Prisoner of The Pill

May 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm (books, feminism, rants) (, )

I just finished reading a wonderful and hilarious book, Bonk by Mary Roach.  As the name may suggest, the book is about sex, well, sex research to be specific.  I’d recommend this book to pretty much anyone who is open to finding humor in the more bawdy and intimate aspects of our lives.  We’re all human, we all do it, and frankly, sometimes its pretty darned funny!  So anyway, after giggling throughout most of the book, I came to a part which nearly made me cry in outrage.  No, it wasn’t about sexual abuse or violence (that would have REALLY made me cry), it was a short section on something that is unfortunately near and dear to me, The Pill.

On the surface, The Pill is a wonder-drug.  No babies, no acne, regular and lighter periods.  For all of these reasons, I, and millions of women like me, are on The Pill and have been for some time. I have personally been on it for about 10 years (and I’m only 27).  I started it because NOTHING else would clear up my skin as a teenager, plus my cycles were infuriatingly irregular and unpredictable.  Little did my 17 year old self know that in 10 years, I would feel like a slave to these tiny pills.  Due to medication that I am on that can cause severe birth defects, I HAVE to be extremely vigilant about not getting pregnant.  My partner and I both feel that condoms are not a reasonable alternative due to their propensity for misuse as well as our simple desire not to have to use them.  And after condoms there are VERY FEW non-hormone based contraceptives.

About a year ago, I got fed up with The Pill and took my grievances to Planned Parenthood for the purpose of getting an IUD (intra-uterine device) – the copper kind, not the one that just sits in your uterus pouring hormones into it.  First of all, the entire visit to PP was unpleasant.  The nurse who took my vitals asked why in the world I wanted to get off The Pill.  She poo-pooed the idea of a diaphram (not that I want one, but she shouldn’t have made that assumption) as being “messy” and hard to use.  In my actual consultation with the doctor, she dismissed my complaint that The Pill was causing bloating and weight gain.  I’ve never been a skinny person, but I know my body and I knew that this constant stream of progesterone – the hormone that pregnant women produce that tells their bodies not to lose fat – was doing nothing good for my weight issues.  This doctor also told me that IUDs are only appropriate for women who have already had children.  While this may be the more standard application, I don’t feel that it is exclusive, this particular doctor just didn’t feel comfortable implanting them in childless women – and she told me as much.  So I left PP feeling demoralized, dejected and without any options.  They practically threw a new prescription for Pills at me.  I got the distinct feeling that PP is being subsidized by Pill-producing companies.  Probably not true, but that was my impression.

So this brings me back to Bonk.  Mary Roach was discussing how a woman’s hormonal cycle normally causes an increase in sexual drive during the time of month while she’s ovulating (makes sense).  But women on The Pill are receiving a constant and steady stream of estrogen and progesterone which levels out their hormones, basically dulling their natural cycle and urges.  Much worse yet, The Pill induces a protein which binds to and inactivates testosterone in the blood.  Why do women need testosterone you may ask?  Well, it is the “hormone of desire”.  Without testosterone, women have greatly lowered sexual drive.  I was enraged by this.  I was NEVER told of this side-effect.  I guess diminished sexual desire is not anything worth discussing as a possible reason women would not want to use a particular drug.  I knew that I was taking estrogen and progesterone and I was already none too happy with the possible and actual side-effects of those two hormones, but now to know that my testosterone levels are also being diminished?  Holy Hell.  Can you even imagine if a birth control medication for men blunted their libido?  There’d be outrage.  No no, there wouldn’t because no drug like that would be taken by millions of men for most of their lives.

I’d love to hear from anyone else interested in this topic as well.  Has anyone heard about the use of copper IUD’s in women who have not been pregnant?  Its still something I am seriously looking into.

