Religious Right Sex Rules are Plain Old Mean

No sexReligious conservatives want an exclusive right to dole out the privilege of sexual pleasure and intimacy on their own terms—and leave a lot of people out.

Sexual intimacy and pleasure are some of humanity’s most cherished experiences. The so-called “best things in life” include natural beauty, fine dining, the arts, thrilling adventures, creative pursuits and community service. But love and orgasms are among the few peak experiences that are equally available to rich and poor, equally sweet to those whose lives are going according to plan and to many whose dreams are in pieces.

Religious conservatives think that these treasured dimensions of the human experience should be available to only a privileged few people whose lives fit their model: male-dominated, monogamous, heterosexual pairs who have pledged love and contractual marriage for life. Some true believers—especially those in thrall to the Protestant Quiverfull Movement or the Vatican—would further limit sexual privileges even within hetero state-licensed, church-sanctified marriages to only couples who are open to intimacy producing a pregnancy and a child. Take your pick: it’s either reproductive roulette or no sex—although you might be able to game God by tracking female fertility and then bumping like bunnies during the low risk times of the month.

Why Christianity is Obsessed with Sex

To be clear, I’m not saying that Christianity’s sex rules are only a function of patriarchal Christian privilege. During the Iron Age, from whence Christianity’s sex rules got handed down, society was organized around kin groups, and the endlessly-warmongering clans of the Ancient Near East were more at risk of extinction than overpopulation. Legally-enforced monogamy created lines of inheritance and social obligation, clarifying how neighbors should be treated and who could be enslaved.

Also, hetero sex necessarily carried the risk of pregnancy, which made it adaptive to welcome resultant pregnancies. Children do best in stable, nurturing families and communities, and in the Ancient Near East, “No marriage? No sex!” may have served to protect the well-being of mothers and children as well as the social power of patriarchal men. But in today’s mobile, pluralistic societies with modern contraceptive options and social safety nets, God’s self-appointed sex police have little credible excuse save their own compelling need to bully and boss and stay on top.

It should come as no surprise that Church authorities want an exclusive license to grant “legitimate” sexual privileges. Over the centuries, religious authorities have sought to own and define virtually all of the experiences that touch us deeply: the birth of a new person (christening, bris), art (iconography), music (chanting and hymns), eating, morality, mind altering substances, community, coming of age, family formation, and even our dying process. In each case religious authorities seek to legitimize some forms of the experience and denigrate those that don’t fit their model. Powerful people and institutions want to control valued assets so they can leverage those assets to get more power. And controlling sex is powerful!

The Egotism and Cruelty of God’s Self-Appointed Messengers

Religious authorities like Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan or Evangelist Franklin Graham or Religious Right icon Pat Robertson quote the Bible and talk as if their self-righteous sex rules came straight from God, which of course is hooey. Set aside for the moment the fact that declaring oneself a spokesman for God is stupefyingly egotistical. Anyone who claims to know the mind of God is simultaneously making a rather bold claim about the superior infallibility of his own mind. The same can be said for anyone who boldly declares that the Bible is literally perfect and that he knows what God was trying to say.

But beyond egotism, telling people they can’t have sex based on Iron Age rules collected in the Bible or medieval rules pontificated by some kiss-my-ring Pope is just plain mean. It’s cruel and selfish and heartless, because the sex rules that served Hebrew patriarchs 2500 years ago and that helped the Vatican breed more tithing members 500 years ago deny sex to a whole lot of people who would otherwise find sexual pleasure and intimacy precious.

