Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 16, 2006
Beware the futile search for perfect sex
The Supreme Court's redefining indecency opened Pandora's box
A Shepherd Speaks
By BISHOP FRED HENRY
The abnormal becomes the normal, the unusual the usual.
Consider the quotation from Cicero: "True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. . . . It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to try to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. . . . There will not be different laws at Rome or at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be one master and one ruler, that is, God, over us all, for God is the author of this law, its promulgator and its enforcing judge" (De Republican II, xxii, 33).
Many of us feel more of a kinship with the philosophy of the non-Christian Cicero than the individualistic liberal theories of John Stuart Mill.
The dissenting justices, rather than the majority, got it right when they argued that the standard of tolerance does not impose a morality based on particular religious beliefs or particular ideologies. It implements a social morality that is the product of values characteristic of the entire community.
These values generally reflect a social consensus that manifests itself through, for example, a concern for the dignity of individuals and their autonomy, the nature of sexuality, potential for development and fundamental equality.
The saddest part of the justices' decision is their misunderstanding of human nature and human sexuality. Passion will continue to rage within the human breast, and reason and religious conviction will try to get the upper hand until the end of time. But once unlimited opportunity for sex is available, the contest becomes unequal. The last barrier to fall is social sanction.
The moment society stops saying that sex outside marriage (one's own marriage) is sin, injustice or reprehensible conduct, but says instead that sex of any kind is available to everyone in the normal course of things regardless of state or circumstance, then sex outside marriage begins to "happen" more and more. The abnormal becomes the normal, the unusual the usual.
But both the laws of human biology and the human heart continue to operate and we will continue to see ever-increasing numbers of people terribly hurt by recreational sex. Some will even become deadened to the possibility of love or marriage by their endless search for "perfect sex."
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