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Monthly Archives: October 2008

As I am one of those asking “how is the chicken cooked?”, according to David Sedaris, I found myself parusing Obama’s list of Women’s Issues on his website this morning; in particular, his support of the Prevention First Act. In my research of this bill, I found myself stricken with surprise at the claim that “abstinance-only” programs are “unproven and dangerous”. I find it hard to believe that abstinance is unproven or dangerous, and I also don’t like the idea that people are hijacking abstinance-only (a wonderful plan for birth control) for the furthering of anything but birth control (like their religion or their political adgenda).

NARAL Pro Choice America, in listing the consequences of this bill, says (from The Prevention First Act: Reducing the Need for Abortions – bold italics added):  

Fund Honest, Realistic Sex-Education Programs.  
For the past 10 years, anti-choice activists have spent more than $1 billion in taxpayer dollars on unproven, dangerous “abstinence-only” programs that forbid teachers from discussing contraception except to talk about failure rates.  Recent studies reveal that many of these programs also include serious misinformation and sometimes even outright falsehoods.  The Prevention First Act would establish the first-ever federal program for honest, realistic sex education.  This section also ensures that all taxpayer-funded federal programs must be medically accurate and include information about both the health benefits and failure rates of contraception.

I can not believe that this organization thinks that abstinence itself is dangerous or unproven. In fact, the only way to conceive a child naturally is to engage in intercourse. So I have to think that these programs are to blame. As most opinionated websites neglect to do, NARAL does not provide references to programs themselves, surveys of programs, news articles related to such programs, et al in which I can see what they are talking about. “Recent studies,” they say reveal misinformation and falsehoods; to which I say, “What recent studies?!” Just like my previous post about pastoral responsibility, I believe that opinionated people making sweeping claims has to back them up!

Sigh. Why can’t we just say “Kids, this is how you make a baby. You put A into B and more often than not, you’ll have a baby in 9 months, give or take. You want a baby, put A into B. You don’t want a baby, don’t put A into B. Simple.” You don’t have to mention God, it’s completely scientific and based in proven examples since the dawn of time and you don’t enable anyone. Let’s teach kids about responsibility and the mechanics without telling them God will hate them and they will go to “H-E-double hockey sticks” and without handing them lollypop colored rubbers and expecting them to remember that A in B = baby most of the time.

What this little, tiny blurb does do is raise my awareness that perhaps somewhere, out there, there is at least one program where people are giving bad information and labeling it “abstenince-only”, which simply furthers my fatalistic view of the world. There is always a human factor, always. Sometimes people want to advance their religion through some government funded program. Sometimes people want to sway kids to feel a certain way about something and manipulate them into a certain behavior. This looks like abstinance-only programs that guilt kids into avoiding sex at the cost of ruining their picture of Jehovah-Rohi. This looks like sex educators handing out condoms enabling kids to put A into B and furthering their religion of irresponsibility. I hate both.

Do we now have to regulate sex education programs with the government because some are pushing their own adjendas? Come on! Have we gotten to the point where we need a U.S. Auditor in every health class saying, “Oh, you can’t say that. Off to the principal’s office with you!” just so that teachers and schools will stay honest? If we truely are a pure government without religion, then let’s keep all religion out of our schools and teach kids the science of A + B. No talk about the afterlife and no talk about “sex r us”, just A + B = Baby. Baby eats, cries, gets sick, lives and dies dependant on you. How’s that sound, kiddos?

As a side note, I have to say that I am starkly surprised at how little I know about the depth of politics and the complicated process of governing over the affairs of the citizens of the United States. I solomnly lament that Jesus is, in fact, not running for office (would he be voted for if he was?) because in that instance it would be easy to choose a candidate whom I would be happy reporting to the Ancient of Days I voted for. Alas, the choice is not that easy.

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I caught Mark Driscoll’s “Porn Again Christian” today while relaxing my brain from programming. Overall, I really like it. I thought it was concise yet poingnant, even though it appears unfinished (as of 10/09/2008). He gives a brief overview in chapter 1 about God’s position toward pornographers and those that engage in the creation and lewdness of such an industry. Then he moves on to God’s established warnings and consequences for such behavior. Finally, in the uncomplete version of the on-line book, he moves on to talk about how pornography is addressed in scripture, where he asserts that despite the lack of the word pornography in scripture, it is certainly addressed often. Chapters 1 and 2 address the more overarching theme of sexually oriented sin, leaving the drill down for chapter 3.

While I agree with Mr. Driscoll and his perspective, I would encourage him to list references for his material, since this is a book. For example, in Chapter 3, he says,

Pornography is so enticing for men because there is a biological connection between a man’s eyes and his genitals that causes men to be easily stimulated visually.

While I see this, it would be nice (since he graceously provides scripture references to back up his biblical statements) to have a reference to medical information. I think that public speakers err on stating facts like this without backing them up. I’ve listened to numerous men say that we are visually stimulated while women are, by omission from the statement, not, but I have heard nothing as to physical studies or evidence of this. With just a small amount of research, a public speaker could provide a few references so his/her audience would not think they are pulling these statistics or scientific phrases out of their back pocket. For example, I found a study conducted by Net Nanny that says this

Vision is the key perceptual sense in males-they “like to look.” They respond with far more vigor and speed to visual stimuli than females typically do.

and this,

Knowing that the typical male viewer’s primary perception is vision, pornographers have crammed the Internet with every visual stimulus that exists – photographs, videos, live-camera, cartoons, virtual reality, etc. These appear as “banner ads” even before the male viewer ever enters the porn site. Like “billboards,” banner ads display graphic porn and words of every kind designed to visually lure in male viewers. Such banner ads are attached to standard search engine home pages for men, women and children of all ages to see.

While, this is a step in the right direction, it’s not complete because all I did was find yet another article that says men are stimulated visually. There’s got to be someplace, somewhere that has this as a study. Find it and link it. It’s helpful to people to trust what you’re saying.

I am simply moving towards not having blanket statements at church, really. Homer Simpson once said, “Bah! Statistics can prove anything. 14% of all people know that!” How often are we at church and hear a pastor drop some statistic from his back pocket and not provide notes or links on the slides or even a verbal reference to where he/she got that from? Let’s do our due diligence.

On a side note, I found a sermon on line that mentioned male-perception as primarily vision oriented. While not finding a reference to anything backing that up, I did find that the pastor had a reference for his claim that an increasing number of women are looking at pornography. While he didn’t give the exact place to find it, an internet-savvy person can easily locate a reference based on what he gave (simply the author, the publication and the year/edition of it). I found a link through Google’s Cache. This is merely what I’m asking for, pastors of the world.