Congrats! Your campaign against "Boys Are Stupid" was successful.
However, five counter points come to mind:
1) What's really wrong with the "Boys are stupid, smelly, etc." stuff? Surely a little sarcasm is better than beating boys with a rod. [See multi-page ADDENDA, "Suffer the Children," at the end of this email for information on the "rod-beating" practices endorsed by the Bible and practiced by Christians.]
2) "Boys Are Stupid" is cartoon sarcasm that might have helped to inspire boys to prize intelligence more, as a counter reaction.
3) If you've laughed even once at a "dumb blonde" joke, then isn't it a bit hypocritical going after the "Boys Are Stupid" cartoons?
4) Can you even BEGIN to equate the "imperiled" status of males worldwide with the relatively lower status of females world-wide? A far greater percentage of men than women are wealthy, rulers, and forgiven their indiscretions. (Is there a put-down equally as intense as the word "whore," but for a man?) While women continue to be denied education in some countires (even in America a Christian female friend of mine confided that when she was growing up, higher education was primarily viewed among her church as being for men, not women). How many MEN are sold into sexual slavery, or aborted in China, or denied equal wages and advancement in American companies, or have their athletics programs cut more often, or are seduced into having to make cheap XXX movies to pay the rent, or have to endure endless come ons by casting couch producers, or have to listen to dumb blonde jokes? You can hardly compare all of the injustices women continue to suffer and say "it's time to defend men." Yeah, like it's "time to defend" the Republican party, since they only own the White House, both Houses, and the majority of governorships in the nation. Here's an experiment, try being a feminist for a week, working for woman's rights round the world (or as Rush calls them, "Femi-Nazi's") and see how little respect you get, or see how many times the patriarchy rebuffs you, and COMPARE that with the "little respect" that you IMAGINE men get today in the real world. Such a comparison should enlighten you quite a bit.
5) Lastly, can you even BEGIN to equate "the troubling [cartoon] image of 'a little boy running away as several rocks come flying at his head,' with the far more troubling acts of non-cartoon violence commanded by the tribal deity of the bronze-age Hebrews, viz., a god who aborts babies, enjoins the murder of young males, drowns women and children, and stones women and children to death. If you are eager to BAN something, isn't it true that the "Good Book," features far more "troubling images" in it than the t-shirts you wish banned?
THE GOD WHO ABORTS
According to the Bible, God is ready, willing and able to abort fetuses:
Their fruit shalt Thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.
- Psalm 21:10
The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born... let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.
- Psalm 58:3,8
As for Israel, their glory shall fly away like a bird, and from the womb, and from the conception... Give them, O Lord: what will Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts... they shall bear no fruit...
- Hosea 9:11-16
Notice that the prophet Hosea is pleading with his God to punish the Israelites by murdering their unborn babies. The Bible never really provides a logical rationale as to why fetuses, babies, and children must be punished for the sins of their parents and others. Some would suggest that for God to kill unborn babies for their parent's sins is somewhat misdirected retribution.
- Gene Kasmar, WHY.The Brooklyn Center High School Bible Challenge. Part 1: The Evidence
THE GOD WHO MURDERS BABYS
Every living thing on the earth was drowned [which no doubt included pregnant women and babies]... Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
- Genesis 7:23
Thus saith the LORD... Slay both man and woman, infant and suckling.
- 1 Samuel 15:3
Joshua destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD commanded.
- Joshua 10:40
The LORD delivered them before us; and we destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones.
- Deuteronomy 2:33-34
Kill every male among the little ones.
- Numbers 31:17
The wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and... Samaria shall become desolate... they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
- Hosea 13:15-16
With thee will I [the LORD] break in pieces the young man and the maid.
- Jeremiah 51:22
Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
- Psalm 137:9
According to the Bible, God gave orders to kill children and to rip open the bodies of pregnant women. The pestilences were sent by God. The frightful famine, during which the dying child with pallid lips sucked the withered bosom of his dead mother, was sent by God. God drowned an entire world with the exception of eight persons. Imagine how such acts would have stained the reputation of the devil!
- Robert G. Ingersoll
THE GOD WHO STONES WOMEN AND CHILDREN
According to the God of the Bible it was more important to stone a woman to death if she should "entice you to follow after other gods," than it was to rescue the life of any fetus she might have been carrying.
