other issues Mission:America speaks about (paganism and Islam, for example) , their raison d’etre is that dreaded Christian bugaboo: the “Gays” (dun, DUN, DUNNN!!!).
Oh sure, there are articles on those other topics, but they are vastly outnumbered by the anti-LGBTQ crap. In an introductory post about Mission:America, Harvey writes, “We focus a lot here on homosexuality because of its rising visibility yet controversial place in current America life.” Which, if you ask me, is a little funny for ministry dedicated to Christian teachings. I mean, Jesus (you know, that guy we claim to follow?) never said a word about being gay. He did, however, say a lot about loving your neighbor, feeding hungry people and not hoarding (aka, caring for the poor), things I suspect Harvey considers commie propaganda.
So, now that we’re up to speed on this fine, Christian woman, let’s get back to the story at hand. This fight with retailers isn’t a new one for Harvey; by her own words, it’s been going on for several years. In the PinkNews article, she says, “I stopped shopping at Macy’s in 2011 after learning about the retailer’s grossly unjust policy against women.” And, just what policy is so “grossly unjust”? Well, beloved, it seems that Macy’s allows people who are transgender to use the dressing room that best fits their gender identity, even going so far as to fire an employee for stopping a trans woman attempting to do that very thing. Oh, the horror!
It’s not just Macy’s, though. Target, Harvey claims, has sold “gay pride” t-shirts in the past and “Amazon, General Mills, Google, Facebook, Paypal, Levi-Strauss and others” are joining them in “‘proudly standing’ with homosexuals and cross-dressers who want to change America’s 1964 Civil Rights Act to add ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity”, something she refers to as “anti-American, pro-deviance legislation” Yes, there’s nothing quite so “anti-American” as the notion that all people are created equal and deserve to be treated that way.
But, it doesn’t end with those companies. Harvey thinks Christians should avoid doing business with (deep breath annnd, go!): Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, CVS, Dell, DIRECTV, E-Bay, Ford Motor Co., The Gap, General Motors, Hallmark, Home Depot, IKEA, JC Penney, Levi-Strauss & Co., Macy’s, Mattel, Nationwide, Nike, Nissan, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Staples, Starbuck’s, Target, TJX Companies ( owns TJ Maxx and Marshall’s), Volkswagen and Walgreen’s. Wow, she’s not kidding; there really isn’t a place for anti-LGBT shitheads to shop these days.
Now, if I were in Harvey’s shoes, I’d take the tidal wave of acceptance of people who are LGBTQ as cue to rethink my ideas on the matter. But, then, I’m not a hard-core culture warrior, locked in battle with Satan for the soul of our country and don’t equate “compromise” with “capitulation”. Does that mean I don’t have the courage of my convictions? Maybe. But, I also don’t have problems buying a new underwear when I need it. Which pretty much makes up for any angst I might be feeling on the matter.
In the past, I’ve referred to Franklin Graham and his colleagues as the gift that keeps on giving. But, honestly, this is one gift I could do without. So, what has uber-knobpolitical activist Reverend Franklin Graham done to warrant my attention this time? Well, he’s on his soapbox about Charlotte’s proposed non-discrimination ordinance. Again (he did this same shit, last year).
That’s right, beloved, a man who calls himself a Christian pastor has his panties in a wad over a law that would prevent people from being discriminated against. I repeat: a Christian pastor has his panties in a wad over a law that would prevent people from being discriminated against. I’ll pause for minute to let that sink in.
Why is Graham so upset about this ordinance? Because it adds protection for people who are LGBTQ, that’s why. Now, you’d think someone who claims to follow the way of Jesus, a man who stood up for the marginalized and oppressed to the point of dying on a cross, would embrace a law that protects a group of people who are the current poster children for being marginalized and oppressed in America. If you do, you’re probably from outer space, because that almost never happens. Or, at least not anywhere near as often as it should.
