Friday, March 12, 2010

Christian Radio.

A good portion of the way driving across the country, I listened to Christian radio. I did this because I like seeking out things that make me angry. Also because talk radio keeps me awake better than music, and the only options in a lot of places are Christian talk or NPR. I listened to a lot of NPR too, but it wasn't as entertaining.

The thing that amazed me: it's all about sex! I listened to about 24 hours of Christian radio and probably 20 of those hours were about "family issues." Sex occupied a far, far greater timeslot than did prayer or charity or community news. And when I say "sex," I mean "orders about how to have sex." Or orders about how to act your gender, I'll lump that in here. It's all fucking orders, that's for sure.

(Something I want to clarify before I go further: my beef is with contemporary American Christian fundamentalist culture, not with Christianity. People's belief in Jesus and in the Bible is not the problem here and I don't want to denigrate the religion itself here. This is a cultural argument, not a theological one, and I have no more respect for "lol invisible sky man" than I do for "turn or burn, sinners!")

How To Have Sex According To Christian Radio:
-Obviously, don't have any before you're married. This is usually phrased in terms of high school kids, which makes it sound sort of reasonable, but then I realize--I'm still not married! Of course, if I were determined to be abstinent until marriage, I probably would have married Kevin back when I was a teenager, and wouldn't that be lovely, he'd be playing WoW in my basement instead of his mom's right now.

-Once married, you're stuck with it. Divorce is ungodly (Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was just a joke, God didn't really mean that). If you just can't get along, the solution is to get along, duhhh. The really unnerving part is the loop: "Well, what if he hits me?" "He shouldn't hit you, that's wrong." "But what if he does?" "He shouldn't!" As long as you can control people's behavior on every level, there's no need to make exceptions.

It's the same logic as staunch opposition to sex education and condoms--as long as everyone was perfect (by our standards) we wouldn't need these things! If someone wants to go ahead and be imperfect anyway... fuck 'em.

-Seriously, fuck 'em, because there's nothing that Christian radio hates more than "the world." "The world" is a terrible and debased place and the goal of life is to be better than "the world." If you were wondering where pornography and homosexuality and promiscuity and spaghetti-strap tops come from, the answer is "the world," which is Satan's domain.

-Oxytocin and vasopressin are God's Hormones. Any skin-to-skin contact with a member of the opposite sex releases God's Hormones, after which you are bound for life and leaving this person will make you miserable forever. For example (they really said this), if a woman hugs a man for more than twenty seconds, they will become bonded. This is why it's crucially important not to hug before marriage.

-You can prove anything via batshit-insane analogy. Masturbating is wrong because when you touch yourself, that's like pouring oil on the roof and setting a rabbit on fire. Trufax.

-Women and men are equal, they just have different roles to play. And men's role is to be in charge.

There's a very weird screwjob buried in the idea of traditional gender roles, and that is that women are expected to be subservient because their husband is supporting them--even when they're getting no such support. In a modern economy, it's a woman's role to keep house, raise the children, and joyfully submit to her husband--after she gets home from work! I have no desire to be a Happy Housewife under any circumstances, but being expected to act the Happy Housewife without even the luxury of being a housewife... goddamn.

-Marriage is between one man and one woman. The "one" is always in there, as if the polyamorists were beating down the gate of American society just as fast as the gays. (I wouldn't mind if they did, but that's another story.) Homosexuals ("ho-mah-seeehx-you-allls")have an agenda, and that agenda is to "promote the acceptance of homosexuality." Which, to be fair, is probably true.

At least in my random sampling of Christian radio stations, there wasn't much talk about why being gay is wrong--it mostly goes without saying. Because, ew, right? Not a lot of heavy analysis. Being gay is also very sexual--two men chastely holding hands with all their clothes on is basically public sex--so even if we have to tolerate it, at least please don't do it in front of the children.

Lesbians definitely do not exist. For women to desire women, they'd have to have sexual desire in the first place, and that's crazy talk. Women don't want sex, women want security.

The last quote I heard (and please, rack your brain for what on Earth this has to do with Christianity) before giving up and listening to NPR's fascinating three-hour coverage of the traditional knitting techniques of Estonia--"A woman's need for security is the closest thing she has to a man's sex drive."

16 comments:

  1. If by "need for security" they mean "need to be tied up and fucked in the ass", then sure.

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  2. It makes me feel very secure.

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  3. Hey, I think you're being a bit harsh on these radio stations. Personally, one of my favorite things to do is snuggle with another woman and discuss how she should beat me, and then have her beat me. As you can clearly see, there is no explicit sex anywhere in this equation, and the snuggling and discussion makes me feel very secure! So obviously, the radio people are on to something. Also, it is good to know that this can't possibly make me queer. My parents will be very happy.

