Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joe Biden: Self-Protection Advice for Women



You might want to go forward to 1:13.

And people were ridiculing Sarah Palin as not qualified to be Vice-President?

But that’s not the most absurd thing he has said. In an interview with Field & Stream he stated:
Well, the way in which we measure it is—I think most scholars would say—is that as long as you have a weapon sufficient to be able to provide your self-defense. I did one of these town-hall meetings on the Internet and one guy said, “Well, what happens when the end days come? What happens when there’s the earthquake? I live in California, and I have to protect myself.”

I said, “Well, you know, my shotgun will do better for you than your AR-15, because you want to keep someone away from your house, just fire the shotgun through the door.” Most people can handle a shotgun a hell of a lot better than they can a semiautomatic weapon in terms of both their aim and in terms of their ability to deter people coming.
The irony here is that none of the supposed “gun nuts” would do anything nearly so reckless and irresponsible as what Biden is recommending.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

FemSex at Marquette on Breitbart

Right here.

The photo with the story isn’t from Marquette, and may not even be from a FexSex workshop.

But it’s the kind of silly stuff that would happen.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Virulent Response From FemSex Crowd

We broke the story right here: the FemSex workshop, a very politically correct exercise, founded at Berkeley, brought to Marquette by the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

The uproar caused Marquette to cancel the official University sponsorship of the program (although the students remain perfectly free to meet and talk, but without the official university imprimatur).

Some of the reaction has been pretty virulent.

Another virulent reaction has come from one of the organizers of the workshop, Claire Van Fossen. She wrote and sent to the Journal-Sentinel an op-ed piece that called for us to be punished for having the effrontery to speak up. In it, she said:
As a Marquette student, I demand punitive action on McAdams and am prepared to convene any and all students who have been hurt or slandered by him in order to ensure that he is held accountable.
Interestingly, she said students have been “hurt” by our blog posts. What kind of “empowered” women start whining about being “hurt” when somebody disagrees with them, and criticizes them? Get out the smelling salts.

She further claimed we should be forbidden to use the name “Marquette” in the title of our blog “unless Marquette is willing to stand behind his messages as reflecting the official views and opinions of the university.” This is a somewhat bizarre claim, since Marquette University has no trademark on the word “Marquette.” At least dozens (if not hundreds) of business firms use the word, which after all denotes a famous explorer, a town in Michigan, a building in the Chicago Loop, and much else.

Interestingly, she believes in the right of feminists to talk about sex with the official imprimatur, but rejects our right to talk about their talking about sex as a purely independent voice.

She goes on:
McAdams and his blog . . . are regular sources of oppressive, hateful content and blatant misogyny, not to mention homophobia, racism, and slander of Marquette students.
This deranged rant is an splendid example of the mind of the politically correct.

They don’t see legitimate differences of opinion. When faced with opinions with which they disagree, they see only oppression, hate speech, misogyny, racism and slander.

The worst part of this is that the students do not come up with this stuff on their own. They get it from faculty.

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Harassing E-Mail About FemSex Debacle

Dear Sir,

I am surprised that you hold such contempt for gay and lesbian people and yet pretend to be educated. This is completely at odds with the treatment I was assured when I chose to attend Marquette. It is contrary to the promises the University continues to make to those students that pay your salary. Do you really expect anyone to believe, after reading your posts, that you treat all your students equally?

As a gay student at Marquette, your recent ravings about “gay student and faculty activists and their liberal allies” demonstrates the exact type of intolerance that continues to plague the bigoted conservative movement on Marquette campus and elsewhere. Clearly, you are behind the curve in terms of academic progress and have contempt for those who don’t adhere to your own conservative world views.

Your blog clearly lacks any actual basis for knowledge. Instead you rely on the musings of conservative political interests and your own biased conjecture rather than the actual experiences of those who hold personal knowledge. Thus, you have chosen not to conform yourself to the important academic tradition of speaking from fact rather than bigoted opinion. Your opinions on why Gender and Sexuality are important to the University are “of course,” just opinions. The fact that you can’t come up with another explanation for why gender and sexuality issues are important beyond a conspiracy of the gay agenda just shows how out of touch you are. I, for one, am SORRY that I chose to come to a campus that on the one hand promotes bigoted ideals like yours while shutting down alternative views that empower woman and their personal freedom. That probably makes you happy as I can tell from your post that you don’t think that gay and lesbian people’s opinions should be on campus at all.

