Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sandy Rios on the Gay Agenda

Sometimes I find it exhausting trying to keep up with the disinformation that comes from Christian conservatives. On Monday afternoon, Chicago radio yakker Sandy Rios was ranting about the homosexual agenda in our schools.
There’s hardly anything, believe it or not, that gets me more upset than when I
see our children in public schools targeted as objects of mind altering, of
sexualization, of absolutely having their innocence robbed and raped from
them. I don’t think that “rape” is too strong of a word.
Her latest tirade was inspired by the fact that high school students taking AP English in north suburban Deerfield had been assigned Angels in America. Personally, I can think of little more absurd than talking about high school students being “raped of their innocence” by being exposed to literature that discusses sex and sexuality.

The reason I find this so exhausting is that I, unlike Rios, like to have some command of the facts before I express an opinion on some issue. I am currently reading Censoring Science by Mark Bowen because I want to know what is really going in the field of climate science. I have also been working on a couple of books about evolutionary science just so I can be confident that I understand the issues. Now, I feel like I need to do some more reading about the psychology of sexuality so I can address those questions as well.

Sandy Rios, on the other hand, does not like to clutter up her opinions with pesky facts. When factual information is needed, she either invents it, as she does in the field of Constitutional law, or she finds some expert with no qualifications whatsoever to invent them for her. In order to back up her claim about the homosexual agenda in the schools, Rios interviewed Linda Harvey of Mission America, who according to Rios is “probably one of the nation’s leading experts on this subject.” And what are Harvey’s qualifications in this field? A PhD in psychology or education might be nice, but no. Harvey has a BA in English from Miami of Ohio, has done some graduate work, and used to be an advertising executive. However, God had “led” her to speak out on the issue of homosexuality. What more could Rios want?

The main target of Rios and Harvey’s ire on Monday was the upcoming April 25 observation of the “National Day of Silence” in schools to protest bullying, name-calling, and discrimination directed against, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and cross gender-students. According to these two homophobes, the real purpose behind this is not social justice but the outright advocacy of homosexuality and the silencing of opponents. According to Harvey, “anyone of course who opposes homosexuality, that means Christians, conservatives, like sane people are put in the box of the haters and people provoking violence.” The problem Harvey sees in this is that “it really puts the onus on those who object to it.”
The “onus” that Harvey and Rios seem most eager avoid is the very one that they should most surely be required to bear, i.e., the onus to produce any objective facts, evidence, logic, or research to support their views. I don’t have the expertise to know the best way to teach children about issues of sexuality or the best age at which to do it (although I am confident that both my children could have handled reading Angels in America in high school English). Nevertheless, I suspect that Harvey has no basis whatsoever for asserting that any acknowledgement of homosexuality can “rip out” a third grader’s “basic security of their personhood.” Moreover, I have read enough to know that homosexuality is not, as Rios asserts, “a very changeable and creatable desire.”

Whatever decisions are made about school curriculums should be based on the best research available in the fields of education, psychology, and sociology rather than the unqualified opinions of religious bigots based on their peronsal interpretations of their magic book.


  1. We certainly wouldn't want to encourage anyone, especially good Christians "to protest bullying, name-calling, and discrimination directed against, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and cross gender-students" or anyone else would we?

    Sounds like more of that good old-fashioned Christian love to me.

  2. Unfortunately, there are higher Christian principles at work, like the right to deny science and the right to tell people they are going to hell.

  3. Oh please. I know which program you mean, though with my job, I can only hear radio discussions in pieces. Talk about exhausting! What could be more so than to hear charges of "homophobia" because one abides by the Word of God?

    I'm always willing to look at research that supporters of the homosexual agenda describe as evidence or proofs of their position and claims. The best I've seen thus far, and some of these are based on the work of researchers who are themselves homosexual, is that there has been only the "suggestion of a possibility" as one researcher put it. But this quote sums up the best that has been put forth.

