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Tilting at Windmills

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March 3, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SEX, SEX, SEX....Michelle Cottle:

Every couple of months a news story pops up about how the evangelical community is growing up, reaching out, and expanding its political activism beyond the traditional issues of personal piety: abortion, sex education, smut, and anything to do with homosexuality.

Is it going to happen this time? Or is it still all about sex and gender for these folks? Read the rest to find out!

Kevin Drum 3:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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Comments

It's not about the sex, it's about the lying...no, wait, actually it's all about the sex. Carry on....

Posted by: Stefan on March 3, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Horrible smutty sex is destroying the moral fabric of this country.

Posted by: Al's Mom on March 3, 2006 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

is it still all about sex and gender for these folks?

not gender, just sex. they're opposed to abortion because it's evidence of women having sex for reasons other than procreation They hate sex; it's as simple as that..

Posted by: benjoya on March 3, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

If they really care about being ethical, they should be condemning the GOP for being so corrupt, for lying, for not caring about people or the earth, for being war-mongers, for... Gods Own Party - NOT
Come out of her, my people...

PS Latest on Drudge is how #3 at CIA is now under investigation for corruption/bribery a Repiglican of course. Spellcheck wanted to turn an initial misspelling into Reptilian which also fits.

Posted by: Neil' on March 3, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

not gender, just sex. they're opposed to abortion because it's evidence of women having sex for reasons other than procreation They hate sex; it's as simple as that.. Posted by: benjoya

That's for sure, just ask Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Baker. Oh. A, never mind.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII -

No, see, they sex that other people are having. Their own "dip-me-in-mustard-and-roll-me-in-flour" practices are totally fine.

Posted by: craigie on March 3, 2006 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

arg!
that's "they hate sex that other people etc"

Posted by: craigie on March 3, 2006 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

sex is for arabist simpathizers.

that's why its for the devil.

Posted by: Troll on March 3, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

It is the impact of the intelligent design movement.

You know, "If this is intelligently designed, then what the F*** are we doing?"

Posted by: Matt on March 3, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

The freepers will never quit. In my home state of Missouri some idiot wants the state to recognize Christianity as the religion of the majority.

http://www.alternet.org/blogs/themix/33056/

Posted by: Patrick Lane on March 3, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

you'd hate sex, too, if someone pointed and laughed every time you got naked.

Posted by: EM on March 3, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sex sells just as well as an object of indignation as (or maybe even better than) it sells as fantasy-fulfillment. After all, most of us know that few of our more lavish sexual fantasies will be fulfilled-- although the idiots who are suing Clay Aiken's record company because of his (okay, alleged) gayness missed that clue train-- but we're all reasonably certain that other people are getting more & better sex than we are. So the religious right can wallow in others' laciviousness while seeking to curb it. Or maybe they're trying to enhance the appeal of their own fantasies by driving them deeper underground. Or something. The point is that sex is viscerally appealing in a way that altruism & sacrifice never are, and that applies to almost everyone, religious/political/sexual persuasions notwithstanding.

Posted by: latts on March 3, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

They don't hate sex. They hate that Old Testement God isn't out raining fire and plague on the everyone who aren't his chosen people, which no longer means Jews, but Born Again Christians.

Oh, they claim to follow Jesus, but he's nothing more than the doorman to them. Their God killed tens of thousands for no more reason than they wanted a little variety in their diet. Their god would put down whole cities, whole armies.

And it drives them absolutely bonkers that he isn't doing it right now.

So they see the hand of god in every misfortune others suffer. Everything from AIDS to natural disasters to car wrecks to even dying in Iraq. Its all God's punishment for the amusement and validation of the true believers.

Babies are God's vengeance on bad women. That is why Fundies care so much about them right until the second they take their first breath, then their job is done and their fate doesn't matter.

And what drives fundies even crazier than the lack of flaming pillars over the corpses of the less-righteous is the fact that people seem to be getting really good at circumventing the less spectacular, less obvious vengeances like disease, disaster and babies. Abortion and birthcontrol aren't bad so much for killing babies - God has killed lots of infidel babies, after all. Its because it is another of God's punishments not coming to fruition, and its shrinks the collective righteous penis of the Fundie movement that their Awesome God gets stymied by a little pill or piece of latex.