I can only hope that the recent exposure that your bigotry has gotten via the Journal Sentinel will yield the campus wide disgust that you would heap upon “gay student and faculty activists and their liberal allies”. I question whether you are really capable of discharging your duties in a manner which shows respect and acceptance of all those in the Marquette community, even those whom you clearly feel are less worthy than former members of the Republican student’s organization. It seems you are more interested in fostering an environment of hate.

I shall be doing my best to promote your bigotry to the Marquette administration and encourage them to look in to your student/faculty relationships. I certainly will reach out to the “gay activists” at the undergrad level and encourage them to warn their members about taking your classes.

Sincerely Yours,

Justin L. Singleton

Candidate for Juris Doctorate - 2014

Email: Justin.Singleton@marquette.edu

Phone: [redacted]
No comment required. It’s terribly convenient when somebody, thinking they are attacking you, illustrates the points you have been making all along.

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Choose Your Pope Gameshow

With a hat tip to Badger Catholic:

It’s interesting that this is from a Lutheran organization. That makes an important point about the current culture wars: socially conservative Catholics and Protestants have much more in common than either of them have with liberals of their respective faiths.

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Marquette Pulls Support of Bawdy FemSex Workshop

Kudos to former Marquette College Republican president Ethan Hollenberger for demanding some response from Marquette about the FemSex workshop that we blogged about right here. On February 17, he wrote several people in the Administration (including Father Pilarz) and asked them to respond to the following questions:
During the opening of the Gender and Sexuality center, you said the center will “create a community rounded in personality and will delve into issues of gender and sexuality with respect, sensitivity, academic rigor, and a concern for social justice.” As a supporter of the center, do you support the FemSex workshop as written?

If you were advising a Catholic student who was saving herself for marriage, would you recommend this workshop?

Can you defend the discussions on safer sex, masturbation, sexual desire, or the use of the “cunt coloring book”?

Reading the syllabus of the workshop, the premise of the workshop is understanding the body. Giving into sexual desires and lust are both expressly regarded as sin. Do you defend FemSex as consistant with Jesuit and Catholic teachings?

What do you see as the purpose of this course? Why is it written with vivid sexual overtones?

Marquette is often criticized for not providing contraception (as it shouldn’t) in student health services, largely because abstinence is key to the Catholic feelings on pre-marital sex. Do you see Marquette moving away from that policy?

Why isn’t the Center teaching Catholic traditions on sex and marriage in a seminar?

The University’s mission reads, “Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university dedicated to serving God by serving our students and contributing to the advancement of knowledge. Our mission, therefore, is the search for truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others. All this we pursue for the greater glory of God and the common benefit of the human community.” Where does this workshop fit into that?

Lastly, what is your response to a donor who may stop giving to the University because of this course?
Having gotten no response, he wrote again three days later, noting “I am still seeking comment from the President’s office regarding the Gender and Sexuality Center’s FemSex workshop.” He further observed that “Historically and culturally, Marquette is a Catholic university. Seemingly, by hosting this workshop Marquette is caving to current cultural pressures.”

Finally, later that afternoon (yesterday afternoon) Provost John Pauly responded:
Dear Mr. Hollenberger

In response to your inquiry to the President’s office, I wanted to provide some additional information.

We recently became aware of the student-led Female Sexuality program. After reviewing its content, we found that aspects of the program did not fulfill the expectations set out in the charter of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. Because of this, the center is no longer sponsoring the program. To be clear, this was not an academic course and was not led by faculty. It was student programming that took place outside of the classroom.

We support the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center and the goals set forth in the center’s charter, and have done so since its inception. The center plays an important role within the university, allowing us to delve into issues of gender and sexuality with respect, sensitivity, academic rigor and concern for social justice. It also provides educational programming related to sexual violence, harassment and discrimination, better equipping our students to be able to respond society’s complex cultural issues.

Sincerely,

John Pauly

Provost

Marquette University
Translation: the workshop had created a firestorm of criticism after local conservative talk radio publicized it in the wake of our blog post. One could say we are thankful that Marquette finally “saw the light.” But that would misrepresent what happened. In this issue, as was the case with the aggressive lesbian Arts and Sciences Dean candidate that Marquette was about to hire, but then declined to hire under pressure from local Catholics, Marquette caved in. A genuinely Catholic university would not need to cave in to pressure on an issue like this, because they would not approve something like this to begin with.

The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center was set up precisely as a sop to gay student and faculty activists and their liberal allies. It was entirely predictable that it would do something like this. In fact, many of their other activities have had a similar politically correct focus, including a discussion of a feminist screed that demonizes males and Christians, and publicizing the appearance of lesbian comedienne Julie Goldman at UWM.

