Oh, Pro-Life Activists, Why Must You Be Such Immoral Asshats?

Y’all, this is so rich I about can’t believe it.   And I hate to give it any more hits than it deserves (which is clearly none), but you have to see this to believe it.

I have been linked to by a pro-life blog.  No, not just a pro-life blog, which I would be fine with.  Blogs are for linking and being linked to.  But I have been linked to by a pro-life blog aggregator which skates so far close to the line of unethical that it just skates right over it into asshat land.

Let’s count sins, shall we?

1. Not being clear that you’re an aggregator who is reposting bits of other people’s content, but instead making it look, at first glance, like all of the content is yours.

2.  Not identifying that that’s my content you’ve put up on your site.  My words, which I wrote.

3.  Using my words, which I wrote, which you failed to identify as mine as content for your blog WHICH YOU SELL ADVERTISING ON.

You didn’t write those words.  You didn’t add commentary to those words.  But you’re making money off of my words.

You know what that makes you, Martin Marks, and your Pelican Project?


You’re stealing my content and then turning around and selling it to your advertisers.

You know what God says about that kind of bullshit?

I don’t know, sometimes the Bible can be hard to understand, but let’s see.  God says, “Thou shall not steal.”

That means, um…


Well, that you should not take things that don’t belong to you and pass them off as your own so that you can make money.

I see no room for special dispensation for pro-life folks, so shape up, motherfuckers.

I am All Over the Place

Y’all, I will be on the internet version of Liberadio on Friday.

I will be in my garden all weekend.

And I will be guest-blogging at Feministe the last week of August and the first week of September.

Also, I did download the new Those Darlins album and it is awesome. It has everything a good country album should have–songs about drinking, a song about Mama, and a song about trains.  Which, after you listen to the whole album, you have to believe they did on purpose.  Which, frankly, made me love it more, because not only is it a good album, but it’s made by folks who love the music the way I do.

And I love that.

Cooter Talk

Well, really, more some PCOS talk.  I read yesterday over at Jezebel about this study in Sweden that links exercise and electro-acupuncture to a fixing of PCOS.

And, y’all, it made me very angry.

Not the good self-righteous anger where you know you’re right and the world is wrong and god damn it, folks had better start listening to you–you know the kind of anger that drives good blog posts.  But just a kind of ill-defined anger.

I thought at first that it was like the anger I sometimes still feel when I think about how sick I was that Fall of 2000 and no one could figure out what was wrong with me and I had to endure the lecture from that nutjub gyneocologist about how God does not like to give children to fat women.

I thought at first maybe it was like the anger I feel when I think about how, my whole life, I have been told I need to lose weight if I want to find a man or have any kind of life, over and over, by family and doctors, some who saw what I ate and how it wasn’t any more than what anyone else in my family ate (and was, for a while, much much less), and others who just assumed I was lying.

I thought it was like that anger, but now I think it is that same anger.

I know it’s not what the study says, but I feel like it’s more of this “if only you had tried harder, exercised more, stuck pins in the right places, you wouldn’t be in this position and you wouldn’t need medication.”  In other words, I still read that as “this is not something you have, but evidence of how you have fundimentally fucked up running your life.”

Like being on medication is somehow an indication that I have failed to handle it myself.

And again, I know that’s not what it’s saying, but just how I feel.

I don’t know. I know I don’t talk about it much, but basically because, for me, there’s not that much to say.  I mean, it goes without saying that I’m tickled to not have debilitating cramps or three week long periods after three months of nothing. I’m really kind of enjoying how I feel, how exercise now just makes me tired and sore and doesn’t make me feel like I want to throw up and then die and then throw up again.  I like that, if I’m late eating, I just feel a little woozy, but not grouchy and sick.

It’s hard to explain, but I feel like my body just works differently.

But the thing I’m struggling with the most is still that old fairytale of “If only I tried hard enough and did all the right things, I’d be rewarded with a thin body.”  That’s not happening. And I have really kind of enjoyed the last year, since the diganosis and the medication, of feeling like “eh, well, there never was/is going to be any ‘trying hard enough’ because there’s something wrong with me.”

It’s been kind of nice, like this truce with my body.

But I read stuff like this and it just makes me feel like it’s wrong for me to declare a truce.

