The Intersection

Annals of Christian Conferences

I just left the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Florida; I’m currently sitting in the happily wired Orlando airport. Anyway, I noticed something at the conference that I can’t resist mentioning–and no, this has nothing to do with hurricanes.

Just as the hurricane conference ended, a new conference was starting at the same hotel–a distinctly Christian conference oriented towards promoting youth “leadership.” Now, possibly it’s just me, but I was staggered by the name of this event: “Lads to Leaders & Leaderettes.” Er…questions running through my head when I heard this included: Wouldn’t turning lads into leaderettes require some kind of operation? What does the Southern Baptist Convention think of that? And most importantly, do the people organizing this event really not realize what their title suggests to those of us belonging to the Daily Show generation?

Perhaps not. I mean, who calls young boys or men “lads” any more in the first place?

P.S.: Any compunctions I may have had about having a little fun at the expense of “Lads to…Leaderettes” evaporated when I realized that they preach anti-evolutionism to children [for evidence follow that link and search on “evolution”]…


  1. #1 Mark Paris
    April 14, 2006

    What a life – teaching young people to willfully embrace ignorance.

  2. #2 Steve Reuland
    April 14, 2006

    Aside from the unintentional transgender implication, the fact that they felt the need to create out of thin air a feminized version of “leaders” (which has always been a gender neutral term as far as I know), says something about their attitude towards women.

  3. #3 Lab Cat
    April 14, 2006

    Lads is still used in Yorkshire and probably other parts of Northern Britain. I’ve never heard of leaderettes before. I think I agree with Steve on that one.

  4. #4 laurence jewett
    April 14, 2006

    Perhaps they just mean “little leaders”:

    “Leaderettes” are to “leaders” as “cigarettes” are to “cigars”.

    Might make a good SAT analogies question, even if that’s NOT what they mean.

  5. #5 megan
    April 14, 2006

    Haha, Leaderettes – are those male cheerleaders?

    From their website:

    What is Leaderettes?
    The program for girls was added in 1974. Several names were considered, including “Lassies”, but “Leaderettes” was coined. Training girls is very important. Females are in the majority in many churches. They are needed as Sunday School teachers, in VBS and teaching women’s classes. They need to be equipped to teach others the gospel.

    So glad to know I’m needed to teach Sunday School, I certainly am not qualified to preach to anyone but children, thanks to that extra X chromosome that God gave me soI could be inferior.


  6. #6 megan
    April 14, 2006

    Not to mention they don’t know their own bible. They cite the wrong verse for pointing out why we women aren’t allowed to talk.

    Since women can’t talk, maybe the leaderettes are there to dress up like women so the wily young men in the congregation have something pretty to keep their eyes on?

  7. #7 llewelly
    April 14, 2006

    Chris, you’re assuming ‘to’ means ‘turn into’. Now, if I say, ‘I’m going to the door’, does that mean I’ll turn into a door? No. It means I will walk towards the door. Similarly, the title of the group might mean: Lads Toward Leaders and Leaderettes. I’d say it’s natural for Lads to move toward Leaderettes…

    Joking aside, I figure it’s only a matter of time before some of the more liberal Episcopalians select a transgendered Bishop.

    As for the implied sexism in using the term ‘Leaderettes’ in addition to the gender-neutral ‘Leaders’, I found this:

    Is Leaderettes teaching women to be preachers? Song leaders?
    No. I Timothy 4:12 restricts the role of women in the church. Girls give speeches and lead songs only with other women present.

    Why are dads not allowed in the room at convention when girls are giving speeches or leading songs?
    While we know that a speech event is not a worship service, we do not allow any males in the room in order to prevent any miscommunication.

    in their FAQ

  8. #8 Dano
    April 14, 2006

    Maybe it’s a simpleton’s attempt to alliterate.



  9. #9 llewelly
    April 15, 2006

    I find the sexism of groups like ‘Lads to Leaders and Leaderettes’ more offensive than their preaching of anti-evolutionism to children. I’m wondering if others here feel the same.

