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December 13, 2016

Why Churches should Encourage Gay Sex & How Morality Turns Evil.

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Once upon a time—long before the invention of the pill—when straight people had sex, babies were inevitably the result.

This was a major problem if such people were teenagers who had no intention of making babies and no resources to actually provide for these babies. So the church banned the practice of engaging in baby-making-activities without a formal, lifetime commitment to raising children (i.e., marriage).

During this same time, many children died young. So the church also encouraged people to have lots and lots of babies so that statistically some would become adults (“be fruitful and multiply”). Also for a long time in human history, more people meant more economic growth and thus more survival for humans generally.

The church created moral rules to help society function. Usually these rules were quite basic, stating what not to do: don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t kill, and so on.

While ethical dilemmas can be complex, moral rules need to be simple for masses of often uneducated people to understand them. So with sex, the prohibition was “no sex except for procreation within marriage.”

This wasn’t just an arbitrary rule, it was accurate for the context. Having sex for fun could be dangerous and irresponsible back then. Having sex for pleasure could mean unwanted pregnancies, or worse, no pregnancies at all. So the rule made sense.

But boy how times have changed. Environmentalists worry that we have long since passed the human carrying capacity of the Earth (or are nearing it). And we also have lots of effective birth control options now. And we also discovered other fun ways to have sex that don’t make babies.

So now the rule of having sex only for marriage and making babies, well that’s outdated. And it’s not only outdated, it’s wrong. It’s not that having sex is some great virtue now, it’s that the old rule, rather than leading to human survival, could now lead to human extinction. What was once good is now evil.

Encouraging everyone to make as many babies as possible, as is still encouraged in the Catholic and Mormon churches, is morally wrong on a planet headed toward environmental collapse. Survival of our species requires the opposite of population growth, and thus our moral rule should be the opposite as well: sex should mostly be for pleasure, only rarely for procreation.

Since raising young children is not pleasurable (the sleep deprivation alone is painful), a moral rule that states “sex is for pleasure” implies that children will not be made accidentally.

This change in moral rules because of our changing context implies a number of things, some of them quite counterintuitive.

First off, previously banned sexual activities should be encouraged. When people who don’t want children engage in sex acts that don’t make babies, they are doing good for the planet. Oral and anal sex, and any kinky activity that doesn’t lead to pregnancy should be encouraged in society, as long as it is done safely and consensually.

Secondly, for churches to remain morally relevant, they should be encouraging gay (safer) sex, because gay sex doesn’t ever accidentally make babies. I imagine an ad campaign: “If you are even a little curious about gay sex, you should at least try it to see if you like it. (Paid for by the Church of Latter Day Saints.)” Unfortunately for the survival of our species, our sexual orientations are not as flexible as conservatives fear.

Churches should also be giving away free birth control and education on how to use it, especially if they are concerned about the ethical quandary that is abortion. Not only is it obvious, but studies have repeatedly shown that giving away free birth control is the #1 best way to reduce abortion rates.

The problem is that conservative institutions, like many churches, exist primarily to maintain tradition, not to accurately construct moral rules and update them as the context changes.

And this isn’t just a problem with conservative religious institutions, it’s a problem with conservative morality in general. What was once good is now evil due to changing context. Moral conservatism posits that what is good does not depend on context, but clearly this is incorrect. In some cases it is even right to lie, such as when the Nazis knock on your door and ask, “Any Jews here?”

The values behind such conservative moral rules were a good idea (keep people from dying), but we have been so successful at that, we now live in radically different circumstances where the opposite is needed (gradually reduce population without crashing the economy or global ecosystem).

Despite the popularity of the label, there are very few people who are “pro-life.” A consistent pro-life position would require becoming anti-war, repealing the death penalty, eating vegan, giving away free birth control, pursuing radical life extension technologies, and encouraging gay sex, not simply making abortion illegal or inconvenient.

Really what conservatives who call themselves “pro-life” believe is pro-“sex is only for procreation within marriage,” a moral rule that once upon a time actually made sense, but now that the context has changed, is evil.

The opposite position shouldn’t therefore be “pro-choice” (an insecure moral position in any case, as it assumes non-personhood a priori in the murky ethical problem that is abortion), but “pro-pleasure,” specifically the idea “sex is mostly for fun and only rarely for making babies.”

In a rapidly changing world, moral positions must be re-evaluated to make sure they aren’t doing the opposite of what was originally intended. The problem with conservatism is that it has no mechanism for being updated, so conservative morality morphs from something very good into something very bad simply because the context has changed.
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Author: Duff McDuffee

Image: Modern Family Still

Editor: Travis May

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