History’s Turning Points: The End of Chastity II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s turning points – conspirators in the death of chastity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his 1960 novel Where the Boys Are, Clendon Swarthout mused that “virginity was not all that important…nor do I think a girl’s misplacing it somewhere is as catastrophic as the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Perhaps not, but for thousands of years prior, chastity was very important, for families, for religious institutions, for dynastic security. Men might not have to maintain theirs, a classic double standard, but much energy was expended to make sure that females were chaste. Yet, within just a few short decades, it just went away, something considered so precious in previous generations was abandoned with a near careless lack of restraint.

History’s Turning Points: The End of Chastity I

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s great social turning points – the death of chastity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The expectation that a woman had to remain chaste, a virgin, until marriage or at least until engagement, had been around for millennia. The purpose of sex had been to make babies, propagate the species, extend the family, and in that process women were seen to play the essential role, the depository of the seed of life. It was thought that female chastity was essential. That the other half of the population, the male half, was not expected to maintain quite the same level of virtuous existence became increasingly seen as a double-standard in the modern era. Suddenly women had an ally, a tiny chemical wafer – the Pill - that helped redress an ancient gender imbalance. Now the act of sex could be severed from procreation. The rules governing chastity were being repealed. The invention and wide availability of the Pill sat upon one of history’s great turning points.

History’s Turning Points: The End of Chastity II

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s turning points – conspirators in the death of chastity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In his 1960 novel Where the Boys Are, Clendon Swarthout mused that “virginity was not all that important…nor do I think a girl’s misplacing it somewhere is as catastrophic as the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” Perhaps not, but for thousands of years prior, chastity was very important, for families, for religious institutions, for dynastic security. Men might not have to maintain theirs, a classic double standard, but much energy was expended to make sure that females were chaste. Yet, within just a few short decades, it just went away, something considered so precious in previous generations was abandoned with a near careless lack of restraint.

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History’s Turning Points: The End of Chastity I

Lead: Historical study often helps reveal twists in the human journey. Consider one of history’s great social turning points – the death of chastity.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The expectation that a woman had to remain chaste, a virgin, until marriage or at least until engagement, had been around for millennia. The purpose of sex had been to make babies, propagate the species, extend the family, and in that process women were seen to play the essential role, the depository of the seed of life. It was thought that female chastity was essential. That the other half of the population, the male half, was not expected to maintain quite the same level of virtuous existence became increasingly seen as a double-standard in the modern era. Suddenly women had an ally, a tiny chemical wafer – the Pill - that helped redress an ancient gender imbalance. Now the act of sex could be severed from procreation. The rules governing chastity were being repealed. The invention and wide availability of the Pill sat upon one of history’s great turning points.

Read more →

Mexico: The Aztecs: Religion and Culture

Lead:  In the early decades of the 1500s, Spanish explorers, Conquistadors, moved from the Caribbean coast in central Mexico. There they encountered the Aztecs, a deeply religious people with a complex structure of rites and ceremonies.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Aztecs were one of most advanced civilizations in the Americas. When the Spanish made contact they were utterly amazed by the Aztecs’ high developmental level of math, astronomy, agriculture, and, in particular, architecture. Much of the architecture was related to religion. Aztecs believed the massive sculptures and towering temples were pleasing to the Gods and were a form of human respect and tribute.

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Voodoo II

Lead: Faced with intense opposition in the French ruling class, the African slaves of Saint-Domingue, now Haiti, took their traditional Vodou religion underground by combining it with Roman Catholicism.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Vodou originated in Western Africa. The word in the indigenous Fon language of Dahomey, now Benin, means “spirit” or “deity.” Each human is a spirit of the perceptible world and after death crosses over into the invisible realm which also is inhabited by spirits, ancestors those who are recently deceased and angels. Vodou (anglicized as voodoo), as it evolved in the Western hemisphere, gradually adopted many of the characteristics of Roman Catholicism, the most important being its acceptance of the Christian God as the deity. He created the spirits of the universe, the lwa, visible and invisible, to help Him keep humanity under control and give order to the world.

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Voodoo I

Lead: Originating in the ancient indigenous cultures of Africa and merged with many characteristics of Roman Catholicism in the early years of slavery, Vodou is practiced by many in Haiti and in the Haitian diaspora.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the first places Christopher Columbus landed in the New World was the island he called Hispaniola. He enslaved the native Arawak population and set them to looking for gold, but the gold did not materialize, and the indigenous people soon died off due to disease and overwork. The island had potential, however, and after 1697 when Spain surrendered the western third to France in the Treaty of Rijswijk, the population and wealth of the colony began to expand. The newly designated Saint-Domingue became France’s richest outpost in the New World, shipping huge quantities of coffee, indigo, cotton and especially sugar. To work the plantations of the island, France imported thousands of slaves from west Africa, particularly Dahomey, now Benin, Togo and Ghana. By 1800 there were almost 600,000 slaves in Saint-Domingue.

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The Making of Santa Claus II

Lead:  It took 1,500 years and the customs and traditions from many lands to turn the mythical and vaguely historical figure of Saint Nicholas, into the beloved and legendary character we know today as Santa Claus.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Although the myth of Santa Claus has roots in a real person – a certain Nicholas, an early Catholic bishop from the ancient city of Myra in southwest Asia Minor – our modern-day Santa Claus is actually a blend of religious and secular customs and traditions from various parts of the western world.

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