The Sexist

The Christian Side-Hug: “Front Hugs Be Too Sinful”

[youtube:v=m_Oj0-splZw]

Attention, Christian kids: If you like not having sex, not speaking the Lord's name in vain, and not being gay, then you'll love the newest trend in policing typical adolescent behaviors in the name of God. It's called the The Christian Side-Hug, and it's here to help the devout avoid the temptation of full frontal hugging. Don't worry—it's cool, because they made a "rap" song about it.

According to Stuff Christians Like, there's no "exact scripture reference" banning normal hugging. But the Side-Hug does significantly lower the "risk of two crotches touching," which has got to be in the Bible somewhere. Here's how you do it:

Instead of face to face, you go side to side, putting your arm around the person and your hip against their’s. Still having a hard time mastering it? Pretend you’re taking a photo and you’re both looking at the camera together. The side hug, or A frame as it is also called, is safe for the whole family, friendly and above all holy.

The Christian Side-Hug strikes me as almost skeezily chaste—I'd much rather have a brief normal embrace with a stranger than a hip-tap from a person who I know sexualizes even the most mundane forms of human contact. But the Side-Hug itself is slightly less offensive than the medium being used to promote it: An appropriated version of "rap music" performed by a bunch of white youth pastors who think that mixing in some  gang-ish hand signals, tying on a bandana, and securing some fake bling will bring the youth to God.

The Christian Side-Hug rap comes courtesy of the Encounter Generation Conference, an annual Christian youth gathering which hopes to "bring the power, authenticity, and relevance of Jesus Christ to their culture." I'm afraid that this potent combination of absurd chastity and mock hip-hop will be more likely to bring the power of a school-yard beat-down to these kids' faces.

Comments

  1. #1

    Wait wait, this is sattire, right? They cannot be serious with this shit.

  2. #2

    They disabled comments on the YouTube video ... which I think means they are serious. They also have a rap video making fun of Eastern Europeans which instructs kids how to be good Jesus Camp attendees (no PDA, don't park on the lower parking deck).

  3. #3

    It's a little bizarre for sure, but in a way, it's actually a more honest approach (I said 'in a way').

    Back when I was the apparent target age (in my own church youth-group settings, where hugging was more common than in the halls of my junior-high or high school), you'd better believe that I was hyper-aware that a seemingly innocent platonic hug with a girl often came with a delicious boobie squish with my chest. Now it wasn't creepy or premeditated... the hug was indeed an innocent sign of affection. But with hormones raging, certain things were simply on alert status 'Red' and beyond oversight.

    This side-hug thing seems like it's acknowledging the (welcome or unwelcome) titillation that can come with a girl-boy hug (or girl-girl in some circumstances... I guess). As much as it seems silly, it also seems smarter. If you're teaching the kids not to get burned, not playing with fire is a good idea. Not playing with matches is probably a good idea too?

  4. #4

    Like so many other, and largely misguided, actions this "side-hug" results in more attention, not less, being paid to the "suspect area." By emphasizing no contact to those areas, the young will be made more aware of them.

  5. #5

    What else would one expect from these people?

    Unfortunately, they are too stupid to realize that it is VIOLENCE, and not SEX that they should be demonizing.

    Imagine what a different world this would be if these freaks showed the same disdain for violence that they show for sex.

    Stupid, stupid people. Costing us ALL far too greatly.

  6. #6

    I believe it isn't satire. I used to be involved in the evangelical community and performances like this equal "relevance"...though I never saw how cheap, talentless imitations of pop culture made anything relevant.

    Christian culture demonizes and downplays sex for one reason: they're absolutely obsessed with it. Believe me, after suffering through dating study after dating study (because us womenfolk have no need for actually theology, just good ol' Biblical baby-making), I could give you some titles for some comedy/horror reading.

    Funny thing is, they do the opposite of what they intend--make young people obsessed with sex without the knowledge of how to practice it safely, thus teen pregnancy is rampant.

  7. #7

    Wow. It fails so hard on so many different levels . . .

  8. #8

    The web site says the 'Christian Side Hug' can also be called the A hug. I thought the A hug was when you had a non-full frontal hug, that is where you touched at the shoulders but kept the hips back so you would be sure not to bump uglies. But I guess both of these hugs accomplish the same thing. Maybe the A stands for abstinence.

  9. #9

    I laughed so hard at this, I nearly fell off my chair. It's even funnier than the Silver Ring Thing. And what evangelical Christians do to avoid getting pregnant...

    But I thought the A-line hug was more where two men embrace frontally without touching crotches?

  10. #10

    Of course this is from the Bible. Don't you remember the part where Jesus sidehugs Mary Magdalene?

    Either way, the only real hugs people need are Jesus Hugs. To quote from Pastor Mark:

    "There is One and Only JESUS Hug! Just like the children in our Scripture, when you have been hugged by JESUS personally, you would just how special is HIS Hug. A Hug from people on the list above are nice, but a Hug from JESUS is anointed and nice. "

  11. #11

    2nd comment... have I been hugging wrong?

    I don't recall ever 'bumping uglies' during a hug. Not unless it was a 'horizontal hug...' but that's not exactly a hug anymore, now is it?

    Gotta say though, as a reformed evangelical who's realized I was really an athiest all along (long story), it's always sad for me when it seems so acceptable to openly mock Christian culture (or certain strains of Christian culture). Not advocating a P.C. lockdown, but the disdain and contempt is tiresome and disruptive. But then again... I guess that's what blogs and blog comments are for?

  12. #12

    If anyone went to catholic high school they will know this shit is real. When I was in high school we had christian rock stars come and sing about abstinence and stuff. It was hilarious and not in a good way.

  13. #13

    Stuff Christians Like is a satire.

  14. #14

    Stuff Christians Like is a satire site poking fun at many of the christian-isms people have grown up with. Don't take it too seriously.

  15. #15

    STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE is satire. Do journalists even know about satire anymore?

    Go read some Jonathan Swift and get a clue.

    You may want to consider a retraction.

    Unless it was your goal to make Christians look like paranoid hermits - which means you aren't objective. Which is another thing journalists should learn about.

    Are you kidding?

