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Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Frank 013
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Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Please continue the discussion from the historical secular culture thread here. Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"
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Frank 013
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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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the last post was from DHQuote:Mr.P: But the main religious point is the sodomy (even gets its name from your religion there Niall).DHThe story of Sodom and Gommorah, from Genesis 19:1-29, is not about homosexual relationships or anal intercourse...but about violent rape and inhospitality to strangers. Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"
irishrosem

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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Damn, Frank. You beat me to it.I never actually stated that religions campaigned to keep oral sex from being included in Georgia's Romeo and Juliet exception. In fact, both my posts were about religion's insidious encroachment on U.S. laws. Religion no longer explicitly affects U.S. criminal laws, but the implicit influence is apparent to me. One such instance can be found in most of our sex laws. As a country, the U.S. has very pious sex laws; some theorize this is due in some part to a strong Puritan history. As Frank noted, many states (some even today) have laws against anal penetration. Some states even had laws against any sexual position outside of missionary. Puritanism and U.S. legal restrictions on sex is thought to have many ties. I read a book on this once; if I find the title again, I'll pass it on. I think to ignore those influences is unwise, particularly when comparing contemporary legal systems to historical legal systems.Niall: Believing that a 17 year old should not be allowed to have sex with a 15 year old is not a religious belief as far as I can tell.Age restrictions on sex, though certainly influenced by social standards, can also find a home in religious piety. In many religions, and certainly in Judeo/Christian religions, sex is not supposed to occur outside of marriage. Young teenagers are not marrying these days; therefore, young teenagers should not be having sex. Criminal prosecution, and more so incarceration, for juveniles who have consensual sex does not serve the secular state in any way that I can see. In fact, all such prosecutions that I have been involved with or witnessed have been odious to me.
Niall001
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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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I'd certainly agree that the incarceration of juveniles who have consensual sex does not serve the secular state, but it doesn't really seem to serve any religion either. Yes, there is a belief held by certain groups of religious people that teens should not be having sex, but that is a societal norm. Most people think that 15 year olds should not be having sex. Now saying that, no doubt the societal norms are informed by religious beliefs, but those same religious beliefs are influenced by societal norms. In Ireland at the moment, we have a bizzare legal situation at the moment that is similar to this, but more absurd. If you can believe that. Just one example, it is (very) illegal for a 15 year old guy to receive oral sex from his 15 year old girlfriend, but it is legal for a 15 year old girl to receive oral sex from her 18 year old boyfriend. It's crazy and results from the recent striking down of a law designed to protect young teens from ebophiles. Oh and just to make it clear, I wasn't suggesting that you suggested "that religions campaigned to keep oral sex from being included in Georgia's Romeo and Juliet exception", the link just wasn't obvious to me, so I was attempting to establish the link. Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
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Frank 013
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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Quote:NiallI'd certainly agree that the incarceration of juveniles who have consensual sex does not serve the secular state, but it doesn't really seem to serve any religion either.I can't really remember where I read this but much of the Christian friction about sex seems to have been born of the idea that sex should only be used for procreation; In essence only for the purpose of making more little Christians. Also some horrible stigma being attached to unwed mothers and bastard children. I do believe that this ideal had some legal president as far back as the middle ages.Later Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"
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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Frank: I do believe that this ideal had some legal president as far back as the middle ages.It did, but mostly in application to the nobility, and primarily because their social system was premised on inheritence by primogeniture. Throwing the children of adulterous relationships, or children born from prior relationships complicated that social system so much that some form of judicial restriction was practically inevitable. Bastardization, fornication, etc. etc. had less of a legal effect on the lower classes, among whom the inheritence of land benefices was practically a moot point.
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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Frank: I do believe that this ideal had some legal president as far back as the middle ages.Mad: It did, but mostly in application to the nobility, and primarily because their social system was premised on inheritence by primogeniture.Patrolling the borders of sexuality in the ancient world, and much of the medieval, was as Mad rightly states an issue of protecting property. Purity of lineage was important because it kept clear who owned what, or who owned who. A woman's womb was not her own, nor was a man's penis simply his private property: semen in the wrong place at the wrong time was dangerous stuff...not because there was anything inherently wrong or sinful about sex...but because so much of the familial and social order depended upon keeping lines of inheritance in proper sequence.I think the best book on the subject is William Countryman's Dirt, Greed, and Sex: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today.
