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Last week, we examined the Christian Side-Hug, an advanced chastity maintenance mechanism which allows people to hug one other without the fear of primary or secondary sex characteristics accidentally touching. The side-hug has been around since Mary wasn’t full-frontaling Joseph, but Christian groups have only recently turned to aggressively marketing the move to youth in their own language (“rap”).

But beware: The side-hug can come at you from many angles! A collection of various interpretations of the side-hug phenomenon, from faithful commenters and trollers alike, after the jump.

The fire hazard side-hug:

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.

The sexual harassment side-hug:

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.

The safe sex side hug:

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.

The satirical side-hug:

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

The limited literary reference point for satire side-hug:

“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.


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

Go read some Jonathan Swift and get a clue.

The self-referential side-hug:

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…..

The belated side-hug:

I like how this article JUST came out.


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.

The retraction-required side-hug:

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!


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

The ex-pat side hug:

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

The atheist side-hug:

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


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

The mature side-hug:

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


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.

The liability side-hug

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”.


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.

The sexist side-hug

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.
The inclusive side-hug:

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.