Wednesday, June 30, 2004

perhaps my religious upbringing was a bit different, but in all the sermons preached to me, one of the biggest lessons was the value of thinking. thinking independently of cant and thinking logically for oneself. in other words, to be skeptical of everything. critical of everything. i don't think people think much nowadays.

frankly, i'll leave arguments about doctrine to theologues. i'll admit i have doubt about things and that's as far as i'll go. (my private struggles with some aspects of my faith are exactly that - private and no one's business.) i'm talking about how religious faith intersects with the public sphere.
every month my church's young singles adult group puts together a dinner; a few years ago, the topic was Faith & Politics. one man at my table was very...orthodox. i sensed this and kept my mouth pretty much shut; i'd had a long day and didn't want to get into a shouting match with a stranger over dinner. but when the question about prayer in public schools came up and he loudly advocated it, i put my fork down and disagreed. also loudly. my disagreement had nothing to do with whether or not children from other faith backgrounds would be offended. it was a political disagreement.

and when i said that, as a christian, i was uncomfortable with the idea of a government inserting religion where it doesn't belong, pretty much linking the state to a religious institution, that the separation of church/state primarily protects churches from government control and interference, he called me a bad christian.

whenever someone calls me a bad christian or an improper woman, or even 'twisted', i know that a rupture has just occured. a conversation dies because of an ad hominem attack. (ad hominem = arguing 'to the man', a personal attack; a rhetorical strategy that distracts you from an argument by moving attention away from the merits of that argument to the person who made it. basically, it's a cheap shot coming from someone who can't muster arguments on their own.)

though the majority of people in this country identify themselves as religious, christian or somehow faithful, the level of religious discourse, especially in some of our smaller and more urban communities, is particularly low. it shows, for one, that the religious community doesn't have much of a sense of humor about things. so someone disagrees with you - so what?

and it shows the religious community to be rather...reactionary instead of thoughtful. being thoughtful doesn't mean capitulation or even compromise. it just means, take a breath, wipe the spittle from your chin and make your argument. if your argument consists of 50 scriptures that supposedly support your view why church/state should be immediately welded together, then so be it. but expect a challenge on those merits.
at the gay pride parade this past weekend, there was a protest from local religious groups. from what i heard, there was one scuffle (not really bright to shove and spit at a group of muscular gay men in their own neighborhood) and a lot of yelling. and signs saying God loves you but you're going to burn in hell. i have to wonder at the argumentation and point of all that. leaving what they're saying aside (since i have gay friends, i have my own ideas) i wonder why they're saying it. is it to convert? is it just to make known your disapproval? is it because you are compelled to?

it makes me think of that passage in the bible where the disciples are told to go into different towns, say their message, and if their message isn't accepted, leave and shake the dust from their sandals. i don't quite recall an admonition to set up a gauntlet, write a few signs, spit at some strangers and scream they're going to hell. i don't know why i mentioned that. it just makes me mad.


Ralph Reed's Gamble

back in the 80s and early 90s the conservative right had a new poster boy, ralph reed. he was clean cut, well-spoken and just a little bit scary in his christian coalition fervor. (think smooth-faced youthful brownshirt). so straight. so narrow.

and now, so scandalous.

euww. - CitizenLink - FNIF News - Berkowitz Interview Draws Criticism

his conversion could be real, whatever.
but that's just icky.

almost as icky as accepting money from rev. moon...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

is God a republican?

Sean Hannity: God is "no Democrat"; Dennis Mill ... [Media Matters for America]

according to conservatives, yes. wow. who knew??

since i'm generation x, i'll just sit back and wait for some universal irony to kick their asses in november.

strange bedfellows, pt 2

The Gadflyer: Moon Over Washington

no way:

But now that he's forged unbreakable ties with conservative Christians, Moon has moved on to African-American ministers, and, through them, allies in the Democratic Party. This has been below the radar of the press, but not for lack of outlandishness. Moon celebrated Easter Sunday, 2003 by launching a coast to coast series of "tear down the cross/Who is Rev. Moon?" events, targeting pastors in poor neighborhoods. From the Bronx to L.A., Moon's people were convincing pastors to pull the crosses off their walls and replace them with his Family Federation flag. An old hymn was invoked: "I'll trade the old cross for a crown."

is the world going insane? first billy graham and now this? do people not remember than Moon was investigated for criminal acts about 20 yrs ago?

if it wasn't so horrifically wrong, i'd laugh my butt off. News | Army to call up retired, discharged troops News | Army to call up retired, discharged troops

wow. it really isn't ending. is the draft too far behind?

