Friday, July 27, 2007

"Culture of Life;" or, "From the shoulders to the knees, nobody touches, nobody sees."

Via People for the American Way, the Modesty Movement, with a Focus on one Colleen Hammond.

“It’s fine to follow some of the fashions just as long as we realize that you don’t want anything too tight, nothing too clingy, nothing too sheer and just make sure that ‘from the shoulder to the knees, nobody touches, nobody sees,’” author Colleen Hammond told Family News in Focus.

She said girls need to understand that their choices can influence others.

“We’ve learned from history that as the morality of women declines, the culture follows with it,” Hammond said.

Pure Fashion attempts to help girls with modest choices and has hosted 13 modest fashion shows around the country this year.

“We’re not necessarily afraid of the body. God created the body, and it is good and it is holy, and it is sacred,” said Brenda Sharman, national director of Pure Fashion. “It’s just that we want to have a reverence and a respect for the human body.”

more from Hammond, or "Dressing With Dignity:"

Don’t be mistaken: being 'modest' doesn't mean dressing 'frumpy'. Colleen shows you how to create a tasteful style that accentuates the grace and beauty of your femininity. There is a difference between dressing attractively, and dressing to attract, and with Colleen’s help, you’ll be able to dress fashionable while still maintaining your dignity!

And Colleen should know. Not only is she an award-winning writer, comedienne, radio and television talk show host, but she is also a former model, actress and beauty queen!

But today, Colleen has one of the most treacherous and grueling jobs in the world…

She is a Catholic mother with four children! And what Colleen has discovered will give you the tools and answers you need to protect the ladies in your life from the onslaught of the Culture of Death.

Oh, the "Culture of Death" thing. Yeah.'s a Monolith, apparently, that is responsible for all the evil in this our degenerate modern woild, here primarily manifested through unacceptable sexual practices, degrading fashions for women, porn, violent video games. Oh, and abortion, and contraception, and cloning, and euthanasia, maybe some other stuff, like capital punishment, and suicide bombing. (not war, though. well, not all war). You may be familiar with the general idea. Specifically, though, it is the opposite of the "culture of life," as defined by the Pope (both this one and the last one), but which is now being picked up by non-Catholic social/religious reationaries as well. For instance, Bush has invoked the term:

The same George W. Bush who cut his vacation short to fly back to Washington to sign a bill forcing the Florida state courts to review their decision regarding Terri Schiavo also signed the Texas law that allows hospitals to pull life support for patients without the means to pay for their care if there is no hope of recovery. Furthermore, Bush accepted the "no hope for recovery" standard to justify ending life support for indigent patients, but rejected that same premise in the case of Terri Schiavo. Indeed, his underling, Bill Frist, ignored medical common sense and the judgments of Terri Schiavo's personal physicians, and made long-distance diagnoses without having seen or examined Schiavo, to buttress his and Bush's insistence that there is always hope for recovery, no matter what the doctors say. Clearly, this same conviction does not come into play when the patient is poor and African, even though terminal cancer patients have also been known to go into remission....

YucatanMan makes another point, which Landsburg ignores as well. Tirhas Habtegiris knew she was going to die, and soon. She did not have any false hopes of recovery. Her major reason for wanting to stay on life support was so she could see her mother once more, and say goodbye to her. The 10 days that Baylor gave Habtegiris's family to make alternative plans for her, were not enough time to get her mother from Africa to Texas...

That author's point is that the Culture of Life is really the Culture of Money, which is of course just silly.

But so anyway, back to the whole "sluttiness=death" thing, well--again, there are a number of facets to this.

Here we learn how safe sex education is part of the Culture of Death:

The Death Peddlers would have you believe that "SEX EDUCATION" for children, since they are likely to "do it" anyway, will lead them to practice "SAFE SEX." What most people are unaware of is that most sex-ed programs are designed and written by Planned Parenthood, who just may have a motivating interest in what the sexual practices of young people are. When you consider that while they make tens of millions in the surgical killing of babies by abortion, their primary source of income comes from the selling of birth control (roughly 70% of their profits). They give the birth control out to the children in the schools, and should that fail they are there in the ready to direct your daughter to the local abortion "clinic" (abortuary). When the preventive measure (birth control) fails, the remedy is abortion. Planned Parenthood profits from the sale of both. They have a problem, though, and that is each year they lose 50% of their birth control users because of the side effects from it. Thus, they must find a way to make up for that loss. Hence, the sex-ed programs targeting the younger and younger girls...

and, further

The practice of contraception leads to the fading of the perception that the sexual act has anything to do with the procreation of children. The act is deliberately manipulated to exclude the possibility. When contraception fails, the resulting baby is likely to be aborted. This is particularly true when conception takes place outside of marriage, in which case there is no proper provision for the upbringing of the child.