No Sex for the Weary

Who would men like Dolan, Graham and Robertson (or their predecessors like the Apostle Paul, Augustine, or Martin Luther) exclude from the privilege of sexual intimacy? Most of humanity—including, probably, you and a lot of people you love. The list is limitless:

  • College students who face long years of study before being ready for partnership and parenthood.
  • Parents who want to commit their finite emotional resources to the children they already have.
  • Young singles whose bodies are at peak libido, but who aren’t ready to form families.
  • Queer folk.
  • Those who, whether married or not, want to commit their lives to some form of calling that isn’t parenthood.
  • People who perceive balance within the web of life as moral or spiritual imperative, whose conscience guides them to limit childbearing for the sake of other species and future generations.
  • Poor people who want to get a step ahead instead of (or before) having a child.
  • People who are saving up for marriage.
  • Cohabiting couples who don’t buy into the traditional marriage contract.
  • Empty nesters who are rediscovering why they like each other.
  • Travelers whose mobile lifestyle makes it impossible to offer a child a stable nurturing community and whose opportunities for intimacy flit past.
  • Unmarried soldiers.
  • Loners and eccentrics whose personal qualities or desire for solitude make partnership and/or parenthood a poor fit.
  • Puppy lovers.
  • Elderly widows and widowers for whom remarriage doesn’t make sense.
  • Famine-plagued women whose hungry bodies can ill sustain the risks of pregnancy or demands of incubating a healthy child.
  • The ill or those at risk of illness, who must navigate love in the time of chemo or love in the time of Zika.
  • War zone civilians and refugees who may not know whether they’ll survive or how, but know there is comfort in each other’s arms.

I could go on but I suspect there’s no need. Under what set of delusions is the world a better place because people like these are denied the pleasures of intimate touch, or the respite of a sexual interlude, or the acute pleasure of orgasm?

What The Sex Police Really Want

Wait a minute, a reader might say. Don’t overgeneralize. A minority of lay Christians believe that married couples must give up sex if they don’t want a(nother) baby —even if that is the official word from the pulpit for Catholics and some Protestants. So, this fight is really about people who want sex without marriage.

True. Well, partly true.

It goes without saying that conservative Christians want above all to deny sexual intimacy and pleasure to people who are single—especially girls and women. That is because the Bible’s Iron Age Sex Rules were meant, first and foremost, to ensure that females, who were economic assets belonging to men, produced purebred offspring of known paternity, who were also economic assets belonging to men. The Bible sanctions many forms of marriage and sexual slavery but all converge on one point: they guarantee that a man can know which offspring are his. That is why, after the slaughter of the Midianites in the book of Numbers, only virgins can be kept as war booty. It is why, in the Torah’s legal code, a rapist can be forced to buy and keep the damaged goods.

The Old Testament prescribes death for dozens of infractions (you yourself probably belong on death row). But when it comes to sex, the death penalty is for females who voluntarily give it up (or who don’t scream loud enough when they are being raped). The meanest, sickest part of this archaic and morally warping worldview is the idea that, for women, sex itself should be a death penalty—or at least a roll of the dice. It’s simply divine justice that sex should sooner or later lead to the pain and potential mortality of childbirth, because that’s the punishment God pronounced on uppity Eve for eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

To the woman he said, ‘I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’” Genesis 3:16 NRSV.

There you have it. Female sexual pleasure and intimacy without the risk of labor pain and death is cheating God—as well as the male who rules over her.

Control at Any Price

The ways in which God’s Self-Appointed Sex Police try to obstruct intimacy and orgasms are legion. Denying young people information about their bodies, promoting sex negativity, fostering a cult of virginity, spreading lies about masturbation—and above all shaming, shaming, shaming anyone who might dare to have sex without their approval. But the surest way the sex police can stop single females from cheating their way out of Eve’s curse is by making sex risky, which is why the religious right is obsessed with denying women access to birth control and abortion.

Globally, today 215 million desperate women want modern contraception and are unable to get it, thanks in part to American Religious Right politicians who explicitly excluded fertility management services from international HIV prevention. Church induced hang-ups about sex mean that reproductive empowerment gets left out of conversations where it is fundamental to wellbeing: family prosperity, early childhood development, mental health—even education of girls and career advancement of women.

