Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Crazy Christians

Honestly, I think that I should just make this a continuing series. My ex-roommate is a "recovering Catholic", but his freshman year of high school he was still going to the Bible studies, and so he's still on the mailing list.

He just recieved this letter today (printed in italics):
Hey guys,
It's been a long time... I hope ya all are having a great summer??? To get to the chase.... Prayer is needed!

YEAH! 'Cuz prayer does something!
Our fellow brothers and sisters have been and are falling into the grasp and lies of the evil one through pornography, pre-marital sex, rape, impurity, etc...

Did he just equate consensual sex with rape? I'm sorry, but I don't really see the two as equal. Not to mention, the fact that they keeping saying "the evil one" a) as if it was an actual person and b) not saying "Satan" "Lucifer" what-have-you. It honestly puts me in mind of saying "He-who-shall-not-be-Named" in Harry Potter books.
What makes matters worse is that the evil one is leading them straight to hell - ETERNAL PUNISHMENT and FOR EVER.

They are REALLY SERIOUS because they keep using ALL CAPS and seperate "forever" into two words.
Even at the loss of one soul to eternal damnation should bring us to tears - out of love of Christ and out of love of our fellow brother... A good place to start in this war against impurity and the culture of death is in our own town at the porn shop.

20 bucks says that some guy was caught by another member of his Bible study at the porn shop and needed to come up with an excuse fast as to why he was there, and came up with this.
A few guys and myself are going to start praying the whole Rosary - all 4 mysteries - in front of the porn shop on Saturdays from 9 - 11 pm (or when we end...)

We might be overtaken by the....holy spirt to stay longer.
We are praying for the poor souls who are trapped by the lies of the evil one, for the workers - all people involved in the industry, for the shop in Grand Forks and those around the world, the fathers who are enslaved, the sons, the family, all forms of pornography, sins of the flesh, etc...

Snark aside, I could get behind activism in the name of ending worker exploitation. But what this is going to be is shame someone for liking sex. The place is the only place I know of in town to get a vibrator, but I don't see sisters being mentioned as a consumer.
I am asking those of you who are in the area if you could join us? If you can't come or stay for the whole thing that's ok - even if you could come for one Hail Mary or one Our Father that would make all the difference in the world - especially eternally...

Correct my theology, but if you are in Hell, according to the Catholics, you're there forever? How is this making an eternal difference?
If you can't make it I beg you if you could pray with us - for our intentions - again even if it's just one Hail Mary... Also, if you could spread this message to any other brothers in Christ that would be most excellent! Let us run to our trapped brothers and sisters with the love of Christ!

Yeah, awesome dude! This is most excellent love! But not in the gay or sexual way. I love your cross, sister.
Some things to keep in mind... As we go about this we need to be careful - we are going to Hell itself... We are going there to pray and love and only to pray and give love - It must be understood that if we are yelled at, put down, spit upon, etc. we can't be yelling, arguing, or fighting back - that is exactly what the evil one would want... We are simply going to do the most powerful thing we can - pray and pray out of love. As I said earlier... this is exactly the place (as always) where we will need Mary as our shield and Christ as our sword!

Twenty dollars says that if they don't block anybody at the door, no one will say a word to them.
Through Mary our mother Christ our Saviour this will be huge! If you are thinking there are other things to worry about - well to prevent a man from viewing women as objects could be the difference of preventing him from raping someone in the future - the difference between an abortion.... - my brothers, this is HUGE!!!

What does rape and abortion have to do with a vibrator and massage oil?
Thank you guys so much for your love of Christ and the Gospel! God speed and I hope and pray all is well!


P. S. Here's the address: *** *rd St. S. - If you are heading towards East Grand Forks on Demers down town, take a right on 3rd St. by the big water wheel thing, then go one block, and it will be on the corner to your right. Any Questions call me - 701-***-**** God bless!

The business in question is the Plain Brown Wrapper, known in most circles as the PBR (phonetic acronymn to confuse those not in the know). Now, I can understand pornography to be morally questionable, but that's not just what the PBR sells: it also sells candles, massage oil, and toys of varying types. I'm upset: I'd really like to counter-protest on Saturday, but I'll be out of town.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

North Dakota

Ah North Dakota: there's nothing like the "benign" wingnuts in full force. Any time I want to go to the cities, or visit my Grandma, these are the lovely little billboards assaulting my eyes.