If the University really minded stuff like this, they would never institutionalize the worldview that produces it. But the trouble is that they don’t really mind it.

The workshop, Pauly made clear, can continue to meet as a purely unofficial group of students. And of course, if any group of female students wants to get together for a bawdy hen party and talk about sex, that’s their right. But the University should never endorse or officially condone a program whose express purpose is to oppose Catholic teachings on sexuality.

But given the nature of the Marquette administration, look for such programs to happen again with regularity.

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Culinary Suggestion for Lent

You may want to click on the image to enlarge it.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Marquette Gender and Sexuality Resource Center: Demonizing Men

From Facebook, notice of an event that will be starting about the time we post this:
Come and join the GSRC and Dr. Gerry Canavan in a group discussion of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.” “Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.”
This, of course, is from the Marquette Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, the same people who brought the campus FemSex.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is a feminist dystopia. More detail is provided by a synopsis of the movie based on the book:
In this dystopian fable, a librarian wife and mother becomes the childbearing pawn of a Christian theocracy. In the near future, as war rages across the fictional North American Republic of Gilead and pollution has rendered 99 percent of the female population sterile, Kate (Natasha Richardson) sees her husband killed and her daughter kidnapped while trying to escape across the border. Kate herself is transformed into a handmaid -- a surrogate mother for one of the privileged but barren couples who run the country’s fundamentalist regime. Although she resists being indoctrinated into the bizarre cult of the handmaids, which mixes Old Testament orthodoxy and misogynist cant with 12-step gospel and ritualized violence, Kate soon finds herself ensconced at the home of the Commander (Robert Duvall) and his frosty wife, Serena Joy (Faye Dunaway). Forced to lie between Serena Joy’s legs and be penetrated impersonally each month by the Commander, Kate longs for her vanished earlier life; she soon learns that since many of the nation’s powerful men are as sterile as their wives, she may have to risk the punishment for fornication -- death by hanging -- in order to sleep with another man who can provide her with the pregnancy that has become her sole raison d’être.
This, of course, plays to all the prejudices of feminists -- the notion that “religious fundamentalists” (you know, those people who oppose abortion) want to oppress women, and further men want to reduce women to mere brood matrons excluded from all activities other than producing offspring.

Aside from the naked ideological bias, there is a huge irony here.

Just which males in American society oppress women? Those who want them to bear children? Those are the guys who want to marry a woman and create a family and be a father to the children.

But then we have the guys who just want sex. Perhaps they actively don’t want the woman to be pregnant, since that comes with all kinds of hassles (pressure to marry, child support, the need to leave the state). Or perhaps they just don’t care, knowing that they are not going to be responsible for the children they create anyway. Just have a good roll in the hay, and don’t worry about the consequences, which you can usually avoid.

Out in the real world (if not in the fever swamp of feminism) women are a bit more opposed to abortion being legal than men.

But feminists have blinders that won’t allow them to see this. Recognizing this reality would be to admit that women and men have a common interest in forming families. That’s not an effective way to demonize men.

Further, this kind of “knock her up and evade the consequences” mentality is especially common among black males. Over 70% of black babies are born out of wedlock. But blacks are a politically correct victim group, and admitting that black females are victimized by black males creates too much cognitive dissonance. Black males have to be victims too. Better that the oppressors are while males, especially Christian white males.

“The Handmaid’s Tale,” in other words, is hate speech. A similar book that demonized blacks, or illegal immigrants, or homosexuals would be instantly recognized as such. We think the First Amendment protects hate speech, but this doesn’t require that Marquette University promote it.

[Update]

Check out the comment from the leader of the discussion (which has been postponed) Gerry Canavan. He promises a more critical and nuanced view of the text than it typically receives.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

FemSex at Marquette

Now happening at Marquette, according to a flyer posted around the campus two weeks ago:
The Female Sexuality Workshop (FemSex) is a 12 week co-facilitated, student-led workshop that aims to create a mindful, safe, respectful, and open environment for participants to validate their experiences, challenge their ideas, and learn with and from others. Evolving from long-running courses at UC Berkeley and Brown University, FemSex seeks to bring values of empowerment, diversity, and collective learning to Marquette University and the Milwaukee community.

Mission: To provide a safe space for exploration, encourage honest dialogue, facilitate collective learning, engage and grapple with the social forces that inform individual experiences, and build allyship. The workshop is free and open to the community.