Strange Bedfellows

Better Angels: Christians and Neocons Join Forces to Drag Us Into War with North Korea

Summary: there is a quiet movement to pass a North Korean Human Rights Bill in the Senate. It's still in the planning stages but it's been in the works for about a year.

The site above is a list of the groups backing the bill. I'm only mentioning this for a couple of reasons.

1. Neocons are nuts. Overly militaristic and a little short on planning, their ideologies mired us in Iraq when we could have been concentrating on war in Afghanistan. They're heavy ideologues of the most reactionary sort.

2. I think religious groups need to be careful about the company they keep. Do some basic research, people. Ask what's to be gained for all these different groups to converge on North Korea like this. (And also ask if we can afford this kind of venture.) I also think it's a mistake to join messianic missions to military ones. Religious zealotry mixed with heavy firepower is never a good combination. (Think of every single imperial and colonial venture in Western history.)

Is this what the Bush Doctrine has brought us? Now that we're in the process of pulling out of Iraq, are we now looking at other countries to 'transform'? It reminds me of that scene in Batman when The Joker decides to 'improve' his girlfriend and mutilates her face. The word is 'transform' but the result is ' disaster.'

Will we be in a state of perpetual war until our nation in bankrupt and we become wholly isolated from other nations?

Monday, June 28, 2004

surfing during the last few minutes of the day at the office...came across this gem, said by conservative lackwit and author, ann coulter.

"God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" -- Ann Coulter, "Hannity & Colmes," Fox News, 6/20/01

why are people conservatives, again?

Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Does torture work? | Does torture work?

Earlier I posted an angry rant against a post that had shown on my father's site. One of my screeds called the original poster 'ahistorical.'

This is an article that gives a better, more measured, critique of the use of torture in battle.

And it's a fine example of using extant texts to make a point about history (yeah, it's called research.)

Monday, June 21, 2004

unbelievable - the moonies in congress

ok, i may be progressive, but there is nothing progressive enough in me to make me think that THIS is right:

June 21, 2004 | You probably imagine your congressman hard at work in the Capitol debating legislation, making laws -- you know, governing. But your newspaper probably didn't tell you that one night in March, members of Congress hosted a crowning ritual for an ex-convict and multibillionaire who dressed up in maroon robes and declared himself the Second Coming.

On March 23, the Dirksen Senate Office Building was the scene of a coronation ceremony for Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times newspaper and UPI wire service, who was given a bejeweled crown by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill. Afterward, Moon told his bipartisan audience of Washington power players he would save everyone on Earth as he had saved the souls of Hitler and Stalin -- the murderous dictators had been born again through him, he said. In a vision, Moon said the reformed Hitler and Stalin vouched for him, calling him "none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent."

To many observers, this bizarre scene would have looked like the apocalypse as depicted in "Left Behind" novels. Moon, 84, the benefactor of conservative foundations like the American Family Coalition -- who served time in the 1980s for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice -- has views somewhere to the right of the Taliban's Mullah Omar. Moon preaches that gays are "dung-eating dogs," Jews brought on the Holocaust by betraying Jesus, and the U.S. Constitution should be scrapped in favor of a system he calls "Godism" -- with him in charge. The man crowned "King of Peace" by congressmen once said, according to sermons reprinted in his church's Unification News: "Suppose I were to hit you with the baseball bat to stop you, bloodying your ear and breaking a bone or two, yet still you insisted on doing more work for Father."

What, exactly, drew at least a dozen members of Congress to Moon's coronation? (By the Unification Church's estimate, 81 congressmen attended, although that number is probably high.) The event was the grand finale of Moon's coast-to-coast "tear down the cross" Moonification tour, intended to remove Christian crosses from almost 300 churches in poor neighborhoods -- the idea being that the cross was an obstacle to uniting religions under Moon. Yet the Dirksen ceremony was sold as a celebration of world peace. According to a cheery promotional video released by Moon's International and Interreligious Federation for World Peace, the ceremony marked the dawn of "the era of the Eternal Peace Kingdom, one global family under God." Moon's coronation also cured God's pain, the announcer explains.

By all accounts, most of the congressmen in attendance didn't expect a coronation. Instead, they thought they were heading to an awards dinner honoring activists from their home states as "Ambassadors for Peace." A flier for the event claimed an impressive who's-who of organizers, including Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Charlie Black, a top Republican strategist. Democrats were named, too, like Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee, who, incidentally, claims to have not even heard of the event.

