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Quote# 134983

This is transexualism in a joke:

“I sexually identify as an attack helicopter.”

Basically, they want what they can’t be. They are not wired that way or born in the wrong body. It’s just simply they wish they were the opposite. I could go on and express what I mean in more jokes:

“I sexually identify as a tree.”
“I sexually identify as a picture frame.”
“I sexually identify as a fart.”
“I sexually identify as the color grey.”

You can’t be mad. You know it’s true.

Hermaphrodites, though, actually are in a confusing situation and are the real deal. Literally born that way, I guess. :( BTW if you swing it’s choice. Bisexuals.

#gonna get people mad but idc #LGBT #craziness #smh #LGBT is not even close to the struggles of black America and elsewhere #if you compare the two you deserve what you get #Civil RIghts was for men women and children #not gender goofs #who at one point in time supported pederasty #and lowering age of consent like some creepy religious Alabama man named Moore...

blackattraction, Tumblr 11 Comments [12/8/2017 11:23:02 AM]
Fundie Index: 5
Submitted By: Thanos6

Quote# 135001

[NSFW: Gross subject matter]

Stalin 'used secret laboratory to analyse Mao's excrement'
by Steven Rosenburg

[...]

It is former Soviet agent Igor Atamanenko who claims to have uncovered this unusual project, while doing research in the archives of the Russian secret services.

"In those days the Soviets didn't have the kind of listening devices which secret services do today," he told the paper.

"That's why our specialists came up with the most extravagant ways of extracting information about a person."

Mr Atamanenko says it was Stalin's henchman Lavrenti Beria who was put in charge of the secret laboratory.

When I contacted Mr Atamanenko, he told me what the Soviet scientists had been looking for in fæces.

"For example, if they detected high levels of amino acid Tryptophan," he explained, "they concluded that person was calm and approachable. But a lack of potassium in poo was seen as a sign of a nervous disposition and someone with insomnia."

Mr Atamanenko claims that in December 1949, Soviet spies used this system to evaluate the Chinese leader Mao Zedong who was on a visit to Moscow. They had allegedly installed special toilets for Mao, which were connected not to sewers, but to secret boxes.

For 10 days Mao was plied with food and drink and his waste products whisked off for analysis. Once Mao's stools had been scrutinised and studied, Stalin reportedly poo poo-ed the idea of signing an agreement with him.

[...]

Extract from The Coldest Winter by journalist and historian David Halberstam:

When Mao first arrived in Moscow, he announced that China looked forward to a partnership with Russia, but he emphasised as well that he wanted to be treated as an equal.

Instead he was being taught a lesson each day. He had become, in Ulam's words, ''as much captive as guest".

As such, he shouted at the walls, convinced that Stalin had bugged the house: "I am here to do more than eat and shit."

Josef Stalin, BBC News 6 Comments [12/9/2017 12:15:04 AM]
Fundie Index: 2
Submitted By: Salami

Quote# 134980

Lady Checkmate's headline: "Sacrilege: Alt-left Troll's Gay Nativity Scene Features Baby Jesus with Two Josephs"

(Link to Todd Starnes' article here: https://www.toddstarnes.com/faith/gay-nativity-scene-features-baby-jesus-with-two-josephs/)

Don't forget to RECOMMEND. Lets get the Truth out so that Light may shine bright in this dark place and Jesus Christ may be glorified. Even if the discussion is closed, please still RECOMMEND.

Lady Checkmate, Disqus - Faith & Religion 14 Comments [12/8/2017 8:00:04 AM]
Fundie Index: 4
Submitted By: Jocasta

