Puberty is Consent

This is pretty sick.

On Monday, [Evangelical preacher Tony] Alamo spoke of the allegations with a mix of denial and defiance, saying that he never promoted sexual abuse but that he believes there’s a mandate from the Bible for young girls to marry.

“In the Bible, it happened. But girls today, I don’t marry ’em if they want to at 14, 15 years old. Because we won’t do it, even though I believe it’s OK,” Alamo said.

On Saturday, he had said that for girls having sex, “consent is puberty.”


Interestingly, the headline to the CNN story reports it as, “Evangelist: ‘Puberty’ is age of sexual consent.” But that’s not exactly what Alamo said. There was nothing about the age of consent — he said that consent is puberty. Both statements would be disturbing, but Alamo’s actual words take it to a whole new level. At least “age of consent” implies some sort of agency on the part of the girl who is considered old enough to consent to sex; “consent is puberty” takes her decision out of the picture and pretty much says that hitting puberty means that girls consent to sex. It’s minor semantic quibbling to be sure, and I’d still be posting this if he had used the phrase “age of consent,” but it’s telling nonetheless.

Of course, we are talking about a cult leader who seems to have some serious issues. He kept his dead wife’s body on display for six months, convinced she would be resurrected. He calls himself a “completed Jew” who doesn’t trust gentiles, but then says that he never believed in Judaism. He’s a convicted tax cheat who made his money selling elaborately decorated denim jackets to clients like Mr. T (no word on whether a Bedazzler was involved, but a girl can dream). He goes on bizarre rants on his radio show, recently threatening media figures (including Nancy Grace) who were covering the raids on the polygamist Mormon compounds (“The Lord is going to take the firstborn of everyone that’s involved. . . . I am telling all you people, including Nancy Grace, to back off if you love your twins. Back off if you love your little twins.”). His organization steals from Hurricane Katrina victims. He runs a fake charity to scam people into donating to Alamo Ministries.

And the authorities just removed several children from his compound.

But Alamo isn’t just some random weirdo cult leader with a small following in Texas. His followers are all over the country, and they apparently hold meetings a few blocks from my apartment. According to a young woman from New York who eventually escaped Alamo’s cult:

Alamo eventually ordered Sarah and Angie, the two youngest, to live at his house for months at a time while their mother remained in another of the church compounds five hours away—Sarah because she needed to be watched, and Angie because she was being groomed to be Alamo’s next wife. Phoebe and Sarah say that Angie went to live at Alamo’s house permanently when she was 12. By 13, she was wearing a wedding ring, and, at 14, she was spending the night in Alamo’s bedroom. Eventually, Sarah was kicked out at age 15 for kissing a young man that Alamo didn’t approve of; she says she’s glad to have been ejected from the church.

These days, Sarah takes jabs at Alamo every chance she gets, making fun of his ridiculous rules: When babysitting, the girls needed permission to hold the male infants and were outright banned from changing their diapers, lest they be sexually tempted. “He says everything is about the temptation of the devil,” she says, “which is crazy, because they’re little kids!”

In recent radio broadcasts, Alamo waxed poetic about menstruation: “The Bible is filled with stories where God commanded young women to get married. When they start their periods, they are women, according to God’s word. They should be able to be married at 13, 14, 15 years old, and in cases if they’ve menstruated already, 12 years old.” He also contends that Mary was as young as six at the time she conceived Jesus, and sarcastically asks if God could be considered a pedophile: “You want to take the Almighty God to jail, because He wanted the Son of God to be born of a young virgin? But you, Satan, you wicked people in the Vatican, and all the rest of you want people—men—to be married to old bags! You want [girls] to wait until they’re 18 years old, and them having had sex with possibly up to 100 men!”

While Alamo publicly says he’s not a polygamist, and challenges outsiders to “find marriage licenses about me being married to anybody,” ex-members say he has unofficially “married” at least eight girls as young as eight years old, and many others live in his house.

Alamo seems to think that all the ex-members upset with him are just unhappy that they didn’t get more of his affection: “You get a young girl and you get them mad at you, they’ll lie that you’ve had sex, that you’ve raped them or something. This is just the nature of women, especially if you don’t continue to have relationships with them. They will leave, and they will tear you to ribbons with their lying tongues.”

