Recently, I engaged in a rather lengthy online discussion on LGBT civil rights with a gentleman with a Judeo-Christian worldview. Over the course of that discussion, this individual revealed something so disturbing about his thought process, that it caused someone following the discussion to send me the following email:
“He didn’t say who was the side with sex perpetually on their mind. I think from the comments, it is obvious that it is not you. Sad when love and sex is confused.”
It might surprise people suffering from such confusion to learn that some lesbian couples don’t even engage in sex – their bond is purely relational in nature. I learned that interesting fact from Ian Stulberg, LCSW on April 10, 2015. Mr. Stulberg was presenting at the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association’s monthly lunch meeting on the following topic: “Seeking Reflection: Gay & Lesbian Identity Formation and Clinical Issues.”
At that meeting, I also learned that sexual orientation is subjective, lacking in universal definition, and a relatively new concept. A person’s sexual Identity is based upon the relationship of that person with their environment. This doesn’t change one’s sexual attraction - only their perceived sexual identity.
For example, Mr. Stulberg described a same-sex male couple that married, even though one of the spouses considers himself “straight.” You see, he is Hispanic and in his culture, being “gay” or “straight” is dependent upon one’s sexual “position” or “role” during sexual activity and not on the gender of one’s sexual partner. In more graphic terms, it depends upon whether one “penetrates” or is being “penetrated” when engaging in sex. If one always “penetrates” and is never “penetrated,” that individual is “straight” in certain cultures, regardless of the gender of their sexual partner.
Does the right to discriminate on the basis of “religious liberty” apply to anyone who engages in sodomy? If so, shouldn’t it apply when “straight” men “penetrate” women anally? Are such practices exempt, unless the person being “penetrated” is male? If so, what about those men who are “penetrated” by women wearing strap-ons, using dildos, or using their finger(s)? Are such men “straight,” even though they are being “penetrated” or does it depend upon the gender of the person doing the “penetrating”? In other words, does “religious liberty” only afford people the right to discriminate against members of the LGBT community, or does it extend to those members of the “straight” community who engage in such practices?
What if a gay couple’s sexual repertoire doesn’t include anal sex? Are both men involved in such a couple “straight” because neither one is being “penetrated”? Are such couples more or less sinful than “straight” couples that engage in anal sex? Does the “religious liberty” right to discriminate apply to all those who engage in sodomy, regardless of their sexual orientation, or just to those who are involved in same-sex relations?
As if this weren’t already confusing enough, what about the fact that sodomy includes both oral and anal sex?
Do we exclude oral sex as a form of sodomy because “oral sex is not ‘technically’ sexual intercourse. In fact, most teenagers don’t consider oral sex to be sex at all…. In a survey by the Centers for Disease Control, 54% of teenage girls ages 15-19 have engaged in oral sex. ‘It’s as common as kissing for teens,’ said Canadian filmmaker Sharlene Azam, who did four years of research for her documentary,’ Oral Sex is the New Goodnight’s Kiss.”
If we exclude oral sex as a form of sodomy, what about the fact that it is considered sodomy in scripture? If we apply the “traditional” definition of marriage, shouldn’t we also apply the “traditional” definition of sodomy? Are “straight” people who engage in sodomy more or less sinful than a lesbian couple whose relationship is and always has been non-sexual?
In the Antebellum era (from 1783-1861), married couples who had sex for any reason other than specifically for procreation were considered depraved. “The ideology that dominated in the Antebellum era focused on sex as procreation, in contrast to sex as pleasure.” The argument that same-sex marriages shouldn’t be permitted because same-sex couples can’t procreate with each other is based upon Antebellum era ideology. If people want to deny same-sex couples the right to marry or otherwise refuse to recognize those marriages based upon such ideology, shouldn’t that ideology apply to them as well? If so, how do we deal with “straight” people who engage in oral or anal sex? After all, no form of sodomy is specifically for procreation. What about all of those “unintended” pregnancies? If they were “unintended,” how could the sex have been specifically for procreation?