Workshop topics: health, gender, identity, body image, sexuality, desire, power and privilege, spirituality, pleasure, communication, consent, relationship, empowerment, and more!

Workshop Activities: large and small group discussions, speakers, readings, in-class activities, and take-home exercises

When: Monday evenings, 6 p.m.-9 p.m. the first session is Monday, February 4th. The last session is Monday, April 29th.

Who: We welcome people of all genders, sexualities and sexual orientation, ethnicities, religious affiliations, political inclination, and abilities. All participants must complete an application and sign a participant contract.

Interested in Learning More? Attend an Information Session.

Dates: Tuesday, January 22nd or Thursday, January 24th

Time: 8 pm. – 9 p.m.

Location: The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, AMU 425

Come to learn more about the workshop, complete the application, review the workshop syllabus, and ask questions. All are welcome!

If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Bruns at Rachel.bruns@marquette.edu or Claire Van Fossen at clairevanfossen@gmail.com .

*FemSex is sponsored by the Marquette Gender and Sexuality Resource Center*
So just what is FemSex? Since it started at Berkeley, an article in the Berkeley student newspaper may be a good place to begin.
According to facilitator Amelia von Gerer, two queer women started FemSex in the spring of 1993, after taking a class called Feminism and Pornography. Inspired, they spent the semester learning to orgasm and later sought to teach a Decal course on the matter, initially titled “The Orgasm Class.”

The pair ended up broadening the curriculum to include additional topics in female sexuality, and the DeCal has continued to evolve since then. Today, FemSex is a space for free discussion of power and privilege related to gender, women’s health and sexual practices, among other things.

FemSex students (fondly called “FemSexies”) are instructed to be open-minded, non-judgmental and respectful when discussing the controversial issues put forth by facilitators. Discussions range from views on pornography and sex work to gender-based violence and having healthy relationships.
Of course, if women have trouble having organisms, it would seem that a licensed sex therapist would be the person to see, and hard to see how the undergraduates who typically lead these discussions would be much help.

At Berkeley, the students leading the class all seem to major in Sociology, Psychology, Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, with minors in related fields. In other words, they know all about how to talk about how women are victims, but actually know little about sex.

So it’s not surprising that the description goes on to add an explicitly political dimension:
The pair ended up broadening the curriculum to include additional topics in female sexuality, and the DeCal has continued to evolve since then. Today, FemSex is a space for free discussion of power and privilege related to gender, women’s health and sexual practices, among other things.
How you help women have better sex by telling them that men are evil exploiters isn’t clear, at least if we are talking about women who aren’t lesbians.

A more complete account of what the typical course involves can be found on a syllabus used at Carleton University, and on a syllabus from the FemSex website a Berkeley.

Some of the entries seem innocuous enough, for example “Communication in Relationships” (Carleton) and “Women’s Health and Menstruation” (Harvard). But most involve hot-button moral and even political issues. For example:

Carleton:
  • Porn and Erotica
  • Reproductive Choices (including abortion)
  • Exploration of sexual practices and lifestyle
  • Orientation of sexuality and gender
  • Power and Privilege
Berkeley:
  • Pornography, Erotica, and Sex Work
  • Self-Love, Pleasure, and Orgasm
  • Sexual Practices and Orientation
  • Contraception and Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Power & Privilege
  • Womyn’s [sic] Empowerment & Final Projects
A syllabus for Femsex at the University of Nevada-Reno is quite similar.

At Cornell an even wider variety of subjects is discussed:
Topics include: anatomy and physiology, cultural influences on sexuality, body image, STIs and safer sex, reproductive choices, solo sex, partner sex and relationships, gender identity, orgasms and inhibitors to orgasms, pornography, kink sex practices, BDSM, and more ...
If the syllabi of these course suggest some rather provocative topics, the actual activities are far more provocative. The student newspaper at Berkeley gives some examples:
In 2002, Female Sexuality-as well as the male version of the course-faced scrutiny by administrators after a Daily Californian article cited illicit sexual behavior in class. The incident sparked new guidelines for faculty oversight of student-run courses, but both DE-Cals have endured.

“Some people have a negative impression, but it’s not like that at all,” said senior Christie Santos, who took the course last semester. “The total goal is empowerment.”

For one project, students were asked to pen their own erotic story. Facilitators have also aired pornography clips in class to counter negative preconceptions about the industry’s treatment of women, Raymond said.