Quote# 135007

This is probably one of the darkest aspects of my worldview that I don't like to talk about. Our society has become way, way too dysgenic. It's even become trendy on the Right to adopt babies with autism and down syndrome in order to boost your anti-abortion, anti-Nazi street cred... It all started around the same time that Sarah Palin decided to give birth to her child even though she knew that it had down syndrome. Giving birth to a handicapped baby or adopting a handicapped baby is like the Right's version of adopting African babies.
Parents have an irrational attachment to their severely handicapped children. I won't link any pictures because it's so disturbing, but parents are actually choosing to give birth to babies with harlequin-type ichthyosis even though it's an absolutely horrific birth defect where the infant will suffer horribly before they die - and all because abortion = murder/eugenics/Nazism. These babies literally look like they were born inside out...
The state absolutely has to intervene in the cases of severe birth defects, especially if the birth defects are genetically caused, because most modern parents simply will not give up on their kids no matter how screwed up they are.
One of my ex-girlfriends in college was studying to become a special needs teacher, and her and I would do volunteer work at a center for kids with severe mental and physical disabilities. I was always polite and friendly on the outside when we went there, but on the inside seeing so much suffering was tearing me apart emotionally. These severely handicapped kids were literally vegetables that were going to be stuck in their wheelchairs and looked after like infants for their entire lives. Not only were they physically handicapped, but they were mentally handicapped as well. They had absolutely no idea what was going on around them, they couldn't feed themselves, they were drooling constantly, they had to wear diapers, et cetera. It fucking tears me up just thinking about how many centers like this exist across the world.
Taking care of these types of people probably destroys entire families simply because they require so much effort and attention to look after. And they also cost an absolute fortune to care for. My friend's brother has severe epilepsy and autism, and he told me that his generic anti-seizure medication costed several thousand dollars per month... And something ridiculous like 60 million Americans are on disability. And anyone that understands the forbidden science of dysgenics knows that this problem is just going to get worse and worse every year.
The state needs to start stepping in, doing the necessary evil, and then the parents can simply try again.
I also support humane versions of eugenics - such as genome sequencing, embryo selection, precision gene editing, and early term abortion - in order to solve 99% of this problem.

Certified Rabbi, Reddit 13 Comments [12/9/2017 12:16:28 AM]
Fundie Index: 2

Quote# 134986

(bolding done by submitter, for emphasis)
(article contains autoplay video)


Ex-priest convicted of murdering Texas woman in 1960

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) - An ex-priest was convicted of murdering a 25-year-old Texas schoolteacher and beauty queen on Thursday, more than 57 years after Irene Garza went to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen intending to go to confession.

Garza's bludgeoned body was found days after her April 16, 1960, disappearance. An autopsy revealed that she had been raped while unconscious and had been beaten and suffocated.

A Hidalgo County jury deliberated 6½ hours before returning its verdict in the murder trial of John Bernard Feit, an 85-year-old former priest, after hearing five days of testimony.

Feit, who was 28 at the time of her death, came under suspicion early on, telling police that he heard Garza's confession - in the church rectory, not in the confessional - but denying he killed her.

This week, prosecutors presented evidence that elected and church officials suspected Feit killed her but wanted to avoid prosecuting him because it might harm the church's reputation and elected officials politically. Most elected officials at the time in Hidalgo County were Catholic, and Sen. John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, was running for president that year.

Feit later spent time at a treatment center in New Mexico for troubled priests and after that became a supervisor and had a part in clearing priests for assignments to parishes. Among the men Feit helped keep in ministry was child molester James Porter, who assaulted more than 100 victims before he was ultimately defrocked and sent to prison.

Feit left the priesthood in 1972, married and went on to work at the Catholic charity St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix for a number of years, training and recruiting volunteers and helping oversee the charity's network of food pantries.

Among the evidence that pointed to Feit as a suspect over the years: His portable photographic slide viewer was found near Garza's body. Two fellow priests told authorities Feit confessed to them. And one of them said he saw scratches on Feit soon after Garza's disappearance.

Also, Feit had been accused of attacking another young woman in a church in a nearby town just weeks before Garza's death. He eventually pleaded no contest and was fined $500.

At trial, Dale Tacheny, a tax adviser in Oklahoma City who had been a priest at a Missouri monastery where Feit had applied to live in 1963, said that Feit had confessed to him that he had murdered a young woman. Tacheny said it wasn't until years later that he learned that the woman Feit had described was Garza.

Defense attorney O. Rene Flores argued that prosecutors have insufficient evidence to convict Feit, who was living in Arizona at the time of his arrest last year.

Garza's family members and friends had long pushed authorities to reopen the case, and it became an issue in the 2014 district attorney's race. Ricardo Rodriguez had promised that if elected, he would re-examine the case.

Prosecutors Michael Garza, who was not related to the victim, and Krystine Ramon, hugged members of Irene Garza's family after the verdict was read. District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, who campaigned for election in part on a pledge to reopen the Garza murder case, embraced his team of prosecutors and the Garza family, some of whom shed tears of relief.

A stone-faced John Feit was led from the courtroom back to his county jail cell.

