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Tag: Premarital Sex

Evangelical Sex in the City, And Country Too

casual sex

The Pew Research Center released a report last month that suggests what we have long known: Evangelicals screw around just like the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world — albeit with more guilt and fear.

Pew Research reports:

Many Christian traditions disapprove of premarital sex. And even though Christians in the United States hold less permissive views than religiously unaffiliated Americans about dating and sex, most say it’s acceptable in at least some circumstances for consenting adults to have sex outside of marriage.

Half of Christians say casual sex – defined in the survey as sex between consenting adults who are not in a committed romantic relationship – is sometimes or always acceptable. Six-in-ten Catholics (62%) take this view, as do 56% of Protestants in the historically Black tradition, 54% of mainline Protestants and 36% of evangelical Protestants.

Among those who are religiously unaffiliated, meanwhile, the vast majority (84%) say casual sex is sometimes or always acceptable, including roughly nine-in-ten atheists (94%) and agnostics (95%) who say this. The religiously unaffiliated, also known as “nones,” are those who describe themselves, religiously, as atheist, agnostic or as “nothing in particular.”

When it comes to sex between unmarried adults who are in a committed relationship, the gap between Christians and the unaffiliated is less stark. A majority of Christians (57%) say sex between unmarried adults in a committed relationship is sometimes or always acceptable. That includes 67% of mainline Protestants, 64% of Catholics, 57% of Protestants in the historically Black tradition and 46% of evangelical Protestants.

Eight-in-ten religiously unaffiliated Americans (79%) say sex between unmarried adults in a committed relationship is sometimes or always acceptable.

There’s less acceptance among Christians – and Americans in general – of a range of other sex and dating practices asked about in the survey, such as: having sex on a first date, exchanging sexually explicit photographs with other consenting adults, and having an open relationship (defined as a committed relationship where both people agree it’s acceptable to date or have sex with other people).

Evangelical Protestants are less likely than most of the other Christian groups in this analysis to find these practices acceptable.

“Evangelical Protestants are less likely than most of the other Christian groups in this analysis to find these practices acceptable.” No surprise here, right? Evangelicals are front and center in the culture war against any and all sexual practices except missionary position, heterosexual sex between monogamous married couples. Any other sexual behavior, including masturbation, is considered a grievous sin against God. How could it be otherwise? When you attend churches pastored by men who excessively focus on sexual sin in their preaching — while ignoring or hiding their own sexual peccadilloes — is it any wonder Evangelical churches are filled with people who think God will punish them for having “impure” sexual thoughts or daring to enjoy being a sexual being?

Based on the Pew Research report, it sounds as if an increasing number of Evangelicals are ignoring what their churches and pastors say about sex, and are experiencing the wonders of human sexual activity. Something tells me that God and his spokesmen on earth aren’t going to win this battle.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Dear Unmarried Woman: Are You an Appetizer or a Dessert?

bethany jett
Bethany Jett

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Just when I think I’ve heard all there is to hear from Evangelicals about sex, purity, and the like, someone will write or say something that I have not heard before. In other words, not all the nuts have fallen from the tree.

In 2015, Bethany Jett, a then thirty-something married Evangelical woman who writes on girly topics from a godly perspective, wrote a blog article about two reasons why a woman should save herself for marriage. Here’s what Jett had to say:

I remembered why I decided to wait to have sex as I listened to a podcast from Andy Stanley this morning on my way home from dropping off children at school.

“I’m not the appetizer, I’m the dessert.”

If we start off loaning our bodies, who is going to wait around for the main meal?

We ordered Olive Garden to-go last night and I had one of my favorite cheat meals—chicken alfredo and breadsticks with alfredo dipping sauce and an extra tub of alfredo sauce to heat up the leftovers the next day. Mmmmm … I was full and stuffed and happy. Deliriously-food-coma happy.

But I wasn’t completely satisfied. All the savory goodness was amazing, but I needed something sweet to finish it off. A bit of dark chocolate would have taken the cake … but there was NONE.

Justin ate it.

My marriage is like that. Dating Justin was the appetizer … good for a short amount of time, but I was excited to have the main meal with him. I wanted an entire lifetime. We’ve been married for almost 11 years, together for 13, and that man still gives me butterflies. He makes me strive to a better person and he is my teammate, partner, best friend and so much more.

But God knew that wasn’t enough.

So He throws a little dessert into the mix.

The dessert is exceptional.

It completes the meal…

…I’ve always believed that God means what He says. He said to wait, so I did. I always figured that if sex was as great as the students in my high school and my college roommate thought it was, that it would be even better if I waited. That God had a blessing in store if you did things His way.

There are many reasons to wait until you’re married to have sex, but here’s two at the top of the list:

1. God said to wait.

2. You’re worth waiting for…

Jett has been married for sixteen years. She is an advocate of purity rings, having worn one until her wedding night.  In 2013, Jett wrote a book titled, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After.

While Jett tries to dress up her blog post with a bit of wispy, feel-good self-esteem, there really is only one reason a woman should wait until marriage to have sex: God said to wait. That’s the bottom line for Evangelicals: God said don’t do it, so don’t.

In 2015, I shared with readers Melanie Pritchard’s puritanical view of spaghetti straps. Jett has a similar view. Here’s what she had to say in The Cinderella Rule about spaghetti straps and a few other things:

Apparently, shoulders are sexy. I know that sounds crazy, but guys are wired differently than we are. That’s how God created them, and Justin (her husband) didn’t want to be tempted physically. He wanted to do things right.

Bottom line: it’s not our place to put impure thoughts into guys’ heads. We don’t understand that the male mind replays images days after seeing a girl in a short skirt or catching a glimpse down a plunging neckline.

A guy friend told me that he was minding his own business at a gas station, pumping gas, when he saw a girl at the opposite station. She wore an extremely short skirt, and he couldn’t get the image of her legs and the idea of what was under her skirt out of his head. He thought about it for a couple of days. “Those images don’t just leave your mind,” he said. “I wasn’t even trying to look at the girl either–“I was merely glancing around. “He ended up masturbating to remove the building tension.

While guys are responsible for their thoughts, we can’t allow Satan to use us as a tool to lead guys down a path toward lust, pornography, and sexually impure behaviors. Even wearing spaghetti straps during a church service can throw guys off. Another guy confessed that one Sunday, he had trouble concentrating on communion and the sermon that followed because the girl next to him had bare shoulders. He was wracked with guilt for not being able to concentrate, unable to push his thoughts away since she was right next to him.