    You haven't read enough if you believe that homosexuality is not changeable or creatable. But by this I believe (personal opinion alert) that the "changable" aspect might not include the elimination of homosexual desires, so much as the ability to not let such desires control one's actions. Think of the average guy's desire for every beautiful woman he sees. For many guys, this desire is not so much beyond their control literally, but beyond their willingness to do anything to resist it.

    But as far as proof, the homosex side of the debate likes to assume that because of the difficulty involved, or the limited number of success stories, that they are correct that it cannot be overcome. But if you truly listen to Rios regularly, then you must know that she has had both callers as well as guests, who claim to have left the lifestyle and now lead happy, fulfilling married hetero lives with kids. Are they liars? Were they not truly homosexual just because unrepentant homosexuals say so?

    Back when the condition was removed from the list of mental conditions by the shrink community, one of it's leading practioners, a guy named (I think) Spritzer (no kidding) who says he's an atheist, was lauded as a hero in the homosex community. Since, he has done research interviewing two or three hundred people who had claimed to have been homosexual and left the lifestyle and he now believes it is possible to change. He is no longer a hero of the movement.

    Also, I have heard of a woman who, as an extreme feminist, decided (her words--sorry, but I'm not about to leave to research who the chick is--you'll have to trust that I won't mention anything that I have not truly read or heard--should I come across it again, and I'll keep an eye out, I'll surely let you know)she decided to become a lesbian as part of her desire to avoid dealing with men.

    But to your post, I've seen exerpts from the book as well as too many scenes from the HBO movie based on it. This is a pro-homo book and a definite Christian bashing book. More importantly, it is porn, plain and simple. As one from Dist 214, I'm sure you're aware of the debate over that and other books begun by one of your 214 board members, whose name escapes me at the moment. I am in total agreement that these books are entirely inappropriate for any kid yet to graduate high school. It's not a matter of whether or not a given kid can "handle it". The problem is with the adults who saw fit to expose kids to this vile crap. It is akin to picking up a few vids from the local sex shop and having the kids watch that. Why not just hold up a Hustler centerfold? Books like these are not the same as a clinical discussion of sexuality. IT'S FREAKIN' PORN!!! plainly and simply and any adult who feels otherwise is not fit to sit on a school board or to determine curriculum.

    Now for the Day of Silence. Homosex propaganda without a doubt. It is promoted by the Gay/Straight Alliance who provides how-to sex literature for teens. These people do not belong in schools. Once again, clinical discussions about sexuality is fine. Counseling for those questioning is fine. Discussions encouraging exploration, homo or hetero, is child abuse and abhorent behavior. As far as talking about sex in schools, DON'T is the only focus beyond biological explanations. These are kids. They need guidance and what is being done through these groups and programs is NOT guidance, but a license to f**k up their futures. And this DoS is just a way to encourage acceptance of that which is abnormal, because normal is what is intended by nature and what most do, deviant, because it deviates from what's normal, and perverse, because it perverts nature's intent for the equipment each of us possesses. If they truly cared about hazing and bullying, the day should be about hazing and bullying for any reason, not just homosex. Do you honestly think it hurts less to be bullied for being fat, unpopular, not one of the clique, a nerd, an academic or any other reason? These programs take advantage of a stage of the child's development when they are most vulnerable and exploits that stage to the satisfaction of the movement.

    The point here, and the point of Rios and her guest, who is very knowlegable on the subject of the push by the movement in our schools, that is, their tactics (I heard no claims beyond that in the introduction), is that you can go play with yourselves if you must, but leave the kids alone! I very much support this point of view almost to the point of violence. This push is further evidence of the selfishness of the movement that they are willing to "force their beliefs" down the throats of even very small children. It is reprehensible and shame on you if you see no problem here.

    Forgive my lengthy rant. But do you really call this a culture to promote? Anything goes and too bad how it affects the kids? You talk about science being ignored. I talk about common sense and protecting kids who are already exposed by too much crap in this fallen culture.