  16. #16

    People, please read the source material closer. The site Stuff Christians Like is satire. It was meant as a joke. People don't actually believe hugging is sinning. At least not sane people, and not SCL.

    Do the headlines of this paper pull from The Onion as well?

  17. #17

    Amanda Hess,
    You realize that the author of Stuff Christians Like was making a joke, right? Surely you read the blog post?

  18. #18

    I can assure you, as a Christian, this is not serious, it's satire. Christians do give normal hugs to people.

  19. #19

    "Stuff Christians Like" satirical... like Jonathan's Swift's "A Modest Proposal" - he didn't really think they should start eating babies during the Great Potato Famine.

  20. #20

    Oh my people. GOOGLE is your FRIEND!

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Stuff+Christians+Like

    two clicks away from saving you allllll of this drama
    Seriously.

  21. #21

    For the record:

    "Stuff Christians Like is a blog about the funny things we Christians do. And what they just might reveal about our faith."

    The Web site is reporting and commenting on, not endorsing, the Christian Side-Hug. Just like me! Mmmkay?

    The Encounter Generation Conference, on the other hand, appears to be serious about this.

  22. #22

    Satire, satire, SATIRE!!!! For crying out loud, has everyone's sarcasm meters completely broken, or have they simply lost the ability to use teh Googles? As someone said earlier, Stuff Christians Like is a relatively well known site full of amazing satire.

  23. #23

    Wow. Really?

    You somehow missed the obvious fact that "Stuff Christians Like" is satirical?

    And they say Christians are the ones with no sense of humor!

    This is HILARIOUS!

    Perhaps you should print a retraction and then we can all side-hug it out.

  24. #24

    LOL

    wow what a hilarious misinterpretation on a satirical blog

  25. #25

    Amanda –

    My name is Jon and I write stuff Christians like, which by the way is just a completely shameless rip off of Christian Lander's Stuff White People Like. I started the site as a way to talk about how we tend to put a God spin on popular secular ideas. I thought talking about the problem while I created the problem might make me seem postmodern or perhaps relevant or perhaps taller.

    I completely understand why you and your readers though Stuff Christians Like might be a serious site. I thought objectiveministries.org was a serious site and they actually have crazy things like safety tips for kids in case they run into an atheist. Their site is so over the top satire but I completely didn't see it, in large part because Christians like me have done some ridiculous things in the past. We've been judgmental and hypocritical and a whole list of other things that are toxic.

    My hope is that by talking about some of the silliness we've been rightfully accused of, we can be honest about the clutter associated with Christianity, clear it away and talk about Christ instead.

    Thanks for mentioning the site. I honestly appreciate that. I didn't have anything to do with that rap video, although recently I got some hate mail that said, "Don't make another rap video, you're about as gangsta as a pocket watch." Which is true. I am about as gangsta as a pocket watch.
    Jon

  26. #26

    Someone needs to fact check. THIS IS SATIRE! Get over it people, it's funny.

  27. shoked-by-gullibility
    #27

    Seriously?!?! Some of you are seriously gullible or WAY to ready to criticize Christianity. Stuff Christians Like is SATIRE! If you're so readily critical, it seems to me you're looking for reasons to judge. And if so, your minds are already made up. Stop reading articles about Christianity and find sonething productive to do.

  28. #28

    I find it very interesting that all of these commenters pull the same two lines:

    1)Stuff Christians Like Is A Satire and

    2)Like Jonathan Swift.

    Do the people rushing to "defend" Stuff Christians Like's "honor" somehow actually not realize that there are other examples of satire in the universe? Like, I wish Bethany was a satire, but apparently some people do name their kids after totally dishonest baby mills! Who knew?

  29. #29

    I never thought Stuff Christians Like was serious. But that doesn't mean that the Christian Side-Hug doesn't exist, or that many Christians aren't serious about the holiness of it. I'm assuming that's the very reason that Stuff Christians Like chose to write about it. But thanks for trolling.

  30. #30

    Stop reading articles about Christianity and find sonething productive to do.

    I agree. We should absolutely stop reading and all get shoked instead.

  31. #31

    Okay, your "serious" report on Stuff Christians Like makes it that much funnier. Thanks for the laugh. I really needed it today.

  32. #32

    Stuff Christians Like is satire.

    However, videos like this are serious. I've been to multiple churches where half of the damn budget went to making them. Don't get your panties in a bunch. This is why people think Christians have no sense of humor.

  33. #33

    people calm down this is so way satire. if you've ever read the stuff Christians like blog by jon acuff, this is HUGE joke. at the end of the day, though, who freakin cares whether or not these people are being serious?!?! absolutely no harm can come from this serious not.

  34. #34

    Yes. This is satire. I am a Christian, and I can say that no sane person, Christian or not, takes hugging that seriously.

    And to Christ, I hope you know that there are a lot of Christians in the world who work against violence in all kinds of ways.

    I know that there are a lot of people who profess to be Christians, and yet they don't work against violence and war, but we know nonetheless, Christ called his followers in this world to be peacemakers. And for that matter, there are people--just the same--who call themselves Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Atheists, Humanists, Buddhists, Sikhs, Traditionalists, etc. who either want to see peace in this world, or want to promote violence.

    It is not necessarily a person's theology that spurs them to peacemaking or violence, it is what is in their heart and how they choose to view the world they live in. So please, don't lump a group of people together by their common religion and say that they all are apathetic to violence in the world. It hurts me to think that you believe that I as a Christian don't care about seeing an end to violence in my world.

    If you want to talk more about this stuff with me, feel free to contact me via my blog.

  35. #35

    Sorry, last comment was to *Chris.* Honest mistake. Not a freudian slip, I swear.

  36. #36

    Amanda,

    Thank you for your response, and I apologize if my (somewhat vehement) response came across as trolling. I can say with certainty (from having been a youth pastor for over a decade) that the concept of the Christian side-hug has never, in my experience, been considered more seriously than maybe an occasional summer-camp rule.

    It's one of those unwritten things we do sometimes as Christians that we don't honestly think about too much. That is, until someone like Jonathan at Stuff Christians Like point it out, which in turns makes it funny. I do not believe he chose to write about it because it is a deep conviction of many believers.

    The "side-hug" has taken on a life of it's own in church culture (thus, the rap parody you posted), but it is almost always in a spirit of humor and light self-mockery...not a hard and fast spiritual edict.