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Breaking the dryspell with a feminist rant

February 29, 2008 at 2:27 am (feminism, NPR, rants)

Oh, I just couldn’t let this one go.  I am currently deeply entrenched in my dissertation which is why I haven’t been feeling especially inspired lately to write much else.  But I heard a couple of things today that made me so incensed it got my creative juices flowing again.  I wake up to NPR in the morning.  I figure as I snooze, the latest news and current events will find their way into my brain.  Often what happens is that I think of something later in the day and wonder if it was a dream or was it actual news that president Bush vetoed another piece of legislation that would have benefited women or kids.

Unfortunately, I was very much awake when I heard an interview of a woman (I think the woman was interviewed at her church) about what presidential candidate she was excited about.  I think she said something about thinking it was nice that a lady could run for president, but that its really just a man’s job because of her strong belief that women hold a submissive place in the world and that she liked the leadership style of men.  I’m just wondering what her point of reference was.  The simple fact is, we have very little evidence of what a world controlled by women would look like.  So lets analyze what a world mostly ruled by men looks like.  Wars, religious fanaticism, dictatorship, genocide…Gee I can see why the status quo is so attractive!  I would have been sickened had a man said this, but to hear a woman say it literally made my skin crawl.  It greatly saddens me to think of a woman being raised in a faith which conveys to her, from infancy no doubt, that she is inferior and limited in what she can do.  Yet another in the list of a million reasons I’m proud to call myself an atheist.

And speaking of religion and discrimination, I had the pleasure on my way home from work of listening to another NPR story about the recent establishment of segregated mass-transit systems in many large cities.  They interviewed Israeli women on both sides of the issue.  The segregation in Israel is religiously based.  The point is apparently to keep men away from the wanton temptation of all of those seductive women.  One woman compared allowing her husband to sit next to another woman to allowing a baby to play with a loaded gun.  Seriously, she said those words…and then my head exploded.

I suppose it shouldn’t, but it continues to shock me when women willingly step backwards in time and give up the status and rights that ambitious and powerful women before them have earned all of us.

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Thompson: A Real Revolutionary

September 9, 2007 at 9:25 pm (feminism, opinions, politics, presidental race, rants)

Gee, I’m so excited that Fred Thompson decided to grace the presidential candidate pool with his presence.  He’s a real breath of fresh air among all the other crotchety old white men running on the Republican ticket.  He also has ground breaking views on all of the social issues dominating headlines these days (and yes I did get this link from Feministing).  This makes me want to vomit:

Thompson praised Bush’s performance on Iraq, the economy and Social Security. While criticizing the president for presiding over “too much spending” at the federal level, he said he backed Bush’s efforts to try to overhaul Social Security with private investment accounts. He also praised Bush for “doing a good job” on the economy and said, “I give him credit for the Supreme Court nominations that he’s made.”

Yea, go Bushie for nominating two more conservative white men to the Supreme Court, who needs diversity?  Its only the group of people that determines most of the rules by which ALL Americans live by.

The other part of this that disturbs me pertains to the abortion rhetoric.

Don’t punish women who have abortions,” presidential hopeful Fred Thompson says. Punish the doctors who perform them.

This is a point on which I have engaged in discussions on other blogs, but not here that I remember.  It is the idea that an abortion is something that is done TO a woman, not an informed decision that SHE makes.  Not that I agree at all that anyone should be punished for the practice of abortions.  I just don’t understand why only the doctor is held responsible and not the person that chose to go to the clinic.  This is so patriarchal and condescending.  Treating the woman as if she is a helpless victim of abortion.  ‘Gee, I just stumbled into this clinic and, wait – what is that evil doctor doing to me?????’   I guess, given that he’s about 120 years old, Thompson still believes that it is our “wandering uterus” which makes us so crazy.  Clearly we don’t possess the intellect or logic to determine how to manage our own bodies.  Which is why its a good thing that President Dumb Shit had the presence of mind to only put more men on the Supreme Court.

