We live in a highly sexualized culture. Not many young people are virgins when they marry, even those within the Church. Years ago, Ken and I mentored young couples who were engaged. The leaders of this program, who have been in charge of this ministry for 30 years, told us that when they began this ministry most of the engaged couples had not had sex before marriage but nowadays, it was difficult to find any young couples seeking premarital counseling who were still virgins. [I call bullshit because I can do math. Thirty years in the ministry takes us back to 1988. Those getting married came of age in the 1960s and 1970s — you know the FREE LOVE era. I read a British study (which I can no longer find) that looked through eighteenth century marriage and birth records (which were kept by churches). They found that the majority of women were pregnant when they got married. This should not be surprising for those of us who live in the real world — the one where it is natural for young adults to have sex. Young adults have always been having sex before marriage. Duh, right? And they are not likely to confess their fornicating to an Evangelical inquisitor. I had more than a few couples lie to me during counseling.]
There are many more verses related to fornication in the Bible.[How often has a Bible verse stopped someone from having sex. My guess, not very often.] It is a serious offense in God’s eyes. He wants us to be chaste and pure before marriage and become one flesh with one man. God’s commands are for our good.[Telling young adults with raging hormones NOT to have sex is most certainly not good for them.] The spread of sexually transmitted diseases is at an all time high. Yes, the sin of fornication has some serious ramifications. [And it doesn’t have to if proper precautions are taken.] It breaks the covenant of the one flesh marriage (even prior to marriage) and it is a sin against one’s one body.
Is there hope for those who have committed fornication? [Lori makes it sound like having premarital sex is some sort of serious crime. Sorry, but it’s not.] Of course, but they will deal with the regret and possibly the scars (infertility and/or disease) from it all of their days [Most people survive their unmarried years just fine. Lori is a fearmonger, plain and simple.] but there is forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Religious people often seem to be unhealthily fixated on sex and have a desire to interfere with how everybody else does it! This prompts lots of questions that need answering: Why is virginity so highly prized?
Why is celibacy considered to be ‘pure’?
Why is masturbation considered to be shameful?
Why is homosexuality abhorred?
Why are women treated like second-class citizens?
Why do we have marriage?
Why is infidelity (adultery) unacceptable?
Why is divorce considered to be unacceptable?
What has any of this got to do with ‘god’ and his Earthly agents?
This is going to take more than one article to analyze and there’s little real evidence available to help us answer these questions so, unusually for this blog, what follows will be mostly reasonable speculation. Let’s start with virginity…
There is a very good biological reason to prefer having sex with a virgin, it is this: minimal risk of infection by a sexually transmitted disease. The opposite of virginity, promiscuity, is great for spreading pathogens via the sexual fluids. Historically, the clients of prostitutes could be observed falling ill with the same symptoms, so this undeniable correspondence is likely to have given rise to, in the minds of those who knew nothing about microbial infection, the idea of ‘virginal purity’ or ‘cleanliness’. Similarly, celibacy also safeguards against venereal diseases and could be considered to be another way of achieving a ‘clean’ state, at the cost of not parenting. By corollary, sexual acts came to be thought of as ‘unclean’ and, because everyone was ignorant of the fact that these diseases have to be transmitted, that included masturbation; it became tarred with the ‘dirty’ brush even though you can’t catch a disease from yourself!
Sex coming to be regarded as shameful in this way was a gift for the assorted clergy because their modus operandi consists of first destroying the self-esteem of prospective followers and subsequently offering them forgiveness and salvation, in the form of an ‘afterlife’, in return for donations (payment). Of course, there is no evidence for the promised reward (or the threatened alternative of punishment in ‘hell’), but it was wonderful for preachers to have a ready-made guilt button to press any time they wanted to make their flock subservient! There’s a seemingly obvious connection from ‘clean’ sex to ‘godliness’ and virtue, and it gives a preacher a perennial topic to rant about.
One of the reasons for the decline of religiosity in Western countries over the last fifty years may be because the availability of condoms for preventing contagion and effective antibiotic cures for contracted STDs have taken this weapon away from the priests and pastors. With nothing to fear, the guilt goes away and the message of shame loses its teeth. One of the things that the clergy traditionally told us we needed saving from turned out to have been a paper tiger, so people came to reasonably wonder whether all the other pulpit monsters are fake too!