Ladies, we may never fully comprehend how guys think, but if they’re telling us they can’t concentrate, let’s help them out. Grab a cardigan for church or work, or anywhere, and let’s keep our skirts and shorts an appropriate length…

…a godly guy wants to date a girl who shares his values.  If you want to be pursued properly, you must dress appropriately–just enough skin to be cute,  but not enough to reveal the goods. Dressing modestly helps keep his mind from going into fantasy overdrive.

Remember, a guys pursuit is with an end goal in mind; and girlfriend, we are taking a pursuit to the altar…

…Honestly,  chasing a guy is exhausting. Most guys will do anything with anyone, and high school and college guys, in particular, are not known for their exclusivity. Raging hormones dictate many a guy’s decisions; and if you pursue him, you won’t ever be sure whether it’s his heart or his hormones that loves you more.

When a man sees a girl he wants, he goes after her…Similar to a lion stalking his prey, a man will overcome any obstacle to get the woman he wants. I’m not talking about creepy stalker behavior. I’m talking about romantic, I can’t get her out of my head intensity. When a worthy guy desires you like that, girl, watch out!

But you’ll be ready.

You’ll know how to look.

How to dress.

How to act..

…when the right man starts the pursuit, let him.

I’m gonna to show you how…

What’s up with spaghetti straps? Am I out of the lust loop here? I’ve seen more than a few spaghetti-strapped women — my wife included — and I don’t think I ever had the thought, oh my, I need to have her right now. If I don’t have sex with her RIGHT now, I am going to have to spank the monkey to release all the built-up sexual tension.

Pritchard wrote about not revealing the “mystery.” Jett, taking a similar approach, writes about a woman not giving away all her “secrets.” What’s with all the code for genitalia and sex? Are Evangelicals so prudish that the correct words for genitalia and sex can’t be used?

modest dress
Little House on the Prairie, Preferred Dress for Fundamentalists

Maybe Pritchard’s and Jett’s problem is that they have spent their life around the weak, pathetic, forbidden-sex-on-the-brain men found in Evangelical and Catholic churches. Perhaps they need to get out more and spend time with real men, men who know how to control their sexual desires and know how to treat a woman appropriately.

Think for a moment about the pathetic, weak boys mentioned in the excerpts from Jett’s book. A man is pumping gas, he sees a woman with a short skirt, and he is so driven with lust that he later has to masturbate. The other man couldn’t focus on communion and the sermon because a woman near him had bare shoulders. Can there be any better examples of weak, sexually immature church boys? Not men, adolescent boys. 

Boys like these have been conditioned to think that they are helpless, that it is not within their power to sexually control themselves. Perhaps every church boy is like the stupid young man in Proverbs 7:

…I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart… Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves…With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks . . .

What I want to know is this: was the harlot wearing spaghetti straps?

It’s time for church boys to grow into men and own their sexuality. If they can’t keep from lusting, the problem is theirs, and not that of the women who dare to bare a leg, shoulder, or show some cleavage. If they are so sexually charged up that they are reaching in their pants as soon as they see an attractive woman, perhaps they need to spend more time looking at porn and self-pleasuring themselves until they get their “sexual tension” under control.

But Bruce, some women DO dress provocatively. Shouldn’t they be called out on their deliberate attempt to make men lust? First, how do you know that is what they are trying to do? Second, perhaps you need to learn to enjoy God’s creation. Yes, women are attractive, and yes, they can arouse sexual feelings in men. Duh, biology, right? Would you rather women dressed like they just walked off the set of Little House on the Prairie? Learn to control your thoughts and desires. It really is that simple. No God needed.

Sadly, far too many churches are nurseries filled with infantile men who can’t control themselves. I don’t know of any other way to change their behavior than to say to them, STOP IT!

People such as Bethany Jett and Melanie Pritchard are shooting at the wrong target. As often occurs in many Muslim countries, American Christians with puritanical ideas about dress and sexuality put the blame on women who dare to dress in ways that show their femininity and sexuality. Jett wants young women to show just enough skin to catch a man, but then the free show is over until the man puts a ring on her finger. In other words, she wants women to be flashers, showing just enough flesh to get the attention of suitable prospects for marriage.

Every day or so it seems there is a news report of an Evangelical pastor, evangelist, college professor, church leader, or Sunday school teacher getting into trouble because he can’t keep his hands to himself or keep his pants zipped up. (Please see the Black Collar Crime series.) This should not surprise us because many of these “fallen” leaders — Jerry Falwell, Jr. and his wife, for example — were raised in churches that preach the puritanical sexuality found in Jett’s book, blog, and other writing. It’s the whole blind-leading-the-blind thing. Generation after generation of Evangelical boys have been taught that they are impotent when it comes to controlling their sexual thoughts, urges, and desires. After a few generations of this, you end up with churches filled with hapless men who get boners as soon a woman shows more flesh than one of the young women on Little House on the Prairie. Instead of being taught to be accountable for their actions, these men are instead taught to flee from the Jezebels that roam the halls of the church; women who will rob them of their virtue.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Thou Shalt Not Touch: The Six-Inch Rule

the six inch rule midwestern baptist college

Imagine for a moment, that you are sitting in the pew of an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church. You are 16 years old and sitting next to you is your 17-year-old girlfriend. As with any normal teenager, you are sitting as close as possible to your girlfriend and the two of you are holding hands.

The pastor is getting ready to preach and he asks everyone to turn to 1 Corinthians 7:1,2. With a thunderous voice, the pastor says, THE BIBLE SAYS:

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.  Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:1,2)

and THE BIBLE ALSO SAYS:

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

All of a sudden, the pastor turns your way, looks at you and your girlfriend, and then slowly turns back to his sermon notes. You feel guilty, so you unclasp your hand from your girlfriends and you scoot a few inches away from her — safely avoiding fornicating in the pew.

Welcome to just-another-Sunday-morning service at First On True Faith Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church in Fundistan, Ohio.

In the real world, teenage boys and girls hold hands, put their arms around each other, and kiss each other. We also know that some of them engage in intimate sexual activity. But at First On True Faith Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church, any physical contact between unmarried teenagers or unmarried young adults of the opposite sex is strictly prohibited. And

The thinking goes something like this: fornication, the intimate sexual contact between unmarried people, is a SIN. Committing fornication requires physical touching, so the best way to avoid fornication is to keep unmarried teenagers or single young adults from touching each other.