  4. Last week, the Tribune's atheist columnist Eric Zorn apologized for describing religiously opposition to homosexuality as "homophobia." I think I probably agree that the word is overly broad and pejorative as phobia suggests irrationality and mental defect. On the other hand, when Rios equates reading a gay-themed play to child "rape," I think it rises to the level of phobia.

    I am well aware of the debates in District 214. I use District 214 as the geographical designation in my profile because it was those debates that got me started on my blog. My son appeared in the production of The Laramie Project at Prospect High School that stirred up Leslie Pinney and her followers in the first place. During last year’s school election when two more book banners ran for the board with the financial backing of Phyllis Schafly and Jim Oberweis, I found the Culture Campaign blog while looking for information on the candidates. After a couple months, the Campaign blog disabled its comment function which is when I started my blog.

    I had actually only read two of the books on Pinney’s list: Freakanomics and Slaughterhouse Five. I thought they were both terrific and entirely appropriate for high school students. My wife felt the same way about The Things that They Carried. I thought the HBO production of Angels in America was excellent. I understand the characters' anger at the way they had been marginalized by society. I think high school students need to understand the failings of America as much as its successes if they are going to become responsible citizens. Sheltering them from everything that might be disturbing or distasteful is only going to lead to disillusion and distrust when they finally figure our what’s really going on.

    I am familiar with Dr. Spizter’s study which consisted of telephone interviews with two hundred self-proclaimed ex-gays who were referred by organizations that practice reparative therapy. Spizter concluded that better than half had achieved good heterosexual functioning although only 17% of the men assessed themselves as “exclusively heterosexual.”

    The problem with Spitzer’s study is that it did not consider the effects of reparative on those who failed to change. Another study found that 88% of homosexuals who tried reparative therapy failed completely. Another 9% considered themselves successful but were either celibate or still subject to slips. Only 3% were actually successful. Most importantly, the study found that significant harm was done to those who failed to make the change.

    I realize that psychologists and sociologists still have a lot to learn about homosexuality, but “very changeable and very creatable” certainly distort what is known.

  5. Come, come, Vinny. How can I be expected to take you seriously if you boldly assert that A in A was excellent? Subject matter aside, a more pretentious piece of crap would be hard to find. A big fan of Pacino, who is known for going over the top, he gave an impressive display of overacting. Even Streep was lousy, and I thought she should be able to handle damn near everything in her sleep. My opinion is that they were all so full of themselves being a part of a "meaningful" work, they didn't give much thought to being good at their craft. It was painful to watch. Only supporters of the movement would find this film to be well done.

    There is no doubt that those who suffer from this malady are sorely put upon. Kids have taken terrible heat at any hint that they might be homosexual whether they are or not. (From this point, I prefer to use the abbreviation homo, not as a prejorative, but for mere ease. Don't get all nutty over it, please. I resent the misuse and redefinition of words like "gay", "queer", "fairy", etc. It's totally twisted the song "Deck the Halls"--think about it.) The militants among them are more than making up for it with their public displays of perversion during their parades and street fests, as well as their despicable interruption of religious services to make their sick point.

    The Laramie Project draws protests for it's misleading subject matter. Reports say the perpetrators acted without knowledge of the victim's proclivities. That doesn't fit the agenda, so they push on anyway.

    As I insisted in my rant, I am in total agreement with Rios in her outrage at the thought of such materials in our schools. Re-read it for reference, or accept the Reader's Digest version that it doesn't matter that it is pro-homo and insanely anti-Christian, as it could have been straight hetero and I would feel exactly the same way. The fact of the matter is that even most college kids aren't mature enough for all the ramifications of sexual contact. Maturity as applied to sexuality is in very short supply as evidenced by all the sex related woes that plagues our culture. It amazes me just how foreign this truth is to so many who consider themselves adults.