And then there was Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Ill., the only congressman who has publicly expressed pride in the crowning ceremony, who praised Moon for bringing religious leaders together in his Ambassadors for Peace tours to Jerusalem and beyond. Davis, it was revealed this week in the Chicago Reader, took money from Moon-organized fundraisers, who also gave to a charity of his choice. Davis told an Anglican magazine that Moon's remarks were "similar to a baseball team owner telling team members that 'we are the greatest team on earth'" to get them fired up.

At the time, the surreal event went uncovered by the Washington press corps, save for Moon's own Washington Times, which ran a brief description of the festivities. The story is getting some traction only now, after it was recently reported in the online magazine The Gadflyer. But what transpired at Dirksen two months ago remains a mystery to most Americans -- and those constituents of congressmen who attended Moon's crowning.

The crowning ritual indeed began as a somewhat normal awards ceremony. Ribbons that looked like Olympic gold medals were given to Rep. Bartlett and others. But then it took an odd turn. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., whose office maintained he did not attend the event until I provided photographs of him there -- spoke beside a photograph of himself pinning an American flag on Libyan leader Moammar Khadafy, back when President Bush was praising him for abandoning WMD programs and before he was suspected of trying to kill the leader of Saudi Arabia.

Then, after Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., gave a speech praising one of Moon's Ambassadors for Peace, the civil rights veteran Rev. Walter Fauntroy, an unnamed Lubovitch rabbi took the stage declaring: "I have never seen this miracle where Jews, Christians and Muslims come together for peace!" Then Moon's cleric Chung Kwak took the mic. Before his days as the commander of the UPI wire service, Kwak, Moon said in a 1997 speech, was authorized to whomp on Unification Church members who slacked off. "Particularly those who are sleeping and hiding, Reverend Kwak's baseball bat will fall upon you at any time," Moon said. Now Kwak was standing in a Senate office building declaring Moon the king of the "second and third Israel."

It might almost make sense for conservative congressmen to honor Moon in this way. After all, a writer in Moon's magazine Insight wrote in February that it's long past time for Republicans to thank the billionaire Korean preacher for his gifts. "[T]he continued refusal of Beltway conservatives publicly to acknowledge their steadfast patron is, of course, scandalous," wrote contributor Paul Gottfried. Moon has sunk an estimated $2-$4 billion into the money-losing Times, and countless other causes -- like Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

Moon has also made inroads in the Bush administration, as Salon reported last September, with plum appointments for former or present Moon VIPs, and almost half a million dollars in abstinence-only grants supporting Moon's anti-sex crusade. To teach teens that "free sex" is revolting, they're asked by Moon's followers to drink other people's spit out of a cup, and then consider how much more vigilant you must be when sharing other body fluids.

While Moon once focused his energies on anti-Communism, making him popular among Republicans in the Reagan era -- his organization gave the first $100,000 to Oliver North's Nicaraguan Freedom Fund -- he has now shifted gears, aiming left. He's planning a "Peace United Nations" entwining religions instead of countries and is trying to make friends in the Congressional Black Caucus, like Rep. Davis. No congressman, on the right or left, has publicly denounced Moon for his momentous speeches describing his "peace kingdom" as a place where "gays will be eliminated" in a "purge on God's orders" he says will be like Stalin's. And many are surprisingly comfortable around a guy known for over-the-top speeches about the holy "love organ of life" and its various fluids. In a 1994 speech, he asked: "Do you like the smell of your husband's semen? Answer to Father. Does it smell good or bad? You may not like the smell of your wife's stool, but do you smell your own? Why don't you smell your own but you smell your wife's? Because you are not totally one."

But if Moon pulled off his greatest trick on Mar. 23, fooling some unsuspecting congressmen into attending his coronation, it's not as if his stunt was new -- for more than 25 years, Moon has sought to surround himself with powerful people to gain credibility and legitimacy, including presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. If the congressmen had simply run "Ambassadors for Peace" through the Google search engine, they would have discovered the group was tied to Moon and his grand plans for the future of Christianity -- plans to "reconcile" religions by tearing the Christian cross off church walls and persuading Jews to sign apologies for giving Jesus over to the Romans.

Weldon, for one, had a long time to do that Google search. As far back as June 19, 2003, he's listed in a speech by Rep. Danny K. Davis on the floor of the House of Representatives honoring Moon: "Many of my colleagues will join me and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Weldon), co-chair, in giving tribute to some of the outstanding Americans from our districts," said Davis. "We are grateful to the founders of Ambassadors for Peace, the Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung [Moon], for promoting the vision of world peace, and we commend them for their work."