Over the years, I am embarrassed to say, I told countless teenagers that no girl ever got pregnant without holding hands with a boy first. I repeatedly told them that holding hands leads to familiarity, and before you know it, you’ll be having sex. So the answer is this: no touching.

When I was a teenager in the 1970s at Trinity Baptist Church in Findlay, Ohio and First Baptist Church in Bryan, Ohio, my pastors and youth directors preached against boys and girls touching each other. Now, this doesn’t mean we didn’t touch each other, it just meant that we did our touching away from the sight of our pastors, youth directors, deacons, and other church adults.

We turned it into a game. The pastor said we couldn’t touch each other, so while choir practice was going on, we would find out-of-the-way places to neck. It was almost like a challenge: we dare you to catch us.

From the age of 14 until my wedding day, I kissed a few girls, put my arm around them, and held their hands. But that’s where it stopped. Both my wife and I were virgins when we married in 1978. I violated the letter of the no-touch rule, but I certainly kept it until my honeymoon (albeit, had we waited any longer to get married, we likely would have rounded third and slid into home).

Polly and I attended Midwestern Baptist College — an unaccredited IFB institution — in Pontiac Michigan. The college had a strict no-touch rule. The rule was called the six-inch rule (about the width of a hymnbook). Young men and women were expected to keep six inches away from each other at all times. Failure to do so resulted in severe discipline, including expulsion.

Living in a dorm filled with normal, hormone-raging, heterosexual men and women made the six-inch rule a real challenge. Most of us learned how to discreetly break the rule, and when we went out on double dates, we learned to date with couples who were six-inch rule-breakers as we were.

Sandra, a regular reader of this blog, shared in a comment about her time at Hyles Anderson College:

About the gateway issues with card playing . . .I’m not psychologist but I do believe if you restrict normal human behavior in one way, normal human behavior will come out in another. When at Hyles Anderson we were all told to not touch the opposite sex. I mean, no hand holding (which was fine with me and the IFB church I was in before I left for HAC). But no touching through a pen either, like tapping on a shoulder.

We are social beings and I do believe we need touch to stay alive. When at HAC, since all of the women were not allowed to touch a man on his hand or to tap his back with a pen, guess what happened? The dean of woman (Miss Belinda) said she noticed a LOT of petting going on between the women. In chapel, women would sit next to women and they’d pet each other’s hair, they’d stroke each other’s leg. And she was right – all of that behavior was happening. But my question is why? Probably due to the human need for basic touch. Since the women were not allowed to hug their own blood brother on campus, nor to hold hands for 5 seconds, nor to tap a man on the back with a pencil. . .is it any wonder that the women found a way to get physical touch in their lives? It is normal to want a hug and to rub someone’s bad when they are hurting. By repressing opposite sex touching, they encouraged same-sex touching and it was very evident.

Ponder for a moment being exposed to this kind of environment. Is it any wonder that people coming out of the IFB church movement often have to deal with emotional, mental, and sexual dysfunction?

When you are constantly told that normal human desire is sinful, you are bound to suffer psychological damage. Being normal heterosexuals, we could only suppress our desires for so long, so we found creative ways to get around the rules and the ever-watchful eyes of those charged with keeping us from fornicating.

As single students at Midwestern, Polly and I artfully evaded the no-touch police all but one time. Here’s what happened the time we got caught.

I was on the college basketball team. (Don’t read too much into that. The team was the equivalent of an intramural club.) One day during practice I slapped at a basketball and severely dislocated a finger. I was rushed to the emergency room and the doctor was able to fix the dislocation. I’m left-handed and the dislocation had occurred on my left hand.

Every male student was required to wear a tie to class. I found it very difficult to tie a tie with one hand, so one day I asked my fiancée to tie my tie for me. In doing so, we broke the six-inch rule. Someone anonymously turned us in for breaking the six-inch rule. We had to appear before the disciplinary committee to answer the charges against us.

We each received 50 demerits for breaking the six-inch rule. We were warned that if we broke the six-inch rule again, we would be expelled from school. Little did they know that we had been breaking it for quite some time.

Most dormitory students lived for the weekend. Students could only date on the weekends. Double dating was required and no student could go farther away than 10 miles from the dormitory.

Most students tried to adhere to the rules for a while. Some, like my Polly and I, kept the six-inch rule religiously until we went home for our first Christmas break. While home on Christmas break, we were allowed to act like normal young adults who were in love. We held hands, kissed, necked, and pretty much acted like any other couple mutually infatuated with one another.

Once the genie was out of the bottle, it was impossible to put her back in. When we returned to Midwestern in January 1977, we realized we could not continue to keep the six-inch rule. So, for the next 18 months, we sought out couples to double date with that had the same view of the six-inch rule as we did. We had to be very careful. Choose the wrong couple to double date with and we could end up getting expelled from school.

Rules such as the six-inch rule put the dormitory students in a position of having to lie and cheat just to be able to act like normal young adults. Many students ended up getting campused (not allowed to leave the campus or date) or were expelled because they broke the six-inch rule.

Fornication was quite common among dormitory students. There was always a lot of gossip about who was doing what, when, and where. During the spring of my sophomore year, many of us rented apartments in the Pontiac area. We were all planning to get married over the summer, and since apartments were hard to come by, we rented them as soon as we found them.

The apartments turned into a big temptation for some couples. They began using the apartments as safe places for sexual activity. I could give you the names of several well-known preachers and their wives who lost their virginity at one of these apartments. Some of these preachers are now known to rail against sexual immorality. It seems they have forgotten about their own immorality many years ago.

Is it any wonder that many of us who were raised in this kind of sexually repressed environment require counseling? Being told over and over that certain basic human needs and desires are sinful leads to overwhelming guilt and despair (and remember masturbation was also a sin).

This is one of the reasons why I think the IFB church movement (and Evangelicalism, in general) is psychologically harmful. 

How about you? Did you spend your teenage years in an IFB church? Did you attend an IFB college?  How did you deal with the no-physical-contact rule? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so. Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Songs of Sacrilege: Catholic School Girls Rule by Red Hot Chili Peppers

red hot chili peppers

This is the two hundredth and eighth installment in the Songs of Sacrilege series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a song that is irreverent towards religion, makes fun of religion, pokes fun at sincerely held religious beliefs, or challenges the firmly held religious beliefs of others, please send me an email.

