Traditional Family Values Department:
The Governor of South Carolina is the latest church going, god fearing, male politician to get caught having an affair, and the press is once again going into predictable moralistic orbit, treating the phenomenon as worthy of news coverage.
The obvious reason for this phenomenon is that human beings like sex. The obvious solution is to require that all American male politicians be eunuchs.
In a spirit of analysis of what this is all about, the following is reproduced for your thoughtful enjoyment. It is from “Baubles of Blasphemy,” by Edwin F. Kagin, second printing, American Atheists Press, edited by Edward Buckner. You can get a copy here: www.atheists.org There is a rumor that there may be a Second Edition of this work coming out sometime before the Second Coming of the Messiah.
ON GENITAL BASED MORALITY (GBM)
Morals are manners, and manners are subject to change.
Mrs. Carolyn Benton Cockefaire
As this blasphemy goes to press in early February of 1999, the next to the last year of this millennium, a sideshow skirmish in the American Religious Civil War (ARCW) whimpers to an end. This fanatic digression from reason (fortunately doomed to failure–for now at least) was flamed by attempts of the storm troopers of the religiocencratic forces to kick out the President of the United States because they deem him immoral and unfit to govern because of what he and a human of female persuasion did with his and her genitals, and that he then allegedly lied concerning the doing thereof.
Voluntarily, with the consent of the victims, our nation has managed to become a joke among nations because the piously powerful refuse to recognize or admit that human beings are sexual beings, and not necessarily monogamous ones. In furtherance of this fool’s folly, they ground their understanding of morality on a vain attempt to define humans as somehow outside of the natural world (the only one we know) and apart from other living creatures with whom it is imperfectly shared. If humans were monogamous, they would behave in monogamous ways, as do monogamous animals. To cope with not being monogamously made, rules have been invented requiring monogamous behavior from non-monogamous creatures. These made up rules, that human nature deplores, are defined and presented as the unchangeable moral law of god. In consequence, pretentiously pious persons lie about sex and delude themselves about morality by genitally defining goodness, and damning, as morally defective, all who dissent, detract, or disobey–including our head of state who also just happens to champion a variety of humanistic causes his detractors undauntingly damn.
Incredibly, the miserable monolithic moronic moral code of those ethical paupers who would destroy us and our democracy in the ARCW is based on genitals (not to be confused with gentiles). This is indeed curious in that sex (not gender–gender is a term of grammar), would be hard pressed to get along without genitals. Where there is sex, there are genitals. It’s god’s plan; “male and female created he them.” The god the stories say ordained procreation wisely gave created creatures the tools with which to procreate. These tools of god’s plan are the very genitals conjugally challenged sufferers of moralist madness abhor. Rejection of dreaded essential genitals is the center, the very essence, of their nutty notions of moral law. This idiotic and evil short circuiting of reason, this delusional deduction of dunces, may be understood as Genital Based Morality (GBM).
GBM is an infantile system of primitive simplistic thinking, involving magical make believe, and is thus quite easy to understand. Abortion, homosexuality, pornography, prostitution, unmarried sex, oral sex, sodomy (maybe Gomorra), non-monogamous sex, “adult” videos, nudist clubs, nude beaches, nude dancing–anything that touches upon, views, uses, or has anything whatsoever to do with, genitals, is immoral and bad. See how easy it is. Further inquiry, reasoning, or evidence is superfluous and irrelevant. If it is genital, it is bad. Barbie and Ken must not have genitals lest they display the ultimate reality of being human, and thereby educate, confuse and corrupt little children who should be taught to believe the world works in ways other than it does. Legislatures and judges should let a relgiocrazy kill their kid by denying medical treatment, yet prosecute nudist clubs for permitting people to walk around in the uniform of the day of Eden. Steal from widows and orphans if you must, so long as you don’t do the dirty in forbidden ways, or watch others do it, or pay for it, or, god help us all, enjoy it. Rather think of England and canning apricots than be damned by those damned genitals causing forbidden thoughts or, in cases of extreme sin, actually giving their owner(s) forbidden pleasure. GBM subordinates every other consideration regarding personal and group thought and behavior to this prime (not primal) directive.