Thanks to Joanne for the link.


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32 comments for “Puberty is Consent

  1. Tonya
    September 24, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    This is craziness! This crazy man just covers himself at every angle. He believe that girls should be married at young ages, but claims he’s never done it. He says he doesn’t molest people, but if they accuse him, it’s because it’s in “their nature” to do so. Clearly this man has lost his mind.

  2. less13lee
    September 24, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Can anyone guess why I converted to atheism despite my intense Southern Baptist upbringing?

    Wait for it.

    “Cuz of shit like this.
    I have a hard time wrapping my head around the entitlement, lack of reason, compassion or perspective from men like this.

  3. Bitter Scribe
    September 24, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Wow. I just knew Alamo as the guy whose acolytes kept slipping annoying leaflets under my windshield wipers claiming that John Paul II sold Zyklon B to the Nazis, or something. I also knew that he piled up some money by using his cult members as slaves to make those rhinestone-garnished jackets. But I never realized he was this crazy.

  4. Jha
    September 24, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    EW!

    I’ve read this thing twice and that’s all I can think: EW!!!

  5. Ashley
    September 24, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    There are no words…but I’ll find some anyway, however inadequate they may be. You, sir, are a monstrous blot on the face of humanity. I hope they take you to prison for sexual assault on children and then the corrections officers whisper your crime to other inmates. Then, and only then, will true justice be served.

  6. September 24, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    So an 18-year-old is an “old bag.”
    So everybody who bleeds monthly has no say in who does or does not sleep with/rape them.
    So it’s okay for a 13-year-old to marry an old man.

    I’m going to go cry for humanity now.

    Love,
    Sally
    (who will probably never get married because of people like these)

  7. RoRo
    September 24, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    How gross is this: “You GET a young girl, then they get mad at you”. I mean, he’s acting like these are his spurned ex-lovers. Um…if you’re trying to deny that you’re marrying and raping these girls, maybe don’t treat CHILDREN like they’re some mistress that you’ve become tired of. “…the nature of women…” A 12-year-old is not a woman, she is a little girl, dammit.

  8. September 24, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    crap. Just….crap.
    Sometimes I want to go in my house, unplug, and never come out. :(

  9. September 24, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    You know how crazy people are absolutely sure that everybody else is crazy? This dude is like that. Such as.

  10. September 24, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    I e-mailed CNN.com about the headline mistake…

    Ugh. This is disgusting, that people in the world believe these things and are given this kind of power to inflict their sickness on others.

  11. TravelerOfTheWays
    September 24, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I was hoping I’d misread the article and that the dude really did say that the age of consent is whenever a young woman hits puberty. Almost anyone else might get the benefit of the doubt – oops, just a slip of the tongue (even if a Freudian and disgusting one), but this guy is officially vile. Worse than vile. I would not be the tiniest bit surprised if he really did mean what he said there. Somehow, just reading this makes me feel dirty. Ugh.

    But my name has now appeared on feministe, so I am a little bit happy.

  12. Rebecca
    September 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    What a charmer. His opinion that women are “old bags” by the time they’re 18 screams “pedophile.”

  13. September 24, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Yeah, my unlying tongue is gonna say a few things.

    Why the shit do we let people like this walk around free?

  14. September 24, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Ohhhh the creepy is… it’s… Ceiling Cat, save me from this shit.I need to go lie down. That’s so fucked up I can’t believe it.

  15. j swift
    September 24, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I think I have some of Alamo’s tracts in my stack of weird religious-shit.

    Alamo is a grade-A, certified whack-a-doo. IIRC he can’t string together a coherent sentence.

  16. September 24, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    “Old bag”?

    Well, at least he missed his chance to hit on me. *whew*

    Seriously, shouldn’t this guy be barred from spending any time with children, ever? I hope they make sure of that.

  17. September 24, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    Three words:

    Delusions.

    Of.

    Grandeur.

    The guy’s a nutjob and needs to be thrown in jail for rape and child abuse.

  18. Judith Jewcakes
    September 24, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Having had sex with up to a hundred men by the age of eighteen? Jeez, I wish!