It was more important to stone a woman to death the day after her wedding night "if she was discovered not to have been a virgin," than it was to wait and see if she might have conceived new life that night.
It was more important to stone a woman to death for "adultery," than to wait and see if she might be pregnant.
It was more important to stone a woman to death for "failing to cry out while being raped within earshot of the city," than it was to spare the life she might have conceived during that ordeal, during which the rapist may have held a knife to her throat, or strangled her into silence and submission.
And what about the test of "bitter water" mentioned in chapter five of the book of Numbers? The test consisted of mixing dust from the floor of the Hebrew tabernacle with "holy water" to make a concoction that a woman drank to test whether or not she had committed adultery. If she had, it says, "her belly will swell and her thigh will rot." Scholars have pointed out that "thigh" is a euphemism for sexual organs. So if the woman had committed adultery and had conceived as a result, then the "bitter water" would induce an abortion ("her thigh would rot"). (I wonder if this means that Bible-believing women who are accused of having affairs ought to swallow some dirt from the floor of their church mixed with "holy water?" Or better yet, swallow an abortion pill like RU-486 in front of the whole congregation?)
And what about children who "curse their parents?" The Bible says, "Kill them!" (Ex. 21:17; Lev. 20:9; Mat. 15:4; Mark 7:10) The Bible does not say how old the child has to be, but it does emphatically state they must "surely be put to death" should they "curse their parents."
Ah, the good old days, when God fearing people had higher priorities than "saving fetal lives." They were too busy stoning whomever enticed them to worship other gods, stoning adulteresses, stoning women who weren't virgins on their wedding night, stoning women who "failed to cry out" during rape, and stoning sassy children. In other words they were too busy with all of those higher priorities to worry about "the fate of fetuses."
Edward T. Babinski (author of Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists, Prometheus Books, 2003 paperback ed.)
ADDENDA (as I promised):
SUFFER THE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME
The Rev. Mr. Munger has suddenly become a revivalist. According to the papers he is sought in every direction. His popularity seems to rest on the fact that he brutally beat a twelve-year-old girl because she did not say her prayers to suit him. Muscular Christianity is what the ignorant people want.
- Robert Ingersoll
RELIGIOUS PRISONS FOR CHILDREN
Joan Grise, 70 years old and suffering from cancer, is making a valiant effort to have her grandson freed from the clutches of a private religious prison operated in Arcadia, Louisiana by the New Bethany Baptist Church. The boy's father, a member of the authoritarian sect, decided that his son Matthew is "evil" and must literally have sin driven out of him. So, he turned the youngster over to the clutches of Rev. Mack W. Ford, who is notorious for his brutal style of corporal punishment.
Ford says that his treatment is designed "to reach the unwanted with the love of God," but even the local Deputy Sheriff of Bievnville Parish, where Ford's compound is located, refers to the place as a "private jail." It looks it too, surrounded by barbed-wire fencing and out of sight from observers. Sheriff Stewart told the Rocky Mountain News that Ford gets kids "down here and works the heck out of them and spanks the heck out of them and does what he wants to do."
A 1984 report in the New York Times discussed a similar religious compound that Ford was operating in South Carolina. Along with the heavy regimen of corporal punishment and Bible-verse indoctrination, youngsters were divided into levels. At the bottom were boys described as "in bondage." According to the newspaper reports, they were "marched into fields to work while tied together with rope," and prohibited from even talking or laughing. Above them, the "bonded servants" enjoyed the privilege of conversation, but still were in forced labor. At the top were the "sojourners." South Carolina authorities raided Ford's work camp, and the county prosecutor declared, "Most of the boys were brainwashed, just like Hitler did with kids."
At his new compound in Louisiana "Ford repeatedly has rebuffed the attempts of state regulators to inspect the facility," notes The News. "Even the state fire marshal is not allowed on site to assure the safety of the approximately 50 children housed there."
A raid on his South Carolina compound produced evidence of children being struck with a "rod of correction," and reports that children were confined in cells with ropes and handcuffs, and evidence of physical bruising.
