Jump to content

In case you didn't know where the "grooming" hysteria originated


Recommended Posts

(And admittedly, I didn't.)

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/2022/07/24/grooming-sex-ed-nebraska-judith-reisman/

Claim that sex ed ‘grooms’ kids jolted Nebraska politics a year before it swept the nation

The unsubstantiated claim led to a backlash against sex ed that helped topple local Republican Party leaders and propelled a wave of far-right candidates for local and statewide school board

 July 24, 2022
 

KEARNEY, Neb. — Last year, when the state board of education proposed new sex-education standards for teaching about issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity and consent, a retired pediatrician in this central Nebraska town reached out to Gov. Pete Ricketts and state lawmakers.

“This is NOT Sex Ed as anyone knows it,” Sue Greenwald wrote in a July 16, 2021, email obtained by The Washington Post. Lessons that met these standards, she wrote, would be “ ‘grooming’ children to be sexual victims.”

It was a shocking claim, and it was catching on — repeated by Greenwald, by members of the Protect Nebraska Children Coalition, a group she co-founded to oppose the standards, and embraced by Ricketts (R) himself. The message also spread through screenings at libraries and churches of “The Mind Polluters,” billed as an “investigative documentary” that “shows how the vast majority of America’s public schools are prematurely sexualizing children.”

Grooming erupted as a national issue earlier this year, but this state in America’s heartland has been roiled by that attack on comprehensive sex education since last spring, providing a unique window into a newly inflamed debate. The unsubstantiated claim helped activate an army of self-described Nebraska patriots who rose up against the standards, took over the local Republican Party and propelled a wave of far-right candidates for local and statewide school boards, a Post examination found. Earlier this month, these activists were part of a broader, anti-establishment insurgency that toppled leaders of the state Republican Party.

The term “groomer” has become a catchall epithet hurled by the right wing against the left, particularly against advocates for LGBT people, who have become the target of a recent surge in violent threats and attacks. The Post’s examination focused on the specific claim that modern sex education — including lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity — makes children more vulnerable to pedophiles.

Greenwald and others who have endorsed that claim acknowledged to The Post that there is no scientific body of research that shows such lessons make children more likely to be victimized. The American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics both back a comprehensive approach to sex ed that includes discussions of sexual orientation, contraception and consent. Leading child abuse experts say that arming children with information helps protect them against harm.

Nonetheless, the claim that comprehensive sex ed amounts to grooming has simmered on the right for decades, often fanned by Christian conservatives who disapprove of same-sex relationships and favor home schooling and private schools over public education, The Post found. The foundation was laid in part by Judith Reisman, a self-styled expert who opposed gay rights, claimed that gay people are more likely to sexually abuse children, and spent decades trying to discredit pioneering work by the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey.

Reisman, who died last year, makes multiple appearances in “The Mind Polluters” to bolster the argument that modern sex education makes children more vulnerable to predators. Greenwald and candidates endorsed by a political committee she helped launch have promoted the film, and much of their criticism of the proposed standards echoed Reisman’s views.

 
In an image from video, Kearney school board candidate Paul Hazard speaks during the May 7, 2021, state board of education meeting in opposition to proposed new sex-education standards. (Nebraska Department of Education)

Paul Hazard, a former state trooper who dubbed the proposed sex-ed standards “a pedophile’s dream,” was the top vote-getter in the May primary among eight candidates for the Kearney school board. Sherry Jones, a retired educator who has said the standards “sealed” her decision to run for an open seat on the state school board, garnered more than twice as many primary votes as Danielle Helzer, who supported the sex-ed framework. Elections for the local and state school boards are nonpartisan.

“Vote for SHERRY!!! Helzer wants to groom your kids for pedophiles & traffickers,” one Jones supporter wrote on Facebook. Helzer, 36, is a former teacher who has screened volunteers for the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program.

“I don’t take it personally because I know it’s not true, but I don’t take it lightly,” Helzer, who as the runner-up will move on to the general election in November, said in an interview. “People are genuinely fearful of their kids being sexually abused, and that fear has driven them to use grooming as a political weapon.”

Jones and Hazard did not respond to requests for comment.

In an email to The Post, Greenwald, 64, wrote that as a pediatrician who has examined abused children and testified in court as an expert witness, she believes there are similarities between materials currently used in public school sex-ed programs and the sexually explicit language and images used by pedophiles.

“The fact that they are already desensitized or ‘groomed’ by a trusted adult to accept sexual language and images as appropriate could make it that much easier for a predator to gain that child’s cooperation in understanding and accepting sexual demands,” Greenwald wrote.

 
Judith Reisman, shown in a 2012 C-SPAN interview, was a self-styled expert who opposed gay rights, claimed that gay people are more likely to sexually abuse children and spent decades trying to discredit pioneering work by the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. (Courtesy of C-SPAN)
A songwriter becomes a crusader

Reisman was not trained as a psychologist or sociologist or sex researcher. She had worked as a songwriter for the children’s television program “Captain Kangaroo” in the 1970s. Then, concerned about the effect of television on children, she earned a doctorate in communications in 1980, according to her résumé.

Her 10-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted years earlier by a neighbor boy who had been looking at his father’s Playboy magazines, Reisman later recalled in an essay, and she focused some of her research on pornography. But she made a name for herself by criticizing Kinsey, whose work had helped to usher in the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s. Reisman highlighted data he had published about children’s orgasms, claiming that his work had justified child sexual abuse and triggered a cultural decline.

