Quantcast

«

»

Mar 13 2013

Strident Catholics hurt my brain

I can call them ‘strident,’ can’t I? They apply it to atheists all the time, and this is clearly a case where the adjective is perfectly appropriate. It’s an opinion piece by a militant (I can use that, too!) Catholic who traces the fall of America to a court decision in 1972.

This year, the Supreme Court will render judgment on the institution of marriage. Though most of us don’t realize it, the Court first did so forty-one years ago in Eisenstadt v. Baird, a decision that gravely wounded marriage and set the nation on a course of gradual debilitation by ruling that states could not restrict the sale of contraceptives to unmarried people.

Oooh, marriage was ‘gravely wounded’ by that decision. It was a fairly straightforward issue in civil liberties: could the law decide that contraception could only be sold to married couples? The court decided no, it could not: even unmarried people have a right to regulate their reproduction by means other than abstinence.

Chaos then swept across the country as suddenly men and women were able to fornicate without spawning children! Yes, chaos! His word, not mine.

Having set chaos in motion in Eisenstadt, the Supreme Court quickly built the garbage bin for dumping sexual debris in Roe v. Wade, which gave a green light to the killing of 55 million unborn children, the overwhelming majority of whom were conceived by those unmarried singles with new access to contraceptives.

Having lived through that period (I started high school in 1972, so I was in prime temporal position to witness precisely all the horrible consequences), I’ve got to tell you: some kids were screwing before 1972, most were not. After 1972, some kids were screwing, most were not. There were single mothers, plenty of them, before 1972, and plenty afterwards — conveniently, during this period I worked part time as an assistant custodian in a school for single mothers*, so again I was in exactly the right place to witness the aftermath of sexual chaos.

It didn’t happen.

Also, I’ve got to wonder if the author thought his thesis through. New access to contraception led to a surge in unwanted pregnancies? Only if they weren’t doing it right. Maybe we should have coupled contraception access to better sex education.

Or just maybe the chaos was all in the author’s head.

teen-birth-rate

A lot of things are obviously only playing out in this guy’s head. This is the extreme Catholic position: it’s not just that child-raising must be carried out within a marriage, but sex is supposed to be channeled towards only supporting procreation. Which is scary, speaking as an old (but not dead) guy who has put all his baby-making days behind him.

Thus, in a well-ordered society sex and marriage go together exclusively, because the union of male and female sexual expression must be undertaken in a union that binds them in advance of the coordinated labors needed to raise the children they may bring into the world. To achieve this, a functioning society demands that each citizen channels his sexual capacities in ways appropriate to these two tasks (procreation and child-raising). That is, it demands marriage.

How about if sex has other roles? What if it’s a general social binder that brings people together in close affection? Wouldn’t that be a good thing, too?

And what if marriage isn’t such a great matrix for raising children when the two adults involved have lost that affection? Surely no one can believe that marriage is sufficient to create a healthy family environment, and knowing more than a few stable, happy couples who are not bound by formal marriage, it’s not even necessary.

So how can Catholics justify sacrificing the richness and complexity of human relationships on the altar of their narrow definition of how people must cohabit?


*Predictably, the community felt the need to isolate unwed mothers from other women their age; they might contaminate them. Also predictably, colloquial references to that school called it the ‘school for bad girls’. Further predictability: I did not tell anyone that I was scrubbing floors and cleaning bathrooms there after school and during the summer because every idiot would have lurid fantasies about what I was doing, when actually I spent little time interacting with the women there (I was working outside of school hours), and what little I did see were women in isolated and difficult circumstances.

59 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Anthony K

    I understand employing sexual cababilities for the purpose of procreation, but child-raising? What part of sexual–oh, right, Catholicism.

  2. 2
    Maureen Brian

    Now, now, PZ, you’re just confusing the issue! You know you mustn’t bring facts and actual human experience into all this. Facts confuse Catholics.