I respect freedom of speech, and I am fully aware that the price of freedom of speech is I don't get freedom from speech. But it irritates me to know end: you cannot get a pro-choice billboard up in North Dakota. Even if there was enough of a presence to have a pro-choice organization up here (which we don't) we still could not put up billboards. The entire billboard industry here in ND refuses to put them up around here: some for moral reasons, some because it's bad for business. Now, you tell me: is that free speech? It sounds like propaganda to me.

If I every win the North Dakota state lottery, I am buying every single one of those billboard companies. I am buying them and put pro-choice slogans on instead.

Or, rather, I think I'll just build women's health clinics, and staff them with decent help. I'll pay the continuingly rising costs of insurance (one of the main reasons why we only have one women's health clinic in the state is because of "protestors" that make it too dangerous to go to work) and make sure women who need it can get abortions. I don't care about changing the minds of narrow-minded morons as much as I care about people getting their needs met.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Twisty Faster of "I blame the patriarchy" did a rather humorous (and scathing condemnation) of blow jobs. The resulting mess it interesting to watch, because it shows the dynamic of the progressive blogsphere. And it's times like this that I really, really wish that I was conservative.

But not for the reason one may assume. I like the fact that we're infighting because it shows discussion and growth. It shows that there are shades of grey, and that there are areas open to exploration and growth, and that the personal really is political.

I must say, though, black-and-white would be REALLY nice right now.

I've done activities growing up, and one of my favorite was Tae Kwon Do. In Tae Kwon Do, there's a lot of work and effort to put in: there's strength training, there's techniques to work on, there's forms, and finally sparring. Of all of them, sparring was my favorite, but it was also the most difficult. When we were learning, we would learn, say, a punch. We then did that punch about a billion times, and the instructor correcting that punch until it was just right. 25 left-hand, 25 right-hand. Then we would move on. It was very necessary, it was complicated, but it didn't require that much knowledge: it required obedience. You knew what you needed to do: you needed to do this punch, this way, and the instructor was the keeper of this knowledge, you followed him and you were rewarded or punished accordingly. You had a goal, and it was easy to work to it, and it was easy to see what was "right" and "wrong".

Free sparring was a little more complicated. Yes, you needed to know how to execute that punch, but there was a LOT more to think about. You had a hazy goal in mind- you wanted to win- but there was no clear path to navigate how to get there.

Afterwards, win or lose the class and the instructor sat down and talked about what you could do better, what you did well. There was no consensus: there are many ways to win, but there was a general feeling of how to get there.

Conservative politics are a lot like the former. There is a black and white: this is wrong, this is right. There is someone telling you what to do, and there's a clear answer to it.

Liberal politics are like the latter: we're going up against things that we have never seen before. We have a goal in mind, just not a clear idea of how to get there. We recognize diversity of opinion, and build on the work before us.

It's just, when you were frustrated; it was the punches that you feel back on. There's something very therapeutic about occasionally NOT thinking, just doing. And that's why sometimes I wish I was conservative: there is a clear goal, there's a clear way to get it, there's work and no thinking.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Over at Hugo's blog, there's a discussion going on about going shirtless in public. One of the comments is by a someone called Mermade:

Yes, we women are attracted to a man's nice chest, but I don't think that girls struggle nearly to the same extent as guys with staring at a man's chest, grabbing it and making crude jokes about it.

What bothers me the most about the statement, "Men can expose their chests in public, so women should be able to, too" is more or less about the undertones of it all. Basically, that would mean that a woman's breasts are no more special or valuable than a man's chest. It kind of means that they don't hold any uniqueness. (I know that's not what you mean, but that's how I feel). And I just don't buy into that. I think a woman's breasts are a part of the body that is very, very, very special. They already go under enough scrutiny when covered up.(emphasis mine) So I don't know... I just can't see eye-to-eye with you on this.

