Sex, Sexuality, Pornography and the Public Trust

In America sexual morality and ethics has a different character than it has in any other place in the world or in any other era in history.While that does not mean it is not the right character for us it is an important fact to note.  There is clearly a range of modesty as a value which is acceptable within our diverse society. That is exemplified by the relatively wide acceptance of  women who dress as differently as Kerri Walsh Jennings and Ibithaj Muhamad in their pursuit of both the very different sports of beach volleyball and the saber discipline of fencing. One woman is a competing in a bikini and the other in full fencing gear and in both cases this relates to issues larger than the standard practice of their sport. The issue of modesty has arisen in this blog before, more than once but most recently in the post but especially the comments on the blog post found here. I hope to watch some of both women performing in this competition.  I am not bothered by either model of behavior as much as some people but probably many Americans are more accepting of both women than I am. Modesty and dress are not the most compelling issues in the conversations and confrontations related to sex and sexuality but they are important issues in themselves and indicators of larger issues confronting the country and the people who live in it….  America takes ina lot of diverse people who care strongly about the sexual climate and mores around them and who have very different values and beliefs.


For me there is no question at all that there is sexual strain and dysfunction in our society. There is no question at all that for me this is a bad to horrible place to live from that particular point of view. But while many other people feel that way we do not dislike or disapprove of the same things nor do we look for the same solutions. The crisis in our country is not only far from being resolved it is far from being framed in any way which leads to resolution.

The opposite end of the presentation of sexuality to the world from polite discussions about modesty is the issue of pornography. There is a great deal of vile and gross pornography out there no matter how one chooses to define vile and gross. People ought to have the right to live in a world in which the people they interact with do not have their sexual machinery twisted and stimulated in ways that empower bizarre behaviors and unlicensed acts which are encouraged by a sophisticated industry which feeds impulses everyone controls only imperfectly. For someone as misanthropic as myself it is easy to say that nobody is getting an A++ on the lifetime sex test. There are issues that only become more complicated in a very diverse society and so that raises the question of what is to be criminalized. Where can people hope for protection from the real influences of porn and where does the right to freedom of information and freedom of expression come into play? The answers are not easy ones.  Louisiana has raised the age for strippers from 18 to 21 on the basis that when in doubt Americans raise the age from 18 to 21 and that principle has been used many times and is  always debated. I did hear on radio news that young strippers were suing to protect their livelihood but if that is true then they will surely lose. I can live with this law just fine, in fact I could live with a law against strip clubs just fine. I also think that 21 is an age which decreases the chance of having fifteen and sixteen year old prostitutes in brothels and I support that goal. That is true even though the strip clubs are not supposed to be brothels and girls below adult age are already not allowed to work there. In the real world  there will be some additional security against child prostitution by raising the age of strippers. The porn world has many images much more disruptive of any shared sexual ideal than the images of strippers. What are those images, well finding out may or may not be a crime. Part of the theory of all these criminal laws is that these pornographers have such sterling and perfect ethics that one can know how old a model is and what conditions are used in making a film. That of course is completely absurd. One can tell a twelve year old is under age but not a seventeen year old. Photos do not show whether special effects and honest pay or slavery and terror have made the films possible.  a picture simply appears.

The arrest of Father David Broussard a pastor in Breaux Bridge on the anniversary of his ancestors being expelled from Nova Scotia is a further development of the child sexual scandal involving Catholic clergy in an area where I live. Some very serious case of abuse were badly mishandled over and over again in this region and the scars and damage from those scandals is both real and deep.   It is also true that the way the cases were handled was at times not a great credit to prosecutors and the media but the reality is that the church needed a good cleaning in this regard. These were cases of repeated rape –penetrative sex — with minors by priest and a failure to deal with issues well even when complaints were filed with church authorities.    The rot was a time quite notable to me at many levels. Yet it was not the pervasive experience of life in the church which some made it out to be. So far as I know Father David Broussard is accused of viewing images in private on his computer that are not legal. I do not know what kind of images they were. I assume that finding out would be a felony for me but is a paid activity for the prosecutors and police. Notice that this is different than rape in many ways. Police are not required to rape a victim again to investigate rape. The rape kit may be horrible but it is something less than rape. But in viewing pornography all of the prosecutors do exactly the deed which has been criminalized and scrutinizing what they are doing in the only way that would allow a just comment is also a crime.    Did Broussard is not someone I know. He may be a thoroughgoing scoundrel and a pedophile for all I know. I believe that some priests are such things and desrve such description. But the facts remain that nobody had complained about his treatment of them and he was caught vieiwing we know not what nor on haow many occasions. The acid trip judiciary of the USA can make five hundre counts of elonies out of anything it wants, too gutless to prosecute the brutal violent rapes that leave victims afraind to testify in more cases than anyone will ever know it has plenty of nerve to count every mouse click as a separate felony.  What I do know is not that David Broussard deserves mercy but that the authority deserves a real opposition and some deserve a good whipping, sadly I am not strong enough to provide either.

The commentary about these matters of Roman Catholic clergy misconduct and all related  matters is  relatively abundant. The critical and media success of the movie Spotlight shows how much traction the issue of Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse has in this country.   The issue of sexual abuse among Boy Scout leaders and staff,  the issue of sexual abuse among public school teachers,  and sexual abuse juvenile detention workers has never received the same kind of attention nor been met with the same

The widespread abuse of patients by medical doctors is little enough reported. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done a good job of bringing this vast problem to light and allowing the possibility for some kind of reform. But this does not have the traction in our culture that the Catholic clergy sex scandals have and are always likely to have. The sexual abuse realities, their reporting, and the way the consequences play out is  of great consequence across society. Hatred of Catholics and the Catholic clergy is the great unifying force of Protestantism and of an America formed by it to an amazing degree. Lunatics not withstanding everyone knows this to be true. there are books and not blog posts needed to discuss this.  But that is not the subject of the this post.

There are a lot of people writing about the real problems in our sexual climate and they include women who are very different from one another.  Writers among American women include Susan Faludi’s book Shafted, Rhonda Rich’s book What Southern Women Know, Elisabeth Elliot’s books Mark of a Man, Passion and Purity, and Let Me be a Woman. Among men there are others like Robert Johnson, John Gray, James Dobson, Larry Christenson, Stephen B. Clark, Robert Iatesta, Robert Bly, Edwin Cole and many other men have tried to chart the waters and coastlines of American sexual identity of men and women, with a focus on the United States of America. None of these writers are championing child pornography. None condone sex abuse by the clergy or anyone else. But if one considers the cases they all make thy point to a different rot and filth than the one which once sheltered serial rapists in this regions clergy.  There is rot across the board and it is vile and hideous to me. A joke has emerged where law once was, self righteous idiocy defines sexual interaction and there are no words bad enough to describe what I see out there . No words at all. But the kind of smug journalism that the David Broussard article brought out in some papers (but not all) in this region is an example of the capcity for pervasive blindness in our society.

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