The jury will begin hearing evidence Friday morning on what punishment Feit should receive. He could be sentenced to up to 99 years or life imprisonment.

Various Hidalgo County officials, WIS 11 Comments [12/8/2017 11:25:03 AM]
Fundie Index: 4
Submitted By: Thanos6

Quote# 134965



Issac, Sizzle 8 Comments [12/8/2017 7:59:12 AM]
Fundie Index: 4
Submitted By: Chris

Quote# 121046

Muslim hugging democrats when it suits them. Next they'll be welcoming ISIS.

chuck coley, NPR 15 Comments [8/11/2016 3:25:27 AM]
Fundie Index: 5

Quote# 12975

Thank God for war.

War is, of course, the ultimate obscenity in which man works feverishly to destroy his enemies. It is also the conduit by which evil is defeated. For example, had the Crusades succeeded, the billion people enslaved by Islam, the religion of the damned, would have not had this false religion jammed down their throat at the point of a sword. War brought freedom to America and by extension, the greatest beacon for freedom and democracy on the planet. War ended the scourge of Nazism and twice removed an oppressive enemy from Europe.

Nutrider99, Free Conservatives 30 Comments [7/12/2006 12:00:00 AM]
Fundie Index: 4

Quote# 103604

It is no accident that the current lawsuit against me in federal court is for “Crimes Against Humanity.” They are deliberately trying to associate my name with the spectre of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, for whose criminal prosecution the category of “Crimes Against Humanity” was created. That association carries with it special implications (e.g. “If you could go back in time would you assassinate Hitler before he came to power?”).

And both the lawsuit and the HRC publication repeat outrageous lies and misrepresentations that paint me as a monster intent on inciting “gay” genocide.

Clearly, even this bogus lawsuit hasn’t stopped me from advocating Biblical truth about homosexuality and the LGBT agenda, so what is left for them to do?

I believe they are now deliberately trying to incite murder against me and every other person on their enemies list. That might have sounded a bit paranoid in years past, but post-Corkins it is just cold hard fact that some “gay” activists are incited to murder by inflammatory leftist rhetoric. The HRC knows that, and yet their rhetoric in this Exporting Hate publication is MORE inflammatory than the SPLC’s rhetoric the drove Corkins over the edge!

Because I am a Bible-believing Christian I am not afraid of death. But neither am I volunteering for martyrdom. As of today I am for the first time going to start taking precautions against the possibility of being assassinated by agents of the LGBT movement. For one thing, I will no longer publicize my travel schedule in advance.

And I am demanding a retraction and public apology from both HRC and SPLC. To both of them I insist: STOP INCITING HATE BEFORE YOU GET PEOPLE KILLED!!!!!

Scott Lively, Scott Lively Ministries 29 Comments [9/21/2014 8:20:12 AM]
Fundie Index: 19

Quote# 131224

They submitted 3 Amicus Briefs, 2 authors per brief, to the Court for the Obergefell vs Hodges case (same sex marriage ruling). They were all raised by homosexual parents and presented cases to the court on why children need access to both a female and a male parent and why homosexual marriage should not be granted. The SCOTUS ignored them.

There are others. Moria Greyland comes to mind. She was raised by a lesbian (author of Mists of Avalon) and a homosexual man who were a couple. There are dozens more that I have read about, but I’d need to recall the names or look them up again. If you start researching like I have, you will uncover more of them than you can imagine. All their conclusions are the same. Children need a mother and a father and same sex parenting warps kids - even when those same sex parents are loving to them. Even where there is a strong parent-child bond, these adult children still say it was an unhealthy situation.

And the ones I have read about are just the ones brave enough to put their names out there and make themselves targets for the gay mafia. They do it for the children, but some of them find that the price of publicity is just too high. Many lives have been destroyed by the gay mafia.

mom of young patriots, Free Republic 14 Comments [9/3/2017 7:12:27 AM]
Fundie Index: 3
Submitted By: Katie

Quote# 134998

(Comments to a story on a polar bear dying of starvation)

marina: There is so much pain in the world, especially among the innocent.

I wish we could save and care for them all.

Thomas A Paine: EVERY ANIMAL DIES, EVERY HUMAN DIES, EVERY PLANT DIES . . . every living thing will die. From the moment we are conceived, our death is written in stone. That’s just the way it is, Gaia, Mother Nature, whatever.

I’ve read that over 100,000,000,000 Sapiens, humans, have already lived and died. World wide, with a population approaching 8 billion, 2 million people die from all causes every week.