Her work caught the attention of conservatives in Washington, and in the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department approved a grant of more than $700,000 that she used to study cartoon images of children in Playboy, Hustler and Penthouse magazines. The fact that the grant had been awarded on a noncompetitive basis, coupled with questions about Reisman’s credentials and an auditor’s finding that the study as originally proposed could be done for $60,000, fueled congressional oversight hearings.

Reisman defended her work in a 1985 Washington Post op-ed, writing that her efforts to catalogue depictions of children engaged in sexual or violent activities would lay a foundation for preventing abuse. “When it is completed, I believe the citizenry will consider their $734,000 well spent,” she wrote.

The 1986 report was harshly criticized by some academics on a peer-review panel. The Justice Department declined to publish it. The agency eventually made it publicly available but did not endorse its methodology or findings.

Reisman went on to a career as an independent researcher, and later as a research professor at the Liberty University School of Law and at the evangelical university’s School of Behavioral Sciences, though she was not trained as a lawyer or psychologist. Her advocacy helped prompt the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University to disclose that a pedophile’s diary had been the source of the data on children’s orgasms.

She likened school clubs that supported LGBT students to Hitler Youth groups, claiming that both sought to cut children off from their parents’ traditions and beliefs, a review of her writings shows. She praised “Pink Swastika,” a widely denounced book whose authors claim that gay people were “the guiding force behind many Nazi atrocities.” And she claimed gay adults were trying to persuade children to be gay using “vigilant and organized wooing.”

Reisman was dedicated to fighting what she called “Kinseyan” sex education that she said was becoming the norm in the United States. A 1990 book she co-wrote argued that modern sex education was tainted with a “gay agenda” and a “pedophile agenda.”

Over the years, Reisman continued claiming links between sex education and pedophilia, though the terminology shifted: What she and her allies once called “Kinseyan” sex education got a new name, “comprehensive sexuality education,” or CSE.

In 2012, she spoke at a gathering of the powerful network of Republican donors and activists known as the Council for National Policy, according to a confidential agenda obtained by the watchdog group Documented. “Action steps” circulated after the session, also obtained by Documented, included a call for investigating sex educators “for criminal ‘grooming,’ lowering children’s … resistance to both pedophile predation and victimization.”

Those who echo Reisman’s views today often cite an FBI agent’s 2002 congressional testimony describing how pedophiles aim to “sexually arouse children” and “expose them to sexual acts before they are naturally curious.” Sex-education materials do the same thing, critics argue.

Sharon Slater, president of Family Watch International, an Arizona-based nonprofit that works with Greenwald’s group and opposes CSE and LGBT rights, wrote in an email to The Post: “While there is no empirical evidence supporting the claims that CSE can make children more vulnerable to sexual abuse, there is ample evidence based on the many CSE programs Family Watch has analyzed that an alarming number of popular CSE programs utilize the same techniques often used by pedophiles to sexualize children or groom children to engage in sex.”

David Finkelhor, a child abuse expert at the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, said research on comprehensive sex education shows that it reduces risky sexual behavior and may be in part responsible for decreases in teen pregnancy and early onset of sexual activity. Research also suggests that sex education — including teaching children the proper names of private body parts — helps “prevent grooming rather than to make them vulnerable to grooming,” Finkelhor said.

Reisman, he added, for years took “extreme and alarmist positions that are far outside the bounds of social science findings about children and sex education.”

 
Downtown Kearney, Neb., a college town and county seat in an agricultural community. (Mary Anne Andrei for The Washington Post)
Proposed standards prompt backlash

On March 10, 2021, Nebraska’s education department released proposed health-education standards, including grade-by-grade guidelines for sex education. Kindergartners would learn medically accurate terms for body parts, including genitalia, and about interracial and same-sex families. They would also learn about “consent” and “how to clearly say no.” First-graders would learn the definitions of gender identity and gender-role stereotypes. The meaning of sexual orientation would be explained in third grade.

Opposition was led by Greenwald and other residents of Kearney, a college town in an agricultural community. It is the seat of government for Buffalo County, where three out of five voters are Republicans. Donald Trump twice carried the predominantly White county of about 50,000 people.

Eight days after Nebraska officials released the standards, parents and grandparents formed a private Facebook group, which became a key organizing tool of the Protect Nebraska Children Coalition.

Kearney resident Kathy Adams, 67, a retired nurse, recalled printing the standards out and using a yellow highlighter and red pen to register her objections. “Pornography,” she called the standards. Homosexuality is at odds with her Christian faith, she told The Post, and she questioned the idea that a person’s gender identity could be different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Adams said she also was concerned about the effect of peer pressure and social media, remembering that when she worked as a middle school teaching assistant a few years ago, “all of sudden it was like a fad and it was kind of taking off, either claiming to be gay or claiming to be transgender.” The proposed sex-ed framework would make children curious to take risks, she added, and would “make it easier for kids to get abused.”

By May 2021, the Protect Nebraska Children Coalition counted more than 14,000 followers on Facebook. Slater said Family Watch International provided advice and technical support for the coalition. Greenwald, who in the Facebook group called Slater “an extraordinary mentor,” described the coalition to The Post as grass roots and Nebraska-led.

Slater has written that teaching children that homosexuality is normal is part of a broad effort to “justify behavior that is inherently destructive to both society and to the individual.” She told The Post that her organization condemns imparting any information that would “sexualize children,” including lessons about heterosexual sex.