Posted by: Mysticdog on March 3, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Their own "dip-me-in-mustard-and-roll-me-in-flour" practices are totally fine.

I was unaware that this was a Republican thing. I'll stop it at once.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

Don't click the link, Al! Don't think about sex -- you might get Cheeto stains in unpleasant places.

Posted by: Gore / Obama 08 on March 3, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK


what do evangelicals think is happening on the threshing room floor in Ruth chapter 3?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on March 3, 2006 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Their own dip-me-in-mustard-and-roll-me-in-flour" practices are totally fine.

I was unaware that this was a Republican thing. I'll stop it at once. Posted by: shortstop

I understand it's curdled butter milk in the rural areas.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

you'd hate sex, too, if someone pointed and laughed every time you got naked. Posted by: EM

Well, you got two choices, EM. Quit doing it on the front lawn at two in the afternoon and/or turn out the lights.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

jeff II, you forgot the option of a bag over the head.

Posted by: EM on March 3, 2006 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Article by Garry Wills at NYRB,

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/18670


"Jimmy Carter rightly says in Our Endangered Values that the norms of religion and politics are different. His religion, at any rate, places its greatest priority on love, of God and one's neighbor, even to the point of self-sacrifice. But a president cannot make his nation sacrifice itselfthat would be dereliction of duty. The priority of politics is justice, and love goes beyond that. But love can help one find out what is just, without equating the two. That is why none of us, even those who believe in the separation of church and state, professes a separation of morality and politics. . . .

In his new book, Carter addresses religion and politics together in a way that he has not done before, because he thinks that some Americans, and especially his fellow Baptists, have equated the two in a way that contradicts traditional Baptist beliefs in the autonomy of local churches, in the opposition to domination by religious leaders, and in the fellowship of love without reliance on compulsion, political or otherwise. In 2000, these tenets were expressly renounced by the largest Baptist body, the Southern Baptist Convention, which removed a former commitment to belief that "the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is Jesus Christ, whose will is revealed in the Holy Scriptures." What was being substituted, Carter writes, was "domination by all-male pastors." As a leading spokesman, W.A. Criswell, put it: "Lay leadership of the church is unbiblical when it weakens the pastor's authority as ruler of the church."The Southern Baptists, Carter laments, have become as authoritarian as their former antitype, the Roman Catholic hierarchy. The Southern Baptist Convention has severed its ancient ties with the Baptist World Alliance. . . .

Yet the anti-life movement that calls itself pro-life protects ignorance by opposing family planning, sex education, and informed use of contraceptives, tactics that not only increase the likelihood of abortion but tragedies like AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The rigid system of the "pro-life" movement makes poverty harsher as well, with low minimum wages, opposition to maternity leaves, and lack of health services and insurance. In combination, these policies make ideal conditions for promoting abortion, as one can see from the contrast with countries that do have sex education and medical insurance."

Posted by: cld on March 3, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"...abortion, sex education, smut, and anything to do with homosexuality.

Don't forget their smug delusions of racial and ethic superiority. Jesus, please save us from these low-self-esteem-white-trash-whack-jobs who claim you and George (the recovering alcoholic)as their savior!

Posted by: Matthew on March 3, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

The warm tingly feeling is just as good when they think about how evil is to ______________ as it is when they think about how wonderful it is to _____________________. But it's not a sin when you use the "evil" adjective.

There's now warm tingly feeling when they think about how evil it is steal from the poor.

Posted by: cowalker on March 3, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

A few days ago, I caught the tail-end of an ad for "Evangelicals Against Global Warming" or somesuch.

Posted by: Roxanne on March 3, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

jeff II, you forgot the option of a bag over the head. Posted by: EM

For whom? You and/or him and/or her?

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

George (the recovering alcoholic)

Some recovery. The boy's a dry drunk who hasn't even admitted he's an alcoholic, much less started recovery.

And the whole world is paying for it.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

jeff, bag over the head for the whoever might be doing the laughing, i suppose. didn't the woman's head get covered traditionally during sex way back when? was that so the man didn't have to look at her shameful visage, or so she wouldn't be disappointed when she was what he was really "packing" under his clothes.

okay, this is going nowhere. i need to stop.

