Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christian Coalition President-Elect Resigns Over Philosophical Issues

In the news the other day, I read a story about Rev. Joel Hunter, who was to take over the presidency of the Christian Coalition in January. Rev. Hunter is presently a senior pastor at Northland Church in Longwood, Florida.

However, in an organizational board meeting on November 21st, Hunter announced that he would not be assuming this position, after all. He stated that differences of philosophy and focus were behind his decision.

That is, Rev Hunter wanted the organization to focus more on issues concerning poverty and the environment, rather than opposing same sex marriage and abortion. In other words, he wanted this organization's focus to become more positive; to be for something, rather than be defined by what the group is against.
"These are issues that Jesus would want us to care about," Hunter said.

Thought Hunter maintains that he was not asked to leave, he said, "
They pretty much said, 'These issues are fine, but they're not our issues, that's not our base.' "

I see this as a small positive sign; that there are Christians who want to take a more moderate and centrist approach to religion and politics. I suspect we'll be hearing more voices like Hunter's in the months and years to come.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

Still More Old Journal Entries

Here are a few more police-related entries from an old handwritten journal of mine:

December 12, 1988

We got a funny denial from a shoplifter on Saturday. We got her stealing a pair of jeans from K Mart. She had put them on in the changing room, but had neglected to remove the heavy plastic magnetic tag from the pants. She had pulled her sweater over it to try to hide it. Of course the tag set off a buzzer when she tried to leave the store.

When we got her to the jail. she claimed that she had worn the jeans into the store and that they were not her jeans; she had borrowed them from a friend and that the friend must have stolen them. We rolled our eyes at her expecting us to believe that crap. For one thing, the buzzer would have gone off when she first entered the store. Secondly, it is too much of a coincidence that she would go into the very store where her "friend" had supposedly stolen the pants from. And, lastly, no one would put on a pair of jeans with a huge plastic tag, 4 inches long, 2 inches wide, and a half inch thick, stuck to them.

December 21, 1988

When I arrived last night, the jailer was printing one that B had got up at the mall. I said, "What're up to?" to the jailer, and the prisoner snarled, "Arresting assholes, that's what!" I laughed and said, "You said it, I didn't!"

It turned out that this guy was racing around the mall, hit a curb, took off, then hit a curb again. When B finally caught up with him and asked for his license, the idiot said, "What for??"

When the kid's father came to get him in the morning, he acted as if the kid was the injured party. Probably that's where the kid got his attitude from.

December 22, 1988

The jailer on second shift, M, had a particularly nasty prisoner to process last night. One of our regular winos came in that was so drunk that he'd pissed all over the patrol car, pissed all over the jail, and pissed all over himself. M had to wear rubber gloves to remove his property from him and had to carry him to his cell. M complained that he wasn't into golden showers. And the drunk didn't remember a thing the next morning.

December 23, 1988

J stopped a guy tonight and when he went up to the car window, the guy said, "What the hell do you want, you ugly old thing?" While this was going on the guy on the pasenger side was busily pouring out his beer onto the sidewalk. J told me that he would have pulled this SOB out of the car and taught him a thing or two if there hadn't been an old couple watching them intently from the sidewalk.

December 29, 1988

The last arrest we had last night was a real lulu. A domestic call came in and while the officers dispatched were talking to this man and his mother, the man freaked out and resisted arrest. He was so high that repeated blows with a PR-24 had no effect on him. They had to fight him to get him into custody. This is the difference between a drunk and someone hopped up on drugs. A drunk will feel blows from a PR-24, but someone on drugs may not.

January 25, 1989

On my last day out at the jail, they brought in two women and one man. They had been fighting like cats and dogs. It was so that B had to wait outside with the women while I processed the man. He was nothing compared to the women. One of them was a little feisty, just giving the minimum of cooperation. While I was booking her, the other woman, still outside, was shrieking like a banshee, which set this woman off, and effectively ended any cooperation. We put her back in the patrol car and started on the next one. I said "we" because this is what it took. She threw herself down into a mud puddle, thoroughly drenching herself. Five of us had to pick her up and carry her into the jail. I grabbed one of the pockets of her jeans, making her legs airborne. She ineffectively kicked at me, but I didn't feel much in my combat boots. When we got her inside and sat her down, she threw herself on the floor. Really classy female....not.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Libertine

