Fugitives from Fundamentalism

The Musings of Adult Missionary Kids (MKs) & Former Born-Again Believers

Purity Cards

Posted by Clamence/The Chaplain on November 4, 2009

I recently found these small, sparkle-silver plastic cards with the slightly raised (low-relief), black and red font — not to mention the heart-shaped bullet points (red for Christ’s love, lust’s first blood, or the blood of sacrifice He spilt for you, you wicked, wanton sinner?!). I am of the opinion that if people were to actually believe and follow the regulations argued for in these cards they would be the most miserable human beings in existence. Christians sure know how to have fun! Some of the more puritanical evangelicals also believe some really weird stuff about what sex does to people. Take a look at some the assumptions behind the statements on these cards:
abstinencecards_0001-1abstinencecards_0002comebacks_0001comebacks_0002
Okay, I admit it: these cards were in my house when I was growing up.

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7 Responses to “Purity Cards”

  1. Charity said

    “I can’t believe you are still a virgin! What are you waiting for? –Anytime I want to I can become like you, but you can never again become like me.”

    Ouch! That’s a hit below the belt.

  2. The Chaplain said

    Literally!

  3. JN said

    I was actually expecting these to be worse than they are. I don’t know if these particular ‘tidbits’ are really all that harmful. What is harmful is that some girls are told that sex is “not fun for girls” or that “it hurts” or that “it’s dirty” or that “it’s a woman’s duty to her husband” (oh, what a chore it is…).

    • The Chaplain said

      Specifically concerning the 2nd card, I agree that the “tidbits” aren’t harmful. Of course, that last statement Charity pointed to, “I can’t believe you are still a virgin! What are you waiting for? Anytime I want to I can become like you, but you can never again become like me.” implies that there is something damaged and impure about someone who has performed biological reproductive rituals with another human. That right there, the suggestion that what is normal is something shameful and disgusting is extremely negative. That’s shit you save for therapy, right there.
      However, I have to disagree with you on the 1st card. Take a look at some of the presuppositions behind a few of these tidbits:
      “Abstinence protects that special gift of virginity that can only be given once.”
      First of all, it’s no more a “special gift” than a pimple is (“Dear wife, I’ve had this zit on my back for a year. I’ve wanted to let someone else pop it, but I was saving it as a special gift for you!”) Basically, we are all supposed to get excited about the intact hymen and the penis that has never touched a vaginal wall simply because a holy book says we should get excited about it. Sue me if I need a better reason. That’s not what’s bad about this assumption though; the danger lies in giving adolescents the impression that sex is, to a large extent, a supernatural phenomenon. I had this idea repeated to me by a C&MA friend of mine who believed that a “spiritual bond” formed between people who had sex. Therefore, if a girl, for example, had sex with a guy she didn’t end up marrying, the “spiritual bond” she had formed with her previous lover would interfere with her marriage relationship. The worse idea informing this statement is the use of fear. As you might know from reading my other posts, I am convinced that the main emotion underlying Christian beliefs, or any belief in the supernatural, is fear. By stating that the “special gift […] can only be given once” this author is using an adolescent’s fear of being irreversibly dirty and damaged as a form of persuasion. Fear and coercion as argument techniques are very Christian. Jesus did it, and Christians today use the same rhetorical technique. Not only that, but now those adolescents who did “slip up” will have lower self esteem as the result of believing they are not as pure and good as their virgin counterparts. The use of fear and shame as a persuasive technique isn’t new to Christianity, but it is still material for psychotherapy. It’s not healthy; ergo, it is harmful. I’ll have to get to the other “tidbits” of shame and fear when I have a bit more time.

      • JN said

        Fear and coercion tactics are very natural; they are very human, and they are very animalistic. Any kid on the playground knows that. I wouldn’t necessarily characterize those tactics as ‘Christian.’ Obviously these are not the most beneficial tactics, and most of us would agree that they should be avoided.

        Obviously we don’t agree about fear being the fundamental emotion of Christianity. It may be for some sects (…heh, heh), but it just doesn’t align to most of my experience. If my parents handed me this card back in the day, it’d most likely be a joke. We’d laugh about it, and the card would end up in the trash along with all the other silly tidbits.

  4. Jerry said

    And who said Protestants don’t also worship the virgin?

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