Category Archives: Religion

Time and the Value of Women

Models walk the runway during Miami Fashion Week 2019, Author Fashion photographer James Santiago (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher; ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ ” (Eccl. 1: 2).

Clearly, women in Western culture are valued for their youth.  We see this all around us.

Ads for every conceivable product from liquor to cable television feature young women (with two ton steel vehicles actually termed “sexy” to increase sales).

Then there are the countless products marketed to women for the ever present “problem” of aging (creams which claim rejuvenating power, hair dyes, Botox injections, and breast implants, to name just a few).  As if living were insufficient.

Starlets in flimsy clothing populate our magazines.  Girls as young as 14 model for us, in the place of adult women.  Meanwhile, women in their 60s seek plastic surgery – even in vitro fertilization – to prolong their saleability.

Each moment lived, a woman’s value decreases or so it can seem.

A Flight from Death

Perhaps the urge to remain young, or at least appear young, is a flight from death.  If anything, however, it highlights the inexorability of time.  The race is rigged.  Everyone loses in the end.

Christians know that this jaded view is incorrect, incomplete since it fails to take God into account.  Some 3000 years ago, when King Solomon composed the Book of Ecclesiastes (from which the quote above is taken), he deliberately wrote from that skewed perspective to drive home his point about the need for God in our lives.

Human nature has not improved much, in the intervening centuries.  We remain susceptible to the adversary’s lies.

True Value

But if youth is valuable, maturity is no less so.  Our value in God’s eyes does not diminish with age.  It was never linked to time, in the first place.  Our true value derives from the fact that we have all, male and female, been created by God and that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our Salvation. Continue reading

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Sex and Teenage Boys

Teenage boys, Author Bmdehan (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

Bridget Sipera, a teacher at Camden Catholic High School in New Jersey, has been charged with sexually assaulting a male student less than half her age [1].  The two repeatedly had sex over an 18 month period.

Western society tends to view sexual activity among teens as part of the natural process of development.  We bombard teens with sexual images.  Discouraging sex seems repressive to us.

While we may be protective toward our daughters, some of us actually cheer our sons on.  Sex with a teacher is seen as the ultimate fantasy.

But there are serious dangers associated with early sexual activity.  And sex between an adult and child is as damaging to boys as it is to girls.

Risky Behaviors

Teens who engage in sex are likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors in adulthood [2].

They are more likely to have multiple sexual partners, and less likely to use condoms. This increases their chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or HIV, and having an unwanted pregnancy.

Ten million of the sexually transmitted diseases newly reported each year are acquired by young people between the ages of 15 and 24 [3].  It bears mention that the brain is not fully developed till age 25.

Sexual Addiction

Early exposure to sexual content can, also, give rise to sexual addiction [4A].

Best estimates are that 3% – 6% of American men suffer from sexual addiction [5][6].  However, women can fall prey to sexual addiction, too.

Sexual addiction can destroy relationships, compromise finances, and contribute to criminality.

Typically, sexual addiction is characterized by one or more of the following [4B]:

  • compulsive masturbation;
  • reliance on pornography and/or prostitutes;
  • an endless succession of meaningless sexual encounters;
  • use of fetishes in place of human interaction;
  • voyeurism/exhibitionism; and
  • sexual sadism or masochism.

Addicts persist in these behaviors despite the negative consequences. Continue reading

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Fighting Back – Hunting Child Predators

Marisol Nichols at 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, Author Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

The TV series Law and Order:  Special Victims Unit and Riverdale could hardly be more different.  The first is a gritty crime drama.  The second is a teen melodrama based on the Archie Comics.

The two, however, have something in common:  a remarkable actress who takes part in real life FBI and other police “sting” operations targeting child predators [1].

Employing her acting skills, Marisol Nichols collaborates with law enforcement – sometimes in the role of a child, sometimes in the role of a distraught parent – to combat sex trafficking.  Texts and phone calls lure child molesters to motel rooms, where they can be arrested.

