Sunday, July 17, 2011

coming next--marriage as oppression

There are two things, outside of death and taxes, that we may be sure of.

1. Those who want to loosen morality will scoff at the notion of a slippery slope.
2. Those same people will slide further down the slippery slope, and try to take others with them.

What with homosexual practices having reached a large degree of de facto acceptance, there seems to be a bit of a transition to other concerns. For example, here's something from Tony Jones' blog. The first part of the quote is in italics, because it's taken from something Jones himself is quoting from, so it's not Jones' own words.

What’s a Christian to Do with…Dan Savage?

Savage believes monogamy is right for many couples. But he believes that our discourse about it, and about sexuality more generally, is dishonest. Some people need more than one partner, he writes, just as some people need flirting, others need to be whipped, others need lovers of both sexes. We can’t help our urges, and we should not lie to our partners about them. In some marriages, talking honestly about our needs will forestall or obviate affairs; in other marriages, the conversation may lead to an affair, but with permission. In both cases, honesty is the best policy.

Savage’s sexual ethic is primarily one of realism: human beings are animals who, until very recently, procreated like animals. It is evolutionarily dishonest to demand monogamy of a species predisposed against it. It’s not impossible to be monogamous, he says, but it is super difficult, and you’ll be more likely to succeed if your partner is GGG.

I don’t know if Savage’s ethic jibes with a biblical, Christian view of sexuality. But I do know a few things: 1) he’s a helluva lot more realistic about sex than most Christians I’ve talked to about sex; 2) based on my experience on this blog and at the Wild Goose Festival, a lot of Christians really want to talk about sexuality; and 3) many Christians are ready for our conversations about sexuality to expand beyond “what to do with the gays,” and instead have a more fully-orbed dialogue about sexuality and human identity. I also know that, for the first time in my life I’ve met Christians who are in “open” marriages or are practicing polyamory — and I’m committed that my theological/ethical response to them be both Christian and pragmatic/realistic.

Strangely, that one paragraph above, about us being like animals, reminds me of something another emergent wrote.

Who decided that kids--or anybody else for that matter--are unable to abstain?

In a lot of settings, abstinence programs are laughed at. So are those campaigns in which students commit themselves not to have sex until they're married. Have you ever heard a news piece on the television or read a magazine article about one of them that didn't at least subtly mock the idea of "keeping yourself pure for marriage"? People who organize and promote these kinds of campaigns are often viewed as hopelessly naive messengers from a far-off land that simply doesn't exist anymore. The criticism of the "sex is for marriage" view is usually presented as the voice of realism. Are people actually capable of restraint?

But it's not realism. It's the voice of despair. It's the voice that asks, "Aren't we all really just animals?"
Rob Bell, sex god, p. 54

If only Rob Bell showed that much sense all the time. But Bell isn't the issue right now.

We can see how Savage is making an ever-so-slight case for marriage being just a bit oppressive, or at least that's what Jones is saying about him. It's ok to be unfaithful, so long as your spouse knows about it. Now, if the spouse is less than ok with such things, well, who knows. But monogamy is simply not for everyone, and being a postmodernist and emergent, Jones is all for the conversation going on.

My prediction--in about five years, if not sooner, this will be Jones' new pet sexual project, that things like open marriages and polyamory should be accepted and celebrated in the church, that such people should be allowed into positions of authority in the church, and of course all those who oppose are simply haters who must be silenced.

Sure, you can have your lonely little spouse, but don't you dare force others to abide by your morals.

And here's another little nudge along that line, at Sojo.

What’s in a Name?

Our current practice in the U.S. actually reflects the earlier legal reality of coverture: In the process of the “two becoming one flesh,” the wife lost her rights to property, legal representation in court, and even her public identity as her husband became the sole representative for the family. This combination of identities (or, rather, the wife becoming lost in her husband’s identity) led to wives taking their husbands’ last names. For me, losing my surname would have represented silent assent to this oppressive practice.

That's right, ladies, taking your husband's name is oppression. Sure, she sugar-coats it a bit over the next few paragraphs, but she clearly calls a wife taking her husband's name an oppressive practice.

These are small nudges against marriage, but I won't be a bit surprised if it continues.

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