    Jonathan, thank you for responding in such a great way-it really helped me realize my first post was more reactionary than redemptive.

  37. #37

    OMG ENOUGH WITH THE "THIS IS SATIRE" COMMENTS. I think it's pretty damn clear Amanda knows that. However, if you KNEW what satire meant you would know that it means using irony or sarcasm to reveal flaws or vice. The Christian side-hug is a real thing to some people, SCL pointed it out because they thought it was funny, and Amanda pointed it out because she thinks its creepy and the added rap video doesn't help. Calling something satire doesn't mean you all of a sudden can't talk about it, seriously. And for how ticked some of the commenters are about everyone not ROFL-ing at SCL and leaving it at that...you all need to get some sense(s) of humor of your own. I think we really all agree, right? The idea of a side-hug is laughable at best, creepy at worst. End of story.

  38. #38

    SCL is a satirical blog. Way to check your sources ;)

  39. #39

    Amanda Hess quoted: "I never thought Stuff Christians Like was serious. But that doesn’t mean that the Christian Side-Hug doesn’t exist, or that many Christians aren’t serious about the holiness of it. I’m assuming that’s the very reason that Stuff Christians Like chose to write about it. But thanks for trolling. "

    --
    This is a lame response. Just accept that you misread it and move on.. I am so not a fan of your defensiveness..Accusing those of us who pointed out that you completely missed the point as "trolling". Lame. In my opinion,the site is brilliant, because unfortunately there are extremist running around who believe the "side hug" is the only way to roll - however, they aren't the majority and so my response among many others is just to clarify that unless your Amish or a member of the Duggar fam - hugs aren't a problem.

  40. #40

    ** Another point, if this is a discussion on the topic itself, in light of knowing that the whole thing was "satire" fine. But, based on what I read in Amanda's blog, it wasn't just about the creepiness of people who insist on side-hugging, but more a response to the SCL blog on that topic.
    Not sure if that makes sense, but I do agree that we are all on the same page with the absurdity and weirdness behind people who actually believe what the post says.

  41. #41

    SCL is a satire, 100%. I've been following the blog for a year and it's nice to have a good laugh at Christian culture. Jon Acuff does a great job at poking fun at this culture. This is what goes on at Christian conferences: teaching, singing, and a whole lot of cheesy skits and videos! I'm sure the goal of that video was to give the kids a good laugh. Lighten up, that's what the Christians are doing with the blog and the video.

  42. #42

    Emily was be a true christian- on the defensive. ha!

  43. #43

    Perhaps Amanda Hess should also blog about "atheist" or non-religious institutions like our public school systems banning hugs all together...

    http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/banning-hugs-at-school/

    I mean crap... at least Christians are allowing side hugs - how evil they must be to do such a thing. Hahaha

  44. #44

    Side hugs aren't just found in the Christian community. I was told in a volunteer orientation for a public school system that we (nor the teachers) were allowed to hug the children. No full frontal hugs allowed, only brief side hugs were permissible. Have you ever tried to block an illegal hug from an excited kindergartener? It ain’t easy!

  45. #45

    The video is not satire.

  46. #46

    This article is hilarious. People find stuff that was designed to be entertaining to Christians (in a self-deprecating way) and take it seriously!

    Props to Jon Acuff for responding graciously.

  47. #47

    Here's me: face-to-desk, then running off crying to the nearest human for the most frontal-iest, heathen-iest, groin-contact-iest hug I can achieve.

  48. #48

    Amanda, what source told you the video is not satire? When I look at the other videos on the church's YouTube account, I'm pretty sure they are meant to be funny.

    When you invent rap music about not bringing food or drinks into the church sanctuary, it's fairly obvious, in my opinion.

  49. #49

    Public school suspensions/bans on hugging aren't satire either Amanda

  50. #50

    Dan,

    You could certainly argue that the church is making an attempt at satire with its videos. The difference is that the target of the satire is black people (in the video above) and Eastern Europeans (in another video on the church's Web site). The video is clearly NOT satirizing side-hugging, however---the video is employing satire in order to endorse side-hugging (in the video above), and to reinforce other church rules (in the other video).

  51. #51

    Oh, and Amy, I'll cover school hugging bans when someone makes a hilarious YouTube video about it. Promise.

  52. #52

    You folks are the same people who declare that christians need to be more "tolerant" and less "judgmental." However all you outlandish statements about this whole issue reveals your judgement and intolerance towards christians. I've been doing christian youth ministry for over 15 years and can tell you that side hugs are encouraged. Frontal hugs are not considered sinful or forbidden. Its obvious to me that this video is using humor for encouragement and not to bring condemnation on those "hugging."

    Your claims are ignorant, intolerant, and judgmental of christianity! Live by the rules you expect from others.

  53. #53

    This is hilarious!
    The video is funny and SCL is a great blog.

    As for the video, the youth pastors that take youth to the EG Conference (http://egconference.org/) have to take certain precautions. I'm not saying in any way that hugging is sexual, but having been in charge of youth on trips I understand that you have to deter small things in order to avoid the bigger problems that may occur. This is to protect the integrity of the individuals and the ministry that is involved. That's all. Its not out to "ban hugging".

  54. #54

    Amanda, you make some good observations, but alleging that a bunch of white youth pastors "think that mixing in some gang-ish hand signals, tying on a bandana, and securing some fake bling will bring the youth to God" is missing the point, I think. And it is misleading.

    Setting ground rules for a conference (or camp, or classroom for that matter) is not the same is endorsing a way of life. Churches have liability issues and most people can understand why rules are enforced in settings like this.

  55. #55

    So you prefer bring down the anvil bans huh? Just breaking down your article I'll first save you the rap from not knowing what SCL is, and I think we've shown by now that encouraging side hugs (or none at all) is endorsed by the non-religious. So your article really doesn't have any meaning outside criticizing the video right? Haha ok you can have the video - I think it's cheesy too. Of course I can only imagine the hailstorm that would ensue if religious institutions actually enacted bans similarly to non-religious institutions (like schools) - which is what you fail to see.

    And no, Amanda, I'm not religious. Just objective.