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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Re: the Genarlow Wilson case, it's big news here in Atlanta, and I think you guys would do well to discuss the facts of the case before diving into the issues it raises.Genarlow Wilson was arrested for an alledged rape that took place during a New Year's Eve party. Genarlow was video-taped having sex with a 17 year old girl who had been drinking, and while the rape charge was overturned, the investigation brought to light that Wilson had, the same night, received oral sex from a 15-year old girl. The sex was consensual according to the girl's own admission, but the age of consent in Georgia is 16. In terms of sex, Wilson was not a minor, though the girl was.In that regard, he's certainly guilty of the crime for which he was tried, but it's the particulars of the crime and its attendent punishment that have turned this case into such a big deal.First, age of consent. I think part of the issue that Rose was trying to raise by mentioning this case is that it isn't at all clear where we get age of consent laws, or why we've decided to enforce them in certain ways. If age of consent laws have a religious background, then in the interests of maintaining seperation between church and state, we should probably re-evaluate those laws to bring them in line with secular interests.I think most of us would agree that some form of consent law serves a practical purpose. Suffice it to say that it stretches our understanding of the term consensual to say that a 12-year old virgin can give consent to a 40 year old man. Where to draw that line is a legitimately tricky problem. Some 15 year olds probably do not have a sufficiently realistic idea of sex in order to give what we would consider consent. But do those concerns apply to this case? That's hard to say, in part because the 15 year old remains anonymous. Without knowing at least whether or not she had previously been sexually active, or had been drinking that night, I don't really feel confident in saying she was competent to give consent.Lawmakers in Georgia are concerned that overturning the Wilson conviction will create enough gray area that other kinds of sex offenders will find loopholes to exploit. To some degree, that's a legitimate, practical concern, although it may be in the best interests of justice to risk some temporary, technical problems in order to achieve some long term gain.Secondly, the act in question. I think it's probably overstating the case to say that this is a trial about oral sex v. missionary sex. Consent is the issue that got Wilson convicted. Where the legal distinction between "aggrevated" and just plain sex comes into play is in the sentence that Wilson had received. Even if he and the "victim" had opted for missionary position, he probably would have been convicted, but the charge for "aggrevated" molestation tacked an additional 5 years onto his sentence -- 10 years, as opposed to five.Incidentally, the members of the jury have complained that they didn't realize that upping the charge to aggrevated meant a five year increase in his jail term, and it's questionable as to whether or not all of them would have convicted him on the charge of "aggrevated" molestation had they known.But I think there's still a potential issue that could be debated here. Whether or not anyone will choose to is a different matter. I'll take it as granted that most of us would oppose laws against consensual oral sex. But if we accept for the moment the court's decision to deny the girl's culpability to render consent -- ie. if we provisionally agree that this was child molestation -- is there a practical end to drawing a distinction between different forms of sex? Try to think of this in broader terms than just the Wilson case -- ought there to be a judicial difference between child molestation that involves oral sex and child molestation that involves missionary sex? Even if it's the case that there should be, I think the Georgia statutes probably have the details wrong, but I can see arguments to either end. Some would say that oral sex is less potentially hazardous, some would say it's likely to be more psychologically damaging. Even a minor who had a fairly competant theoretical knowledge of genital sex might not know enough about other forms of sex to really know what they're getting into. So on and so forth.Whetever the case, the applicability of this question to the Wilson case depends entirely on the jury's assessment that the girl was not competant to render consent -- he probably would not have been convicted of oral sex had the jury found the incident to meet the standards of consent.Lastly, even if the other issue complicate the case for us, I think the final concern is that Wilson's punishment is unnecessarily harsh. This case aside, he had a clean record, and I doubt a ten year stay in prison is likely to make him any less prone to commit crimes in the future, particularly given the difficulties he's likely to face coming out. He's now a registered sex offender, which is something he's going to have to advertise to every potential employer and every community he enters. It seems entirely unlikely to me that he was acting as a sexual predator, and I'd say the danger he constitutes to society is practically nil. So why is the judicial system levelling society's distrust against him? Edited by: MadArchitect at: 6/14/07 8:10 pm
irishrosem

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Re: Religious influence on U.S. sex laws.

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Mad, thanks for spelling out the specifics in the case. The brief mention was meant only as a minor reference, but it seems to have taken off. I guess because the particulars are so unusual. I should have spelled out the case in its entirety if I intended to reference it at all. Mad: I think part of the issue that Rose was trying to raise by mentioning this case is that it isn't at all clear where we get age of consent laws, or why we've decided to enforce them in certain ways.Actually this is more the crux of the issue rather than part. I've been rushing through my posts and haven't been as careful as I should. I only used the Wilson case as a timely reference to issues dealing with age of consent. And age of consent, along with many "victimless crimes," likely have religious roots, which is really all I was trying to illustrate.(Mad, I had heard that a judge recently released Wilson. Is this true? Was his sentence overturned or was he essentially pardoned from serving the rest of the minimum?)
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