In the minds of dogmatic seekers of purity, homosexuality adds another level of disgust on top of heterosexual unions. Being a minority practice it’s an easy target for the self-righteous and we all love a scapegoat. Homosexuals have been held responsible for all the disasters of society including drought, war, plague, famine, hurricane, earthquake, volcanic eruption, tsunami and flood. How they are supposed to have caused those events is a question that is not even asked. Recently, a preacher in Phoenix, Arizona [IFB pastor Steven Anderson] laid the blame for AIDs at the feet of gay men and advocated that they should all be killed before Christmas! This is not fake news – there is video evidence, see here.
Yet, the most homophobic preachers are constantly being exposed in flagrante with young boys and the outbreak of priestly pedophilia has changed the face of, once fervently Catholic, Eire (S. Ireland) to such an extent they have elected an openly gay Prime Minister!
Is the sexual fixation of theists finally turning into their nemesis?
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
Fornication is defined as a man and a woman sleeping together before marriage. This sin is condemned throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. We are all sinners, but not all sin is equal. The Bible teaches that fornication is so serious that it can get you thrown out of the church.
If you are saved and sleeping with someone you aren’t married to, you need to repent of that sin. If you are living together, and you’re not married, then you are living in sin. If you plan to keep coming to church, your options are to get married or stop living together.
The Bible teaches that we should only have physical relations within marriage, so if you aren’t married yet, you need to deny that ungodly lust and wait until you get married to enjoy the benefits of marriage. If you aren’t ready to marry the person you are dating, then you shouldn’t be sleeping together. Have some self-control and respect for your body!
People who commit fornication for the first time often do not end up marrying that person but go on to be with person after person. Our bodies were not designed to exchange bacteria with hundreds of different people. In fact, there are infections people can get that are not considered STDs per say but are virtually unheard of in people who got married as virgins and have had only one partner. I realize that people die and their spouse can remarry, but sleeping with more than a few people in your lifetime is very unhealthy. In fact, the Bible calls it filthy.
So many women today are in relationships where they would like to get married, but the guy won’t marry them. These jerks need to do the right thing, but the women are also to blame. Unfortunately, the old adage still holds true: Why buy the cow if you can get the milk free?
— Steven Anderson, Faithful Word Baptist Church, Flee Fornication, January 16, 2017
All of us, virtually every moment of every day, exchange bacteria, viruses, dead skin, feces, urine, dirt, buggers…..shall I go on?….with hundreds of different people. The very act of breathing exposes us to countless bacteria and viruses. I wonder if Anderson is aware of the fact that he has likely been exposed to “atheist” bacteria, even without having carnal relations with atheists.
This is the one hundred and thirtieth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is video clip of Pam Stenzel trying to scare the sex out of a group of teenagers.
Anne Reed is a staff writer for the American Family Association (AFA). AFA is a fundamentalist Christian ministry started in 1977 by Methodist minister Don Wildmon. Wildmon’s son Tim now runs the operation. In order to write accurate, timely articles, I must monitor the ruminations of the religious-right. I don’t like doing so, but it is a necessary part of my job. Every day, I must wade through hundreds of articles that I consider racist, bigoted, conspiratorial, or bat-shit crazy. Thus, I subscribe to AFA’s newsletter, The Stand.
Anne Reed thinks the government should regulate homosexuality because Michelle Obama is concerned about childhood obesity and has used the power of government to change how children eat at a school. In her mind, gay sex should be regulated just like school lunches. I can see your face now. Huh, there is no connection between these two things? Remember Reed is a fundamentalist. Reason and logic are not her strong suit.
…CDCP has also reported a wealth of reliable and disturbing facts about the effects of homosexual behaviors, particularly among males. Gay and bisexual men represent only about two percent of the U.S. population but accounted for three-fourths of all estimated new HIV infections annually from 2008 to 2010. Wow! That is an extreme and unmistakable health risk associated with homosexual behavior.
In 2010, the same year the Let’s Move campaign kicked off, African American men accounted for more than double the number of estimated new infections in other ethnic groups. And young African American gay and bisexual males ages 13 to 24 are especially affected by HIV. But where’s the compassion for these young men? Where’s the determination to bring about necessary lifestyle changes?