  3. 3
    thisisaturingtest

    From another point of view, equally based on pretensions to “morals” (note scare quotes), the Supreme Court actually “gravely wounded” marriage earlier than that, when Loving vs Virginia, in 1967, invalidated laws forbidding interrracial marriage. Morals are based on consensus of opinion, not extremes of it.

  4. 4
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    This does not really fit under the topic except it is about Catholics.

    Catholic Charities of Colorado is so upset about civil union laws in Colorado that they might shut down their adoption agencies.

    If they cannot have their preferred laws, they will just go home. Too bad it is not as easy as buying hospitals in order to enforce their ethics.

  5. 5
    Rey Fox

    and set the nation on a course of gradual debilitation by ruling that states could not restrict the sale of contraceptives to unmarried people.

    Funny how the moral authority of church and Gawd is never enough.

  6. 6
    Ingdigo Jump

    so what do they do with kids when they shut down an orphanage?

  7. 7
    Matt Penfold

    Catholic Charities of Colorado is so upset about civil union laws in Colorado that they might shut down their adoption agencies.

    They threatened that, and carried it through, when the last Labour Government introduced legislation that banned discrimination in access to services on the grounds of sexual orientation. No one was very sympathetic to the Catholic Church, except the usual suspects.

  8. 8
    David Wilford

    There were more *married* teens back in the 1950s having kids than there are today, but the point of the graph still stands.

  9. 9
    Trebuchet

    As another old, but not dead, guy (older than PZ, in fact) I well remember when female high school classmates would simply disappear and were never spoken of again. Nothing happened to the guys, of course. This guy’s utter illogic makes my brain hurt.

    Off topic: PZ, what have you done to make your blog posts show up in the normal font, instead of tiny and illegible like all of the other FTBlogs today?

  10. 10
    raven

    U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate Continues to Fall – US News and World …
    health.usnews. com › Health › Health News

    Jun 20, 2012 – The U.S. teen pregnancy rate declined continuously during this time … a good bit in this country, and pregnancy rates are also going down, …,

    The kook is wrong on his facts. No surprise.

    The US teenage pregnancy rate has been going down for 20 years now.

    This is an important statistic. Children born into poverty are unlikely to escape it. Contrary to mythology, the US scores low in economic mobility.

  11. 11
    blf

    Ah, nuts, another thing I missed out on when I was a teenager: Sexual chaos!

    I fink I still know where a handful of 78s are. If I can find a gramophone, then could I get some of what I missed out on back then?

  12. 12
    moarscienceplz

    But if wimmins can has secks anytime they want, and not get pregant, they will just get all uppity and shit and start thinkin’ they should get treated like teh menz!!!!!!111!!!1!

  13. 13
    freemage

    David Wilford: And if you did the math on a lot (not all, obviously, but if you made me take an over/under bet at gunpoint, I’d opt for ‘most’) of those teenage marriages and their first kids, you’d find a number slightly under 8 months.

  14. 14
    robro

    I can call them ‘strident [Catholics],’ can’t I?

    Of course you can, but why be redundant?

    …the overwhelming majority of whom were conceived by those unmarried singles with new access to contraceptives

    Oh, now, come on…the “overwhelming majority” of unwanted pregnancies were the result of access to contraceptives? That must defy even Catholic logic. Does he think these “unmarried singles” had access to them but didn’t use them? Or was there a rash of bad contraceptives? America wants to know.

    Besides, I thought married Catholics weren’t supposed to use contraceptives either…sex for pleasure and not procreation being a sin, and all that.

  15. 15
    Pyra

    I’m baffled by the idea that one person thinks xe can and should control everyone else. I get a lot of crap because I got divorced. I am not making a living wage, and many around me think this should have precluded me being single. Marriage before procreation does NOT mean better outcomes for child-rearing. The house was far more chaotic with the two of us in contempt of each other all the time. This goes hand in hand with people who wring their hands because divorce rates soared after feminism’s second wave came through. The nuclear family image in these people’s heads is a fantasy. Much like a benign, invisible father figure doling out grace and miracles. Making these people see the reality of sexuality and the reality of healthy marriage lasting forever because you said a few words in front of some authority. (JP in our case.)