    Now, just to be clear, I don't disagree that high school is a good time to begin opening the eyes of our young to what awaits them in the "adult" world. My complaint, once again, is the use of hard core pornographic literature to make that point. It shows a contemptible lack of character and imagination on the part of those who foist this crap upon the kids. Surely you can understand this. There are tons of alternatives that would accomplish the same goal in a more tasteful manner. But those who push the agenda care little for the kids where their self-gratification is concerned.

    Leslie Pinney is someone with whom I am aquainted. I met her through the course of my job and that is the extent of our relationship. But I have had the chance to discuss these matters with her after seeing her name in the paper over this flap with her immature and arrogant co-board members. Her motivations are pure, in that she is concerned about the kids, which is why she wanted to be on the board, despite her personal convictions regarding the sinfulness and dangers of homosex and promiscuity. Her problems with the books you've mentioned concern their liberal use of what Roy Leonard used to call "language" in his movie reviews. The other books on the list are over the top with their use of the language as well as the promotion of the bad behaviors.

    I'm happy to hear you are aware of the Spitzer study though it surprises me that you can then say "...but “very changeable and very creatable” certainly distort what is known." Generally speaking, what is known has had the imprimatur of a largely supportive liberal media. More would be known if they would be more objective in their reporting. (You may have seen the recent edition of the Daily Herald wherein the editorial lauds the recent California Supreme Court debacle as a good thing.) Unfortunately, those places that do report the findings that disturb the movement are themeselves accused of being biased and homophobic. They deal dishonestly with the general public, so fearful are they of not winning the full measure of their demands, nevermind it's impact on future generations.

    One other point regarding your response to the Spitzer study is that there is much debate over those who fail to respond to reparative therapies. There is a question of whether the therapy causes the harm you mention, or if the harm is further manifestation of existing emotional/psychological maladies. I've seen a stats that show higher percentage of such problems amongst the community compared to the population in general.

    But let me be clear on another point regarding my position. I don't doubt that there may be some biological connection to the condition. But, I also believe that to be true for most every prediliction that anyone might have. Certainly there are hetero men that have more trouble controlling their desires. Some people won't get off their asses for anything a live a slothful existence. There are people who can't sit still. There are people who can't control their tempers or are even violent. We are all, to one extent or another, in constant internal warfare with what we should be and what we are. None of this justifies anything, and it certainly doesn't justify changing hundreds, if not thousands of years of culture so that a tiny percentage of the population can not only indulge their desires, but force the rest of us to accept it as equal to what nature, if not God, has intended. I think most of us "intolerant" and "hateful" Christians are sadly willing to accept that people can pleasure themselves as they see fit, but not at the expense of our culture, our laws, and our freedom of religion and association.

  6. I don’t doubt that Pinney sincerely cares about the welfare of the high school students in District 214. However, I spent the summers of my high school years caddying where I was exposed to more profanity, racial slurs, and lewd stories than I ever found in the Vonnegut novels I read. The idea of banning books just because they contain the word ‘f**k’ seems silly to me.

    I don’t have any illusions about the maturity of high school students, however, they are at the or nearing the age at which throughout most of human history they were expected to marry, support and raise children, and fight wars. The human race would not have survived if they were not capable of facing a lot more than Pinney seems willing to give them credit for.

    As far as the Laramie Project goes, I am aware that Matthew Sheppard’s killer now maintains that Sheppard’s sexual orientation had nothing to do with the murder. Of course this is contrary to the “gay panic” defense that he offered at trial. His lawyer bet that a Laramie jury’s bigotry toward homosexuals would get his client an acquittal much as juries in the Jim Crow south could be counted on to acquit whites who were charged with violence against blacks. The point of the play was the town’s reaction to the murder. Nothing about that is rendered misleading by the fact that the murderer changed his story.

    The reason I can say that “very changeable and very creatable” distorts what is known about homosexuality is because it does. Spitzer’s study was limited to a sample of self-reporting ex-gays. You cannot reach any generalized conclusions without looking at people who failed as well as people who succeeded. The fact that empirical research has not verified your religious beliefs does not make the media dishonest.