Nichols was, herself, sexually assaulted at 11 years of age.

The actress has since established a non-profit called Foundation for a Slavery Free World https://www.slaveryfreeworld.org.  Her non-profit produces Hollywood events to raise awareness of sex trafficking, and recognizes groups and individuals for their work in this field.

For her own work, Marisol Nichols received the President’s Distinguished Volunteer Service Award in 2017.

The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion” (Prov. 28: 1).

[1]  E!, “Riverdale Star Marisol Nichols’ Story of Hunting Child Predators Is Being Turned Into a TV Show” by Lauren Piester, 8/31/20, https://www.eonline.com/news/1183800/riverdale-star-marisol-nichols-story-of-hunting-child-predators-is-being-turned-into-a-tv-show.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Scars and Glory

“I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are

But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious”

“This Is Me” by Justin Paul and Benj Pasek,
Copyright © Kobalt Music Publishing

As abuse survivors, we carry scars – emotional, mental, and physical.  That is a fact of life for us.

To be ashamed of our scars is to be ashamed of who we are and who we were meant to be.  Afraid, we became valiant.  Humiliated, we grew resolute.  Weak and wounded, we found our strength.

Our scars are proof of that.  They are proof of the power with which we held onto life…and the Power that sustained us.

We have been hurt and we have been broken.  But we are still here.  We have been defiled and spat upon, rejected and reviled.  But we are still here.

We may not meet society’s standards for perfection.  We may not fit society’s mold of what it is to be acceptable.  Those standards are a product of ignorance.  That mold was meant to be broken.

Our scars are obvious.  But we are still here.  And our wounds are, also, our glory.

“In my deepest wound I saw Your glory and it astounded me.”

-St. Augustine of Hippo

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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Restraint

Posey straightjacket, Author Marc NL (PD)

Cornelius Fredericks, 16, started a food fight at a Michigan behavioral treatment facility, and wound up losing his life [1][2].

Lakeside Academy provides services to young adults either placed there by their parents or the foster care system.  Video from Lakeside shows Fredericks being restrained in the cafeteria by staff for around 8 minutes, before being given chest compressions, while unresponsive on the floor.  But portions of the video are missing.

Sequel Youth and Family Services, the owner of Lakeside Academy, admits that staff did not act in accord with the facility’s policy that restraint be employed as an emergency safety measure only when a student exhibits imminent danger to self or others.

Prosecutors say two staff members lay across Fredericks’ torso as they tried to restrain him.  Cornelius went into cardiac arrest, dying two days later at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Continue reading

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Second Chance Adoptions

second chance 2 – Adoption & Birth Mothers*

The Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates that 1% – 5% of the 135,000 adoptions finalized in the US each year are later legally dissolved.

Second Chance Adoptions, a division of Wasatch International Adoption Agency (WIAA), is one agency that offers “second chance” adoptions. [1A].

Reasons for Re-Adoption

An adopted family may put a child up for re-adoption for a variety of reasons.  These can range from financial (involving, for instance, job loss and/or the lack of necessary medical insurance) to emotional (involving, in rare cases, Reactive Attachment Disorder a/k/a RAD).

RAD tends to occur in older children who have been severely neglected, raised in unusual settings such as institutions, or repeatedly deprived of a primary caregiver.  Children with the condition are unable to form a strong attachment to their adoptive parents.

Trauma to the Child

Adoption dissolution is no more difficult, legally speaking, than placing a biological child for adoption.  Without question, however, adoption dissolution places children at significant risk of trauma.

Not only are their lives fundamentally unsettled; these children may be left with lifelong doubts as to their own value.

As a result, children can suffer from depression or mood swings, and may be susceptible to disrupted bonding.  Of course, these are the very children in desperate need of love and stability. Continue reading

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Gatekeepers – Sexual Harassment in the Music Industry

Lady Gaga interviewed for NFL Network (2016), Author SMP Entertainment, Source Vimeo: SB50 Lady Gaga Interview https://vimeo.com/159307047 (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Noel Fisher a/k/a Detail – a Grammy Award-winning music producer and songwriter who worked with the likes of Beyonce, Maroon 5, Jennifer Lopez, and Nicki Minaj – was last month arrested on 15 charges of sexual assault and 5 additional charges of felony assault [1A].

