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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sex and Trust

Sex is part of the human condition. Having sex means making oneself vulnerable, and vulnerability needs trust. In such a vulnerable state, we need to be able to trust that our partner will not hurt us in ways that we would not wish for. But what about situations when trust is present, but that trust is betrayed?

Children are in a sense captives in the adult world. They have no option but to trust the adults who rule their world, and on whom they are dependent for their well-being. In the world of a child, an adult is for this reason an authority figure by default. And the wishes of an authority figure have to be accepted. The wishes… and the desires. This is why anything, absolutely anything to do with sex which involves children should come under the jurisdiction of the law, and children have a right to expect of adult society that the society will protect them in any way that is necessary, whether that be through legal means or social services, or just plain neighborly watchfulness.

Tragically, it is generally the case that the very transgressors who betray this most precious child-to-adult trust are themselves in positions of trust. Those within the family circle and priests are the most obvious examples which come to mind. To me, that sort of betrayal of trust amounts to a kind of emotional treason. And tragically as well, I can think of a number of examples in my own circle of acquaintances who have suffered - literally - through their adult lives because of such a betrayal, as I am sure others who read this will be able to. Even when - and if - the perpetrators are brought before the law, their sentence is a statutory one. For the victim, the sentence is always life.

When such laws are broken, and when such trust is betrayed - whether those lawbreakers and betrayers are parents, priests, or whatever their social standing - they should face the law with no exceptions. And if it is found that such felons have been protected by their own hierarchies, then those hierarchies as aiding and abetting accessories should themselves be answerable to the law as well, again with no exceptions. In cruel reality, however, we well know that certain hierarchies are so institutionalized that their leaders are placed beyond culpability by their very power. And it is more than mere tax breaks that sets religious beliefs on a pedestal. It is the mindset of our society which insists on treating religion as a special case when it comes to granting [1]respect, whether that respect is deserved or not.

Anything else sexually which does no actual harm to consenting others should have nothing whatever to do with someone else's imposed moral standards, whether those standards are driven by personally-held morality or by [2]religious beliefs. And that includes the ever-popular indulgence of making assumptions on behalf of this, that, or the other deity as to what we happen to consider that [3]deity would disapprove of.

Nobody should lay their own guilt trip on someone else - and yet everywhere this is done on a daily basis. We seem almost to revel in the hypocritical arrogance of telling others how we think they should behave in their private lives, perhaps because it gives us a smug sense of our own self-righteousness. But the terminus on this particular line leads to the godless moral squalor of the Westboro Baptist Church – and ultimately to the hooded corpses of young gay men hanged from construction cranes in Iran.

Love, true and sincere, is what matters, and whether that love is between gay or straight men and women should have nothing whatever to do with human laws (other than ones protective of human rights) or imposed religious beliefs anywhere. And trust – that most precious of all trusts which a child has no option but to accept from an adult – should never be betrayed.

Love is what matters.

[1] Please see my previous post Respect.

[2] Should anyone reading this feel moved to cite the Bible as their moral compass for such issues, I invite them to read my previous post Frontier Justice in the Promised Land.

[3] Here’s what the Bible specifically states about homosexuality:
Leviticus 20:13 KJV: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” 'Their blood shall be upon them' is a textual euphemism for 'they shall be stoned to death'.

So if you agree with God’s law as specified in Leviticus that homosexuality should be punishable by death, then presumably for the same reason you also agree that slavery is acceptable, that a rape victim should be forced to marry her rapist, and all the other issues of dubious Biblical morality raised in my above link. In which case, it’s probably time that you went back to living in the Bronze Age – or move to Iran, which is a country that demonstrates what happens when the line between faith and state becomes blurred. But if you disagree that gay men and women should be put to death, then your personal morality is superior to that of the God of the Bible –  and Iranian law – as I for one sincerely hope and trust that it is.    

The top image is a frame from my video Jimmy. The other images for this post have been adapted from Scrape TV and other sources. The gay couple (male) are from Reddit, the gay couple (female) are from a photo by Lena Granefelt for Getty Images.

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