I think I’m done listening to Delilah

Image of radio host Delilah with curled blond hair, and left hand on left hip, in a black dress in front of an iHeart Radio emblazoned wall in Las Vegas
(image courtesy of Billboard)

Over the last few months that I’ve been jobless, I’ve spent many a night at home. I tend to keep the radio on to have some background noise bc I don’t have a television in my room and I don’t like having the volume on my computer turned up bc too many sites auto-play videos, which gets old fast. The only radio station I’ve listened to that I can regularly pick up out here in the middle of Nowheresville, USA is a local station that’s part of the iHeart network, and features Delilah Rene Luke. ‘Delilah’, as she is known to listeners, has been a radio personality since 1974, when she was 14. Her enormously popular, eponymous show (which has roughly 8 million listeners) begins at 7 pm CST and runs til 11 pm CST and is notable both for the atmosphere Delilah has created and her callers. She gives the show a relaxed, down home feeling, full of support, encouragement, hope, and words of love.  One of the hallmarks of the show are her listeners, who are encouraged to call or email the show to share their lives with her. They share stories of hope, joy, sorrow, and frustration. Every night, upwards of 50,000 people call hoping to talk to the famous host, but usually only 50-70 actually reach her (she screens the calls herself). Typically, the caller will request a song to be played as a dedication to a friend or loved one, but on a fairly regular basis the caller asks her to pick a song for them.

One particular segment of the show (one I suspect is quite popular) is the equivalent of the ‘Dear Abbey’ advice column. She selects a caller asking for advice on a subject, and a short time later, she offers her words of wisdom for the caller. In the time I’ve been regularly listening to her, I have heard Delilah offer a lot of advice. It didn’t take me long to notice a heavily religious slant behind not only her words of wisdom, but behind the whole show. Only recently did I learn that she is an Evangelical Christian. Discovering that was a light bulb moment. It explained why her guidance frequently came across as being of questionable merit. Rather than offering solutions to her guests that were based in reality and had evidence to back them up, her advice frequently, but not always, turns out to be some variant of ‘gods got the wheel’.

I usually tune out her recommendations when they are too god focused, and pay more attention when she offers up her personal, less divinely inspired solution for how a caller should handle a situation.  On occasion, I’ve written about her advice on Facebook. Sometimes, her wisdom is tolerable or even reasonable:

(note: The four sets of quoted material below are all reproductions of my own posts from Facebook)

Dude seems to be flailing in his search for an answer. On the one hand, he characterized his wife as “playing the role of the Wicked Stepmother to a T”.
On the other, he said his son is a teenager now (a recent development) and teens are “cr*zy anyway”.
So he seems to be blaming both of them, I guess. At any rate, he doesn’t know what to do, so he figured to call a popular radio show host with a hotline to god.

(not seeing any special qualifications that she has for solving his family problems. Yes, she’s a mother with several children, but without being part of their family and seeing the nature and extent of the tension, it’s really hard for anyone to say “AHA, here’s your problem”. In addition, I don’t think Delilah is a qualified therapist, so her advice wouldn’t necessarily be derived from evidence-based solutions)

To her credit, she noted something of importance–Dude referring to his wife as “playing the role of the Wicked Stepmother to a T”. Without saying “Dude, that’s a sexist stereotype. You really should treat your wife with more respect than reducing her down to a stereotype”, (which is totally something I would say, though there might be a little bit more ::ahem:: coarse language (“might be”? Ha)), she basically said IF she’s acting in this way and it’s not just his perception (or his son’s or both of theirs), then he needs to act to protect his child. Not having any further information–I don’t recall him mentioning any particular abuse his son experiences from her, for instance–I’m not really sure what he can or needs to protect him from. That’s a teensy quibble, not a significant problem, given her lack of information.

She then went on to say basically, that if it’s just his perception (or his son’s) and that’s not actually how his wife is acting, then they need to find a good family therapist. Which is what I think she should have started off with, TBH.

1

Sometimes it’s the most unhelpful, facile advice. The kind that would make you want your money back if your therapist offered it:

PEOPLE NEED A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL GIVING THEM ADVICE YOU HACK!

The fact that she is so beloved and respected (her Wiki page says upwards of 8 million ppl listen to her each week) amplifies the problem, bc listeners will hear her “encouraging” advice about drug addiction–‘move on, leave it behind’ (spoken, at least, with a note of care, rather than dispassionately)–and take that to heart, rather than seeking assistance and answers that have an evidence based approach to handling complex issues like grief and addiction.