Attitude to Sexuality

The perception that sexuality is not connected to reproduction gives rise to the concept of "recreational sex." Sexual intercourse is regarded primarily as a source of pleasure. Since "nothing can happen," i.e. no baby can be conceived, sexual activity is not confined to marriage. This leads to increased promiscuity, adultery and prostitution, and to perverse sexual practices, including homosexual practices, which are even proclaimed as ideal because they are 100% sterile. All these practices lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.

Artificial Reproduction

If there can be sex without babies, there can be babies without sex. The separation of the procreative from the unitive aspects of the sexual act through contraception has prepared the way for artificial reproduction. The first step was IVF (in-vitro fertilization). Further steps followed quickly - selective reduction (the selective killing of embryos when IVF is more successful than expected and the mother is carrying several children at once), the implantation of embryos from third-person, surrogate motherhood, experimentation with surplus or deliberately produced embryos, pre-implantation diagnostics and cloning.

Abortion and artificial reproduction leads to contempt for life, which opens the way for euthanasia.

In the practice of contraception the spouses do violence to one another in that they tend to regard each other merely as a source of pleasure. The mutual rejection of fertility implies a (subconscious) personal rejection of each other. This burdens the marriage and often leads to divorce, which in its turn means suffering for the children. Society becomes dysfunctional and violence proliferates. Non-traditional "families," such as single and divorced women with children, families with children from two or even three sets of parents, and same-sex unions with children, become acceptable, hence weakening the traditional family.

So you see, it IS all connected. The modesty thing? Well, it tends to encourage premarital sex, which, quite apart from all the other ways in which one can go astray, sexually speaking, is wrong because

Premarital sexual activity, especially when it is engaged in with blind ignorance or rebellious rejection of the known moral law (by contrast with failures through weakness), most often amounts to a profound solipsistic choice resulting in the reduction of the human person to quasi-animality. It may, however, involve adherence to the more diabolical, pantheistic conceptions characteristic of the tradition of militant atheism so dominant today which propose ultimate cosmic unification through sex of any sort (as long as there are no children.) Since sexuality is such a core value oriented to the very purpose of creation and it is by premarital activity that it is transformed, in the best of cases, into a mere private solipsistic choice (or, following the second phenomenon described above, a more direct diabolical rebellion), the disorder it causes in persons, especially young people, is enormous. Besides blinding the participants to the essential spiritual reality of themselves founded in the spiritual reality of God (or, worse, substituting a false "spiritualism" for true spirituality and the true God), it blinds them to the final purpose of life.

It is easy to understand, then, that if a child were to ensue from pre-marital sexual activity, an abortion would appear to be as much an option as not. Having rejected one of the most fundamental principles (the limitation on the exercise of sexuality to marriage), easily rejected as well is any other principle, especially when the situation is difficult. Premarital sexual activity constitutes a fundamental disruption of the truth of the human person as a spiritual creature created for union with God now and eternally. It amounts to either a blind, animal-like pursuit of pleasure unaware of the spiritual and eternal dignity of self and others, or to a diabolical rebellion against everything.

IOW, having nice normal heterosex before marriage makes you more likely to have an abortion, AND it kills your soul. Hence: more Culture of Death.

and where modesty ties in, besides the obvious that dressin' sexy (which is only and always about the woman, natch) leads to premarital sex and hence, DEATH:

Modesty is a pre-condition for chastity, and chastity is the pre-condition for the culture of life.

but wait! it's -not- just about sex!

All modesty, by definition, is meant to be attractive. In fact that is its purpose to draw attention to oneself with a view to attracting other people's attention to oneself. Indiscriminate self-assertion; selfish display of one's gifts of body or soul; inordinate self-display of one's intelligence or will power; showing off one's talents or skills; exhibiting one's possession of knowledge or of ability in any field of human achievement - are all examples of what modesty is not. Common sense tells us that flaunting one's natural gifts or abilities is, to say the least, imprudent and in open contradiction to what Christian modesty should be.