  56. #56

    HAHAHAHH!! this is FAN-FLIPPIN-TASTIC!!

    PEOPLE ARE STILL COMMENTING THINKING THIS IS MEANT SERIOUSLY!!

    its hilarious that you didnt realize Stuff Christians Like is completely satirical. but to be honest i can understand why you thought it was serious. some christians really are that stuck up on religious crap. but some see the irony in it and make a joke about it to make a point of it. and the video definately fell into that category as well! hahah i thought it was hilarious!!

  57. #57

    Christian Retards: just because something is satirized, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. The video is real. You are all morons.
    Example: The Onion writes a satire about Sarah Palin; that does not mean that Sarah Palin doesn't exist.
    Jesus Christ, you people are dumb. And yes, I was using his name in vain.

  58. #58

    Wouldn't it work better just to not touch? And really, maybe they'd do better to all wear complete full-body coverings, or even bubble suits, so they wouldn't be tempted...

  59. #59

    Oh I get it. Satan tells me you just have to change the "hug" to "fug" for it to make any sense. I'm down wit H.U.G. (yeah, you know me)!

  60. #60

    Match, your definition of "satire" is way off. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly." Anyone who understands satire knows the purpose isn't to prove that something isn't real. The purpose of satire is to poke fun of something that IS real & ridiculous. So your point there is weak.

    Your entire comment seems nothing more than an attack on Christians. Why are you calling Christians retards? Christians get a lot of heat for being intolerant & mean (true, some of it is well deserved). But I'd like to understand how you, too, are not being intolerant & mean here by calling Christians retards. It's sad you apparently believe that all Christians are alike: retarded & dumb. Do you just hate us all because of what we believe? If so, I'd say that's pretty intolerant. I certainly don't hate people for what they believe.

    And by saying "Jesus Christ".... were you intentionally trying to offend me, a Christian? 'Cause it didn't work. That's between you & God. None of my business what you say or think of him.

  61. #61

    You can guess, or you can investigate.

    I called the number for The Father's House in LA (from their website at tfh.org). I spoke with a nice lady named Mary Anne. She told me that

    YES IT IS REAL.

    She said that they have a youth group that does these videos for outreach. And she even as an adult doesn't like front-hugging with guys in the congregation, because she's married.

    So unless tfh.org is a phony site, or someone's taken over their phone lines, all you Christians who think no Christians would ever think this? Are so laughably wrong.

  62. #62

    I can't believe everyone is missing what is clearly, to me, the worst part of the video. The same video that is concerned a regular hug is sinful...opens up their song with gunshots and threatens to put people in a coma, complete with ambulance sirens??

    Probably just proves Dan's point. When Christians' obsession with sex is on such a hair trigger that a regular hug sets off alarms, and yet no one blinks an eye at gunshots, something has gone very wrong.

  63. #63

    The video is blatant satire. Anyone who can't see that is a moron. The comments on YouTube were probably disabled b/c of hate comments from aforementioned morons, intending to verbally abuse & attack the creators of the video. Much like this post.

    How is this video satirizing black people? Because they're rapping? That would insinuate that rapping = black people. That assumption seems more racist to me than the actual act of rapping. You know, there are rappers around who are not black. Also, how is "Rules Rap Fina" satirizing eastern Europeans? Because they're pretending to be Russian? I didn't realize it was so offensive for a person of one nationality to pretend to be that of another. Someone better warn Hollywood.

    As Jonathan explained above, the skit/video was intended for a specific audience at a specific conference. And as Dan said, ground rules such as these must be laid to protect the conference &/or church from getting into trouble as they are responsible for what goes on & for what is/isn't encouraged at their events. So why wouldn't they use humor to "reinforce church rules"?

    I think someone who doesn't understand "Christian culture" (for lack of a better term) couldn't really determine one way or the other if this video is satirical. That someone could merely make assumptions. And you know what they say about those who assume.....

  64. #64

    Another of their videos threatens kids who engage in PDA with a machete.

  65. #65

    Oops, sorry, TFH has campuses in Vacaville and Napa. Northern California, not Southern.

  66. #66

    Of course "side-hugging" is real, people. That doesn't mean this video isn't satire. No one is saying "side-hugging" isn't real. Sheesh.

  67. #67

    I was raised in an Evangelical church environment all my life and this video may be making fun of the church's own rules but the rule /suggestion is idiotic as is the video/song itself.

    Is it really pure satire if you're using it to reinforce your rules?

    You can all go sidehug yourselves.

  68. #68

    @awolf - hahahahahaha. I...am definitely going to borrow that phraseology in the future.

  69. #69

    i charge for usage rights.

  70. #70

    I understand. It's the economy.

  71. #71

    AJ: "Of course “side-hugging” is real, people. That doesn’t mean this video isn’t satire. No one is saying “side-hugging” isn’t real. Sheesh."

    The video expresses a rule they have for their kids in the youth programs. The video IS NOT SATIRE.

    Some of it is expressed in a silly way, but the side-hugging rule is real. And other members of the church prefer side-hugging as well. Adults.

  72. #72

    Amanda and many others obviously don't know satire when they see it. It's a real shame.

  73. #73

    Robert tried to side-hug me once.

    I'll never be the same again.

  74. #74

    OMG Robert - can u read? The video is not satire- the website that it came from IS satire. She clearly made that distinction.

  75. #75

    I think we all need to stop trying to decide who is right. Maybe we should admit that for the most part, we all occupy little niches of culture where we live, and those little niches of culture have some odd--and possibly mockable--tendencies.

    I think it might be beneficial to just move on from the whole thing all together and maybe give each big hug, from the front or the side.

  76. #76

    Taylor tried to front-hug me once.

    He'll never be the same again.

  77. #77

    this seems like the whole purity ring campaign. demonizing interpersonal contact to the point where kids will associate hugging with sexual deviancy and sin...great idea. see how that turns out.

  78. #78

    I'm just FLOORED by everyone's scathing criticisms. The video's not satire - the blog is - but the video isn't. There have even been people in this comments section actually checking that it’s real! AND IT IS!!!

    Look at any popular blog - regretsy, failblog, emailsfromcrazypeople, cakewrecks etc etc - the CONTENT is real... the PRESENTATION is satirical.