It’s funny, you know. I can’t breathe.  I never have been able to, from the time I was very little.  I’ve had pneumonia six times. I can hear a little unhappiness now when I breathe from all the smoke this weekend.

But I never feel like my shitty lungs are a reflection on my worth as a human being.

It just is what it is. Maybe there just wasn’t enough time between bouts when I was little to ever let them heal properly. Maybe I was breathing something in my environment that aggrevated them.  Who knows?  Who cares?  You know?  Having shitty lungs does not make you a shitty person.

And I know that having this body does not make me a shitty person, but frankly, I feel really angry that I have to remind myself of that as often as I do.

Giving Women $1,000 to Have a Baby

I haven’t seen anyone point out the obvious yet, but I’m just going to say it.  There is absolutely NOTHING surprising about Steve Waldman advocating trying to come up with a small, suitable, not unseemly fee we might pay pregnant women who would otherwise have abortions to have their babies and then give them up for adoption.

Because, after all, saying “paying women who would otherwise have abortions to have their babies and then give them up for adoption” is just a long-handed way of saying “let’s buy babies from women.”

And what’s surprising about this?

The core belief of the pro-life movement is that it’s okay for the State to step in and take control of a woman’s body for nine months in order to force her to give birth, if she gets pregnant.  In other words, that there are some circumstances in which your body is not intrinsically you, but is instead a thing that the State might need to own and control if you yourself cannot control it properly.

Well, if the pro-life movement already believes that women’s bodies do not belong to ourselves, but can under very ordinary circumstances, belong to the State, what’s so surprising about learning that some pro-lifers believe that a baby’s body might also be up for grabs?  Also available as a commodity to be bought and sold?

If you believe you have the right to commandeer a woman’s body and force her to give birth, it is not at all surprising that you believe that you then should be able commandeer the baby’s body, too?

No.  It’s extremely consistant.

A Review and a Preview

The preview: Y’all!  You can already get Those Darlins’ album from iTunes!  I am trying my very hardest not to download it here at work, even though I so need to spend the whole afternoon listening to it.  But look at the song list!  They do a version of “Who’s that Knocking at My Window?” AND “Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy” (which reminds me, if you have a copy of Uncle Dave Macon’s version, email me. I can’t find the Oxford American CD with it on it.).  I can’t wait to listen to it.

But what radio station will play them? How will the whole world know they need to dance around to them?

The Review: Hombre Lobo by the Eels.  The Butcher and I have both been listening to it all weekend and we are both of the opinion that it is a good album that becomes great the longer you let it repeat. I’m not a big Eels fan, but the Butcher is.  He says it’s much better than their last one, which he declared “kind of boring and pretentious.” So, even if their last album put you off, you might like this one.

Ha, I’m sorry, I’m such a fan-girl nerd when it comes to music I like.

The Thing(s) that Bug(s) Me about Jon & Kate +8

I think I may have posted about this before, but I’m too lazy to look.  I was, however, talking about this this weekend and still thinking about it on the way home.

I have not watched that many episodes of this show and never a whole one all the way through.  But when flipping by, I would stop to watch the kids be cute and do cute things.

I mention this because it is possible that I managed to watch on the small handful of very rare occassions when Kate slapped Jon, but I tend to believe she slapped him almost every time I saw the show because she slapped him quite frequently.

And one show I watched, she was talking about how Jon used to make fun of how her belly looked after she had all those kids.

I’ve been thinking about that, because when I first heard it, I was like “god, what a fucknut.  Who says that about your wife after she’s had eight kids with you?”

But I’ve been thinking, what if Jon were Jonna and Kate were Karl.  Would I buy that because Jonna made fun of Karl’s body, Karl deserved to be able to slap her?  I’m not saying that that’s the argument Kate was making, of course, but it seems kind of how the show is set up, for Kate to be the put-upon drill sergeant who has to keep an army of kids and inadequate husbands together through discipline.

I also think that there’s the whole, “Well, she isn’t hitting him hard enough to hurt him,” thing.

But again, if Karl were slapping Jonna on tv regularly, would I buy that? That it’s okay because he’s not slapping her hard enough to hurt her?

We know well how male abusers work–how they and the people around them excuse their behavior because the victim deserves it in some way.

But it seems to me that here’s a classic example of how female abusers practice–wide out in the open because the kids are a handful, so who can blame her for losing it occassionally?, and because it’s kind of a joke that she hits her husband.  After all, you’d have to be a real wimp to not be able to take a few slaps.