Today’s Song of Sacrilege is Catholic School Girls Rule by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Video Link

Lyrics

[Chorus]
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule

[Verse 1]
In the class she’s taking notes
Just how deep deep is my throat
Mother Mary don’t you know
She’s got eyes like Marilyn Monroe

[Chorus]
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule

[Verse 2]
From the cross she’s raised her head
This is what the sister said
Give no love until you’re wed
Live no life until you’re dead
The good books says we must suppress
The good books says we must confess
But who cares what the good books says
Cause now she’s taking off her dress

[Chorus]
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule
Catholic school girls rule

[Outro]
Lead us into temptation
We are pure divine creation
Talking about my generation
Injected with the seed of emasculation
Catholic!

How IFB Churches Handle Premarital Sex and Unwed Mothers

fornication

The Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement believes that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Within its pages, True Believers® will find everything they need pertaining to life and godliness. The Bible, then, is a roadmap or a blueprint for life. Follow it and all will be well. Don’t follow it and you risk chastisement/judgment from God. IFB adherents are literalists who believe that all one needs to do to be pleasing to God is to strictly follow the commands and teachings of the Bible. Much like other sects, IFB congregants pick and choose which commands to practice and which to ignore. Their buffet line may have different foods from, say, Orthodox Presbyterians or Southern Baptists might have on their buffet, but the end result is the same: individual believers pick and choose the foods they want to eat, ignoring the rest.

Most IFB preachers believe that while each Bible verse has only one meaning, it has many applications. It is in applying the various commands/laws/precepts of the Bible that IFB churches and pastors develop what are called standards. These standards often become an extra-Biblical law that True Believers® are expected to follow. Failing to follow these standards will cause fellow church members to question your devotion and commitment to Jesus/church, and in some instances may cause them to doubt that you are a Christian. Thus, it is not uncommon for IFB church members to outwardly conform to these standards even if they don’t actually agree with them. All that matters is that you look the part.

When it comes to sex, all IFB churches are puritanical, believing that sexual intercourse should be reserved for monogamous, married, heterosexual couples. While there are many behaviors which will bring the ire of the church’s gatekeeper (the pastor), illicit sexual activities are viewed as sins above all sins. Spend three months attending an IFB church and you are sure to hear preaching against fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. In the minds of many IFB preachers, it is important to frequently remind church teens and adults of what God/church expects of them sexually. Virtually everything IFB preachers say about sex runs contrary to normal, healthy sexual desires. Thus, Sunday services all too often feature preachers screaming about sexual sin while countless congregants feel guilty for violating the Bible’s/church’s/pastor’s sexual mores. Of course, the root problem is the fact that humans are sexual beings, and it is healthy and normal to want/need/desire sexual intimacy.

What happens when it becomes public knowledge that a congregant violated his or her church’s interpretation of the Bible; when a church member gives in to their worldly, fleshly desires and commits adultery or fornication? Most IFB churches are anti-birth control for unmarrieds. They ignorantly and foolishly believe that teens and adults will wait until marriage to have sex, so there’s no reason for anyone to be instructed in how to use birth control, This, of course, leads to church girls occasionally getting pregnant. How do IFB churches respond when one of their “virgins” end up pregnant?

Some IFB churches try to hide these things from view by sending offenders away to Christian reform schools or homes for unwed mothers. Out of sight, out of mind. Other churches demand immediate marriage. Believing that the sex act binds a couple to one another, marriage is viewed as the Christ-honoring thing to do. Years ago, in one church I worked in, a sixteen-year-old girl got pregnant. The pastor told her that she had to immediately marry her baby’s father. A private, close family-only wedding service was held, with the bride forced to wear a non-white dress. The pastor told her that white was reserved for virgins, and since she was no longer “pure” she forfeited the right to wear white. This sham wedding, of course, didn’t last. After a few years, she and her husband divorced, bringing a fresh wave of condemnation from the church congregation and its pastor.

Back in my college days, one of my wife’s friends had sex with her boyfriend before they were married. They had planned to get married soon, but as was often the case, their raging hormones won out over Jesus/Bible/church. Unfortunately, this young woman bled profusely after having sex, alerting her parents to the fact that she had broken the law of God (and her hymen). Her father forced her to drop out of college and immediately marry the man who robbed her of her virginity. She never returned to school.

Some IFB churches publicly shame and humiliate teens and adults who engage in sexual sin. My wife and I were visiting an IFB church one Sunday when the congregation and its pastor had a pregnant teen stand before her family, friends, and fellow church members and confess her sins. I felt so sorry for the girl. Her bulging abdomen was not enough shame for her, oh no! It was necessary to heap Bible-inspired judgment upon her head. Of course, once she had repented with wailing and gnashing of teeth, the church body surrounded her and showered her with ‘love.” One might ask, what kind of love is this? IFB love. A warped love that is conditioned on obedience. An abusive love that is extended only after the person has been violently assaulted with the Bible.

It should not come as a shock, then, that there is a lot of sexual and marital dysfunction in IFB churches. From the pulpit to the youth group, you will find True Believers® who have warped understandings of human nature and sexuality. Instead of embracing their sexuality, IFB congregants are in bondage to the Bible and a fallible man’s interpretation of an ancient religious text. Giving in to the “flesh” leads to a constant cycle of sex/guilt/forgiveness. Try as they might, once IFB church members drink a milkshake at the Dairy Queen, they always want to stop for a shake every time they pass a DQ. So it is with sex. Once you have experienced raw, exciting sexual passion, there’s no going back. Instead of acknowledging this fact, IFB preachers demand offending congregants put the proverbial genie back into the bottle and live chaste, “Biblical” lives.

If I have learned anything about IFB churches it is this: there’s a lot of fucking going on. The only difference between what goes on in secret in IFB churches and what goes on in the world is that True Believers® feel guilty afterwards. The unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world don’t worry about what the Bible says about their behavior. Yes, some worldlings have problems with guilt too, but more often than not, you will find Fundamentalist religion lurking in the shadows of their lives.