    *sigh* I think someone's just alerted IheartJesus4eva forums as to this article's presentation of the ridiculousness of such a thing and all these commenters are swooping over to try to feebly cover its tracks.

    I went to a Christian high school with a no touch policy. That's right; we weren't allowed to touch each other. Even hugs. Even SIDE hugs. The encouragement of a policy like this is completely unsurprising.

    The attitude the various churches has towards honest and open physical friendly affection is potentially dangerous. All these kids grow up to either be completely terrified of all human contact or so passionately curious (and uninformed) about it that they make bad choices. Human touch is a fantastic element of psychological and spiritual healing - to deny anyone this is reprehensible.
    Not that I personally believe he’s the son of God – but I reckon if you asked Jesus what he thought of friendly physical affection, he’d agree that it’s important and doesn’t have to be sexualised to exist. He had a sex worker wash his feet with her HAIR ffs!

    The message is put into a rap song - not to be satirical - but in an attempt to be approachable and relevant - which they will never be.

  79. #79

    No. Both the video and SCL are satire. We're mocking ourselves. We're poking fun at the things we do. Certain groups might take themselves seriously, but these particular groups don't. They're just having fun. It's okay, we like to laugh to.

  80. #80

    What's next the Christian side puff?

  81. #81

    @AJ god, you're dumber than I thought; you proved my point while trying to refute it. And yes, obviously I'm being intolerant.

  82. Comrade Al Gonzales
    #82

    Why is it a sin for Baptists to have sex standing up? It's too much like dancing.

    Baptists - sick, superstitious people...

  83. #83

    Dear Readers of this Blog,

    I made this rap video and yes, it's for real.

    Full frontal hugging is sinful. If I hug a girl full frontal, there is simply no way to avoid the sinful gesture of brushing my penis against different parts of a girl's front. Depending on the relative height of those involved, this could be basically genital to genital contact, which the Bible tells us is sinful outside of marriage. I repeat, this video is for real.

    If you don't believe me, you can fuck yourselves up the gay butt, k?

    -God/Jesus/Holy Ghost

  84. #84

    Can we please take a deep breath? Pretty please? As commenters including Ms. Hess have said many many many times, Stuff Christians Like is satire. It's good satire. It pokes fun at silly stuff common to most congregations that just isn't talked about because no one thinks about it or it's become somehow taboo. On the SCL blog, side-hugs are listed alongside VeggieTales and awkward enforced hand-holding. It was made by Christians for Christians to comment on and laugh at those little cultural eccentricities we just don't think about. Nobody's attacking SCL, including me; my previous comment about "fail" was directed exclusively at the video, but I should have said so.

    Okay? Can we move on?

    Great. Now. The video. The video is a very different beast because it's not commenting on the side-hug; it's trying to market it to youth. In that setting it becomes problematic. When you preach "side-hugs" to the exclusion of "full-frontal hugs" (bear with me, I'm trying to keep a straight face) it creates pointless taboos, and those are never good. Instead of "side-hugs" (do I have to keep using that word?) growing naturally out of a person's physical boundaries and comfort level--a way of respecting other people--they become yet another way of repressing those nasty teenage hormones in public. SCL talks about "side-hugs" the way I was introduced to them; as a means of avoiding an awkward moment between you and the sixty-something in the next pew. The Encounter Generation version turns it into a sermon on PDA between young people (if you listen, the "married man" is allowed full-frontal hugs "all day long"). That's symptomatic of a larger problem; namely the inability of Christian adults to talk to youth in serious and practical terms about sex. It seems to be a larger problem in Evangelical congregations, where sex is equated with hellfire, but it's a mainstream problem as well. Raised by the Rev. and Mrs. Brennan, my entire sex education consisted of what I learned in Health class, what I picked up on my own, and a five minute talk about periods with Mrs. when I was nine. I love the Rev. and Mrs. dearly, but that's just not enough. Too many Christians are chronically incapable of talking about sex, and this kind of "evangelism" doesn't help.

    The most troubling implication of the video, however, is that it comes out of a culture that treats women as temptresses. Note the verse advising young men on how to avoid a young woman's exuberant attempt at a hug. This viewpoint is *not* mainstream, but due to its widespread influence over Evangelical congregations, it may be infiltrating even the most open-minded churches. That implication makes Rev. and Mrs. very very angry. Makes me angry too, come to think of it.

    I avoided talking about the racist stereotypes perpetuated by this video, though those are equally problematic. I doubt the performers meant anything by it; they were trying to emulate a culture that's outside of the scope of their experience, and they fell on their faces in the process (almost literally). In my mind, it's a faux pas comparable to the Australian blackface performers who made the news a while back.

  85. #85

    This side-hug thing seems like it’s acknowledging the (welcome or unwelcome) titillation that can come with a girl-boy hug (or girl-girl in some circumstances… I guess). As much as it seems silly, it also seems smarter. If you’re teaching the kids not to get burned, not playing with fire is a good idea. Not playing with matches is probably a good idea too?

    Totally agreed, but you don't take it far enough! They also shouldn't stand in the sun or eat hot food either.

  86. #86

    Right on about the gunshots, Tahir (#62). Weirdest part of the whole video. (There's more if you get all the way to the end.)

  87. #87

    just because something is silly doesn't mean it's satire. but that's all i'll say, because peta and brennan have already made the best points.

  88. #88

    Really? You're gonna have gunshots and sirens and threaten me if I wrap my arms around someone? One of the most basic ways human beings show affection? This is so misguided it's criminal.

  89. #89

    Guys, "Stuff Christians Like" is a satire blog.

    Satire. As in humor--hyperbole to prove a point.

    I just met the guy who writes "Stuff Christians Like" last thursday when he spoke at my college. He's a really funny/nice guy who writes a humorous blog in the hopes of lightening people's days and making them laugh. Please don't miss the entire point of this.

  90. #90

    Victoria no one is disputing whether the blog is satirical. The video is not. The message is real and it is also misguided.

  91. #91

    Did anybody else notice that the sample beat is the "Imperial March" or Darth Vader's song from Star Wars. Very authoritative. OBEY MINDLESS YOUTH!

  92. #92

    Not to break from all the "satire satire satire satire WHOOPS satire WHOOPS satire satire satire satire" comments, but I'd love to know what denomination these people are talking about when they go on about "Christian culture" or "things we Christians do".

