I mentioned to my mother how my views on homosexuality have changed. She assumed that I meant I now viewed homosexuals as sinners no worse than the rest of us liars and murderers. She views herself as very progressive because she sees people with homosexual leanings as people who are tempted to sin differently than she is tempted.
When I told her I no longer viewed their desires as inherantly sinful, she was really upset.
I said I couldn’t find much difference between two informed consenting adults in a long-term relationship with the desire to bring good to the other and my own marriage.
Although we discussed the bible, we did not get into how it views menstruation and homosexuality with the same adjective: abomination. I don’t see menstruation as sin anymore.
Her main argument was…
The Slippery Slope!
She stated that two consenting informed adults engaging in private sexual activity would lead to child molestation. Instead of comparing the activity to myself and my husband, she compared it to someone attacking my child.
Thinking about that logic, I completely disagree with her. In fact, I believe that child abuse and polygamy are more likely to happen in a conservative hierarchical society than a liberal egalitarian one.
The main value which leads to homosexuality is informed mutual consent between adults. Children and groups such as certain mentally challenged individuals are not viewed as capable of giving informed consent. That is why we have child protection laws. By definition, sexual activity with minors is abuse. This isn’t because minors are viewed as inferior, but because of recognizing the power differential between adults and children isn’t compatible with mutuality.
The value of mutuality is very strong. The only way polygamy could be introduced in such a setting is if all parties mutually and enthusiastically agreed. This isn’t the same as one party giving in to another. This is all parties believing it to be in the best interests of everyone involved and truly wanting it. I would guess that is extremely rare.
The values which uphold specific gender couplings also uphold the value of authoritarian hierarchy. They say that sex must be between a man and a woman. Why? Because the higher authority says so. The stronger value here is obedience to authority.
Since obedience to authority is so valued, and with the end goal of a safe society, it can lead to abuse of power. In a sexual relationship of this type one of the partners is generally given more authority than the other. Since most societies of this type place authority with the male over the female, I will assume that as well. This means that the one with more power will get to say what the other does. Presumably this is for the good of the inferior party.
Evidence shows that in societies like this, polygamy does exist. Polygamy was at different times tolerated, accepted and promoted among Judaism, Christianity and Islam- religions that have tended to value obedience to authority over individual autonomy.
If women are viewed as children in their inferior status, how is sex with a 26 year old different from a 16 year old?
And yes, often in societies that allow polygamy we can find child marriages. I’ve met child brides in India. And yep, their dads would have killed or disowned them if they were lesbians, but selling their 12 year old daughter to be the second or third wife of an older abusive man was God’s plan. One of these woman’s fathers was a Christian pastor.
So, no. The values which allow homosexuality do not lead to child abuse. The values which prescribe rigid gender identity and sexual behaviour actually can and do lead to child abuse and polygamy.
I don’t think we need to be afraid of the lesbian couple next door, but rather the extreme religous person who would rather kill their child if they found out they were not behaving according to a rigid plan because “God says so.” And I happen to be related to a man who said this.
I know most religious people are horrified by child abuse, but please don’t say that blind obedience to authority is the best way to prevent it. Please don’t blame homosexual marriage for the acts of disturbed individuals.