“Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, regardless of what is right.”
There has been a lot of talk lately about the level of insanity brought about by the coming election versus open sexuality. It became a hot topic amongst the Swingset this week. I felt compelled to write about the current state of things and maybe provide a little bit of historical perspective.
For a moment lets not look at how we seem to be regressing, lets appreciate how much we’ve progressed. 50 years ago it would have been impossible to have the discourse we are having today. LGBT people could not be out openly much less worry about marriage equality. We were still struggling with racial equality. Open sexuality was suppressed. 100 years ago women were fighting for the right to vote and there was little to no sex education. People with any radical views risked being persecuted, jailed, or killed. While that is still true somewhat today, we have a much easier time living freely than in the past, just not as easy as we would like. We are always fighting to maintain each freedom that we gain. One thing to keep in mind is that societal norms ebb and flow, sometimes changing radically other time subtly. We will take three steps forward then two steps back. That may seem like a terrible way to more forward but it is forward progress nonetheless.
We’ve had times that were more open (Hellenistic Era, Renaissance Era, Post Revolutionary France, Jazz Age, 1960’s) and times where repression ruled (Late Middle Ages, Puritanical Colonial Era, Victorian Era, 1950’s). It’s been a tug of war across the ages. The important thing to remember is that every time we’ve been pulled back by restrictive behavior the reaction is to push against it. Battling conservatism has been with us for a long time. It’s been in the US ever since the Puritans left England seeking the freedom to pursue their restrictive religion. We seem to be in a two steps back era right now. Religious conservatives are asserting that the US must live according to Christian ideals and morals, separation of Church and State be damned. In a secular nation they can’t control people using fear of damnation. If they can’t control people with faith they will try to control with faith-based government. . It’s tough trying to win against a group that believes their actions in this world will be greatly rewarded in the next. It makes it easy to convince people they’re being punished for not living according to the laws of God when the nation is struggling economically. Unfortunately, living a virtuous life does not necessarily create jobs or put food on the table.
How does Sex Positive Team America (yes, I’m stealing that title from the podcast) survive and get through the election year without loosing both our minds and our freedom? Someone recently asked Ricky Gervais on Twitter how does he respond to someone who thinks there is a conspiracy against religion. His response, “There is. It's called education.” We live in an era where we can podcast, blog, film, write, teach and be in general a rather squeaky wheel. Most of you are already doing this but you need to get your information outside of your positive social network and out to the conservative public. Recent studies have shown that often in social media we only interact with people who share our values and opinions. To effect change you need to reach the people with the differing opinion. Support local government so we can have sex positive politicians working in city and state level. Support activists that are working out in the open, especially if you feel you can’t, so they can work locally and nationally to educate and inform. Make sure that there is access to sex positive books and materials in local libraries and bookstores. Support resources like sex education websites, classes and support groups. Support groups that are working towards equal access to education and information. Work towards persuading the media to better portray people in alternative or ethically non-monogamous relationships. Support and promote films, TV shows and web content that show positive role models. You can even strive to provide that content. Write and petition against politicians and groups that are trying to take away rights. When you see false information being distributed or when politicians are openly lying make sure the news outlets find out and get them to report on it. You can volunteer at an organization or a cause. Start a support group or just help an individual that is struggling. Teaching children to be open-minded will create open-minded adults. Even just starting a positive conversation on-line in the grocery store can get people to think about things differently.
As quickly as times have changed it may take hundreds of years to evolve. We could de-evolve in the future like the film “Idiocracy” or positively evolve like the openness of Doctor Who’s 51st Century We may spend a lot of time in a constant push me/pull you environment. We survive by not giving up, not giving into fear and when they tug, we tug back harder.