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The “Truth”

August 29, 2007 at 1:10 am (feminism, rants)

Some time last year, the city I live in was blessed with a new radio station, a right-wing crazy talk radio station called “The Truth”.  There are some key differences between “The Truth” and say, NPR.  (1) “The Truth” is a commercial station and (2) You actually become stupider while listening to it.  Just today, I think Algebra II just melted straight away.  To me, its kind of an audio equivalent of a train-wreck.  Its just too horrible to turn away from.  So time to time when there’s nothing good on NPR, I’ll turn on this tripe for a good laugh.  Obviously I’m a liberal, but I like to give most conservatives that benefit of the doubt and say I may not agree with their politics, religion or ideology, but at least I don’t assume they are idiotic.  Today’s listen to “The Truth” may change those assumptions.  I will give two examples of why this is, from the only 2 times I listened to the station today.

1.  Business Babes:   I believe it was on the Laura Ingram show this morning that they were discussing the recent phenomena of, gasp, women that are experts on business and the economy.  They referred specifically to Erin Burnett who apparently has the nickname “Business Babe”.  Another example is Maria Bartiromo, aka “the Money Honey”.  This is disgusting on so many levels.  First of all, the radio retards acted simply amazed that someone with boobs and a uterus would know something about stocks and bonds.  These are women that have worked their way to the positions they are in by having the expertise and charisma to have earned their jobs as correspondents to major news channels.  Sure they are attractive, and that no doubt played a key part in how they got their positions on TV.  Like it or not, they don’t generally put ugly people on TV (James Carvill being a major exception).  Why is it assumed that women know nothing about money?  This whole conversation was infuriating to say the least.

2.  Swallowing Glass:  This next exchange was maddening simply because these two morons actually have a radio show, even though they clearly have the combined IQ of a shot glass.  Here’s the gist of the exchange, and I swear I’m not making up any of the parts that make them sound like total dumb-fucks.  I couldn’t make this up.

  • Lead Moron (LM):   Due to natural erosion the beaches in Ft. Lauderdale are disappearing and they have to dredge or truck new sand in to create usable beaches.
  • Backup Moron (BM):  Duh, really??
  • LM:  Yea, and they’re actually talking about using recycled, crushed up glass to replace the sand instead of scraping more off of the bottom of the ocean.
  • BM:  Broken glass?  Oh my god!!!  Well, I guess sand is made of silicon isn’t it?
  • LM:  Uh, I guess.
  • BM:  So they’re going to be putting glass shards on the beach?
  • LM:  Yea, this means that (and he yelled this part) your little kids are going to be playing in the ocean, then come back to the beach and put their little wet fingers in the broken glass, and then eat it.  Your kids are going to have BROKEN GLASS SHARDS IN THEIR DIGESTIVE TRACTS!

It was at this point that I had to turn it off because I was yelling at the radio and my friends were looking at me like I had gone off the deep end.  If only these guys knew that they make polar-fleece out of recycled plastic bottles.  That would absolutely blow their minds.

Why do these assholes have to be not only stupid, but stupid in an incendiary way that alarms their equally moronic listener base?  That was certainly enough of “The Truth” for one day.  One year more like it, although it does give me fantastic ranting material!!

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Vile in any Color

August 25, 2007 at 6:08 pm (Current Events, opinions, rants)

I had to put my two cents in about this Michael Vick thing because its just making me sick. And its not even the horrifying aspect of animal abuse that has me so upset this particular morning. Listening to NPR this morning I heard some “expert” or another talking about how Vick is being persecuted more harshly due to his race. However, when pressed by the NPR interviewer, the “expert” admitted that if that dog-abuser had been white, he’d probably receive the same legal and social ramifications. So I’m confused. Which is it, fair or racist? I certainly have my opinion on the topic and I hesitate to even start in on the racial issue. So before I say anything else, I have to acknowledge that I am very aware that harsh racial inequality is alive and kicking every minute of every day in our society, not only against Blacks, but against Middle-Easterners, Asians, Latinos, and many more groups. However, I very much dislike when the tactic of accusing the media or the public of racism is used to defend someone as vile and despicable as this.