As for Moon's vision of world peace, there are widespread reports, even acknowledged within Moon's church, of allegations that in 1989 he allowed brutal inquisitions to take place. The inquisitor, a man Moon apparently believed was the reincarnation of his son, was allegedly encouraged to tie people to radiators and beat them. As a result, Moon's trusted lieutenant, Bo Hi Pak, was said to have suffered minor brain damage. Wrote his daughter-in-law, Nansook Hong, in her tell-all book: "Sun Myung Moon seemed to take pleasure in the reports that filtered back to East Garden of the beatings being administered by the Black Heung Jin. He would laugh raucously if someone out of favor had been dealt an especially hard blow." Members of Congress may want to do their homework before they crown their next King of Peace.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

For Father's Day

Dads Need Our Support, Too (

there's a group of men out there who live in small apartments, separated from the families they started. they pay child support. some don't. they float on a cluttered puddle of disuse. some get bitter and think their situation is endemic of how feminism has ruined men (shout out to that sad sad sad some just disappear, becoming even less relevant.

but what if we thought differently about a man's role? the traditional roles we're often locked into can cause more stress than not. a father is more than provider. he's more than a cash machine. there's a crisis in masculine identity today and rather than blame feminism (which actually helps everyone - hello, paid maternity and paternity leave) i think we need to acknowledge the fact that a changing society requires that we need to change how we think of fathers.

my sister is married with two adorable kids. she and her husband went to high school and college together. they've been together longer than jennifer lopez and all her marriages combined. they share in everything. she works, so does he; she takes care of the house, so does he; when she has to leave earlier in the morning, he gets the kids ready; when he works late, she's making dinner and after picking up the kids from day care. they're partners. one day dad looked at them and said that times are different; he didn't do any of this when we were kids.

well, for good or bad, times are different. our lives are more quickly paced; our obligations are more varied; our lives are more cluttered. yes, one could regress to the simpler equation of mothers staying at home while the father is simply the provider. but now, families need more than a provider, don't you think?

i look at my relationship with my own father, my last remaining parent. last night we talked on the phone for 90 minutes, talking deeply about relationships, communication, and catching up on family news. we usually email each other every week. he's a conservative and i'm liberal and i once freaked out in a museum cafeteria and yelled that he was a fascist forcing a bunch of chinese tourists to move away from our table, but we staunchly defend each other. my sister and i are closer to our father than we thought we could be.

the other day a friend of mine said that i was lucky that my father knew me and my sister so well. it's true. my dad knows us. we know him. i feel sorry for those families who only look at their fathers or children across a huge gulf, through these narrow channels: provider, worker, dead-beat. what about friend, mentor, teacher, and guide?

if we want our parents, our fathers, to see us as whole, complex human beings, shouldn't we want to see fathers the same way?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

whoops. My bad.

Yahoo! News - U.S. Will Revise Data on Terror

so let me get this right:
bush & co are good for this country because they tell the truth, fight terrorism and protect us from...what?

so, in addition to lying about medicare, the environment, women's health, the war and weapons of mass destruction, torture, the budget, and yellow cake uranium, this president and his cabinet also lie about whether or not we're safe.

just checking.

Black Job Loss: Another reason to switch horses in mid-stream

AlterNet: Black Job Loss Deja Vu

also to be unpacked later on.
but a small thought: there's more to the next presidency than what's going on in people's bedrooms.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


AlterNet: Ethnic Communities Speak out Against Gay Marriage

will unpack this later.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Abstinence-Only Education, pt 2

so let's go back to that conference. i've just raised my hand, being a college junior who's just learned how to put a condom on a banana, and asked why the church won't talk about birth control as a way to curb their teens from giving birth.

and my father's just said, christians don't believe in condoms.

now, we all know that's not true. christians totally believe in condoms; we also believe in the rhythm method, vasectomies, and the Pill. but just not for teens. but this wasn't my question. i had asked, if you want to stop pregnancies, why not teach them how not to get pregnant? but this question about pregnancy got conflated into the sex prevention question.

two different questions, people: stopping a particular outcome of sex and stopping sex altogether.

if you want to prevent an outcome of sex, like pregnancy or disease, you must teach how to protect for it. like it or not, a latex barrier is the most practical material barrier against disease and pregnancy.

