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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

5 Dangerous & Ridiculous Sex Myths Spread by the Liberal Left

This article (from SALON) originally appeared on AlterNet.

It was Tweeted by Vicki Beeching, Christian singer, celebrity, and recently uncloseted lesbian. Although, really, she should be embarrassed at having her name mentioned in such a dreadful piece of pseudo-journalism.
The very beautiful Vicki Beeching
I reproduce it here to show that the 'liberal left' is every bit as absurd as the 'religious right'. As an evangelical Christian, I feel I have the right to speak in generalities for other conservative Christians.

Christianity’s shame game: 5 dangerous & ridiculous sex myths spread by the religious right

Despite the fact that people have been having sex since literally before there were people, the religious right never stops acting like sex is some great conspiracy to bring about the end of human civilization. This sentence is much closer to being ridiculous than clever.

You have to give them credit for coming up with endlessly creative ways to go into full-blown panic at the idea that people are still having sex. This is definitely ridiculous!

Here’s five of the latest and silliest myths and legends about sex being floated by the religious right. I suspect they are the 'latest' myths because the writer just made them up.

1) Sex education is an attempt to get kids “hooked” on sex, (I have never heard this before) which is apparently an addictive drug now. Right Wing Watch found this video from the Christian right group Alliance Defending Freedom that is attempting to scare people about a proposed sex education curriculum in Tempe, Arizona. Even though Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with the curriculum in question—outside of being mentioned in its materials, accurately, as a place where one can go to receive sexual health care— ADF is valiantly trying to imply that they’re the secret masters behind this sex education curriculum. Planned Parenthood has a powerful lobby and strongly influences sex education. Apparently, the writer doesn't understand that.

“The question now is, is Planned Parenthood simply seeking to develop future customers and make a profit akin to tobacco companies providing cigarettes to kids?,” the video narrator asks. You start to get the impression that religious conservatives think that Planned Parenthood invented sex itself, just to trick kids into getting pregnant and getting abortions. Another ridiculous sentence! 

It is worth pointing out that Planned Parenthood cannot “profit”, because it is a non-profit and all of its money goes right back into the organization so that it can better serve the health needs of the various communities it serves. 

The writer has obviously never worked for the government. Government departments and agencies, for instance, are always trying to build their empires. I would be shocked if PP wasn't trying to increase its influence. However, the accusation made in the video is just as absurd as the comments that follow it.

Also, sex—and abortion—existed long before Planned Parenthood and will continue on even if the anti-choice movement was successful in wiping Planned Parenthood out.

2) Gay rights activism is a conspiracy to steal women away and turn them feminist. Fanatical misogynist blogger Robert Stacy McCain put up a post that was bizarre even by his remarkably low standards recently, arguing that feminism is run by “academic radicals who relentlessly strive to teach girls that lesbianism is the feminist ideal” and that the “one purpose of education now is to prepare young people for their lives as gay adults”. Are you (writer) denying that there are lesbians in academia who present lesbianism as the feminist ideal? I don't know what context the "one purpose..." statement was made in but I seriously doubt that it was a stand-alone statement.

It’s a garbled, pretentious mess, but a wonderful encapsulation of a bunch of right wing myths and fears: Anger about women getting education, accusations that gay people are trying to recruit, fear that feminist arguments really are compelling.

Anger about women getting an education? Seriously? This is America not the Islamic State or northeastern Nigeria. Good grief! 
Gay people do recruit! The foremost genetic researcher into homosexuality; the guy who started the lie that gays are born gay, Dean Hamer, now has stated that the majority of gays are NOT born gay. If being gay was inherited it would have bred itself out of existence long ago.

But above all else, you get the strong impression (no, you got the 'strong impression', I doubt very much that I would) that McCain and his male readership are deeply afraid that if women are allowed to have choices, they won’t choose men like McCain and his readers. Not an unreasonable fear—the only evidence-based one they probably have—but certainly not a legitimate reason to rail against higher education for women or gay rights.

3) Planned Parenthood is trying to push your kids into having kinky sex! Lila Rose, with her organization Live Action, is single-mindedly obsessed with trying to take down the Planned Parenthood. Her ostensible reason is that the health care organization offers abortion, but it becomes clear, when engaging with her work, that the real objection is that Planned Parenthood offers support to people who want to have happy, healthy sex lives, and Rose really does not want people to have those happy, healthy sex lives. 

