Matrimonial Whoredom in America
Since Malthus there has been an attempt by rational people to shake the insane grip of religion on bedroom behavior. (Before Malthus it was just sensible people.) Human population increase is understood to be exponential in nature and possibly dangerous to human liberty and the enjoyment of life. The logical response is to, at the very least, facilitate reproductive control by those who willingly limit their own increase. It's not just about reproduction of course. Family planning, in the sense of scheduling, is also desirable for numerous reasons that relate to the welfare of children and society.
It seems to those not suffering from religious delusions that this control is a good thing, and that sexual activity is a natural phenomenon that will not be significantly circumscribed by any moral strictures, short of those enforcements practiced in Saudi Arabia anyway. Unfortunately, our pre-modern religious attitudes place such considerations far below dogma in importance. In practical terms, religions encourage reproduction, perhaps unconsciouly, as a way to increase the numbers of the faithful. Religion is a highly competitive meme.
I'm not saying I don't have my own religious delusions, but I am capable of reflection. I believe that many Americans are not. The abortion debate, which IMO is the central issue in American politics today, shows that reason and tolerance have been rejected in favor of religious ego. Thou shalt do as I believe. The abortion debate, however, is merely the skin of the banana. The flesh of this issue is not "murder", but Pleasure.
Pleasure seeking behavior can be channeled or diverted, but not dammed. Everyone knows this, but the effort to enforce "God's will", the effort itself, is treated as holy, no matter how hopeless. Ringing condemnations are catalyzing, allowing the congregation to see itself as united against the Other.
I have just read an excellent summary of this intersection between politics, religion and sex as it exists today in America. The piece, by Russell Shorto, first appeared in the New York Times on May 7. It is taken here from the Spartansburg Herald-Journal of South Carolina, a more appropriate locale. TheSouth, which was at the heart of our previous religious conflict, has not been cured of its preference for inconsistency on a grand scale.
5/11/2006 11:51 PM