  16. 16
    moarscienceplz

    Pyra,
    I’m so sorry you have so many arrogant pinheads around you that think they have any right to criticize your choices.

  17. 17
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    …the overwhelming majority of whom were conceived by those unmarried singles with new access to contraceptives.

    I am so sick of this ridiculously stupid argument. Do wingnuts not understand how contraception works or something?

  18. 18
    Draken

    That small peak between 1980 and 1990, let me guess: Reagan and abstinence-only propaganda.

  19. 19
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    My husband was born in the autumn of 1970. Come this summer, my parents in law will be married for 43 years.
    Any more questions?

  20. 20
    Chie Satonaka

    Make no mistake, contraceptives are a target. This “religious freedom” bullshit from religious employers who want to control the type of healthcare their serfs (er, employees) have access to is just one part of the attack. The Religious Right has spent decades chipping away at abortion access, and have been amazingly successful at it. They are now attempting to conflate contraceptives with abortion. They will be going after Eisenstadt v. Baird. They will be going after Griswold v Connecticut. I would like to believe that they won’t be successful in banning contraceptives, but in today’s toxic political climate I honestly don’t know. But that is the endgame here.

  21. 21
    RFW

    P-zed and fellow Pharyngulites, something to understand about such screeds: they’re nothing more than word salad, assorted wolf whistles and code words strung together into pseudo-sentences, but devoid of logic, thought, or any other characteristic that might make them worth responding to.

    The best response isn’t serious, sober refutation but laughter, loud and long, the louder and longer the better. Perhaps the best vehicle for such laughter is parody: a screed on the sexual consequences of the introduction of cake mixes would do nicely.

    N.B. As a known grammar nazi, I want to remind everyone of the distinction between “pseudo” and “quasi”. “Pseudo” means false or pretend; “quasi” merely means resembles. Pseudo and quasi exemplify the richness of English vocabulary, near-synonyms that distinguish quite subtle shades of meaning.

  22. 22
    Argle Bargle

    Interesting how Catholics and other religious fanatics get worked up about sex almost to the exclusion of everything else. They ignore drones killing 16 year olds for “having the wrong father.” They couldn’t care less about people being held for years without charges in Guantanamo and being routinely tortured to build cases against them. They shrug off the climate change catastrophe hanging over everyone’s head. But as soon as sex is mentioned they shriek loudly and long.

  23. 23
    Spoon

    I’m trying to track down the source graphic in the CDC’s website. I’d like to use this in future debates on the subject, but knowing the people I tend to argue with I’m going to need to dig up a link back to the original source. Anyone have it, by chance?

    I tried a reverse image search on google, but mostly dug up links to other articles talking around the same chart. Haven’t yet found it actually on the website of the CDC.

    If I do find it, and anyone similarly would like the link, I’ll post it here.

  24. 24
    Spoon

    Think I found the source. Image search failed as it was buried in a pdf.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr49/nvsr49_10.pdf

    Figure 1 shows the same data line from PZ’s chart up above, with a second line for percentage of births to unmarried teenagers.

  25. 25
    Rey Fox

    assorted wolf whistles

    Wolf whistles?

  26. 26
    Inaji

    David Wilford:

    There were more *married* teens back in the 1950s having kids than there are today, but the point of the graph still stands.

    I was born in the year that graph peaks, and while my mother was married when I was born, she was most certainly not married when she got pregnant.

  27. 27
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Heh. I was born six months after my parent’s marriage.

  28. 28
    coyotenose

    Let us not forget that whenever they talk about X millions of baby murders or whatever they are stupidly calling abortion that day, they are intentionally and massively inflating the number by including all miscarriages that have to be addressed by medical procedures.

  29. 29
    coyotenose

    Heh. I was born six months after my parent’s marriage.

    Gotcha beat. Common law marriage in Georgia. My parents were considered married by the time I was four or five. No ceremony ever to my knowledge.

