Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Could this be reverse psychology?

Texas history textbooks telling high schoolers they are to ignore Thomas Jefferson and pay attention to that tight-assed, thin-lipped, anti-masturbation, religious extremist Calvin? Guess who they'll be looking up on Wikipedia?

Dusty Crickets in comments found this horrifically prudish statement by our good ol' Calvin:
"I will content myself with briefly mentioning this, as far as the sense of shame allows to discuss it. It is a horrible thing to pour out seed besides the intercourse of man and woman. Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is doubly horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family, and kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born. This wickedness is now as severely as is possible condemned by the Spirit, through Moses, that Onan, as it were, through a violent and untimely birth, tore away the seed of his brother out the womb, and as cruel as shamefully was thrown on the earth. Moreover he thus has, as much as was in his power, tried to destroy a part of the human race. When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime. Onan was guilty of a similar crime, by defiling the earth with his seed, so that Tamar would not receive a future inheritor."
The only reason we'd need to pay attention to this rigid religious extremist is to remind ourselves just how far we've progressed since his time. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson.

Update: Have to back off a bit from my slander of John Calvin. Just a bit. He was deeply religious yet stood up against the even more rigid church structure of his time. I'm now researching Calvinism, the Enlightenment and the break-up of the Catholic political power structure.....


Sorghum Crow said...

Gee, I never thought of "it" that way. Guess I'm not Calvinist.

ellroon said...

Nor am I. Gotta find out why on earth Calvinism is going to be 'shoved down students' throats'....

Now Calvin ball would be a whole 'nother thing!

Dusty Crickets said...

"...I'm now researching Calvinism,.."

From a link I tagged from over at PZ's place...

"...John Calvin is considered the founder of the Puritan ethic. The theocracy he established in sixteenth-century Geneva, Switzerland, prohibited dancing, drinking, gambling, card playing, ribaldry, fashionable clothes, and other amusements. Theaters were closed and attempts were made to drive taverns from the city.

Proclaiming "the chief duty of man is to glorify God," Calvin required religious instruction for all, public fasting, austere living, and evening curfew. According to the town records, a man was imprisoned for three days for smiling during a baptism.

Sex researcher Aileen Goodson, Ph.D., states the Puritans who came to America emphasized biblical interpretations that considered the human body as inherently impure and depraved. She further reports they "had neither the time nor the inclination for frivolity. Their body guilt and shame became the law of the land, and this law was even more extreme in the United States than overseas."

The anti-sex attitude of the Puritans is also described by historian John Demos. He reports that throughout the seventeenth century, the Puritans in Plymouth Colony had "a steady succession of trials and convictions for sexual offenses involving single persons. 'Fornication,' in particular, was a familiar problem."
Although the Puritans had serious and even pathological hang-ups about pleasure, they were into violence. Calvin's Geneva beheaded adulterers. Religious dissenters were hanged, decapitated, or burned at the stake. Christopher Hitchens describes Calvin as "a sadist and torturer and killer, who burned Servetus (one of the great thinkers and questioners of the day) while the man was still alive."
Massachusetts Puritans also had a law, based on Leviticus 20:9 from the Old Testament, that a child who curses his or her parent shall be put to death. Calvin would have approved, for his government used the same verse to justify beheading a small boy in Geneva for striking his father.

As a result of the command at Exodus 22:18, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," Puritans were responsible for the insanity of the Salem witch trials......."

and so on.

ellroon said...

Used your wonderful/ horrible quote in this post.