Lou FCD's blog
I was actually looking for some good sex-ed resources for linking here at SitPS when I recently stumbled across one of the most bizarre and counter-factual rants I've seen outside of the Discovery Institute's network of self-referential web-dust-collection blogs. Admittedly, I don't carouse around the right wing blogs often, preferring to have the straight stuff filtered for me by writers with a firmer grasp on reality. For that reason, I was thoroughly blind-sided by the utter credulity with which some blogger named Jill Stanek breathlessly repeated some pretty outlandish claims by a Canadian child psychiatrist named Dr. Philip Ney. I had never heard of Stanek, but after poking around it seems that she is a leading light of the forced birth/anti-sex-ed religio-political movement.
Apparently, Dr. Ney asserts not only that there is no need for comprehensive sex education for students, but that sex ed is detrimental to their mental health. Stanek doesn't really contribute much to this particular article herself, but opts to simply parrot some of Dr. Ney's "more noteworthy points".
Stanek begins her article with a rather foreboding exclamation.
With renewed debate over how to curb the rampant, irresponsible sexual activity of our youth - the other side pushing more of what sexualized our children to begin with - we thought it a good time to resurrect a good piece on Life Site News last year by Psychiatrist Dr. Philip Ney regarding sex education for children.
Right away, the tone of the article is set by the assumption the reader is supposed to take for granted - that our youth are engaging in rampant, irresponsible sexual activity. Even granting the assumption (a dubious proposition to begin with), the rational response of educating the youth in question is brushed aside without consideration by Stanek. Still, it's not unheard of for scientific findings to be counter-intuitive, so let's take a look at the "more noteworthy points" Stanek points to from Dr. Ney, and the evidence to support them.
At the beginning of the semester, my son brought home a permission slip to attend his Sex Ed class. My first thought was, "Oh, good. I hope they catch anything I forgot to tell him, clear up anything I might have..." And that's about where that thought died. I suddenly remembered I was standing in North Carolina, where they don't actually teach Sex Ed, but rather propagandize a useless religious doctrine.
There are few things in the world that get under my skin like superstition used as an excuse to hurt kids. Abstinence Only Mis-education is such a case.
It's not the teachers' fault, in North Carolina they are prohibited from educating our youth by state law. The law is clearly unconstitutional, though the religious fervor that blinds America has not yet subsided enough to hope for a successful court challenge to it here.
But regardless of blame, I had a decision to make about my son.
On Sunday, March 4, 2007, at 6:39 a.m., Stephine Beck was found dead, face down in the snow with her pants pulled down and her top pulled up. She had been strangled and dumped. Beck was the mother of five children, and pregnant.
Imagine the outrage this must have generated in the courtroom when the accused was brought to trial! Imagine how little mercy the presiding judge must have shown while sentencing the man convicted of such a heinous act. The killer was a crack addict, a drunk, and frequented prostitutes. His grown daughter testified that when they were children, her father would call them bitches and sluts. He was known to abuse his ex-wife when they were married. Surely the citizens of Ontario had their pitchforks and torches at the ready!
On a second look at bail, the judge himself wrote :
Yet, it is obvious that the accused is a Jekyll-and-Hyde type who leads a double life: a conscientious worker with a long-standing criminal involvement in drugs and prostitution. The fact that his private world is populated almost entirely by drug-addled prostitutes (whom he sometimes abuses), leads one to suspect that he has psychosocial problems and is socially stunted.
Elsewhere in the court documents we learn more about Ryczak's emotional involvements with and violent feelings toward women who don't do as he would like them to do:
Melissa Reeves has stayed over in the accused’s trailer. She has had conversations with him about Jennifer Dunsford. The accused told Ms. Reeves that he was hoping for a relationship with Ms. Dunsford, but she rejected him. He expressed anger at Edith Price, who was a girlfriend of Ms. Dunsford’s. He told Ms. Reeves that he had “a bullet with Edie’s name on it.” He also stated that he had another bullet for Jamie Price, Ms. Price’s brother."
The killer strangled Stephine in his home and was seen by the neighbor to drag her body out, load the body into his SUV, and drive away, returning a half hour later. Blood at the scene was DNA matched to Stephine. Leaves from a lime plant were found in Stephine's pants that matched a plant in the accused's home. The case was open and shut.
Surely this man, this murderer of Stephine Beck, was put away for a very, very long time, right?
Well, not so much.
"I really love sucking a man’s cock." While Catherine Millet's opening line might not be note-worthy in a Western magazine, this time these words do not appear in a Western magazine. What makes those words worth mentioning this time is not their content, but their locale. Millet's piece is published in what might seem the most unlikely of places; they appear in the inaugural issue of Jasad, a magazine dedicated to artistic, literary, scientific and political explorations of the human body and published in Arabic in Beirut, by a woman.
Click here to read more.
This may at first seem like a rather odd reaction for an atheist to take, but I am personally livid about the snubbing of Bishop Gene Robinson by HBO during Sunday's inaugural pre-game warm-up. I was already offended by the decision to have Rick Warren brought to the inaugural dinner table, but now I am flat out incensed.