    That must be why they were so unstable and only stayed together til death did them part.

  30. 30
    michaeld

    My parents have been living together but never got married. I’m a bastard HA!

  31. 31
    tbp1

    My father, born in 1929, was expelled from a Baptist college for an incident involving the girls’ dorm and a ladder. I never got details, sadly.

    My parents were very friendly people who enjoyed the company of people younger than they in their circle of friends. When I was in my teens, they had a number of friends in their early to mid 20s, some from my dad’s softball team, but many from church. I noticed that on more than one occasion, one of the younger friends, who had previously not displayed any particular interest in marriage, would suddenly announce that he or she was getting married, and would tie the knot within just a few weeks of the announcement. Then, 6-7 months later, the couple would have a remarkably large and healthy “premature” baby.

    And of course, any acquaintance at all with mythology, literature, history, or for that matter, songs (from folk and art songs to practically any opera at all, not to mention pop songs) reveals that at no point in human history has sex been reserved for marriage in real life. What planet do these people live on?

  32. 32
    Martin Wagner

    the union of male and female sexual expression must be undertaken in a union that binds them in advance of the coordinated labors needed to raise the children they may bring into the world.

    It’s a shame no one ever told this person that it should actually be because the people in question love one another.

  33. 33
    la tricoteuse

    The best parents I know are my living-in-sin-partner’s sister and ‘brother-in-law.’ They have two kids, 9 and 12. Their family is gorgeous, happy, well-adjusted, healthy and stable. Their kids are incredibly well-behaved, cheerful, bright little things. They never got round to making it legal, and they don’t see any point in doing so now. They’ve got everything they need.

  34. 34
    glodson

    Here’s a related bit of sexual delusions found by JT. Rand Hultgren: abstinence-only education has “incredible success records.”

    I’ll bet Fagan would say that Abstinence only sex education is a success too.

    I tried to read the original, and came of as even stupider than I imagined.

  35. 35
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Caine and Janine

    My parents caused a scandal in the other direction. They got married when my Dad was 19, Mum 21, but didn’t have me until Dad was 30, Mum 32. Had my Nan worried to death, apparently :) she thought she was never getting Grandchildren. And they never got me or my sister christened, or baptised, the heathens.

    But on a serious note, it is revealing of the attitude towards marriage. Nan wasn’t the only one asking questions. For some reason the fact my parents wanted to enjoy ten years or so together before having kids just didn’t compute. “You’re married, why is your baby-machine not pregnant yet?!”. It actually pisses me off a bit when I think about it. You’re not married, you can’t have babies; you are married, have a baby now!! Because that’s totally all marriage is for right? Ugh.

    /tangential rant. Sorry, that sort of got away from me.

  36. 36
    wcorvi

    Those of you seeking logic are missing one key but never-stated fact: The purpose of the baby is punishment for having sex. That explains why they oppose birth control and abortion – it avoids god’s will. That’s why they don’t care one iota about the kid after it’s born. That’s why the don’t care about collateral damage of children in war and police actions. That’s why they push abstinence only education. It all makes sense when you realize that one thing. The baby is god’s punishment, and you shouldn’t shirk it.
    .
    Now do you understand?

  37. 37
    rq

    Well, I’m just grateful that, although pressured and pregnant, Husband and I had the sense not to succumb to marriage until we sorted everything else out. Of course , well after Eldest was born and Middle Child was on the way. Had we married immediately, I shuddee to think how ‘happy’ I’d be now. I don’t deal well with feeling trapped.

  38. 38
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    This year, the Supreme Court will render judgment on the institution of marriage. Though most of us don’t realize it, the Court first did so forty-one years ago in Eisenstadt v. Baird

    I hate to burst his bubble*, but that was not the first time SCOTUS rendered a judgement on the institution of marriage. There’s at least one case he’s forgetting about here. And I’m pretty sure people like him said the same thing about that case as he’s saying about this one.