I disagree with this statement quite a bit, mainly because I know that women aren't any better at hiding our lust than men are, there are just stronger reprocusions when we do it. If I make a guy uncomfortable about looking at his chest, he might kick my ass, or at the very least, there are strong social reprocusions for it. I am already castigated as a slut for being "openly" sexual, it would be even worse if I did the creepy lust thing that guys feel okay doing. My breasts ARE NOT any more special than a man's, mine just happen to be a bit bigger and a little more useful when it comes to child-raising. As a sort of tom-boy, I'm telling you: you can be "groped" without it being anything sexual, as has happened when I played football or wrestling. The fact that my breasts are under scrutinity a lot means that many guys don't respect boundries, not that they are inherantly sexual. I mean, when ankles had to be covered up, they were considered sexual. I could be dressed as a nun, and I could still inspire lust. So, it's not my body, or any particular part of it that inspires lust or is inheirantly sexual: it's other's responses to it that does.

Perplex's quote was this:
I'm in agreement with Mermade here. Men's chests and women's breasts are obviously different, with a stronger sexualisation of women's breasts than men's chests - the reasons for which belong to another thread. Nevertheless, this is a fact. Correct me if I'm wrong, but are their any strip bars where you see SINGLE women (as in, walking in on their own) ogling men's chests? The only male strip bars I see are where you get "hen parties" (like a big group of women) who treat it all as a big laugh watching some guy strip. And I just see them laughing and enjoying themselves, not really ogling men's chests in silence. Also, what about porn for women? Again, can we really compare the amount of porn aimed at women's breasts (for men) with men's chests (for women)?

My point is that sexual parts of the body are covered for decency. That's why both men and women must cover their genitals. If it was a patriarchal conspiracy, men could walk around completely naked.

The fact that others sexualize me as a female is NOT my fault. I more than the sum of my body parts. And just because women express sexuality differently then men, and just because we have been socialized to not express that toward men, does not men that it doesn't exsist or that it isn't as strong. Consuming porn isn't really the must healthy way to express oneself as a sexual being, anyway, in my mind. My body is NOT indecent, and neither is a male's: it might be the nudist in me, but I don't think that there's anything wrong with it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

God/dess/less Part 3 (Hopefully a conclusion)

This the third post in my deconversion series. Read part one and part two

It is odd to be an Agnostic in a family full of theists. My relatives still send me religious spam, even though I have politely and firmly asked them to stop doing it. I pretty much just delete anything that has "forward" in the title, so I hope I'm not missing anything important.

The reactions to my "coming out" have not been altogether pleasant, and after it was discovered that I was on birth control (and therefore assumed to be sleeping with guys, in this case, rightly) it was even worse.

My friend since Kindergarten accused me of being a filthy whore that he was done with. I didn't talk to him for three years.

My guardian from New Mexico called me a prostitute, and said that I must be having sex because my ex-boyfriend had.

I've been told I'm going to hell. I've been told that I need to read the Bible (which is funny, because I can quote the Bible better than most theists). I've been told that I'll "Grow out of it" much like I'll grow out of my feminism. I've been asked how many babies I've aborted (I wasn't even aware I could abort a baby). I've been told that people will "pray for me".

Some of the reactions I received were surprising. My father, who is now trying to reconnect with me, told me that "Yeah, some of the stuff is silly, but you should do it for your mother". To some of my other friends, mainly the non-Christian theist, the reaction was "So?" said much like "You were wrong before, and now you're a different kind of wrong". To some other friends, it was totally non-climatic: they rolled their eyes and went "duh".

Whenever I think about this, I can't help but think that this is like my friend "coming out" as gay. Some people were harsh, some people were lukewarm, and some people were like "You wear Birkenstocks".

And, running with this analogy, I don't know too many gays who hate straights. I may get called a "Breeder" every once in awhile, normally jokingly, but never any hostility towards them.

I do not hate Christians. I don't even dislike Christians. I'm not mad at "God" (how could I be mad at a being I don't think exists?) nor am I mad at Jesus. In fact, I think of Jesus of Nazareth much the same why I think of Buddha or Socrates: he had some good ideas, he had some bad ideas.

What I do dislike is having to live UNDER Christianity, and I do mean under. I already posted about Christian Laws but there's more than that: there's the arrogance that so many people possess that I'm less-than they are: less spiritual, less moral, less than they are. That they put up with me because they are so magnanimous.