At home, the U.S. squandered almost two decades and 1.5 billion dollars on abstinence-only “sex ed” that was an abject failure. Over the last three quarters of a century, conservative Christian obstruction of sexual literacy and family planning programs has driven humanity to the verge of collapse and has devastated families, condemning desperately poor people—like those who trusted Mother Teresa (who in turn trusted the Pope)—to lives of even deeper desperation.

Righteous men with access to the halls of power thwart sexual agency and then make criminals of women who abort the resulting ill-conceived pregnancies—all for the sake of maintaining their own authority and that of their institutions. And if the campaign to stop single women from having sex makes things hard for some married folks—the refugee couple, for example; or the poor parents trying to take care of the kids they already have; or those facing the prospect of a Zika baby with calcified and deformed brain structures—so be it.

The Small and Large of It

Think of the suffering as collateral damage— a form of collateral damage that is relatively benign by the standards of ecclesiastical history.

During the peak of Christianity’s political power, the Dark Ages, the Vatican launched a crusade against a sect of French Christians, the Cathars, who the Pope had declared heretics. When the crusaders arrived and began their slaughter, local people fled into churches, and sorting out who counted as a real Christian got confusing. So an inquiry was sent to the abbot, asking who should be killed and who spared. He replied by messenger: “Kill them all, God will know his own.”

By contrast with medieval butchery, collateral damage in the form of intimacy denied, or lives burdened with shame and stigma, or unwanted children born into the world with the odds stacked against them, seems minor.

But that is the only standard by which denying people sexual intimacy and pleasure is trivial. As I said, these are among humanity’s most treasured experiences. There are few freedoms that we value more than being able to form the love bonds and families of our choosing. In Islamic theocracies like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan—and even among immigrant Muslims in the West—young people risk and lose their lives for love.

Going for Broke

Religious authorities fight to maintain monopoly control over sexual privileges precisely because these privileges are so valuable—so to the heart of who we are as human beings. Sexual pleasure sweeps over us; it can bring us to our knees. Sexual intimacy allows us to transcend the boundaries of time and space, body and psyche—to lose the self in the other.

If these seem like religious terms, they are. It is no accident that vocalizations during carnal ecstasy sounds a lot like prayer or that erotic music often has religious overtones: Take me to church; I’ll worship like a dog. . . . In your temple of love . . . halleluja (Hozier; Rod Stewart; Leonard Cohen). Or vice versa: You hold my hand and hold my heart; I give it away now, I am on my knees offering all I am (Parachute Band).

The Church hierarchy’s determination to define and control “legitimate” sex may be cruel and transparently self-serving. But it is smart. Sex endlessly attracts and compels us, making sexual guilt the perfect currency for institutions trafficking in sin and salvation. When religious authorities hold exclusive power to forgive sexual transgressions and then dole out (or deny) sexual privileges, they can redirect sublimated love and loyalty and yearning and passion into the kind of peak experiences that religion itself has on offer—experiences like spiritual ecstasy, selfless service, or mystical union with the Divine—all scripted and doled out by the very same religious institutions and authorities, of course.

But God’s self-appointed spokesmen are losing their grip. If their proclamations seem crazier and their political maneuvers seem transparently cruel—as in recent bullying of transgender kids—that is because they are desperate. People are noticing that the cage door is open and that the world outside offers a rainbow of possibilities.

Sex and love that are not controlled by the Church compete with the Church. If individuals who are young and elderly, stable and transitioning, queer and straight, partnered and single, parenting and childfree, claim the right to pleasure themselves and each other and to form intimate bonds based on no authority save their own mutual consent and delight, the Church is screwed.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org.  Her articles about religion, reproductive health, and the role of women in society have been featured at sites including AlterNet, Salon, the Huffington Post, Grist, and Jezebel.  Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

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About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt and Deas and Other Imaginings. Founder - www.WisdomCommons.org.
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27 Responses to Religious Right Sex Rules are Plain Old Mean

  1. Carmen says:

    EPIC closing sentence. ;)

    Liked by 5 people

  2. finnjacob says:

    If the Christians, Muslims and Jews would spend as much energy on creating a peaceful world as controlling sexuality (especially female), the world would soon become a much better place to stay.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Martha Carey says:

      Finn Jacob, you’ve said it all in this one clear, truth-filled sentence. Wish I could say more things as succinctly as you have here.