“Before the class, I would be really hesitant to use porn,” Santos said. “I think as women, we have a lot of hang-ups about porn and self-pleasuring ... I think it’s really interesting, because it’s exciting, it’s arousing-there is a lot of porn out there that isn’t degrading.”

Speakers in the DE-Cal have included sexologist Carol Queen-co-founder of the Center for Sex and Culture-as well as midwives, porn performers and members of the transsexual community.

The course has also held optional field trips to bondage clubs to allow students to explore alternative sexualities, Santos said.
The version of the course at Harvard was hardly less outrageous. As described by a woman blogger who was not at all sympathetic to the project:
Some of the topics being discussed don’t seem that outrageous to me and instead are worthy of discussion: portrayals of women in popular media, body image, women’s health, motherhood, and communication and relationships. But another glance at the syllabus and my jaw dropped. Assignments include coloring an anatomical diagram from the C*** Coloring Book, doing an erogenous exploration exercise, and let’s not forget the creative writing exercise—writing your sexual fantasy (don’t worry, it’s anonymous).

Each of the speakers will bring something valuable to the table: a midwife, someone from the BDSM community, a professional dominatrix named Princess Kali, a speaker on open relationships, the two leaders of Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault and Prevention Response (an organization whose existence I’ve lamented in other posts) and sexologist Carol Queen. If that’s not enough fun, there is a writing workshop on pornography and erotica, a guided tour of Good Vibrations of Boston (a women-owned sex shop), and other field trips involving a porn night and a strip club visit.
Of course, one could quite plausibly argue that all these things are worth discussing. And indeed, they are. But the strong emphasis is that any discussion must be “nonjudgmental.” Indeed, an email sent out to advertise the event at Harvard said participation required the “suspension of judgment.”

In the first place, one can’t imagine a workshop that takes a nonjudgmental attitude toward things the organizers really believe to be evil. One can’t imagine a workshop on rape, or drug abuse, or racism that would be taught in a “nonjudgmental” way.

But far worse is the fact that FemSex is not nonjudgmental at all. It is littered with strong moral judgments. For example, Carleton students “discuss ways in which we learn about sex in sexist and heteronormative terms. Personal stories as well as media portrayals will be welcome.”

What about prostitution? What about pornography? The Berkeley syllabus promises to discuss “. . . the taboos that surround pornography and sex work.” Taboos, of course, are a bad thing.

Abortion? What would one expect when a speaker is from Planned Parenthood? Of course, no version of FemSex that we can find ever invited a speaker from a pro-life group.

Promiscuity? A look at the Berkeley website shows featured readings titled “Slut! Growing up Female with a Bad Reputation,” and “He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know.” Of course, from a Catholic, or indeed any Christian perspective, a double standard is a bad thing. But the proper response is not to encourage women to be promiscuous.

It’s odd that feminists think you can stick it to the patriarchy by making it easier for guys to get laid!

Indeed, when guys respond to female promiscuity in the predicable way, the feminists get huffy about it. An article in the Columbia Spectator gripes:
May we remind you that the joke “Columbia girls to wed, Barnard girls to bed” is still not funny? Barnard women have been immortalized as sluts and sex objects that aren’t worth a guy’s attention for a serious relationship, and the tradition is passed on every year to the next generation of students.

Moralism on Steroids

FemSex, in sum, is not nonjudgmental. It’s intensely moralistic. But the morality is a secular morality that says “if it feels good do it,” and “any sex act one wishes to engage in is OK.” Harsh moral judgment is reserved for anybody who says differently.

A woman blogger at Harvard saw this quite clearly. Contemplating enrolling, she observed:
I thought, perhaps naively, that I would be able to participate. That I could go in each time, listen to other women’s stories without judging, and then give my own perspective. That abstinence until marriage is the best way to avoid STD’s and is in fact a pretty liberating thing (I won’t have to compare myself to my husband’s previous partners, I don’t have to listen to society telling me what to do, I don’t have to deal with the emotional baggage of premarital sex). That sex work and pornography objectify women. That women wouldn’t need to be empowered if they stopped calling themselves victims and instead worked alongside men.

I’m not sure what their reactions to my opinions would be. I’m not sure if my views would be tolerated. I wonder if I’d inadvertently violate the contract I’d have to sign, which requires that I contribute to making the space safe and comfortable. But I do know that as long as we’re watching a film entitled “When Abortion Was Illegal,” being told how great polyamory is, and discussing self-love and masturbation, it can never be a safe, comfortable space for me.
And of course, a questionnaire that women wanting to lead sessions at Carleton have to submit makes clear the rigid political correctness of the enterprise. The women are required to explain:
What can you do to make sure issues of privilege are addressed in class? Have you had experience working with diverse communities or dealing with issues of diversity/privilege?

