That’s right! Today I’m talking about those three no-go conversation topics: Sex, Politics, and Religion. In particular, I want to explain my position on how they should interact…
Politics and sex
My position here is fairly simple: what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms, homes, dungeons, etc is theirs and theirs alone to worry about. The important thing here is the noun-phrase “consenting adults”. This is not: an adult and a child; an adult and an animal; or an adult and a non-consenting adult. Let the government legislate, indeed, the government should legislate to protect those who are unable or unwilling to consent. But legislating what forms of activity one or more consenting adults do with themselves or each other is both impractical and unjustifiable. Yet there is a candidate in the ACT (A consultant psychologist no less) who, when answering an election questionnaire for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn wrote that “[He] believe[s] sodomy of man or woman should be regarded as a criminal offence” and that people “should have the right to discriminate in terms of employment, accomodation etc as they do in dealing with drug addicts”. According to the Star Observer, he also wrote that the government should manage “distortions of sexuality” such as masturbation, oral sex, and sex before marriage… On one hand, I can’t reach any conclusion except that he’s a bit mental – government intrusion on masturbation… does he intend to make chastity belts a requirement? But on the other hand I can’t help but wonder if the Religious Right have put him up to this to show just how mainstream and normal their views are (by comparison).
Politics and relationships (I’m reaching here from “sex”)
There have been many people saying that “The government shouldn’t legislate relationships” over the recent debate. I agree and I don’t. I believe that two consenting adults should be able to get married. No, I don’t believe that “marriage” is the right word for polyamorous relationships. I don’t believe that their relationships are lesser, I do believe that they’re different to a two-person relationship, and a relationship contract between 3 or more people is a far more complicated one than between two. There are more complex separation and severance issues at play for a start, as well as including additional members into an extant relationship… but I digress. Beyond “consenting adults” what other tests are reasonable to impose on couples for relationship status? No familial ties and no current pre-existing relationship are probably about it. I believe that is the point at which the government needs to stop legislating who may or may not be in a relationship.
Religion and Sex
I don’t care how your religion affects your sex life – that is entirely your business – though I hope that you are happy with how it turns out. This is very much the same as how my religion (or lack thereof) applies to my sex life. Please bear in mind that your religion and my sex life should never meet, and the same goes for the reverse.
Religion and Politics
Since the political landscape applies to both you and me, there’s a little more give and take that needs to go on than in the interplay between religion and sex. You want the country run according to your religious beliefs. I, naturally, want the country run according to mine. Or at least, I want to be free not to have to abide by your values system if I don’t want to. And so, when you put forward your case, by all means state that you hold this position as part of your religion – in fact, it would be nice to be told that up-front rather than all the hiding that goes on these days. Once you’ve done that, back it up with reasons why it’s important for those who do not follow your religion (I also suggest you argue the issue itself rather than using a slippery slope argument, by the way). Convince me why it would be good for me to follow your religion’s moral perspective on this issue when I do not subscribe to your religion’s moral code, and do not subscribe to your religion’s reward/punishment system. My arguments will likewise be made on secular reasons and evidence.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with my perspectives. I do expect civil conversation. Comment away readers!