A few years ago I stumbled upon a website for a fundie Christian youth group called “Truth for Youth“. I forget what brought me there, but I stayed for the comics. After having plowed through about a half dozen Chick tract dissections during the previous year, I was itching for something a little different. They delivered.
First, a little bit about Truth for Youth. Check out their intro as part of the “Enhanced” web site. Prayer taken out of public schools? Shootings, substance abuse, and sexually active teens everywhere!! Nothing like a little post hoc ergo propter hoc to give an idea of how these folks formulate their arguments. (They might also want to check out which states have the highest teen pregnancy and STD rates.) Their mission statement, and solution to all of the aforementioned problems plaguing our schools, is to get some bibles back in. That’ll do the trick.
In response to the tragic killings of students and teachers, we have launched a national “Bibles Not Bullets” campaign to legally smuggle Bibles into the public schools of America! Consider this: There has never been one law passed to prohibit the distribution of Bibles in America’s public schools. It is lawful for young people to give “The Truth for Youth” Bible to other students in their school, on school grounds.
So he launched a “national campaign” to do something that is neither illegal nor prohibited, but calls it “smuggling” to make it sound as if it’s both. This guy reeks of persecution complex. I could imagine kids might run afoul of the rules of conduct if they’re passing out bibles in the hallway in between classes, but it would be the same story if they were handing out comic books.
Oh, hang on … in this case they’re actually doing both. The “bible” they’re passing out has comics in them to provide modern day parables to our generation of troubled youth. Let’s take a peek inside, and see what insight we can glean from the passion play before us.
My freshman year roommate and I were planning on painting our room in florescent spirals similar to the ones on Marty’s walls, but got discouraged when the only colors we were allowed were pastels. To top it off, we had to promise to repaint the place when we moved out. What was the fun in that? So we settled for covering the far wall with heavy duty aluminum foil, giving the room both a nice conversation piece and the reception power of your average radio telescope.
Or maybe the spirals are Jesse’s Spidey Sense in reaction to seeing naked women? That’s what you get when you trust internet navigation to a 12 year old with two ear rings in one ear and eyebrows that look like they were tweezed out and then penciled in by an over-zealous Sephora employee with limited depth perception.
Hey, I shouldn’t complain. The wannabe-anime style is a refreshing and welcome change from the soft charcoal images of Chick classics like The Peacemaker, or the poorly scrawled caricatures done by Jack himself.
I also want to hear what “!” sounds like when you say it. Once I find out, I want to translate the rest of the Punctuation Series and have people shouting semicolons and ampersands with the feeling and attention they deserve. Come to think of it, Chick’s liberal use of the @!!!**! makes me wonder what each of them sounds like individually. I bet Victor Borge would be able to help me out with this.
Isn’t Flintner an avenue in Monopoly? And why is he shooting white lasers everywhere?
Mr. Flintner, you’ve got some awesome hair. In that light, he kinda looks like those old pictures of Edgar Allen Poe. By the middle column, he looks like a mix between a pirate and a pimp. I’m also beginning to wonder if Dad does both of their eyebrows in the morning.
Speaking of “great countries”, Dad, have you ever been to Holland? Or anywhere in Europe? How about Canada? I can’t speak for Europe, but you don’t have to get on the Internet to see a set of boobs in Canada, I can tell you that much. I was there a few years ago, and after watching about two hours of network television, I saw at least three movies with full frontal (male and female) nudity, and one lesbian sex scene.
There was also curling … but that was later on. By which I mean a different program. I didn’t spend my time in the Great White North watching full frontal lesbian curling matches. Though if such a thing had been on, I admit I would never have left the hotel.
Point is, we’re probably one of the more sexually repressed first world countries out there. And the most violent. People are dying by our hands in foreign countries all over the world, we are obsessed with our guns, our television shows glorify violence and death, yet we get our collective pantaloons in a giant knot whenever there’s an accidental nip-slip or a flash of sideboob. Please. Maybe we could do with a little more openness about normal human sexuality and a little less gun-slinging. We might have a somewhat more relaxed outlook on life.
The other point is that ol’ Dad’s a scumbag. There’s no question about that. It sounds like he treats women like shit and has some serious problems developing healthy relationships. But what does this have to do with porn??
Jesse, you are dumber than a sack full of doorknobs. You are also the worst judge of character I have ever seen. This Marty character is an asshole. Have you two talked at all before tonight, or did you guys hook up because you were hoping to convert him? This kid doesn’t need God, and he doesn’t need to get beaten over the head with a bible. He needs a father who is a good role model who will teach him how to respect women and not treat them the way he sees them on the computer. It’s a hard sell when his brain’s carbonated with puberty-hormones, but it’s the only time you have.