...Why is Christian modesty so attractive? Because a modest person is a reflection of what Christ wants His followers to be. There is one lesson that He taught us to learn from Him, and that was to be meek and humble of heart. We are only as meek and gentle in our external behavior, in a word, only as modest in our conduct, as our hearts are conformed to the humility of a God who lowered Himself to become a man as an expression of His love.

There is nothing that so repels other people than to witness the proud exhibition of a man's gifts of nature or of grace. Humility attracts, pride repels; reserve is appealing, pride is always on display.

...Christian Modesty is the Precondition for Restoring Christianity

We now come closer to the central theme of our conference. We begin by making a positive assertion. There would be no pro-life movement in the world without Christianity. There would be no murder of the unborn and the aged and the handicapped and the infirmed and the unwanted - if Christianity were dominant in the modern world.

...We shall be only as successful in restoring the sanity which protects innocent human life only in the measure that we exercise our interior humility by the practice of exterior modesty.

No one should doubt that this will take, as I keep repeating, heroism among us Christians to resist the demonic pressures brought on by a world that laughs at Christian modesty and despises those who will not conform to the pagan sexual exhibitionism of our press and our dress, of our books and magazines, of our system of education and our business world of economics.

Without modesty there can be no chastity; without chastity there cannot be respect for human life; and without respect for human life there can be no civilization that can survive.


So, to recap:

*Once upon a time things may have been better, but now, caught in the grip of a corrupt and sinister Monolith, society is FUBAR.

*You can see this reflected in the tide of meaningless, unnatural, degrading, dehumanizing sex that has swamped the world. And womens' fashions. Oh yeah, and violence, too. Although, come to think of it, Wrong Sex IS violence, all by itself, and/or it leads to more literal murderdeathkill, which is why we must keep the focus relentlessly on it.

*Yer so SELFISH, you bunch of hedonists.

*Don't openly flaunt yourself or ask directly for what you want, because people will resent you. Be modest and unassuming and fade into the background, and then the world will beat a path to your door: this is good spirituality as well as good politics.

*It is up to us, and ONLY us, a small, near-powerless, oft-mocked group of humble, humble people to save the world. We will do it by relentlessly focusing on our personal adornment, comportment, and sex lives; and then, after having thoroughly gotten control of ourselves, we will share the Good News.

*No, don't thank us, really.


Questions? Comments? Did I leave anything out? I know this is all TOTALLY unfamiliar for everyone reading along here...


KH said...

So, what are you wearing right now? All I've got on is a little pantheistic thing. It's so hellishly hot in here.

Rootietoot said...

AS Christian mother of 4 (boys), I'm all for modest clothes. I was brought up that way, and that's what I'm comfortable with. I find the extrapolation of immodest clothing to slutty behavior and abortion a bit extreme, but not surprising. We Christians love to tie everything we see as Evil into one neat little package, because it's easier to throw around that way.

I think, once again, by bundling all these ideas together they are refusing to accept that people have brains and can make their own determination about lifestyles, whatever. Just because a girl wears short shorts and a bikini top (like my son's girlfriend) doesn't automatically mean she's going to get pregnant at the first possible opportunity and rush out for an abortion. She, in fact, has been known to leave a handprint on my son's face for getting too fresh.

SO, in defense of most Christians that *I* know, please don't lump all of us into that variant that damn all women who aren't wearing the American version of a burkha, even tho I am prone to wearing one myself.

(you KNEW I was going to say something about had to!)

Also-I'm open to any questions anyone might have about a Christian perspective on all this. as long as you're polite.

Rootietoot said...

Oh- and I'm wearing an ankle length cotton skirt and a loose linen tunic with a relatively high neck. It's very comfortable in the Southern heat.

Alon Levy said...

A sample from a Pundit-English dictionary:

"History teaches us" = "if you unquestioningly accept my historical bias, you'll see."

"Studies show" = "three studies published in fringe journals show."

"It sends a message" = "it has no proven effects except what I believe people ought to feel about it."

"Recreational" = "offends my sensibilities, but has no real ill effects."

"Social justice" = "revisionism."