Femsex at Marquette

The program at Marquette is similar to those elsewhere. This is, after all, “monkey see, monkey do,” and administrators and activists on college campuses ape each other. And of course, those folks at Marquette ape what is done on secular campuses (or on “Catholic” campuses which, like Marquette, are not really Catholic).

Here is the syllabus for the Marquette program.

It has a few concessions to the supposed Catholic nature of Marquette. For example, among the “models of sexual behavior” to be discussed alongside “fantasy, kink, fetish, and more” are “asexuality” and “abstinence.” And it promises “both negative and positive views of masturbation.” And they have stuck in a discussion of “Sexuality and Spirituality.”

But then, projects at the end of the syllabus include:
  • Cunt Coloring: Color an anatomical picture from The Cunt Coloring Book.
  • Affirmation Assignment: Affirm someone in a manner of your choosing.
  • Birth/Adoption Assignment: Talk to your parent(s)/guardian(s) about the experience of your birth, adoption, or how they came to have you.
  • Erotica: Crate an anonymous piece of erotica exploring fantasy and desire.
  • Pleasure Point: Find a new pleasure point or pleasurable activity, and write about (or express in another medium) the experience
Then finally, probably the most interesting:
  • Empowerment Object: Bring in something that you find empowering to share with the group.
The last one is particularly interesting. Do they want a sex toy, perhaps? We’re guessing that no woman in the group will bring a pistol for which she has a concealed carry permit!

Quite obviously, a program that endorses implicitly (and often explicitly) abortion, sadomasochism, prostitution, homosexuality, masturbation and promiscuity is way beyond questionable at a Catholic university — and even at a university that pretends to be Catholic.

But even from a secular liberal standpoint, the program is questionable. As a woman writing in the Harvard Crimson put it:
Oddly, the focus of FemSex is purely sexual liberation. Despite the numerous other issues confronting the modern woman, the class focuses eight out of 10 sessions on sexual and/or anatomical exploration. The syllabus seems to suggest that sexual liberation is a woman’s only path to empowerment—funny, I thought that was law school. Where are the seminars focused on women in corporate America, or women in the military? By diversifying its syllabus, FemSex might lose its shock value, but it would be able to address a broader range of concerns and appeal to more students.

Even worse, in its attempt to force its members into an archetype of what liberation should be, FemSex’s approach overpowers the individual instead of empowering her. Empowerment is about making your own choices, not about adhering to the FemSex agenda. I wonder how a class member who made the liberated choice to abstain from sex would be received in this group.

According to its information e-mail; “this class requires dedication, openness, willingness to communicate, suspension of judgment, and BRAVERY.” Bravery? It is difficult to understand what bravery has to do with attending field trips to porn shops or listening to a dominatrix give a lecture, both of which are potential offerings of a FemSex curriculum. Bravery would be having these conversations and trips out of your own curiosity, not as some sort of misguided attempt at finding a pre-determined “liberated” identity.

At the information session earlier this month, one FemSex alum recounted her favorite assignment from last term: taking a speculum and a light and getting intimate with her own private parts. Nothing could serve as a better example of FemSex’s misguided philosophy: while its participants are searching their own insides, they’re missing what’s going on outside. We live in a world with those other people — you remember them, the men — and until we can stop judging our liberation as women (sexual or otherwise) by how separate we are from men, we will never be truly empowered.
The image of college women one gets from FemSex is that of whining neurotics. Really, which would be better for the cause of women’s equality: studying to make a good grade on a Physics exam, or attending a feminist hen party to obsess on sex? FemSex, in reality, is the ultimate way of treating women as sex objects.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daviel Maguire: Dissing the Pope as Usual

Dan Maguire is doing his usual thing, bitching about the Pope and the teaching of the Catholic Church with which he disagrees. Happily, the New York Times, which sought out a comment from him, also printed several letters from loyal Catholics lauding the Pope.

In an e-mail to Theology Department faculty and graduate students, Maguire goes further:
Yesterday morning, I was invited by The New York Times to submit a letter on the pope’s departure. When I spoke to the editor about my letter, she asked about Matt. 16:19. People are interested in theology when they see its effects unfolding in public life. I told her, as Hans Kung puts it that “the famous saying about Peter as the rock on which Jesus will build his church” that “strikingly has no parallels in the other Gospels, is not a saying of the earthly Jesus but a post-Easter construction…” probably coming from the Palestinian community and inserted into Matthew’s Gospel.
Maguire, of course, is doing what liberal theologians typically do when faced with scripture they find inconvenient: they dismiss it as bogus.