    What it comes down to for me is whether we base high school curricula on the best thinking coming out of research universities and peer reviewed journals or on a literalist interpretation of an ancient book of mythology.

  7. "I don’t doubt that Pinney sincerely cares about the welfare of the high school students in District 214."

    Are you a mind-reader now, or are you making assumptions because she is an unabashed Christian looking to see that certain standards are maintained? We can totally forget all things religious and simply speak in terms of class, as in, her co-board members have very little. People who use foul language display a great lack of it (I, too, am guilty). Based on your anecdote regarding that to which you were exposed in your youth, can I assume you do not check your language in front of kids? I'm not talking slips here. Some of the books on the list Pinney opposed were rife with foul language. Exerpts were posted at Culture Campaign and even I was shocked, and I'm no prude I'm ashamed to say. If there's no problem here in your mind, do you allow or prefer that kids in your care use such language with abandon? Is such language permissable by students in classroom discussions? If not, why not? Do you care not for dignity, honor, class, or manners at all? No matter Pinney's faith, why lower the bar? She seeks to keep it raised and it's incomprehensible that there would be ANY objection with that. And it's not an issue of banning the books, as they are still available in stores. She simply believes, and she is 100% correct beyond debate, that these are inappropriate for an adult to provide to kids as school assignments of any kind. Frankly, if you disagree, then would you be opposed to the use of words like "cocksucker" or "cunt" here at your blog? Forgive my use of these words, but based on your position, I can't see how you could object. (Don't worry. I won't use such language here beyond this one time attempt to drive home my point. I already regret defiling your comments section in this manner, and I couldn't be more sincere.)

    By your own words, you suggest that the "gay panic" defense was the lawyer's idea. So the story change was his, not the perp's. But to say the point was merely the town's reaction is not entirely true unless Sheppard's orientation was mentioned once or less. Uh uh. That dog won't hunt at all. It is a pro-homo production.

    There is no empirical research that disproves the ability to "change" if there are cases where it has occurred. The difficulty in doing so only proves that not everyone "changes". That's all. Despite the testimony of a given subject, can we really prove how hard he tried? Once again, I'm not concerned so much that one might or might not be able to perfectly free one's self of improper desires as much as being able to deal with those desires properly. My personal opinion is that it is likely akin to a paradigm change, where at once one feels one way, and then from whatever reasons, one feels another way and can no longer believe the previous paradigm could ever have existed in the first place. I base this on nothing in particular, it's just an opinion that I believe is very likely.

    "...base high school curricula on the best thinking coming out of research universities and peer reviewed journals..."

    I don't believe that this is the standard criteria in the first place, but even conceding this point, it does not even come close to explaining the selection of these books for student consumption. This was purely the subjective and personal opinion of the people who did the choosing. There is no doubt of this. Once again, to insist that for whatever lessons they felt are within the pages of these books, that there exist no other books that do so far better in a less objectionable and offensive manner is an indictment on the maturity and and competence of those who selected them. This is beyond dispute.

  8. I am wondering whether you misread the statement you quoted. When I said that “I don’t doubt that Pinney sincerely cares about the welfare of the high school students,” I meant that I believe she does sincerely care about them. However, I don’t believe that “she is 100% correct beyond debate.” Clearly her opinions generated a great deal of debate.

    Unfortunately, you cannot judge the quality of a book simply by looking at the most provocative passages. If we did we would have to remove To Kill a Mockingbird from the curriculum because it contains “I seen that black n****r yonder ruttin' on my Mayella.” I would consider such removal an unmitigated tragedy. I cannot think of a better book to help a young person begin to think about the nature and sources of racial tension in our society. I gave it to my children when they were in eighth grade.

