Sexual Control = Social Control
Pope Benedict XVI can stand to learn something important from Israeli rabbinical leaders. That sex is good, important, natural- a part of high holidays.
According to Jewish law, you can only take drugs during the Passover festival that treat life-threatening illnesses. But could not making good love to your wife be considered life-threatening? As one man joked during a conversation at a Seder about Kosher Viagra, "If I don’t please my wife tonight, she just might kill me."
Viagara had earlier been considered traiff (non-kosher) because of the coating on the pill itself. A work-around was to put the drug in a kosher gelatin capsule.
OK, so I made a joke of the life threatening angle. But I'll remind you of something you already know; sex is a potent way of communing with the Ground of our Being, momentarily "shuffling off this mortal coil" to experience One-ness with another. The most clearly human moments we can share. Religious experience of the highest order.
I really appreciate what Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has to say:
Life lost its magic when it lost its eroticism. Eroticism, that elixir of passion, that thirsty desire to uncover the mystery of all life has to teach us, is noticeably absent from our being.
That is the reason, in my opinion, that the Jews have always read the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) on the holiday of Passover, a holiday that celebrates the birth of our nationhood. Being freed of Egyptian slavery made our bodies free, but it did not necessarily make our spirit come alive. God wished to free us not only from the chains of slavery, but from the bane of an unanimated existence. God did not wish for us simply to exist, but to live; to subsist not merely with necessities, but with magic. For this reason He gave us the Song of Songs to teach us the power of discovering an erotic existence.
Sorry to point out the obvious, Holy Father , but the primitive sexual strictures you promote look, at best, as unadulterated CONTROL. I extend my perspective to Fundamentalists leaders as well. How can condoms, which when properly used prevent pregnancy as well as disease, be bad? Yet in our overcrowded world awash in STD's conservatives in power promote ineffective abstinence only sex education programs that mislead about the simple truth of condom effectiveness. Not to mention that eighty-eight percent of kids taking abstinence pledges engage in pre-marital sex- without the benefit of basic sex education- except maybe catching episodes of "Desperate Housewives" and the like on tv.
But these studies also highlight that abstinence-only and other sex ed programs have a critical flaw in common: The focus is on "sex" defined either explicitly or implicitly as vaginal intercourse. The abstinence kids pledge not to have sex (vaginal intercourse) but do have oral sex, manual sex, and anal sex.
The religious right is seeing to it that young people are sexually ignorant (informative link). Here is some BS an abstinence only instructor touts:
# no one has ever had sex with more than one partner without paying a price
# birth control pills make you ten times more susceptible to death
# abortion causes long-term psychological damage
# condoms are unsafe
# boys don’t get hurt by premarital sex while girls suffer for life
# large numbers of 18 to 20-year- old women are having radical hysterectomies because of cervical cancer caused by early sexual activity
Control. Wilhelm Reich spoke to the fact of sexual repression and social control:
It has a crippling effect on man's rebellious forces because every vital life-impulse is now burdened with severe fear; and since sex is a forbidden subject, thought in general and man's critical faculty also become inhibited. In short, morality's aim is to produce acquiescent subjects who, despite distress and humiliation, are adjusted to the authoritarian order.I've linked to materials highlighting this nexus here previously, "Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence" by James Prescott is very informative.
Remember, Jocelyn Elders lost her position as Surgeon General under President Clinton for mentioning that masturbation is part of human life. She also mentioned that drug legalization should be studied to reduce crime.
Social control rears it's head in many ways...
One Party Democracy?
Senate Republicans claim to have the votes to stop Democratic fillibusters of Bush activist judges. The Republicans are comfortable using their majority to subvert the democracy enabling filibuster rules. Robert Kuttner touched on the GOP's attempts to institute a right wing autocracy in his important article "America as a One-Party State". More recently Kevin Drumm has spoken of the Republican shift from using these time honored techniques to keep the majority in line now that they are the majority. The two articles offer historic context that is necessary but sadly lacking in media accounts. Frist was happy to use the filibuster during the Clinton presidency.
The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.
The above quote is from FDR's vice-president Henry Wallace Times article "The Danger of American Fascism" Take a moment to read it, written 61 years ago it is frighteningly timely.
Share what you learn. Without context showing where we've been as a people it is much more difficult to realistically see where we are heading as a nation.