The fact that there are no parallel passages in the other gospels proves nothing, since many of the things Jesus said appear in only one gospel. Of course, Maguire doesn’t believe that what Jesus said has any authority anyway, since he is, at most, barely a theist and certainly not a Christian.

Maguire has every right to whatever religious views he wishes to hold, but he shouldn’t pretend that those views trump the views of people who are really Christians, and he certainly should not pretend that his views and those of like-minded theologians trump those of the bishops.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Methodist Gay Lobby Bullies General Convention

It’s pretty common from leftists: the notion that they have the right to use “any means necessary” do get what they want. And the gay lobby, especially in “mainline” Protestant denominations, is as bad as any.  This was obvious at the General Convention of the United Methodist Church.
The window of opportunity for delegates to do their work was further narrowed by the antics of activists of the Common Witness Coalition (MFSA, RMN, etc.) and allied groups.

Dozens of shrill protesters against biblical standards for sexual self-control, most of whom were not delegates and not all of whom were even necessarily Methodist, invaded the delegates-only seating area on Wednesday, May 2, for an illegal demonstration, loudly drowning out the presiding bishop while he attempted to close the session in prayer.

The next day, following the conference’s decisive re-affirmation of the UMC’s biblical statement on sexual morality (by a significantly larger majority than the previous General Conference), the same activists again stormed the delegates-only section to take it over for yet another fundamentally self-righteous protest. Their refusal to leave, despite repeated, gracious pleas from the presiding bishop, forced the conference to shut down. . . . It is worth noting that RMN has received heavy funding from secular pro-homosexuality groups seeking to take over the UMC . . . , and that the secular gay-rights group, GLAAD, “was on the ground at the United Methodist General Conference, supporting efforts to change the denominational policy.”

Our bishops reportedly considered taking decisive actions, including seeking police help, to end the forceful occupation of the conference floor and/or prevent further such invasions, but ultimately did not do so. Instead, several liberal bishops went to negotiate with the protesters, now led by Amy DeLong, as they held the General Conference hostage. (DeLong is the openly partnered lesbian minister who a church trial in the liberal Wisconsin Annual Conference notoriously refused to discipline for “being a self-avowed, practicing homosexual” – which is absolutely forbidden for UMC clergy – and who currently leads her own self-serving protest group.)

The occupiers refused to allow business to continue until our bishops submitted to their ultimatums:

  • Bishop Wenner, President of the Council of Bishops, would open the next session expressing agreement with liberals’ argument that affirmation of biblical morality harms GLBT people (and WITHOUT acknowledging others’ pain in such controversies).
  • This would be followed by a prayer offered by a United Methodist minister meeting DeLong’s criteria of (1) being openly gay, (2) currently serving in a particular kind of appointment, and (3) speaking in a prominent location specified by DeLong.
  • Delegates would be forbidden from even considering any other “sexuality-related” petition that afternoon.
  • A special meeting of the Agenda Committee would be held that afternoon, called by DeLong and including representatives of the Renewal and Reform Coalition, to “negotiate” the manipulation of the rest of the General Conference agenda.
Conference leaders submitted to all of the above. Claiming to speak/pray “on behalf of” all bishops, Bishop Wenner dutifully opened the next session with the assertion that gay and lesbian people had “been hurt by actions of the General Conference and by the polity of The United Methodist Church,” avoided acknowledging anyone else’s pain, and in line with the protestors’ theology. . . .

This afternoon meeting—which included legislative committee chairs, the Agenda Committee, and representatives of the General Conference Commission, the bishops’ Unity Task Force, liberal caucuses, the Renewal and Reform Coalition, and JustPeace—agreed to transfer all “sexuality-related” petitions to the end of the agenda list, ensuring that there would be no time for them. The protesters had already eaten up the time scheduled for such petitions, and much other pressing business remained for the final day.

This decision basically tabled three categories of petitions. Several would have revoked current denominational policies aligning requirements for clergy conduct and the use of apportioned denominational funds with biblical standards on sexual morality. Since sexual liberalism manifestly lacked majority support, voting on these petitions would have accomplished little. Other proposals would have strengthened enforcement mechanisms for such standards. Theologically orthodox United Methodists were eager for such badly needed reforms. Also tabled were four other liberal sexuality-related petitions, which would have mandated pension benefits for homosexual partners of church employees, broadly endorsed various GLBT-friendly public policies, and imposed a radical system of unaccountable membership-on-demand.