- Conrad Goeringer, "Theistwatch Short Shots," AANEWS (American Atheists' News), Nov. 3, 1998
A police investigation into a Corpus Christi, Texas area Baptist group, the People's Baptist Church, has uncovered allegations of child abuse.Eighteen-year-old Justin Simons told police that a church employee punched him in the chest, and punished him and another young boy by tying their wrists together and forcing them to run through the woods and even dig a 15-foot-deep pit. "When I tried to jump the pit, I fell and sprained both ankles."
The People's Baptist Church operates the Rebekah Home for Girls and the Anchor Home for Boys, and carries on a ministry founded by the late evangelist Lester Roloff. Practices at Roloff's various "homes" and other ministerial operations attracted concern in the past from media and authorities over charges involving abuse, beatings and other forms of "Bible based discipline" which the evangelist unabashedly espoused. Roloff defended his punitive child-control techniques, declaring, "Better a pink bottom than a black soul." Then-Texas State Attorney General John Hill bluntly responded, "I don't mind pink bottoms. What I do object to is black, blue and bloody."
- American Atheists, Inc. "Probe of Abuse Charges at 'Bible Discipline' Home Leads to Bush, Raises Questions of Faith-State Partnership" Web Posted 4/12/00 (http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/texas2.htm)
THE SISTERS OF EVIL
Forty years ago at a Catholic orphanage in Dublin run by the "Sisters of Mercy" the children were regularly, ritually beaten with the legs of chairs; in some cases eight-year-old children were whipped with rosary beads. Infants strapped to potties were beaten if they did not give quick results. Children who misbehaved -- or were "bold" -- were trussed up like chickens and hung upside down on high oak doors, so that every time the door opened their heads would bump on the floor. Those who wet their beds were made to carry the stained sheet around all day. Some who threw up the foul food were force-fed and made to eat the vomit.
For hours after school, each child was obliged to turn out 60 rosary beads a day. Working with sharp wire, pliers and beads, they were not allowed to stop, even when the wire bit into their bleeding fingers.
Christine Howe was persuaded to let the sisters take care of her baby temporarily when she had to go to the hospital and her husband was working in England. Four days later her husband received a telegram telling of the child's death "from acute dysentery," and also saying he had no need to return, the convent would take care of the funeral arrangements. The husband insisted on seeing the child prior to burial and discovered bandages on the child's legs; removing them, he found deep holes in the inside of both knees, the kind of wound that could be caused by a hot poker. The nuns admitted it had been an "accidental death" but refused to discuss the details with the parents.Reports of abuse are still coming in from other orphanages in southern Ireland.
- Peter Lennon, "The Sisters of Evil," The Guardian Weekly, March 31, 1996 -- a discussion of the documentary, Dear Daughter by Louis Lentin, along with the deluge of corroborating reports that came in after the film was first aired on British TV.
The founder of a fundamentalist Christian community near Petersburg, Virginia, was convicted of manslaughter, along with the parents of a 2-year-old boy, after the boy died in 1982 as a result of two hours of paddling that she said was necessary to win a "test of wills" with the child.
- News of the Weird, "Weird Clergy"
ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD NEARLY BEATEN TO DEATH FOR MISBEHAVING IN BIBLE CLASS
Austin, Texas -- Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Thompson, pastor of the Spanish-language congregation at "independent fundamental" Capitol City Baptist church, and his twin brother and assistant at the church, Caleb Thompson, were convicted in the beating of a Bible student. They used an inch-thick tree branch to beat Louie Guerrero, an 11-year-old boy, for "goofing off" during Bible class because he was not taking preparations for a Scripture recital competition seriously. "The indication that we have is that (the boy) had been accused of cheating in memorizing Bible verses." Court records allege the beating was to physically "break" the boy for lying. As punishment, Pastor Thompson took the boy from the church school to Caleb's home, snapped a branch off a tree, and beat the boy as Caleb held him facedown on a bed. They turned up the radio to cover the child's cries. The boy told his family the beating lasted about 90 minutes, and he was allowed to take a break in the restroom during the beating. Contra the boy's testimony, Pastor Thomson said "the beating lasted about 10 minutes." The boy and a doctor who treated him said he was hit at least 100 times. Jurors saw graphic photos of the boy's back with red and purple bruises and blood spots from scrapes or puncture wounds.