The charges stem from incidents between 2010 and 2018.  Bail was set at $6.29 million.

In her song “Gatekeeper”, Jessie Reyez (co-author of the hits “One Kiss” and “Promises”) described in graphic terms being harassed by a producer she later identified as Fisher:

“Oh I’m the gatekeeper/Spread your legs/Open up/You could be famous/If you come up anywhere else, I’ll erase you.”

-Jessie Reyez, “Gatekeeper” [2A]

Reyez maintains Fisher disparaged her for not having sex to advance her career.  Singers Bebe Rexha and Tinashe had similar experiences with Fisher [2B].

In 2018, Janae Knox, a Fisher assistant, filed suit alleging he asked her to shower with him and demanded sexual favors [2C].  Isabella Mack, another Fisher assistant, filed suit alleging she was forcefully held against her will while Fisher masturbated [2D].  Fisher, also, demanded Mack pose for nude pictures and videos.

In 2019, model Kristina Buch was awarded $15 million in a suit alleging Fisher raped her [1B].

But allegations of sexual assault in the music industry are nothing new. Continue reading

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Nightmares

“Nightmare in a Mirror” by Terry Marks, Source http://www.stuckism.com/GFDL/Marks.html (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

You have a recurring nightmare.  Perhaps you are being chased by something enormous and faceless, something terrifying.  Perhaps the sight of something innocuous in a dream causes you unexplained anguish or despair.

You wake in a cold sweat (or with tears on your pillow), sure there must be something wrong with you.

Symbolic Imagery and PTSD

The language of our dreams can be puzzling.  Images can be confusing, and are often symbolic.

For abuse survivors, nightmares are a frequent symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) [1].  An estimated 71% – 96% of those with PTSD have nightmares.

Short-Term v. Long-Term Memory

Scientists agree that dreams involve the mind’s transfer of short-term memories to long-term storage.

Continue reading

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Turkish Inequality

Anti-femicide memorial in Chile, Author En.el.cielo.con.diamantes, Source https://www.flickr.com/photos/kamelia/2055714461/ (CC BY-SA 2. 0 Generic)

Women in Turkey have rallied in large numbers due to concerns that country may withdraw from the Istanbul Convention [1].  The Convention deals with systemic violence against women, and the state’s role in preventing domestic abuse.

Citing the erosion of family values and traditional gender roles, a small but determined group has lobbied Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw the country.  What seems behind the effort is an anti-Western sentiment, and the desire to revoke gender-based protections.

Turkey has a long history of femicides, the killing of women and girls by men because of their gender [2A].  Even with the Istanbul Convention in place, 417 Turkish women died as the result of domestic violence last year.  Thus far this year, 205 have been killed.

The murder of 27 y.o. Pinar Gultekin by her former boyfriend ignited the Turkish women’s protests [2B].  Anti-femicide protests have, also, taken place in France, South Africa, Mexico, and Chile in recent years.

Meanwhile, Poland, Serbia, and Croatia are considering abandoning the Convention. Continue reading

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Child Sex Trafficking Online

Graphic for child sex trafficking in the United States, Author Ebrittania (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

Federal authorities have seized and taken down the website CityXGuide.com and its affiliates for advertising illicit sexual services [1].  CityXGuide.com had taken over from the now defunct 1Backpage.com as the internet’s primary source for such ads.

Minors are identified among the victims of CityXGuide.com.

The charges against Wilhan Martono, the owner and operator of CityXGuide.com and its affiliates (Backpage.co, CAPleasures.com, BodyRubShop.com, and others), include money laundering, facilitating prostitution, and the reckless disregard of sex trafficking. Continue reading

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