    -Andrea

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  4. if a woman hugs a man for more than twenty seconds, they will become bonded

    That reminds me of Jo Walton's "Tooth and Claw", a sort of pastiche of Anthony Trollope, where she explains the weird gender things of the past in dragon terms by postulating that if a female dragon is alone with a dragon she'll not only bond with him but turn permanently pink, so everyone will know and her honour will be ruined forever unless they marry.

    It's kind of disconcerting to see this idea in the present.

    Masturbating is wrong because when you touch yourself, that's like pouring oil on the roof and setting a rabbit on fire.

    Well, iirc, 'rabbit' used to be slang for that portion of the anatomy which we now use "pussy" for instead. I think it had something to do with homophony of "coney" and "cunny" (=cunt) but I may have cause and effect mixed up. Anyway I can see where they're coming from about setting your cunny afire, except they say it like it's a bad thing.

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  5. Zeborah - That's not an exact quote, it's just a batshit simile.

    You know, taking batshit similes too seriously is like planting a tree upside down with butterscotch syrup on the roots.

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  6. When you're simile-ing the whole world similes with you!

    I've heard this joke from about a dozen different dykes and femmes over the last 20 years, so make of it what you will:
    What's the most common lesbian pickup line?
    Your moving van or mine?

    Humans love talking about sex. Christians are humans, ergo ...

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  7. I always heard "What do lesbians bring on a third date? A U-Haul."

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  8. Those people who push the man-breadwinner woman-housewife paradigm usually either grew up during the 1950s and 1960s (pretty much the only time period in the western world which this was the norm for the common folk since, I dunno, ancient Greece or something), or are older people who raised their kids during that era, or own their own farm and/or small business and use hired help instead of their families to run it. This arrangement is "natural" to them, and it is not evident from their social circles that this is an anomaly which is no longer viable for most people. (It has always been a very common arrangement among the wealthy, but only since the 1920s have the common people attempted to emulate the wealthy when possible.)

    At any rate, the "equal with different roles to play" thing is a made-up justification designed to appeal to modern sensibilities; in the past it's usually been things like women are "meant to be subservient" because they're "dumber and weaker" than men. Or because of Eve's actions in regards to the fruit of knowledge. There was no consideration for women as being "equal" at all.

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  9. You said it yourself aabout the loop - religion just gives a set of ruless for anyone to try and measure up to.
    "You should not [do this]." - And what if I do? - "You should not." - But what if I do?


    You can keep on asking forever, or can try and act according to these rules, it's your free choice.

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  10. You can keep on asking forever, or can try and act according to these rules, it's your free choice.

    That is is. The problem sets in when people start insisting on making civil policy as though everyone were going to live up to that standard and to hell with them if they don't. We can't even manage a murder-free society, trying to make policy around sex-only-in-loving-marriages is completely insane.

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  11. A good portion of the way driving across the country, I listened to Christian radio. I did this because I like seeking out things that make me angry. Also because talk radio keeps me awake better than music, and the only options in a lot of places are Christian talk or NPR. I listened to a lot of NPR too, but it wasn't as entertaining.

    Just wanted to say that I do this exact same thing... it's great that I'm not the only one, everyone else thinks I'm kinda crazy(:

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  12. We can't even manage a murder-free society, trying to make policy around sex-only-in-loving-marriages is completely insane.

    If you don't try, you don't gain anything at all. Feel free to create your own church, set up your own rules, no prob. Just don't bank upon thosse who have _their_ church to change it on your liking, why should they?

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  13. Anon - You can do what you like in your church (although I'm still allowed to think and say that it's stupid as all hell.) The instant you start trying to make it public policy, your stupidity is everyone's business.

    And sex-only-in-one-man-one-woman-marriages is double stupid; it's stupid because it'll never happen among humans, and it's stupid because it's wrong anyway and there are plenty of other ethical ways to have sex.

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  14. Whoever said I was trying to change your church or anyone else's? My entire point is that people's morals and standards are between their God, and their consciences, and themselves, and trying to expand that to a societal level is stupid.

    Plenty of churches, however, are trying to insist that that standard be the basis of policymaking- and that was both my point and Holly's.

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  15. It's not that standard it's those standards like all "you shall not"s.
    If you can break some rules with impunity it does not make them stupid, ok?

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  16. If the "rules" are ones that rational people (eg, the readership of this blog) can disagree on, then, while they might (possibly, in some dimension, somewhere) not be stupid, they're certainly not absolutes.

    We're not talking murder/theft/rape here: we're talking sex, and, uh, hugging. Whatever small valid points might be native to the "contemporary American Christian fundamentalist culture" are lost in the immense flood of what is, at best, BS, and, at worst, vicious reinforcement of a harmful lifestyle.

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