How did your church/pastor handle sexual behaviors deemed sinful? Did any of the unmarried girls in your church get pregnant? How did your church/pastor respond to their pregnancy? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 61, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 40 years. He and his wife have six grown children and twelve grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: People Who Have Premarital Sex Act Like Animals

lori-alexander

“‘We are sliding backward’; STDs hit record high in US as resistant gonorrhea emerges. The US saw a record number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases in 2017, marking the fourth straight year of sharp increases in gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Sixty percent of teens have had sex by graduation. The average “American loses his or her virginity at age 17. Virgins make up 12.3 percent of females and 14.3 percent of males aged 20-24.” Yet, don’t try to teach young people to be virgins until marriage or you will be blasted even by other Christians! Ridiculous. I aim to obey God rather than man (or woman).

God’s ways are perfect. He made sex to be between one woman and one man in the covenant of marriage. It’s not to be tried out before marriage to make sure the parts fit. The parts will fit! It’s not to be played around with before marriage. No, we are called to be chaste before marriage meaning no sex whatsoever before marriage; for the marriage bed is to be undefiled.

The consequences of not obeying God in this area are deadly. STDs can cause “infertility, stillbirth and an increased risk of HIV.” Besides the physical consequences, there are emotional consequences, too. We weren’t created to have sex like animals. No, we are made in the image of God and God calls us to take care of the temples (our bodies that He has given to us).

Did you notice that more males are virgins between 20 – 24 than females! While only 40 percent of high schoolers are virgins, only 12.3 percent of females are virgins after college. College is a breeding ground of sexual immorality with the drugs, alcohol, and hormone levels at an all time high and it’s only going to get worse. We live in a highly sexualized culture and we are not to see the things that most young people are seeing. We are to dwell on the lovely and the pure for a very good reason and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Only 12.3 Percent of Females are Virgins After College. September 5, 2018

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Stop That Fornicating Girls, It Will Make You Sterile

i would rather be fornicatingWe live in a highly sexualized culture. Not many young people are virgins when they marry, even those within the Church. Years ago, Ken and I mentored young couples who were engaged. The leaders of this program, who have been in charge of this ministry for 30 years, told us that when they began this ministry most of the engaged couples had not had sex before marriage but nowadays, it was difficult to find any young couples seeking premarital counseling who were still virgins. [I call bullshit because I can do math. Thirty years in the ministry takes us back to 1988. Those getting married came of age in the 1960s and 1970s — you know the FREE LOVE era. I read a British study (which I can no longer find) that looked through eighteenth century marriage and birth records (which were kept by churches). They found that the majority of women were pregnant when they got married. This should not be surprising for those of us who live in the real world — the one where it is natural for young adults to have sex. Young adults have always been having sex before marriage. Duh, right? And they are not likely to confess their fornicating to an Evangelical inquisitor. I had more than a few couples lie to me during counseling.]

….

There are many more verses related to fornication in the Bible.[How often has a Bible verse stopped someone from having sex. My guess, not very often.] It is a serious offense in God’s eyes. He wants us to be chaste and pure before marriage and become one flesh with one man. God’s commands are for our good.[Telling young adults with raging hormones NOT to have sex is most certainly not good for them.] The spread of sexually transmitted diseases is at an all time high. Yes, the sin of fornication has some serious ramifications. [And it doesn’t have to if proper precautions are taken.] It breaks the covenant of the one flesh marriage (even prior to marriage) and it is a sin against one’s one body.

Is there hope for those who have committed fornication? [Lori makes it sound like having premarital sex is some sort of serious crime. Sorry, but it’s not.] Of course, but they will deal with the regret and possibly the scars (infertility and/or disease) from it all of their days [Most people survive their unmarried years just fine. Lori is a fearmonger, plain and simple.] but there is forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

— Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Fornication is a Sin Against Your Own Body, August 2, 2018

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Men Want Debt-Free, Tattoo-Free Virgins

lori alexander

Do you know how much more attractive debt-free virgins (without tattoos) are to young men? Unfortunately, there are so few of these types of young women anymore because of the high costs of college (debt) and sexual promiscuity even within those in the church. As believers in Jesus Christ, we need to live in a way that is pleasing to Him because His ways are the best. He calls debt a burden and urges us to live lives of sexual purity.

There are many more reasons why Christian young women should carefully consider whether or not they go to college, especially if they want to be wives and mothers someday. Secular universities teach against the God of the Bible and His ways. It’s far from what God calls women to be and do: it teaches them to be independent, loud, and immodest instead of having meek and quiet spirits.

— lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Men Prefer Debt-Free Virgins Without Tattoos, July 16, 2018

A supporter of Alexander’s had this to say:

“Men don’t want to marry a women with debt. Most of this debt comes from college. They would also prefer a woman who still lives at her parent’s house that has not had other relationships. Do those two things and you will be highly sought after.”

“If they go to college, they are unlikely to stay home raising their children to pay off the debt and use the degree they spent years on.”

“The husband will need to take years teaching his wife the correct way to act, think, and live since college taught them every possible way that is wrong.”

“They will start having babies later in life. That is if they can still conceive naturally.”

“They lost a handful of years of experience learning to cook large meals and learning how to work in the garden. College kids don’t cook. If they do, it’s typically for themselves.”

“The list goes on. Churches don’t talk about it. They support the college kids (really adults) and the ‘working’ mothers.”

“It’s very rare to find an 18 year old woman that continues to work and live at her parent’s house until she meets her husband. It’s pretty much a joke to all who do that.”

The Worst Mother’s Day Ever

mothers day

Mother’s Day is a special time at Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) churches. It’s the one Sunday out of the year when the whole service is dedicated to women. Churches often give gifts to mothers in attendance, especially flowers. My favorite gift for church women on Mother’s Day was carnations. During this oh-so-special service, men and children are reminded of how they should love their mothers and praise Jesus for giving them such a wonderful, godly presence in their lives. And then comes the annual sermon for women from Proverbs 31:

 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Passing mention will also be made to other Bible verses that have been used to keep women in their place — barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen — for two thousand years. Throw in a couple of verses about women submitting to their husband and male leadership, and the sermon is complete; and whatever joy the $1 carnation brought into their lives is muted by the Biblical reminders of their true status before God and man.

As a pastor, I saw Mother’s Day as an opportunity to evangelize. I encouraged church members to invite their mothers to church, especially those who had unsaved mothers. I promised them that if they would do all they could to get their mothers in church on Mother’s Day, that I would do my best to share the gospel with them in between my points on Godly womanhood. Sometimes, I would plan a mother-daughter banquet the day before Mother’s Day. I would have the men of the church prepare a fancy meal for those in attendance. Feeding large numbers of mothers and their daughters afforded me the opportunity to put my restaurant skills to use. I became the general of the kitchen, making sure that everything was cooked according to plan. After the meal, a guest speaker would remind those the mothers and daughters in attendance of their duties before God and man. It was the only day on the church calendar when church women would be afforded the opportunity to hear a female speaker (not a preacher, not a preacher, not a preacher, DAMMITA SPEAKER!)