You can see how our societal stereotypes about what it means to be a real man keep a lot of folks, even a lot of feminists, from recognizing what she does to him as abuse.  After all, we expect him to take it.  For him not to take it would be unmanly. (We call this “The Patriarchy Hurts Men, too” and then the men all laugh and say “Whatever” but I’m still right.)

But it still teaches the same thing to the kids–that problems are solved and frustrations resolved through violence and that you should be willing to tolerate some level of violence from your spouse.

But more than that what bugs me is that these two have behaved that way on television and then gone all over putting themselves out there as a good Christian example of a family.  I don’t blame them for trying to make a buck.  I even understand the motivations behind two people in a really fucked up marriage wanting continual outside validation that their fucked up situation is blessed by God.

But folks, if your church leaders watched that show and still had those folks into your church to talk to you or recommended their books for you to read, you might should ask yourself what kinds of shepherds are leading your flock.

True Blood, Season Two, Episode Three, I Think

Still on the fence about “Hung.”

Is Suky just butt-ass stupid? And that minotaur thing was, um, yes, well, let’s hope it improves from here, shall we?

Oh, I kind of love foaming at the mouth version of Suki.

I love Erik.  Good lord, he’s hilarious.

Oh, Eddie.  I’m glad to see you again, too.  Even if you’re just a dream.  And it was surprisingly hot to watch you bite Jason.

Terry, talk some sense into this moron.

I find this Jason stuff kind of boring, especially because it’s moving kind of slow.

I don’t believe Mrs. Reverend’s sister is actually dead, which is too bad, because it would be nice if it were a little more complex.

I really love what a good screamer Ginger is.  She seems to be having the most fun of anyone on this show.

Tara and Eggs are so beautiful, so I fear it’s going to go horribly wrong.

I am really, frankly, tired of every fight between Suky and Bill going exactly the same.

Okay, where does Jessica have any money to go to the bar?  Is that too stupid a question?

Oh, these guys would be a cute couple.  Don’t eat Hoyt, Jessica!

I think the sexual tension between Suky and Erik is kind of already thick.  Poor Bill is a little clueless.

And the wink at LaFayette?!

I’d like to see a semi-smart Jason.

Smooch her!  Smooch her!

She smooched him!

Keep your eyes on the road, Bill!  Whenever Bill’s driving, he spends half the time looking at Suky. If they were in Tennessee, I would petition the state legislature to enact a “no melodramatic fighting while driving” bill, because those two are a menace.

I may be lacking an important prudish gene but what is it exactly about the orgy that made Tara so uncomfortable?

So, are we guessing that the thing in the woods first tried to scratch Suky to get to Sam and has now scratched Daphne?  And what would a minotaur want with Sam?  I’m a little intrigued but also a little disappointed because I was hoping it was going be that Daphne was also a shape shifter like Sam.

My Trip to Hooterville

The evening ended with me flipping over playing cards and telling fortunes to my hosts in the kitchen. Everything has an opinion on the future, if you know how to discern it.  Cooks can get a feel for a burning fire long before the milk scorches just by reading the flames.  A farmer can tell a future crop by rolling his dirt through his fingers.  Mrs. Coble can tell the rain long before it comes by reading the aches in her body.  And I, the girl of the long vacations full of rummy and squeak and euchre and solitaire and the school years full of flashcards can read the general outlines of a person’s worries in a deck of cards.

We had spent all day touring dead towns and cemeteries.

What’cha gonna do when the State runs dry? Drive back roads watchin’ small towns die.  Honey, pretty baby mine.

And there was the river, that muddy god who lays in between the middle of the country so easy you can almost imagine him sliding his tributaries up Illinois’ shirt and singing softly, “… them men don’t know but the little girls understand.”

We stopped in a cinder-block box full of bearded bikers and their cigarette smoke. On the wooden railing was a small stack of Avon catalogs.  I didn’t notice anyone taking any, but I was distracted by my admiration for all the kinds of facial hair on display.

The bulk of the evening, though, was spent at the bar sponsoring a dog’s gubenatorial candidacy.  And it’s difficult to explain when the mood in the bar changed from one of bored folks sitting around drinking to one where someone–and I’m not mentioning any names–was flashing her bra at the camera.  Though it may have been the camera flashing, in both senses of the word, that changed the mood.