Graham is riled up because “the proposed ordinance has wording to include ‘gender identity’”, which would allow any man to say “they feel like a woman that day and enter the women’s restroom at any public facility or the showers at public gyms by mandate of law” because “Gender identity is what an individual “feels” their gender is regardless of the biological reality.” I’m not making any of this up. What you see here are direct quotes from Graham’s Facebook status on matter.
Normally, we’re told that bathroom laws like this one open the door to predators looking for sweet, innocent girls to snatch up (a “moral panic” that has about as much basis in reality as the Satanic child abduction epidemic of the 80’s). But, Graham’s main concern is, get this: Christian persecution.
Yes, friends, this “man of God” opposes an ordinance that guarantees protections for people on the margins of society who are actually persecuted and oppressed because of some imaginary persecution and oppression that might be inflicted on people who have persecuted and oppressed the people this ordinance will help because it will prevent them from, well, persecuting and oppressing people. If that seems hard to follow, it should. Graham’s whole argument is just ridiculous.
Graham also says, “LGBT activists are trying to hook their caboose to the ‘freedom train’ and drag their immoral agenda into our communities by claiming that this is a civil rights issue. Civil rights issues are very real and important — but don’t be fooled, this isn’t one of them. I heard one African-American minister say recently that ‘the freedom train doesn’t stop at Sodom and Gomorrah.'” And, that is certainly true, Unfortunately, neither Graham nor his colleague seem to understand what the sin of Sodom actually was.
This is the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were proud, had plenty to eat, and enjoyed peace and prosperity; but she didn’t help the poor and the needy.
Now, I’m not a biblical scholar (neither is Graham, as he never went to seminary), but from what I can see, the “Sodom and Gomorrah” reference is more applicable to Graham’s words than a law meant to help people in need.
If I could sit down and have a little chat with Franklin, I’d tell him, “Look, if you want to say ugly things about folks, or even promote morally bankrupt ideas like the one that says non-discrimination ordinances oppress Christians by not allowing them to persecute people who are LGBTQ, I can’t stop you. But, I really, really wish you wouldn’t say you’re doing it in the name of God. because God doesn’t have a damn thing to do with that kind of crap. Frankly, God’s getting as tired of your bullshit as the rest of us and wishes you’d just shut the hell up.”
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, One Million Moms is at it again. And, by “at it again”, I mean they’re upset about another TV show they haven’t seen. This time, it’s Samantha Bee’s upcoming series, Full Frontal. This time, however, there’s a new wrinkle: they’re wound up over the title of the show. Yes, beloved, you read that right: the title.
Last week, the Moms posted a new petition blasting Bee’s new show because, and I quote, “The title of this show alone is unacceptable. Even though airing later in the evening since it is a late night show, the name will appear in the TV lineup of programs scheduled and previews will air earlier during the day.” Really? I hate to break to these blue noses, but your kids hear a hell of a lot worse things than “full frontal” at school. Maybe even at home.
What, exactly, is so wrong with the term, “full frontal”? I suppose the problem comes from its origins: it was first used to describe depictions of nudity. As the Oxford Dictionary puts it, “with full exposure of the front of the body.” But, the phrase has picked up another meaning along the way: nothing concealed or held back, direct, hard-hitting, etc. Hell, even the Urban Dictionary, a publication that never misses a chance to be magnificently crude, defines “full-frontal” as “thoroughly, completely and totally (from full frontal nudity).” Of course, another definition says, “when a celebrity shows more than just their bum in a film (ie: their penis or bush). This is usually for artistic reasons but clearly some serial full frontalists just like taking their kit off for the camera!” But, still…
Of course, OMM has other issues with the show, including things like “vile content and language” and…, well, that’s about it. They don’t really mention anything else because they can’t; there’s not much out there because Bee and her husband, Jason Jones, only started working on scripts back in May. Do you know what that means? The Moms are pissed about episodes that haven’t even been written yet. Holy shit.