One of the main arguments I have heard in defense of Vick is that dog fighting is part of the black culture and highly prevalent in the inner cities. This is quite a slippery-slope argument, because it could be used at one time or another to defend gang violence in the inner cities, white supremacy in the South, or even Antisemitism in the Middle East. Just because it is prevalent and part of the culture does not make it right.

Actor Jamie Foxx had this to say, although I truly have no idea why anyone gives a crap about his opinion:

“It’s a cultural thing, I think,” Jamie said. “Most brothers didn’t know that, you know. I used to see dogs fighting in the neighborhood all the time. I didn’t know that was Fed time. So, Mike probably just didn’t read his handbook on what not to do as a black star.” While he has a way of lightening even the most sensitive of subjects, Jamie is sincere in his belief that the quarterback is not being given a fair shake.
“I know that cruelty to animals is bad, but sometimes people shoot people and kill people and don’t get time,” Jamie continued. “I think in this situation, he really didn’t know the extent of it, so I always give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Apparent Vick also hasn’t read his handbook on being a decent human being either. I know that the issue of cruelty to animals is fraught with hypocrisy since we eat animals, test drugs on them, wear them, etc. But there is a distinct difference between consuming animals for survival/nutrition or using them for the betterment of human health (although a debate on those topics could fill an entire blog) and causing them harm for our entertainment and pleasure. And its not even the dogs vs. chickens debate. I recognize that it is a cultural construct that we value the lives of dogs and cats more than pigs or chickens. I know that in certain Asian cultures, the consumption of animals that we consider “pets” is a common practice. However, countries like China also have a long history or massive starvation and famine. I would never fault someone for consuming a dog or a cat if the alternative was death or surviving on tree bark and dirt (which many people did). But I would go out on a limb and say that I doubt that the Chinese would torture dogs before killing them for consumption. Humane treatment and sacrifice of animals should always be a priority.

That being said, I was literally nauseated when I heard about these charges, and in truth I avoided reading/hearing about them for about a week because I absolutely can’t stomach cruelty towards animals. And not being much of a sports fan myself, I had no idea that Vick was even black when the story first broke. It sickened me nonetheless. There are many things in our society which are illegal and vial no matter what color you are, and the ruthless torture and killing of animals is probably near the top of that list.

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Sorry, Unavailable

August 15, 2007 at 12:45 am (rants)

While at the gym this afternoon, I was reminded of one of my top 5 pet-peeves:  people that talk on their cell phones while they are working out.  And I use the term “working out” loosely because when people are on their phones, they are either half-assing some cardio or occupying a weight machine, keeping it from use by people who actually there to work up a sweat.  I was next to a woman the other day on the elliptical machine and she was on her cell phone the whole time she was on there.  She was barely moving fast enough to keep the machine from re-setting itself.  I later saw her doing sit-ups, you guessed it, holding her phone to her ear.  I’ve even been in a step-aerobics class where a woman was talking on the phone while stepping.  Not only is this obnoxious because she was talking over the instructor, but its also dangerous.  Why even bother coming to the gym if that’s what you’re going to do?  I don’t know why I let this bother me so much, but I do.

I think more than the annoyance of them taking up space at the gym I am bothered by the self-importance of it.  The fact that they are talking during their work-out says to me “I’m too important to be unavailable for even the hour that I’m at the gym”.  Doesn’t anyone want to be unavailable anymore?  I certainly do!  Between stress in the lab, running errands, cooking, cleaning, all the obligatory crap we endure throughout our days, I think an hour at the gym with just my thoughts and my music is the least I can do for myself.  It reminds me of those ridiculous news stories that came out a while back about people going to hotels or resorts that would take their cell phone or blackberry away from them and lock it up in a vault for the duration of their trip.  People laughed about it, but I thought it was pathetic.  How sad that people have to pay other people to keep them from using their cell phone?  I hate that in our society, we are expected to be available 24/7.  People say, “why didn’t you have your phone on?” – well, maybe I wanted a few hours to myself, that’s why.