Suddenly, an ex-Army Ranger arrived at our table, eager to slip out of his shirt to show off his tattoos.  More beers arrived.  Out of nowhere, an ex-Memphis cop and his girlfriend arrived.  With little warning, the ex-Army Ranger was putting music on the juke box and he began to slowly and rhythmically slither around a pole in the middle of the bar.  Then, he came back to the table and humped his chair in time to the music.  And then, he danced over and repeatedly pushed his hips into the cigarette machine.

It was, of course, hilarious, but it was also surprisingly graceful and awesome and charming.  Maybe it was all the beers, but it was a treat to see a guy take such joy in his body.

We kept waiting for the recipient of the picture full of my bra to respond and as we waited, one of the girls at the table said, “Well, if he says anything about the picture, just tell him that’s nothing. He should see what happens when we go to Cooterville.”

Lord I was Born a Ramblin’ Gal, Tryin’ to Tell the Difference Between a Bucket and a Pail

Okay, I think we all can see now why no girl-groups cover “Ramblin’ Man.”

Though I am going to be spending a good portion of my drive thinking about the word “pail” which is so weird already.  Like, you know how there are some words you have to say over and over again–bucket, bucket, bucket, bucket, bucket–before they kind of detach from their meaning and just stare up from the screen looking weird at you? Pail is born in that weird space where you are like “Is that really a word? ‘Pail’?  And how does it differ from bucket?  Pail? Is that even how you spell it?”

Anyway, I’m off to see the Squirrel Queen and Newscoma.  I have no shorts, so I’m wearing a skirt.  If we go looking for scary cemeteries, I will have to switch to overalls.  If I become tick infested again, I will have to have Newscoma give count.

I was watching “Ghost Adventures” last night because I find it to be the most hilarious show ever.  But last night was just so terrible.  The guys were at a plantation in Louisiana and they were learning all about voodoo, which strangely enough, seemed to be practiced by predominately white people in that area.  And by “predominately” I mean, except for the dead folks, “only.”  They had one black anthropologist on the show who you could tell was trying her hardest to inject some level of clarity and knowledge but at one point, she gets this look on her face that plainly says, “Oh god, I hope my colleagues never see this or I will be teased mercilessly for the next decade.”

The white-guy archaeologist was at least having some good fun with them, but I bet he has tenure, so he can get away with it.

Anyway, none of that it terrible, obviously.  It’s all good fun.

But the point of any bad ghost hunting show is to ride that line between “this is all in their heads” and “or is it?”  And there was some of that last night–evps that didn’t actually seem to be the things they claimed they were.  But there were also things that could have easily been faked and also easily been actually weird–like the cabin in which the light kept coming on and off.

And the park ranger who was with there with them saw the light go on and off and did not even jump.  Now, I know they were playing to the “weird Southerners and their comfort with things the rest of us find terrifying” stereotype, but come on!  If I were sitting here at my computer and the Butcher turned the light on unexpectedly, I would jump or turn to see.  Even if you are not afraid, when something unexpected happens, you have a physical reaction.

And this guy was all “nope, that’s never done that before.  I guess it’s a lu lu.”

American, he did not even unlock the door to the cabin to take a look inside.

Making it clear then that he knew what was going in in there, and not in some supernatural way.

No Band-Aids

I was looking at the iconic poster of her in her red bathing suit yesterday and trying to figure out what about it didn’t square with my memories.  I had friends who had brothers who had that poster.

And this morning it dawned on me.  I never saw that poster with nipples.

All my friends’ moms (and I’m talking three or four, not thousands, obviously) had gone in and put Band-Aids like pasties on Farrah Fawcett.

The Obligatory Two Thoughts About Michael Jackson

1.  Dude was fucked up.  From the time he was little and his dad beat the shit out of him and everyone stood back and let it happen because they didn’t want to lose their meal ticket straight on through.  So, I don’t know what to make of his music, you know.  I’d like to see it as something apart from his suffering and the suffering he allegedly inflicted on others, but I don’t know if I can, because I don’t know if that was something he did that let him transcend his humanity or if it was just what he did because it was what he did.  I don’t feel sorry or unsorry that he’s dead.  I feel weird that his whole life was about the public consumption of him and so is his death.  It feels like the polite thing to do is to just look away, to let there be some moment when he’s not a public spectacle.