Pastor Thompson and his brother took the boy home, where they met Louie's mother and stepfather and told them we have a "big problem." The pastor told the boy's stepfather that he was unable to "break" the boy, and that the stepfather should "beat Louie for two more hours" to fix it. "Do it!" Thompson said three times, according to court papers. The pastor added that he would not allow their son to return to church because his bad example might affect the other children.
After the pastor and his brother left, Louie's mother and stepfather discovered bruises and small cuts from his neck to his buttocks as a result of the beating. More bruising was found on his arms and the right side of his head. Police said the boy's back was a giant swath of red peppered with cuts and blood spots.
The pastor said the boy's parents had given him permission to punish the boy and that he didn't intend to inflict serious injuries. The boy's parents deny telling the pastor that he could hit their child. The boy was admitted to intensive care at Brackenridge Children's Hospital. Broken blood vessels had caused his kidneys to fail. A nurse told investigators that he needed a blood transfusion to live. The boy spent five days in intensive care after the beating.
The boy told police that in the past he had been spanked or forced to maintain a push-up position for an extended period, and that he has seen other children physically disciplined. Others members of the church have called Bobby Taylor, the boy's attorney, alleging abuses, and he advised them to call the police. Detective Douglas Havens of the child abuse unit said the boy reported seeing a church member spank another child at the church but that the child was not injured. "The indication of the family is that many church members approve of this kind of thing or at least have accepted the religious philosophy behind it." Havens added that the boy's family indicated harsh and severe discipline is often used in the Spanish-speaking segment of the church. Havens said the victim told police he had never before been hit with "the rod" as church members referred to the stick.
Pastor Thompson reportedly testified that at the time of the beating he thought he was doing the right thing, but that since the July 3 incident he has realized that his actions were "totally, totally, totally, totally, totally wrong."
"When I lay my head on my pillow at night, I try to forgive myself," Caleb Thompson said.
- "Texas Boy Nearly Beaten To Death by Pastor," July 9, 2002 (Reuters); The Houston Chronicle, "Accused Pastor, Brother Surrender, Austin Police Probe Possibility Other Youths Abused in Church," July 10, 2002; The Dallas Morning News, Newspaper, "Pastor, Brother Face Charges in Boys Beating," July 10, 2002; Fox News, "Pastor, Brother Charged With Beating Boy For Cheating In Bible Studies," July 10, 2002; AustinChronicle.com, Dec. 12, 2003: Politics: Naked City; Jim Vertuno, "Brothers Guilty in Beating at Bible Study" Associated Press/Dec. 10, 2003
SPANKED FOR CHRIST
Although I'm "against" spanking, it was such an integral part of my upbringing that I've internalized a huge part of the pro-spanking agenda. I feared spanking for almost everything. My parents often glowed from compliments on how well-behaved we were, yet we kids agreed that we only behaved in public because we were terrified of catching hell in private.
The rules for spankings changed with nearly every Bill Gothard seminar or other religious gathering my father/parents attended. They'd come home and announce that their three-stroke limit was unbiblical, that the proper way to spank was until the child *STOPPED* crying in demonstration of a surrendered spirit. Maybe that worked for meek kids, but I had strong lungs. Another time they learned that nightmares were a child's way of punishing her/him-self, so when one of us screamed out at night, Dad would bring the paddle in and "free" us from guilt so we could go back to sleep. Waking up to the sound of a sibling being spanked is traumatic in its own right. Ah, and our father made many wooden paddles in his shop. with a handle cut in and a leather loop for hanging convenience. Our mom inscribed Bible verses on the surface and helped stain and shellac the little numbers. They gave a bunch of them away as presents, but we had plenty left for ourselves.
Yet I remain conflicted about spanking. I *know* it's not a good idea, but any other way of raising kids is still foreign to me. A few years ago I read Irwin Hyman's book, The Case Against Spanking/Discipline Without Hitting, and was astounded that someone actually thought a spanking-free childhood would be okay, even preferable. After reading it I had a discussion with my youngest brother, who was often spanked quite severely, yet who says it's the only way to raise "Godly kids." Little parrot. "Mom and Dad spanked me so they could get their loving boy back." I'm 18 years older than he is, but not much further ahead of him in coming out of this mess. I still expect to be hit randomly without grounds.