The Libertine

Johnny Depp

Date: 2006-07-04 — DVD / VHS

product page


Review of The Libertine

At long last, I finally got around to seeing Johnny Depp's, The Libertine, which covers the last few years of 17th century John Wilmot, The Earl of Rochester's life. Wilmot, who was a poet and playwright, was also a jaded libertine, regularly engaging in various forms of debauchery. The movie focuses on his relationship with King Charles II and that of a mistress, whom he molds into a competent actress. The latter portion of the movie shows his decline and eventual death, horribly disfigured from syphilis. In a bit of irony, the mistress, whose career he enabled, turned her back on him during his decline, but his long-suffering wife, whom he treated with disdain at best, cares for him until the bitter end.

The movie was filmed entirely in sepia tones, which sets the mood for this essentially dreary and depressing movie. The typical filth of cities in the 17th century is shown clearly, with mud and rats abounding everywhere.

I had to pay attention closely to understand the antiquated English of the 17th century in certain scenes; my interest in history paid off there. The movie was choppy, a few scenes making me wonder why he was doing certain things. The sex scenes were blurry, in one instance, literally shrouded in mist, and were not particularly arousing. The movie had an incomplete feel to it; there was a lot of detail missing from this movie that would have made it flow better.

Depp, however, shines in this movie, who deftly plays Wilmot as an unlikable, yet completely fascinating man. Depp's Earl of Rochester is a bit of an over the top character, similar to his portrayal of Jack Sparrow.

This movie will not appeal to a wide audience; it will be appreciated mainly by historical movie aficionados.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Underemployment and Health Care Benefits

I was talking the other night with someone about my not having health insurance on my job. I also spoke about the lack of good employment opportunities in my area, especially jobs with benefits.

It seems as if many employers would rather overwork fewer employees than employ sufficient people to get the job done while working a normal 40 hour week. I believe one of the biggest reasons for this is to avoid having to pay benefits to more people. The result is that available work is not distributed evenly. Some people are overworked, and many more are either underemployed (having jobs with no benefits and/or insufficient hours) or unemployed.

A national health insurance program that isn't tied to a person's employment seems as if it would go a long way toward lessening this problem. It would take the monkey off the backs of employers, which would presumably make them more likely to hire more full time workers.

What I don't get is why more major corporations do not support a national health care system, similar to what works in Canada and Europe, as it would take a financial burden off them, while allowing them to hire more employees. Surely, such support would make it easier for such legislation to be enacted and implemented.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

First Flight

I first traveled by plane in January of 1977, when I was not quite nineteen. It was during my first year of college and I was going to visit with my sister for a week before returning to school for the spring semester.

I remember it being bitterly cold as I boarded the American Airlines 727. Indeed, the plane had to be de-iced before we could take off, which didn't exactly inspire confidence in flying for me. I looked out the window as the procedure was being done and I recall the de-icing substance having a pinkish color.

Nevertheless, the flight went off without a hitch and we landed safely in Boston, where it was even colder. To finish the last leg of the journey, I boarded a small ten passenger plane, so small that I could not stand up straight in it, and there was no latrine aboard. This flight was also uneventful -- until we landed, that is. The runway was a sheet of ice and as the plane touched down, it slid and skidded all over the runway, finally coming to a stop.

I've flown several times since then, the last time being in the mid-90s, when I accompanied my father on his last flight for his funeral. With the way boarding procedures are now, I'm not sure if I'm eager to fly again any time soon.

My son's first flight came much earlier in life, in October of 1983 when he was two years old, when we flew to attend a family reunion. He was excited about the trip, treating it as a grand adventure, not having the slightest bit of fear.

I let him have the window seat, so he could see the ground get smaller, then watch the clouds from above as we reached cruising altitude. I remember that he was so little that I had to put his stuffed animal (Heathcliff the cat) on his lap and buckle the seat belt around them both so it wouldn't be too loose. He's flown a few times since then, one time without me, when he went to Disneyland with his stepgrandmother.

My mother never once traveled by plane, and my grandmother flew for the first and last time when she was 74 years old.

Let's hear about your first flight.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Abstinence Advocate Promotes Junk Science

In a largely unpublicized move, President Bush has appointed Dr Eric Keroack as deputy assistant secretary for population affairs. This position will entail overseeing several Health and Human Services programs, including the Office of Family Planning.