Now, a secular country should not have a state-sponsored prayer to begin with. The First Amendment is pretty clear on the point that the government has no business promoting religion, and most definitely has no business promoting one religion over another. But there is a new administration coming in, an administration that has trumpeted its message of inclusiveness. The new President has bent over backwards to tap the shoulders of people across a wide spectrum of political philosophies, bent over to the point that he has left many of us scratching our heads.
But if the new administration is going to claim it is inclusive, claim to be a government of all people, then why is Rick Warren invited? Warren is inherently antithetical to the notion of inclusion.
Warren is a divisive, mean-spirited fomenter of hate and intolerance. The fact that he wears a nice suit and is very popular does not in any way alter the fact that his message is intrinsically the same message promoted by the likes of Fred Phelps. Warren has no business on the inaugural platform of a President who takes on the mantle of inclusion.
(continue reading below the fold)
What turns a person on? Is what arouses one person the same as what arouses every other person? Should it be? According to the current wave of successful obscenity prosecutions by both federal and state governments, the answer is not only a resounding “yes,” but exactly what is permissible under the law is subject to the whim of the FBI, the local and state governments, and a person's neighbor down the street. Video store owner Rick Krial was recently convicted in Staunton, Virginia, on one of two misdemeanor charges of obscenity and his store was likewise found guilty on one of two similar charges. He and his store still face trial on sixteen obscenity-related felony charges for selling pornographic DVDs to consenting adults for private viewing in their homes. Mr. Krial applied for and received all the proper business licenses and permits required of him, and the videos were made by legally documented consenting adults.
At the heart of this case and others like it is the legal definition of the word “obscene.” What is truly problematic here is that the definition of the word is as malleable as the sixteenth century definition of the word “blasphemy.” Current obscenity laws are based on a 1973 ruling by the Supreme Court in the case of Miller v. California. From that precedent comes the Miller test, whereby an item is deemed legally obscene (and thus unprotected by the First Amendment) if it meets all three of the following criteria: “a) 'the average person, applying contemporary community standards' would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest, b) the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law, and c) the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.” Each of these three standards is so subjective as to allow them to be brandished like Sixtus IV's pernicious bull of 1477.
(Continued below the fold)
Cory Silverberg, coauthor of the book I recently reviewed for Sex In The Public Square, The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability, offered up a link to A Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States at the Sexuality Education and Information Council of the United States on Friday, a week ago.
As Abstinence Only Sex Mis-education goes hand in hand with Creationism and other anti-science propaganda, I set aside some time to read through the report. These issues concern me as a parent, and as a person striving to see that the leaders of tomorrow's world are not handicapped by pseudo-scientific faith-based nonsense.
Because faith, by its very definition, is based on blind obedience to authority, it is the antithesis of science, which is based on reality and evidence. Authority, whether in the form of a dusty anthology of ancient superstition, a charismatic person of great influence, or an invisible zombie in the sky, need not apply. When science and faith collide, science will always provide the better description of reality, and like it or not, we live in the real world. We need accurate portrayals of reality to make intelligent, informed decisions regarding the health and future of the world's children.
The good, the bad, and the ugly, lie below the fold.
Full Title: The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For all of us who live with disabilities, chronic pain & illness
Author: Miriam Kaufman, M.D., Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette
Publisher: Cleis Press
Copyright: 2003, 2007 (2nd ed.)
Pages: 334 plus index
Price: $18.95 (US)
The sexuality of disabled members of our society is perhaps one of the most closeted, or at least overlooked, topics in American public discourse. Rarely is the topic addressed even by the most strident of sex positive advocates. The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability was written to rectify this deficiency in our public square. The authors, Miriam Kaufman, M.D., Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette, take a unique and personal approach to their mission by lacing the book with actual responses from a survey done by phone and internet. These survey responses faithfully guide the book toward its objective.
(The rest of the review is below the fold)
(Co-authored with Elizabeth Wood.)
Emily of Sexual Ambiguities has rightly called for the recognition and addressing of the real issues of transgendered people that so often get ignored or dismissed even within the broader framework of the equality movements of feminism and gay rights.
We have not blogged about any of the recent heartbreaking and horrifying stories in recent months, not because we don't think they are important - we think they are incredibly important - but because we have been at a loss for words, unable to think of anything new to say. After reading her call, we believe that we don't need to have anything new to say. It is enough to add another voice to those calling for attention to stories like these:
Angie Zapata, 18, of Greeley Colorado, was killed on July 16, 2008. She was killed because she was transgendered. The New York Times reported yesterday morning that Allen Ray Andrade, the 31-year old charged with killing her, is being charged with murder as a hate crime.
Andrade reportedly confessed to police that he bludgeoned Zapata to death the day after they had met. When they met, he said, Zapata performed a sex act on him. The next day some pictures in Zapata's apartment made him wonder about her gender. Reportedly he asked her. She answered "I'm all woman," he grabbed her crotch, found a penis there, and started beating her up with a fire extinguisher.
He told police that at one point during the assault he thought he had "killed it." Then he realized he hadn't. And then he did.