Thursday, December 5, 2013

It Does Not Affect You

One of the arguments that is made regarding certain behaviors, particularly sexual behaviors, is that I should not complain about them because they do not affect me. What difference does it make to me what people do in the privacy of their own bedroom? But there are serious problems with this argument.

It reflects a totally selfish outlook on life. It says that I should not care what harm people do as long as it has no impact on my life. That I should not care if black people are made to go to the back of the bus, because I am not a black person. That I should not care about the poverty in third world countries, because I do not live in a third world country. Now it should be said, in all honesty, that most who try to make this argument would not make it across the board. They merely make sex a special case and ignore the normal perspective on such things.

But the biggest problem with this idea is that it is completely untrue. What one or two people do in the privacy of their bedroom may not affect me, but when large numbers of people do it, it cannot help but seep out into society as a whole. I have battled the attraction of pornography since I was old enough to do so, and there is no question that accepting such things in private affects how we behave in public and the things that are acceptable in public. I do not have to go to X-rated movies. But when it is acceptable to do so, it affects what is expected in the other movies and in TV shows. I do not need to read porn magazines. But their general acceptance affects what is found in other magazines and books. I may not have to go to porn sites. But it affects what is found on other internet sites. And it puts pressure on everyone, particularly children and young people, to accept the ethic of casual sex. It affects how the sexes relate to one another in other contexts. It also affects the stability of their marriages and their families. This puts a burden on society to deal with the results of these failed relationships. The idea that what it is considered acceptable for people to do in their bedroom can be sealed in their bedroom is pure nonsense.  

The only way this argument can be made to work is if it is maintained that people have a right to sexual license and I should be willing to sacrifice my convictions to protect that right. The problem is, I do not recognize any such right. We, as Christians, should avoid being harsh and sanctimonious about this. But we cannot concede the principle. If someone wants to try to convince me of such a right, they are welcome to do so. But do not tell me that it does not affect me, because this is simply not true.

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