2

 

Other times her suggestions are less compassionate and more authoritarian leaning:

On tonight’s episode of ‘No More Advice Delilah, Please’,
the radio personality gives her motherly advice to an 18-year old high school senior who is dating a Hispanic guy roughly her age. His parents have met her and are perfectly fine with their relationship. HER parents, OTOH, are anything but fine with it. Apparently her parents don’t want her dating outside her race. The issue at hand is that they have been dating for a while and she has had to lie to her parents about where she’s going and what she’s doing and she’s tired of doing that. She’s a star athlete, with great grades, is active in her church, and does community service work regularly. She feels she is a great child and that lying to her parents is antithetical to that status. OTOH, she cares deeply for her BF and doesn’t want to end the relationship. So Delilah, please tell the world:

WHAT FUCKED UP PIECE OF ADVICE ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE THIS YOUNG WOMAN?

If you know anything about the advice offered by Delilah, then you probably have some idea of the answer.

First of all, Delilah characterized the parents and their opposition to interracial relationships as ‘absurd’.

And. That’s. It.

I was screaming at the radio for her to call it what it is:
R A C I S T

She couldn’t or wouldn’t do that. Way to beat around the bush.

The advice she offered kinda pissed me off too. She said “you live at home you have to follow the rules set forth by your parents”. Now, I get where she is coming from on this, and ultimately there is a lot of truth to that. Despite being 18 and an adult, the woman does live at home with her parents and is still in high school (I’m guessing this is a past episode or that this piece of mail came to Delilah after the school year ended), so her parents’ rules do have to be acknowledged.

But where I think Delilah went and gave her trademark bullshit advice is when she told the woman “you have to respect your parents’ rules and be honest with them”. Ummm, no. She is not required to respect her parents’ racism. And be honest with them? She’s an adult. If she wants to lie to her parents bc she is in a relationship, that’s her call. It’s not their business anyways.

Delilah basically told her to stop lying to her parents and suspend her relationship until she moves out of the house.

Me? I’d have given her advice on how to effectively hide the relationship until such time as she no longer lives at home (which might not happen immediately after high school and even if it does, going to college often happens with some kind of support from parents and that could be threatened). I’d have supported the woman and said she has every right to be in a relationship with the person she chooses. I’D HAVE FUCKING TOLD HER THAT HER PARENTS’ RULES ARE RACIST AS FUCK. She sent a letter asking for support and instead, Delilah tells her she’s up shit creek without a paddle for who knows how long.

3

Here, have another one of my “favorites” (where the word is spoken with as much contempt as possible):

Dude calls in to complain that he invited his mother to his college graduation months ago. She invited his father whom he did not want there.

Delilah tells the guy he cant change his mom from being codependent (dad is apparently toxic and emotionally unavailable & Delilah is somehow qualified to decide the mom is codependent over a phone call with the son). Nor can he change his father.

So her advice?

Forgive the father or the resentment with eat you alive.

There’s that toxic religious bullshit again.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EVER FORGIVE ANYONE–EVEN A FAMILY MEMBER–IF THEY HAVE BEEN A TOXIC PRESENCE IN YOUR LIFE.

Perhaps it _can_ consume you, but that is not a destined outcome and treating it as such is, once again, bullshit advice from Delilah.

4

 

Then there’s the counsel she gave a caller on tonight’s show. This crap took the cake and moved me firmly into the I don’t just dislike her and think she needs to be off the air, but I despise her camp:

Continue reading “I think I’m done listening to Delilah”

I think I’m done listening to Delilah
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3rd highest ranking Vatican official accused of sexual assaulting multiple children

Religion did not play a significant role in my life growing up. My parents did not force me (or, later, my sister) to attend church on Sundays or Wednesdays, or Christmas or Easter. I’m sure my parents had a BIble or two in the house, but I don’t recall seeing a copy (my memory becomes hazier the further back I try to recollect, so they might have had one and I don’t remember). We said grace before big holiday meals like Easter, Turkey Day, and Christmas. Mom and dad would occasionally pray to god for one thing or another and mentioned that they didn’t want to belong to any one church, so they were non-denominational believers.  Aside from that, religion was not a presence in my life growing up. No Bible was ever put in front of me, nor was I told I had to read verses before bed or other stuff many kids have to do. In fact, to this day I’ve not read the Bible cover to cover*. Church was such a non-presence in my life that by age 21 I had only been inside three churches. The first time was for a funeral.  Second time was for a wedding. The other was a trip to New Orleans with friends and we walked around a cathedral (can’t recall the name of it, but I think it had some really nice stained glass windows).

