Christianity Americana: It’s The Sex Stupid
The observation that religiosity and sexual repression go ‘hand-in-hand’ is certainly not a ground-breaking discovery, any more than it would be considered a revelation that religious fundamentalists try to force the limitations of their repression on others. What’s disconcerting is that despite all the education available in ‘the information age,’ the religious community not only persists, but increases its efforts, to impose sanctions on others, based on their own perverted understanding of human sexuality.
The vicious assault by Christian organizations against the rights of homosexuals and women, and the amount of time and resources dedicated to these campaigns of oppression, and for universal repression, make their priorities clear. When the homeless are dismissed as the ‘poor that will always be among us,’ and the downtrodden and inflicted are excused for their presumed personal liability, the loudest Christian voices choose not to impugn greed and exploitation, but rather busy themselves with who is doing what to whom behind closed doors, and what women are choosing to do with their own bodies.
The rhetoric presents the issues as focusing on family values yet the measures prescribed are simply the implementation of rules and restrictions based on their common bias and hatred. There is nothing proactive being suggested for the benefit of families in these campaigns, just actions against those who are different, or choose differently. The apparent danger to male dominated hierarchical families is never quite defined. If there is a homosexual campaign to force purportedly monogamous heterosexuals to divorce against their will, or by women who fight for the right to choose to deny that right to others, I’m unaware of it and offer sincere apologies for my ignorance.
This incessant verbiage is nothing more than an excuse to openly target others who’ve reconciled that which remains a conflict for the religiously indoctrinated. Within the religious community there is an overwhelming preponderance of attention, and dedication of financial and human resources, invested in issues related to sex, sexuality, and gender.
Perhaps it stems from an abusive childhood experience during which an innocent mind was tortured with the threat that self-stimulation would result in an eternity of unimaginable pain and suffering. Perhaps it was caused by an adolescence during which every hormonal instinct was portrayed as a violation of rules that convinced them that their bodies were not their own to control. Perhaps it’s the result of the repressed rage of adults unable to express their individuality without the consent of the majority. Regardless of the cause, sexual issues seem to be a serious sticking point based on apparently shared insecurities for this control oriented confederacy.
Christians, and other fundamentalist religious sects, claim that what individuals do in the privacy of their bedrooms, their intimacies and personal choices, actually have an effect on them. Even though they are not present or involved, and nothing actually effects them, the mere knowledge of it is too much for them to deal with. Someone is doing something that they are not allowed to do. Someone is doing something that they have been conditioned to believe is wrong. Someone is doing something and they were not invited. Someone is doing something that they enjoy so much they call it ‘gay’… it can’t possibly be good, it must be stopped. It must be forbidden. If they can’t have it, nobody can.
In lieu of a ‘strength of character’, able to claim responsibility for their own principles and values, God is used as a surrogate for a ‘sense of self.’ The God they’ve created in their own image becomes their ethereal persona. This God provides them with an authoritative embodiment of all they’ve chosen, and been conditioned, to believe, from whom they can project their learned biases. They don’t truly understand why they think these things are wrong, they are simply responding to their conditioning. This provides them with the ability to deny their personal issues, disguise the displacement of their rage, and allow themselves to define their animosity as obedience, and their discrimination of others as divine ordinance. In reality, they simply wish to impose their own sexual repression and abdication of personal choice on others, rather than take personal accountability for their own deep-seated issues.
This past week a story was featured in the national media regarding a graduate student who wants her degree in counseling despite the fact that her instructors observed her propensity to discriminate against those that may seek her aid. Jennifer Keeton, a student at Augusta State University in Georgia, wants to be an accredited counselor. She also wants to maintain her personal bias, that she attributes to Biblical doctrine, against homosexuals, and have the right to impose her dogmatic views on her unsuspecting future clients. The fact that professional counselling does not equate to proselytizing seems to completely escape both Jennifer and her lawyers who were provided courtesy of the well-funded, politically active, conservative Christian group, the Alliance Defense fund.
Who could possibly be harmed by helping an individual who has been raised in an intolerant, heterosexually dominant society, to understand and accept their homosexuality? In contrast; Who could possibly be benefited by convincing an individual that their sexuality makes them wrong and perverse? This is counselor-centered counseling. The counselor has issues and, rather than deal with them, selfishly and erroneously burdens the client with them. This is nothing more than a microcosm showing both the method and the motivation of religious fundamentalists for the displacement of their own sexual insecurities and issues.
What real effect does a sexual act between two men, two women, or the creative co-mingling of any odd numbers of consenting adults, have on anyone who chooses not to participate? Nothing. Not a thing, other than the fact that these other individuals are engaged in activities that the religious, the repressed, are either curious about, desirous of, or secretly engaged in, yet conflicted over because of dogmatic conditioning.
Every time we hear of one of the innumerable sex scandals involving a religious personality or authority, the focus is always on what sexual acts they were involved in. The conversation always seems to develop around the subject of the acts and what could possibly have made someone engage in them. The acts are inevitably the center of the juicy gossip. Usually the credit is given to the devil, one of his minions, or some other imaginary third party. These invisible agents of evil are always guilty of provoking the terrible sin while simultaneously lessening the burden of personal accountability on the hapless individual who has been apparently victimized by their own actions. But, the primary focus, the fascination, is with the acts. The tempting, juicy, mouth-watering forbidden fruit itself.
The fact that those involved in the consensual sex were certainly not feeling victimized at the time doesn’t seem to be a concern. The fact that the sex was not the conflict, and that the sex within the context of their religious dogma, or the machinations employed in order to indulge in the sexual acts was, seems to elude their reasoning skills entirely. Rather than challenge the archaic, sexist, homophobic teachings that originated from bronze age desert tribes, the only thing challenged as inappropriate or wrong is the sexual intimacy between two consenting adults. This is a true perversion.
Interestingly, the discussion of these issues often glances over the real offenses that do effect others. The religious get so caught up in who was touching, kissing, or sucking what, and where, that they forget about the deception, fraud and hypocrisy perpetrated in order to perform these otherwise victimless acts. They’re so caught up in the physical acts of sex, and controlling the sex of others, that they almost completely ignore that fact that some real principles of respect, honesty, and interpersonal integrity, have been violated.
For the religious, this is not a principle based issue, but a response based on an immature and emotionally conflicted understanding of their own sexuality. They’ve allowed uneducated men from two thousand years ago to package their sexuality in a box based on the dogma of an inconsistent yet consistently intolerant collection of archaic writings, and, due to the psychological stress this causes them, wish to impose it on the rest of society. If only sexually healthy people were oppressed and repressed as they are, they would not have the temptations that inevitably have them performing tearful acts of public atonement.
Rather than just Ms. Keeton, who is herself simply another product of a sexually repressed tradition of fundamental intolerance, the entire community of religious fundamentalists need to volunteer themselves for an enlightening experience of remediation. Embrace the principles of sexual responsibility and self-determination. Wrap your arms around your right to the honest freedom of individual sexual expression. Indulge your mind with the possibilities of sexual integrity by being true to yourself and those you care about. Sex and the control over ones own body isn’t what’s perverse. The deception and hypocritical duplicity that it’s treated with, the way fundamentalists have been made to feel about it, and the way they try to make others feel about it, is.