      The Abrahamic religions were all created, instituted and perpetrated in man’s own ego-image, not by some transcendent holy God.

      These inter-related 3 religions are ritually blood-obsessed with control vs. the creational. Man against the original creational intention (our Original Blessing). If human nature, especially women’s sexuality and reproductive planning, and the universal human condition is not ‘controllable’ to these religions, there will be hell to pay, perpetual morally justified wars to instigate and wage, scapegoats to hunt down, and blood sacrifices to victimize and martyr–to publicize their ‘communion of saints’ to the world.’

      At the core of this, is man against himself, the war is within him, not outside of his skin or loins. The old adage: ‘if man can’t make war on each other, he makes war on women and children.’ And since most victims eventually become more victimizers, women have been doing war against themselves, and each other.

      The key here is that both men and women have been amputated and disconnected from the natural-creational world, our own natures, our natural and transcendent intelligences, our nature spirits–as fabricated and pre-ordained by biblical genesis story-mongerer’s. Our real core and center has been lost.

      Why are we now so fascinated with NatGeo and the natural world in all its wonder, mystery, splendor, terror, and yes, cruelty? Because, regardless of its survival chances, the natural world, plants and animals…are true to themselves, true to their own mysterious life-force, come what may.

      All of the great books and classics through the ages write of our recognition of this, our lonely, struggling, self-exiled processional pilgrimage to return to and reclaim ‘Pour primal Paradise Lost’ within ourselves, each other, our world, It is our Original Blessing story.

      Yet, from one of the first stories that the wee ones ever learn, they are force-fed the lies of shame, all the don’ts, the unworthiness, disgrace and failure, gender, racial, geographical and sexual dominance, arrogant blind ignorance of all things creational, and our own genetic self-contempt is born…and it has continued through the ages.

      And the ‘Good News?” It doesn’t have to be this way anymore… enough of us know better. At last, I’ve succinctly summarized the delusional, destructive tenets of the Abrahamic religions, in my last few sentences here. Alleluia!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gunther says:

      Well stated finnjacob. I can’t understand why after 2,000 to 3,000 years, why have not the people make the world a better place even though they spend much of their of their childhood and youth adult lives attending religious schools and going to the places of worship? If religion is so great, then why has not the world become a more peaceful place?

      Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” Napoleon Bonaparte

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s a great article in today’s El Pais on a related issue: http://elpais.com/elpais/2016/05/27/ciencia/1464368392_307898.html In case you don’t read Spanish, it describes the efforts of the Franco dictatorship to co-opt science and “Catholicize” it. Scientists who didn’t accept their terms were prosecuted or forced into exile.

    Like

    • Lowell Bushey says:

      Hi, The Pink Agendist, née Mr. Merveilleux,

      What you describe is exactly the scenario we have in the US today, although to a lesser degree. ([so far] Nobody’s been prosecuted or exiled.) For example, we have the “Creationist Museum” and an ostensibly “life size” replica of Noah’s Ark, both funded by Kentucky taxpayers. In several states, “limited service pregnancy centers” whose sole purpose is to spread misinformation and lies about abortion, are funded with taxpayer dollars. Severe limitation, or outright prohibition, is placed on stem cell or other scientific research that “right to lifers” find objectionable. Climate science denial is on the agenda of one of our major political parties. Clearly, that not as bad as the situation under Franco, but we’re getting there. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Martha Carey says:

    First and foremost, along with Judaism and Islam’s tenets, the unholy Roman un-Catholic Church, and its morphed protests into fundamentalist-evangelical manifestations as we see today, have absolutely nothing to do with a man named Jesus Christ, or any accorded spiritual respect due to his teachings or message.