For all that we weren’t a church-going family, we did consider ourselves believers, even if nominally. My parents used to say “we don’t believe in organized religion, but we do believe something is out there” (I’ve occasionally thought about discussing this with them bc the statement “we don’t believe in organized religion”–taken on its face–is nonsense, given that organized religion *does* exist and here in the Southern United States, we have evidence of it on what seems like every other damn street). I don’t ever recall asking my sister her thoughts on religion, though with the eight year difference (she’s younger) she may not have given it much thought until her teen years bc our parents did not foist religion upon us.  For my part, I remember as a teen holding beliefs about a vague universal guiding force that created everything.  I didn’t worship him (and yeah, of course he was a him, thanks patriarchy), but I believed he existed. When I finally started coming out of the closet, my views shifted a bit, bc I wasn’t seeing any evidence there was a god. So I became an agnostic. And when I went to college and took some philosophy courses and an intro to logic course, I ditched agnosticism and chose atheism (though technically I’m an agnostic atheist, as I don’t know for sure there is or isn’t a god, but either way, I don’t *believe* in a the god of the Bible any more than I believe in any of the other thousands of gods humanity has created).

One thing I noticed as I got older was how much in the dark I was about religious issues.  My lack of religious background as a child left me incredibly ignorant on many things that others find mundane. When I first heard about PZ Myers’ Communion Wafer incident, I had no clue what a Communion Wafer was or what Communion was (now that I do? what a weird belief). I knew nothing about the Establishment Clause and how important it is to our secular society, nor had I heard any of the cognitive fallacies that theists engage in when trying to demonstrate their deity exists. I also knew virtually nothing about Judaism or Islam.

Then there’s the harmful stuff I knew nothing about. The morally repulsive stuff. The stuff that leads to an increase i suffering. Among the deeply disturbing information I discovered about christianity  was the opposition of the Roman Catholic Church to the use of birth control, the Religious RIght’s war on queers, the use of the Bible to support slavery, and the history of child sexual abuse cases from the Roman Catholic Church.

Speaking of the child sexual abuse cases against the Roman Catholic Church, another example came to light today: Cardinal George Pell, the third highest ranking Vatican official has been accused of multiple sexual offenses:

Continue reading “3rd highest ranking Vatican official accused of sexual assaulting multiple children”

3rd highest ranking Vatican official accused of sexual assaulting multiple children

Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Human rights have got to go!

Are you living in a country with a constitution that echoes-in part or whole-the human rights as enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?  Do you ever get the feeling that those rights are just a little…I don’t know? Stifling? Do you, on occasion, feel that you and the people around you would be better served by eliminating a few of those pesky rights? On hopeful days, do you find yourself lost in thought, contemplating how exhilarating it would be to cast aside rights like bodily autonomy or freedom of religion (bc let’s be honest, you know that some people really shouldn’t have the right to dictate what happens to or with their bodies ((that’s a responsibility best left to others)) and no one, but no one, should ever be allowed to decide whether or not to hold religious beliefs)? On really good days, do you speak out online or in meatspace about the virtues of living a life with significant restraints on freedom of speech and expression (bc of your sincerely held  belief that the world would be so much better if more people were imprisoned for heresy)? Do you often find yourself alone at night, laying atop your bed replete with rosary covered 1200-thread count sheets, thinking about people being slaughtered in the name of blasphemy laws as you grasp your really Good Book in one hand and attend to personal matters with the other?  If you do, then you probably have something in common with he who doesn’t like human rights (some of them anyway) Patriarch Kirill, the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church:

Continue reading “Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Human rights have got to go!”

Hey, Hey! Ho, Ho! Human rights have got to go!