If an animal isn’t killed and eaten by another animal, or killed and eaten by a human hunter, it will grow old, sick, feeble, arthritic, and die of starvation when it can no longer hunt or forage enough food.

Just the way it is.

Thomas A Paine, DailyKos 4 Comments [12/9/2017 12:04:27 AM]
Fundie Index: -3

Quote# 485

Don't athiest always point fingers at Christanity and mention the diversity of beliefs as proof there isn't a god? I wish to do the same thing to them as proof that there is a god...

Bugman, BaptistBoard 20 Comments [9/1/2002 12:00:00 AM]
Fundie Index: 3

Quote# 19492

That is why I have such high standards... When Teens allow themselves to be alone with someone of the opposite gender...that only gives room for temptation and you never know..that preacher boy/Godly girl you always shake hands with or give high fives to...they maybe the one God has you to marry..I dont shake hands or even high five preacher boys because ..that might just be the one I'm to marry one day and on my wedding day...I REALLY want that to be the first time we EVER touch.. AT ALL. Setting high standards is the best way to truly abstain from ALL appearances of evil.

ForHisGlory2005, teens-4-Christ 91 Comments [1/16/2007 12:00:00 AM]
Fundie Index: 10

Quote# 49541

Evolution??? Evolution is a THEORY.
You are welcome to your theory. So are those that believe, or in other words, have a theory that God created man.

Common sense rules out evolution.
Natural selection would dictate that only a few select species would survive.
Why don't pigs fly or talk. Why just monkies able to "evolve".
Why science has observed is ADAPTATION.
There is zero evidence, or observation oof one species becoming a more acompletely new advanced species.

JMAC, ABC News blog 36 Comments [10/12/2008 5:50:15 AM]
Fundie Index: 5
Submitted By: zacky

Quote# 42740

Zan,

That's spelled r-e-l-i-g-I-o-n. Sorry, but there's no E in that word. See what I mean about the IQ on here.

SFG, http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/ 46 Comments [7/12/2008 2:40:36 AM]
Fundie Index: 3
Submitted By: Feynmaniac

Quote# 134945

My experience with colored people have predominately been good. Friendship while growing up and some flings with girls as well during the years.
However that is completely irrelevant to the racial reality and as such the reality that they as a group of people overall tend to be more prone to criminality and violence. Also there is the reality that they as a group overall have a strong dysgenic impact on Europeans and that Europeans, specifically homogeneous Europeans who are predominately Meds, Dinards - Falics and Nordics - are the pillar of humanity - this includes male creativity (mostly creating the modern technical world overall due to a very gifted spatial ability in our males), culture, sentient wise, aesthetically human beauty wise, artistically and morally overall. Their growing existence in our countries weakens and directly threatens the better races white civilizations. Numerous great white civilizations have already fallen due to invasions, immigration and substantial race-mixing with non-whites. The Nordic ideal should have won after WW2 and with it a more racial - monolithic Europe plus whites worldwide on the whole.

Falicintegralism, Reddit 20 Comments [12/7/2017 2:19:03 PM]
Fundie Index: 9

Quote# 135004

(On the killing of Maren Sanchez)

the girl wasnt even attrcative. she was mannish looking. despite this, we’re no doubt going to hear feminist spiels on this about entitled guys trying to date out of their league. this girl is a prize in contemporary western society apparently:

James NSW, Lion of the Blogosphere 6 Comments [12/9/2017 12:15:36 AM]
Fundie Index: 3

Quote# 134923

The dimocrats own the concept of shooting themselves in the gonads. Since the thugs don't care about the evil within their party, I don't care about any misdeeds done by dimocrats. Franken could be accused of raping Ann Frank on the steps of the nearest temple and I would still be on his side. The dimocrats holier than the Republicans attitude will do nothing more than guarantee the permanency of the rethug reich.

blaid droog, Wonkette 24 Comments [12/6/2017 11:40:03 PM]
Fundie Index: 6

Quote# 134956

We suffer more than African Slaves. At least those blacks got to fuck their white slave masters wives and other white women who craved black dicks. Incels dicks never even see a vagina.

Even Mainstream Psychology supports our views.