I realize that I am teetering on the brink of being a complete loner.  I fit into all those stereotypes about scientists being bookish and anti-social.  I am bookish, I only reserve smiles for people I actually like, and I find small-talk nearly unbearable.  I like going to movies and restaurants by myself or just reading quietly at home.  And although I’m clearly on one extreme of the spectrum, I think more people could do with a little less yapping about complete nonsense with each other, and a little more times with their own thoughts, even if there aren’t an abundance of them.

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The Homogenization of Politics

August 10, 2007 at 9:42 pm (politics, presidental race, rants)

The latest in a series of uneventful and uninformative presidential debates went down last night, this time focusing on issues concerning gay rights.  All of the top contenders (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) displayed their disappointingly predictable non-commital support to the GLBT (gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered) crowd.  Only two of the candidates, most notable Dennis Kucinich, actually had the guts to come out in full support for completely equal gay marriage and all other rights.  And in a shocking display of ignorance, Gov. Bill Richardson appeared to have no idea what the question of whether being gay is a choice or not meant.  He said he thought it was a choice (a major insult to the crowd).  This bone-headed answer left his staff scrambling to release a statement to the contrary immediately following the debate. 

What I personally find most infuriating about the entire political issue of gay marriage is why people (politicians and citizens alike) can’t realize that it is completely inevitable, and that we need to just let it happen.  I am absolutely sure that in 50 years, gays and lesbians will be able to marry whomever they choose, and that future generations are going to look back on us the same way we look back on past generations that didn’t allow inter-racial marriage.  Barrack Obama even alluded to this by bringing up the fact that his own parents’ inter-racial marriage would have been banned in most states when they were wed, so he has personal experience with this type of discrimination.  So why in the world couldn’t he use his own background as the basis to come out in support of gay marriage instead of his lame seperate but equal civil unions bullshit?  One would think that, being a person of color, Obama would also have something to say about the policy of seperate but equal.  These candidates need a little historical perspective to realize that gay is the new black.  And by that I mean, gays are pretty much discriminated against in the same manner that blacks were discriminated against 50 years ago.  Why can’t we just learn from our mistakes rather than making an entire generation of GLBT citizens suffer from ignorance and bigotry?

Unfortunately, the issue of gay marriage is just another entry on the long list of issues that politicians have all become cowardly and homogenous about (Dems and GOP alike).  I am so tired of politicians who are afraid to take a real stand on an issue.  They are so obviously being coached as to what exactly they need to say to appeal to the widest range of voters.  And I know that this homogenization is inevitable if they want to get elected, but just maybe, if someone came out with some real opinions, they’d find that voters liked it.  I guess Dennis Kucinich is a testament to the fact that that isn’t very likely since he has already had unsuccessful bids for the presidancy.  By the time we are down to two contenders, they are so alike that you almost have to refer to the color of their ties to remember what party they’re associated with. 

And it seems to be a scary trend that all candidates have to lean towards the right to grab the most voters.  Republican candidates can say that they are starkly against gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, etc…but Democratic candidates will rarely come out in full support of those issues.  They have to qualify their support of gay marriage by calling it civil unions.  They curb their support for stem cell research by saying – only use previously established cell lines, or something like that.  Democrats and Republicans alike have to put their religiosity on display (or should I just say their Christianity).  God forbid we ever have an atheist or Buddhist or Muslim president, that nearly seems illegal.

Politics has become so carefully scripted and acted that is seems more like a fictional play than real life.  We can rarely believe what our elected officials tell us, and those who are trying to get elected will tell us anything they think we want to hear.  Unfortunately, because politicians are so consumed with appealing to everyone, we all end up losing in the end because no real changes are ever made.

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Short Attention Span Theater

August 9, 2007 at 4:40 am (family, opinions, rants)

I thought I’d get away from depressing politics for at least a minute and get to something else I enjoy ranting about which I also have no first-hand experience with – child rearing.  This morning it was all over the news (if you can call CNN and the Today Show news) about how the Baby Einstein video series may actually delay language development.  This is another one from “Captain Obvious Weekly”.  Does anyone actually think that plopping and infant down in from of the TV to watch other infants doing crap to the tune of classical music on TV would actually improve their language skills?

