Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sex Scandals

I Do Not Want to hear about the sex lives of Generals or puppeteers. Our overreaction to rumors about sex scandals has, and causes, many problems. Not least of which is the loss of one of the best strategic minds of our generation. 

There was a time in our history when getting caught in unforced sexual deviation was a perversely reliable hallmark of mental instability, moral weakness, or general untrustworthiness. This was not for the reasons that people thought at the time, but none the less true. For most sexual deviation there were implacable biological and/or sociological repercussions. If you slept around in the 1890's you were going to get fatally sick and/or be involved in a pregnancy that would ruin families. And if you were homosexual the homophobia was so obviously fatal that anyone who took risks was showing poor judgment in the face of deadly bigotry. 

How this was understood in our Christian culture was very different of course. Such deviation was seen as "of the devil" and a true hallmark of evil. But none the less committing, or being seen to commit, sexual deviation from the norm was a pretty good sign that the person involved had bad judgment and should not be allowed into positions of power. At the time out-of-wedlock sex had similar moral implications to that of drunk driving, people were going to get hurt and you could not safely control who or when. 

But this is no longer the case. We have condoms, women are permitted to work and provide for themselves, violence driven by bigotry is illegal. If you go outside the norms of sexual behavior (if in fact there are any left) all it represents is a difference in preference, not of moral failing or even poor judgment. But our Christian moral tradition leaves us with the basic inference that sexual deviation is a sign of moral deviation.¹

We need to move beyond this bigotry against sex (the act) in the same way that we need to move beyond bigotries of all sorts. It is unfair, immoral and detrimental to punish or discriminate against people for being different. This goes for the color of their skin, the beliefs that they hold, the sex they were born with, the gender they present themselves as, And the sex that they have. 

This is bigotry plain and simple. It is people imposing their own standards of private, personal behavior onto other people, and it is frankly an outrage. 

¹This raises the point, that I will discuss at some later point, that sex has no special moral status. Sex is a behavior like any other, and what makes behavior moral or immoral does not change just because of changes in localized blood flow. 

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