"Liberty" = "unregulated capitalism."

"Traditional values" = "an airbrushed version of the 1950s."

"Culture of life" = "sexual repression."

"Respect" = "treat with obsequity."

"God" = "what we'd like to believe God is."

"Dialectical" = "pulled out of thin air."

"Individual initiative" = "the front end of success conditioned by a complex social network."

"Normalization" = "a process I don't like but can't give a good reason why."

KH said...

“[Colleen Hammond] said girls need to understand that their choices can influence others. ‘We’ve learned from history that as the morality of women declines, the culture follows with it,’ Hammond said.”

Feminist critics of prostitutes, stay-at-home mothers, & devotees of the color pink make exactly the same argument: “Your personal choices are wrong because they hurt other women, delay the collapse of a degenerate patriarchal culture [of death].” The empirical truth of the predicate, that my private choices really do hurt strangers, seems extremely dubious in most cases, but even if there were something to it, there’s an important ethical question. Mill’s harm principle, originally intended to restrict the public’s claims on people’s private lives, can, if it turns out that virtually everything anyone ever does has some effect, however miniscule, on someone else – think of the butterfly effect in chaos theory –, lead to the result that virtually no private choice should be left unmolested.

Utilitarianism can lead to this result, & that’s one main criticism of it. The fact that I’m writing this & you’re reading it means that we’re not out helping Botswanan AIDS patients. The care of a mother for her child comes at the expense of care to some other, more needy child. The pleasure you give your lover might better increase to total sum of human happiness if it were bestowed on some unloved & unlovely stranger on the A train. Even Mother Theresa allowed herself indulgences at the expense of increasing the total sum of human happiness. I think people do have obligations to others, but this kind of reasoning gives no weight to the integrity of people’s own personal projects. There’s always something more pressing than even your most intimate & deeply felt aims, & there’s no part of your live you can call your own.

I don’t have any answer to the moral problem, but wherever you draw the line, it seems to me that it can’t be wrong to give some weight to the integrity of your own life’s projects, that you have a right to some space beyond the demands of others. I very much doubt that the length of my hemline, or what goes on – without any outsider’s knowledge or interest – in my bedroom, actually, as a matter of fact, has any measurable effect on the course of any stranger’s life, much less the fate of nations. But in any case it can’t be right that a young woman should have to sacrifice or constantly second-guess every trivial or integral expression of her personality, just in the name of somebody else’s idea of the greater good. It’s right to be skeptical of moralizing strangers’ immodest claims to property rights in your modesty, your body, your life’s projects.

Renegade Evolution said...

Oh shit, they're onto the plan!

(Rolls eyes)...

I am just gonna say, Thank God for Christian's like Rootie...

belledame222 said...

Well, again: the point isn't what the mandate is or how it's rationalized (or hidden), the point is that there's a mandate at all. rootie, you get the distinction between "this is my path" and "this is how it must be for everyone;" so do most people commenting here, i rather think. That's the difference.

SnowdropExplodes said...


The answer to the moral tangle lies in the analogy of the "butterfly effect".

Put simply, the answer lies in the fact that, with the butterfly and the hurricane, it can never be known that killing the butterfly before it flaps will prevent the hurricane - even if you managed to kill every suspect butterfly, it might be that doing so might only end up making the hurricane worse.

The phrase currently being used to fight this proposal:

is the need for "definite proof of harm" (of which there is none in this case) before a law is made against 'x'. And I accept that principle, even when it means that things that I think should be outlawed, are protected by that principle.

"Culture of Death", of course, is a far too cool name for something to oppose. Although, more scary than "Culture of Quality of Life", which is a closer description of what opposition there really is.

KH said...


Thanks for the link. There are 100 things to say about the UK criminal justice bill. I certainly agree that the 1st question about these proposals should be about the evidence for the alleged harm. It’s often transparent bullshit or just nonexistent; we just live in a culture in which every 2-bit authoritarian’s long since learned that the best way to impose his will is by screaming “you’re hurting me” (or some unspecified other). JS Mill would not be amused. A certain measure of uncertainty’s inherent in any prediction of harm, & even assuming the opposing sides could concert a common view of the evidence, it’s inevitable there’ll be disagreement over the appropriate standard of proof. I don’t know what’s involved in the “definite proof of harm” concept, but it seems like a sensible position to take in the current situation.