After reading about Dr Keroack's background, I'm of the opinion that appointing him to this position is much like appointed water to keep a campfire burning.

Not only active in the anti-choice and abstinence movements, Keroack is well known for disseminating misleading and outright false information about abortion and contraceptives. In addition to this, his views about abstinence are extreme and unorthodox, even in conservative circles.

Dr Keroack believes that sexual promiscuity and relationship failure has a hormonal cause that can only be prevented by total abstinence before marriage. He asserts that people don't fall in love, but rather they fall into hormonal bondage; that this hormone, Oxytocin, is what creates the bond in marriage.

Citing that forty percent of couples who live together break up before they marry and of the 60 percent that do marry, 40 percent of them divorce after 10 years. statistics he believes could be changed by abstaining until marriage.

He also insists that promiscuity is a misuse of this "emotional glue" of attraction, which, in his view, can only create an endless cycle of misery. Dr Keroack explains this "misery" thusly:

Emotional pain causes our bodies to produce an elevated level of endorphins which in turn lowers the level of oxytocin. Therefore, relationship failure leads to pain which leads to elevated endorphins which leads to lower oxytocin, the result of which is a lower ability to bond. Many in this increased state of emotional pain and lower oxytocin seek sex as a substitute for love, which inevitably leads to another failed relationship, and so on, the cycle continues...People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual.

Unsurprisingly, his remedy for this is for people to remain virgins until one's wedding night.

I don't know about you, but this is the biggest load of unscientific crap I've heard in a long time. I won't go into a lot of detail, as it's late and I'm tired, but I can assure you that my promiscuity isn't a quest to substitute sex for love. Sex and love are two different things, though they can and do, frequently go together. Rather, I enjoy sex for its own sake, and I'm not necessarily seeking love when I have sex with a new partner. I'm quite capable of experiencing love with or without sex, and I see no need to always have to link the two.

And, I can assure you, having had numerous sex partners over the years had been anything but "misery".

I don't know what's worse: fundamentalists telling us to abstain from sex until marriage because "God says so" or someone like Keroack trying to insult people's intelligence by trying to peddle this pseudo-scientific crap as a reason to get people to abstain.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Quotations About Republicans

I came from a disadvantaged home. They were Republicans.
--Paul Tsongas

Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself.
--Harry Truman

As I've said repeatedly, Republicans are very good at describing things in black and white; Democrats are very good at describing the 11 shades of gray.
--Joseph C. Wilson

Latins for Republicans - it's like roaches for Raid.
--John Leguizamo

Instead of creating new jobs, Republicans gave tax cuts to companies that send jobs overseas.
--Joe Baca

Republicans don't like people to talk about depressions. You can hardly blame them for that. You remember the old saying: Don't talk about rope in the house where somebody has been hanged.
--Harry Truman

Big government conservatives are spending trillions and wasting billions. Republicans are no longer the party of fiscal conservancy, but the party of runaway spending and corruption.
--Sherrod Brown

Republicans are men of narrow vision, who are afraid of the future.
--Jimmy Carter

I don't hate Republicans as individuals. But I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country. I really do.
--Howard Dean

Republicans have called for a National African-American Museum. The plan is being held up by finding a location that isn't in their neighborhood.
--Conan O'Brien

If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.
--Adlai E. Stevenson

The Republicans believe in the minimum wage -- the more the minimum, the better.
--Harry Truman

The Republicans have a new healthcare proposal: Just say NO to illness!
--Mark Russell

How did sex come to be thought of as dirty in the first place? God must have been a Republican.
-- Will Durst

Oh no, the dead have risen and they're voting Republican.
--Lisa Simpson

Bob Dole revealed he is one of the test subjects for Viagra. He said on Larry King, 'I wish I had bought stock in it.' Only a Republican would think the best part of Viagra is the fact that you could make money off of it.
-- Jay Leno

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What Small Children and Dogs Have In Common

Those of us who have been parents know for certain that humans are more like the lower animals, in this case, dogs, that we'd care to admit. Anyone who has lived with a toddler knows that their eating habits have one key thing in common with our canine friends: they'll both put nearly anything in their mouths.