Posted by: EM on March 3, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

One of the most interesting quotes from that article come from Carter's new book,

"The homicide rate is at least five times greater in the United States than in any European country, none of which authorizes the death penalty. The Southern states carry out over 80 percent of the executions but have a higher murder rate than any other region. Texas has by far the most executions, but its homicide rate is twice that of Wisconsin, the first state to abolish the death penalty. It is not a matter of geography or ethnicity, as is indicated by similar and adjacent states: the number of capital crimes is higher, respectively, in South Dakota, Connecticut, and Virginia (all with the death sentence) than in the adjacent states of North Dakota, Massachusetts, and West Virginia (without the death penalty)."


This is to say that it is the presence of the death penalty itself that creates a societal influence in support of killing others.

Posted by: cld on March 3, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

I still fall into the "but why would you care" if your neighbors are dipping themselves in mustard and being rolled in flour?

Seriously, why are Democrats the "mommy" party? Those conservatives are such goddam busybodies. Worse than 16 year old girls, honestly.

Posted by: theorajones on March 3, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle Cottle at TNR?

No thanks.

That rag shouldn't be rewarded. Smug. Smarmy. Dismissive of the "non-serious" liberals (those who don't think invading and killing arabs is a reasonable response to our "terrorism problem").

Why does WM refer to them so often, and their articles on the sidebars so often? WM and TNR owned by the same outfit? Share editors? That would explain the "muscular liberal" BS that infuses this place from time to time...

Posted by: luci on March 3, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

theora: I still fall into the "but why would you care" if your neighbors are dipping themselves in mustard and being rolled in flour?

We don't really care. We're just mocking them in our effete liberal way for using French's yellow instead of something imported from Fauchon.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you guys and gals. My sex toy website just sold a $20000 worth of mustard in a minute.

Posted by: lib on March 3, 2006 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Quote from Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright via Michelle Collete (Kevin's link): They would not fund something that contradicts their main missions.

By this same logic, evangelical churches should reject tithes from serial adulterers and fornicators within their congregations and excommunicate such members, too. And parishioners who have had abortions (I bet they are many). What happened to the Fundie slogan: Love the sinner, hate the sin? Was it dropped because such bumper-sticker proverbs are morally questionable giving rise to other derivatives such as God hates fags? Nah, they aren't that pure of heart. Such Fundies thrive on hate and oppressive repression. Also gets them money, their main goal, IMO.

cld: The Southern states carry out over 80 percent of the executions but have a higher murder rate than any other region.

Oy! Don't get me going about the South.

EM, thanks for the book tip from another thread, BTW.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 3, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Every couple of months a news story pops up about how the evangelical community is growing up...

You're kidding right? Sojourners had a piece about the Family Research Council's opposition to inoculating girls with a vaccine for cervical cancer. Why you may ask?

"Their resistance is driven by fear more than common sense. The human papilloma virus (HPV) that generates cervical cancer is most typically passed along through genital contact with others. So as long as an individual does not engage in sexual intercourse, he or she should be shielded from the virus. The Religious Right bloc concludes that offering a vaccine for HPV would undercut their promotion of sexual abstinence for adolescents."

Posted by: ckelly on March 3, 2006 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

Their own dip-me-in-mustard-and-roll-me-in-flour" practices are totally fine.

I was unaware that this was a Republican thing. I'll stop it at once. Posted by: shortstop

I understand it's curdled butter milk in the rural areas.

We don't really care. We're just mocking them in our effete liberal way for using French's yellow instead of something imported from Fauchon.

I use honey mustard myself. Or, when I'm feeling particularly decadent, just honey.

Posted by: Stefan on March 3, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

The Christian Right is a political tool to dupe people, over and over again, to vote against abortion (gays, promiscuity, secularists) and get handouts to corporate capital.

The evangelical community generally has broader interests, the Christian Right exists to use the most easily manipulated members of that community as a reliable political base for corporate capital to get its preferred policies enacted without having to face substantive public debate on the issues.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 3, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

"This is to say that it is the presence of the death penalty itself that creates a societal influence in support of killing others."

No, it is not to say that. Carter wisely makes no assumptions about the causal relationship between homicide rates and the death penalty in the quote you provide. It may well be that the murder rate is lower in states that have the death penalty than it would be if they did not have the death penalty.