2. I remember, though, when Thriller came out, because I had heart-shaped Michael Jackson earrings, which I wore every day until my ear got infected and I had to have my mom help me get the earring out.  And I remember some of the parents were concerned about all the young girls wearing t-shirts with him on it and I couldn’t understand why.  My dad said, “Because he’s black and they’re white girls.”

I was eight.  We were all only eight.

Ward Cammack, Shining Beacon of Justice

So, Ward Cammack is a Democrat running for Governor of the State of Tennessee.  He also belongs to the Belle Meade Country Club, which, for some reason can only find one black person in the whole world “right” for membership, and, fortunately, this black guy lives in Atlanta, which is four hours away, so that, if anybody hears that he’s on his way to the Club, they have time to flee if their delicate sensibilities might be offended.

There are a few things going on at different levels.  Braisted, according to Kleinheider, is insinuating that the same people who moved against Forrester for the TNDP chair are the same folks moving against Cammack.

And Cammack doesn’t have a communications guy anymore to help smooth out his “No, I’m staying in the Country Club because I can’t turn my back on the wait-staff!” message.

But here’s the thing.  When Braisted says, “First off, if it was wrong to join the club 5 years ago, it’d still be wrong even if he now dropped his membership,” I say in response, hell yes it’s wrong to join a club that doesn’t let black people in.  If you are a white Democrat, and you are somewhere and you look around the room and the only black people in it are serving you food, you don’t fucking become a member of that place.  And if you were a Republican when you joined it but switched, well, come to Jesus now, Demmie, and quit that place.

Listen, if you want to join an all-white country club in the privacy of your own life, go right ahead.  I will make fun of you, but I will respect your right to assemble with whom you like.

But if you want to run the whole State of Tennessee, you’ve got to leave this kind of foolishness behind.

It’s not right.

And it’s embarrassing to point that out to a DEMOCRAT.

But worse is this nonsense about how he will stay a member for the sake of the staff.

Don’t do regular folks the favor of putting off doing the right thing so that you can continue to let them have the privilege of serving you.

That attitude needs to be run out of the Democratic party on a rail right this second.

I Come to the Garden Alone, While the Dew is Still on the Roses

Okay, so I was not alone and I don’t have any rose blossoms left.  But Lesley and I were out in my garden, which I swear I was in very recently and noticed nothing of interest, when we looked into the cucumber plants and found…

Actual cucumbers!

That grew in my garden!  And then sat there in the dirt like happy green sausages.

So we picked the three that we could find and cut two of them up and fed them to everyone and after everyone left, I ate what was left and I thought…

Okay, I’m embarrassed to tell you what I thought.  But I’m going to anyway.

I thought, “Wow, these are just like cucumbers you would buy at the store.”

Vacation Bible School is Not for The Kids

At lunch today we were talking about Coble’s post about vacation Bible school (or VBS, for the hip) and NM was asking if it wasn’t just basically a big old baby-sitting thing.

And as she was asking, I realized what it is that VBS is supposed to do, at least for us small town Midwestern girls, and why a woman like Coble might find how VBS is done now disturbing.

In a small town, VBS is certainly not done as mission work, since, in a small town, who goes to what church is already well-established.  So, it’s not about drawing new families into the church, which, in a larger town seems to be the focus of almost every church related activity.

No, when we were growing up VBS was only for the children under the flimsiest of pretexts and specifically did not require expensive doo dads with which to do it because that would have worked against its purpose.

VBS was about training young teenagers to be a part of the life of the church.

We helped with crafts, we handed out cookies and punch, we even, as we got older, taught some of the VBS classes.  It was a trial run for Sunday School teaching and church funeral dinner throwing.  It was a safe, structured way for young people to practice being the church.

Now, I haven’t been to a vacation Bible school in years, bt I’m betting that, if you’re paying tens of thousands of dollars for materials and considering it as a moment to reach new families, you aren’t letting 14 year olds be in charge.  You’ve handed it over to people who already know what they’re doing.

So, the whole moment in which to show your young people that they aren’t just observers, but participants in the life and health of the church–that they have a stake and that they have responsibilities–is gone.

It’s now about indoctrinating the kids who go there and impressing their parents and not about bringing teenagers into the life of the church.