The better -- and safer -- my personal situation gets, the more I remember bizarre things like my father's consideration of stoning as an appropriate punishment for my rebellious nature, and his friend who spanked a three-month-old because he "saw rebellion in his son's eyes". Oh, and forced fastings to bring us into contact with the Holy Spirit, but that's another topic. I still have a lot of nightmares, many of trying to escape from my father when he's coming after me to punish me.
Sorry to spew so much personal history here... I have a feeling that others besides P. and R. have experience with this stuff and understand the Biblical twist on narcissistic parenting. I haven't yet found a therapist who can do more than stare at me with mouth gaping if I talk about this stuff. One was so helpful as to remark, "Wow, your family is really f-cked up."
- Naomi [warning: memory trigger]
Date: Mar. 25, 2001
KIDS, YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, UNLESS YOU'RE A FIRM BELIEVER IN THE BIBLE, THEN IT'S AN OBLIGATION
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
- Proverbs 19:18 (The Hebrew word for "chasten" means literally "chasten with blows.")
The blueness of a wound cleanses away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
- Proverbs 20:30 (The Hebrew word translated "stripes" means "beating.")
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.
- Proverbs 26:3
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beats him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shall deliver his soul from Sheol.
- Proverbs 23:13-14
As a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee (with blows).
- Deuteronomy 8:5
For whom the Lord loves he chasteneth, and scourges every son whom he receives.
- Hebrews 12:6 (The Greek word translated "chasteneth," also means "beating.")
AND IF BEATIN' 'EM DON'T WORK.
Rev. William Einwechter, vice-moderator of the Association of Free Reformed Churches, is convinced that we as a nation are in danger of
suffering the penalty of God's wrath unless we begin stoning to death "disobedient children" who are in their "middle teens or older." The reverend cited Deuteronomy 21:18-21 as his keystone verse:
If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
He and his fellow Free Reformed Christians should not be chided for focusing on "disobedient children," because they feel that blasphemers, witches, adulterers, and those who seek to convert people to religions other than Free Reformed Christianity, are all candidates for a good stoning.
- E.T.B. (citing Rev. William Einwechter, "Stoning Disobedient Children," Chalcedon Report, Jan. 1998)
JOIN THE "RELIGION-RELATED CHILD ABUSE" BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB!
Just check the appropriate box, and we'll rush you our featured selection, Philip Greven's Spare the Child, that cites American Protestant authors who continue to promote violence against children. Next month we'll send you Alice Miller's For Your Own Good, which traces the roots of physical violence towards children in the western world to the influence of Christianity. To illustrate her point she includes many biographical accounts, including a look at the Christian training that Adolf Hitler received during childhood. And in the months ahead you can look forward to receiving Annie Laurie Gaylor's Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children that documents cases of child abuse by the clergy. And Mary Raftery and Eoin O'Sullivan's Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland's Industrial Schools, a story of incredible cruelties perpetrated by minions of state and church. And James A. Haught's Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness, and, Holy Hatred: Religious Conflicts of the '90s, which include some frightful accounts of religion-related child abuse. Don't delay! Sign up today!
Devout Christian parents contribute to the deaths of their children whenever they waive medical assistance for their child and instead rely on prayer in times of severe illness; or whenever they raise a child to help them evangelize a country filled with people violently hostile to their beliefs. Devout Christian parents have even pummeled their own infants or children to death in "tests of will" or while trying to "drive out a spirit of disobedience" or "exorcise a demon" from them. Such parents would sooner see their child suffer and risk death than risk "eternal hellfire." Which brings me to some even more bizarre cases of child abuse:
A small Danish (Protestant) sect went around killing as many newly baptized infants as they could discover, thereby preserving them from sin, from the miseries of this life, and from hell, and sending them infallibly to heaven. In the light of their beliefs they were acting rationally, but they did not secure Voltaire's approval: "These charitable persons omitted to consider that most fathers and mothers are sufficiently worldly to prefer having their sons and daughters with them than to see them slaughtered as a passport to Paradise."
- A. J. Ayer, Voltaire
Some (Catholic) Spaniards in Mexico and Peru used to baptize Indian infants then immediately dash their brains out; by this means they secured that those infants went to heaven.
- Bertrand Russell, Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?
