The Ashley Madison hack has been a bonanza for those who revel in the outing of hypocrites, with public officials and proselytizers suddenly put on blast for their duplicitous ways.
A lot could be said about what the leak and our reactions to it reveal in terms of our views on sex and relationships, but you needn’t worry about it.
Dr. Richard D. Land, president of the The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has already figured it out, as he explains in the Christian Post:
The Ashley Madison hack reveals just how schizophrenic American society is about sex.
The sexual revolution has engulfed traditional morality in a tidal wave of moral relativism and hedonism. A majority of Americans now think that sexual chastity until marriage is outdated, if not harmful to “natural impulses.” In fact, a majority of Americans have embraced a form of polymorphous perversity that is uncomfortable with any categories like normal and abnormal, much less moral or immoral.
Conversely, over 90% of Americans still believe it is wrong and morally unacceptable to cheat on, or be unfaithful to, one’s spouse, or alternatively, one’s partner in a committed relationship.
So, it seems that Americans are casual about casual sex, but not about betraying trust in a committed relationship. That sounds like a split personality to me. In a truly pagan culture, being outed on Ashley Madison would be irrelevant.
It’s a veritable buffet of ignorance. Where to begin?
For starters, schizophrenia doesn’t mean having a “split personality.” But regardless of this gross conflation of diagnoses, using such conditions as a derisive metaphor in an attempt to make some kind of political point is disgusting. A diagnosis is not a punchline or turn of phrase.
But even if we forgive Land his nauseating use of mental illness as a rhetorical tool, this is unadulterated drivel. His laments about “polymorphous perversity” are seriously laughable. Sure, the term looks fancy and enlightened, but it does not mean what he thinks it does. It’s a phrase referring to the ability to gain sexual gratification outside of socially normative behaviors — often in relation to feeling sexual pleasure from stimulus not associated with the genitals. Freud actually used it to describe the sexual disposition of a person from infancy to about the age of five.
Pretty sure most of those folks on Ashley Madison were quite interested in some adult genital stimulation.
But even if we grant Land a little leeway in misappropriating the term, polymorphous perversity requires pleasure-seeking outside of socially normative behavior. As he’d just finished telling us, though, casual sex is now socially acceptable thanks to the sexual revolution. If it’s a socially normative behavior, it cannot technically be considered polymorphous perversity. (I know, I know… I’m trying to apply logic to a publication where logic goes to die.)
To be fair, making sense doesn’t seem to be a priority for Land. He is utterly befuddled by individuals who are comfortable with the idea of casual sex but disapprove of extramarital affairs. One, of course, is physical engagement between consenting adults while the other is a violation of trust and commitment. But when you view sex as nothing more than a means of procreation, I guess such distinctions are lost on you. I imagine the modern world with its (admittedly limited) capacity for critical thought is a very confusing place for Land.
But the most offensive and patently-untrue thread in this spiel is that individuals who do not ascribe to a Judeo-Christian worldview are inherently immoral. It’s not a new argument; it’s just a bad one. It doesn’t seem to matter that ethical (and unethical) behavior is demonstrated by people from all walks of life, all over the world, whether or not they believe in some mythical higher power. It doesn’t matter that some incredibly atrocious stuff has been justified by the values exalted by Land and his ilk. In their eyes, anyone with a different set of beliefs can’t possibly have a moral compass.
You know what? Land can keep his morals. Because really, can you call yourself a good person if you only behave that way because you’re scared of some father figure in a bedtime story?
I’d rather be a good person because it’s the right thing to do, thank you very much.
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