Over at After the Bar Closes, there’s a discussion that’s been taking place off and on for about a year now involving (as the title of this post suggests) cultism, child abuse, and whether extreme christian indoctrination qualifies under those headings.
As it happens and as can be read in that thread, I’m a recovered (-ing?) fundy. After some wandering discussion, I proposed a sliding scale for irrational behavior that I called the “T.O.S.I.C.A.” It’s recently been bumped up for further discussion, and I thought I’d point it out, in the hope that you might find the topic as interesting and thought provoking as I do.
(Just a note of clarification – Sir Toejam changed his handle to Ichthyic on the board since that conversation started, just so you’re aware that they are one and the same person.)
More below the fold…
Two comments I made that I want to highlight here. The first is a bit of background on me:
I see a slippery slope with the “x is ok, but 1.2x is abuse” thing. I don’t claim to know where to draw the line, but clearly a line must be drawn somewhere.
I am also an ex-fundy. Before getting sucked in, I wanted nothing more in life than to be an astonomer and/or astrophysicist. Once the hook was in, I withdrew from public school and paid my own way through christian high school, where most of the non-religion classes were comprised of material I learned in grade school. I then attended Bob Jones University in SC. At the end of the first semester, I was asked to leave Blow Job U. because I was asking too many questions and not liking the answers I got. It was just the beginning of a long road of awakening from a drug-induced-coma-like state.
I then spent quite a few years drifting around through life, became an electrician by accident, and though I eventually tried to go back to college, I didn’t finish. Being a single dad, divorced, and working in a bar wasn’t terribly conducive to getting an education. I’m not whining, and I know it’s certainly possible to do, but it’s much harder than being 18 with support from home. It’s a situation I should never have been in, and indeed would not have been in, were it not for the creeps peddling this crap.
Look, I am personally 100% responsible for the choices I make and I make no bones about that. But the fundgelical movement absolutely, positively caused harm in my case. Though I have long since dumped most of the emotional baggage of fairy-tale bullshit, twenty years on I’m still feeling the effects and consequences of what I allowed those freaks to do to me. And I’m still pissed about it.
Hard-core fundyism is child abuse, plain and simple, and should be stopped.
(After previewing this post, I see I have much more anger to deal with than I thought. Yet, I believe my point still stands.)
And the second is the birth of the T.O.S.I.C.A. :
Ok, I feel better. A day at the beach will do that for a fella’.
I’ve been chewing on this, and so far we’ve been picking out random instances and saying “oh yeah, this is child abuse” or “I’m not sure that constitutes child abuse” but there doesn’t seem to be any way to delineate what is or isn’t.
I’m thinking maybe we should alter our methodology. How about this.
Let’s draw a scale for actions, from 0 to 100, where 0 is an action that amounts to no irrationality, and 100 is an action that results in the death of a child from extreme irrationality (witholding medication from a child for religious objections which results in the death of a child would be at or near 100, I’d say). We’ll divide the line exactly at 50 and say that a 49 is really wacky, but just short of child abuse, and 51 is just barely child abuse.
Let’s further separate the high end of the scale with 51 to 74 being milder forms that might have some hope of recovery, and 76 to 100 being actions that would indicate it is necessary to remove the abuser from all contact with children (i.e. jail, abuser offenders list, etc.)
Back down on the other end, obviously there is no one who can honestly claim 0 type behavior in all instances, so let’s reserve 0 to 24 for more innocuous behavior (“my favorite team wins when I wear my replica of their jersey” would fit in there somewhere) and 26 to 49 for stranger actions which are a bit more irrational, but wouldn’t quite be considered abuse. (Perhaps this might include things like inducing labor in a pregant woman so her baby won’t be born on June 6.)
The locations on our scale corresponding to 25, 50, and 75 would be set aside for behaviors which are borderline between the actions on either side, and for which concensus simply cannot be reached.
I’m open to suggestions on this, what do you think?
In honor of the fella’ who brought this topic up here and got me thinking about it, I’m going to name our scale the T.O.S.I.C.A., or Toejam Objective Scale of Irrationality and Child Abuse.