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9 Valiant Religious Right Efforts to End Masturbation Forever (Hint: They Failed)

The emergence of Internet porn has re-occasioned a moral freakout over masturbation.
 
 
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Masturbation—fapping, onanism, pocket pool, the solitary vice—has driven religious people nuts since St. Augustine. The emergence of Internet porn has re-occasioned a moral freakout over masturbation, driving major religious organizations, fringe churches, pious universities and the odd freelancer to catalyze anti-masturbation movements. From websites to T-shirts to hands-to-yourself retreats, these are the most ridiculous attempts to get people to keep their hands to themselves.

1. BYU’s amazing masturbation-as-war film.

Masturbation is back in the news after a BYU video went viral in February for being perhaps the most over-the-top attempt to stop masturbation in history.

The video, titled Wounded on the Battlefield, sprung from the words of Brigham Young University president Kim Clark, who, in describing a young man so enthralled by pornography he even stops going to church, called him “spiritually wounded on the battlefield of the Great War.”

Alas, the filmmakers took Clark’s metaphor about as literally as possible. In an extended Saving Private Ryan-esque sequence, the film dramatizes the self-lover as a fatigued soldier being abandoned by his fellow infantryman in a jungle warzone. "The enemy whispers 'Don’t get involved, it’s not your problem,’” Clark intones as the soldiers flee the crackling gunfire. “Brothers and sisters, don't leave the wounded on the battlefield."

2. Jehovah’s Witnesses’ anti-masturbation video (now with more R Kelly).

Mormons aren’t the only ones taking advantage of YouTube to spread the anti-masturbatory message. The Jehovah’s Witnesses released a sign language video in 2012 warning of its evils. (The sign for jacking off is…well, it’s exactly what you think it is.)

“Maybe they feel there’s nothing wrong with it,” the man in the video signs. “They’re wrong! Jehovah is watching and he is disgusted.”

Jehovah wasn’t the only one watching. The video was quickly redubbed with 50 Cent and R Kelly.

3. Passion For Christ “ex-masturbator” T-shirts.

Are YouTube videos too high-tech? If you still have a dialup connection, the people at Passion for Christ Movement (P4CM) designed the “Ex-Masturbator” shirt that allows you to declare your impulse control to everyone you meet. (Also available in "Ex-Fornicator," "Ex-Diva," "Ex-Slave," "Ex-Atheist," and "Ex-Hypocrite” flavors.)

“We pray that you will join us in breaking the silence on an issue that has stayed silent for too long,” their website states. “Be the first to boldly rock your Ex-Masturbator shirt and let’s change the world baby!”

4. The Vatican goes after nuns on a bus.

Sister Margaret Farley‘s book  Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics stirred up the Vatican (six years after it was published) when the church officially decided in 2012 that her lax stance on masturbation portended grave harm to the faithful.

While Farley wrote that masturbation “posed no moral questions,” the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith held that it was an “intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” (They also found homosexuality to be “intrinsically disordered”; the connection between masturbation and homosexuality is a common one by moral crusaders.) The Church ended up accusing Farley and her fellow “Nuns on a Bus” of encouraging “doctrinal confusion.”

But whereas the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses worried about masturbation’s effects on the sinner, the Church worried about its effects on the Church. "This idea that having this Second Vatican Council and pronouncing that there's this amorphous spirit that gives us license to pretty much throw the baby out with the bath water so to speak when it comes to Catholic doctrine, it's simply wrong,” one Catholic proponent cried.

4. Mark Driscoll warns masturbation can lead to homosexuality.

 
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