MST3K, please come back!

This is why we need you, Satellite of Love! Don’t let the floodtide of filth get me! – Perversion for Profit: 1965 anti-porn film.

Okay, everyone: comments challenge! Let’s see who can come up with the best MST-ed responses to this. Bonus points for actually using Crow and Servo in your riffing.

Dug up a little more info on our boy George Putnam. An intriguing data point about the little masterpiece we’re streaming here is that according to the Wikipedia entry, it was financed by Charles Keating, who would go down in ignominy in the 1989 savings and loan scandal. Putnam, amazingly, is still alive and working in his mid-90’s, and has a right-wing radio talk show.

Here also is Wikipedia’s interesting entry about the film.

And then enjoy this to see how much fun you can have with editing software.

4 billion years of evolution beats $1 billion in abstinence-only sex ed

Big surprise! Abstinence-only sex ed doesn’t work.

Big surprise! It’s a huge waste of money.

Big surprise! 4 billion years of evolution in making every living thing on this plant successful because of our collective ability to procreate beats out religiously motivated wishful thinking. Who could have possibly known? (Certainly not anyone who thinks that Jesus solves all your problems.)

Big surprise! It was all just a way for the religious right to get money from its shills in the government. Sadly, this blatant and obvious corruption at the expense of our youth will likely never be punished. I, for one, would like my tax money back on this one.

We’ve been saying this stuff all along, but nobody listens to us atheists. We’re immoral.

$176 million a year not enough to stamp out f*cking

Here’s one that’ll knock you over with a feather. A study commissioned by Congress has shown that abstinence-only sex education programs, on which our government currently spends $176 million of our tax dollars annually, have quite literally no effect at all on teens’ sexual behavior.

The only thing defenders of the programs can say in their defense — apart from what they’re currently saying, which is that the failure of the abstinence message is that is just isn’t being repeated enough, which reminds me of the hilarious line from Black Adder Goes Forth: “By doing exactly what we’ve done the last 18 times, the Germans will be caught totally off guard!” — is that this new study also shows no effect on contraceptive use either. (It had been one assumption of abstinence-program critics that kids who fall off the wagon would be less informed and less likely to use condoms.)

Naturally, anyone who’s been paying attention will know exactly why abstinence programs don’t work. They’re all part of the Religious Right’s war on science. They have nothing to do with facts about sexual behavior, STD’s, or any other factor that can be supported with evidence. They’re about foisting Christian “morality” on students without regard to reproducible results. They’re about theocratic social engineering, not education. Their proponents are the same folks who deny evolution, global warming, and increasingly, other ideologically touchy subjects like the Holocaust.

Way back during the Reagan administration, Austin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Ben Sergeant did a brilliant panel. A school principal is shown informing a teacher, “All right, we’ve removed everything that could possibly offend any religious group! So, Mrs. Smith, get in there and teach!” And the teacher is standing, gagged, in a classroom stripped of pictures, textbooks, maps, pencils, even desks. It was on point then and distressingly so 20 years later.

This is another of the evils of politicized religion. Rather than contribute anything meaningful to learning, these are people who want to play politics with our children’s educations — and, increasingly, their lives.

In which another child is raped, and God’s nonexistence is again proved

Here’s a brief and sad little article. Country star Wynonna Judd is divorcing her estranged husband because he had sex with a minor under 13. In her public statement, she makes the kind of casually thoughtless religious remark that believers make which demonstrates how little they care actually to examine what they’ve been taught to believe. (Emphasis added.)

“Our family will pull together, begin the healing process and hopefully — by the Grace of God — become stronger. We will move forward with our faith, family and our friends to find resolution to this difficult situation.”

Cue automatic atheist response: If you’re so confident your God will help you overcome this “difficult situation,” where was He when your ex-husband was putting a tweener through the “difficult situation” of statutory rape? I guess God likes you better, eh?

Christians reflexively fall back on the Appeal to Free Will whenever the Problem of Evil — always illustrated to maximum effectiveness when a child is harmed — pops up to inconvenience their God’s best selling points, e.g., his omniscience, omnipotence, and omnibenevolence. The idea is that God cannot ever interfere with our most precious gift, our free will, because to do so would make us “robots,” and God doesn’t want to be worshipped by mindless robots who don’t do anything that isn’t pre-programmed. No, He wants us to come to him by our own free choice and love.

What Christians don’t recognize is that the mere claim their God is omniscient negates the notion of free will. If God is omniscient, then he knows every choice you’re going to make from cradle to grave. Even if he doesn’t directly influence it, the mere fact he knows it calls into question that the choice is entirely yours. I’ve heard Christians engage in all kinds of rhetorical contortionism to squirm out of this one. My ex-wife tried to tell me that God “swears off knowing” certain things to allow for true free will. But you cannot “swear off knowing” something you already know. I cannot wake up in the morning and decide that I don’t know my address or my own birthday. I’ve heard that God’s omniscience means he actually knows all possible choices you might make. But this still means that in the end he knows which one you will make.

So either God is omniscient or He isn’t. If He is, human free will cannot exist. QED.