A church is almost always going to lose most of its young people after they hit about 16, maybe 18.  But, if they’ve been made to feel a part of something important, a vital part, they usually come back.

I’m not sure how it works to bring folks back if you don’t do the work to make them seem like they have a place and a role before they go.


If you’re coming, pull all the way in and park in the back (brave souls can park on the grass) and come in the back door.  There will be no food so eat dinner before you get here.  But I will let you walk around my haunted back yard and admire my pumpkins.

Edited to add: Um, none of these things are euphemisms.

“Hey, It Happens to Everyone.”

When a young person tells you she’s been sexually assaulted, is it weird to day, “This happens to everyone, you’re not alone.”?  You don’t want to seem dismissive, like it happens to everyone, so it’s just a part of life, so suck it up and get over it already.  But you want to say “Hey, this is very common and you are not alone, there are a lot of people who understand what you’re going through and can help.”

And, even if it’s okay, can I just say that it’s such a shitty thing to have to say?

Oh, Tuesday, Yuck, Yuck, Yuck

Y’all, about the only thing that can cheer me up is a sad song from a guy being backed by a full brass band.  And I don’t even know if it’s really sad, because I can’t speak Spanish.

I would shake my fist at fate, but I really don’t want to attract fate’s attention right now.

Hurray! The Butcher is Home

The Butcher was dog-sitting for some friends just west of here, which meant that I saw him for about three seconds each day as he came home to grab some clothes or to take a shower.

It’s nice to have the house to yourself, but it’s nice when there’s someone else to witness the weird behavior of the pets.  Like yesterday, when the tiny cat ate some wet cat food, ate some dry cat food, jumped on the floor and ate some dog food, and then came out here to try to eat my breakfast.

Or when the dog was growling back at the thunder last night.  Low “grrrrruuuuumble” from the sky, low “grrrrruuummmble” from the dog.

It’s going to be hard for me to not think of thunder as a growling dog, now, since I’m pretty damn sure that’s what my dog suspects it is–the largest dog she’s ever heard.

Sinning for God

Ta-Nehisi Coates today has a post about Martin Luther King in which he quotes some of King’s bedroom utterances.  The one that charmed me is “I’m fucking for God!”

As I said over there, I love this, not because I like the idea of King cheating on his wife, but because it sounds just like something a minister would say, something about how, when ministers go wrong, they go wrong spectacularly.

I’ve been thinking, too, about the story of Maury Davis. Not about the story, per se, but about the comments after the story, rushing to Reverend Davis’s defense.

The thing is this–human beings are just human. People who are pastors are people first.  The Christian god’s concerns are not our concerns.  So, you know, God doesn’t really give a shit if having a convicted murderer as a minister looks bad or wouldn’t be right.  He doesn’t care if a plagiarizing philanderer wouldn’t be the best face of the Civil Rights movement.

The Christian god doesn’t care if you’re not good enough to do what He has for you to do.

But boy do we want to believe that people who are called are called because they’re so great, so deserving, so much more morally upright than the rest of us, that they are deserving.

They are not.

But the more we cling to this idea that they are better than us, the easier it is for their true selves to be obscured. In the case of MLK, I don’t think it matters much, except that, in catching glimpses of his sins, I feel like we catch glimpses of his humanity.  But in the case of someone like Davis, I can’t help but wonder if it doesn’t allow him shelter from his humanity.  What do I know?  But a minister in a million dollar house is in a fortress to protect him from something.

I don’t know.  This has ended up someplace different than where I thought it was going when I started it.

My dad was back in the pulpit on Sunday.  On the one hand, I know he enjoys it so I’m glad for him.  On the other hand, I feel a little like, “Oh, god, this again?”

Maybe some ministers aren’t fucked up.

But, frankly, I would doubt they were very good at their jobs then. It seems like you go a little crazy when you are truly hooked into the Holy.  So, if you aren’t crazy, I don’t know that you’re hooked In.  Maybe that’s not fair, but that’s years of observation.

It just seems very unfair what it does to families.  I mean, I laughed at King’s outburst, because it sounded so much like something my dad’s friends might say, so familiar, the private things ministers say when they don’t have to pretend to be deserving of what they’re doing.

But damn, my heart when out to his kids, who like so many of us, end up squashed between the weight of a man and his congregation.