Good, chaste Christian behavior

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, September 3, 2009 14:47 EDT
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I was debating back and forth in my head on what order to share these links—unbelievably disturbing before comical or vice versa?—and I think I’ll do disturbing then comical. It’s less dramatic, but you folks need the relief. Do you know Regent University, the one started by Pat Robertson? Well, a former assistant dean Stephen McPherson and his wife Melina were found guilty of child sex abuse this week. (Hat tip.) They pretended to be fond of three teenage girls stuck in a Christian children’s home—giving them ice cream and taking them to the movies—so they could get close enough to sexually assault them. Stephen assaulted two, and Melina assaulted one, and they read the girls’ Bible verses they claimed justified their acts. (Perhaps the story about Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar?)

I’m not going to blame Christianity or even fundamentalist Christianity for creating child molesters. Child molesters of all stripes are very good at coming up with bizarre justifications for what they do. The secular version of “God wants this” is “The victim wants this”. But what is fucked up is that every time some unspeakable evil happens, people like the McPhersons and all their buddies blame, well, us: gays, feminists, non-believers, mainline believers that reject theocracy, etc. Or, as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said, when casting for blame for the 9/11 attacks: feminists, the ACLU, gynecologists who perform abortion (and I’m sure they don’t love the rest of them very much, either), gays and lesbians, and the People for the American Way. Of course, the fundie Muslims who engineered the attack have the exact same list of enemies, and the same vision of the perfect society as Robertson and Falwell, which is a world where religion is law, women are firmly under the boot, and gays are executed. There’s only minor disagreements about what ancient text to use to justify this.

I’m fairly certain that the fundies in the McPhersons’ life are already hastily blaming “secular influences” for this, even though the McPhersons couldn’t have made it clearer that they were convinced that sexually assaulting teenage girls entrusted to their care was god’s work.

This next story is a lot funnier. South Carolina, to no one’s great surprise, is one of those states that has people who are hostile to the very existence of public education on their school board. (Not that all home schoolers are against public education, but the hardcore fundie stripe that sees public education as some feminist plot is a breed unto its own.) And being Mark Sanford, fundie, their governor appointed this woman, a home schooler who unsurprisingly was a proponent of abstinence-only education to head up the entire school board. Kristin Maguire didn’t just gently support abstinence-only, but she was an advocate for it who worked with abstinence-only organizations. But Maguire abruptly resigned Tuesday, starting immediately, citing the standard “family responsibilities” dodge.

A lot of the press is politely refusing to explain the bigger story here, but the bloggers are all up on it. Fit News claims to have discovered that Maguire is the person behind the alias “Bridget Keeney”, an online writer of large amounts of erotic fiction. Fit News provided documentation to Sanford’s office, and suddenly Maguire had “family responsibilities” take her from her office. Here’s a quote from Bridget Keeney’s writing:

“I fantasize about being the ’second’ F (female) in a MFF (threesome) where the other two are in a committed relationship,” the sultry “Bridget” writes on one post. “I would like to focus on pleasuring her and ‘enhancing’ their intercourse …”

As you can imagine, I’m torn on this. I think it’s foul play to hold someone’s sexual fantasies against them in a professional sense, even if they share those fantasies online with others. We’ve all got them, and we all have a right to them, and we all have a right to get off by sharing them consensually with who we wish. But I’m going to laugh my ass off at Maguire, who is a huge proponent of abstinence-only, and therefore pushes the idea that sex is dirty, that you don’t have a right to your fantasies, and that you should be punished for consensual sharing of your sexuality with STDs and unplanned pregnancy. Clearly, the rules she has for the rest of us don’t apply to her. And so I can’t help but think she had this coming.

There is a simple way to avoid being this level of hypocrite, and the politicians of South Carolina should take heed. If you allow that other people have a sexuality and a right to a sexuality, then we will defend your right to yours. If Maguire wasn’t such a major hypocrite about sex, this wouldn’t be an issue. Fit News would be in the wrong for smoking her out, and if they did it anyway, I’d denounce them. But I fully support the idea that politicians should be held the standards they hold for the rest of us. If you’re like Maguire and dead set on making opposition to healthy sexuality the official state policy, then you should have to live your own rules. And when you’re inevitably smoked out—because remember, pretty much everyone has a sexuality, and it rarely conforms to the stifling standards of the fundies—we all have the right to point and laugh.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
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