By now I'm getting the 'strong impression' that the writer of this article is incapable of rational thinking. Lila Rose and others like her are not concerned about 'people's' sex lives, they are concerned about children's sex lives. They are concerned that PP is giving advice to children that may contradict their parents beliefs and teaching which undermines parent's authority and influence on their own child's values.

This became exquisitely clear in her latest “sting” operation on Planned Parenthood, where she had volunteers go into Planned Parenthood offices, present themselves as people asking for information and advice on sex, and then filming the workers—and this is supposed to be shocking— answering the questions asked of them. The volunteers pretended to be young, sexually active people who had been reading Fifty Shades of Gray and wanted to know what bondage and S&M were. 

By and large, the sex educators responded to a direct question asking about a sexual practice with accurate, warm-hearted responses, with an emphasis on practicing bondage safely. Apparently Rose thinks they should have pretended to be shocked and thrown their patients out. Offering help to people who ask for it? Next thing you know, they’ll start letting people read about stuff they are curious about and then where will we be? Apparently, the writer thinks that bondage and S&M are normal sexual practices. 

4) Lesbians can’t be pretty! The Christian singer Vicky Beeching has come out as lesbian, a process that was extremely stressful for her, considering her conservative background and her current conservative Christian fan base. Ed Vitigliano of the American Family Association reacted by being confused about how it could be that someone who is pretty to him might not be into men. “I think most men would think that Vicky was a very pretty lady, and those sorts of appraisals are usually made without thinking,” he writes. “This makes the subject of sexual orientation rather difficult to understand at times.” I suspect Mr Vitigliano was referring to primal urges responsible for procreation and how having an attractive woman who attracts men but rejects them goes against nature. I'm sure this is too deep for the writer to understand.
He then goes on to explain, at length, how women really do it for him, as if this were information that anyone cares about at all. “I don’t know what it’s like to feel that way toward a man,” he adds. Okay, well, it seems that’s true of Beeching as well, making his attempts to make this seem stranger and more alien than it is even sillier. See above!

Vitigliano reluctantly accepts that gay and lesbian people must feel the way they say they do—an admission he treats like it’s a huge favor he’s doing them—but concludes that they must therefore be “broken”, because “the human race is clearly designed as male and female”. In other words, pretty ladies are put here for men, and if you pretty ladies want something else for yourself, well, your mistake for thinking you belong to yourself. In other words - women's rights trump human nature!

"Lesbians can't be pretty!" is the only 'myth' of the 5 she mentions that I have actually heard. I heard it about 40 years ago and not since, so it hardly qualifies as the 'latest'.

5) Contraception is a conspiracy to ruin the family. Anti-choicers used to try to bother to keep up the pretense of being “pro-life” by sticking to picketing clinics that offer abortion, but those days are over. As Robin Marty chronicled for Cosmopolitan, anti-choice activists in Minneapolis are desperately trying to shut down a new Planned Parenthood there, even though it doesn’t offer abortion. Their reason? Contraception itself is an evil that must be stomped out. Anti-choicers have blanketed the area neighborhoods with flyers “urging residents to avoid the new Planned Parenthood, which they say offers ‘dangerous contraception,’ ‘promotes and encourages sex without limits,’ and is ‘destroying families.’” They argue that sex should only happen with no “medication or barrier devices” and only for couples “open to new life”.

‘Dangerous contraception,’ ‘sex without limits,’ ‘destroying families'. See my comments on Lila Rose above. The last sentence in the paragraph above I suspect is taken out of context as I know of no-one who believes that. I have been a member of several different congregations in several different denominations and I have never met anyone who thinks like that. It may be part of Catholic doctrine, but very few Catholics actually practice Catholic doctrine.

In reality, contraception is actually quite good for families and marriages. Cristina Page accumulated the historical evidence showing that greater contraception use correlated strongly with lower incidence of child poverty and happier marriages. In contrast, religious conservatives and people who live in communities controlled by religious conservatives have higher rates of divorce, no doubt in part because their ambivalent or hostile attitudes towards birth control and abortion cause a lot of hasty commitments that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

What communities are we talking about here? Amish? How many communities in America are 'run by' religious conservatives to the point where it influences birth control? Where that does occur, there are certainly a lot more things going on that 'no doubt, in part' are responsible for higher divorce rates.