One Mother’s Day, I decided that I would recognize all the mothers in attendance. Numerous women stood as I asked mothers to stand so we could honor them with applause and $1 carnations. I then asked those who were standing to say how long they had been married and how many children they had. I planned to give special gifts to the oldest mother, the youngest mother, the mother with the most children, and the mother who had been married the longest. It took all of about thirty seconds for me to realize that I had made a horrible mistake.

Here’s what happened …

Sister I, how many children did you have and how long were you married? I was never married, but I have three children. (Imagine what my IFB face looked like the moment she uttered these words.) Sister D? I am not married, I’m divorced, and I have two children. (Sister I and D were blood sisters.) At that moment, I wanted to commit hari-kari. I thought, I need to hurry this along, knowing that there were other unwed mothers and divorcees ahead in Bruce’s nightmare of a conga line.

Finally, the repudiation of all my preaching against premarital sex and divorce was complete, and all that was left for me to do was preach my sermon, give a brief invitation, utter a benediction, and usher my family and me the hell out of Dodge. Needless to say, I never, ever asked women again to share how long they were married and how many children they had. Polly and I laugh about this now, but it was not funny at the time. My moralizing had been exposed, and the only feeble argument I could make was that all their sinning took place before they were saved. Praise Jesus, none of them had sexual intercourse post-Jesus, or so I told myself anyway. I would later come to the realization that, despite all my sermons against sexual sin, congregants were still, in the privacy of their bedrooms, car back seats, and motel rooms, having sex with people they weren’t married to. I would later pastor an unmarried woman who wanted to have a baby without marrying a man. She paid a neighbor man to sleep with her so she could get pregnant. She succeeded. Unfortunately, she bore a child with a serious birth defect — a sure sign to many of God’s disfavor.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Pastor Ben Godwin Blames the Free Love Generation for Spate of Sexual Harassment Claims

free love generation

According to Ben Godwin, Baby Boomers — the free love generation — are to blame for rampant sexual immorality and sexual harassment. Evidently, by having sex before marriage in the 1960s and 1970s, we set into motion a societal revolution that has led to widespread fucking without the benefit of marriage. Worse yet, according to Godwin, Baby Boomers are to blame for — perish the thought — LGBTQ people having sex too.

Godwin, pastor of Goodsprings Full Gospel Church in Jasper, Alabama, wrote:

Sadly, the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s is still producing rotten fruit. Generations with no moral compass or restraint have sown to the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind (Hos. 8:7). Many who have sown their wild oats are praying for crop failure, but an inescapable law is set in motion—”Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7-8). Hollywood is partly to blame for this tsunami of immorality. The entertainment industry vomits a steady stream of sexually graphic TV shows and movies that portray women as sex objects. Pornography flows like an open sewer on the internet, and we wonder why sexual assaults and date rape are rampant on college campuses and in society. What do we expect? We, as a nation, have rejected God’s Word, which provides proper boundaries for sexual conduct. We now live in an “anything goes” society.

The Bible is crystal-clear about sexual behavior—”Marriage is honorable among everyone, and the bed undefiled. But God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers” (Heb. 13:4). “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality” (1 Thess. 4:3). It is inappropriate to touch anyone in a sexual way except your legal spouse. Though our sick society says otherwise, adultery, fornication, incest, homosexuality, rape, prostitution, pornography and pedophilia are all still forbidden (Lev. 18:6-26, 19:29; Deut. 22:25; Matt. 5:27-28; Eph. 5:3). Sex, like a fireplace, is a wonderful benefit to enjoy in its proper setting, but if the flames get outside the hearth, they will burn your house down.

There’s an intriguing account of sexual harassment in Genesis, but it’s opposite of the usual way. Instead of a man pushing for sex, it was a woman. Potiphar’s sensual wife held all the cards in this scenario. (While men have taken most of the hits in the media lately, reports abound of male and female leaders alike who abuse their positions and seduce their subordinates.) After Potiphar promoted Joseph from a slave to the steward of his household, his wife “began to look at him lustfully. ‘Come and sleep with me,’ she demanded” (Gen. 39:7, NLT). Genesis 39:10 indicates that this was not a one-time occasion, but she tried to entice Joseph daily. When he repeatedly rebuffed her advances, she falsely accused him of rape and had him arrested. Later, God exonerated and exalted him from the prison to the palace due to his integrity. Joseph never compromised even in the face of torrid temptation; a lesson for us all.

Sexual harassment of women has been front page news in recent months, and Godwin blames Baby Boomers for that too. If we had just stuck to smoking marijuana, racing muscle cars, and listening to the White Album, why who knows how much better the good, old U.S. of A. would be. But no, Baby Boomers wouldn’t keep their bell-bottom jeans zipped up, nor could they keep from tossing their mini-skirts aside for late night sexual romps in the back seat of cars.

Here’s why the good pastor is full of shit. While it is certainly true that Baby Boomers did their fair share of screwing around, so did previous generations. As long as teens and young adults have raging hormones, sexual intercourse is going to be a normal part of their lives. Surely Godwin is not stupid enough to believe that before the 60s, unmarrieds — be they straight, bi, or gay — were not having premarital sex and were living according to the anti-human sexual dictates of the Christian Bible. The only difference between the 1940s and the 1970s is that birth control was widely available in the 1970s and the free love generation was more willing to talk about their sexual escapades.  And even among youth imprisoned in Fundamentalist churches, there was plenty of fooling around going on.

Typical of Evangelical preachers, Godwin is looking for someone to blame for the decline of American Christianity and Western Civilization.  Who better to blame than the first generation of young adults to openly and defiantly question their parents’ Christian worldview; the first generation to openly challenge pastors and their pronouncements about morality; the first generation to openly wonder whether the Christian God was real. So, from Godwin’s pew, it sure looks like I just proved his point; that Baby Boomers are to blame for what he perceives to be the moral decline of American society. However, what the rock-and-roll generation really did was make it okay to openly question beliefs, values, morality, and ethics. We were no longer willing to sit quietly by while our parents and grandparents told us what to believe. This has led to the increasing secularization of our society and progressive social values, and to perhaps the greatest gift Baby Boomers have given to their children and grandchildren. A new world lies ahead, that is if Baby Boomer Donald Trump doesn’t destroy the world with a nuclear war first.