And somehow President Obama expresses no concern for those who wish to change that extremely risky behavior. Rather, he wants to model decisions made in California, New Jersey, and DC banning licensed professionals from offering and providing conversion therapy for minors who seek to change their same-sex attractions and behavior.
While gluttony, laziness, and ignorance can certainly lead to a life of disease and early death, so can misguided sexual desires. This is clear. If the Obamas really understand and care about the importance of teaching a child correct behaviors at an early age when it comes to nutrition and exercise, why is the concept inapplicable when it concerns damaging sexual cravings and behaviors?
Have you ever watched a movie scene where one actor withheld a helping hand from another whose grip was slipping from the edge of a tower or building? It goes against everything we know to be right and good. We don’t just let somebody fall into a pit of destruction when it’s within our power to help.
First, let me say that Anne Reed is being disingenuous. As a Christian fundamentalist and a political right-winger, Reed doesn’t want the government regulating anything. Well, execpt the “sins” listed in the Bible, then she wants the government to be a terror to evil and an executor of wrath on those who do evil.
Second, being gay is not a choice. Evidently, Reed thinks a person chooses to be gay just like she chooses a bag of potato chips at the local store.
Third, the students eating lunch are CHILDREN and parents, school boards, and government has a vested interest in making sure children eat a nutritious lunch. How a gay has sex is determined by attraction, preference, and desire. Surely Reed knows that heterosexuals have anal and oral sex too? Those engaging in gay sex are consenting teenagers and adults. They are mature enough to make rational sexual choices. Children, with immature minds, would choose to have a lunch of candy bars, Captain Crunch, and ice cream. For a beverage Pepsi wins over milk every time. Since we know many children aren’t ready to make responsible eating choices, adults make the choice for them. Gays do not need help choosing who to have sex with.
Fourth, yes HIV does affect the gay population far more than it does the heterosexual population, But, it DOES affect the heterosexual population, so using Reed’s illogical logic, should heterosexual sex be regulated or forbidden? After all, it would keep heterosexuals from getting HIV.
According to the CDC, there are about 50,000 new HIV infections each year. One out of every 300 Americans is infected with HIV. Compare this to one out of ten Americans having diabetes. It seems to me that Reed should be writing about the diabetes epidemic that is ravaging the Christian church. Perhaps the government should step in and ban church potlucks and ban churches with bus ministries from giving out candy to riders. Think of the children, Anne!!
Fifth, the overwhelming majority of sexually transmitted diseases are contracted by white, Christian heterosexuals. Again, using Reed’s illogical logic, shouldn’t Christianity and heterosexual sex be strictly regulated or forbidden? We know that Evangelical and conservative Christian churches often given the sexually active horrible advice about sex and birth control. Perhaps Baptist youth groups should be banned because of their promotion of “just say no.” Doesn’t “just say no” encourage sexual irresponsibility, resulting in a loss of virginity, STD’s, and unplanned pregnancies?
It took me all of a few hundred words to strip Anne Reed naked and expose the bigotry and hate that lies behind her beliefs. It’s not about public policy or what is best for children. Reed’s God, in an inspired, inerrant, infallible work of fiction, has decreed that homosexuality and same-sex marriage is an abomination. This same God, in the same book, said that homosexuals should be executed. Of course, he also thought adulterers and fornicators should be executed too. Man, that sure would drastically reduce church attendance numbers, wouldn’t it? Imagine God killing every adulterous, fornicating Baptist. Why, I know some IFB churches that would have to close their doors. Their pulpits would certainly be empty if God got all righteous and killed adulterers and fornicators.