The Protect Nebraska Children Coalition helped build a groundswell against the standards by starting a petition drive, lobbying public officials and launching a Facebook campaign targeting the Nebraska Department of Education and some state school board members. “#AbolishNDE,” said one July 2021 Facebook post featuring photos of drag queens next to state education officials. “Get your kids out of Nebraska public schools.”

 
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) called for the new sex-ed standards to be scrapped just one day after their release and then toured the state to galvanize opposition. (Nati Harnik/AP)

By then, Greenwald had been making her case to Ricketts, the governor, for months, emails show. In the email she sent to a legislative aide on June 23 and then forwarded to three state lawmakers and a staffer to Ricketts in July, Greenwald claimed that the goal of CSE is to “unmoor children from their parents’ values.”

She elaborated in her email to The Post, saying that a CSE curriculum already in some schools, developed by the nonprofit Advocates for Youth, teaches 10th grade students about forms of contraception they might choose if they are afraid of their parents finding out. “Parents want excellent public education, free from sexual content, religion or political and gender ideology, just as it has been for generations,” she told The Post.

In the CSE curriculum that Greenwald flagged, when lessons in older grades turn more explicitly to sex and sexuality, assignments call for children to talk with their parents about their values, a review of the curriculum shows. It does suggest that teachers can discuss options for teenagers who want to use birth control without their parents’ knowledge, one of which is talking about forms of contraception that are easier to hide. Lessons in early grades focus on naming body parts and respecting personal boundaries.

As an example of “sexually explicit” terms taught to young children, Greenwald pointed to language describing the vagina and penis, but the descriptions come from a page labeled “teacher’s use only … not to be distributed to students.” She also said she objected to material that “normalizes masturbation” and “describes orgasm in detail.”

Masturbation is mentioned in a seventh-grade lesson as an activity that carries no risk of sexually transmitted disease, along with kissing on the lips and holding hands, the review shows. The lesson on orgasm is designated for 12th-graders.

Advocates for Youth said in a statement to The Post that opponents of comprehensive sex education misrepresent what it teaches. If parents examine the curriculum themselves, the statement said, they will find it “encourages students to think critically, act responsibly and respect each other’s boundaries and diversity.”

As they attacked the proposed curriculum, Greenwald and like-minded activists had a powerful ally in Ricketts, who called for the standards to be scrapped just one day after their release and then toured the state to galvanize opposition. At a July 1 “Protect Our Kids & Schools” town hall meeting he held, Ricketts referenced Greenwald: “These standards are sexualizing our children. I talked to one pediatrician who said this is ‘Grooming 101.’ ”

‘We know our opponent now’

Drew Blessing, a Kearney school board member, early on joined the Protect Nebraska Children group on Facebook and tried to correct what he called “a ton of misinformation” about the proposed standards. But Blessing said he was shut out from the private group over the summer. Some foes of the standards accused him of being a “groomer” in emails, he said.

“We’re talking about public schools, not Christian schools,” said Blessing, 34, who is active in his church. “We are not trying to teach kids to be gay or trans … but we have to acknowledge these differences exist and that we all deserve kindness and respect.”

Greenwald said Blessing was excluded from the Facebook group after “multiple complaints” from other participants, which she did not detail.

On July 29, 2021, Nebraska education officials announced revised standards that omitted references to genitalia, sexual orientation and same-sex and interracial families. Gender identity would not be introduced until seventh grade, and “consent” would not be mentioned until eighth grade. School districts would not be required to adopt the standards.

Protect Nebraska Children Coalition opposed this draft, too, arguing that it still contained Kinsey-inspired CSE, according to materials posted to the group’s Facebook page. One standard highlighted as objectionable said: “Describe ways to show dignity and respect for all people.” Greenwald said that standard was “intentionally vague” and could open the door to “divisive” ideas such as critical race theory, an academic framework that examines the way policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism.

Nebraska officials announced Sept. 3 they were shelving the standards. Greenwald issued a rallying cry.

“We know our opponent now; who they associate with and who funds them,” she wrote that day on Facebook. “We know who our allies are in the Legislature and the Governor’s office. We know who to support and who to replace on all our respective local school boards. …. We will not be caught sleeping again.”

In November, Greenwald and other leaders of her group launched the Protect Nebraska Children political action committee to endorse candidates for local and state school boards. Michael Meyer, a Kearney health insurance agent who had testified before the state board against the sex-ed standards, helped candidates backed by the new political committee set up websites.

 
Michael Meyer, a Kearney health insurance agent, has fought the proposed sex-ed standards and worked on the campaigns of some of the candidates endorsed by Protect Nebraska Children PAC. (Mary Anne Andrei for The Washington Post)

“I’ve been more politically active in the last year than I was in my entire life combined. And I am 54 years old,” he told The Post.

Soon, “The Mind Polluters” began showing around Nebraska. Adams, the resident who took a pen and highlighter to the standards, who like Meyer had not been involved in politics, said she organized several screenings at Kearney Public Library.

The movie was produced last year by Mark and Amber Archer, a Christian couple from Indiana whose “statement of faith” on the website of their Fearless Features filmmaking ministry describes homosexuality, lesbianism and bisexuality as “sexual immorality,” grouped with bestiality and incest. The Archers did not respond to requests for comment.

The movie claims students “are being groomed for sex with pedophiles” and says parents are obligated as Christians to remove their children from public schools.

The film became a political organizing tool, as many Protect Nebraska Children PAC-backed candidates either hosted screenings or attended them and spoke to audience members afterward, according to social media reviewed by The Post.