And I am not without faith. I have faith in something that has less evidence for it then the Christian God: I have faith that humans can learn will learn, and as a society we will actively evolve into a better society (although, not a perfect one). We have the capacity to be good, and people will chose to be good if the opportunity is there. When people feel secure, people will be compassionate. This is where I draw the desire to get up every morning and go out into the world, the thought that keeps me together: we can be better.

Sometimes, however, I think this is just as much a fairy tail as Star Trek and God.

Monday, June 05, 2006

God/dess/less Part Two

This is Part Two of my religion posts. For part one please go here.

In the summer of 1999, I moved to Alamogordo, NM. There, my mom became a born-again, full of zeal for Christ. I joined up with the AP crowd, and, like a good scientist, decided to explore my faith, and the faiths of others.

I didn't like the churches we went to. First there was the one that asked me not to come back because I was a bad influence on other members of the youth group. Then there was the one where the pastor preached about women keeping their figures for their husbands or else they were not following their Biblical mandate. Then there was the pastor that told my mom she should stay with her abusive husband (my father) for "the kids". (Oh wow, is that a rant for another day).

I finally told my mother that I didn't believe in god. She broke down in front of me crying, saying that I she had failed me.

I couldn't stand to see her crying, so I went to church again.

Besides, there were real benefits for me to be a member of the church. I always had a group of "friends" to back me up, which was pleasant for someone with limited social graces. I had a place that I could go and sing, since my schedule didn't allow for me to take enough electives, and sing songs that I loved (and still love to this day). I was considered "moral" because I was a good Christian girl.

And, to my eternal shame, there was a boy.

He came in, with his three younger brothers, his weird mom and his stoic dad. He had a wry smile, tousled blonde hair, and a cross around his neck.

I pretended for him, and for my mom, and for the acceptance. I pretended to be a Christian. I went to church every Sunday, went Youth Group every Wednesday, and participated in all of the community service activities. I went to the youth group, swallowed most of my opinions. I stayed nice and chaste, even though it made me miserable, and even though I was horny as all hell. I didn't even masturbate.

Then we moved to Washington for my senior year of high school, and he went to college. We broke up, and later I found out that he was cheating on me (as if I didn't already know). I didn't really care about impressing anyone in Ferndale, and honestly, the push to be Christian wasn't as strong here. I feel into a group that one of my friends referred to as "the least, the lost, and the leftovers". We were the group that didn't fit very well into the other cliques. This group was religiously indifferent: we had a PK, a Muslim, and Wicca, and a bunch of atheists.

New city meant new church. Now, most everyone thinks that Washington is liberal central. This isn't true: Seattle and surrounding areas is liberal central, the rest of the state is Montana conservative. And the church that my mom picked out was the absolute WORST one I have ever been to in my life. The very first day I'm there, they are on me for wearing a halter top, because I'm wasn't "being very considerate of my Christian brothers".

Then there was the misrepresentation of evolution, which irritated me to no end. The focusing on the gospel of Paul, and how gays shouldn't marry and women should be subservient. So many times did I try to walk out of that church, with mom grabbing me and keeping me sitting down.

I tried to ignore him. I would bring a book to read, but that ended when my mother realized it wasn't the Bible. Then I would read the bible, highlighting quotes, but that ended when my mom realized I wasn't paying attention to the sermon, I was just finding contradictory and immoral quotes in the book.

Then came November, and the pastor telling us we had to vote Republican if we wanted someone Christian in office.

I told my mom that I wasn't Christian, and more to the point, I wasn't going to church anymore. She cried, and was frustrated, and told me that as long as I lived under HER roof, I would do as she said. Dad backed her up, even though he never went to church either.

One day, I was in my pajamas, and refused to get ready and go to church. Dad picked me up, uncombed hair and all, and threw me in the car. (I was 17 at the time). I spent the entire time glaring, daring anyone to ask me why I was in my spaghetti-strapped PJS.

That was the only time that I attempted to not go to church anymore, although I didn't keep my opinions to myself after that. I quit doing any of the extra things, and my mother (perhaps out of embarrassment) quit asking me to come.

I left WA for North Dakota as soon as I graduated. I went to college and have not stepped a foot back into a church. My parents, to this day, are confused as to why I have abandoned almost all of their values and beliefs. I'm just glad to be free of them.