You all are dumb as fuck, have no self awarness, dont have any intelligence and believe in stupid unreal tales that dont exist in real life.

jvreturns, incels.me 10 Comments [12/8/2017 7:58:43 AM]
Fundie Index: 4
Submitted By: Katie

Quote# 25701

I just got hired on at a fire department and well ive made some minor mistakes and what not. The devil is speaking through my chief theatening me that i am going to lose my job.


alrdyreg, Rapture Ready 62 Comments [5/26/2007 12:00:00 AM]
Fundie Index: 6
Submitted By: Talulah

Quote# 120043

In the wake of the attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida last week, many right-wing Christian religious leaders have celebrated the shooter’s actions, but a Texas pastor is taking that to a whole new level.

Pastor Donnie Romero of Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth told his flock he agrees “100 percent” with Baptist Pastor Roger Jimenez, who made news with his sermon advocating that the government should use a firing squad to “blow their brains out.”

“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now,” Romero said in the Sunday sermon. “And I’ll take it a step further, because I heard on the news today, that there are still several dozen of these queers in ICU and intensive care. And I will pray to God like I did this morning, I will do it tonight, I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children.”

Romero went on to cite Sodom and Gomorrah, which he called the first ever “queer mass murder” and called out mega churches, whom he believes are too soft on preaching anti-gay sermons. Biblical scholars believe the “sin” in the story had nothing to do with homosexuality, rather it was about inhospitality.

In a twist, Romero was ordained by Pastor Steve Anderson, who also made the list of anti-LGBT religious leaders standing with the actions of the shooter.

Pastor Donnie Romero, Raw Story 27 Comments [6/24/2016 3:04:02 AM]
Fundie Index: 14
Submitted By: Ibuki Mioda

Quote# 40871

Originally Posted by HisAlways :
It's like my father-in-law put it the other evening..."if Obama is the next president, the Lord will have to intervene soon".



I have to agree.
Do you know what scares me even more? The amount of people who want to vote for him!! I just can't believe they can't see that there is something terribly wrong with this man...

cbressler1976, RaptureReady 47 Comments [6/13/2008 7:49:43 AM]
Fundie Index: 1

Quote# 67703

Hey james ..... it is obvious you don't feel that this country was founded on the belief in god. well I feel sorry for you; but Becky was right. this country was founded explicictly for that reason; the founding fathers and the settlers themselves were seeking a new country to escape religous persecution that was going on all over europe. Y ou could do yourself some good by sitting back and examining America today; as opposed to just fifty years ago, people then were looking to find that missing something in thier lives, today society just covers it up with all kinds of things of the world and doesn't want to have anything to do with Jesus our lord and savior; That is why the world including America is getting in worse and worse shape almost on a Daily basis..... Fifty years ago would you have heard of a soldier shooting fellow soldiers? no you wouldn't because there was love for our fellow man then. People don't care for one another like they used to.

Brian, Facebook Cause - Allow God In School 36 Comments [11/24/2009 7:15:56 PM]
Fundie Index: 21

Quote# 7845

[On sexual selection]

I very much doubt your Wife's butt has any relevance at all on this topic....butI feel sorry for your Wife because,its probably only a matter of time before you meet another Woman,who's butt you like better...(this is werid......)and will,since nothing stops you..afterall your just an animal,leave her.....poor lady.......,but anyway,your kids...their still Humans.

Vanaka, 123 Christian Forums 13 Comments [9/12/2005 12:00:00 AM]
Fundie Index: 4

Quote# 134354

Confronting a Sexual Rite of Passage in Malawi

The world has many coming-of-age traditions: sweet sixteens, bar mitzvahs, quinceañeras. But in one African country, 'initiation' is endangering the health of girls and boys.


 Grace Mwase, 14, may look like a child, but her community sees her as an adult because of a sexual initiation she attended at age 10. (Beenish Ahmed)

CHIRADZULU, Malawi — A slight frame gives her the appearance of a child, but the hardened look Grace Mwase wears makes her seem older than her 14 years. In many villages across Malawi, a largely agrarian sliver of a country in southern Africa, custom dictates that both boys and girls as young as eight attend a rite of passage known as “initiation,” after which they are no longer seen as children. The practice is most entrenched in the country's south, where Mwase's Golden Village is located.

Mwase was just 10 when she was led, along with about a dozen other girls, to remote huts outside her village during winter vacation from school in August. The girls were accompanied by older women from their village in Chiradzulu district, near the border with Mozambique. The women, known asanamkungwi, or “key leaders,” told them that when they returned to their villages they should cook and clean—and have sex. According to Mwase, most of the two weeks she spent at the initiation camp were dedicated to learning how to engage in sexual acts. She had been excited for this time with friends away from home, but that feeling quickly gave way to dread as she learned the true purpose of initiation.