    I certainly respect someone who is able to communicate their ideas without using profanity, but I don’t see that as the primary indicator of literary worth. I think the schools should assign books that help students understand what is going on in the world. Some of those things are nasty and unpleasant. It is difficult for me to see how an author is going to communicate the experiences of soldiers in war without resorting to the kind of raw language that Pinney found so objectionable in The Things They Carried.

    I also think that good literature can help young people understand what is going on in their own lives. One of the most significant things going on with high school students is the development of their sexual identity. Whether we like it or not, they are thinking about sex much of the time. Censoring any book that deals frankly with the subject strikes me as silly. Moreover, I doubt that these books are chosen based solely on personal opinion. I suspect that researchers in the field of education have done studied these issues and developed curriculum criteria for different ages.

    I would also point out that just as Pinney picks the most provocative passages out of the books, she picks the most provocative books out of the curriculum. However, students read many books that are written many different perspectives. I suspect that very few students read more than a couple of the books she finds objectionable.

    Regarding homosexuality, most psychologists and psychiatrists believe that sexual orientation is not a choice. They believe that change is pretty unlikely and that trying to change can do more harm than good. I don’t claim that empirical research proves that sexual orientation is never changeable, but it certainly does not support Rios’ claim that it is “very changeable.”

  9. Vinny,

    I did misread the Pinney quote. More embarrassingly, it's blatantly obvious that I did. I apologize.

    Literature is an art form. Quality is subjective just as with paintings and sculpture. When dealing with kids, especially with kids that are not of the "experts", it is arrogant to believe one's idea of quality literature should be shared by the parents of the kids to which it will be exposed. Once again, there is no excuse for settling on these books from a pool of millions of alternatives. Now, I will say that I am not familiar with all the books that Pinney protested. I'm thinking only of those from which Culture Campaign drew quotes. In these, the books in question go beyond a few expletives uttered by soldiers facing death everyday. Pinney was largely concerned with graphic depiction of sexual behavior, particularly deviant sexual behavior. For an "adult" to expose kids to such things is as much a license to explore in the subconcious minds of the kids and at that age, there is no way they should be engaging in such exploration. They are NOT ready and as proof I offer you the sorry stats regarding the state of affairs, and I use that word purposely, amongst our young. Pregnancies, abortions, and worse, health and life threatening STDs are almost epidemic by comparison with 50 years ago. And you think kids can handle sex? Risk your own kids if you choose. Don't suppose that you can do so with anyone else's. Rios' comment equating such to child rape might be a bit extreme, but considering the harm society has done to kids by influencing them so, it is only "a bit" extreme. They suffer as a result.

    I doubt that "experts" aren't swayed by their personal opinions in selecting these books. A professor from a Michigan university, Judith Levine, believes kids in the single digit ages are sexual beings and that not all pedophelia is necessarily bad for them. Don't forget organizations like LAMBDA. It would be foolish to think that there could be some on the school boards and in educational organizations that might share such opinions to some extent. Sheepskin does not guarantee smarts, only the ability to answer questions on the exams correctly. In this area, if indeed the selections are the result of research, which I strongly doubt, then the research is flawed or itself victim of agenda. The same can be said for "most experts" who believe homosexuality to be unchangable. I don't assume complete objectivity just because someone has some letters after their names.

  10. If Pinney had limited her attack to the racier books, I would have been more sympathetic. However, putting a book like Freakanomics on the list suggested to me that there was a different agenda at work. Back when the Culture Campaign blog still allowed comments, I used to discuss this with Pinney backers who always cited the same couple of books. I could never get them to explain why most of the books were on her hit list.

    I agree that high school students lack the emotional maturity to engage in sexual activity (although many adults do as well). Unfortunately, they have the physical maturity and there is no way to turn that off. So the question for me is how to help them navigate this period. I went to Catholic schools back in the day when denial and repression was still the preferred approach for many of the nuns and priests and I don’t think that was either constructive or effective. I think that trusting young people to read and think about sexual issues offers a better chance of getting them to emotional maturity.