Let me end this post with three comments left on Reed’s article by loving, concerned Christians:
“Thanks Anne Reed for a brave attempt at juxtaposing M. Obama’s “Let’s Move” program with the proliferating spread of HIV among, of all things, gay and bisexual men. Hmm…this data from the CDC obviously cannot be examined critically by anyone in the Obama administration because that would be tantamount to exposing the skeletons in homosexuals’ closets. This administration makes the rules, changes the rules as necessary to reap the greatest amount of political gain, and then shushes anyone who challenges the rules.” (Bruce has one comment: So HIV infections started when the Kenyan-born Muslim atheist socialist Obama took office)
“There is also alarming stats that have recently been released on the “transgendered” community with articles such as this: “High HIV burden identified in transgender women,” Baral S. Lancet Infect Dis. 2013;13:214-222; Correlates of HIV Infection Among Transfemales, San Francisco, 2010: Results From a Respondent-Driven Sampling Study, American Journal of Public Health, August 2013. There are also mental health issues that can be associated with this lifestyle: Anxiety and Depression in Transgender Individuals: The Roles of Transition Status, Loss, Social Support, and Coping, Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, June 2013.” (Bruce has one comment: Transgender individuals have anxiety and depression? Shock. I wonder why? Looking at you AFA)
“God says that He gives the Homosexual who in the heart and mind reject what is good for what is evil over time giving them over to a reprobate mind to not know the difference since they do not care ! And God gives them a just recompense in the flesh ! Perhaps a memo to their flesh to not mind what is bad nor differentiate that which is bad from what is good as they desired mentally they receive physically as well – Auto – Immune Dificiency Syndrome?” (Bruce has one comment: Sounds to me like HIV and homosexuality is God’s fault. After all, isn’t he the one giving them over to a reprobate mind?)
I like Christian Fundamentalist Phil Robertson. Why? Because he is willing to say out loud what many Evangelical/Fundamentalist/Conservative Catholic Christians think or say in the safe confines of their churches.
“I’ll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist’s home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of him. And then they can look at him and say, ‘Isn’t it great that I don’t have to worry about being judged? Isn’t it great that there’s nothing wrong with this? There’s no right or wrong, now is it dude?’ Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, ‘Wouldn’t it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you’re the one who says there is no God, there’s no right, there’s no wrong, so we’re just having fun. We’re sick in the head, have a nice day.”
“Have you ever heard this many lies coming out of Washington D.C. since you’ve been on the earth? Have you ever heard more? You say where in the world is it coming from? They champion perversion, they champion murder, aborting their children and they are champions of lies. I mean I’m listening to them and thinking, ‘dude, what?’ ‘Yeah, this bunch here, they’re the kind that clings to their guns and their Bibles,’ I’m thinking, yeah, we may need them.”
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
“We murder each other and we steal from one another, sex and immorality goes ballistic. All the diseases that just so happen to follow sexual mischief… boy there are some microbes running around now.”
“Now to me either it’s the wildest coincidence ever that horrible diseases follow immoral conduct, or it’s God saying, ‘There’s a penalty for that kind of conduct.’ I’m leanin’ toward there’s a penalty toward it.”
” I am just reading what was written over 2000 years ago. Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it…
“Jesus will take sins away, if you’re a homosexual he’ll take it away, if you’re an adulterer, if you’re a liar, what’s the difference? If you break one sin you may as well break them all.”
“Women with women. Men with men. They committed indecent acts with one another. And they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”
“Why do they murder and why do they hate us? Because all of them … 80 years of history, they all want to conquer the world, they all rejected Jesus and they’re all famous for murder. Nazis, Shintoists, Communists and the Mohammedists. Every one of them the same way.”
“From one man God made all nations of men. We all came from the same dude, and I don’t know what color he was.”
A good woman is “hard to find. Mainly because these boys are waiting until they get to be about 20 years old before they marry ’em. Look, you wait till they get to be about 20 years old, they only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You gotta marry these girls when they’re 15 or 16, they’ll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course.”
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field. … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!
“They’re (homosexuals) full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, god haters, they are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless, they invent ways of doing evil.”
“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus — whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ‘em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
“All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s 80 years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”
“God says, ‘One woman, one man,’ and everybody says, ‘Oh, that’s old hat, that’s that old Bible stuff’ and I’m thinking well, let’s see now. A clean guy, a disease-free guy, and a disease-free woman, they marry and they keep their sex between the two of ‘em, uh, they’re not gonna get chlamydia and gonorrhea and syphilis and AIDS. It’s, it’s safe.”
“Our founding fathers started this country and built it on God and His Word, and this country sure would be a better place to live and raise our children if we still followed their ideals and beliefs.”
“I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater. … I have been immoral, drunk, high. I ran with the wicked people for 28 years and I have run with the Jesus people since and the contrast is astounding.”
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television. You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”