When I was about three or four years old, I remember eating an entire bottle of children's orange flavored aspirin. Back in those days, there was no such thing as a "child-proof" cap, so parents had to make sure to keep medicine out of the hands of children. My mother had put the medical supplies in the topmost shelf in the kitchen, thinking they'd be safe there. Well, she badly underestimated me. I simply pushed a kitchen chair over to the counter and used that to climb on top of the counter, where I now could easily reach the top cabinet. I gobbled the orange aspirins down like candy. I guess it didn't hurt me any; I never told my parents about it until years later.

I also remember eating library paste, grass, Play-Doh, pet food, etc. I once knew a kid who tasted their dog's shit, but, fortunately, I never sank quite to that level.

Compare this to what my childhood dog ate: crayons, a ball of yarn, paper, an earring. I remember that he whirled himself in circles trying to crap out the string of yarn and that after he ate the crayons, his shit looked like a chocolate chip cookie with M&Ms in it.

My son would pick up stuff from the sidewalk and try to eat it; used gum, bottle caps, and so on. One time he got hold of a cigarette butt and swallowed it before I could get it away from him. I rammed my finger down his throat until he puked it up, and he didn't get sick from it, amazingly enough.

Let's hear some of your experiences with what your dogs and small children ate.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hypocrisy Exposed

By now, nearly everyone has heard of the downfall of Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life Church, a megachurch with 14,000 members in Colorado Springs. On November 2nd, Mike Jones, a male prostitute, publicly outed Haggard, telling the media that the pastor, using the pseudonym "Art", had come to him regularly to engage in gay sex for the last three years. Jones backed up his allegations with voice-mail tapes of "Art" calling to tell Jones to get some meth which he'd told Jones made sex so much better, and a Xerox of an envelope in which "Art" had mailed cash from Colorado Springs.

It wasn't until recently, however, when Jones happened to see Haggard on TV, that he realized who "Art" really was. Art was Ted Haggard, who, as pastor of the New Life megachurch and the President of the National Association of Evangelicals, was an influential opponent of same-sex marriage and gay rights in general. With a marriage amendment and domestic partnership referendum on the upcoming Colorado ballot, Jones decided to speak up and expose Haggard's rampant hypocrisy. "Here Pastor Ted and his wife were able to enjoy the benefits of marriage but would deny it to two consenting adults," Jones said. "I have cried because of Haggard's family," Jones added. "But he was the one who came to me. People need to keep that in perspective. I could have ruined a lot of lives, but there was a reason for this one. He touched a lot of people's lives."

Haggard first denied knowing Jones, and later only admitted to going to Jones for a massage and insisting he'd only been "curious" about the meth and had not actually used it.

After the story was made public, New Life Church fired Haggard, with him quickly writing a letter of apology to the church. The letter said, in part, that he was "guilty of sexual immorality," and, "I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it all of my adult life."

His "sin" isn't being homosexual -- there's nothing necessarily "repulsive", "dark", or "immoral" about it. Rather his sin is hypocrisy; saying one thing and doing another. His hypocrisy is made more serious by the fact that his influence was so great over millions of people. And that he lied to himself by trying to deny who and what he was all these years is as much of a tragedy as his deception and lies to others. By not accepting himself as he was, Haggard's entire life has been a lie.

And the sad thing is, he'll never see this core truth. Haggard is now being counseled by other pastors, in a process called "restoration", which I'm sure will not be intended to help him accept his sexual orientation, but, rather, to learn how to repress it more effectively, which will condemn him to continue "warring with himself".


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Rambling Thoughts About the Election

Overall, I'm happy with how the elections turned out yesterday. The Democrats regained control of the House, may do so in the Senate, and now have a majority of the governorships. The only Republican I was sorry to see lose was the moderate Lincoln Chaffee of Rhode Island, a breed of Republican the party needs to see more of

The people of America have sent a clear message: No More of the Same. I don't know exactly how things will change in the next two years, but it would seem likely that Republicans will likely move closer to the center for the 2008 elections.

President Bush had recently pooh-poohed the idea that Nancy Pelosi could become Speaker of the House. First thing this morning, however, he called her to invite her to lunch, eating his crow like a man. We can only hope that this will extend to a more cooperative attitude with House and Senate Democrats in the next two years.

My state, the buckle of the Bible belt, unfortunately returned its Republican governor for another term, which is about what I expected. Likewise, our state passed the discriminatory marriage amendment by a landslide, with six other states doing the same. Arizona alone had the distinction of voting down a marriage amendment to their constitution, the first state to do so.

