Welcome to Talibanessee

Welcome to Talibanessee! Please enjoy your stay…just not too much. I mean, you can enjoy your stay, but you can’t ENJOY your stay, if you know what I mean.

Okay, most people might be aware by now of Tennessee’s new Taliban-inspired abstinence education policy. If you’ve just come in from Kabul, go back to whatever you were doing; you’re already familiar with all this. The rest of you, listen up. This is important.

First of all, throw out all your references to first base, second base, third base and homerun – that’s out. There will be no French kissing, “feeling up”, oral sex, let alone actual penetration. For a long time now we’ve all felt that first base was the “gateway sexual activities.” Turns out we were wrong. The “gateway”is a long way before french kissing – turns out holding hands is a real viper’s nest of sin.

Don’t do it!

But seriously, we really have to figure out what a “gateway sexual activity” is – and isn’t. I mean you’re not slipping anyone the tongue until you can get this down. And it’s not as easy as you think. Virgins manage to fumble their way to sex but I’m not sure Republicans can manage it, not after reading both the bill summary of SB 3310 and its House version, HB 3621 or the bill itself. Don’t even think about leaving a reading of the bill’s justification by the Family Action Council of Talibanessee – er, um…I mean, Tennessee, and leaving with your sanity intact.

Okay, I get that teenagers in Tennessee are getting it on in record numbers and I understand (I think) the Republican concept of abstinence. I do: that’s when Bristol Palin says “no, no, no, keep that nasty thing away from me!” and gets pregnant anyway. See, I get it. So did Bristol.

But for the record, here is what the Tennessee bill says about abstinence:

 “Abstinence” means not participating in any activity that puts an individual at risk for pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease…Abstinence-centered curriculum” means that the majority of the content of a curriculum promotes sexual risk avoidance as the primary goal.   Supplemental topics in the curriculum, such as healthy relationships and substance abuse, reinforce the goal of primary prevention;

Wow…I guess abstinence doesn’t work very well, does it? Or was Bristol’s an immaculate episode? It’s possible I suppose – a lot of what comes out of Wasilla seems to stand outside the bounds of accepted science and sanity.

I’ve got to say though, all this sounds more like “common sense avoidance” to me. Clearly you’re not going to get pregnant if you don’t have sex. They really have to teach that? Isn’t it kind of self-evident? Isn’t it kind of, oh, I don’t know…obvious?

Look, you can’t stop kids from having sex; they’ve been doing it since Day One and they’re not going to stop once they discover the delights of their naughty bits coming into contact. The sane thing to do is to teach them all about the birds and the bees and because you know they’re going to ignore you, give them contraceptives so they can avoid the worst consequences of their lusty but ill-thought out activities.

This bill says it’s proven that comprehensive sex education curricula don’t work. Sure, it doesn’t stop teenage sex and pregnancy altogether. What they fail to point out that abstinence only education works even less well. They’re certainly not going to tell you that Mississippi, which teaches abstinence-only, has the highest teen birth rate (55 births per 1,000 girls) while New Hampshire, which requires comprehensive sex education (abstinence + contraception) in schools, has the lowest (16 births per 1,000 girls). And kids who go through abstinence-only education are less likely to use condoms (and no, they’re not going to admit to that either).

Honestly, I think if they just make kids read this bill summary and bill that they’ll lose all desire to have sex. They might even lose all desire to breathe. I’m struggling with it right now, to be honest.

Let’s see if we can nail this sucker (rather than the sexual partner of your choice) before I lose all desire to perpetuate the species and repent of the steps I have taken in that direction.

49-6-1304 (b) (7) “Gateway sexual activity” means sexual contact encouraging an individual to engage in a non-abstinent behavior. 

What exactly, we might ask, is “sexual contact”?

That is never really explained. We do find, perusing further, the following, defining “sexual activity”:

49-6-1304 (b) (11) “Sexual activity” means sexual penetration or sexual contact, or both;

Oh dear, this isn’t terribly helpful. Do you mean to say that sexual contact IS sexual activity, and that therefore if you’ve engaged in sexual contact you have already engaged in non-abstinent behavior? Is this sorta like being pregnant before you’ve ever conceived, like in Arizona?

I mean, if a gateway sexual activity is sexual contact and sexual contact is sexual activity which is sexual penetration then does this mean that penetration can lead to a non-abstinent behavior? At this point I have to admit I am utterly lost. At this point I’m thinking chicken and egg, which is appropriate I suppose, since one has to come before the other, right? I mean honestly, it sounds to me as if a gateway sexual activity doesn’t LEAD to a non-abstinent behavior but that it IS a non-abstinent behavior.

What is really amusing is a bunch of Evangelicals (who have the highest divorce rate in the country, and as I noted above, seem to get pregnant more often as teenagers) trying to sell us on the idea that they can “Teach students how to identify and form healthy relationships, and how to identify and avoid unhealthy relationships. “ Seriously?

I suppose that must mean jetting off with your girlfriend to South America or driving around with strippers (who aren’t your wife) and booze or visiting same-sex prostitutes while ingesting illegal substances while married and preaching family values. I mean, this is the sort of behavior we’re witnessing from this crowd.

Now, obviously a few questions come to mind and bear with me here (but don’t touch!). Many have written that holding hands qualifies as a gateway sexual activity though of course there is no penetration involved in holding hands, at least not the way I hold them (perhaps I’m just not creative enough). Another problem might come on the football field or in any athletic endeavor in which male or female athletes whack each other on the bottom as a form of encouragement.