    I was raised Catholic, my roommate is Episcopalian and my partner is a Quaker and I've never seen anything like that.

  93. #93

    Agreed, Daniel. People who attend side-hug churches, please advise.

  94. #94

    All right, people, let's not get our "I Only Get Off for Jesus" thongs in a twist--let's play the Rational Thinking Game.

    1. Yes, Stuff Christians Like is satirical. It's funny, haha! It gently points a finger at things that are funny about the Christian subculture. Christians don't like hugging from the front! Haha! That's funny!

    2. No, unfortunately, the "Christian Side-Hug" video is NOT satirical. Would that it were. It came, as Amanda said, from the Encounter Generation Conference, which tries to cater to the younger generation with raps about how cool it is to not kiss until you're married and not bring food or drink into the sanctuary. As scary as this is, it's the real deal.

    3. Thus no, Amanda did not fail to fact-check this story. She quoted the satirical site Stuff Christians Like for an accurate description of the Christian Side-Hug and posted a non-satirical video to show how bat-poop-crazy these people can get. Once again--SCL = satirical, "Christian Side-Hug" = NOT satirical (as much as we'd like it to be).

    Now everyone take two minutes to practice keeping two different thoughts in your head at the same time.

  95. #95

    I've been side-hugging for years.
    There's a technique where if you approach a lady from the left side, you can furtively cop a feel of the right one if done correctly.

  96. #96

    Finally, a pretext to touch beautiful women I meet on the street. If they cry foul, I say it's Christian, not sexual. It's soo gonna work.

    Also, gotta agree that they fake rapper costumes are completely ridiculous.

  97. #97

    I'm in love with this video. I'm currently athiest, but have attended my fair share of church youth group gatherings where similar (although not quite as well produced) skits and songs were performed. If only I had been known about the Christian side hug I may never have gone to the dark side.

  98. #98

    *i'm aware been known is not proper...it stems from a combo of been aware of and known about...

  99. #99

    NO TOUCHING!

    That said, this video is scary for so many reasons.

  100. #100

    Well, those Christians can always do "ear sex" ...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prick_Up_Your_Ears_(Family_Guy)

  101. #101

    D.C.Talk (the band performing in the video above) has been part of the contemporary Christian praise music scene since the mid 90s, so yes, the video and "side-hug" promotion is legit.

    To answer #92 up there about denomination, they are mostly called "Evangelical Free" or "Free Evangelical" churches in my experience.

  102. #102

    Although the christian side hug phenomenon most definitely exists, (it's extremely common at some christian schools) I'm pretty sure this video is a joke.

  103. #103

    jesus didnt give side hugs.
    these people want nothing more than money. and for what? to tell all these poor kids theyre going to hell for "front-hugs"

  104. #104

    Hey, Nick. I'd love to hear more about being an evangelical who was actually an atheist. Is there any way I can contact you?

  105. #105

    An obvious attempt to ostracize Christians and generalize all of them as outlandish. Stupid son of a bitch author conveys an unfair outlook on Christians and should be ashamed

  106. #106

    @92 and 93:

    It's not exclusively an "Evangelical" phenomenon, because the "side-hug" itself isn't that skeevy. It tends to crop up in any congregation that hugs a lot (i.e. during "passing of the peace," after the service, at dinners/fuctions, whenever). I see it as a way of not being rude when you just . . . don't want to show as much affection as the person greeting you (or you can't physically reach the person). The enforcement aspect implied in the video is what's troubling me.

  107. #107

    Another man-made rule for Christians to follow...

  108. #108

    "Lord protect me from your followers" unknown source

  109. #109

    This is what happens when Fox "News" viewers are allowed to raise children.

    You get anti-intellectual, repressed, sociologically demented, culturally clueless morons coming forth en masse.

    This is so embarrassing/pathetic/ridiculous/psychologically unsound on so many levels... where to begin?

  110. #110

    I love the beginning of the rap song, opening with gunshots and police sirens, obviously inciting some act that is against the law -

    "Jimmy shot a boy today, then killed the police officer that tried to arrest him... But at least he didn't hug a girl!"

    People need to wake up and realize this isn't what religion is for.

  111. #111

    The point that we SCL lovers are making is that SCL and the rap video have nothing to do with each other. SCL isn't taking the side hug seriously; the rap video is. Oh, and the fact that the side hug isn't new, it's been around for a long long time. I am surprised to see a rap video though, usually that's deemed to dangerous by the types of folks that employ side hugs...thanks for bringing it to our attention!

  112. #112

    ooookay everybody… i was there … it was all a joke.

    kinda mocking actually, how the church can get so hung up on things as “side hugs” and showing how ridiculous it can be.

    this was done at the churches annual youth conference, and was just their way of making fun and having fun with some of the ridiculousness that can happen in the church today… all the cheering was for how over the top this fun display was.

    gahhh everyone just needs to take it down a few notches, this was done all in fun.
    just cause they're christians doesn’t mean they can’t have any fun and joke around ;)

    and just so you know, they weren't making fun of black people or hip hop… they have some talented hip hop singers in their congregation actually, obviously none of them were on stage during this performance, haha… but yeah… they were just making light of the legalism that is so armpit in churches today…

    ...showing how ridiculous the whole "side hug" concept is by putting on an equally ridiculous performance... that’s all :)

  113. #113

    Ok, as a Christian, I found this hilarious and even an attempt AT humor.

    Seriously, do you think they wrote this thinking, "We will reach our students by talking like them"

    RIGHT

    No, they're poking fun at the extremes that can be found in ANY religion.

    Take it for what it is, an excuse for a good laugh.

  114. #114

    It seems a bit "ironic" that they rap, "I'm a rough rider." I believe that is a variety of gas station bathroom condom that is ribbed for her pleasure. Or maybe a cock-ring, but something that they would consider an abomination, I'm sure.

  115. #115

    ....
    You might also like:

    * Rap Sex Euphemism: “Wipe Me Down”
    ....

    HAAAAAAAAAA

  116. #116

    That video proves to me, once again, that major religions are merely a form of larger, socially accepted cults.