In previous posts about the Moms and their desire to control everyone else’s viewing habits crusade against indecency in pop culture, I’ve said that before they ask, nay, demand, that a network pull a show from its line-up, they might want to actually watch it. Getting worked up over something that’s still being written is a bit over the top even for a group like OMM. Which makes me wonder if there’s another problem with “Full Frontal”. Like maybe Bee, herself.
What’s so bad about Samantha Bee, you ask? Well, for one, she’s a Daily Show alumnus and you know how conservatives feel about that (hint, they don’t like it). But, the real problem may be found in an article from the Advocate: Bee is “a longtime LGBT ally who specializes in finding the funny in feminism.” An ally and a feminist? Now, things make a little more sense.
To be fair, however, the teasers for Bee’s show do lend a certain credence to the Moms concern about content and language. Like this clip:
And, like most comedians these days, Bee does have a well-deserved reputation for pushing the envelope. But, so does Larry the Cable Guy and I don’t see any petitions about keeping him off the air. I wonder why that might be?
Conservatives love to talk about “personal responsiblity”, but only when it suits them. When it comes to things they don’t like, they have no problem making decisions for the rest of us. They need to remember that every television is equipped with both a channel selector and an on/off switch. And, that no one is forcing anybody to watch this stuff. In other words, the Moms need to worry about their house and let me worry about mine. I mean, this is America, after all.
These days, it seems like bat shit crazy is everywhere you look. Between Ben Carson’s notion that Joseph (you know, from the Bible?) built the pyramids to serve as grain silos, people getting their shorts in a knot over a god damn paper cup and the mere fact that human hair ball Donald Trump is a credible candidate for the Presidency of the United States, you can go all day without encountering a whole lot of sanity. And, while none of these things are good, they aren’t nearly as bad as some of the shit that’s gotten lost in the shuffle. Like the National Religious Liberties Conference.
Now, this wasn’t your average,run of the mill we’re-pissed-because-you-won’t-let-us-shit-on-gays-anymore “religious liberty” conference. Oh no, beloved, it was so much more. Organizer/preacher/radio show host Kevin Swanson used his platform to warn us about some of the terrible dangers facing America today: Harry Potter, “How To Train Your Dragon” and “Frozen”, among others. Seriously, I’m not making this up.
According to Swanson, there are characters in these movies that can cause little ones to “stumble”, because said characters are gay and, as everyone knows, indoctrination is priority number one for the LGBT community. The good Reverend Swanson refers to Dumbledore and one of the characters in “How To Train Your Dragon” (not sure which) as “homosexual mentor(s)” and Elsa from “Frozen” is a lesbian-recruiting bride of Satan (I’m not sure if Swanson himself spoke on Elsa, but she and the song “Let It Go” were a focal point of the conference).
Oh, you know how I ended the list with “among others”? A couple of those “other” things are vampires cannibalism and witchcraft. Yes, you that correctly: “vampires, cannibalism and witchcraft”. Let that sink in for a minute: these three topics were seriously mentioned at gathering of grown ups as actual threats to America. Holy…fucking…shit. I will admit, however, that the last one was kind of a welcome addition. I mean, how are you going to complain about Harry Potter and not mention “witchcraft”?
Up to now, this has all been fun and games. But, all too soon, things took a very ugly turn. In the closing speech of the conference, Swanson said the Bible states that “homosexuals are worthy of death”. Originally, I had planned to use some video from Right Wing Watch which showed Swanson saying those very words, but someone filed a copyright violation claim on that video and YouTube has suspended their account. Never fear, brothers and sisters, through remorseless and diligent research (i. e. clicking the link RWW provided), your intrepid reporter has found that footage on The Rachel Maddow Show. If you’re only interested in Swanson, skip ahead to the 6:00 mark:
Okay, I know it sounds like he’s calling for LGBT folks to be rounded up and executed, but he’s not…, yet. You see, while Swanson may be a virulently anti-gay bigot, he’s not an unfeeling one, because he goes on to say he doesn’t think “gays” should be put to death until they’ve had time to repent. See, he’s really not a virulently anti-gay bigot, he’s a caring and concerned anti-gay bigot. Isn’t that nice?
