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Mar 07 2012

Anoint all the roads with holy oil

Almost time to leave for Manchester (well not really almost – about four hours). Meanwhile, some more detail about Orlando.

One of the first talks was EllenBeth Wachs, who explained what’s been going on in Polk County, Florida. Theocracy, that’s what. The mayor of Lakeland and the Polk County sheriff are involved in something called Polk Under Prayer.

They and others got together and anointed all the roads that border the county, announcing that non-believers should be either arrested or shoved out of the county.

EllenBeth is president of Florida Atheists; she wrote a letter to an official about an illegal transfer of sports equipment from a jail (publicly funded) to a church. She was arrested and handcuffed, and her two employees were held at gunpoint. She was arrested twice more. The details are lurid and horrible. Natalie Rothschild would do well to study them. The whole thing is both shocking and frightening.

Rita Swan gave a fantastic talk about her work to end religious exemptions for child health care.

There is a Victims page. One of them was Rita’s own child.

Lionel Tiger’s talk was in the afternoon. It was about “male original sin” – everything men do is bad in some way, now that feminism has turned everything upside down. Schools drug all the boys with Ritalin so that they sit there passively like girls. Plus there was the pill, which meant that when men went into bars, all the women were chemically pregnant, which is a turnoff. Plus women don’t have any use for men now. Plus some other things, all equally random. Plus women can just go out and get money and status any time they want to, and men can’t. Plus more random things.

This caused a good deal of rage, I found out afterwards. I found it kind of funny – I suppose because it seemed like such a parody, and so calculated to insult. But in sober truth, it was not a very good talk, because it had no structure at all. It was just some things, offered one after another, with no attempt to get from one to the next in any way other than jumping.

I have to go do some packing type things now.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Anonymous Atheist

    There’s been quite a saga of bad stuff going on in Florida for the past couple of years (including some unfortunate problems within Atheists of Florida), but I hadn’t heard about the highway-anointing nonsense before! Wow. I applaud EllenBeth Wachs, John Keiffer, and Rob Curry for their perseverance against all this.

  2. 2
    Eamon Knight

    So, assuming I was planning a vacation in FL, I should make a point of avoiding Polk County (assuming there’s anything worth seeing in the place) — and send the tourist bureau a message indicating that I’ve heard they don’t like my kind there, so I’ll take my business elsewhere?

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Absolutely.

  4. 4
    Stacy

    Schools drug all the boys with Ritalin so that they sit there passively like girls.

    This particular anti-feminist trope is just a little more baffling to me than some others. It may well be that Ritalin has been over-prescribed in the past, but that’s not really their point. The point (Christina Hoff-Sommers I believe made a big Thing about this) is that supposedly nowadays boys are all expected to “behave more like girls” in school, and this is women’s fault. Do the people who say this think that in Ye Good Old Days before feminism, boys were not kept under strict control in classrooms? Did they never hear of corporal punishment? Have they never read Tom Sawyer, or seen a movie set in a British boarding school?

    Anyhoo. I suspect CFI just keeps the likes of Tiger and Thomas Szasz around out of pity, letting them live out their days in remote pastures of their own where they can’t do too much harm.

  5. 5
    Godless Heathen

    Do the people who say this think that in Ye Good Old Days before feminism, boys were not kept under strict control in classrooms? Did they never hear of corporal punishment? Have they never read Tom Sawyer, or seen a movie set in a British boarding school?

    GAH! This bugs me so much. It’s not like boys ran around roughshod back in the day.

  6. 6
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Shut up because Lionel Tiger, that’s why.

  7. 7
    carpenterman

    “Non-believers should be arrested or shoved out of the county”? Have these people even heard of the first amendment? Or is this place such a benighted backwater that they just figured no one would notice? Or care?
    It’s The Stupid, rearing it’s ugly head once again.

  8. 8
    Dave

    Beneath the skin of America, Gilead lurks, waiting.

  9. 9
    Eamon Knight

    The only name I recognize in Polk County is Cypress Gardens, which I recall visiting something like 45 years ago. So, not much reason to go back…..

    Anointing the roads? OK, all religion is superstition, but there are gradations in everything, and performing rituals and spells to ward off evil is where it becomes obvious. Might as well stand on the road and wave a baton while shouting in faux-Latin, and expect it to set up one of those movie-CGI force-fields that go all trembly/sparkly when the bad guys try to get through.

    No wonder these people also (often) avoid Harry Potter, D&D, and the like: the resemblance would make it obvious that what they’re doing is just so much make-believe as well.

  10. 10
    MosesZD

    My daughter takes Vyvanse. It’s basically ritilan that’s time-released and can’t be crushed and snorted like Adderol or Ritilan. So does she sit there like a boy now?

    More seriously, because girls tend to not be ADHD, but ADD, they’re harder to diagnose. It was 5th when we got it figured out. Being in gifted-and-talented, she could, despite her ADD, do well. It was only when she hit the ‘math wall’ in 5th grade was it discovered.

  1. 11
    Return to Polk County | Butterflies and Wheels

    [...] County. Home of Polk Under Prayer, as I wrote last March after the secularism event in Orlando. One of the first talks was EllenBeth Wachs, who explained [...]

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