Posted by: Frink on March 3, 2006 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

No, it is not to say that. Carter wisely makes no assumptions about the causal relationship between homicide rates and the death penalty in the quote you provide. It may well be that the murder rate is lower in states that have the death penalty than it would be if they did not have the death penalty.
Posted by: Frink

Actually, no, unless the studies have been updated. Side-by-side states with and without the death penalty have pretty much the same homicide rates. The death penalty is not a deterent to capital crime.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

... not gender, just sex. they're opposed to abortion because it's evidence of women having sex for reasons other than procreation They hate sex; it's as simple as that.

Posted by: benjoya

And they're opposed to gays because gay sex feels nasty to them.

Posted by: anandine on March 3, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

After all, most of us know that few of our more lavish sexual fantasies will be fulfilled-- ... -- but we're all reasonably certain that other people are getting more & better sex than we are.

What do you mean, "most of us know"? What do you mean, "we're all reasonably certain"?

Posted by: Stefan on March 3, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

And they're opposed to gays because gay sex feels nasty to them.

Only when you do it right...

Posted by: Stefan on March 3, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

but we're all reasonably certain that other people are getting more & better sex than we are.

What do you mean, "most of us know"? What do you mean, "we're all reasonably certain"? Posted by: Stefan

Are you questioning the assertions or admitting that your action is pedestrian (and by that I don't mean "on the sidewalk"). :)

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Cool it down folks. Gregor Samsa died with his creator.

After communism, the specter of a Kafkaesque world is the most favorite device of the liberal paranoids.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 3, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for the pass-through link.

Posted by: Jacob on March 3, 2006 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

After communism, the specter of a Kafkaesque world is the most favorite device of the liberal paranoids.

Well, when agencies whose stated goal is that Kafkaesque world come into power, is it really paranoia anymore?

-D.

Posted by: Dallan Invictus on March 3, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Is this what they mean by the intent of the law?

They don't even try to hide it now Sammy:

Well I just saw the news 3-3-06 and there was the S Dakota legislator saying it might be ok for a girl to have an abortion if she was " savaged really brutally raped and beaten, if she was a virgin, a christian, and if she was really totally destroted by it". So you see if she ever had sex, enjoyed it didn't go to church and was not beat to a pulp, she does not deserve to get off the hook with an abortion.

Posted by: orion on March 3, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

For whom? You and/or him and/or her?

I think I'd like one for myself, too, please. Ain't no way I'm watching anything like that.

Posted by: joshua_norton@hotmail.com on March 3, 2006 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we should apply the ol' Occam's Razor to the evangelicals re sex: The more dispicable they make sex in their "cult"ure, the nastier it is when they themselves partake of the activity. In a sick way, these people are just setting themselves up for emotional and spiritual S&M with God. What a bunch of sickos. And they call liberals depraved...

Posted by: jcricket on March 3, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sex sells just as well as an object of indignation as (or maybe even better than) it sells as fantasy-fulfillment. After all, most of us know that few of our more lavish sexual fantasies will be fulfilled-- although the idiots who are suing Clay Aiken's record company because of his (okay, alleged) gayness missed that clue train-- but we're all reasonably certain that other people are getting more & better sex than we are. So the religious right can wallow in others' laciviousness while seeking to curb it. Or maybe they're trying to enhance the appeal of their own fantasies by driving them deeper underground. Or something. The point is that sex is viscerally appealing in a way that altruism & sacrifice never are, and that applies to almost everyone, religious/political/sexual persuasions notwithstanding.

Didn't some wag once observe that most moral indignation was 2% morality, 48% indignation, and 50% envy?

Posted by: Wally Ballou on March 3, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

As soon as little Alison Grace goes to sleep I'm throw'n the Willie into overdrive...(shakes wife) wake up Mrs. Elmo!

Posted by: elmo on March 3, 2006 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: SUNNYday on March 3, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

frink,

The point of the quote was that the states were contiguous and contiguous states are those which are most likely to have similar social cultures. The distinction is prinicipally then the presence of the death penalty, which provides a societal justification of the right to kill another.

