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We are being conditioned - but see the end result please

[COMMENT:  We are indeed being conditioned -- quite successfully.   Our consumerist mentality and goals of feeling good at any cost to anyone else (politely done, of course), guarantee our self-destruction.  If we do not turn ourselves around  under the law and grace of God. 

The passivity with which Americans accept the Folsom Street Fair (or the orgies in New Orleans or Chicago) is a sign of how brainwashed we have become.  We are incapable of fighting back.  Pray that God will change us, that He will raise up spiritual warriors who can wield the two-edged Sword of the Spirit, the word of truth spoken in love.      E. Fox]
 

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We are being conditioned - but see the end result please

Friday October 12th 2007, 9:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized  Link to: this post

You might ask why in the world would I draw people’s attention to such appalling events?  My answer is that those who are promoting them are counting on you to respond like this - to be horrified by, to downplay or deny, or whatever… but not to acknowledge and not to act.  They need you to respond like this, for they gain the requisite time to shift the cultural boundaries, alter your sub/semi-conscious sensibilities, desensitize but not alarm you.  If you were alarmed you might wake up, you might protest.  But they manage you - it’s called conditioning - in such a way that you are fed little ‘tasters’ which niggle at you and push the frontiers of what is acceptable … but you are not shown the final terminus.  That will come later - indeed, your children will be, perhaps even presently are being, taught ‘safety’ procedures on all sorts of sexual activity you have never heard of.  For now, those who are running the show have reached a significant milestone:  they are out and proud and publicly acceptable, at least on the streets of San Francisco.  How soon will your part of the world be so ‘liberated’ (according to Wikipedia, such events are starting to proliferate in the West http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folsom_Street_Fair)?  And more pressingly, how soon will your protests against them be either futile or risky?  That in fact is the crunch:  dissent and disapproval is now almost verboten.  Perhaps you think I exaggerate?  Try arguing a conservative viewpoint on one of the many blogs up on the subject. You won’t last long.  Diversity only works for certain points of view.     

Lisa Nolland writes:

As I write, the Anglican Communion is preparing to partake in the Last Rites as a global religious community.  Many other concerning issues face us as well, individually and as family, friendship and fellowship networks, communities and nations.  And yet I am humming Scott McKenzie’s love song about going to San Francisco and wearing flowers in one’s hair.  Why?

For some time now I have inhabited a cyber sexual/alternative world: to see what was in the pipeline and to alert others so they could be prepared.  It was through my doctoral research on Christian social and sexual reformer, Josephine Butler, that I became immersed in ‘cutting edge’ post-modern sexual thought and practice. In the main what I read is fairly bog-standard: the shock fades, the depression remains.  Like Churchill during the Wilderness Years, mine has been a profoundly bleak experience. But recently I was surprised.  The surprise relates to … San Francisco. 

The city celebrated the world’s largest ‘leather’ event, the Folsom Street Fair on 30th September.  And essentially, the fair remained unreported to the city, the state and the country.  As far as I could track down, no national news reporters were present and only modest - and very positive - local coverage was given. Ones ‘blowing the whistle’ - the disapproving ‘Religious Right’ -  were Christian groups like Concerned Women for America, the Catholic League, the Baptist Press and the American Family Association; Fox New also discussed it.  This absence of mainstream attention is all the more surprising because this event drew many thousands of people (40,000 to 400,000, according to its official website - http://www.folsomstreetfair.com/fair-faq.php) from across the US and around the globe; children seniors and families - all were there (though clear warnings about the ‘adult’ nature of the event had been posted). The organizers claimed it was the best fair yet, and are already planning for 2008. Why was this wildly successful event then given a complete ‘miss’ or a minimalist, once-over-lightly?  Was it because the media knew it would damage the cause of sexual liberation - and in particular, BDSM (bondage, domination and sadomasochism) and gay sexual liberation?*  

Heather Knight’s article, ‘Folks in leather, chaps and thongs…’, 1 October 2007, from the San Francisco Chronicle, approvingly quotes one of the participants as saying, ‘”This is what San Francisco’s about - being crazy and expressing yourself.’”  We were shown a few fairly bizarre shots but nothing appalling (with the possible exception of one photograph). Yes, the envelope was pushed but not by much. It’s upbeat, fun, exotic, ‘different’: the day was beautiful and people obviously enjoyed themselves.  What’s wrong with that?  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/01/BAVESHALR.DTL&hw=folsom+street+fair&sn=001&sc=1000

Later on, however, I discovered uncensored, un-sanitized accounts of the fair  - its underbelly, as it were - which gave a vastly different, far more sinister perspective on it.  The attacks on the Catholic Church were ugly (e.g. the ‘Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’), even to the official poster of the event which reconfigures Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ along fetish lines:  http://www.folsomstreetfair.com/fair-info.php.  Note the sex ‘toys’/tools/etc. spread out across the table.  According to Wikipedia, the models were leading members of the local GLBT and BDSM communities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folsom_Street_Fair

The following site shows photographs of this event which have been taken over the last few years:  [site unavailable].  Probably worse though is http:////lonestartimes.com/2007/10/02/scenes-from-the-folsom-st-fair/ which gives visuals and commentary from 2007 alone. These two are graphic in the extreme.  From what I saw, Alfred Kinsey would have felt right at home. Europe’s largest gay news service - pinknews.co.uk - emphasized the growing respectability and success of the event in its headline - ‘Police adopt a softly-softly approach to public orgies’:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-5622.html