Another intractable problem plagues Christians who try to use the Appeal to Free Will to justify God’s allowing crimes like genocide, mass murder, or the rape of children. I’ve heard so many excuses here I cannot catalog them all. One of the few that has any persuasive power at all is that God must allow evil in order that people may have standards of nobility, courage, and goodness to which to aspire. Without Hitler, would those of us who opposed him have had the opportunity to present the world with a glorious moment of triumph for the concepts of justice, morality, freedom, equality, hope and heroism? If no one ever did wrong, how would you know the difference between right or wrong in order to choose the right?

Persuasive until, perhaps, you consider that such concepts were not necessarily alien to the world at large before the rise of Hitler or any other tyrant you might care to name. It’s not as if there was anyone sitting around in 1938 — other than the racist, lunatic demagogues (and no, they weren’t atheist) who planned the Final Solution, that is — thinking to themselves, “Gee whiz, I just can’t figure out if it’s right or wrong to murder millions of innocent people in converted gas chambers and dispose of their bodies in industrial ovens.”

That one needs a God to first draw of the list of what’s right or wrong before we can comprehend morality was handily disposed of by the Euthyphro Dilemma. Is a certain act right or wrong because God says so? Then what is His basis for characterizing them as such? Is an act — even one like child rape — morally neutral until God slaps the label “wrong” on it? Then His decision would appear to be entirely arbitrary, and God could just as easily have labeled it “right.” On the other hand, if God has reasons for labeling acts as right or wrong, then those reasons necessarily exist independently of God and are rooted in the observable, tangible consequences of the acts. Any thinking being can draw the same conclusions, and God becomes irrelevant to moral development.

Two more problems demolish the Appeal to Free Will as a rebuttal to the PoE.

  • Christians seem to forget that innocent victims have free will too. So in the spectacle of child rape, let us say we have three actors. 1) The rapist, whose free will is dictating, “I intend to rape this child.” 2) The victim, whose free will is screaming out, “Help, I don’t want to be raped.” 3) God, standing on the sidelines whistling and buffing His nails, saying, “Sorry, I simply cannot interfere. Free will, don’t you know.” Whose free will? Well, in this case, it can only be the rapist’s. God is in essence favoring the free will of the rapist over that of the innocent victim, rendering Him no less evil than the rapist himself. Thus Christians are put in the embarrassing position of realizing they have spent the last 2000 years worshipping the patron God of child molesters.
  • Free will only refers to the ability to want to do something. It refers to a mental process only. To interfere with an actual act in no way impedes the exercise of free will. The FBI might get a tip and thwart a terrorist attack before it occurs. Has the terrorists’ free will been violated? Not at all. Even as they’re being led away in cuffs, they still have every bit as strong a desire to inflict terror and violence. They simply cannot act upon that desire. A crippled man may want to walk, a person with cancer may want to walk out of the hospital in perfect health to enjoy a long life. They cannot do those things, but that will never stop them wanting it.

So the Appeal to Free Will is thus refuted. As long as there are innocent victims of evil, then the Problem of Evil will continue. And while the PoE does not necessarily prove that no God of any kind exists (the indifferent god of deism is utterly untouched by it), it does prove that no God that could possibly matter — that no God anyone would have any reason to worship and court favors from through prayer (and isn’t the act of prayer itself a denial of the Christian claim that God cannot intervene directly in human affairs, since prayers themselves are requests for God to do exactly that?) — exists.

Rick Perry suffers bout of temporary sanity

Rick Perry, the recently re-elected governer of Texas, is a complete tool. The religious right owns him so thoroughly he might as well walk around wearing a dog collar and tags. This guy has such brazen, naked contempt for the concept of separation of church and state that he actually signed both an abortion bill and anti-gay marriage bill in a Fort Worth church. He’s an unapologetic theocrat who isn’t shy about letting you know you’re a second class citizen if you don’t flash your Jesus Fan Club membership card on command. Like a lot of people in his camp, he’s even got his own Ted Haggard rumor, though unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support it. (Though that didn’t stop the production of this hilarious bumper sticker.)

But Perry has gone and done something shocking. He’s actually gone against his Christian Taliban masters and issued an executive order requiring all girls entering the sixth grade in Texas to receive the HPV vaccine against cervical cancer.

Naturally, the anti-science fundie brigade is freaking out, because, in their quintessentially idiotic fashion, they have decided that the vaccine is not about preventing disease, but giving kids a licence for sexual promiscuity. Bimbette Cathie Adams of the Christian Right group Texas Eagle Forum reached this classically asinine conclusion: “Would they be more promiscuous? Chances are very good that they would be.” Yeah, well, speak for yourself, Cathie. Don’t you just love fundie “thinking”? In their world, every adolescent girl who gets this vaccine will suddenly experience an epiphany: “Wow! I’m innoculated against HPV now! And since things like my reputation or even my own common sense and personal tastes have never for one moment been an issue to me, this means I can go out and fuck everyone I see, starting with the high school janitor and working my way up through the whole football team and all the coaches.”