How did we come to this unhappy state? Scene shifts to downtown Baghdad, Iraq. Where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers meet. Garden of Eden. Year the first. Setting of a bronze age myth that has done much mischief whenever and wherever believed. Adam and Eve were set up by god. They were naked. They didn’t know this was bad because god didn’t tell them. God knew it was bad, but they didn’t. So there they were, the first nudists, as innocently unclothed as the heathen participants in the first Olympic Games, put naked in paradise by a voyeuristic god in a place where snakes talked and had legs and told the truth about knowledge not killing people. Then Eve got Adam, per snake advice, to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, of which god had told them not to eat. And he did, and she did, and women have been blamed for this ever since, for god was displeased that they had disobeyed, listened to that snake, and acquired the nasty knowledge that the only human genitals on earth were shamefully exposed. God then killed some innocent animals to clothe our first parents so they would not be in a state of shame with their genitals showing. Some believed this story and taught others to believe it. Some believe it today. Thus was Genital Based Morality (GBM) born. We don’t know what god wore
It is unclear just how A & E could have been expected to know it was wrong not to obey god before they had knowledge of good and evil. But religion need not be rational. The lesson is that knowledge is bad, and that nakedness is shameful. With full knowledge of their shameful state of genital visibility, Adam and Eve were booted out of Eden by a loving and all knowing god, a god without whose knowledge and approval no sparrow falls. Ever since, those predestined to sin by this same all merciful god have been damned to eternal suffering for sinning. GBM has never claimed to be logical or fair. Neither has god. Actually he/she has, but this claim is not supported by the record.
Secular humanists, and others who think an ethical system should extend beyond the groin, are condemned by those who see themselves as righteous and saved. The self-righteous contend non-believers cannot be good people, for such sinners lack a proper sense of shame and guilt derived from an alleged moral base. This fantasizes an objective, defined, findable, and absolute moral authority that tells good people what is right and what is wrong, a moral compass without which there can be no values. In this understanding, it is a lack of belief in “natural law” (a misunderstood term) that has spread from godless humanism to science, to classroom, to generate the corrosive moral rot that is wrecking our society, denying us the intervention of a displeased god, who we offend with abortion, homosexuality, unwed sex, pornography, and god help us all, evolution. Oddly, all of these but the evolution thing seem to have something to do with sex. Come to think on it, the evolution stuff does too. The bottom line says if you aren’t guilted out by GBM you are a bad person who is going to spend eternity in Hell.
GBM is a relatively recent religious repression. Apart from the Eden tradition, religious teachings of the past (including lots of really sexy bible stories they don’t tell you about in Sunday school) haven’t made anything like this much of a fuss over genitals. Indeed, they seem to have been rather favored–both kinds (genitals, not religions–there are lots more than two kinds of religions). The ancient Greeks made much larger than life models of them (genitals) and put them (the models) on display at public theatres. Such a display in modern moral middle America would get you sent to the cooler in seats of learning like Cincinnati. Genitals probably haven’t changed much, but attitudes toward them have. The fault is neither generic nor genital. It is the miasmal moral morass of garbled glib guilt gilded gibberish packaged, proclaimed, and peddled as the will of god given unto lesser mortals by those who interpret the truths of natural law. You know, people like Dr. Laura, Henry Hyde, and the bigots who run “Right to Life,” claim to be “family friendly,” seek “answers in genesis” (not genitals) and, because of the GBM that guides their petty lives, want to kick our President out of the White House, as the naked A & E were kicked out of Paradise (not to be confused with Club Paradise) because they acquired knowledge and an awareness of being attached to their genitals.
Those waging the ARCW claim our head of state lied under oath about his private conduct with his privates. Ah, wonder if they know of the manner of swearing when one swore a mighty oath before the holy Patriarchs of the bible? Abraham and Jacob’s method of swearing required the placing of “his hand under the thigh.” This involved, I swear, the person giving the oath putting his hand on the genitals of the one to whom he swore. This practice gave weight to the oath. Don’t know why this method was adopted, or when it was abandoned (am just glad it was). At least GBM had a real, if different, meaning back then. Maybe the President was attempting the reintroduction of this ancient practice. Don’t know how women took oaths, or if such was even permitted. After all, who could trust any woman after Eve? My Helen has a bumper sticker that says, “Eve was framed.”