DeLong and company also demanded that petitions to end our denomination’s scandalous affiliation with the strident Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (a move the relevant committee had supported in a decisive, historic vote) be labeled “sexuality-related” and moved to the back of the agenda with the other tabled petitions. Despite the strong objections of renewal leaders and even some relatively fair-minded liberal denominational officials, the Agenda Committee agreed to classify RCRC as “a sexuality issue.” The committee had also decided to overrule the anti-RCRC petitions’ original “global” classification in order to treat them as “U.S.-only” issues, even though: they dealt with a global denominational agency, UMC leaders from Africa, Europe, and the Philippines were outspokenly eager for the General Conference to pass them, and they involved a resolution that explicitly mentions “international” issues, the United Nations, and South Africa. Under the new rules, classifying RCRC as a “U.S.-only” issue provided a useful pretext for demoting these petitions’ priority. Moreover, the relevant legislative committee chair, Rev. Molly Vetter, used her position to have the anti-RCRC petitions deemed low priorities. Throughout the final day, DeLong and her allies sought to intimidate delegates and conference leaders by being very visibly primed and ready to fulfill their threat to forcibly shut the General Conference down in a THIRD illegal protest so that delegates would be unable to even discuss RCRC. But the anti-RCRC petitions were far enough down on the agenda list (albeit not at the very end as DeLong had demanded) that the Agenda Committee expected that there would not be time to get to them, EVEN IF it had not been for the eleventh-hour chaos caused by the Judicial Council’s striking down the compromise restructuring plan. And indeed, time ran out for plenary consideration of RCRC, which gave the bullying protesters what they wanted.

Furthermore, an important petition, supported overwhelmingly in committee, would have helpfully amended the UMC Discipline’s statement on “Our Theological Task” (¶104) with thoughtful, nuanced, and very Wesleyan affirmation of “Scripture as the primary source and criterion for doctrine” while dispelling popular misunderstandings about Albert Outler’s “Wesleyan Quadrilateral.” But on the final morning, the Agenda Committee decided to kill this liberal-opposed petition by grouping it with the tabled “sexuality-related” petitions (despite that petition making no mention of sexuality).

In subsequent newsletters and online postings, the liberal caucuses shamelessly celebrated the any-means-necessary way in which they had “won” in defeating key petitions, not by substantive dialogue or honest persuasion, but rather by resorting to threats and raw physical force to prevent delegates from voting on them. One RMN affiliate praised the “courageous act of direct action taken by LGBT activists on the conference floor on the penultimate day” who “occupied the floor and forced the conference to adjourn,” “let business resume only after conference leaders promised that they would not allow” sexuality-related petitions, including the RCRC ones, “to be debated and voted on,” and “enforced that agreement by letting conference leaders know that if any of these proposals did come up, they would immediately reoccupy the floor and prevent further business.” DeLong similarly boasted of how her protest efforts “held at bay” petitions she did not like. One of the protest leaders, an MFSA member and clergy delegate from a liberal annual conference blogged: “Hey! Protest making legislative change! Awesome.” [emphasis added]
This sort of thing harks back to the campus radicals of the 60s, who would happily shout down campus speakers they didn’t like, and shut down an entire university to attack policies they did not like. It also harks back to the Hitler Youth, who were in the habit of shouting down and disrupting their political opponents.

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China Used “Top Gun” Footage Claiming Successful Test of Fighter Aircraft

From Gizmodo:
A few days ago, China Central Television showed footage of what they claimed was an air force training exercise conducted on January 23. From the looks of things, they were actually just playing clips from Top Gun.

The clips in question were reportedly aired during the News Broadcast program on China Central Television, the major state television broadcast company. They supposedly showed a J-10 fighter firing a missile at another aircraft during a practice exercise.

But an internet commenter quickly pointed out that the aircraft the J-10 was shown shooting down was an F-5, an American aircraft, and the very one Tom Cruise guns down in a scene from Top Gun. Comparing frames from the CCTV broadcast (left) and Top Gun (right), well, they’re lookin’ pretty much identical.
An authoritarian government might think it could get away with something like this if it has the power to censor every news outlet that might reveal the hoax. But this is becoming vastly more difficult, even in places like China. So ultimately, it’s more laughable than deplorable.

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