Share |

A Body Positive, Sex Affirming Christianity or Body-Hating Repression: Our Choice

The attempts by Congressional Republicans to eliminate all funding from Planned Parenthood has finally and clearly exposed the hypocrisy of the anti-abortion stance. To be rational in the abortion debate, if one is against a legal abortion then one would have to also support all efforts to prevent contraception. This would include science-based comprehensive sex-education (rather than the dismal failure of abstinence-only) and support of wide access to safe and easily affordable contraception. However, only 3% of Planned Parenthood funds goes toward abortion services (and NONE of that is with public funds by law). Most of this budget helps “parents plan”! Duh! Since funding mostly goes toward health screenings, education, and birth control, the fight to eliminate Planned Parenthood is totally irrational and has to serve another purpose. *

Similarly, the same irrationality is going on in the Catholic Church as it clings to an anti-body theology by holding its priests to a uniform, and ridiculous, sexual standard of celibacy. It is no wonder that this irrational theology that denigrates sexual behavior as somehow less holy than celibacy finds the church bureaucracy doing serious damage-control as well as paying billions of dollars in damages because, across the globe, priests are and have been sexually violating parishioners and their children for decades, if not centuries! Even as there is much research linking sexual satisfaction with a sense of health and well-being, this age-old teaching is irrational and illustrate a deep flaw in a theology grounded in centuries of body hatred teaching.

The irrationality continued in April when, in the heart of the Bible Belt, the Missouri State House approved a measure to allow pharmacists to deny the sale of over-the-counter emergency contraception (confusing it in the process with an ‘abortion pill’ even though medical professionals say it is not.) It is clear that what is going on here has little to do with a fetus and a lot to do with controlling sexual behavior, i.e. who, when, and how.

And all of this has a Christian underpinning of course. It is a Christianity that is against women (if they are in positions of power over her own body or anywhere else where they might exert it over men) and against sex (for everyone who is not officially married regardless of age or circumstance.)

But just as we have observed that those who preach, legislate, and argue the loudest and longest are usually doing those same activities behind their spouses backs, in airport stalls, and hotel rooms, we can conclude that wherever there are anti-sex diatribes, there is, most likely, a short supply of good sex in the bedrooms! How much juiciness is going on in the private lives of those who stand on the street corners screaming obscenities to women at the family planning clinics? And just where is the inclusiveness and hospitality we find in the life and teachings of Jesus in the judgmental, punitive, and coercive legislation about women’s bodies? I think it is humanly impossible to be sexually satiated and be either arrogant or hateful at the same time.

If we cringe when we consider Jesus might have been married, or startle when God is referred to as feminine, or feel guilt or shame as the sexual creatures  we are, then we too have been indoctrinated into this kind of Christianity that is against most sexual expression, empowered women, and sexual variation.  How boring! And how unlike Jesus! It is hard to believe such teachings came from the gospels at all. I propose we start wondering what Christianity would look like if it was body positive, sexually affirming, woman-friendly, and celebrated human sexual diversity. That thought experiment is not only worthy of our time, but, given the state of Congress and the Church, we need to start envisioning now… for our own good!

(*Since Planned Parenthood is only a miniscule portion of the trillions in the national budget with only $318 million annually, the argument as cost-cutting measure is ludicrous .)

No comments

Add comment

* - required field