Racial profiling in Texas

This is 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, a talented 9th grader living in Irving, Texas. The gifted student felt like his teachers were unaware of how skilled he was and wanted to impress them. So he created a simple electronic clock. In 20 minutes. Yeah, the kid has mad skills. Naturally, when he brought the clock to school with him on Monday, he was praised for his work and encouraged to continue developing his skills. No. Wait. That didn’t happen. Instead, he was arrested on suspicion of building a bomb:

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Racial profiling in Texas

I’m worthy of death

At least I am according to Gordon Klingenschmitt.  Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photography studio’s refusal to photograph a same-sex wedding was unconstitutional.  In response, Klingenschmitt  (aka “Mr. Chaps”) said that Romans 1:32* should be printed out by Christian business owners on the back of their business cards. Oh, and those pesky gay people wanting photos from said Christian business? They should have Romans 1:32 printed on the back of all their photos. What a swell guy Mr. Chaps is, to advocate for killing people bc their sexuality differs from his. Nevermind that my being gay doesn’t affect him in any way, shape, or form.  Like many bigots he uses the Bible as a tool to justify his desire to oppress LGBT people.  He, like so many bigoted Christians, are never consistent. On the one hand, they’d have us believe that the Bible is so important and that following the tenets therein is of utmost importance.  I wonder if he follows all the other Biblical commandments, or if he is just cherry picking which rules to follow.  Nah, he’d never do that.

Romans 1:32

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Why anyone would want to worship or follow a deity that calls for the death of people for their sexuality is beyond me. Being gay harms no one. This is one of the problems with divine morality. It’s a form of morality that is divorced from human interactions. Instead of deciding on how moral an action is based on the potential harm done to others, divinely inspired morality is just irrational rules from on high.

I’m worthy of death

I'm worthy of death

At least I am according to Gordon Klingenschmitt.  Last month, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that a photography studio’s refusal to photograph a same-sex wedding was unconstitutional.  In response, Klingenschmitt  (aka “Mr. Chaps”) said that Romans 1:32* should be printed out by Christian business owners on the back of their business cards. Oh, and those pesky gay people wanting photos from said Christian business? They should have Romans 1:32 printed on the back of all their photos. What a swell guy Mr. Chaps is, to advocate for killing people bc their sexuality differs from his. Nevermind that my being gay doesn’t affect him in any way, shape, or form.  Like many bigots he uses the Bible as a tool to justify his desire to oppress LGBT people.  He, like so many bigoted Christians, are never consistent. On the one hand, they’d have us believe that the Bible is so important and that following the tenets therein is of utmost importance.  I wonder if he follows all the other Biblical commandments, or if he is just cherry picking which rules to follow.  Nah, he’d never do that.

Romans 1:32

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Why anyone would want to worship or follow a deity that calls for the death of people for their sexuality is beyond me. Being gay harms no one. This is one of the problems with divine morality. It’s a form of morality that is divorced from human interactions. Instead of deciding on how moral an action is based on the potential harm done to others, divinely inspired morality is just irrational rules from on high.

I'm worthy of death

Moderating your language is not the same thing as equality

Compassion.

Understanding.

For the homosexuals.

<gasp!>

Those two words mark the tone of the preliminary position paper drawn up by the Vatican synod. To many people, this represents a shift in the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church, which has traditionally seem homosexuality as immoral and depraved. In 1986, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote (with the approval of Pope John Paul II):

Continue reading “Moderating your language is not the same thing as equality”

Moderating your language is not the same thing as equality

Pope’s second in command spews homophobia

Raymond Burke is basically the Vice President of the Catholic Church. He is the Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Ooooh, “respect mah authoritah!” Uh, no.  He was recently interviewed by LifeSiteNews and shared his opinions on homosexual relationships:

Continue reading “Pope’s second in command spews homophobia”

Pope’s second in command spews homophobia

Pope's second in command spews homophobia

Raymond Burke is basically the Vice President of the Catholic Church. He is the Cardinal Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Ooooh, “respect mah authoritah!” Uh, no.  He was recently interviewed by LifeSiteNews and shared his opinions on homosexual relationships:

Continue reading “Pope's second in command spews homophobia”

Pope's second in command spews homophobia

First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it’s Preach N Ticket?

I’m accustomed to hearing stories of cops Stopping and Frisking African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.  I’m accustomed to stories of cops brutalizing citizens of the US, especially People of Color. I’m not use to hearing stories of police officers proselytizing during the course of a traffic stop. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to Ellen Bogan:

Continue reading “First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it’s Preach N Ticket?”

First it was Stop N Frisk. Now it’s Preach N Ticket?