    I don’t doubt that experts and researchers have agendas and opinions. However, peer reviewed research is still the best way yet devised for making sure that ideas and theories get rigorous testing. On the other hand, supernatural revelation is completely unconstrained by reason or evidence. It is whatever its adherents claim that it is. If we are going to dismiss the findings of empirical research whenever it doesn’t comport with someone’s interpretation of ancient religious texts, we might as well give up on public education completely.

  11. As far as the validity of religious tomes, specifically, the Bible, I once again point you to the rate of STDs in our culture, as well as out-of-wedlock pregnancies, abortions, and you can throw in domestic abuses as well. All these and more are a result of the denial of Biblical validity as regards human behavior. I've always maintained that even if it were possible that God didn't exist, the Bible would still be the guide by which civiliztion would best thrive.

    I agree that in days of yore sexual repression was a bit over the top. But I believe one would be hardpressed to prove that as a percentage of the population, promiscuity, and it's attendant repurcussions listed above, was far less a problem than it is today. The only problem back then was saying sex was evil, which is like saying guns are evil. The evil is in how they are used, or rather in the hearts of those who abuse them.

    But that lower rate of promiscous behavior rebuts your statement regarding turning off the urges of the kids. It's never really been a question of turning off their urges. Only the expectation that they control them. The current day attitude of "they're gonna do it anyway" is a shameful abdication of parental responsibility and an equally shameful lowering of those expectations that seemed to work pretty well 50 years ago.

    As to the "less racy" books Pinney opposed, if the board and their supporters were rational and dealt with each of Pinney's book compaints one by one, rather than just dismissing her as some religious wacko, which is inaccurate, then I'd be more sympathetic to your perspective. Regarding Freakonomics, I'm guessing it had much to do with its dubious take on the abortion issue, which supports the practice. That's the issue over which the book gets a lot of heat, but there has been a book that came out in response to the assertions it makes. It has a title that is a play on "Freakonomics".

  12. But I believe one would be hardpressed to prove that as a percentage of the population, promiscuity, and it's attendant repurcussions listed above, was far less a problem than it is today.

    I think proof either way is probably pretty difficult with respect to many of these issues. Prior to 1973, it is likely that any estimates of abortion rates have a very wide margin of error. We might have more confidence when it comes to rates of births out of wedlock and STD’s going back a bit farther, but I suspect those numbers get fuzzy before World War II. My off hand guess would be that domestic violence rates are still subject to considerable doubt.

    All the same, I would still rather try to address these problems through empirical research in the fields of sociology and psychology because I don’t think that the Bible is a particularly reliable guide. I think that progress comes when man stops looking to magic books for revealed truth and uses his own reason to figure out how the world works. When man relies on reason rather than revelation, he is able to figure out that the sun is the center of the solar system, lending money at interest is good, and burning witches is bad.

    When man chooses to be governed by revelation rather than reason, it is hard to find an alternative to repression. That’s why Muslims resort to mutilating young girls in order to rob them of their sexual desires. The Koran and the Bible came out of ancient desert cultures where young people married within a couple of years of the time that they reached sexual maturity. Controlling sexual urges wasn’t part of the equation.

  13. "Controlling sexual urges wasn’t part of the equation."

    I beg to differ. The Levitical Law was indeed all about self-control as regards sexuality. Quite a bit of "thou shalt not" going on there. In fact, it was Scripture, considered the Word, that encouraged those at the time to transcend their baser selves. To go even further, it has since been the ignoring of such teachings, that is "reason" over revelation, that has led to the very problems of which I have spoken. Without such influences, we get people deciding for themselves right and wrong, and how common is it that it always favors the urges of the moment? Quite so, I'd say.

    One needn't seek out empirical research to know that our recent past held a stricter code of ethics. It was far easier to find a virgin way back when. One never brought home a girl that was "easy". And abortion could not hope to have been as widespread as it was far less accessable. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies just didn't happen with the frequency it does today with all the false hope of "safe" sexual practices. To speak otherwise is to be in denial.