Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sex and Money

What is it about right wingers and religious fundamentalists? Why are they so obsessed with sex? The rest of us get on with our day-to-day lives, working, shopping, sleeping, conversing, whatever, but it seems that right wingers spend every single moment thinking about sex.

Look at their campaigns against gay marriage, contraception, sex education and so on, waged as if there were no other issues to occupy a religious mind. The irony is that for America’s most visible far right leaders, and especially Christian ones, their undoing is always sex or money.

The latest example of this is Ted Haggard, who until yesterday led America’s right wing National Association of Evangelicals and his own supa church in Colorado. The Internet is abuzz with the story of how Haggard was brought down after a male prostitute, 49-year-old Mike Jones, claimed he’d had a three year sexual affair with Haggard.

Haggard admitted buying methamphetamine (called “P” in NZ), though he says he never used it. To me that sounds an awful lot like, “I never inhaled,” but I digress.

Haggard denied there was ever any sex, while admitting to having received a massage from Jones after being referred to him by a hotel. Okay, then. A hotel referred a leading evangelist to a male prostitute, but not for sex. Who, exactly, is the stupid or naïve one here: Haggard, the hotel, or the public who are supposed to buy this explanation?

I wasn’t shocked or surprised to hear another evangelist was brought down in a sex scandal. America has had quite a few of them over the years. I was more surprised to find out there was such a thing as a 49 year old male prostitute, actually.

The larger point is that Haggard was a leader in the anti-gay marriage brigade. If Jones’ allegations are proved, it gives us a new word to describe Haggard: Hypocrite. Sadly, this isn’t unique, either among far right Christians or among Republican politicians generally.

This isn’t just an American thing, of course. Here in New Zealand, the leader of the conservative National Party (which is practically centre-left by US Republican standards…) opposed NZ’s Civil Union Bill and spoke in defence of traditional marriage, despite having recently committed adultery—for the second time. He wasn’t brought down, however, because NZ is more relaxed about sex than America appears to be, condoms from Hell notwithstanding.

The thing is, the sex-obsessed right wing is a tiny minority in New Zealand, while it appears to be at the centre of everything in America. And, in my opinion, that makes these hypocrites fair game for the news media, commentators and political opponents alike. I couldn’t care less what legal activity people do in their private lives, but when they set themselves up as leaders against what they themselves are doing, they deserve to be exposed as liars and frauds.

Even as we laugh as these morons, there is another, bigger question: If it’s common for people on the right to do one thing and say the opposite when it comes to sex, what else are they lying about?

The best result in next week’s US elections would be for a Democratic landslide so that investigations into Republican corruption can begin. Yes, I’m keenly aware that the Democrats have their share of hypocrites, too, but with one important difference: Not even the worst Democrat will talk about “freedom” and “democracy” while marching the country straight into fascism. Well, maybe Joe Liebermann would, but I don’t consider him a real Democrat.

So sex really is the problem in America. Maybe the Republicans don’t get enough of it, and that’s why they’re so obsessed with it. Maybe if they got it a little more they’d leave the rest of us, and the Constitution, alone.


lost in france said...

I guess that the big question your post makes me ask is, why are so many Americans religious right-wingers? What makes Americans this way?

As far back as I can remember, there were always loads of churches in the US, but religion was a private matter. Now it seems to have become public. How has this happened?

Arthur Schenck said...

Amerinz Sez: Religion is big in America, but I'm not sure that the nutty variety is as big as we're led to believe. I think a lot of it is illusion.

Way back in 1980, as part if the "Reagan Revolution" right-wing christians started to get active and have increased their activity, and volume, ever since. They pretty much control the Republican Party now--the old Repubican "Big Tent" metaphor is dead and buried.

But because of them, it's now socially acceptable to wear your religion on your sleeve, and I think that's what's really changed. Trouble is, the simplistic MSM tend to look at that and think that all religious people are right wingers, and they're definitely not. There are even LEFT wing evangelicals, for goodness sake. Why doesn't the MSM give them coverage?