    * No, I don’t.

  39. 39
    Rich Woods

    @wcorvi #36:

    Now do you understand?

    No. My mind refuses to reflect on such a degree of inhumanity.

  40. 40
    unclefrogy

    this catholic’s rant even in its illogical and almost coherence argument does highlight how much the religious hate life and the things that make it up. We are all retched sinners from birth and even babies are subject to the concupiscence of the flesh and we all need to be tightly disciplined by the church. We will be punished after death for our sins and need to atone in this life . All of our life needs to be tightly proscribed and only those things which are pleasing to god are to be tolerated.
    They do live in a kind of prison of the mind. If science is the enemy of religion I think so to is Freedom.

    uncle frogy

  41. 41
    cyberCMDR

    One thing that gets me is the Catholic Church’s continued support for “go forth and multiply” . There’s seven frickin’ billion people on the planet! Most of the projected growth is going to be in third world countries, precisely where the church is strongest. Their refusal to support the use of condoms at the height of the HIV epidemic in Africa also blows my mind.

    When are they ever going to figure out that they have become a force for evil and human suffering?

  42. 42
    cyberCMDR

    Incoming message from the Vatican Ministry of Truth!

    - War is peace
    - Freedom is slavery
    - Ignorance is strength

    That is all.

  43. 43
    mathema

    Personification, I’m sure of it, is a pretty useful literary device, but “gravely wounding marriage” is not one of the examples of that. Ermage.

  44. 44
    Nes

    Catholic Charities of Colorado is so upset about civil union laws in Colorado that they might shut down their adoption agencies.

    Ugh. Since Minnesota has been having the whole gay marriage debate over the last year or two, I’ve seen letter after letter (even one by one of the regular has-a-picture writers) in the opinion page of one of the major local papers (based in the Twin Cities) that says we shouldn’t allow it because they forced – forced! – Catholic Charities to shut down an adoption agency in some other area (DC?). Now they’re going to cite this one, too. Because, you know, those evil gays forced them to close, it wasn’t their choice at all. Of course, there are other letters opposing it for other reasons.

    I can count on one hand (okay, I might need to get the second one involved; definitely no toes, though) how many times I’ve seen a letter supporting gay marriage.

    We also get a letter at least once a week railing against abortion. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one supporting it.

    And someone once wrote in to complain about how liberal the Opinion page is.

  45. 45
    gardengnome

    I just love the fact that the graph above about teenage pregnancy is compiled by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention!

  46. 46
    shadow

    @44:

    I can count on one hand (okay, I might need to get the second one involved; definitely no toes, though) how many times I’ve seen a letter supporting gay marriage.

    Use Binary — 31 on one hand.

  47. 47
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    in a well-ordered society

    Catholicism and totalitarianism: two peas in a pod.

  48. 48
    lopsided

    Why are Catholic priests so fucking obsessed with abortion? Every single time I seen a priest on TV, this is all he’s talking about.

  49. 49
    irisvanderpluym

    @ PZ:

    So how can Catholics justify sacrificing the richness and complexity of human relationships on the altar of their narrow definition of how people must cohabit?

    I’ve thought about this a lot. Naked Bunny with a Whip @ 47 is onto something. The author’s words speak volumes about what drives religious fundamentalists of all stripes: sheer terror at the idea of social (especially sexual) “chaos,” and fatuous presuppositions about “a well-ordered society” as a balm for that desperate fear.

    I don’t know about you, but the last place I would ever want to live is in a “well-ordered society,” where everyone keeps to their narrowly defined role in a strict hierarchy just so repressed religious control freaks can sleep easier. Fuck them. They are the enemy of human joy and creativity — whereas chaos, in the sense that they use it, is an ally.

  50. 50
    Nentuaby

    To achieve this, a functioning society demands that each citizen channels his sexual capacities[...]

    I’ll take Revelatory Phrasing for 100, Alex.

  51. 51
    petrander

    Typically PZ to use data to support his arguments. Tsh!

  52. 52
    =8)-DX

    I did not tell anyone that I was scrubbing floors and cleaning bathrooms there after school and during the summer because every idiot would have lurid fantasies about what I was. doing

    Isn’t it alright to have lurid fantasies? I mean some of us have lurid realities (i.e. including sexy times in the non-marital, not-just-and-always-missionary-PIV sense). Having “dirty thoughts” has gotten me through the most trying of dry periods and loneliness.

    Although I’d be guessing that single mothers in a less-than welcoming environment would have their head full of other more pressing matters than what the cleaner/janitor looked like in those overalls.

  53. 53
    =8)-DX

    @Anthony K

    employing sexual cababilities for the purpose of procreation, but child-raising? [emph. mine]

    It was actually:

    each citizen channels his sexual capacities in ways appropriate to these two tasks [emph. mine]

    Channel – in other words restrict. No extramarital sex. No multiple partners. No “trying out” sex with various partners. The idea is that a person who concentrates on only a single, commited long-term relationship and restricts their sexual activity to within these bounds will be a better parent. It’s wrong of course, but not because one’s sexuality can’t affect one’s parenting abilities, but because experimentation and a variety of sexual experience before engaging in that commited relationship and before deciding to have children lead to better relationships, more mature and happy parents. And of course wrong for all the other reasons people have been giving.

  54. 54
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    #53 @ =8)-DX

    I took that [ PZ's statement] more to mean if he told other guys, it would dissolve into the “You must love “cleaning” after school with those girls *wink wink nudge nudge*”, which PZ would find uncomfortable because he sympathized with those girls and those assuming guys were buying into the whole “single mothers are dirty, easy whores” mentality, which is some sexist bullshit. As a single mother myself, I fucking HATE that and have actively avoided guys who has voice that fantasy. When you are a single mother, that becomes a huge red flag that I’ve never seen end well at all with friends who have had boyfriends that make such “jokes”. I’ve lived in programs and shelters for young single moms and have been subjected to guys being proud and perusing that fantasy. There’s been adult employees sleeping with 16 years old who’ve gone through hell because hey, everyone jokes, talks and fantasies about it, “she looks so mature!” and “she doesn’t act like she’s 16!”. Not just workers either, when you live in such a program everybody knows about it so guys hang around in public places near there trying to “scope you out”.

    This is less about you talking about your fantasies, and more about the negative effect it has on the young women who are assumed and forced into such a role often in real life. Sure fantasize all you want but once you put the idea out there it sure sounds like you agree with the idea with single mothers being “bad girls”, which a lot of people actually believe.

    So yeah, red flag waving and I think it would be more helpful to interject with “Hey, there are people too and fuck slut shaming” than with “Hey, I’d jack off to that!”.

  55. 55
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    Uh, my 54 was a response to number 52. Sorry.

  56. 56
    mildlymagnificent

    I don’t know about you, but the last place I would ever want to live is in a “well-ordered society,” where everyone keeps to their narrowly defined role in a strict hierarchy just so repressed religious control freaks can sleep easier.

    “Well-ordered society” gives me a frisson of horror. The image always comes to mind from a paragraph in a murder mystery set in Holland/Denmark/mumble? The investigator had to live in a house in a small town. The house was remarkable to him because there were no curtains on the front windows and the couch was set in the middle of the living room facing those uncurtained windows.

    Everyone in this town spent every evening sitting in their living rooms in full view of everyone else. That way, everyone knew that everyone else was sticking to “proper” standards of behaviour, cleanliness and a suitable bedtime. No slouching, no partying, no going to bed late (or early), no indulging in drinking, gambling or other licentiousness. Presumably, getting down on the floor to play with the kids’ trainset, or husbands rather than wives organising the supper, would be a sure and certain sign of hippie nonconformity and a slide into irretrievable social chaos.

    My idea of living hell.

  57. 57
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    There were more *married* teens back in the 1950s having kids than there are today, but the point of the graph still stands.

    Keep in mind that many of those married teens got married because of pregnancy.

    As another old, but not dead, guy (older than PZ, in fact) I well remember when female high school classmates would simply disappear and were never spoken of again. Nothing happened to the guys, of course. This guy’s utter illogic makes my brain hurt.

    I’m just a little younger, (graduated in 1985) but things did change. Some young women did disappear for six or seven months. Some disappeared into marriage. Others stayed in school through their pregnancy. Some of the parents freaked out over this but the students took it in stride (for the most part (there are always some holier-than-thou-holes)).

    P-zed and fellow Pharyngulites, something to understand about such screeds: they’re nothing more than word salad, assorted wolf whistles and code words strung together into pseudo-sentences, but devoid of logic, thought, or any other characteristic that might make them worth responding to.

    Except that it is worth responding to because some people read that and nod so hard they pull a muscle in their neck. Just as when a Catholic declares that forcing his wife to choose between abortion and continuing the pregnancy is forcing feminism on everyone. Just as when some privileged man states that ‘cunt’ can’t be a gendered insult because he uses it on men. Jusat as when some privileged asshat declares that women should take precautions so they don’t get raped. These, and other actively evil lies, must be responded to with reality. Humour can help, but reality is the key.

    assorted wolf whistles

    Much more wilder than a dog whistle.

    The baby is god’s punishment, and you shouldn’t shirk it.

    When I was in sixth grade, we moved from Arizona to Maryland. Western Maryland. Cumberland Valley Bible-Belt Maryland. One of the 12-year-old girls in my class was quite pregnant. I later learned that the rapist was her 47-year-old, father of 5, uncle. Her minister told her, and her mom and dad, that she must not get an abortion because this blessing from god is her earthly punishment for seducing her uncle.

    She was married, with parental permission, when she was fourteen. Her husband was 30. She left school on her sixteenth birthday. No idea what ever happened to her.

    This was a heavily protestant area but the idea of pre-marital sex was, for most of the parents of the kids I went to school with, absolutely verboten (heavily German area, too). I really do not understand this bizarre idea that a couple should not find out if they are compatible in all ways until they are married. Wife and I cohabitated in sin (I joke) for almost 30 months before we married. Girl and FSiL are living together now. But, I’m a liberal atheist, so what do I know of morality, right?

  58. 58
    gravitybear

    PZ’s note at the end of OP reminds me of when I was in high school. The district owned another building in town that they used for two purposes: it hosted the “high-potential” students for half a day (rotating, two sessions, so we had to be bussed from the high school) and also housed the district’s program for pregnant teens.
    Mind, they were not mixed in their classes and had separate wings of the building, with only the entrance area in common. The two groups never mixed and sort of looked askance at each other.
    One exception is that my sister was in the pregnant teen program, while I was in the so-called hp program. We used to meet in the entry and chat, which made the other members of both groups stare.
    I found it funny, at the time, but I was a kid and the term slut-shaming was unknown to me. This would have been about ’87 or so.

  59. 59
    loopyj

    Next thing you know, the Catholic church will impose a reverse ‘rhythm method’, requiring abstinence from sex except during a woman’s fertile period. I reckon that the laity will embrace that with even more commitment and fervor than they have the church’s prohibition on contraception, and the lapsed Catholic will be coming back to the church in droves!

    It’s all such nonsense; most of the sex that people have in their lives doesn’t (or can’t, after menopause or infertility) result in conception. Anti-sex religions allow for the idea that non-procreative sex has ‘unitive value’, but don’t think that unmarried heterosexuals or homosexuals should be able to enjoy this unitive experience, apparently because Jesus.

    @15 – I enjoyed reading your comment, but I tripped over ‘xe’. I understand your desire to use gender-neutral pronouns, but ‘xe’ is really jarring to your reader, and can distract them from the content of your message. In English, ‘they’ (along with them, themself, and their) is an acceptable gender-neutral third person singular pronoun, although themself made not be recognized by your spell check program.

Comments have been disabled.