    Whether a historical Jesus ever existed or not, is not what is at stake here. His often elusive paradoxically self-liberating message, remains with us. What is at stake here, is that these dictatorially proclaiming patriarchal pseudo-religious church whores have no concern or relationship with this Son of Man. He is not part of their power-equation, because, in their darkened anti-life brothels, he is either not worthy of universal self/cosmic knowledge, or he never really existed.

    Next, if thousands of years have documented that patriarchal religions do not lift one finger to acknowledge or help over half of the world’s peoples, women and children, (except to accuse, shame and punish them), WHY do so many millions-billions of the world’s women STILL continue to keep themselves ignorantly blinded, enslaved and doomed to their own self-destruction, and the futures of their grandchildren? Is it in the name of preserving their culture, their traditions, their way of life?

    WHY…in America, are there SO many women who cannot take a good hard look at this, and JUST WALK AWAY from these churches and their lethally poisonous death-bearing messages…and never look back. If mass processionals of women begin to do this, and continue to walk away and shake the dust, THIS, Valerie, is how ‘the church will be screwed, into perpetuity.’ With few or no women in the churches, we all know that there is no church left, and 5000 years of patriarchy will just have to eat its own life-less decayed petrified scorn-filled skin.

    Now, what scares me most with such a wishful thinking scenario is this: Otto Rank was spot-on with his in-depth experience of women’s psyche’s and their mostly twisted paths of self-survival, thanks to cruel and brutal patriarchy. He said that there is something primordially (genetically?) entrenched in women themselves that is terrified of any self-liberation and freedom.

    He experienced that the vast majority of women need/want to be abused, sacrificed and martyred; to their families, their husbands, their church, their children, their society. Rank rarely saw women who cherish and strive for self-actualization, for their own psyches, souls and co-creative destiny’s. Those who did so, were considered freaks of non-nature.

    My deepest outraged grief is about the masses of women, both east and west, developed and undeveloped countries, who continue to be terrified of the monumental courage and spiritual-psychic stamina it requires for her own personal freedom and self-autonomy. She will do everything to prevent it, mostly in passive-aggressive, self-sabotaging ways. You can refer to this source in Rank’s “Beyond Psychology,” also mentioned in Ernst Becker’s “The Denial of Death.”

    (If you’ve ever wondered why so many (American) women are so mean, hostile and spiteful to each other, to their own gender, Otto Rank has given us the reason why: their own self-contempt!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow. Thought provoking. Thank you for this.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Lowell Bushey says:

      Hi, Martha Carey,

      I always wonder why so many women buy into the b.s. of the religious right, but I feel awkward bringing up the subject because I’m male. :) Perhaps you’ve shed some light on the issue, although none of the authors you cite are female. :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Martha Carey says:

        Lowell and Carmen, great question about any female authors that might shed light on women’s toxic nastiness to one another, other than Otto Rank’s psychiatric practice experiences and case stories. I do not know of any, though I’m sure, if carefully researched, we would find a few brave women authors who have tackled this, by now. On a centuries-old delightfully positive feminine note here, in the late Middle Ages, the Beguine community of women along the Rhineland countries have been the most life-giving and true to themselves and to each other with helping, illuminating and inspiring each other, their children and grandchildren. The Beguines encouraged and nurtured women who had a capacity for a ‘life of the mind, spirit and imagination’ (the creative). One did not need money or credentials, just an innate thirst and capacity. Hildegard of Bingen, Gertrude of Mecktilde, (sp) and others whom the male church authority’s ferociously wanted to silence and forget, have carried this sacred creational torch through the many centuries of continuing darkness, ever since. These women left their writings, poetry, teachings, art and music, botanical-herbal alchemy, midwifery and child-bearing genius’s for us to remember, and to become our spirituality. These women are my family!

