Not so old-tyme religion

Speaking of jolly ….

A skit at a local Christian youth group meeting had teenage boys taking off some of their clothes, wearing adult diapers, bibs and bonnets and being spoon-fed by girls as they sat in their laps.

Some say it’s just crazy, goofy teenage fun. But others, including one boy’s mother and the Mt. Lebanon School District, aren’t comfortable with it.

The skit took place during the Nov. 29 meeting of the Mt. Lebanon Young Life club, a nondenominational Christian youth group directed by youth minister O.J. Wandrisco.

Laurie Metz, whose 14-year-old son was one of the boys who took part in the skit, said she found it inappropriate, demeaning and sexually perverse.

Mr. Wandrisco and a national spokesman for Young Life say the skits are all in fun and meant to be used as “icebreakers” at the youth group meetings.

“The skits are designed for one reason and one reason only — for kids to have fun. It’s not a dirty joke. The skits are to break down the walls and let them have fun,” Mr. Wandrisco said.

Yeah. This one writes itself. Well, not actually. Mary Niederberger reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“The whole premise of the skit is questionable,” Ms. Metz said. “I see no purpose that it would serve, especially not in a Christian youth group setting. It’s perverse.”

She said even if there is no police action taken, she felt it important to speak out so that other parents know what goes on at the meetings. She said at an earlier meeting girls ate jelly beans in chocolate pudding out of adult diapers.

Mr. Wandrisco, in an interview, acknowledged that the Nov. 29 skit had taken place as Ms. Metz described and that the group had also participated at an earlier date in the skit that involved eating chocolate pudding out of diapers.

I cannot disagree with Ms. Metz. I mean, I do not object to the perverse, per se, but this seems counterintuitive, even counterproductive. Dan Savage makes the point well enough:

Putting horny 14 year-old boys in diapers and then plopping them on the laps of teenage girls for a little spoon- and bottle-feeding… thus are life-long fetishes born. Not that I have anything against fetishes or the kind of formative life experiences that create ‘em. Far from it. I live in the house that fetishes bought.

But still. Could you imagine the uproar from Christian groups if, say, a gay youth group did something similar? Or a gay-straight student alliance?

Is this the going symptom this year? Or is this normal? I’m aware that it is a lot easier to pay attention these days if so many people are paying attention for you. Is this the kind of story that we just did not hear of before the most recent flare-up of the Catholic abuse scandal, and especially before the rise of the internet in the 1990s? Or is the obsession with sin and sex that fuels the evangelical fervor simply burning away its own boundaries as its history suggests it must from time to time?

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

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