From another point of view I think it's equally a good argument that in a state with the death penalty a crime of passion is much more likely simply because in the fit of things you get it over with aware that the state will see it the same way and you'll be killed just as quickly ending it all. Where in a state without the death penalty you know that at best you'd have to sit there and think about it for the next sixty or seventy years.

The prospect of living out your whole life in jail is probably a lot more effective as a deterrent than the death has ever been.

Posted by: cld on March 4, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

What do you mean, "most of us know"? What do you mean, "we're all reasonably certain"?

Actually, that was meant to be ironic-- envy is the best marketing tool ever, and using sex in that way assumes a related lack in the targets' lives. People tend to be a bit pessimistic about what they have compared to the delights some unknown others are enjoying.

Posted by: latts on March 4, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

People tend to be a bit pessimistic about what they have compared to the delights some unknown others are enjoying.

This reminds me of the definition of Puritanism -- the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time.

Posted by: Stefan on March 4, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

When are we going to get some sort of system which doesn't require me to spend $15 to everyone I want to read an article on...

Posted by: Crissa on March 4, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

When are we going to get some sort of system which doesn't require me to spend $15 to everyone I want to read an article on...

When they discover they aren't making any money off of it. It isn't as though TNR's articles are worth spending 2 bits on, much less $15.

Posted by: raj on March 4, 2006 at 4:08 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, the days of Wesson Oil with plastic parties and Jimmy Swaggert a'blaring from the telly.

Posted by: stupid git on March 4, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

This reminds me of the definition of Puritanism -- the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time.
Posted by: Stefan

Probably Oscar Wilde.

Then there's Mencken: "There's only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism, and that is the impulse to punish the man with a superior capacity for happiness."

Posted by: CFShep on March 4, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, the days of Wesson Oil with plastic parties and Jimmy Swaggert a'blaring from the telly.
Posted by: stupid git

No, silly. Baby Oil and Jimmy's cousin.

"whole lotta shakin' goin' on"

Posted by: CFShep on March 4, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

CF Shep,

As Pete Seeger would sing, "Give me that old time religion"

Posted by: stupid git on March 4, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

As Pete Seeger would sing, "Give me that old time religion"
Posted by: stupid git

"Goodness gracious! Great Balls o' Fire!"

'Course now I get slammed by jokes about marrying 13 year old cousins. Just can't win/down here south of I-10.

Posted by: CFShep on March 4, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

My favorite Seeger moment was, of course, CBS going to black in the middle of "Knee deep in the Big Muddy/And the big fool says, 'Push on!'"

Saw him in this incredible Tribute to Ledbelly in Shreveport in '84. Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry together on the same stage for the fist time in 30 years.

Hot damn. I was raised on the Weavers...

Posted by: CFShep on March 4, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Dicely's right -- and you guys play into it.

It'd be a helluva lot more difficult (I couldn't say "harder", Beavis) for the Grover Norquists of the world to manipulate those who are reflexively public about their religiousity if progressives didn't delight in mocking people of faith for believing in right and wrong, especially when they're hypocritical about it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on March 4, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

In "People of the Lie" M. Scott Peck detailed what happens to people who set unreasonable expectations for themselves and can't face their own "dark side", some part (usually but not always connected to sex) of themselves they can't admit because it conflicts with their view that they must be perfect. It produces incredible pathologies.

Some of the Christian Right fall into this category. But many of their leaders are just in it for the moeny, and like Hollywood and Madison Avenue, they know sex sells.

Posted by: Mimikatz on March 4, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

We've had some fun with the obvious idiocies in play here, but the plain truth is that the evangelical right does not believe that women should enjoy sex unless they are trying to make a baby.

Any non-procreating sex is something to be punished. For women, the punishment is a baby. Hey, it's their contradiction, not mine.

Posted by: zak822 on March 4, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

if progressives didn't delight in mocking people of faith for believing in right and wrong, especially when they're hypocritical about it.
Posted by: theAmericanist

While perhaps some folks go a bit too far, the "religious" right acts like baffoons too much of the time and provides too many targets.

Until they all quit pretending that they are in the majority (far from it), and quit living in the late 19th cenutry morally and intellectually, they can't sit at the big people's table, and don't deserve to be taken seriously.

Posted by: JeffII on March 4, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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