Unfortunately, in my opinion this minor developmental delay is not the most insidious problem associated with this type of product.  Parents are getting their children addicted at younger and younger ages to watching moving things on screens.  Video games, leap-frog, computer web-sites associated with toys, TV, DVD, you name it.  Kids are constantly watching a glowing screen, and not just while at home.  Now with the latest technology, they can take video games and DVD’s with them everywhere they go, not to mention built-in DVD players in cars.  Now I’m the first to admit that I don’t know what its like to have a car full of screaming children, and yes, I’m sure its easier to stick a DVD in front of them like some glowing pacifier.  But somehow, parents through the years dealt with children with no electronic gadgets, so obviously it can be done.  Its less convenient, but seriously, what are we doing to our childrens’ imaginations and attention spans?  They are constantly being bombarded with stimulation – lights, movements, sounds.  Whatever happened to a nice book in a quiet room?

One of the most disturbing examples of this that I witnessed was on an airplane.  I was seated across the aisle from a young couple with a baby around 12-18 months of age.  They had the ubiquitous portable DVD player with something like the Teletubbies on it.  When it came time to turn off all portable electronics, the parents shut it off, and the child started screaming.  They disobeyed the rules and turned it back on, and the child immediately shut up.  The flight attendant came by, they shut it off, and the baby cried.  And so it went.  It was some scary kind of hypnosis that little screen had the baby under.  Now I definitely sympathize with the parents, because I’m sure they were embarrassed that their child was screaming, and they were trying to do a service to the other passengers, but it just made me sad.  Everywhere you go – restaurants, stores, etc – kids are kept occupied by portable screens.

I know I’ve gotten myself on quite the soap box here.  I only hope that I never make a hypocrite out of myself if and when I do have children.  I’m sure parenting is 1000 times harder than I can ever imagine, but I just think all of the excuses are pretty lame because we know its possible to raise happy and smart people without glowing screens, you know, at least until they need to use the internet for important things, like porn and blogging.

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Abstain from Lies

August 2, 2007 at 8:03 pm (feminism, opinions, politics, rants, religion)

Humans are sexual beings. Perhaps above all else, we are driven by that fact since it is what has kept our species alive and prospering (all too well) for thousands and thousands of years. So why do our (religious-right) leaders try to continually deny this fact? I was just reminded of this while I was reading an entry on a great website written and maintained by intelligent women of my generation. It sounds like maybe some sensible people are trying to make some inroads into the ridiculous policy of abstinence only education. Why is it such a difficult, dirty thing to admit that teenagers have sex? Why are children lied to and mislead about sex? It unfortunately comes down to religion and the conservative mind-set in most cases. No one vilifies the beautiful and natural act of sex more than Christians.

I have to relate a story that G told me about his Catholic school sex education. When G was 16 or 17 years old, he was being “taught” about sex and contraceptives. Now we all know how Catholics feel about contraceptives, so it may surprise you that they were actually covering the topic of condoms. But before you get excited, this is what G was told. He was told, through an ingenious visual demonstration, that condoms are porous, and that if a condom pore were proportionately as large as a doorway, a single AIDS virus is the size of a tennis ball. Now throw that tennis ball threw the doorway. WOW! Condoms are completely useless! That’s a GREAT lesson to teach a bunch of horny 17 year olds! Now to address the validity of that demonstration: even if the AIDS virus is smaller than a condom pore (and that’s a big if), the AIDS virus doesn’t just float around by itself. It is either attached to or inside white blood cells, which are MUCH bigger than a condom pore. Not to mention all of the scientific and empirical evidence that shows that condoms do indeed prevent the transfer of AIDS. Again (related to my last post), kids are being taught lessons based on ignorance and fear.