One might compare the Inquisition's history of attempting to "save" a person's soul via torture and confession followed by execution. Moreover, according to towering Catholic theologians like Saint Augustine, an unbaptized infant was a "limb of Satan":
Infants, When Unbaptized, are in the Power of the Devil. The Christian faith unfalteringly declares that they who are cleansed in the laver of regeneration (i.e., the baptismal font) are redeemed from the power of the devil, and that those who have not yet been redeemed by such regeneration are still captive in the power of the devil, even if they be infant children of the redeemed . From the power of the devil . infants are delivered when they are baptized; and whosoever denies this, is convicted by the truth of the Church's very sacraments, which no heretical novelty in the Church of Christ is permitted to destroy or change, so long as the Divine Head rules and helps the entire body which He owns -- small as well as great. It is true, then, and in no way false, that the devil's power is exorcised in infants, and that they renounce him by the hearts and mouths of those who bring them to baptism, being unable to do so by their own; in order that they may be delivered from the power of darkness, and be translated into the kingdom of their Lord.
- Saint Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence, Book 1, Chapter 22
Some Catholic saints even experienced "spiritual visions" that depicted little children suffering in hell. Saint Fulgentius in the sixth century taught that "little children who have begun to live in their mother's womb and have there died, or who, having just been born, have passed away from the world without the sacrament of holy baptism must be punished by the eternal torture of undying fire."
Later, the church settled on a more merciful destination for unbaptized infants, "Limbo," which was kind of like "Hell Lite." But recently the Catholic Church has even abolished "Limbo," and stated that unbaptized infants who die go directly to heaven. (Ironically, that's the "heretical novelty" that Saint Augustine expelled so much hot air arguing against!)
Even as late as 1890, at least one approved Catholic work continued to depict young children suffering in hell, Rev. J. Furniss's, Tracts for Spiritual Reading, designed for First Communions, Retreats, Missions, etc. (New York: Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, 1890). The Reverend wrote, "See the little child in this red hot oven. Hear the fire! It beats its head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor. You can see on the face of this little child what you see on the faces of all in hell -- despair, desperate and horrible."
My daughter is five-years-old and, people say how inhumane, I let my daughter lay and cry herself to sleep for a week straight about the flames of Hell. See my daughter personally lay at night and say, "I don't want to go to Hell, I don't want to go to Hell," and she'd be laying there crying. I could have run right in there and gave her the Gospel and she could have made a profession of salvation, but I let it get deeper into her memory. Know that I mean? That there is a Hell. And that will affect her whole life. That's why she's an obedient child.
- Barry Weaver, street preacher, quoted in Jim Naughton, "The Devil and Duffy Strode: In Marion, North Carolina, a Boy Preacher's Hellfire Gospel Alarms a Quiet Community," Liberty, Jan./Feb. 1989
WARNING: Jeffrey Dahmer had Fundamentalist Christian parents!
- "Tagline" ( www.HolySmoke.org )
And blasphemous "shock rock" star, Marilyn Manson, was forced to attend a fundamentalist Christian school in his youth.
Some devout parents would sooner risk the loss of their child's love in order to retain what they imagine to be "God's." For instance, a televised report (on Dateline or 20/20) in 1996 told how some "Christian counseling centers" boasted in their brochures they could "treat homosexuality." Children and adolescents who had been "treated" at such "counseling centers" told reporters they had been locked up, held down, and screamed at to "induce shame" and to "teach them how they should feel about what they were doing to their parents and God." Worse forms of abuse also took place. Some children and teenagers were detained for weeks, months, even years. At least one young girl sued her parents after she escaped from the "counseling center."
Like all creeds that claim the total allegiance of the individual -- like communism, for example, in our own day -- early Christianity was a powerful divisive force. Every town and every house, says Eusebius, is divided by a civil war waged between Christians and idolaters. Justin tells of a Christian wife who was denounced by her pagan husband; Tertullian speaks of cases where wives have been repudiated or sons disinherited for turning Christian; in Perpetua's account of her relations with her father we see how a family could be torn asunder by religious differences. For such situations the blame was naturally laid on the Christian missionaries. Celsus has an illuminating passage, too long to quote, about Christians who get hold of pagan children, encourage them to disobey their fathers and schoolmasters, and lure them into Christian coventicles; often they work on the womenfolk as well. Origen does not deny that this happens; and Jerome later paints an equally unfavorable picture of fanatical monks who worm themselves into the homes of the aristocracy and exploit the guilt-feelings of women. Christianity, like communism, was a domestic trouble- maker.
