A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 15, 2018
“Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers”

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is an old proverb. “Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers” is a variation (printed on many images) that criticizes pedophile priests in the church.

“Does abstinence make the church grow fondlers?” was the headline of a William Saletan article about pedophiles in the church that was printed on the website Slate on March 6, 2002. The saying has been printed on bumper stickers since at least 2003.

“Absinthe makes the fart grow stronger,” “Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder” and “Doctor, why do I toot like a motorcycle?"/"Because abscess makes the fart go Honda” are other variations on the proverb.


Slate
FRAME GAME
HOW YOU LOOK AT THINGS. MARCH 6 2002 5:08 PM
Booty and the Priest
Does abstinence make the church grow fondlers?

By William Saletan
Four years ago, after telling a judge and the public that he hadn’t engaged in sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton claimed that the truth of his denial depended on “what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” Now we’ve got a new sex scandal. Priests have replaced the president, altar boys have replaced interns, and clerical coverup has replaced obstruction of justice.

11 March 2002, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, pg. 20, col. 1:
Does abstinence make the church grow fondlers?
By WILLIAM SALETAN
CATHOLIC cardinals in Boston, Philadelphia, St. Louis and L.A. have confirmed that dozens of priests have been credibly accused of sex with minors.
(...)
William Saletan is a writer for the online magazine Slate (slate.com) where this first appeared.

12 March 2002, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), “Let Us Prey” by Bill Keller, pg. 7, col. 6:
(Or, as a Slate headline wondered the other day, “Does abstinence make the church grow fondlers?")

Google Groups: atl.singles
Where did all the regulars go?
McDonald Steve
4/22/02
(...)
I did hear a creepy saying on radio: “Abstinence makes the Church grow fondlers.” —Steve M, Atlanta

Google Groups: alt.humor.puns
Puns of the Weak 5/3/02
Stan Kegel
5/6/02
PUNS OF THE WEAK for the week ending 05/03/02 IN THE NEWS:

Abstinence makes the Church grow fondlers. (Richard Lederer)

Google Groups: alt.humor.puns
Puns of the Weak 12/13/02
Stan Kegel
12/13/02
(...)
Abstinence makes the Church grow fondlers. (Papa Thorn Shunt)

30 December 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), “Poking fun at life’s problems: 21st annual parade spoofs serious news events such as DCF and pedophile priests” by Nicole T. Lesson, pg. 3B:
Masquerading as pedophile priests, drunken pilots and pregnant pigs, more than 500 people took to the streets of Coconut Grove on Sunday in the 21st annual King Mango Strut parade.
(...)
He was referring to a spoof on pedophile priests, in which participants held up signs reading: “Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers.”

Google Groups: aus.culture.gothic
The Governer General
Usekh
5/10/03
(...)
I read about a great bumper sticker on this point

‘Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers”

Google Books
Eccentric America:
All That’s Weird and Wacky in the USA

By Jan Friedman
Chalfont St. Peter, UK: Bradt Travel Guides
2004
Pg. 266:
In 2002 it was ‘Florida-Duh’ and featured priests with a lawyer running behind them handing out hush money and holding a sign reading ‘Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers’.

Reddit
Top 50 atheist slogans: “Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers” (scienceblogs.com)
submitted January 18, 2008 by rmuser

Google Groups: alt.agnosticism
Funniest religious bumper sticker!
Dixon
7/3/08
“Abstinence Makes The Church Grow Fondlers”

Reddit—Atheism
Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers. (self.atheism)
submitted April 19, 2010 by Anti-Theisttheallseeingeye
Just thought I’d put that out there.
COMMENTS
deleted
The church has a serious problem (beyond that it’s peddling garbage).
But it’s not caused by abstinence… it’s caused by having pedophiles and covering up their crimes

Reddit—Atheism
Things to print on your t-shirt (self.atheism)
submitted June 15, 2010 by lick_chode
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers

Google Books
Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change
Edited by Patrick G. Coy
Bingley, UK: Emeral Group Publishing Limited
2015
Pg. 212:
A popular atheist bumper sticker slogan makes a play on the adage, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” by stating that, “Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers.”

Reddit—Oneliners
Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers.
submitted August 16, 2018 by GeezusManForReal

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Wednesday, August 15, 2018 • Permalink