if you want to stop your kids from having sex (until they're married? good luck) until they're ready to make rational choices about their bodies and their futures, you're going to have to give them alternatives to going out on their own and learning wacky stuff from their friends. (wacky myth #1: you can't get pregnant from anal sex. you can; it's rare, but you can, especially if the dude isn't wearing a condom and backsplash occurs. total. pregnancy.)

one, get over sex. sex is a biological function; our bodies are made for it. there are mechanics involved that you probably haven't thought of in years; well, get to thinkin' cuz you need to think about them with your kids. that means you need to know more about sex than your kids do. get over the language embarrassment. call a blow job a blow job. it's not making love, it's having sex, to them. it's not intercourse, it's sex.

two, solo action is a good thing. it's natural. come on. when i was 11 my mother, a minister's wife, told me to explore my body. thank goodness i did. if i hadn't, i would have been a burnt out, bitter woman. nuff said. (all within a context, of course. you don't want to raise a generation of rabid wankers.)

three, give them consequences. real consequences. not just, this is your penis with the clap. take them to a clinic, take them to a hotline. take them to a single mother's home. make them volunteer in places that show the consequences of some crappy decision making. you want that college dream? think of what college is like for a single mother. you want that cool prom? how about going to prom pregnant or with a hot laser up your butt because of warts? but you have to talk with them about what these consequences are. they think they could handle it. well, experiment. get creative. do that cosby thing. see if they can make those adult-like decisions in a safe way, with you around. and hey, when you're talking with them, you're going to have to listen, too. they'll tell you stuff you won't believe and if you freak out at what so and so pulled with the football team, you've just lost it.

four, give them reasons not to have sex when they're too young to handle it. like, college. like, a life that has a better chance of not being over because you let some smooth talking kid get in your pants. like, a life with a partner that you can truly feel intimate with. treat the complexity of sexual activity with the complexity it deserves.

i think that for most in the church, sex is simple. the marriage bed is undefiled, and all that. but having looked around at the sexual dysfunction that exists within the church itself, it's not that simple at all. if christian parents can't communicate between themselves about sex in a rational and responsible manner, how can they talk to their kids about it? if christian parents still treat sex like it's a naughty subject only to be giggled about in women's retreats, or judged at when the guys get together, basically infantilizing it, then how can you tell your daughter that she's more than a sexual object? (not that later on, like when she's 35, a little objectification can't be hot.) how can you tell your son that a real man is more than how his package swings, or how many babies he can make, if you can't teach him responsibility?

there is nothing wrong with abstinence - if you have the discipline for it. (see how this flies if you called it what it really is: celibacy.) there is something wrong when you think that the way to teach young adults about sex is only through abstinence. because what you're actually teaching them is a lack - the absence of sex. if you want to teach them how to have a life without sex, then go for it. i think that's totally weird and neurotic, but that's just you, i guess. if you want to teach them that sex is a gift (one that should be unwrapped at its proper time), then that takes more than abstinence. that takes communication, care, and trust.

Abstinence-Only: Does It Work?

The New York Times > Health > Health Care Policy > Personal Health: Abstinence-Only: Does It Work?

my sister and i learned about sex because of our german shepherds. one morning, or afternoon, i looked out the back porch window and saw them stuck together. puzzled, i got my sister. we thought it looked funny. then we thought it hurt. especially for baba, the bitch. so we got dad, who explained in graphic detail, what mating dogs really did. and of course, this led to what people did. also, in graphic detail. gross. we were around 9 or 10.

then, maybe a year or so later, i was in the 6th grade and brought home a letter from school asking permission to include me in a short series of classes on sex education. there were going to be films, books, gender-specific classes and discussions. nothing co-ed (probably thinking that boys and girls were already too skeeved out to actually talk about it together.) my parents signed the paper and i got to learn about sammy sperm and olivia ovum. fast forward a couple of years to junior high health classes, high school health classes (i hit high school just as AIDS hit the airwaves) and the story is about the same: the school telling parents, hey we're about to talk about sex to your kids, and the parents saying, go ahead.

two things are happening here. one, my parents talked about sex in one particular context: monogamy and marriage. sex before marriage was a huge no-no because of our faith community, primarily, but also because...well, nice girls just didn't. (of course, i'd learn later what nice girls did in my church, but that's a different story.) the word NO was our mantra. NO, you may not ask me out. NO, you may not kiss me. NO, euww, that's gross. we learned our lessons well.

but we also went to school. i learned about condoms in school; in fact, i held one for the first time when i was in 10th grade. i learned about STDs, birth control (and all the stats on which were the most effective for which kind of activity), abortion and what erogenous zones were. i watched movies about herpes, chlamydia, syphillis, crabs, gonhorrhea, genital warts and, because of AIDS, was totally indoctrinated in what safer sex was supposed to be. and, of course, i was heavily armed with the parental NO.

then college. in my summer orientation i learned how to put a condom on a banana. i learned what a dental dam was. i learned about other things like cunninglingus, rimming and lube. i learned about the sponge, spermacide, different kinds of condoms, why latex is better than non-latex, and i learned about other types of sexuality. and, i was still armed with the parental NO. in fact, we were more than armed with it; the parental NO was being praised from the pulpit on a regular basis. my sister and i, daughters of the church, were pretty much the only ones not pregnant by the time we graduated college. in fact, we were the only ones to graduate college.

does abstinence only sex education work? by definition, no. because it isn't sex education. sex education teaches you about sex, albeit not all of it, but the general things - what it is, what the accessories are, the types that exist, and how to prevent some of the accidents of sex. abstinence is only one small part of that education; like the condom, it is a tactic in a whole strategy around sex. like the dental dam, abstinence is a tool that allows you to negotiate how sexually active you want to be - or your kids to be. there are two different arguments being made when we talk about sex education; if you want to talk about preventing young people from having sex, that's one thing. if you want to talk about how to teach young people to be sexually responsible, that's something else entirely.

let's get back to the church and its role in shaping sexual attitudes toward sex; clearly, in the church where i grew up, there were some slippages. as far as i knew we were all on message when it came to sex. publicly, the church's position was firm on NO sex if you weren't married. how many teen forums did i sit through listening to how premarital sex was inappropriate for christian teens? tons. how many panels on teen pregnancy avoided talk of comprehensive sex education even while admitting their churches were filling with single teenaged mothers? tons. how many groans of disappointment in our church when a promising young college bound guy admitted to getting his girlfriend pregnant? tons. so where was the slip? despite the message, what was going on?

i remember one conference, my father was on a panel and i was in the audience. i was spending my saturday morning at a teen conference and i could have been reading or something. i was already in college by this time. (and,yes, still armed with the NO.) there was much hand-wringing about the increasing stats of teen pregnancy in los angeles; there was much stern lecturing. i could totally tell not a single teenager in the room believed anything that anyone was saying - about saving oneself, about rules of God, about christian fortitude. i wanted to see what would happen if a different point of view was heard, so i raised my hand and asked, well since it's clear that this isn't working, why not tell teenagers better ways to protect themselves and actually prevent becoming pregnant? like condoms?

and that's when my dad said, christians don't believe in condoms, since premarital sex is outside the bounds of behavior for us. and that was the end of that topic. we moved on. i settled down thinking, well, clearly somebody didn't get that memo.

and the memo is still being unread. despite the popularity of abstinence pledges, and even despite the years of AIDS and HIV, sexual activity among young people is still increasing. sexually transmitted diseases are increasing within populations of color and young people. so, there's something that's not being transmitted by the 'just say no' message. one, it's too simplistic. saying NO doesn't mean anything unless there's a value system, a consistent one, to back it up. the parental NO worked on me and my sister because we saw it followed through; our family was vigilant, man. if you had a penis, you had to suffer through a fbi-level background check. you had to endure a conversation with my dad about sex that was so harsh, it would make you sick. you had to earn the right to come near us.

just say no is also a failure in logic. it's like saying 'the only way to not be drunk is to not drink.' yeah, well, good luck with that. the failsafe way to not get drunk isn't not to drink. it's not to mix, drink in moderation, and don't drink when you're not legally allowed (because, frankly, you're a teenager and you don't know about limits.) the 'just' in just say no is always a little too pat. it's much better to show how making bad decisions can have a larger effect on your life. because a teenager having sex isn't always about a teenager having sex. sometimes it's about something that's missing that they need filled.

which gets us back to those two separate questions when it comes to sex education.
do you want to prevent them from having sex as kids, or do you want them to be sexually responsible adults?

Friday, June 04, 2004

yeah, i know - sacred cow

this was just...interesting.
that's all. interesting.

did dobson say this stuff? shocking to me. i used his coloring books and listened to him on the radio when i was a kid.

i'm too high on vicodin (thanks, wisdom teeth) to think anymore about this, but i will. all sorts of stuff have been happening lately.