- E. R. Dodds, Pagan and Christian In An Age of Anxiety (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1970), p. 115-116.
To the contention by [the pagan philosopher] Celsus that Christians took children away from their parents... Origin [the Christian apologist] could only respond that Christians did not lure children away from better things or incite them to worse things. This was a lame argument, one that could hardly have appeased a pagan who cherished family life and worked hard to give his children a good education and a place in society. In this case, Origen's near admission of guilt may only have confirmed many suspicions held by pagans that Christianity was by and large a disruptive force.
- Stephen Benko, Pagan Rome and the Early Christians (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1984), p. 157.
EXTRA BONUS ADDENDA!
THE "GOOD OLD DAYS"
(NOSTALGIA FOR A GOLDEN PAST THAT NEVER WAS)
I was at a party where somebody was talking about the Good Old Days. I was like, "Which Good Old Days? During the McCarthy blacklist? Or when blacks couldn't vote? When they burned women at the stake because they were herbalists? Those Good Old Days?"
- Beth Lapides
In the so-called "happy days" of the 1950s, alcoholism soared; wife-beating was not really considered a crime (many psychologists explained that battered wives were masochists who provoked their husbands into beating them); a husband raping his wife was not a crime at all, but a sign that the woman was deficient in fulfilling her marital obligations; one half of the marriages that began in the 1950s ended in divorce; the number of pregnant brides more than doubled; in 1957 there were more than twice as many births to girls aged fifteen to nineteen than in 1983; the number of illegitimate babies put up for adoption rose 80% from 1944 to 1955; in 1958, 462,000 pounds of tranquilizers were consumed in the U.S. and a year later that number more than tripled; witch hunts against communists extended to homosexuals and other political and social "deviants;" racism was deeply institutionalized; 50% of black families lived below the poverty line; migrant workers suffered appalling working and living conditions; in the mid-50s 25% of the population lived below the poverty line; the high school drop out rate was 50%; and there were over 250,000 reported cases of polio, mostly in children.
- Figures based on information in Stephanie Coontz, The Way We Never Were, Peter McWilliams, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, and, Stephen Moore and Julian Simon, It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last 100 Years
Lower divorce rates in previous generations are misleading. "Lots of marriages in the 19th Century ended in desertion, not divorce," Grooms said.
- Greg Garrison, "Baptist Lead in Divorce," The Birmingham News, 12/30/1999
SCENE FROM A TV SHOW
Husband: I want our kids to grow up in the same world we did.
Wife: You want our kids to grow up in a world with bomb shelters, polio, and separate drinking fountains?
- from Dave's World (TV program, 1993)
People always talk about the good old days. When were they? Not during Biblical times. In the Bible, there were only about three good days -- just before God got around to creating the fish and animals -- and the world's been f*cked up ever since.
You think there was less crime in 1929? Maybe so, but back then, a white man could lynch a black man, rape a white woman, and get a seven-dollar fine. During Biblical times, if you did something really bad, they would rip out your tongue, tie your arms and legs to four horses, and crack them all on the ass. Or they could stone you to death. Or boil you in oil. So don't kid yourself, the world is much nicer than it once was. In fact, considering the alternatives -- racks, guillotines, skinning, being fed to the lions -- guns look pretty humane.
- Chris Rock, "The Good Old Days," Rock This!
Is our late twentieth century really darker than, say, the fourteenth? That was when the Black Death killed more than a third of the population from Iceland to India, returning four more times before the era was up... Gangs of terrorists plundered Europe... The Hundred Years War took on a life of its own... New weapons... Widespread peasant revolt... and terrible autocratic repression.
- Lloyd J. Averill, Religious Right, Religious Wrong
The lawlessness of the 1860's through the 1890's was "an American phenomenon with no equal in the rest of the world"... The crime rate rose 445 percent against a population rise of 170 percent.
- Otto L. Bettmann, The Good Old Days -- They Were Terrible!
The idle chatterer is the sort who says that people nowadays are much more wicked than they used to be.
- Theophrastus, Ethical Characters, written around 300 A.D.
You are not as good as you think; the world is not as bad as you think.
- Rabbi Wolf of Strikov
Do not say, "Why were the old days better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.
- The Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NIV and NASB translations)