Genitals were so important in the bible that trimming the male version via circumcision was a religious requirement. And it is written in the word of god that a eunuch cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, nor can one who has had his “stones crushed,” i.e., had his testicles smashed. Doesn’t seem right or fair somehow, but it does show how much genitals meant to those who penned those bronze age writings. Jesus later suggested that it would be better if a man cut off his genitals. Some early church fathers, like Origen, did just that. Don’t know if the “crushed stones” rule applied and kept him out of heaven. That would have been a shame indeed. After Jesus, genitals did not seem so highly regarded, but they were made even more important by being used to define all aspects of the moral law–by becoming the basis of good and evil. Maybe Jesus started GBM. Whoever did was probably scared of women.
The pre-GBM bible book, the Song of Songs, sometimes erroneously called the Song of Solomon, has quite a bit to say about genitals. It is Jewish, and pre-Christian. Puritans, not daring to recognize it for what it is, say this bible story is an allegory touching on Christ’s love for his church. It is actually an erotic work (seems Egyptian, really) about a man’s lust for his sister, touching on his desire to climb her branches and, like a young roe, graze about her breasts and genitals. Christ’s love for the church, indeed! How much in general genital denial these clever clerics be, especially those proudly proclaiming the cults of celibacy and cloister.
Consider as an alternate approach, one in marked contrast to modern GBM, the ancient Egyptian creation myth. It was a bit different from the one taught in Christian Sunday schools. The great god Rah ejaculated (yes, from his genitals) the stars and all that is–sort of a climactic cosmology. The Egyptian version of the Holy of Holies held a statute of the god with erect phallus. Priestesses and priests held sacred ceremonies reenacting, with the pharaoh, the living god, the comic climax. Now how’s that for a religion? Gives a whole new meaning to the idea of handmaidens. Archeological evidence of these religious beliefs and practices were suppressed by modern puritans who displayed some of the sacred religious art of the Egyptians with an informational museum type sign placed, like a fig leaf, over the essence of the religious symbolism of the pictorial depiction of the turgid pharaoh, the living god. Only by moving the sign could the true meaning of the mysteries of Egyptian religion be revealed, truths once commonly accepted and viewed openly by all, including little children who were not taught to be embarrassed or shamed by genitals. After all, reasoned our unsaved predecessors, where would we be without them?
Then there was sacred prostitution. And there were seasonal approved-by-prevailing-local-religions orgies to teach the crops and herds to reproduce and grow, and to encourage the gods to let them do so. The great men of the bible had many wives, with no complaint from god. When king David was old, they put two young women in bed with him to keep him warm. Lot’s daughters got him drunk and seduced him. If a king could not get an erection, it was felt he could no longer rule. No impeachment plot nonsense over sex then. Genital shame is a modern Christian phenomenon. GBM has replaced ethics. Denial has become duty and holiness has been traded for honor. Repression has pushed reason from the banquet table of life. Moralists who think everyone should follow their GBM are generally good persons in the worst sense of the word. If they tell you they are “born again Christians,” thank them for the warning. They are usually more tedious and venal the second time around.
Do you find all the moralizing and genital ranting going on these days just a little silly? Good. It is. GBM denies the realities of the world. The preacher doesn’t tell on the deacon when they meet in the whorehouse. Everybody lies about sex. Under oath too. Ask any divorce lawyer. This is because of GBM and the failure to admit that we, who some say are made in the image of god, are not all monogamous creatures, and monogamous or not, we tend to like sex (the exceptions to this are beyond the scope of this discourse). This causes problems when a moral code is imposed and accepted that denies our mortal nature. Our kind would have become extinct long ago if we had followed such a moral law and actually repudiated the idea of deflowering virgins. Enforcement of rules that try to cancel out the very chemistry of life will be about as successful as attempting to plow the sea or baptize a cat.
So we laugh when moralists like Dr. Laura get caught with their pants down in indiscreet photos–from a less famous time–posted on the internet, or when those who accuse the President are found to have themselves tasted forbidden fruit. Hate and hypocrisy are the twin tyrannies that fuel GBM. Surely there is more to living a good life than making ethical judgments based on genital repression. Consider, dear reader, if you would care to spend eternity in the company of those who do.
If history teaches anything, it is that moral judgments change. This applies to everything from sexual behavior to smoking in public (some say they smoke after sex–others say they never noticed). Today’s customs can become tomorrow’s perversions, as we make taboo the thrills of our fathers, or heap honor on persons and ideas they hated. Things change. That’s the one universal truth.
And there are, to be sure, decent monogamous (not to be confused with monotonous) humanistic humans. There are also humans who can eat spaghetti with chop sticks. This does not mean we should outlaw forks.
February 7, 1999.