Sexual Intelligence
An Electronic Newsletter

Written and published by Marty Klein, Ph.D.

Issue #77 -- July 2006


1. Bush: 1984 Is Really Here
2. Phil Harvey Beats Washington Again
3. America Survives Three Years of Sodomy
4. Does Jesus Love Shortstops?
5. HPV Vaccine Approved
6. Gay Marriage Ban Fails--Or Does It?

1. Bush: 1984 Is Really Here

"In our free society, people have the right to choose how they live their lives."

Who could challenge that? Well, when President George Bush says it--as part of a speech describing why gays should be prevented from marrying--even "the right to choose how to live" is problematic. Bush meant, in a radio address on June 3, that Americans have the right to live without the discomfort they feel about gay people marrying.

The President doesn't understand that while America guarantees us many rights (such as freedom from discrimination), it does NOT guarantee us freedom from discomfort. In fact, discomfort is absolutely endemic in the American system, because the system depends on all of us tolerating each other in exchange for the privilege of being tolerated. When people decide that they don't have to tolerate each other anymore--when some people decide to criminalize others' choice of entertainment or contraception--the whole system breaks down.

Especially during this July 4 week, we must remember that being uncomfortable in America is a civic privilege--because it earns us extraordinary rights of thought, speech, and action.

But when George Bush describes discrimination against millions of Americans as other Americans' "right to choose how to live," he is taking us backward to the days when women were property and blacks were slaves. When he tortures our language by saying that discrimination is freedom, he's taking us back to George Orwell's 1984.

2. Phil Harvey Beats Washington Again

Last year, we described (#66) the Bush administration policy requiring groups working internationally with AIDS or human trafficking to explicitly oppose prostitution before getting federal grants--whether that interferes with their local work or not. The following month we reported (#67) that the government was being sued over this policy. DKT International (which sold 400 million discounted condoms to sex workers in 11 countries last year) filed the lawsuit against USAID for withholding an HIV prevention grant for Vietnam after DKT refused to sign the pledge.

We're thrilled to report that DKT won their suit. "The government cannot tell us what policies to have," DKT founder Philip Harvey said. More to the point, the U.S. government must stop telling the world how to do things--especially when it comes to sexuality, where we are completely out of step with much of the world, both Western and developing.

Long one of America's under-appreciated heroes, this is not the first time Phil has sued the government--and won. His courageous eight-year legal battle with the government ended in a 1994 court order changing the way obscenity cases are prosecuted--a rare, precious victory in our current repressive environment. Phil told that gripping story in his 2001 book, The Government vs. Erotica, which we reviewed in issue #18.

By wonderful serendipitous timing, Phil was honored last week with the Humanitarian Award of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, & Therapists (AASECT).

3. America Survives Three Years of Sodomy

June 26 was the three-year anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, one of this generation's most important Supreme Court cases. The ruling struck down the Texas Homosexual Conduct Act, which made every gay person a presumed criminal.

The ruling also challenged the idea that government could criminalize private sexual conduct simply because of "moral objections," saying the Texas statute "furthers no legitimate state interest."

In dissenting, an apoplectic Justice Antonin Scalia reminded us that "Countless judicial decisions and legislative enactments have relied on the ancient proposition that a governing majority's belief that certain sexual behavior is "immoral and unacceptable" constitutes a rational basis for regulation." He omitted how this "ancient proposition" was the basis for America's shameful criminalization of contraception, mixed-race sex, abortion, and sex education only a few decades ago.

Scalia also predicted "a massive disruption of the current social order" would occur if government couldn't legislate morality: "State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are…called into question by today's decision."

So how much of Scalia's "America going wild" predictions have come true? Well…

Two percent of the states (i.e., Massachusetts) have now legalized same-sex marriage. "Obscenity" and "indecency" are way more restricted now than they were three years ago. The other prohibitions Scalia mentioned, including bestiality, are status quo. There hasn't been a big upswing in demands to marry horses, nor a groundswell of opinion that this should be legalized.

Unfortunately, Scalia's warning that Lawrence would end the legislation of morality did not come true. Lawrence will be a valuable legal tool, but it hasn't changed many things yet, including the right of same-gender marriage. Communities around the country still insist on their right to be free of adult businesses, and individuals around the country still insist on their right to strip radio and TV broadcasts of sexual words, themes, and images. So we still must work hard to undo the radical tradition of legislating morality. In that regard, restrictions on sexual positions, the language on "The Sopranos," advertisements for condoms, wearing a thong at the beach, and the existence of swing clubs are all the same issue. If you care about any, you have to care about all.

Lawrence hasn't yet changed things much, but it did upset Scalia terribly, which has value of its own.