Helzer, the state school board candidate in the district that includes Kearney, attended a screening in March, 2022, hosted by her opponent, Jones, at Jones’s church. In a Facebook post, Helzer said she thought it was “weak in research but strong in scare tactics.”

 
Nebraska state school board candidate Danielle Helzer, at her home in Grand Island, Neb., is a proponent of comprehensive sex education, and has been called a groomer. (Misty Prochaska for The Washington Post)
Mutiny in Kearney

Starting in February, a debate over sex education erupted in Florida and began drawing national media attention. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was pushing what a spokeswoman called “an anti-grooming bill,” which barred teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with young children. Opponents derided the legislation as “don’t say gay.”

Over the three previous years, Twitter averaged 940 mentions per day of the term “groomer,” according to an analysis by Advance Democracy Inc., a nonpartisan nonprofit that conducts public interest research. On March 28, the day DeSantis signed the bill, that jumped to more than 11,000 mentions. By April 6, it had climbed to more than 80,000 mentions.

A Post analysis also found an increase in grooming chatter after March 28 on platforms favored by right-wing activists, such as Gab, Patriots.win and Telegram.

By then, Christopher Rufo, a right-wing influencer credited with spearheading attacks on critical race theory, had turned his attention to grooming, his Twitter account shows. “Grooming has a range of definitions: one can be groomed into an ideology, groomed into a gender identity, or groomed for physical abuse,” he wrote in one April Twitter post. Another April post described public schools as “hunting grounds for sexual predators.” It linked to an essay he wrote citing a 2004 study by scholar Charol Shakeshaft, who estimated that 10 percent of K-12 students receive unwanted sexual attention from a school employee.

In an interview, Shakeshaft told The Post that she is “distraught” that her research has been used to justify claims that sex education amounts to grooming. She supports teaching comprehensive sex education. “It gives the child a set of tools to help keep themselves safe,” she said.

Rufo told The Post that Shakeshaft has done important research that deserves federally funded further investigation, adding that he finds it “quite strange that she is ‘distraught’ that the public is learning more about this problem and expressing concern.”

While grooming was peaking on social media, central Nebraska was starting to see the political effect of the attacks on comprehensive sex education.

After their victory over the standards, the newly emboldened activists took on the Buffalo County Republican Party. Almost 100 people signed up to be delegates to the county GOP’s biennial convention on March 31, nearly triple the number in three previous election cycles, records show.

“We didn’t know what the hell was going on,” said Buffalo County Election Commissioner Lisa Poff, whose office is required to verify that delegates are registered Republicans.

At the convention, the surge of delegates elected a new slate of officers — nearly all of whom had been involved in the sex-ed fight. Greenwald was named state committeewoman. Kirby Wilson, a 56-year-old Kearney businessman who quoted a Bible passage referring to “homosexual offenders” at one state school board meeting, was tapped as state committeeman. Joe Maul, a 54-year-old insurance adjuster who had helped start a group called the Central Nebraska Patriots, which also opposed the standards, was elected chairman.

The outgoing slate of officers had not supported the standards, according to several people who attended the convention, but they had not been on the front lines to oppose them either. Faced with a crowd of insurgents, none of the current officers sought reelection. None responded to calls or emails from The Post.

“They didn’t work hard enough so they got replaced,” Maul said.

J.L. Spray, a Nebraska GOP national committeeman who attended the convention, said party leaders in roughly a dozen other counties were supplanted in recent months by activists mobilized, in part, by the fight over sex education.

On the eve of the May primary, James Clark, the Buffalo County party’s new vice chairman, was setting up folding chairs for the monthly meeting at the Kearney library. Clark, 69, had testified against the standards and said the debate was a major reason he decided “it’s time” to get involved.

Clark had never been to a local party meeting before his own election. “I was never invited. It was like they didn’t know me,” Clark said, grinning. “They know me now.”

About 50 people attended the meeting, mostly middle-aged folks and seniors. Maul waxed nostalgic about a time when his parents didn’t lock the front door. Whether anyone was “gay or straight” was never discussed. Parents were responsible for warning their kids about the neighborhood “pervert.”

“There’s been a lot of people that have woken up to the fact that the public school system now no longer teaches reading, writing and ’rithmetic,” he told the receptive crowd, adding that teachers are trying to “usurp the parents’ responsibility and teach our kids about sexuality, gender, you name it. And when did that happen and why? As Christian conservatives, why would we ever agree with that?”

 
Kearney school board candidates speak at a forum held at the Kearney Eagles Club on April 28, 2022. (Mary Anne Andrei for The Washington Post)

In the next day’s primary, all four of the state school board candidates endorsed by the Protect Nebraska Children PAC advanced to the general election. For seats on the Kearney school board, only one of the four candidates the political committee backed did not garner enough primary votes to compete in November.

Earlier this month, Protect Nebraska Children Coalition members were among the newly minted Republican activists who flooded the party’s state convention, held in Kearney. Many had been mobilized by false claims of election fraud and a divisive gubernatorial primary. And much like leaders of the Buffalo County GOP in late March, leaders of the state party faced a mutiny.

The drama began a few days earlier, when half a dozen Republicans at odds with the sitting GOP governor were denied credentials to attend the convention. Among them was Matt Innis, a former U.S. Senate candidate and prominent opponent of the proposed sex-ed standards.

On Saturday, Innis, 51, was arrested for trespassing at the convention. He later regained entry. The state party chairman was sacked and a number of party officers immediately resigned.