About Bruce Gerencser

Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.

Thank you for reading this post. Please share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are a first-time commenter, please read the commenting policy before wowing readers with your words. All first-time comments are moderated. If you would like to contact Bruce directly, please use the contact form to do so.

Donations are always appreciated. Donations on a monthly basis can be made through Patreon. One-time donations can be made through PayPal.

Immodestly Dressed Women Need to Stop Spreading Their Sin to Weak, Hapless, Pathetic Men

tim and kara barnette

Warning! Slightly risque language ahead. You have been warned.

Another day, any yet another Evangelical explaining the importance of women covering up their bodies lest they cause men to “sin.” Today’s member of the clothing police is Kara Barnette, wife of Tim, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Faith, North Carolina. In a post titled Modesty Matters, Barnette had this to say about modesty and the dangers of women spreading their “sin” to men:

It’s that beautiful yet dreadful time of year when summer clothes come-out.  And it seems that every summer shorts get shorter, necklines plunge lower, styles get tighter, and fabrics are so thin that one could read a newspaper through them.  Yet issues over modest clothing aren’t just significant to the Amish and crotchety old people who complain about “those ‘dang teenagers.”

When a glutton eats too much, no one else gets fat.  And when a thief steals from a convenience store, only the thief goes to jail.  But when a young lady dresses inappropriately, the effects of her sin are expansive.

Her sin spreads.

As she strolls down the beach in her immodest bathing suit or worships on a Sunday wearing a revealing dress, everyone who sees her is handed temptation.   The men and boys around her must battle the sin of lust, while the women and girls around her must battle the sins of bitterness and jealousy and the temptation to show-off their bodies, too.   Everyone is distracted by the young lady’s clothing and everyone struggles to think pure thoughts.

Sadly, today there is often little difference in the immodest clothing choices between girls who’ve never heard the name of Christ and those who come from Christian homes.  Satan is winning the war of indiscrete clothing, and these are the weapons he’s using on parents:

….

My daughter must dress in short/tight athletic-wear to play her sport.  Newton’s Lesser-Known Fourth Law of Motion: A volley ball will travel at the same velocity and direction whether it’s served by a player dressed appropriately or by a player dressed inappropriately.   (The law likewise holds true for golf, tennis, and soccer balls, as well as for the dynamics of jogging, cheerleading, and dance…)  Joking aside, if a team uniform doesn’t meet God’s standards and an alternative is not allowed, then God doesn’t want my daughter playing that sport or participating in that activity.  Her personal testimony is worth even more than an athletic scholarship to college.

I can’t find modest clothing for my daughter.  Principals often hear this complaint from moms about school dress codes, and youth pastors similarly struggle to enforce clothing standards for youth groups and camps.  God has plenty to say about ladies dressing modestly (1 Timothy 2:9, 1 Timothy 2:8-10, 2 Peter 3:1-4), and He doesn’t give commands that our daughters cannot follow.  Shop a different store.  Order on-line.  Buy a sewing machine and make clothes yourself.  Or have your daughter wear the same modest clothing over and over if that’s all she has.  Parents must go to whatever lengths necessary to help our daughters protect their purity.

My daughter will hate me if I make her dress conservatively.  Following the Lord’s commands should not be a chore, but a joy!  Teaching a daughter to present her body as… ‘a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to the God, which is her spiritual service of worship’ (Romans 12:1) ought not be a knock-down fight in the dressing room at the mall; it should be a pleasant experience as she learns to embrace colors, fabrics, and styles that please God and accentuate her beauty.  All rules given by the Lord are for our good and His glory, so helping girls learn to dress modestly can be a fun and creative challenge.

Modesty isn’t an important Scriptural issue.  Tell that to the wife humiliated by her husband’s pornography addiction.  To the congregation who lost their pastor because he had an affair.  To the teenager who has to inform her parents she’s pregnant.

….

My daughter needs to show some skin if she’s going to get a guy.  Allow your daughter to dress provocatively so she can catch the attention of boys, and you’ll get your wish.  But it won’t end well for her.

While you would never throw chum into the ocean water where your little girl was swimming, you’re doing something far more dangerous when you allow her to capture boys with her body.  It’s a deadly proposition.

Just ask Bathsheba.

2 Samuel 11:2 simply states… and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful in appearance.  David’s sinful lust of Bathsheba was provoked because of her revealing appearance.  David didn’t fall for Bathsheba because she was a great conversationalist, or because he felt an emotional connection to her, or because she could cook a delicious rack of lamb.

He fell for her skin.

And while we will never fully understand Bathsheba’s culpability in the affair, we know that it sure caused her a lot of grief.  Literally.  Bathsheba would eventually grieve both the death of her faithful husband Uriah and the baby she conceived with David.

When we allow our daughter to show too much skin, we lead her into temptation.  We deliver her into evil.  And that evil is contagious: it not only harms her but will infect every person she contacts.

Modesty matters.

Once again, we have an Evangelical blaming “immodestly” dressed women for the inability of men to keep themselves from “lustful” thoughts. Pathetic men, they are, who can’t control their thoughts once their eyes focus on women showing too much of their bodies. In Barnette’s mind, dressing “immodestly” causes women to spread their sin and we all know that women spreading their sin leads to them spreading their legs.

Yes, we live in a culture when women publicly expose more skin than previous generations.  My God, my wife wore a dress to a wedding last weekend that showed a bit of cleavage! What’s the world coming to? Doesn’t Polly know that she is spreading her sin by wearing a 38DDD push-up bra? (Her first push-up bra, by the way — a sure sign of her atheistic depravity.

bruce and polly gerencser 2017
Polly and Bruce Gerencser, March 2017. Several firsts….cleavage and a black fedora. (my cleavage is covered up)

Barnette’s problem is that she is immersed in a Fundamentalist religious culture that treats human sexuality as something that must tamped down and, at times — because the Bible commands it — denied. Women are viewed as Jezebels, temptresses out to bed every man who casts a gaze their way. These weak, pathetic, horn-dog men have little or no power to keep themselves from lusting (evidently God living inside of you is not even enough), so it is up to women to keep men from lusting by covering up their bodies and avoiding behaviors that might lead men to think they are “available” — Greek for “easy.”

