Sunlight, to borrow from an old saying, makes a terrific disinfectant. While over the last several weeks we’re been exposed to more coverage of the Duggars and their Quiverful cult than most of us would like, the upside has been that the media’s glare has finally given those who believe that the fundamentalist lifestyle is all about betterment through faith and teaching kids a higher moral standard for themselves, a peek at religious zealotry’s ugly underbelly. Abuses routinely covered up and silenced, dysfunction re-branded as normality, and scientific illiteracy wrapped into vapid technobabble that comes to the inescapable conclusion that you are a dirty, amoral, disgusting wreck of a human being and should be listening to the fundamentalists tell you how every facet of your life should be lived. This obsession with controlling others is why they loathe people learning about cosmology, evolution, and human sexuality from actual scientific data. A message to broaden one’s horizons and taking control of one’s life doesn’t reserve a place for petty self-appointed tyrants who think they’re special enough to get direct orders from God.
But if the fundamentalists close their ears and scream really, really loudly when confronted with facts they don’t like, what do they actually learn? Well, the muckrakers at Gawker got a hold of one of The Advanced Training Institute’s Wisdom Booklets about sex written by a cult preacher who has a long and colorful history of aiding and abetting sexual abuse in his flock, and went to town mocking it as is their custom. Yes, the temptation to simply mock this booklet is a perfectly understandable one because it’s a work of abject inanity which sounds as if it was written by an exceptionally guilt-ridden preteen who only recently found out about the anatomical differences between men and women, was left alone with the internet for a few weeks, and then proceeded to write down every wild, off the wall idea about human reproduction that came to mind with no filter whatsoever. Realizing that a senior citizen with a family is behind this only makes it worse, especially when it’s full of asinine assertions like this, posing as legitimate medical research…
Doctors have discovered that the seed of the man is an alien substance to the woman. It triggered responses similar to those of an allergic reaction. A woman who has a husband is able to develop “immunity” to this reaction; however, a promiscuous woman’s immune system becomes confused and unable to distinguish alien substances. This confusion is a key to the development of cancer.
Relax, reading this as a non-fundamentalist and exhaling expletives under your breath is pretty much the exact reaction those of us who actually took a science class and remained conscious during it should have. No, there’s no way you can get cancer from semen. It is possible to catch one of the carcinogenic strains of HPV through unprotected sex and then develop cancer, but it is a stretch simply for the sake of being scientific here. And even if exposure to semen could be carcinogenic in and of itself, wouldn’t the humble condom eliminate the risk for all those unwed hedonists? Of course, not only do fundamentalist-driven abstinence only sex ed materials treat reliable prophylactic measures as if they either don’t exist or never work, but groups associated with them actually want them banned because when people know about them, they make their own choices on how to plan their families. And the zealots can’t have that. No, they need you to get married, quick, and start popping out soldiers for your deity, no matter the consequences of doing so under their control because the alternative is to give you real freedom.
According to the cult that spawned the Duggars and many more families like them, you are not supposed to be free to make your own choices in life. Should you have sex before marriage, or even engage in some heavy petting, and you’re dirty and used, unworthy of love or finding real relationships. Their obsession with your purity would be considered a genuine pathology, with a real DSM V diagnosis to go along with it if we weren’t so accommodating of anything claimed to be a religious belief. People this obsessed with sex, who’s having it, and in what position, don’t need to be placated or reasoned with, they need to be seen by a mental health professional. At the same time, I understand why they have conniptions when a set of genitals does something it’s not supposed to in their minds. After all, they deny themselves a healthy sex life and commit to relationships in which power is allocated by arbitrary translations of an ancient book and the non-anointed ones must do the bidding of the ones who were without question.
Stuck in a world where everything is a sin, they imagine life outside of it to be an endless buffet of consequence-free base pleasures while they mortgage their lives on the tenuous premise of some sort of divine reward as they shed their mortal coils. But the more they’re tempted to quit their faiths or even question it, and the less they feel able to do so, the more they lash out with portrayals of those not like them as dirty, sinful, and used up. And as those of us who refuse to ascribe to fundamentalism are being compared to worn out, beat up bikes, chewed up gum on the sidewalk, and portrayed like the flea-infested rats carrying the Black Death by Satan’s evil orders, are supposed to fawn over these under-educated would-be theocrats, and praise their “superior morals” in return. Then, when we predictably fail to be grateful to them for rhetorically defecating on us and voice our complaints, we’re “angry atheists who don’t realize what’s good for them,” decried in the media. At least these self-appointed moral guardians are finally being exposed for what they are and the inanity they preach is being dissected with mockery.