“When I traveled the state to talk about the standards, I would tell people they no longer have the option not to pay attention,” Innis said. “They have to be involved so the radical left doesn’t indoctrinate our children anymore. People have woken up.”

Jeremy Merrill and Alice Crites contributed to this report.

Edited by homersapien
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites





Republicans bought hook, line, and sinker the narrative that its LGBTQ and transgender people who are trying to ‘groom’ and sexually abuse Americas children while at the same time turning a blind eye to the people who are ACTUALLY getting arrested and uncovered sexually abusing our children, which are almost exclusively outwardly heterosexual men in our churches, schools, and communities. 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Facepalm 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can't have a fascist takeover without the christian nationalists. 

The idea that homosexuality is some sort of "super sin" is ignorant.  Worse, it is hateful.

  • Facepalm 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Republicans see LGBTQ individuals in a sexual relationship with other LGBTQ instead of LGBTQ people being in a loving, romantic relationship with others. It's easy to project grooming on LGBTQ individuals when they're already picturing them to be sexual deviants, when there're far too many examples of how straight male religious leaders, politicians, and community leaders were engaged in these acts.

  • Like 2
  • Haha 1
  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, AUDynasty said:

Republicans see LGBTQ individuals in a sexual relationship with other LGBTQ instead of LGBTQ people being in a loving, romantic relationship with others. It's easy to project grooming on LGBTQ individuals when they're already picturing them to be sexual deviants, when there're far too many examples of how straight male religious leaders, politicians, and community leaders were engaged in these acts.

Can you provide your definition of a sexual deviant? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of which, just yesterday the HR Director of Crestwood Hospital in Huntsville was arrested for sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. Somehow that's only a $5,000 bail, but anyway. 

Check out his FB page, and guess what? Dude went to private Christian school, is an ordained minister, and posts Bible sermons all over his account. 

 

 

Edited by CoffeeTiger
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, CoffeeTiger said:

Speaking of which, just yesterday the HR Director of Crestwood Hospital in Huntsville was arrested for sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12. Somehow that's only a $5,000 bail, but anyway. 

Check out his FB page, and guess what? Dude went to private Christian school, is an ordained minister, and posts Bible sermons all over his account. 

 

 

I expect there's more "grooming" going on in the churches than anywhere.

https://aninjusticemag.com/religious-indoctrination-strongly-overlaps-with-grooming-children-for-abuse-a76423fc0379

Religious Indoctrination Strongly Overlaps With Grooming Children For Abuse

It’s time to hold the church accountable for the harm they continue to inflict on the innocent

As a dutiful parent, I thought it was important to research the grooming tactics of child predators. I read a dozen or so articles. Some of them broke up the process into 8 steps. Some of them used 12. But no matter how the process was presented, I kept thinking the same thing.

The grooming process is almost identical to fundamental religious indoctrination.

As long as I live, I’ll never understand why more people don’t express fury over the horrible atrocities that the church has committed and continues to commit. I suppose the answer is that our whole society has been, itself, indoctrinated to accept their behavior. In a sense, our entire culture has been groomed to become an accessory for abuse.

The basic tenants of religion are to blame.

Good parents need to cultivate a zero-tolerance attitude towards the behaviors common to predators. Ultimately, you are responsible for the well-being of your children. You can’t turn a blind eye just because the guilty party has a social status you’ve been conditioned to respect. That respect is an element of abuse conditioning. Predators have learned to camouflage themselves.

Guilt

It’s amazingly hypocritical that Republican politicians will say that schools shouldn’t teach the truth about slavery, racism, or other American atrocities because students have the right to “feel good about themselves.” Yet they say nothing when preachers threaten children with being burned in hellfire for all eternity.

We’ve simply got to train ourselves to stop having this blind spot to the dangerous and abusive lunacy of religion. Guilt is synonymous with religion, and it sometimes creates terrible problems that people have to contend with their entire lives.

But for some believers, Catholic guilt is not a joke. Taken to the extreme, it can become an obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as scrupulosity. A number of famous Catholics have written about or struggled with scrupulosity, including St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Alphonsus Liguori and the soon-to-be-sainted Archbishop Óscar Romero — Rachel Ehmke, When “Catholic guilt” gets in the way of Catholic faith

Guilt as a tactic for grooming

It’s so insidious that the church essentially decided to leverage all of its power on the concept of guilt. Guilt is a very strong emotion, and vulnerable people are sometimes in desperate need of help. Unfortunately, when predators recognize that vulnerability, they see an opportunity, not a responsibility.

This is not to say that the church was conceived as a massive mechanism for pedophiles, but you’re delusional if you can’t recognize that it’s been corrupted to become exactly that. Psychologists have made advancements in understanding the mentality of predators. It’s not a coincidence that manufacturing guilt has become one of their primary weapons.

Offenders will often blame the child for their abusive behavior towards them by telling them that if they did not do x, y, or z the abuse would not have happened. By making the child feel responsible and shameful about what happens, they are reinforcing the dependency the child has on them (they still love them even though they do these bad things) and increases the child’s commitment to protecting the secret — FocusForHealth.org, How Predators Groom and Control their Victims

The purpose of the church should be to help people release themselves from their guilt. Over the years, the church has become a source of guilt. Their treatment of members of the LGBTQ community, to name one example, has been deplorable.

There’s enough guilt in life already without having massively funded organizations going out of their way to create more. As a parent, you’re putting your child in harm’s way if you take them somewhere that is hyper-focused on demanding that you should feel guilty about everything.