Earlier I said I wasn’t making this up and I wish I was. I really, really wish I was. In fact, you have no idea how much I wish I was fabricating the whole sorry mess out of thin air. Or, maybe you do. Maybe a preacher, a self-professed man of God, spouting bullshit to scare the hell out of his followers, and have a few political dumb asses kiss his ring, makes you as sad as it does me. Not trying to wish anything bad on you, but I kind of hope it does.
One of the weirder and, let’s face it, creepier aspects of conservative Christianity is its obsession with sex. And, nowhere is that more apparent than something known as “purity culture”. Now, some of you may be wondering “What the hell is ‘purity culture’?” Well, according to No Shame Movement, it is “simply the view of any discussion of things of a sexual nature outside of the context of heterosexual marriage as taboo.” Technically, that is correct; but, friends, that clinical definition doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the skin-crawling aberration that is purity culture.
Now, you may be wondering why I’m writing about this movement, thinking it’s strictly a fundamentalist/evangelical thing and doesn’t really affect the rest of us. If you think this, let me assure that you are wrong. In fact, you are so wrong that your wrongness surpasses any conceivable descriptor for being wrong. Your wrongness is so wrong that it makes Ben Carson’s all-too-frequent use of slavery and/or the Nazis as metaphors actually look right. Okay, that last one may be a little over the top, but still. Look, my point is that purity culture affects us all. How so, you ask? Like this:
That is a mother at a recent Omaha Public Schools parent meeting about proposed changes to the system’s sex education curriculum, including lessons on sexual orientation, sexual identity, contraception, and sexual trafficking. These alterations prompted the outburst from woman (now known across the internet as “puritymom”) in the video. In case you can’t make it out, what she’s saying is, “It’s my daughter! My daughter! Who’s going to keep her pure? Nobody! I am! Not OPS! Not OPS!” So, purity equals ignorance? I did not know that.
But, friends, parents raising hell because their ignorance is being challenged is just the tip of the disgusting iceberg. Take purity balls, for example. If you’re unfamiliar with this phenomenon, the purity ball is a religious ceremony/ formal dance event where dads and daughters dress up in evening attire for a night of dining and dancing, culminating with the daughters pledging to the fathers to abstain from sex until marriage. Photographer David Magnusson put together a book documenting this creepfest. Here’s a sample of his work:
I got this from an article on Huffington Post, but click that link with the understanding that you may feel the need to shower afterwards; it’s that bad. From what I can see, Magnusson’s book looks like a collection of prom photos from the Warren Jeffs School of Parenting. In a word, “Ewww”.
If that’s not enough for you, I ran across another story about this abnormality that raises the “ick” factor even more. In Christian Today (a UK-based media company not to be confused with Christianity Today), Carey Lodge reports that “Twenty-something Brelyn Freeman, now Bowman, presented her pastor father with a certificate confirming her virginity.” But wait. it gets better (and by “better”, I mean “oh, somuch worse”): the certificate was signed by a doctor who, it seems, had actually examined Ms. Bowman to verify that her hymen was intact. Okay, then. When my daughter got married last year, if she had presented me with a document attesting to her virginity, I can honestly say it would’ve creeped me the fuck out. But, this dude? He posted a picture on Instagram of himself and his daughter holding the certificate, grinning like a possum eating briars. What the hell is wrong with these people?!?
I wish I knew the answer to that question. Maybe then I could begin to wrap my head around why seemingly intelligent adults think that keeping kids in the dark about sex will somehow magically prevent them from getting pregnant (because everyone knows teenagers don’t have an innate desire to knock boots every chance they get), that signing a pledge has a prayer of stemming up to the flood of hormones that comes with puberty and that a woman’s worth is irretrievably tied to her virginity. This whole thing is just fucked up.