  10. #10 Kristjan Wager
    April 15, 2006

    llewelly, I just find the all-roubd offensive, and consider it a total package.

    Speaking of sexist, isn’t their logo rather phallic?

  11. #11 llewelly
    April 15, 2006


    llewelly, I just find the all-roubd offensive, and consider it a total package.

    That works.

    Speaking of sexist, isn’t their logo rather phallic?

    No.. it’s just an ‘L’ …
    *goes and checks again*
    Er, yeah, the resemblance is striking. Why didn’t I notice that before?

  12. #12 Frank Lundburg
    April 16, 2006

    The scary thing is there are so many folks in our country who believe this way. When I read Richard Hofstadter’s “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” some years ago, I don’t think I or any of us could have realized how much these attitudes would grow and spread.

  13. #13 FishEpid
    April 16, 2006

    With regard to these groups and their misrepresentation/misinterpretation of science, another alarming aspect is their twisting of health statistics and the published scientific literature on human biology and behavior to meet their social agendas. In this week’s NOW program, a reproductive oncologist practicing in South Dakota talked about how the advocates denigrated the CDC statistics on adolescent sexual behavior to support their positions of abstinence only programs and no sex education in schools, particularly on birth control. With their current political power, which in the end that meeting is all about maintaining, the social policies they are putting will have serious negative consequences on everyone.

    The quote on the NOW PBS site is
    “Dr. Maria Bell quit a task force to study abortion in South Dakota, saying the panel ignored scientific facts in an effort to criminalize abortion.”

    One paper from a quick PubMed search: Bennett SE, Assefi NP (2005). School-based teenage pregnancy prevention programs: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Adolesc Health. 36(1):72-81.

    “Abstract: We compared school-based abstinence-only programs with those including contraceptive information (abstinence-plus) to determine which has the greatest impact on teen pregnancy. The United States has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. Programs aimed at reducing the rate of teen pregnancy include a myriad of approaches including encouraging abstinence, providing education about birth control, promoting community service activities, and teaching skills to cope with peer pressure. We systematically reviewed all published randomized controlled trials of secondary-school-based teen pregnancy prevention programs in the United States that used sexual behavior, contraceptive knowledge, contraceptive use, and pregnancy rates as outcomes.”

    “Conclusion: Nationwide, over half of teens aged 15 to 19 are sexually active. Most of the decline in the teenage pregnancy rate over the past decade can be attributed to increased contraceptive use, with a small contribution from decreased sexual activity. To reduce the rates of teen pregnancy, programs must either improve teenage contraceptive behaviors, reduce teens’ sexual activity, or both. The variability in study populations, interventions, and outcomes of existing school-based trials of teen pregnancy prevention, and the paucity of studies directly comparing abstinence-only and abstinence plus curricula, preclude a definitive conclusion regarding which type of program is most effective. Nevertheless, our results indicate that the majority of abstinence-plus programs increase rates of contraceptive use in teens, and one study showed the effects to last for at least 30 months. Whether abstinence-only or abstinence-plus programs will prove more effective at altering teens’ sexual behavior remains an unanswered question. In the absence of strong evidence that either type of program can affect sexual activity, prohibiting contraceptive education in school-based pregnancy prevention programs prevents students’ exposure to information that has the greatest potential to decrease the pregnancy rate. However, community attitudes toward teenage sexuality, not evidence-based medicine, may ultimately determine the acceptability of publicly funded, school-based sex education programs.”

  14. #14 Meghan
    April 19, 2006

    I’m with you llewelly. From their “debate” rules, Lads and Leaderettes will debate seperately. No mixed teams, no males allowed in the room where Leaderettes are debating. I guess they can’t risk the boys finding out that the girls can think. Could be dangerous.

    Also from their rules, one of the goals of debate is to develop the ability to discern between valid and fallacious reasoning. I think we all know these people want no part in valid reasoning.

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