  117. #117

    Satire? There is a race to absurdity, actually, between the extremists and the satirists. The Extremists keep winning. (Someone, somewhere, is putting together an Irish Baby Cookbook as we speak, I'm sure)

    Even in the 80s, there was the "don't even hold hands" idea because it caused a slippery slope such that you craved more and more contact, until you were having group sex in the school hall...all because you held hands.

    The "Sidehug" didn't strike me as satire. I know people, myself included, who would have taken it seriously. (Then again, my mother raised me believing Jesuits were assassins and the Vatican had the Beast computer)

  118. #118

    Neither that video nor the other church videos on that group's YouTube channel are satire. They are merely church "rules" and doctrine presented in a comical fashion. If you doubt this, watch them more carefully.

  119. #119

    Considering men use to kiss each other on the lips (though it means something different then it does) in the Bible.

    Seriously, the reason the world sucks right now cause Christianity isn't even doign it's job right.

  120. #120

    #109 - ElodieStClaire...

    I am a Christian, and I watch MSNBC. Just saying.

    (But then again, I also proudly hug people from the front.)

  121. #121

    Besides the fact that those guys made the worst music video in human history, I have to agree with Amanda that the "Christian Side Hug" is massively creepy.

    Basically, it implies that any body-on-body contact is sexual (and this "sinful") - and it reflects a really deeply unfortunate view of humanity from the folks who came up with this idea.

    And, again, as for the video - it is awful beyond belief (no wonder they disabled the comment feature!)

  122. #122

    To people saying this is just satire... Do you realize that this was performed live in front of a huge Christian congregation (church called The Father's House)? If this is satire, who are they making fun of? Christians? Did they invite all these Christians (many of whom are creationists, anti-gay marriage, etc, based on the church's own website) to come watch them make fun of fundamentalists? Uh... I highly doubt that. It's possible they're being intentionally silly with the rap costumes and movements, but from the context, we have EVERY reason to believe that they're dead serious in their message: stay pure, don't hug face-to-face.

    Also, anyone who's ever gone to modern-day protestant church youth groups (I have) are well aware how cool they try to make everything to attract youngsters. My youthgroup had rock singers, rappers, you name it.

    This video was performed by real Christians with a real message.

  123. #123

    I am a Christian and support all styles of Christian music.

    That being said, the side hug is a bad rule to apply to all Christians. It's unbiblical. There's no scripture in the Bible that says to only do side-hugs.

    I believe it's important for people to be sexually pure. But the way we try to get people to keep this purity is all wrong. We try to teach them rules. Instead, we should teach people the value of their virginity, and why it should be kept until marriage. Also, we need to stop looking at sex as a bad thing. Sex is a very good thing that God intended for marriage. Setting rules will not keep children pure.

    The church has a lot of things wrong in the way it approaches the issues. I'm the first to admit that.

  124. #124

    One more thing, Christianity was meant to be a relationship with God. It was never meant to be a religion. It was never mean to be a set of rules made by man.

    Christians, for some reason, find safety in following the rules. The thing is, they'll never be able to follow the rules perfectly. However, if they lived by the Spirit, they wouldn't have to worry about the rules because the Holy Spirit would enable his people to do what he asks of them.

  125. Comrade Al Gonzales
    #125

    Why is it a sin for Baptists to have sex standing up?

    It's too much like dancing.

    "Christians" are bizarre people. They believe that a Jewish carpenter crucified by the Romans was the son of a god. & even that has very little historical proof.

    Believing in fairy tales is not appropriate behaviour for an adult. Grow up & face facts. Learn science & face it.

    There is no god, there are no gods, there is nothing after death but decomposition, being eaten by bugs & decaying. Grow up & stop believing in this bullshit that has killed hundreds of millions of people in religious wars, continuing to this very day.

  126. #126

    it maybe satire and there may be those quick to criticize christians but maybe it is because they are tired of having their lives run by a bunch of dumbasses who believe in fairy tales

  127. #127

    I like how this article JUST came out.
    Please.
    I was a Born-Again Christian as a child and pre-teen, and this side-hugging thing has been happening FOR YEARS.
    Nice of them to just now notice.
    And of course it is ridiculous.
    That is what organized religion is for.

  128. #128

    Time to make long-term plans to leave the USA.

  129. #129

    Would you take the piss out of Islamic beliefs?

  130. #130

    I find it especially ironic that kids in america are often entrusted to drive very large cars before they're legally allowed to copulate.

  131. #131

    i found the lyrics at http://christiansidehug.com

    i hope this is not real.

  132. #132

    man so beating someone into a coma is okay but hugging some one from the front is frowned upon........is this how new generations of Christianity going to be and who ever hugs crotch first??

  133. #133

    This is great. I had a great time reading the change in the comments as people read and responded. I agree with most of the comments that the encouragement of such a neutered form of contact doesn't really solve anyones problems.
    The guys who made the video are horrible rappers and I hope for the sake of the Evangelical music scene not indicative of the general quality. I was really amazed that they used some of the phrases they used because they obviously didn't know/understand what they mean. Really "rough rider"? That is patently hilarious and so counter-message that I am rendered speechless. It also encourages priests and rabbis to hug people if I'm not mistaken which is just plain weird.
    I'm atheist and love Jon's site. His opinion of his own culture is amazingly light hearted and accurate(unfortunately for the non-believing rest of us). Amanda should write about how scary Veggie Tales really is. Nothing like morality from a carrot.

  134. #134

    The good or the bad is in the intentions, side, front or upside down. Sex is as natural as humanity, and those who say its malicious are obeying doubtful outdated rules. Those who believe old books have god's word written are as ignorant as those who "discovered" them hundreds of years ago. People are "conditioned" to believe in god and his rules but completely ignore common sense,and the result are these stupid beliefs and pseudo rules for not "sin".
    As long as they do not gain power as in the inquisition times, they can dance all over singing whatever crazy idea. For sure they violate their own rules as soon as they can, just like politicians...

  135. #135

    Well, it's nice to see that Eminem cleaned up his act after giving Sacha Baron Cohen a blow job on TV.

  136. #136

    It IS satire:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-talk-christian-side-hugnov30,0,6899998.column?obref=obinsite

    Like I said, only a moron would think this video is serious.