Legislators tend not to hold themselves to a consistent standard from bill to bill, & MPs who reject the demand for definite proof where porn is involved may have higher standards where legislation that cuts closer to home is involved. So I hope the appropriate people know the voting histories of opposing MPs.

Tort law’s a whole other matter.

But my main point is that there’s an unavoidable ethical question beyond this question of harm. Everything we do, either by commission or omission, may make someone worse off than if we’d done something else, e.g., something designed specifically to maximize his interests. (The asymmetry in attitudes toward acts of commission & omission’s another story.) The time people spend fighting porn could have been spent working with Mother Theresa, or 100 other ways that arguably would’ve done more to increase the sum total of human happiness. But I don’t propose banning anti-porn agitation, for, among others, the reasons given in the previous comment. For people to live recognizably human lives, there has to be some space for them to pursue their personal projects free from the demand that everything they do should benefit others. Don’t cede this point in the fight over standards of evidence of harm.

Have people in the UK completely forgotten about Hart-Devlin?

KH said...

But on the butterfly effect, just to clarify, it’s not wise to stand on the claim that you just can’t ever know anything about what the effects will be. Like everyone else, lawmakers are regularly obliged to act on uncertain information, & will know that the absence of perfect certainty means neither that nothing can be known about future consequences – not every system is chaotic, & we are often able to make useful, albeit less than perfectly certain predictions –, nor that we can’t rationally act. The argument isn’t that in principle we can’t know anything, but that in this case we can know that there’s little likelihood that the alleged harms are real.

Rootietoot said...

"rootie, you get the distinction between "this is my path" and "this is how it must be for everyone;""

Yes I do, it's what keeps me from smacking Ren upside the head with my Oxford Annotated. It's also the biggest arguement I have with the Christian See, it's my beliefthrough years and years of study under Jesuits and other Great Thinkers, that the Bible today has undergone 5000 years of interpretation and redirection by human beings with an agenda. Consequently, I am not entirely sure the Word we read today is the same Word that was said by God to Moses or through Jesus Christ and Paul. Because of my belief, much of what is said by the so-called leaders (Pat Robertson, Jerry FAllwell,and all) has little veracity. I could be wrong about that, but I don't believe I'm going to burn in hell if I am. But then I could be wrong about that, too. I'm not saying I think the Bible is hooey- I don't, but I don't trust the interpreters.

faustopheles said...

The harm principle articulated most clearly in John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, though it is also articulated in John Locke's Second Treatise of Government and in the work of Wilhelm von Humboldt, to whom Mill is obliged and discusses at length. Mill argues that the sole purpose of law should be to stop people from harming others and that should people want to participate in victimless crimes, crimes with no complaining witness, such as gambling, drug usage, engaging in prostitution, then they should not be encroached in doing so.

Octogalore said...

"She said girls need to understand that their choices can influence others."

As so many above have said much more eloquently, this is a pretty sucky reason for a fashion choice. Mill's harm principle is certainly apt here.

I don't think this means modestly is NEVER to be sought as an environment, even though it shouldn't EVER be anyone's responsibility to anyone else, though. But the only exception I can think of is children or early teens/mid teens. I don't want my daughter going to a elementary or junior high school filled with a bunch of Britney wannabes. This gets into one of the only areas where I thought Ariel Levy was right on. Where kids are not sure they really do want to experiment with different aspects of sexuality just yet, exposure to that as the norm isn't, IMO, ideal.

queen emily said...

I like how they talk about Planned Parenthood like it's a sentient, malevolent being. Beautiful stuff.


on ur internetz, sexn upp ur girlz


Sin said...

"She said girls need to understand that their choices can influence others."

This is like in Islam, where the commonly espoused reason for insisting on the hijab and burqa is "so that the passions of men aren't inflamed". Is it REALLY that tough for men to control themselves? Hell, I see the occasional piece of delicious male Muslim totty, but you don't see me losing control.

Leaving aside all other elements of the discussion, I'm quite frankly worried about what sort of clothes this woman would recommend. I mean, anyone who's OK with a book-cover as tacky as this one can't possibly be serious about promoting "tasteful style that accentuates the grace and beauty of your femininity". I mean, come ON. It's an aesthetic nightmare.