Isolation

Throughout my life, it’s always been my experience that individuals who attend a certain church tend to hang out in groups together and regard outsiders with suspicion. Perhaps it’s a regional phenomenon, but it’s commonplace in northern Wisconsin.

When my wife and I first moved here from Peru, there were several odd “recruiting” efforts made by certain families. These people appeared nice, but something seemed off. It was as if our needs weren’t their primary concern, and they were instead acting out some odd and ill-advised sense of obligation.

Recently, my daughter came home from school and said that the mother of one of her friends didn’t allow her to read Harry Potter because it was an endorsement of witchcraft. Even that act cuts off an avenue of interaction with the child’s peers. Once you isolate individuals, you have control over them.

The predator will begin distancing the target from friends or family. This can be done in multiple ways, including surprisingly positive methods such as compliments and favors. The predator may tell the intended victim that they feel an especially strong connection to them, or that they understand each other in a special way that no one else can get. Control is the predator’s intent. By appearing calm and concerning, the predator is seeking to increase their influence over the victim to advance their agenda — How to Identify Grooming and What to Do if You See It

Again, this form of grooming is simply built into the standard practices of most religions.

Touching

My wife told me that she used to be a regular churchgoer until the priest started getting a little too “handsy.” The worst part of this form of grooming is that it corrupts what is a very effective way of providing true comfort.

Grooming begins with nonsexual touching, such as accidental or playful touching to desensitize the child so the child does not resist a more sexualized touch. The offender then exploits the child’s curiosity to advance the sexuality of the interaction — MCASA (Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault), Behaviors of Sexual Predators: Grooming

When your child is upset, there is nothing you can say or do that is better than just giving him/her a hug. Imagine how cruel a person has to be to subvert an innocent hug into a preliminary act of abuse. If the poor victim ever manages to escape the clutches of the abuser, s/he is likely to have forfeited forever the natural comfort of physical contact.

What chance does this person have of navigating future difficulties if the comfort of an honest embrace has been forever stolen from them?

These are the people to keep in mind when hysterical, militant zealots start frothing at the mouth about concepts such as religious freedom.

Abusers are most likely to be religious

There is a threat hidden in plain sight and it’s irresponsible that our society refuses to recognize it. Churches are danger zones for your children, plain and simple. In fact, they’re so dangerous that any public service announcement warning about the dangers of child predators that fails to mention religion is criminally irresponsible.

If you are religious and this hurts your feelings, I don’t care. What I care about is protecting innocent children. What’s the matter with you?

Our society needs to recognize and accept that the natural structure and organization of the church lays out children for child molesters like a buffet.

In one study, 93 percent of convicted sex offenders described themselves as “religious.” Perhaps surprisingly, many sexual predators consider churches as “safe havens,” Vieth said, with trusting, forgiving adults and easy access to children — Paula Schlueter Ross, Most child molesters ‘religious,’ often target church members

It’s important to know that pedophiles seem attracted to becoming members of the clergy. There are many positions that offer tremendous power with very little accountability. The enabling of the church of predatory members has been well documented.

It’s disgusting to think there are so many abusers who are such appalling and malicious hypocrites that they can pivot from abusing a child to lecturing a crowd of adults on the wickedness of sin.

Everything was so unreal. My stepfather was this popular minister with a real big congregation. The people who came to church on Sunday just loved him. I remember sitting in church and listening to him sermonize about mortal sin. I just wanted to scream out that this man is a hypocrite. I wanted to stand up and testify in front of the whole church that this wonderful man of God is screwing his thirteen-year-old stepdaughter — Account from case study supplied by Susan Forward, Ph.D. with Craig Buck, Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

These fraudulent individuals present themselves as passive and compassionate, but the second their power is threatened they are capable of extreme violence. Perhaps our society is collectively aware of the threat that lurks just beneath the surface. We catch a glimpse of it when we witness the spittle and rage of a fiery sermon.

Perhaps the vision of Hell they illustrate with such attention to detail is simply the reality they’ll inflict upon us if we stand up to their enduring mechanism of child torture? Is it all just a veiled threat that we should remain silent? Is the church dead set on grooming everyone?

Don’t be a contributor to the abuse funnel

It’s important that parents are aware of the nefarious and manipulative tactics of abusers. Abusers might attempt to leverage parental authority and use it as part of their abuse strategy.

A predator might touch your child in your presence so that he or she thinks that you are comfortable with the touching. This act might be as simple as draping an arm over the child’s shoulder or asking for a hug to say goodbye — Amanda Grossman-Scott, 8 Ways A Predator Might Groom Your Child

Abusers often coerce those around them to inadvertently contribute to their grooming pattern. They cultivate an army of abuse contributors that are known as “flying monkeys” and are named after the minions of the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz.

Most often, flying monkeys have no idea they are being used to groom a subject, because they have been convinced by the predator that he’s not a bad guy and his intentions are correct. They are often the abuser’s friends or family (especially spouses, girlfriends, children, friends, or siblings), enlisted by the predator to dismiss the victim’s concerns. A manipulator may also convince the victim’s friends or family members to side with him, or even authority figures such as police officers or pastors to side with the abuser rather than the victim — WomenAgainstCrime.com, How to Identify Grooming and What to Do if You See It

If you observe or are otherwise aware of behavior that indicates abuse and you do nothing, you are an active contributor to that abuse. Anyone who refuses to discuss or recognize the crimes of the church falls into this category.