Should we perhaps understand this encouragement to be other than what we have always thought, that they are in fact encouraging each other to engage in non-abstinent behavior? Perhaps on the basketball court or on the football gridiron?

And if so, will they sell tickets? Allow photos?

Can students dance at their proms? If holding hands is a gateway sexual activity than certainly ballroom dancing is out, as is the waltz and even square dancing. Hoedown develops entirely different connotations in the light of gateway sexual activities.

It is easy to see where this is headed: covered hair as in the early Church and even covered faces – this sort of thinking leads straight to Kabul. It’s a small step from physical contact to even looking at a member of the opposite sex in a “gateway” fashion. Many cultures have cloistered their young women or covered them up in ways most Americans find unusual but I suspect people in Tennessee will not be finding all this unusual at all if the Republicans maintain control of the state government.

On top of all this comes teaching superstition (creationism) instead of the science of evolution…whew!…the good people of Tennessee have my sympathies (really, they do), but c’mon, can we think about quarantining them already? Like perhaps fitting a giant condom over the state so the rest of us don’t get what they have? Seriously, America, it’s time to put triage principles to work.

14 Replies to “Welcome to Talibanessee”

  1. Many girls here in Tennessee learn swapping tongues well before they learn what the word Abstinence means.

    But, there’s nothing funnier than telling 12-15 year old kids not to have sex when they are wearing their hormones under their underwear

    It didnt work for King GWB and it wont work for the freaking crazy ass faux christians here. You cant take a million years of hereditary genes out of the human system.

    Besides, necking and feeling a chick up in the movies when you are 15 is a gateway to manhood and keeps one from….gasp…masturbating. Which is of course another gateway act to that awesome illegal act: SEX and spilling the seed on the bedroom floor!

  2. It just occurred to me, what will this mean for all the republicans who have been busted for child abuse?

  3. My Dad used to say, “If brains were gunpowder, he wouldn’t have enough to blow his nose”. I think that’s gotta be true for a large percentage of the Repugnican/Teapooter legislators, eh? There’s another saying involving excrement but I like Dad’s.

  4. So, how do they plan to go about implementing such intrusive legislation? I can only imagine the amounts of time, money, and energy wasted on what will ultimately prove to be an exercise in futility. In fact, I have always observed that draconian rules like these–whether government-imposed or parent-imposed–often have the opposite effect of the effect they were intended to have.

  5. The more I read this, the point about dancing etc, will this turn the young people against the legislation?

  6. When I read that article (good one, Hrafnkell!), I immediately thought of all of the abusive relationships I’ve heard about coming from the fundamentalist and dominionist churches.

    I remembered hearing about “Good Christian” men raping women so that they had to get married (nice start to a relationship: NOT!). That, by the way, is common for young men in their “ministry” track. I learned just a few months ago that official doctrine for at least one dominionist denomination is that a young minister (even while in college) must marry as soon as possible, because having a family looks better when they go to take a church (learned this from someone who walked, and did so while near graduation in the ministry track). The person who told me this said that rape was a common way they’d coerce their new wives into the relationship.

    I’ve heard so many stories – from people via email/private blogs and in person – of severely abusive relationships because of dominionist doctrines. A relative of mine fled such a relationship, caused by “submission” teachings. I see it all the time.

    There was a young lady I knew (and wanted to date, but was prevented because of the dominionist church) who was, for a dominionist, sweet and kind. Long story, but I’m pretty sure I recognized her face in the newspaper a couple of years after I’d walked and married my wife. She looked haggard and miserable and somehow diminished in the picture.

    She’d been beaten to death by her husband for not being submissive enough (which didn’t match her personality at all). He, by the way, was the ugliest, most snaggle-toothed and unkept-looking individual I’ve ever seen. The newspaper made him out to be a nutcase, but I know different. I REMEMBER THEIR TEACHINGS. He was just being true to form.

    She deserved better. FAR better.

    They wouldn’t know a good relationship from a bad. Oh, they know how to put up fronts (they’re really good about wearing masks and hiding their true identity/feelings/goals); they’ll put the Beaver Cleaver front on but what lies behind? The stories of what is behind are horrific.

  7. THe Idiocracy of Bagging continues, pathetic, and Gov Haslam ran as a moderate BUT HE WILL SIGN ANY ridiculous bill in front of him.

  8. And then there are gateway suggestions that might lead to gateway thoughts that might lead to gateway activity. Henceforth, every publication accessible to persons under eighteen must skip pages and chapters numbered LXIX. Come to think of it, XCIX might give rise to gateway thoughts, too.

  9. The idea is to pass so many stupid and unenforceable laws that the government becomes irrelevant to reality and every day lives. (See marijuana)

    Contempt for government is another Grover Norquist tactic for drowning government.

  10. It’s a well documented fact that these radical “Red States” have the country’s highest teenage pregnancy rate, as well as the highest high school drop out rate. Even third world countries understand that the common sense approach to teenage pregnancy is through education. But, we sure don’t want to educate our populace! If we did that the kids might not fall for the lies and deceptions they’re being fed by the Greedy One Percent (GOP), like Global warming is a world wide conspiracy hoax, Obama isn’t American, and giving all the money to the rich gives them incentive, but giving money to the poor takes away their incentive, etc.
    In Tennessee girls learn all they need to know about sex when dad molest them. You know, “Family Values”.

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