You might ask why in the world would I draw people’s attention to such appalling events?  My answer is that those who are promoting them are counting on you to respond like this - to be horrified by, to downplay or deny, or whatever… but not to acknowledge and not to act.  They need you to respond like this, for they gain the requisite time to shift the cultural boundaries, alter your sub/semi-conscious sensibilities, desensitize but not alarm you.  If you were alarmed you might wake up, you might protest.  But they manage you - it’s called conditioning - in such a way that you are fed little ‘tasters’ which niggle at you and push the frontiers of what is acceptable … but you are not shown the final terminus.  That will come later - indeed, your children will be, perhaps even presently are being, taught ‘safety’ procedures on all sorts of sexual activity you have never heard of.  For now, those who are running the show have reached a significant milestone:  they are out and proud and publicly acceptable, at least on the streets of San Francisco.  How soon will your part of the world be so ‘liberated’ (according to Wikipedia, such events are starting to proliferate in the West http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folsom_Street_Fair)?  And more pressingly, how soon will your protests against them be either futile or risky?  That in fact is the crunch:  dissent and disapproval is now almost verboten.  Perhaps you think I exaggerate?  Try arguing a conservative viewpoint on one of the many blogs up on the subject. You won’t last long.  Diversity only works for certain points of view.      

I wish to add that I am sure people from all orientations would find some or all of the above appalling. Gay US writers like Dan Savage (who has a young son himself) and Gay Patriot  harshly criticized exposing youngsters (2 year-old twins decked in fetish, one sucking her bottle, was the nadir) to such things but the libertarian, ‘what-adults-choose-to-do-amongst-themselves’ refrain otherwise seems to dominate.   

http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/10/todays_folsom_street_fair_item http://gaypatriot.net/2007/10/02/gay-leaders-should-demand-folsom-street-fair-prevent-children-from-attending

My question here is: Is this what we want for our communities, our society, our world?  Is this really okay?  As two gay-friendly writers observe (in a quite different context, but nevertheless truly), ‘What you don’t condemn you condone, and for what you condone you’re responsible’ (Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball, 358).   

But perhaps you have noticed something else, an echo, a similitude to present events within TEC but also within segments of the CoE.  All sorts of things happen, goal posts change, things shift incrementally or even more dramatically - but not in public perception and awareness, not in what is chatted about over coffee after the service while the kids play outside.  All is still as it was, with a few tweaks here and there.  Nothing is really different - or is it? The church’s media - its information, education and advocacy networks - and what is publicly owned from the pulpit or in the diocese, have a key role to play here.  One must not inform one’s flock of too much too soon: it could be off-putting.  By using the drip-drip method, hard lines are gradually dissolved, modified or muted. It works to perfection.  And one only realises the magnitude of the change after it has become institutionalized, part of the structure - after the horse has bolted, as it were. Those who presently know and are alarmed and have the temerity to voice their concerns are deemed shrill and strident; they are marginalized and silenced by their opponents while the rest, the comfort-loving ‘middle’, can’t be bothered to discover what all the fuss is about and just wish people could learn to get on together. They go with the flow.  The really interesting ones, of course, are those who realise the legitimate concern of the ‘shrill’ voice - at least in the main - but who still have too much to lose by withdrawing from the establishment. This is often connected to what appears to be an  unlikely hope that if they ‘hang in there’, they will somehow make all the difference to the wider structure.  These folk are truly caught, for they are forced to downplay what they know are really valid concerns even to themselves while they keep emphasising ‘all the positives’,  the importance of love, commitment and ‘the church’.  After all, God never gives up, so neither should we!               

So what do I leave with you?  An earnest plea to employ a ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ - a phrase often used in the academic world - in relation to what you are told.  And to fight the ubiquitous passivity which bedevils the best intentions of us all.  As CS Lewis noted, ‘The great think is to prevent his (the ‘patient’) doing anything.  As long as he does not convert (his new repentance) into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about (it) …The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and in the long run, the less he will be able to feel’ (Screwtape Letters,  XIII).

Please ask embarrassing questions about the content of your kids’ PSHE  (Personal, Social and Health Education) course and share with your kids your views of sexuality, marriage, family and values - they really need to hear them from you - and do so regardless of their age.  Please write letters to the editor explaining why you feel certain things to be wrong and harmful to women, men and children.  Please complain about the available, accessible, in-your-face porn.  Please find out what is exactly involved in the alternative lifestyles which are now officially recognized by a not-insignificant segment within the Anglican Communion.  Please encourage your vicar and youth worker to tackle tricky issues of human sexuality from a positive biblical perspective. 

Please care.

Lisa Severine Nolland

ls.n@talktalk.net

*From what I have read and seen across a dozen or so sites, this description from the Pink News sums up the ‘shadow’ side of the fair:

‘Orgies of men fellating and fondling each other in the street provoked laughs and photographs from curious onlookers but no police action, according to reports.

Two reporters for Americans for Truth about Homosexuality documented prevalently older men walking down the street completely naked, men masturbating in public with groups of visitors watching them, men and women beating each other with whips, women walking around with their breast exposed and a large smattering of gay and straight master-slave couples.’

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