And I'm going to enjoy listening to the right wing pundits such as Coulter, Limbaugh, et al, squealing like pigs for the next few days.

Things are definitely looking up and I can only hope for more fo the same in 2008.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Vote NO On the Marriage Amendment

Several states will go to the polls tomorrow to vote on marriage amendments that would put a precise definition of marriage in their state constitutions that would spell out that marriage is between one man and one woman only, and that all other marriage forms can not legally exist.

What follows is a letter to voters in all such states, urging them to vote NO on their state's marriage amendment.

I'm heterosexual and I'm voting NO on the marriage amendment.

Many of those who intend to vote yes on this amendment cite the Bible as the reason why they oppose same-sex marriage. While it is all well and good to live out one's faith in one's own life and to tell others about it, I see several problems with this view.

For one thing, America is not a theocracy. Our laws are based on the Constitution, not the Bible The first amendment gives us the right to freely practice whatever religion we choose or no religion, but we don't have the right to legally impose our religious beliefs on others.

Secondly, marriage has traditionally been understood to have two parts: there is civil/legal marriage regulated by the state, and there is the religious component in which the government plays no part. Advocates of same-sex marriage are working to change only the legal aspect of marriage -- making same-sex marriage legal would in no way affect the religious aspect. Because our nation enjoys the separation of church and state, churches are free to either offer or deny wedding ceremonies to same-sex couples, as they've been doing all along, based on their own beliefs.

Others have said they will vote yes on the marriage amendment because they believe that marriage should be about procreation. Older heterosexuals past reproductive age, those who are disabled or sterile, and those who just don't want kids are not banned from getting married, so this argument simply doesn't wash. Heterosexuals have always had the freedom to enter into marriage for whatever private reasons they have.

Some people believe that heterosexual marriage needs "protection"; that allowing same-sex marriage will threaten the institute of marriage. This reason has always left me scratching my head in confusion. Exactly, how, does discriminating against same-sex couples help heterosexuals strengthen their own marriages? Same-sex marriage is currently illegal, yet heterosexuals nevertheless are divorcing in record numbers. It would seem to me that strenthening marriage is something each couple needs to take responsibility for on their own. Gay people getting married will neither help nor hinder heterosexual marriage.

And there are some who sit on the fence and say that they would not be against "civil unions" for same sex-couples, but they don't want such relationships to be legally labeled as "marriage". This recognizes the dual legal/religious aspects of marriage, but to be fair, this term would have to be used for all civil marriages, gay and straight, with the word "marriage" reserved for the religious ceremony. Otherwise, it's "separate but equal" all over again.

The issue of same-sex marriage is, at base, about the legal benefits that come with marriage. Legal marriage gives at least 150-to-350 legal benefits in every U.S. state. Connecticut has 588 laws that come with legal marriage. And on the Federal level, there are more than 1,138 such laws. Some of these benefits are:

# Automatic Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
# Automatic Inheritance
# Automatic Housing Lease Transfer
# Bereavement Leave (offered by some employers)
# Burial Determination
# Child Custody
# Crime Victim’s Recovery Benefits
# Domestic Violence Protection (most cities won’t cover same-sex abuse)
# Exemption from Property Tax on Partner’s Death
# Immigration access for the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen
# Immunity from Testifying Against Spouse
# Insurance Breaks (apartment, car)
# Joint Adoption and Foster Care
# Joint Parenting (insurance coverage, school records)
# Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
# Reduced Rate Memberships
# Sick Leave to Care for Partner (varies by employer)
# Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
# Wrongful Death (loss of consort) Benefits

I don't believe it is my business to meddle in the private relationships of others who do not affect my rights to do differently, so I'm voting NO and I urge others to do the same.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Toilet Paper

Today, I thought I'd talk about one common household item that no one can do without -- toilet paper.

Though the term "toilet paper" is itself a euphemism, one never sees it packaged for sale labeled as such in the United States. This euphemism has its own euphemism, "bathroom tissue". Now, I don't know about you, but I have never once heard of it once referred to in conversation as bathroom tissue. I've heard toilet tissue and TP, but NEVER "bathroom tissue". And I've heard and personally referred to it more bluntly as shit paper and asswipe.