“They taught us only how you can handle a man,” she says, looking down at her hands. “So you should be dancing for the man. The man should be on top of you and you should be dancing for him, making him happy.”

The anamkungwi told the girls to lie on top of one another and get a feel for the various positions described to them. They then encouraged the girls to “practice” what they had learned. In fact, girls in Malawi are often told that if they don’t have sex upon concluding initiation, their skin will become dry and brittle. This will mark them for life, and they will be ostracized if they don't complete the custom as their mothers and grandmothers did before them. These guardians often force their daughters to go through with the ritual for fear of breaking with tradition.

“There’s nothing like adolescence. You are either a child or an adult.”

Initiation is a centuries-old practice in the region, according to Harriet Chanza of the World Health Organization. In many agrarian communities, she notes, “There’s nothing like adolescence. You are either a child or an adult.” Initiation is meant to establish the gender norms that boys and girls are expected to follow as men and women. The emphasis on having sex may also have a darker purpose in a country where nearly three-fourths of the population lives below the poverty line. Chanza, who is based in Malawi, says that some parents may actually want their daughters to get pregnant at a young age. A girl is often married soon after she is found to be pregnant, deferring the cost of caring for her and her baby from her parents to her husband.

Mwase was told, "'You are a woman enough'" by an anamkungwi in her village, and informed, "'If you come out [of the initiation camp], you should sleep with a man to cleanse you of your childhood thing.'" Worse, Mwase says though a translator, "They said you should do your sexual cleansing but not use a condom. You should do it plain."

Mwase sits in an uneven plastic lawn chair in an empty hall used for community gatherings as she recounts her experiences. She had walked to our meeting point in Chiradzulu district from her village to speak with foreign journalists, and agreed to discuss a topic that few women are willing to broach because we didn’t share ties to her community or culture. “You’re like a visitor so you don’t know anything,” she says. Conversing with us, in other words, isn't as difficult as telling women in her village how she feels about a custom they might support.

Her small, sharp eyes aglow in the dimly lit room, a grain mill whirring in the background, Mwase says the anamkungwi who oversaw her initiation told her to find an older man to have sex with after she left the camp. In defiance of tradition, however, Mwase refused to do so, fearing the costs to her health from unprotected sex. Like many first-born daughters in Malawi, Mwase was raised by her grandmother. She says her grandmother, who had sent her to the camp, didn't force her to have sex—likely because Mwase never told her about her decision not to do so. If her grandmother had learned the truth, she might have paid a man to take Mwase’s virginity. In some villages, young men hired for this task are called “hyenas,” and they occasionally have sex with many girls in a single village who have gone through initiation together.

Thera Rasing, an anthropologist who has studied girls’ initiations in Zambia,writes that the secrecy surrounding these rituals increased during the colonial era and has remained in place to keep missionaries and churches from “trying to control and christianize these rites.” Still, as abominable as such customs might seem, Rasing adds that initiations are associated with honor for many women: “A woman’s capacity to elicit change, to be powerful and empowered arises from her relative success in being a proper woman. Through this she acquires the respect of her spouse and of the neighbourhood as a moral community. This is what a girl learns during her initiation into womanhood, and that she is told during her wedding ceremony.”

Despite the social role of initiations, there are numerous public health concerns surrounding the custom in Malawi. Young girls largely unaware of the risks are being told to have unprotected sex in a country where a tenth of the population is HIV-positive. (While this figure is on par with other countries in the region, it is far higher than rates elsewhere in the world; 70 percent of AIDS-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa.) And teenage pregnancies also abound in Malawi, where one in four teen girls under 18 is a mother (in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, more than 50 percent of births take place during adolescence). The young age at which girls become pregnant complicates their deliveries and puts them at greater risk for losing their babies, losing their lives, or developing an obstetric fistula—a condition where a rupture in the birth canal leaves women suffering from incontinence and ostracized from their communities.

Girls are taught a dance known as chisamba “as a way of preparing them for their role of satisfying their husbands in bed.”