This is why it’s important to resist actions out of reluctance to create a socially awkward scene. If a preacher taps your child on the shoulder, you should say, “Do not touch my child.” If that makes the preacher embarrassed, you’ve done your job as a parent.

This is also why it’s important for everyone to speak out against routine church behaviors that align with abuse. Abusers always try to turn the table and act like they are the victims. Our cultural inclination to turn a blind eye to the blatant transgressions of the church has transformed us all into accessories to child abuse.

It has to end.

Stop letting them get away with it

It’s amazing the contortions people will go through, even those educated in the field of psychology, to avoid arriving at a conclusion that couldn’t be more blatantly obvious. All anyone has to do is look at the basic steps abusers use to groom children into becoming their victims.

It’s what the church does. The church down your street is methodically going through all the steps one after another and ticking them off as if there is no problem.

This isn’t just hypothetical. Go ask the victims who it was that abused them. They’ll tell you. Why is our nation so tolerant of this? The evidence has been collected. We know who is raping our children. We have to speak out and put a stop to this ongoing atrocity.

Don’t send your children to church. That’s where all the pedophiles are. We have to warn our children about the dangers hidden in plain sight. We have to protect them.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing — Edmund Burke

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Facepalm 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, homersapien said:

I expect there's more "grooming" going on in the churches than anywhere.

Not “grooming”. Of course a natural place for sexual predators to attempt forming an affiliation. 

 

  • Sad 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, SaltyTiger said:

Not “grooming”. Of course a natural place for sexual predators to attempt forming an affiliation. 

 

Isn't that exactly the way conservatives (who invented the term) mean it? 

  • Like 1
  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, homersapien said:

Isn't that exactly the way conservatives (who invented the term) mean it? 

 Perhaps bad terminology. I do understand why parents have a problem with the curriculum. You are welcome to explain the benefit in schools introducing sexual orientation, gender identity…to kids. Please do so without posting a nine page dissertation from someone hoping to get published.
 

Again, churches are not “groomers”. 

  • Like 3
  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/26/2022 at 7:30 AM, icanthearyou said:

You can't have a fascist takeover without the christian nationalists. 

The idea that homosexuality is some sort of "super sin" is ignorant.  Worse, it is hateful.

This is where I drive the wedge in most of the fundies I know. They refuse to accept that all sin is sin. They want to insist that there are sins worse than others. 

Being obese? Not really a sin, even though it is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. 
Being gay? THE WORST SIN EVER!!!! Even though Christ doesnt ever address it. 

Just ask John Hagee...

Coronavirus: Megachurch Pastor John Hagee tests positive – KIRO 7 News  Seattle

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, SaltyTiger said:

 Perhaps bad terminology. I do understand why parents have a problem with the curriculum. You are welcome to explain the benefit in schools introducing sexual orientation, gender identity…to kids. Please do so without posting a nine page dissertation from someone hoping to get published.
 

Again, churches  are not “groomers”. 

Actually I'd say what is going on in churches is far more of a "grooming" function than educating kids to the reality of sexual variations and tolerance of same.  After all, the intent of what's happening in churches is clear. 

If you really think the sex education in schools has the same intent, I suggest you have fallen prey to the hysterical propaganda.

So we'll just disagree on that.

P.S.:  Please feel free to ignore any of my posts your are not interested in reading. I don't want to impose on you.

  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, homersapien said:

Actually I'd say what is going on in churches is far more of a "grooming" function than educating kids to the reality of sexual variations and tolerance of same.  After all, the intent of what's happening in churches is clear. 

If you really think the sex education in schools has the same intent, I suggest you have fallen prey to the hysterical propaganda.

So we'll just disagree on that.

P.S.:  Please feel free to ignore any of my posts your are not interested in reading. I don't want to impose on you.

Have not “fallen prey” to anything and have not witnessed any “hysteria”. Once again churches are not “grooming”. 

Can you honestly not understand why parents would be concerned about “sexual variations” being taught in school? 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, SaltyTiger said:

Have not “fallen prey” to anything and have not witnessed any “hysteria”. Once again churches are not “grooming”. 

Can you honestly not understand why parents would be concerned about “sexual variations” being taught in school? 

Parents that aren't familiar with the curriculum details or have never met their child's teacher?

Yes.  I can understand that.  Otherwise, No.

Now, how about explaining how introducing children to factual information about sexuality in an academic venue is "grooming" while utilizing the psychology of religion (trust) to persuade children into sexual acts - in a religious venue - is not grooming. 

I don't get it.

Edited by homersapien
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, SaltyTiger said:

Have not “fallen prey” to anything and have not witnessed any “hysteria”. Once again churches are not “grooming”. 

Can you honestly not understand why parents would be concerned about “sexual variations” being taught in school? 

On this forum, you are only allowed to view and discuss things in absolutes and stereotypes.

IE: If you have 10,000 people working with kids and youth in churches in a given area and 2-3 slip thru the cracks and actually do commit heinous acts against children, then of course here on this forum it is absolute canon that all 10,000 of the church workers are satanist pedophile child molesters. 

OTOH:

IE: Because some unknown, anonymous, never been right a day in his life moron on 4chan or on a reddit page somewhere with 5 members decides that HRC is involved with Pedo-Pizza in downtown NYC then, BY GAWD, THAT THERE MUST BE THE TRUTH!

So if you are looking for reason, you might want to join the messaging service here because Brother, there aint nothing but Partisan Hackery going on most days here.

Edited by DKW 86
  • Thanks 1
  • Dislike 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 hours ago, homersapien said:

Parents that aren't familiar with the curriculum details or have never met their child's teacher?