You’re also a little slow on the uptake. Your buddy mentioned Eve’s Garden three panels ago, and it’s finally sunk in now. Oh, wait, he’s trying to tie in the Bible. Okay, let’s see where this goes.
Umm … that’s a ‘no’ on the fifth panel. That’s not how Eve got the fruit. Eve was tempted by the tree of forbidden knowledge, but she didn’t really have to dwell on anything. The serpent told her that she’d be as smart as the gods, knowing the difference between good and evil, and she fell for it. Well, by “fell for it” I mean the serpent was right and she really did obtain the knowledge of good and evil, as did Adam. Considering that God told her she’d die if she ate it, who was being dishonest again?
Side note – after convincing Eve to eat the fruit, he suggested a mild shampoo, a good leave-in conditioner, and offered a coupon for a free rhinoplasty to our frizzy-haired and nasally challenged Mother of All Humanity. The fruit bestowed comprehensive ethical and moral knowledge, not fashion sense or an aesthetically pleasing profile.
So, the bottom line is that Jesse’s afraid he’s actually going to like the images he sees. If he’s a heterosexual guy going through puberty, that’s almost definitely going to happen. It’s perfectly understandable, natural, and part of being human. I mean, being attracted to the opposite sex is sort of what sexually reproducing animals are built for.
On the other hand, we’re not all built pre-wired with the kind of addictive personality type that the author of these tracts thinks we have. Maybe he does, but he shouldn’t assume that all of us are eventually going to end up uncontrollably binging on porn, only to wake up weeks later, hung over, malnourished, pants-less, having spent the entire previous week sitting in a bowl of chocolate pudding reading nothing but Harry Potter / Flobberworm slash fiction (Yes, it actually exists. No, don’t Google it.)
This guy’s kinda like Chick in that his own repressed sexuality and lack of self control are projected onto the rest of Humanity, whether they’re deserved or not.
Heh … Marty’s got a one track mind, Jesse. It’s not really any use. By the way, in the telling of this story of lust and betrayal, please point out that David had something like SEVEN WIVES ALREADY. Point out to Marty that his lust … which wasn’t quelled with the seven chicks he was with already … affected his sacred familial unit. You know, exactly like the one we’re trying to save today by keeping those freaking homos from marrying but allowing for no fault divorce and remarriage.
Marriage is our sacred heterosexual institution to squander. No one else’s.
Either way, I think Jesse better stop. Looks like Marty’s about to go Dragon Ball Z on his ass. You never see that many teeth unless an ass kicking involving at least three of the basic alchemical elements follows shortly thereafter.
Marty, the porn-bender. That’s not an arrow going down his forehead.
Okay, fourth panel. Now we’re getting somewhere. I can actually agree with something here: porn treats people … women especially … as aesthetically pleasing objects of desire at best, and disposable pieces of meat at worst. As adults, most of us can understand and accept that this is in no way representative of reality. For a kid with a lecherous, womanizing father and no apparent positive female role model, seeing women in such an objectified way without anyone with common sense to talk to will potentially affect the way he treats women in the future without the proper guidance.
But I can guarantee you that this guidance will not come from the bible. Let’s not forget that during biblical times, women were considered property of their fathers or husbands, and the less said about what happened if they were raped, the better. I can’t really see a moral high ground from the word of God.
Yeah, Marty … God wants us to run away from pictures of naked women. But if he happens to tell you to commit genocide on an entire group of people to make room for your own, then you better to it. Or if he tells you to take slaves and save some virgins for him. Or if your brother dies, and he wants you to impregnate his wife. Onan can attest to the ass whooping he got for defying the LORD on that one. Yep … it’s porn that enslaves us. Not like the 613 Levitical laws, which God himself said was not possible to keep.
I still can’t fathom how these two hooked up in any social setting whatsoever. It had to be something like:
Marty: So this skank bitch my dad is seeing slipped some NyTol in my coke and the next morning, my eyebrows are gone. My dad had to pencil them in after doing his own.
Jesse: Sounds like she needs Jesus!
Marty: Who the fuck are you?? (pause) Hey … do you want to come over and look at some … “soccer” websites on the Internet?
Marty: I promise … no porn.
Jesse: What’s porn?
Marty: Oh, this is going to be too easy.
I can’t imagine there being too much in the way of dialog between the two of them before the infamous sleep over, unless Jesse thought this guy was such an asshole that getting him to convert would buy him a free ticket to Heaven.
Fourth panel: Lemme get this straight … she said you were too rough? Who came home with his nuts in a sling? Looks like she was a little too rough on you, buddy. Personally, I’d have said I got mugged on the way there and didn’t feel like being too sociable after that.
Oh, lord, wait a minute. Hugh Flintner … really, they made this guy in the image of Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner? Could it be?? God, I may barf.