Toilet paper is a relatively modern invention, first coming into use in 1857. Before this, people used a variety of things to wipe themselves with: corncobs, rags, their hands, grass, a sponge on a stick, leaves, newspapers, other types of paper, water, snow, and so on.

Modern toilet paper comes in many grades, from sandpapery "Clint Eastwood" (doesn't take any shit!), to the quilted, pillow soft variety. It comes in perforated rolls of various lengths, with a single sheet being about the size of the palm of an average man's hand.

I don't know who decided what size each sheet would be, but I can't imagine anyone using a single sheet to wipe themselves with -- you might as well use your hands for all the good it would do. I always unroll quite a few sheets, then fold it carefully before using it for its intended purpose. Depending on the "job" I just did, I may repeat this one or more times, until I wipe and the paper is still clean afterwards. My son is a champion toilet paper waster -- he often will use up an entire roll for a single trip to the bathroom.

Some people argue about how toilet paper should be dispensed from the holder, either under the roll or over it. I personally don't care myself. Indeed, most times, I don't even bother putting it into the holder, but just set the rolls on the back of the toilet tank.

When I was in college, most of the bathrooms in the classroom buildings had surplus rolls stacked up everywhere -- on the ledge on top of the mirror in front of the sinks, on the windowsill, and so on. Being on a tight budget when I was in college, I got the bright idea one day to take several rolls home with me to save a bit of money. I brought a garbage bag along with me one day expressly for this purpose. I went into the fine arts building, which at that time of the day was sparsely populated. I went into the men's room and quickly threw several rolls into my bag. I slipped out of the building, thinking I'd gotten away with it, unnoticed. However, halfway across campus a security guard came after me, but was satisfied for me to simply hand the paper back to him. Thinking back, I was fortunate that he didn't decide to make a big deal out of it.

Thoughts? Add any toilet paper anecdotes of your own into the comment box.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Sex in the News

According to a study published in the medical journal, the Lancet, people in Western countries tend to be more promiscuous than those in developing nations. People in rich countries tend to have more sexual partners, though monogamy is the predominant world pattern.

Nevertheless, the rate of AIDS, HIV, and other sexually transmitted diseases is higher in developing nations than in western nations. Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said that factors such as poverty and mobility had more to do with the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases than promiscuity did.

The study noted that almost everywhere, teens typically become sexually active between ages 15 and 19, and though most in this age group reported only one partner in the last year, that those who had had sex with more than one person most often came from a western country.

The report's author, Professor Kaye Wellings said, "This suggests social factors such as poverty, mobility and gender equality may be a stronger factor in sexual ill-health than promiscuity." She went on to say, "The selection of public-health messages needs to be guided by epidemiological evidence rather than by myths and moral stances."

On the other side of the Atlantic, former Surgeons General Joycelyn Elders and David Satcher told a news conference in San Francisco that an education campaign to increase "sexual literacy" was needed to reduce the incidence of sexual transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies. They noted that the current American focus on
promoting abstinence has not lowered levels of sexually transmitted diseases,

"The vows of abstinence break far more easily than latex condoms," Elders said. Satcher added that it would be an "injustice" if sexual education did not go beyond encouraging abstinence.


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Innocence vs. Safety

Many parents try to protect their children's innocence for as long as they can, believing this will keep them safe. This is much of the reason behind attempts at censoring the media to expunge all reference to sex, and less often, violence in attempts to make it "family friendly". Some parents even keep their children from watching the news in order to shield them from hearing about anything negative or distressing. Opposition to comprehensive sex education stems from this same desire -- obviously, they believe adolescents will not think about sex if they're kept ignorant about the facts of life!

Some parents will go as far as to homeschool their kids to insulate them from being exposed to "wordly" influences, believing this will protect them from harm and keep them safe. Note that I'm not lumping all homeschooling parents into the same mold here; there are good reasons to homeschool as well as this misguided reason.

But we do our children a disservice when we overprotect them in the name of "innocence". In our increasingly complex society, children need to be gradually equipped with the knowledge they need to survive in our world and they need to learn how to protect themselves. To shield children from the real world is to paint a target on their backs and they'll be unprepared to deal with life when they're thrown out into the cold world when they reach adulthood.

In effect, cocooning children in bubble wrap for eighteen years in the well-meaning, but misguided, attempt to keep them "innocent" will make them less safe in the long run.