Yes.  I can understand that.  Otherwise, No.

Now, how about explaining how introducing children to factual information about sexuality in an academic venue is "grooming" while utilizing the psychology of religion (trust) to persuade children into sexual acts - in a religious venue - is not grooming. 

I don't get it.

I have not accused “grooming”. You have. I said perhaps bad terminology.

 

22 hours ago, homersapien said:

I don't get it.

You are correct. Read David’s response to Salty.

  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Demonizing homosexuals is the sin.  Whenever the church has dehumanized a group of people, the results have been an abomination. 

 

  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, icanthearyou said:

Demonizing homosexuals is the sin.  Whenever the church has dehumanized a group of people, the results have been an abomination. 

 

If you mean identifying homosexuality as a sin and against the Bible, churches are well within their right and should do so. If that is “demonizing” so be it. It is called accountability within the church. The Bible is very clear regarding this subject. It doesn’t mean the sinner cannot be saved if he has committed this sin. All sin can be forgiven but requires repentance (turning away) from the sin and not persisting in the sin.

 

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, icanthearyou said:

Demonizing homosexuals is the sin.  Whenever the church has dehumanized a group of people, the results have been an abomination. 

ICHY, we have people demonize people all the time on this forum and across the nation. It is never right and always an abomination.

We demonize all Republicans as MAGAs and all Democrats as Lunatic Progs that want to DTP, and Do Catch and Release for Illegal Immigrants and Criminals of all stripes. 

Of course we are a free people with 335M Opinions and none of that is true. But we have people on this forum that think ALL Republicans are Racist MAGAs and some that think ALL Dems are so open minded their brains have fallen out. Neither is true...

Edited by DKW 86
  • Like 1
  • Facepalm 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, jj3jordan said:

If you mean identifying homosexuality as a sin and against the Bible, churches are well within their right and should do so. If that is “demonizing” so be it. It is called accountability within the church. The Bible is very clear regarding this subject. It doesn’t mean the sinner cannot be saved if he has committed this sin. All sin can be forgiven but requires repentance (turning away) from the sin and not persisting in the sin.

So:
1) Homosexuality is one of the greatest sins and needs to be eradicated?
or
2) Homosexuality is just a sin and should be treated as we treat ALL SIN? 

Edited by DKW 86
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, icanthearyou said:

Demonizing homosexuals is the sin.  Whenever the church has dehumanized a group of people, the results have been an abomination. 

 

Who is “demonizing “ homosexuals in this thread? Just trying to figure why your mind went there.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, DKW 86 said:

So:
1) Homosexuality is one of the greatest sins and needs to be eradicated?
or
2) Homosexuality is just a sin and should be treated as we treat ALL SIN? 

All sins are sins and will relegate us to hell. Are some worse than others? No not really. The difference is if you commit a sin, say, adultery, petit theft, covetousness/envy, you can repent, turn away, and never commit those sins again. If you are in a homosexual relationship, you know it is sin, if you continue with that sin in open rebellion to God, you will not be forgiven of that sin until you turn away and remove yourself from it.  This is just me talking but it is what I believe and can be supported by scripture. My personal belief is that homosexuals who claim to be Christians are kidding themselves. And the pastors who condone that are in jeopardy themselves. But I am not judging anybody because we are all sinners. Disapproval is not hate against the person. That is a technique of the left to label us as haters and bigots. God is the judge and we will all face Him on judgement day.

  • Dislike 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, jj3jordan said:

All sins are sins and will relegate us to hell. Are some worse than others? No not really. The difference is if you commit a sin, say, adultery, petit theft, covetousness/envy, you can repent, turn away, and never commit those sins again. If you are in a homosexual relationship, you know it is sin, if you continue with that sin in open rebellion to God, you will not be forgiven of that sin until you turn away and remove yourself from it.  This is just me talking but it is what I believe and can be supported by scripture. My personal belief is that homosexuals who claim to be Christians are kidding themselves. And the pastors who condone that are in jeopardy themselves. But I am not judging anybody because we are all sinners. Disapproval is not hate against the person. That is a technique of the left to label us as haters and bigots. God is the judge and we will all face Him on judgement day.

So, all fat people, all smokers, all serial adulterers, etc they all go to hell because they dont stop sinning?

So the Blood of Christ isnt really the important thing, it just if you can stop? If I stop doing X, repent, and then lead a sinless life for the remainder of days, except that just before i die from cancer I take another drag on a cigarette, therefore dishonoring God's Temple, then I go to hell? Right? 

Edited by DKW 86
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, DKW 86 said:

So, all fat people, all smokers, all serial adulterers, etc they all go to hell because they dont stop sinning?

So the Blood of Christ isnt really the important thing, it just if you can stop? If I stop doing X, repent, and then lead a sinless life for the remainder of days, except that just before i die from cancer I take another drag on a cigarette, therefore dishonoring God's Temple, then I go to hell? Right? 

Did somebody tell you smoking is a sin? The Blood is Christ is the main and only thing. No I don’t believe that you would go to hell for a drag on a cigarette. If you accepted Jesus as your personal Saviour you will not go to hell. If you claim to have done so and persist in serial adultery then one could question the sincerity of your conversion to Christianity. People can nit pick about every little situation trying to find fault in Christianity and the promise of eternal life with Jesus. I believe in it and you clearly don’t. I pray that you soften your heart and listen to Jesus when he calls you to accept Him.  He stands at the door and knocks, you just have to open the door.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...