    How has he not been thrown in jail? Surely they could get enough against him…

  19. Banisteriopsis
    September 25, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Ewww…. just, ew. That’s how it was in my church too: For some reason the adults were so afraid of fucking, that as soon as a girl got to be 15ish, the pressure to find a man and get married started. Luckily my sisters were smarter than that, but I knew a LOT of girls who went through the system, married some chud at 16, and lived happily ever after. Of course “happily ever after” consisted of fucking your husband and learning how to cook a chicken.

  20. September 25, 2008 at 6:57 am

    So puberty is consent — that’s why these 18 year old bags have already slept with 100 men. Because puberty is consent and puberty happens some years before you turn 18, and that’s plenty of time for lots of guys to get you.

    I’m glad I’m on the other side of the planet from this monster. I ain’t much of an ‘eye for an eye’ sort of person, but he does deserve a special cellmate for this kind of filth.

  21. September 25, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Ew ew ew ew pedophilia ew!!!!!

    I hope they put this guy in jail before he ruins any more lives.

  22. blondie
    September 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    This man needs to go to jail for the rest of his short life expectancy (he’s 74 yrs. old).

  23. September 25, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    I don’t feel much like calling this guy crazy; I’d rather go the whole hog and call him evil.

  24. September 26, 2008 at 1:51 am

    Does anyone know, is he not being investigated for child abuse? If not, why not?

  25. September 26, 2008 at 3:16 am

    I am speechless. How much more pain there must be among the people of this country such that sick preverts like this one can prey on them.

    It simultaneously makes me want to show more compassion for people (so they might perhaps not go through the emotional garbage that ends up in such cults’ growth) and wanting to hit Alamo in the face with a shovel. As for the sexual enslavement of children, it reduces me almost to tears. Then I want to reach for the shovel again.

  26. Karrigan
    September 26, 2008 at 9:23 am

    He believes a six year old can give birth? SIX??!! Eeeeeew.

  27. The Dude
    September 26, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I really don’t get it isn’t this crap illegal? How does someone get away with blatant rape and paedophillia? Am I missing something.

  28. Thomas
    September 26, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    He will go to prison and die in prison. Now, if only that had happened decades ago, a lot of women would have had much better lives. What is amazing to me is that in the early 1980s, when we had a rash of allegations of cult child molestation (McMartin preschool, etc.) with fantastical claims of satan worship, that so many actual, real, operating cults of child molestation (Rulon and Warren Jeffs, for example, and this monster) were allowed to thrive. But then, the point of the 1980s allegations was to terrify women about daycare and attack a second-wave feminist movement that had some success in allowing women in the workforce have a normal career path. Prosecuting religious fanatics for their child molestation would not have served any patriarchal backlash function.

  29. Miss Werewolf
    September 26, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    You know, the funny thing is that even now, being at age 18, I feel like an old bat. I already feel pressure to be (or at least look) younger. Apparently my desirability has also been affected since I am in college, and not high school. I guess this pressure comes from assholes like him who have sex with virgin girls to make up for how much they suck in bed. I wish people were more enlightened, because I am really not as old as society makes me out to be. 18 is very young!

  30. Nancy
    September 26, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    To Miss Werewolf:

    We 30 year olds believe you, 18 is very young! Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.

  31. Alara Rogers
    September 28, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    Miss Werewolf, I can assure you that you do *not* want to have sex, or even contact, with any man who thinks you’re too old. And unless you’re a lesbian or bi, the opinion of women as to whether you’re hot or not shouldn’t really matter all that much. (Besides, any woman who’s dissing you for being over 18 is either under 18 herself, in which case, why are you listening to a kid, or over 18 herself, in which case, just feel sorry for her because she hates herself.)

    Seriously. if you;re actually meeting people who think 18 is too old to be desirable, use it as an asshole filter. People who respect women and are mature themselves think 18 is the *floor*, not the ceiling.

  32. Suzanne
    September 28, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Excuse me while I go vomit.

    This lower life form’s self-serving version of God will not be able to save him if he ever crosses my path. First thing to get wrapped around and stapled to a compound tree will be that shrivelled old prune of a nutssack.

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