        Like

    • carmen says:

      Martha, I just commented about this phenomena – women ‘sticking it to’ other women (as if we didn’t have ENOUGH stressors, we need it from our SISTERS???) – on another woman’s blog yesterday. It continues to be one of my most bewildering frustrations (at 58). :(

      Like

      • Mary says:

        Those women, like my conceited Munchausen by Proxy mother and sister, are scapegoating their rival victims to make themselves look holier/prettier. They should be CRIMINALLY prosecuted for their MEDICAL abuse of us. We should shame them back — we are not their show-and-tell incubating slaves/celibate lepers.

        Like

    • Gunther says:

      I can’t stand it when many American women complain about discrimination and job opportunities (or lack of it); however, at the same time, they are against labor unions, civil service protections whether they are rank and file or are managers. They are really no better than the men that they are complaining about and are so ignorantly blinded, enslaved and doomed to their own self-destruction, and the futures of their grandchildren?

      Like

      • Martha Carey says:

        Gunther, this is the insidious self-contempt thing again, in so many women. Coming from a 4 generation long matriarchy, I am aghast and alarmed that every woman does not shed a glancing caring look-out eye for every other woman, and for each other’s humanity.

        Instead, women inflict their own un-reflected un-examined self-contempt first onto their own mothers, sisters, daughters, female friends…before extending it to the public world of job opportunities, civil service protections and management positions. I dreadfully admit that the vast majority of more women than men in upper management positions…are often the least capable, honestly managerial and openly collaborative with holding these positions.

        Somehow, a management title feeds their false persona with ample projection-power and ego-control status. At root, is a disconnected inability to relate or be relational, of self, others and the natural-creational world. So, what often feels like toxic work places (most of America) is just this toxic: the false, the unreal, the non-relational, the lie, the self-disconnect, the self-betrayal…so women settle for working at becoming imitator male dictators, creeps and bully’s in the workplace.

        Women overly-identify with the most ludicrous petty cruelties, the most extreme punishing letter of the law measures, perpetrating pathologically-perfect character defamation scenario’s against other (real) women. The relentless measuring, comparing and competing against their own sister-kin…while throwing stumbling blocks in the way of those real and relational women who are genuinely called and capable…to graciously sacrifice and manage both their private and their public lives–with a dignified self-respect, not self-contempt.

        It has become an insufferable thing for me to say that: from my 65 yr. old forever young life experience, more women than men hold women back, more than any single contributing agent. Patriarchy started this plague, self-contemptuous women will continue to enforce it. I won’t allow myself to be concerned about their grandchildren, if they’re not!

        Like

    • Mary says:

      A few years/decades after Christ’s death, his “followers” hijacked his message for wife-hating looksist pedophiles and playboys by idolizing his miserable death. Thus, we are stuck with a womb-trafficking cult run by and for Munchausen and Munchausen by Proxy lunatics. Contraception remains banned so pedophiles will have unlimited fresh victims and so women with suffer martyrdom by childbirth. Church bullies practice abstinence, poverty and martyrdom BY PROXY. This is why religious voters defend greedy celebrity sex abusers for political and religious offices.

      This is why today we have an insulting shaming sexual caste system that enforces the Nazi concentration camp/Magdalene Laundry eugenics of forced abstinence forever on us unaborted disabled and LGBT “sexual unworthies.”

      We can usurp this by broadcasting the ugly truths of commonplace deadly obstetric bladder and bowel incontinence, looksist pedophilia behind the contraception ban, “pro-life” Poop Paul VI’s funding of Nazi death camps in Croatia during WWII, and the Munchausen by Proxy sadism running the GOP/RCC. We need a global BIRTH strike to protest obstetric dangers, pedophile priests and global overpopulation SLAVE LABOR.

      Like

  5. Katharine Bressler says:

    Excellent review of who has made the rules and why.

