Friday, October 21, 2005

Strumpets and Slatterns and Trollops, Oh My
It happens every year around Halloween--fundamentalist churches getting all up in the grill of people who decorate their houses for the scary season, calling Halloween a pagan observance that encourages devil worship. (Instead of putting a jack-o-lantern in the window and an inflatable ghost on your lawn, it would be much better if you took your kids to the local church-sponsored Hell House, where they could learn that God loves them so much that he's willing to burn them for all eternity.)

As I (and others) have noted before, it must be very difficult to be a fundie, and to be afraid of quite literally everything--Halloween, television, their own biological imperatives. The fear takes many forms, and it's not just Bible-thumpers who are consumed by it. For example, Leon Kass, a University of Chicago professor who heads the President's Committee on Bioethics, has published an astounding article at a Focus on the Family website in which he bemoans "the end of courtship." He seems to suggest that American society could be saved if men and women (mostly women) would turn the clock back to 1885 and behave as they did in Victorian days. While his language is not overtly fearful--he doesn't suggest that lack of female modesty makes Jesus cry--it's clear that he's intimidated by the social advances of the last 50 years to the point at which he can scarcely imagine how such a world continues without spinning off its axis.

There's a funny post at Crooked Timber responding to Kass' article. One of the commenters to the post reminds readers that Kass once wrote a book in which he criticized, among other things, the phenomenon of people licking ice-cream cones in public.

Afraid of both women and ice cream? How does he get out of bed in the morning?

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