Female genital mutilation, which often entails the complete or partial removal of the clitoris, is not common in Malawi, though it can take place during similar rites of passage in other parts of Africa. But initiation can leave lasting trauma even without physical injury. The Malawi Human Rights Commission, a government agency, has reported that initiations impinge on girls’ rights to education, health, liberty, and dignity. The Commission further elaborates on some of these rituals, stating that girls are taught a dance known as chisamba“as a way of preparing them for their role of satisfying their husbands in bed,” and that they are made to perform this dance at the end of their initiation “bare-breasted in a very explicit manner as they are being presented to the whole community.” The study also notes, however, that initiation rites vary widely, and that in some communities girls attending initiation are advised not to have premarital sex.

For boys in Malawi, and in several other African countries, initiation sometimes involves circumcision. According to the Malawi Human Rights Commission, Malawian boys live in camps on the outskirts of villages and are occasionally forced to consume foods prepared with urine and “medicine” made with their severed foreskins. The report notes, “Once the boys undergo circumcision they are considered mature and are actually advised to have sexual intercourse with any girl as soon as they go back home.”

Initiations for boys can easily go awry, since the circumcisions are often performed by people without medical training wielding ritual knifes. Last year in South Africa, an estimated 60 young men died after their initiation ceremonies as a result of botched circumcisions and dehydration due to “survival tests.” Local government officials were hesitant to intervene because of “cultural sensitivities.”

“The difficulty with culture is you deal with the [village] chief and he says, ‘I have changed. I have put [in] bylaws [to prohibit initiations]. [Then] you come [back] and [initiations] are quietly being done,” says Jean Mwandira, a specialist in reproductive and adolescent health with the United Nations Population Fund in Malawi.

We speak over dinner beside the glittering but parasite-ridden Lake Malawi. Here in southern Malawi, where initiations are most widespread, girls are often married off as soon as they reach puberty and literacy rates are among the lowest in the country. In the district of Mangochi, which borders the lake,48 percent of teenagers have begun bearing children—the highest incidence in Malawi. Mwandira says it is hard to persuade local leaders here and elsewhere in the country to stop a custom that has such a long history, especially since annual initiations for boys and girls have become a kind of industry.

"Those people who perform such tasks are paid, either in cash or kind, so it's difficult for the whole thing to die [out]," she explains. Even "the chief gets something for allowing that initiation ceremony to take place."

In the face of public scrutiny, those who have a vested interest in keeping the custom alive try to do so covertly. Initiation camps are held outside villages in temporary shelters built just for this purpose and then burnt to the ground once children are sent home, Mwandira says. Adults who aren’t involved in managing the camps are not permitted near them. What’s more, the girls who take part in initiations are loath to talk about them.

I spent a day in Mangochi, asking every young woman I could whether she had been initiated. Each time I got a shy smile and swift ‘no’ in response. This despite what Mwandira told me: “It’s not possible to live in Mangochi and not be initiated.”

In Chiradzulu, a few hours south by car, Grace Mwase was the rare exception willing to speak about her experiences with initiation. When I asked if she wanted her testimony about this deeply private matter to be kept anonymous, she said, “No, use my name.” Her lack of shame may well stem from her involvement in the Girls Empowerment Network, a locally run coalition of young women.

The group is led by a woman named Joyce Mkandawire. She says that when she first arrived in Chiradzulu, where Mwase lives, she was struck by the lack of freedom afforded to girls. “A girl leaves a school [because she is] pregnant, nobody cared. A girl gets married today, nobody cared,” she recalls. Mkandawire is now advocating for new bylaws in local villages to bar teenage girls from getting married. She has also reached out to local headmasters, who notify her when a girl has dropped out of school so that she and the Girls Empowerment Network can try to convince her to return—and to focus on education rather than marriage.

Joyce Mkandawire poses with young mothers from the Girls Empowerment Network. (Beenish Ahmed)

In speaking out about these issues, Mkandawire has inspired girls like Mwase to do the same. About her work as a leader in the Network, she says, “I am there just to help the community and to encourage myself. If there is anything [wrong], I go to the elders and speak to them.” Mwase also goes to the initiation camps outside her village every year to speak to the girls there. “I go to tell them after your initiation, if you go out, don’t do the sexual cleansing thing because it’s bad for us,” she explains.

And she’s pleased with the progress she’s made so far. “If I go talk to them, they listen to me,” Mwase says, breaking into a smile.



The citizens of Malawi, The Atlantic 20 Comments [11/19/2017 1:51:17 AM]
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