  137. #137

    AJ, I grew up in a fundamentalist church and when I saw this video, I absolutely believed it was real. I know that many of the people commenting on this thread are surprised that any Christian would advocate "side hugging" but believe me, many do, and other more ridiculous things! I went to a church camp that almost convinced me to quit taking ballet lessons because ballet was "too sensual." I wish that it was a given that videos like this were satire, but many of us had good reason to believe it was serious.

  138. #138

    And to Amanda, if I had to guess which denominations would advocate "side hugging" and the like, I would say Southern Baptists, Independent Baptists, Pentecostals, Non-denominational, and Charismatic, although I seriously doubt any Baptists would allow rap music at any youth event.

  139. #139

    Wow, I honestly laughed my ass out when I heard this shit for the very first time.. This is so ridiculous.

  140. #140

    Wow. It's official, I don't like any Stuff Christians Like. These people are pathetic, confused and dangerous.

  141. #141

    Clearly, the presentation of the song was satirical. However, the debate seems to be over whether (a) it was an object lesson dressed up in a lighthearted presentation, but really attempting to teach youth that only side hugs and not front hugs are acceptable; or (b) christians themselves making fun of the "christian side hug," as an inside joke for church members who themselves think it is ridiculous -- just as many religious and ethnic groups make fun of themselves without endorsing that which they are discussing. As the Chicago Tribune article referenced by AJ above makes clear, it was option (b). You can also check this post out:

    http://www.stereotruth.net/2009/12/exclusive-interview-christian-side-hug-creatorrapper/

    Hopefully this will clear things up.

  142. #142

    And, on a side note, here's Christian Side Hug v. 2.0:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70WJemBVLHQ

  143. #143

    Jennifer, you're right-Independent Baptists generally don't do the whole 'rap' thing, or any other 'CCM' for that matter. However, we are a huggy bunch! IN fact, if anyone actually reads their Bibles, you see that Christians are often told to give a "holy kiss' to the brethren. Now, I know that it doesn't mean a male kissing a female-that's easy. But a hug, in friendship, I have no problem with, being an Independent Fundamental Baptist pastor, even male or female. I suppose for young people, who have them raging hormones, might want to be a bit more controlled, but not because it's cool, but because its right.

  144. #144

    Amanda,

    Great article, the video was hilariously ironic and your writing captured the 'cheese' of it very well.

    That being said, would you like to meet up sometime and gimmie some of that christian side hug ;)

    Fro

  145. #145

    "Jesus never hugged nobody like that!" They are trying to fool you people!! That's a double negative. He DID front hug people! Haha-

    I don't ever hang out with anybody who finds a front hug sexual. That just makes me think you are a pervert.

  146. #146

    GAY GAY GAY GAY!
    My side hug involves my cock on your hip - no "frontal" touching required

  147. #147

    They should just give them all snuggies at the door. That would solve it. LOL. And it would definitely help with the whole "abstinence" thing. And yes, I really am a youth pastor of a Christian church.

  148. #148

    So side hugs and only anal before marriage, right?

  149. #149

    Satire or not, I'd say a good proportion of Christians are perverted enough to sexualize a hug this much. Heck, try and even mention something like a gay couple getting a joint bank loan and see how many of them start thinking about anal sex. Absurd.

    This kind of unhealthy obsession over thwarting physical affection started the modern porn and prostitution industries ..

  150. #150

    Stuff Christians Like is a funny blog, as in satire. As in "Stuff White People Like". Jon, the writer, is in fact, a serious Christian, but he is also a seriously funny writer and Stuff Christians Like is his funny baby. Anyone can take a trip over there and check it out and if you are smart, you will see it's meant to be funny.

  151. #151

    your comment about "I’d much rather have a brief normal embrace with a stranger than a hip-tap from a person who I know sexualizes even the most mundane forms of human contact" so completely encapsulates my feelings about growing up in the church.

    i would be in these youth groups where everyone was so sexually frustrated that even the slightest amount of skin showing, or slightest touch on the arm had huge insinuations. not healthy.

  152. #152

    I am a christian. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Yes I follow and believe in Jesus and (try) to follow His commands.
    But this is just ridiculous....
    This is exactly what bothers me most about christians today. Most of them (including myself, i try not to) put down others who aren't and represent Jesus in such extreme ways that it just defeats the purpose...Jesus loves us no matter what we do. So, I say give all the hugs (THE RIGHT WAY) all you want.

  153. #153

    All the people saying "OMG your so dumb SCL is satire!" like 100 comments after the fact are soo annoying. WE GET IT, SCL IS SATIRE, but the side hug exists as does this video.
    The internet is really a great tool for revealing how dumb the general population is...

  154. #154

    Why do people keep thinking this is satire, this was made at the encounter generation conference which is not satire, these people were completely serious. It just so happened to be posted on the stuff christians like. But it was not satire made by scl. People need to get there facts straight. This is not satire, these people are serious, I know, especially since I have a little cousin who attended the conference.

  155. #155

    Let us take a closer look at one specific section of lyrics:

    "Stop and listen
    No front hugs and no kissin'
    I ain't that scared to call your momma
    You'll be ridin' home in a coma"

    Anyone see anything slightly disturbing about this little section of the lyrics? Such as the part where the "gangsta chriztian" threatens to either beat up or kill anyone he sees giving a front hug? The "You'll be ridin' home in a coma" part... This song's message of using violence to enforce abstenance might remind us of a certain group of people in the Middle East who use violence on women for being in the same room as a man that isnt her husband.

  156. #156

    listen to these lyrics.
    "Im not that afraid to call yo momma you will be ridin home in a coma."
    So its not okay to hug somebody from the front but it is okay to beat them into a coma if they do so. wtf????

  157. #157

    this is hilarious. also if women made sure to wear underwear that actually covers their bum it would stop sending the wrong signals.

  158. #158

    Do they know what "rough-rider" refers to? Because...damn, that's a pretty prominent part of the song's chorus...

    "I'm a rough-rider, filled up with Christ's love." THAT takes it to a whole new level too.

  159. #159

    hahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
    thats all.

  160. #160

    I just wanna say that this is not the newest trend in controlling adolescent behavior. They told us to do this back in 1997, when I was in Jr-Hi!

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