    Like

  6. bluearkie says:

    As always, Ms. Tarico, an intelligent and cogent post. I’ve believed for a long time that nothing is ever all good or all bad, including religion. However, we only need to look at our world as it is today to see the damage that has been done in the name of religion.

    Like

  7. Great article, Valerie. I note you are careful to include “conservative” with “Christian”, or say “religious right” (vs. “left” or even maybe “center”). Still, I feel it’s worth adding that there are at least a few denominations or sub-groups within broad Christianity that would not be included in what you rightly object to. I attend a United Church of Christ congregation, for example, in which this restrictive kind of sexual perspective is not at play, at least not openly or by many. We have openly gay (married) or heterosexual living-together couples who are totally integrated and loved. This is even though we are not an officially “open and affirming” (to gays/lesbians/transgender) congregation as a great many in the UCC denomination are. In our “congregational” system, which I support, the denomination leaves it up to individual congregations to set policies on this, although I wish ALL UCC congregations would declare as “open and affirming” and be open to gay clergy as well.

    Like

    • Lowell Bushey says:

      Hi, Howard Pepper,

      I agree with you; in fact, one of the biggest problems we have in this country today is that we fail to differentiate between moderate (sane!) Muslims and the Taliban or ISIS. After the 9/11 attacks, I found it maddening that the country got behind a President who advocated the same philosophy (religious fundamentalism) that served as a justification for them!

      Like

  8. Reblogged this on Natural Spirituality – Loving Forum for Spiritual Harmony & Growth and commented:
    As usual, psychologist and social/religious critic (and former Evangelical), Valerie Tarico expresses the problems with conservative Christianity in its views of sex and sexuality with great insight. Well worth the time to read.

    Like

  9. Hank Fischer says:

    Some of the cruelest, intolerant people I’ve ever met are sincere very religious folks. Atheists I have met tend to be just the opposite. Interesting circumstance.

    Like

  10. schwadevivre says:

    I posted this response over on Alternet.

    The conflict within Christianity was sharpened by the early conflict between encratic (celibate) groups and libertine groups. The Pauline works seem to put Paul among the former, encouraging continence even within marriage.

    Like

  11. Painfully poignant, and beautifully crafted.

    Like

  12. Gunther says:

    Martha Carey.

    I agreed with your viewpoints and I might add that these same women also do the same things to their sons, their husbands, and to their male co-workers and then they complain that their men don’t want to talk to them. When I am at work, I am aghast at how these women tend to gossip so much, turn on each other when they have no one else to attack, and spend so much time on the phone arguing with their kids, their husbands, and/or ex-husbands and playing office politics. They really have no shred of conscience and humanity in them at all and God (if he exists) help us when they occupied our top political, economic, and social positions plus occupying positions such as fire chiefs, sheriffs, and police chiefs.

    To be fair, men don’t look out for each other, don’t have a shred of humanity and many of them get swell heads (and egos) the moment they are in a position of power, despite the fact that if it wasn’t for people helping them along the way, they would not be in the positions they are occupying. I sometimes wonder why more men don’t drop out of religion considering the fact that in America, they are taught to be rugged individualists, treat every person as a competitor, and to win at all costs? It is more like praise the Lord on Sunday and stabbed your fellow human beings on Sunday. I remember the 1968 song Skip a Rope by Henson Cargill. The song is still relevant 48 years later in American society.

    Like

  13. Gunther says:

    ‘I dreadfully admit that the vast majority of more women than men in upper management positions…are often the least capable, honestly managerial and openly collaborative with holding these positions.”

    Your statement Martha Carey reminds me of Abby Martin interviewing retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson who was Chief of Staff to Colin Powell. Colonel Wilkerson stated that the American generals who retire and go into the arms industries were not the most competent, not the most capable and not the most professional people in the world.

    Sad commentary on how organizations vetted and choose people when it comes to filling high ranking positions in both the private and public sectors. It is all about climbing to the top and playing the game even if it means hurting your own group and the rest of society.

    Liked by 1 person

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