Besides the blatant lies kids are told about sex and contraception, there is the whole topic of what kids are NOT told. In an abstinence only program, there are no lessons taught about safe and respectful sexual practices, not to even remotely mention sexual desire, homosexuality, sexual dysfunction, etc. When we aren’t taught about these things in a safe and proper environment, we pick it up where and when we can. When kids are taught that abstinence is the only way to go, they will find “creative” ways to remain virgins. I knew a couple a number of years ago (in college) that would only have anal sex because they wanted to remain virgins until marriage. HUH?

Are we really supposed to swallow the heap of dung being fed to us by our right-wing leaders and not think that they ever had sex before marriage? We are being led by a generation of men (yes I said men) that were coming of age in the era that pregnant teenage girls were still sent away to hide their “condition” from the public. We need to demystify sex and present it as a fact of life, not a sin. Sex can lead to babies and disease, but it is also an integral part of a healthy, mature, intimate relationship. It is something to be done in a responsible and respectful manner.

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Minds of Children

August 2, 2007 at 1:01 am (movies, opinions, rants, religion)

G and I watched a scary movie last night.  I am admittedly a total wimp when it comes to scary movies, but this one really made me shake in my boots.  It had brainwashing, and religious armies and … Pentecostals!!!  Yes, we watched that thriller “Jesus Camp” – and we’re ready to make our move to Sweden at any moment.

There are just too many subjects to cover with this movie, and I’d really recommend for people to actually watch it, rather than read some lame play by play of it.  And speaking of watching it, G and I both noted that we think either side (anti-religious, like us, or scary-religious, like them) could watch this movie and feel that it was giving them what they came for.  I think the film-makers did an excellent job of presenting the subject matter fairly.  It would have been very easy to vilify the Pentecostals, and to G and me, that’s kind of what it was doing.  But to those who firmly believe in the Evangelical way of life, they would see this as an inspiring call to action.

I would, however, like to comment on the aspects of the movie that struck me the most.  As the title suggests, the movie focuses on children, and the brainwashing (indoctrination, whatever you want to call it) that they undergo at the hands of their parents and youth leaders.  These children are never taught to think for themselves.  They chant and sing and repeat bible verses like little automatons.  At their church services and revivals they cry and break down and speak in tongues, not because they are truly possessed by the holy spirit, but because they receive positive reinforcement from their Pentecostal leaders and parents for doing so.  Like any children, they seek the approval from their superiors.  These children are led to believe that they know all that they need to know, because they have found the lord.  Many of them are home-schooled by similarly under-educated parents who teach them a falsified version of the world, thereby perpetuating their own ignorance and biases.  One of the girls (aged 10) featured in this movie frequently approaches strangers 10, 20, even 50 years her senior, to tell them that Jesus told her to speak to them.  Or she will ask them (with all the condescension a 10-year old can muster) if they really think they are going to heaven.  She is not only allowed to do this by her parents, but is actually encouraged to do so.  She is praised for belittling total strangers and acting as if she, at 10 years old, somehow has more knowledge and life experience than a 60 year old man.

These childrens’ faith is not taught to them by methods of reason and logic, methods preferred by which people who think for themselves.  Instead, they are taught lessons in a manner biased by emotion and fear.  In the movie, they are taught that abortion is murder by a pro-life leader who has visual aids including tiny full sized babies that get bigger and bigger, starting from the size of a large walnut.  Of course these are not accurate, since at 5 weeks post-conception we no more resemble a tiny human than does a chicken.  But do sub-ten year old children know this?  Of course not.  Do most of their parents know this?   Probably not.  These young children are taught about abortion and childbirth in a false and emotionally charged way.  Children who do not even know how conception occurs are taught to criminalize and vilify women whose circumstances they know nothing about.  Children as young as 5 vow to end legalized abortion.

Although I appreciated this movie for what it was, I really didn’t learn a whole lot of new information from it.  One of my biggest gripes with religion has always been its discouragement of free thinking and criticism.  I would also not expect for this commentary to sway any evangelical’s way of thinking.  They would view it as the same old godless liberal rhetoric.  So be it, I am pretty liberal and godless.  But fortunately, I can think for myself.

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