Yeah, Cathie. Sixth grade girls have just been itchin’ to put out like soda machines. And it’s only been the lack of this vaccine that’s held them back from their porn star aspirations.

As I’ve said before, fundamentalists just don’t seem to understand people very much, do they?

It remains to be seen what political punishment the Christian Right will exact upon their bitch for peeing on the carpet like this. Still, it’s rare when Perry does something that’s not only supported by sound science, but that’s actually for the good of the people of Texas he supposedly represents, and not just good for those clutching Bibles and scowling angrily. Perry’s bout of sanity may be only temporary. But it’s sure to have saved a number of girls’ lives.

The fundies’ continued obsession with fudge-packin’ and rug-munchin’!

Fundamentalist Christians’ obsession with homosexuality baffles me. That anyone at all would care what two consenting adults do in the bedroom points, I humbly submit, to an unhealthy psychology. I can’t say I have much reason to give gay people and their private lives a moment’s thought, and my best friend in the world is a femme lesbian who makes most Hollywood actresses look like five miles of bad road. The homophobia of the Christian Right has been a long-established reality, but it takes on a whole new character when they start having conferences and symposia on the subject.

The Exodus Freedom Conference has been running for 31 years now, teaching gay people that they have to deny their identities and hate themselves if they want to achieve “Christ-likeness”. It’s a practice we saw work so very well in the case of Ted Haggard. Anything at all is better than catchin’ teh gay, and the Exodus people are there to help!

Just looking through the list of seminar topics, we see just how much these folks’ views on every area of human sexuality that doesn’t fall under the rubric “straight married Christians makin’ a baby Christian” is informed by fear, confusion, guilt, and mistrust of one’s own body and biological urges. Here we see the Christian mantra of “sin” driven in with a sledgehammer; these tingly feelings you have are evil, you’re evil for having them, and you need to get right with God pronto if you have a hope of entering dem pearly gates.

The Sin Cycle: Breaking the Cycle of Repetitive Sin and Moving Forward
Sometimes it is hard to see the possibility for change when our lives seem dominated by repeated and cyclical destructive behavior. But Change does happen and the cycle of sin can be broken. This workshop will explore an amazing picture of how we get stuck in cycles of sin and, most importantly, how to open your self to change and how to move forward in freedom.

Cyclical destructive behavior is quite an ugly reality when it comes to things like drug abuse, violence, or criminal activity. But remember, the Exodus folks are using this label to guilt people of a Particular Sexual Preference, and that’s pretty ugly too.

Things get weirder further on. Just who the fark would get up in front of a roomful of people and identify themselves as a “chronic masturbator”? You might as well guiltily confess, “I’m a former bag-a-day chocolate chip cookie eater,” with the only difference being that masturbation doesn’t have all the saturated fat.

Finding Freedom From Masturbation
Often in our recovery we trade one vice for another in an effort to medicate from our pain. Many have given up sex with others in exchange for self-sex, considering it the lesser of two evils. A former chronic masturbator shares her struggle to overcome her habit and the shame, guilt, and contempt that accompanied. This class will explore whether masturbation is sin, are there special circumstances when it is not, tips and techniques to increase self-control, the importance of accountability, and the role of thought life.

I’d love to have a transcript of this one; I’m sure it’s at least as delightful as the legendary Mormon Guide to Self-Control.

Now with this one, things get both hilarious and surreal.

Escaping the Gaytrix
In the blockbuster trilogy, The Matrix, moviegoers are challenged to explore a fundamental theme we can all relate too: what is the truth underlying reality? This workshop will challenge and explore how gay defined reality is a complete system of beliefs, moral code and philosophy presented as imposed reality on all those who have same sex attraction. Christ presents a complete paradigm shift that initially feels like Morpheus’ statement “Welcome to the desert of the real,” but in reality, while Truth may be initially foreign and difficult, Jesus leads us to the abundant Life found in contentment in Christ. This workshop will help us all view life with same sex attraction in the Light of Truth instead of imposed gay ideology.

You think these wackjobs are projecting just a wee bit when they go on about “imposed ideologies”?

Here’s a fascinating article on just how wrong-headed and simplistic the Exodus folks are in their attempts to examine human sexuality and “cure” gays, and the way in which these “ex-gay” ministries are actually, repellently, exploiting emotional vulnerabilities in order to inculcate more guilt and rake in a whole new flock of dependent followers.

“Sure, there are some people out there who say that they’ve been cured,” he says. “Either they’re greatly in denial and they are living a life to satisfy the perceived demands of a harsh God or they are bisexual, which is a rare possibility, or that they were really never gay in the first place. There are a lot of people in ex-gay groups who were molested and therefore think they’re gay.”

Again, one only needs to go back to The Wonderful Week of Haggard to contrast the shame and scandal surrounding his outing — loaded down as it was with the baggage of Christian anger, fear, and loathing — with the very positive, happy and healthy vibes radiating from celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Lance Bass, who were coming out around the same time. Being gay is just a reality for some people. Deal with it. Attaching self-loathing and guilt to it is abominably abusive, especially when it’s a guilt tied to fear of the wrath of a nonexistent deity.