4. Does Jesus Love Shortstops?

The latest institution to seize and abuse Christianity is Major League Baseball. The Colorado Rockies now acknowledge that they actively seek out Christians when acquiring new players. There are Bible quotes on locker room walls, prayer meetings, and a lack of girlie mags and rap music.

The Coors family (which founded and bankrolls the team and its stadium) has a long history of union-busting, anti-choice philanthropy, and racism (they currently have only two active black players). And yet the team has been explicitly looking for players with "character"--a word apparently limited exclusively to those who have accepted Jesus as their personal savior.

This is just another way that religion is being thrust onto a public which did not ask for it. A baseball team is a quasi-public resource, which gets enormous tax breaks, community sponsorship, media coverage, etc. This new revelation is a great reason to root against the Rockies, although they seem to fail without such help. But with major league baseball teams in Atlanta, Phoenix, Miami, and elsewhere increasingly scheduling Faith Days (complete with Christian music and testimonials), it's getting hard to find a team to root for.

Besides, just as baseball winds down in the fall, football gears up. The ever-present "John 3:16" signs behind every goal-post make every point-after kick another moment of enforced religious propaganda.

And these are the people who say they are persecuted by an anti-Christian culture? Talk to me about it when every government office in America closes on Jesus' birthday.

5. HPV Vaccine Approved

"You can't catch the virus. You have to go out and get it with sexual behavior," says Linda Klepacki of Focus on the Family.

"I personally object to vaccinating children against a disease that is 100% preventable with proper sexual behavior," says Leslie Unruh of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse.

"Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex," says Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council.

These are strange reactions to a vaccine that will prevent one of the Right's main proofs that sex is dangerous. Oh wait, I get it--the vaccine makes sex less dangerous, so it undermines the Right's argument. With sex a little safer, their drive to repress it has to rely more on faith--and it's clear that they don't trust their flock's faith very much.

The Right's reaction to the HPV vaccine shows that they aren't pro-safety, they're anti-sex. It perfectly mirrors their lie that they're pro-life, when they're really anti-choice.

We didn't really need more proof that they're anti-sex, rather than pro-health. After all, we have their positions on condoms (don't use), sexual decision-making and communication skills (don't teach), and the inevitable transition everyone makes from abstinence to sex (don't discuss).

But if any additional proof was needed, here it is.

The way "morality groups" and the religious Right discard kids who have sex is a disgusting form of hostility. They would withhold vitamins from kids who won't eat vegetables they said they would, and withhold toothbrushes from kids who drink soda they said they wouldn't.

These people don't care about kids. They're simply using kids' lives to reduce their own anxiety about a world that seems out of control. There's no "controversy" about the HPV vaccine. The bluster is about demanding that kids take care of adults instead of vice versa.

6. Gay Marriage Ban Fails--Or Does It?

On the one hand, the Senate voted last month against amending the U.S. constitution to prevent same-gender marriage.

But on the other hand, the reason for bringing it to a vote was not to actually win; everyone knew it would lose. The vote was a show. Its audience was the people who need reassurance that the Republicans really do want to undermine the freedoms that make America special. After all, the next election is only 17 weeks away, and the Republicans have to give conservative voters something to be angry and frightened about. Since Republicans control the Congress, White House, and federal judiciary, and they don't want people angry and frightened about what they've actually done (blowing the war on terrorism and presiding over fiscal and environmental disasters) this is harder than you might think.

By bringing the ridiculous amendment to a Senate vote, they get to say "we tried," get to confirm once more that there's a "them" threatening the U.S. (both homos and Democrats), and get some senators on record as voting for "marriage and family." So they had a pretty productive day even while they were losing the actual vote.

The strategy worked perfectly in 2004, when Karl Rove orchestrated gay-marriage amendments on a dozen state ballots. Sycophants like Phil Burress in Ohio (a James Dobson hatchet man) eagerly implemented the evil scheme, which led to predictably large evangelical turnouts, giving Bush the votes he needed to win the election.

2008 presidential aspirant and major censor Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) responded to the Senate vote with the expectable nonsense: "We're making progress, and we're not going to stop until marriage between a man and a woman is protected…protected in the courts, protected in the Constitution, but most of all, protected for the people and for the future of our children in this society." What does this even mean?

For the icing on the cake of cynical hypocrisy, consider that Brownback now co-chairs the Senate Human Rights Caucus. In this role he gets to lecture about human rights abuses in countries like North Korea. His hatred and fear of gay Americans proves this is nothing but political posturing. While condemning totalitarian regimes for restricting citizens' access to information and due process he was sponsoring a bill to raise the fines for broadcasting "indecency" from $32,000 to $325,000.
Between his desire to institutionalize discrimination against gays and his determination to censor the public airwaves, Brownback shows he cares exactly as much about democracy as Kim Jong Il.

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