Has anybody else noticed that the word “freedom” is being slowly redefined to mean “sexual freedom and only sexual freedom”? All those other freedoms that make up “freedom” are being swept to the side or just smothered to death in their sleep like Hugh Hefner in the daydreams of every woman who’s been involved with him for the last 30 years.
We’re seeing the ascendancy of political movements that have as their goal the elevation of sexual freedom at the expense of other rights. But, since sex = freedom now, those movements see themselves as the heroes of the people. Think they occupy the moral high ground.
And the depressing thing is that it seems like a lot of people agree with them. The battle of religious organizations against the Obamacare contraceptive mandate should be a no-brainer for religious liberty. But those organizations are fighting uphill. Organizations that resist the normalization of homosexuality like the Boy Scouts have been fighting for years to maintain the freedom of association, while watching their public support drop to Nick Lachey fan club membership levels.
So, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and property rights are all taking a backseat to unlimited, government-endorsed and subsidized access to no-strings sex.
At The American Interest, Peter Berger writes along a similar theme: the marginalization of traditional religious morality (from whence our unalienable freedoms originate, by the way) and the priorities of the new American secularism:
There is here a general issue of government overreach, as clearly illustrated by the (still unresolved) attempt by the Obama administration to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception coverage in their employees’ health plans. Beyond that, though, there is a very ideological view of the place of religion in society. In other words, religion is to be an activity engaged in by consenting adults in private. The attorney for the Judeo-Christian side in the aforementioned American case had it quite right when he compared the treatment of his client’s religion with measures of disease control. This is not an attitude one would expect to find in a Western democracy. It is curiously reminiscent of policies toward religion in Communist countries and toward non-Muslims under Islamic rule.
An aggressive secularism seems to be on the march in all these cases.
Let me venture a sociological hypothesis here: The new American secularism is in defense of the sexual revolution. Since the 1960s there has indeed been a sexual revolution in America. It has been very successful in changing the mores and the law. It should not be surprising that many people, especially younger ones, enjoy the new libidinous benefits of this revolution. Whether one approves or deplores the new sexual culture, it seems unlikely to be reversed. Yet Christian churches (notably the Catholic and Evangelical ones) are in the forefront of those who do want to reverse the libertine victory. Its beneficiaries are haunted by the nightmare of being forced into chastity belts by an all too holy alliance of clerics and conservative politicians. No wonder they are hostile!
And Walter Russell Mead revises and extends those remarks:
Where we disagree with Berger, then, is that the conflict over public morality isn’t a cage match between a unified Christian body and a unified secular movement. Society is becoming so diverse that any civil law on marriage will coincide with fewer people’s beliefs about what the law should be. This breakdown of cultural consensus is going to haunt American jurisprudence and political discourse for the foreseeable future.
But Berger is right that traditional Christian teachings on sex are, rightly or wrongly, driving hostility to Christianity. These teachings—no sexual intercourse outside heterosexual marriage, ever—have never been particularly popular, especially among the young. In our society, where widespread access to birth control and the long interval between the onset of puberty and the security of economic adulthood make traditional chastity look unthinkable to a lot of young people, it’s less popular than ever.
So now, after a couple of generations of marginalizing and deriding religion, people protest in favor of amoral sexuality in good conscience, thinking they’re advocating for freedom while they cripple freedom.