Is John Ashcroft Really the Crisco Kid?

I recently read an interesting article in Penthouse (hey, I’m gay, I really do buy it just for the articles). It says that our Attorney General, John Ashcroft, has a father who is a very old Pentacostal preacher. And that when Mr. Ashcroft was appointed Attorney General by President Bush, his father literally annointed him as part of a religious ceremony. Having just ran out of holy balm, someone said they’d go to the kitchen to find something else. Apparently everyone didn’t know till after the ceremony that what he had just used was Crisco brand cooking oil! (Now, don’t get me wrong. As I have already said on the SDMB, I do consider myself to be a Christian and a Catholic–just not in the traditional sense. I live by the Golden Rule and expect others to do the same. The only thing I reject is religious intolerance and antiquated moral rules. Forgive me, I digress…)

So I guess, then, I have two questions: **(1)**Isn’t this a violation of the Separation of Church and State? I know Mr. Ashcroft and Mr. Bush want to do away with that doctrine–but it certainly still applies now. And (2) Why isn’t the public at large aware of this? Penthouse is the only place I’ve heard of it thus far. Hmmm…


Re your point 1, if the religious ceremony was held separately from his swearing in, and wasn’t paid for by the government, it’s not an issue.

Re point 2, ISTR reading about this online a while back, either on CNN or Salon. It seems rather unremarkable to me; after all, this is a guy who spent $8K of our money to cover up the bare breasts on statues at the DOJ, and considers calico cats to be signs of Satan.

What the good Christians may not be aware of is the history of the ceremony of anointing: putting oil on the head. Why put oil on the head, of all things?

In ancient Middle Eastern cultures, the king was considered the representative of Heaven. The High Priestess (their sacred rites were conducted by priestesses back then, before patriarchy took over) was the representative of the land. For Heaven and the land to be symbolically united, fertilized and made prosperous, the king and the high priestess joined in sacred sex coupling upon the accession to the kingship.

The sacred sex ceremony involved anointing the head of the penis with oil as a sex lubricant. Even after patriarchy took over and did away with priestesses and sacred sex, the symbolic ritual of anointing the “head” remained.

Cite: The Woman with the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird, p. 29-49.

Not to hijack the thread or anything, but the notion that all religion was matriarchal before “patriarchy took over” has been pretty well dismissed. Here’s my cite: The Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory

Back to the OP: just because someone is a public figure doesn’t mean that he must start hiding his religious beliefs, so the anointing doesn’t violate church and state. Were Ashcroft to have his father anoint all new Justice Department employees as a condition of employment, then there’d be a problem.


I’m glad you provided a link to Snopes, as it’s not clear exactly what Ashcroft’s view is on calicos. However, from here:

Which, of course, is why people also anointed themselves after washing and before going out into society and why they anointed the dead.

Even without UnoMundo’s rejoinder to the belief that all ritual originated in matriarchal fertility rites, it remains true that the ultimate origin of a practice does not invalidate any later changes that the practice may go through. A handshake may have begun as a sign between hostile forces that neither bore a weapon or had their hand free to use one, but that does not mean that every exchanged handshake, today, is a sign that the people are actually suspicious of each other.

As to the OP, I see no violation of church and state. It has long been the practice among many churches to bless individuals within their own congregations who are assuming a new office. (These blessings might be given to newly elected officials or, for example, to teachers and administrators at the beginning of each school year.) These blessings are simply the non-official requests for God to guide the believing individuals in their tasks. They have no bearing on the official capacity of the person. Whether they actually secure the blessing of God or they are merely meaningless superstitious ceremonies, they are actions involving individuals who do not surrender their own rights to freedom of religion simply by taking public office.

If the only place you’ve read this story is in Penthouse, that’s probably because it’s not true.


After putting Crisco on his head, did his Dad add a cup of flour and some egg?

UnuMondo, what’s with the straw woman? I made no assertions about ancient matriarchy (which is a political concept). I cited ancient religion which, in fact, used to be more inclusive of women and goddesses than after patriarchal religion banished them. That goddesses were worshiped, and their rites conducted by priestesses, is not in dispute. See the book Priestesses by Norma Lorre Goodrich, which is thoroughly documented from classical sources. Notice that I described the rite of a king. If I were arguing in favor of matriarchy (which I wasn’t), would I have mentioned kingship? Your argument is beside the point.

tomndebb, obviously customs can mutate over time, so what? I just thought it was interesting to recall how that ritual of kingship originally got started. There ought to be a book: Sexual Origins of Sacred Things. :cool:

I bet the ancient priestesses anointed the royal phallus with fine Mediterranean olive oil, not no skanky Crisco. In Life magazine, around 1969 or 1970, they ran a photo feature on someone they claimed was the hottest new model, “Plain Jane.” She kept her hair severely slicked back close to her skull. One picture showed her doing her hair, actually pouring a bottle of Crisco directly on to her head. That story, come to think of it, must have been a hoax. A put-on. This thread just reminded me of it.

William Dalrymple’s book In Xanadu, in which he retraced the steps of Marco Polo, opened in Jerusalem. He went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre to obtain a little of the oil from the lamp hanging there. (Kubla Khan had requested Marco Polo to bring him that oil, believing it miraculous.) Dalrymple asked the Irish monk who obligingly lowered the lamp and dipped out some oil for him if it was special, sacred oil? From the Mount of Olives, perhaps? No, it was ordinary cheap soybean oil, filled from a big tin they kept in the kitchen. Maybe Ashcroft would feel vindicated to read this.

I’m finding the image of John Ashcroft with his head completely covered in KY hilarious.

Interesting theory. Do you have any Internet cites? I confess I’ve got a bit of trouble accepting the assertions of someone named “Starbird” at face value, especially when she’s claiming that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.

As long as we’re talking about John Ashcroft.

He also is opposed to naked statues. And he thinks the second amendment gives rapists and murderers the right to own guns.. Even the Reagan administration didn’t take that view.

But if you think that is shocking, consider that he may hold his position until 2008! 2008 is when Pat Buchanan is going to be voted in because people won’t like his opponents ugly tie.

Wow, what a stupid thing to say. Not to mention a strawman and a half. Great cite there, too. Very objective, factual news source.


Aren’t we supposed to save our insulting comments for The Pit. No hard feelings though, I take it all in stride :slight_smile: .

If you want an alternate view point on the nude statue incident, USA Today has a story on it. As for Mr. Ashcrofts far-rightwing views on gun control and other things, I found an article about that at the BBC has one.

God Bless :smiley:

You know, I like the BBC.
Even when I don’t agree with their view points, I still notice that their views and reporting of the facts is always different from American news services. Hmmm… :slight_smile:

Remember, folks-- Ashcroft lost an election to a DEAD GUY before he found his current post. The funny thing is, the only thing keeping me from moving out and away across the border is the solid fact that things are much worse over there.

JOMO , are you a fan of Meg Lee Chin? if so, I like your location.

<off-topic as can be>

Never heard of her. The Declaration of Nutopia was on John Lennon’s Mind Games album. Nice to see someone who wasn’t even born then has caught on to the concept. :slight_smile: