Back in the day, if you wanted God to bless your crops and make them grow high to the heavens, you prayed for rain. If that didn't work, you built a temple or maybe slaughtered a goat. And if that didn't work, well, then you just had to make sure the Man upstairs knew you meant business by finding the nearest female virgin and sacrificing her. And then, finally, God would respond by, well, not really doing anything at all, since He doesn't exist.
But if you thought that kind of virginal sacrifice was long in our rearview, you simply haven't been paying close enough attention. While bloody murders of virgins may be an antiquated activity, as this piece over in the Atlantic points out, killing them mentally is still going on plenty.
The article starts with the story of Elizabeth Smart, the kidnapping victim who was abducted for nine months when she was 14 years old. During those terrible nine months, Smart had chances to escape her captors, but she never acted on them. Among the reasons Smart gives for remaining? Her religious upbringing.
Growing up a Mormon, there's a high level of importance put on someone's premarital virginity. And if these women don't keep themselves “intact” for the big night, then they start thinking as Smart did:
“Who could want me now? I felt so dirty and so filthy.”
And that mentality has seeped into our general culture in everything from “slut shaming” to those terrible revenge-porn websites popping up all over the internet. Religion teaches that sex is dirty, that women who partake in it before marriage are whores to be treated like used tissues, that they deserve to be shamed. When, instead, they deserve to be cherished. Because the only difference between virgins and nonvirgins is that wedding-night sex with the latter fucking sucks.
Onto the roundup!
- A new children's book called God Made Dad & Mom tells the story a young boy who prays for his classmate and his two fathers for living a sinful lifestyle. And yes, this thing was endorsed by the American Family Association.
- In Afghanistan, the Taliban killed four police officers during attacks at checkpoints. Also, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Red Cross building, killing four.
- In Pakistan, gunmen killed a female polio worker and three Shiite Muslims. Also in Pakistan, a US drone strike reportedly killed a Taliban leader. These two events are not unrelated.
- America also used drone strikes in Yemen to kill suspected al Qaeda militants.
- In Myanmar, a mob of Buddhists burned down a whole bunch of Muslim homes, mosques, and schools, leading to at least one death.
- The highest court in El Salvador denied the request of a 22-year-old woman with lupus to get an abortion that will keep her from serious illness or death. Also worth noting, the 26-week-old infant has a birth defect that means it will be born missing part of its brain and skull, if it even survives the full nine months, which is unlikely. And yet, still, her life is of little importance to the court. Now's also a good time to probably link to this map of abortion and birth control rights throughout the world.
- Bryan Fischer, a crazy person with a radio program, suggested that the Boy Scouts of America should change its name to “the Boy Sodomizers of America” after deciding now to allow gay scouts.
- Three women complained last week that TSA screeners groped their private parts during pat downs. And somewhere in hell, Osama bin Laden lets out a sly smile at the news.
- Speaking of al Qaeda, who'd thunk they use memos and expense reports, just like a real business! Guess this is the kind of thing a business with plans on smuggling chemical weapons to places like Europe and the US does to get shit done.
- Plenty will see Minnesota Vikings superstar Adrian Peterson's comment about gay marriage—“I have relatives who are gay. I'm not biased towards them. I still treat them the same. I love 'em. But again, I'm not with that. That's not something I believe in. But to each their own”—as some sort of innocuous statement that we're all going overboard about. Sure, every person should be entitled to an opinion. But the problem is, by even stating this opinion, it's legitimizing the point of view that gay people are not to be treated the same as straight people. Next time, best keep your mouth shut, AP.
- Nigeria passed one butt-fuck of an anti-gay-marriage bill, not only outlawing it, but outlawing any groups supporting gay rights, and doling out ten-year prison sentences for any same-sex couples who publicly show affection. It should also be noted, there are no scientific reasons to oppose gay marriage.
- Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee told a little joke about not being able to trust “those damn Catholics” when talking about Notre Dame University perhaps joining his university's sports conference, and everyone lost their damn mind about it.
- And Our Person of the Week: Michele Bachmann, who announced she'll no longer run for re-election. Now she will be free to spout out her religious-based craziness on Fox News and the like without actually having any actual power of any sort. In other words, the perfect kind of crazy religious fundamentalist. Please, feel free to visit her website and say thank you.
- And Our Bonus, Actual Person of the Week: Kathleen Taylor, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, who's taken a brave and controversial stance by believing that religious fundamentalism might be cured, as long as it's treated as a mental illness. “Someone who has for example become radicalized to a cult ideology—we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance,” she said. This kind of thing could certainly be more effective than simply gassing up drones and bombing the Middle East.
Previously: People Who Love God Porn
La Longue Nuit de Mégantic
VICE Special: VICE Eats with John Besh
All the Books I Read in 2013
Live Streaming the Ukrainian Revolt
The Brown Mountain State
Crony Capitalism and Crushed Dissent in Angola
A Bunny Was Decapitated in an Ongoing Blood Feud Between Figure Skaters
'I Will Die Soon; I Know That': Meeting the Real Christiane F
I Went to a Japanese Wine Spa
I Spent a Month Living in a Romanian Sexcam Studio