As an aside, if both men involved in a same-sex relationship don’t engage in anal sex, are they both “straight” or does that depend upon their sexual “position” or “role” with regard to oral sex?
Irrespective, unless and until sodomy, sexual orientation, and other such terms and concepts are universally defined how do we know who we are legally entitled to discriminate against in accordance with our “religious liberty”? Is it the straight sodomite, the gay man who doesn’t engage in anal sex, or the women involved in a lesbian relationship that’s purely relational?
How do we determine someone’s sexual orientation, whether they are celibate, or whether they engage in sodomy? Is it based on the Honor Code, in which we ask people and accept their answers on face value? Is that wise, considering that people tend to be inauthentic when it comes to sharing information over which others might negatively judge or shame them? What if the party wanting to exercise their “religious liberty” to discriminate against sodomites and LGBT people holds a different definition of what it means to be a sodomite or fall within the LGBT community than the individual in question? What about the gay person who doubts he is gay because he is not good at interior design? This is a serious question because Mr. Stulberg described such individuals in his lecture. He said the perception was based upon the belief that people act in accordance with stereotypical behaviors.
Do people exercise their “religious liberty” to discriminate against those who appear to that person as being a sodomite or part of the LGBT community? What happens if they discriminate against a “straight” person who isn’t a sodomite, but “appeared” otherwise to them? Do they not discriminate against sodomites and LGBT members who don’t look like sodomites and appear “straight” acting to them?
If this is too difficult to assess and subjects them to too much liability for making incorrect determinations, do they limit their discrimination to those who enter into same-sex marriages? If so, what about self-proclaimed “straight” people who are in a same-sex marriage? What about the LGBT people who are not in same-sex marriages? Do we not discriminate against them even if they are extremely promiscuous, just because they didn’t enter into a same-sex marriage and become sexually monogamous? What about the “straight” sodomites? What about married lesbian couples whose relationship is purely relational (no sexual activity involved)?
What about those members of the LGBT community who are in “traditional” marriages and may or may not engage in sexual activities with other LGBT people on the down low? We know such things happen. In fact, the largest percentage of gay and lesbian parents exist in the Bible Belt, where LGBT people couldn’t enter into a same-sex marriage or adopt children until very recently. The research shows that the reason the south has the largest share of gay parents in the country is because members of the LGBT community enter into “traditional” marriages out of shame, procreate during those marriages and later divorce because they find it too difficult to live their lives in such an inauthentic manner merely for other people’s comfort level.
What liability, if any do people have for exercising their “religious liberty” to discriminate arbitrarily or incorrectly?
How would God judge us, if we exercise our “religious liberty” and discriminate against the “wrong” people or fail to discriminate against the “right” people?
Maybe the answer lies in establishing a special police force designed to determine people’s sexual orientation and practices. Such a police force would be responsible for observing people’s sexual activity, whenever it occurs.
Which voyeurs among us would like to apply to become part of that police force?
How do we make certain that everybody’s sexual activities are constantly monitored? Do we place surveillance cameras in every square inch of the planet, both indoors and outdoors, to ensure that nobody could engage in any sexual activity without being monitored? If so, what happens to our privacy rights? Who’s going to pay to install all of those cameras? Who’s going to ensure that none of the cameras are tampered with? Who’s going to pay to keep those cameras in proper repair? Who’s going to pay the salaries of those associated with that special police force? Who’s going to pay for the review process, should anyone challenge the sexual orientation and practices determination any given police officer makes?
No wonder those seeking the right to discriminate based upon their “religious liberty” appear to have sex perpetually on their minds. It’s because the only people with sex perpetually on their minds tend to be those on the outside looking in. How else do you make certain that you properly exercise your right to discriminate based upon your “religious liberty”? Without having their minds in other people’s privates, they may risk being judged harshly by God. It makes one wonder whether those seeking “religious liberty” to discriminate might be the first in line to join the special police force, should one ever be established.