Most Evangelicals are Republicans who supposedly believe in personal responsibility. One need only listen to Evangelical congressmen pontificate about welfare and the importance of holding assistance recipients accountable for their behavior to see this thinking at work. Yet, these haters of the poor attend churches that preach, when it comes to sexual matters, that heterosexual men are not totally accountable for what are deemed immoral behaviors; that women who tempt men to lust are also culpable for their “stiff prick having no conscience” (a line told to Midwestern Baptist College ministerial students by crusty IFB preacher Paul Vanaman).

Lust is a religious construct meant to elicit fear and guilt. Two thousand years of preachers lustily preaching about the dangers women present to unsuspecting men have led to the female sex being blamed for the inability of the males of the species to keep from wanting to bed women they find attractive. And therein lies the problem. Evangelicals live in denial of their biology — that men and women being physically attracted to one another is necessary for the propagation of the human race. Some Evangelicals will grudgingly admit the biological aspect of human existence, but will then say that our biology has been corrupted by the fall — Adam’s and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden.

Remember the story? God created Adam and Eve naked, put a mystical fruit tree in the middle of their subdivision, and told them he would kill them if they ate fruit from the tree. Adam and Eve ignored God’s threat and once they ate kumquats off the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they became knowledgeable of good and evil. Since that day, all humans are cursed, born with a “sin” nature. According to Evangelicals, we don’t become sinners, we are by nature sinners — haters of God. This is why we need the salvation that was made possible through the sacrificial death of the God-man Jesus on the cross.

The first thing God did after confronting Adam and Eve over their poor choice of a snack was to kill several animals and make the sinning couple one-of-a-kind fur outfits — covering up their nakedness. Implicit in this story is that nakedness is sinful.  Christians, Muslims, and Jews have spent several millennia drilling this idea into the minds of primarily the fairer species. Why? Because it was Eve who first ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was Eve who gave a kumquat — I love that word —  to Adam. Get the gist of the story? Adam may have been the head of earth’s first family, but Eve is the one that plunged the entire human race into sin. A woman was to blame then, and women are to blame now.

Let me conclude this post with my view of human sexuality and personal accountability. I am an atheist, so Barnette’s Puritanical, anti-human views on sexuality play no part in my sexual ethic. I recognize that I am sexually attracted to some women.  How women dress can get my attention sexually. As Polly will attest, my eyes have on more than a few occasions been drawn to the comely shape of women who are not my wife. (And Polly will admit to the same. Last weekend she told me over dinner, why are some gay men so damn attractive? I laughed, thinking of how, not so many years ago, such a discussion would have been impossible.) I subscribe to the look but don’t touch school of thought. Everywhere I look I see attractive women. I saw them as a fifteen-year-old Baptist virgin and I see them forty-five years later as a well-used atheist. What I have learned as a grown-ass man is that I am TOTALLY responsible for my sexual behavior. I am TOTALLY responsible for how I deal with my sexual desires. It is up to me, not women, to control my sexuality. If I behave inappropriately, the only person responsible for my behavior is yours truly. I am mature enough to be around women I might find attractive, and if I feel some sort of sexual stirring — down boy, down boy — it is up to me to control my physical response.

My wife and I are in a committed monogamous relationship forty years in the making. Now that we have been liberated from the sexual bondage of Christianity, we are free to embrace our sexuality, while, at the same time, living according to the commitment we made to each other thirty-nine years ago on a hot July day in Newark, Ohio. Both of us are TOTALLY responsible for how we behave sexually. Knowing that marriage is far more than sex, neither of us worries about the other being tempted to sin by a nice ass or an attention-seeking babe or hunk of a man. (And yes, both of us are comfortable enough in our sexual skins to admit that there are times we have found someone of the same sex attractive, all without flying a rainbow flag on our porch.)

Humanism and Buddhism teach me to treat others with respect, and while I may not be able to control what happens to or around me, I am responsible for how I respond to these outside influences. When a nurse puts an IV in my arm I know it is going to hurt, and that it might take her several attempts to get the job done (thick skin, deep veins, genetic curse). I also know that it is up to me to decide how I respond to the nurse. After making sure the nurse has sufficient experience to do the job (I am considered a difficult stick, so only the experienced need apply), I turn to humor to control the pain that is coming. I tell the nurse about my best and worst phlebotomist list, sharing stories about who is at the top of the list. Once the IV is in, I let the nurse know where she placed on my list. By doing this, I am choosing to be accountable for how I respond. I have heard more than one patient go into a profanity-laced tirade at a nurse who couldn’t magically make an IV insertion pain-free. It is not the nurse’s fault, and blaming her is misplaced. So it is with people who wrongly want to blame women for the moral failures of the human race. Barnette’s blaming of women for unapproved chubbies is misplaced. Men are, from start to finish, responsible for how they respond when sexually attracted to women. Instead of long lists of rules that have proved to not work, why not teach not only men, but women too, how to behave sexually. Surely Evangelical churches can teach men that the Billy Graham rule — never allow yourself to be alone with a woman who is not your wife, a rule even Jesus didn’t practice — is fear-mongering bullshit; that the Vice President of the United States should be able to have a private lunch with a woman without fearing that he will succumb to lust and try to fuck her.  Surely the people who gave us purity rings made in China can instead teach men and women that it is not what you wear that matters — no ring has ever successfully kept young adults who want to have sex from doing do; that the choice of how to respond to sexual attraction rests solely with us, not others; that inappropriate sexual behavior by me is not anyone’s fault but mine.

Christians Say the Darnedest Things: Having Sex an Act of Christian Worship by Ashley Mazelin

ashley mazelin

Most likely if you are living together, you are also sleeping together. But the thing is, sex is not just physical, but also spiritual. When you have sex with someone who is not your spouse, you are not only taking something from that person that isn’t yours and sinning against your own body, but you are ultimately sinning against God. He created sex to be an act of worship to Him, representing the union of a man and woman who love each other the way that God loves the church and has covenanted with her. Outside of marriage, you can’t reflect that picture; in fact, you actually defile it. So my purpose in saving my virginity is not to simply give a nice gift to my husband on my wedding night, but to please my greatest love — the Lord God who made my body and my soul.

— Ashley Mazelin, publicist at Focus on the Family, Boundless, Living Together Isn’t the Answer, March 10, 2017