Okay … again, in the “The More you Know” department … Marty really is in a rough spot, but even in a gospel tract that’s supposed to portray the evils of pornography, it’s not the source of the problem. With a father who treats women like shit, no mother or sisters, and an unchecked hankering for porn natural to kids his age, his views of women are going to be pretty bleak. I remember dating a gal whose parents divorced when she was 13 or 14, and spent puberty with a mother who understandably wasn’t too keen on men for a while. That kind of environment strongly influenced her outlook on feminism and sexuality as a result. Point is, someone like Marty shouldn’t be looking at porn, but that’s only a small piece of the problem. The other, more significant piece just got back home after getting the shit kicked out of him by a girl.
Of course your parents are still up. They’re probably in bed together, fully clothed, reading an unadulterated version of the King James Bible.
Oh holy shit:
I swear to you I made the prediction about his parents before looking at this page.
Wait, is Daddy in bed with Jesse’s mom, or his sister? She does look kinda young, and appears to be no more fortunate than Eve in the nose department. Or in the brains department since she’s suggesting that the solution to Marty’s problem is MOAR JESUS. Because really, with the regular problems teenagers have with of coming to terms with their sexuality while going to schools that are under attack by religious groups who want to limit sex education to nothing more than “don’t do it” and “condoms don’t work”, they really need realistic, practical solutions that will make a difference … not make the situation worse.
I love this exchange:
Dad: Did you see things that hurt you, son?
Jesse: No, Dad … in fact, I’m really eager to start my collection of bitches and hos.
Okay, I made the last part up. But that’s what he was really thinking.
Dad might want to talk to Jesse about what he saw and how to put it in perspective instead of glossing over the whole thing with prayer. Asking God to purify his heart and mind isn’t going to help since He’s the one who built all of our biological urges in us to start with. Situations like that present a good opportunity to talk about pornography not being an accurate portrayal of women or sexuality, the objectification of women, and about establishing healthy relationships with a partner.
Of course, if they’re using the bible as a foundation for their moral guidance, I think we can assume they’ve already had conversations that have covered all of these topics. As Dad said, “God gave us a whole book of parental controls!” That’s right! With God in your life, you won’t need pornography! Or, more to the point, with a book like the bible, you won’t need to go anywhere else for it. Or other pure, godly topics like …
Sibling rivalry, jealousy, and murder …
GE 4:2-8 God’s arbitrary preference of Abel’s offering to that of Cain’s provokes Cain to commit the first biblically recorded murder and kill his brother Abel.
Mass murder and genocide …
GE 6:11-17, 7:11-24 God is unhappy with the wickedness of man and decides to do something about it. He kills every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah’s family and thereby makes himself the greatest mass murderer [20 million human deaths] in history.
EX 7:1, 14, 9:14-16, 10:1-2, 11:7 The purpose of the devastation that God brings to the Egyptians is as follows:
to show that he is Lord;
to show that there is none like him in all the earth;
to show his great power;
to cause his name to be declared throughout the earth;
to give the Israelites something to talk about with their children;
to show that he makes a distinction between Israel and Egypt.
EX 12:29 The Lord kills all the first-born in the land of Egypt.
NU 31:31-40 32,000 virgins are taken by the Israelites as booty. Thirty-two are set aside (to be sacrificed?) as a tribute for the Lord.
DT 20:13-14 “When the Lord delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the males …. As for the women, the children, the livestock and everything else in the city, you may take these as plunder for yourselves.”
Ridiculous amounts of sex …
GE 19:30-38 Lot’s daughters have sexual intercourse with him while he is drunk and both become pregnant by their father.
GE 29:16-30 Jacob marries both Leah and her sister Rachel. He has children by both Leah and Rachel’s maid Bilhah, but Rachel remains barren. Due apparently to Rachel’s generosity to her husband, the Lord eventually allows Rachel to conceive.
GE 34:13-29 Hamor, his son, and the men of their village agree to be circumcised so as to be allowed to marry the daughters of the Israelites. On the third day, “when they were sore,” the Israelites kill Hamor, his son, and all the men of the village, and plunder their wealth, taking their wives and children, thus getting revenge for the defiling of Dinah.
NU 31:17-18 “… all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (Note: How did they determine which girls were virgins, and what did they do with them after they kept them alive for themselves? This is not a pretty picture.)
… and so on. (Thanks again to David Morgan of Secular Web for his compilation, of which this is only a mere fraction.) Given the choice, I think a visit to Playboy or some erotic photography website is by far the cleaner of the two. At least there, the ladies you see choose to be there and are getting paid for their work. I would make some smartassed comment about the way Jesse’s bible is glowing as he’s reading it, but I’m pretty sure the same thing happened when I opened my first Playboy.