January 29, 2009
The Abstinence Teacher - fiction with an agenda
And they say we are always shoving our values down society's throat. Really, it's fully the other way around. Those advancing the untested, unstable, unrooted, social "progressive" agenda of the godless left never sleep. At every opportunity in every American community - front door, back door, side door, the value system this nation was founded on is getting assaulted. The only thing standing in their way is the church which they are hell-bent on silencing and discrediting.
Now the "agenda" comes at us "innocently" through the "Life Bookclub" sponsored by the Argus Leader, Zandbroz Variety Store and the Siouxland Library System. Here's the ad:
The title and the cover design - birds and bees - caught my attention first. Then I read some reviews online… "The Abstinence Teacher is a gentle exploration of the tensions between faith and secularism." The Wall Street Journal says; Abstinence is really a gateway for Mr. Perrotta to tell a much bigger and more complex story about religious identity in America… a deeply moving story of a man and a woman who see each other on opposite sides of a religious divide."
People magazine says; "With abstinence programs and disputes over what can be taught in schools regularly making the front page, The Abstinence Teacher hits on prominent social fault lines." Reviewers raved about author Tom Perrotta - at his rock star best… those who haven't curled up on the couch with this writer's books are missing a very great pleasure… he's the Steinbeck of suburbia…
The New York Times said… Perrotta "sets his cast of flawed parents and un-airbrushed kids against the stained-glass background of muscular Christianity on the march." Men's Vogue dubs this "a startlingly relevant and stunningly perceptive examination of the evangelical takeover of American exurbia."
Evangelical takeover? Whaaatt? It's not evangelicals trying to rewrite the time-tested definitions of right and wrong in American society. We are the ones trying to stop those who want to blow up the moral foundation that has rested underneath our society these past two hundred plus years. These book reviews eerked me enough to spend $13.95 and an evening and a half this week to read the books 358 pages.
The first thing I noticed about the book is that it is fiction. But I mean fiction in the sense that it does not accurately describe or depict those, like me, who believe sex outside of marriage is morally wrong and bad for society. The author admits he only went to a PromiseKeeper conference once and he thanked those who took him. I guess that was his "research trip" to the write hundreds of pages about what those who attend those events and churches are like. The bottom line is he depicted those like me as he thinks we are, or wants us to seem, at no time did I sense he was accurately describing us.
His description of the villain pastor in town, Pastor Dennis of the Tabernacle of Gospel Truth, as one backed by Christian lawyers working pro-bono ready to "sue anyone for wearing the wrong color socks" was interesting. Is the author not aware that long before there were pro-bono legal groups fighting for traditional values, we had three decades of the ACLU hammering away at traditional America such that now we can't even say In God We Trust anymore? The leading "Christian" characters in the book were controlling, hypocritical, and abusive. Why didn't he describe the gay couple as controlling and abusive? There are as many or more examples of that as there are examples of pastors who embarrass Jesus. The book is fiction with an agenda and that agenda is to make good seem bad and bad seem good.
Equally noteworthy is how the author displayed no real grasp of the abstinence message. More time was spent describing the layers of makeup the Wise Choices curriculum rep (Virginity Consultant) was wearing than the rationale behind what she had to say. Yet, all the other characters, like the main character Ruth Ramsey and her gay couple friends, were lovable and full of compassion and integrity. A number of graphic sexual trysts (even soft-core porn) throughout the book serve to keep us from falling asleep while reading.
I'm sure there will be a spirited discussion at the LIFE book club meeting at Zandbroz on the 19th. Those present will be able to discuss which churches in our town are on the moral crusade as was the villain church in the book. At the end of the night those who selected the book for the book club discussion will have accomplished their goal of indoctrinating a few more in the false reality that people like me are monsters and secular progressives are enlightened.