Whatever can be said for or against previous administrations, it is hard to contemplate the current administration under Trump without also considering the issue of…sexual immorality, of abomination. We’ve got a president who has boasted of his sexual abominations after he cheated on Ivana with Marla Maples, and that’s by no means his most recent boast. By contrast, we’ve got a vice president who is so cautious about even creating the appearance of sexual immorality that he essentially won’t be in mixed company alone without his wife present. Good thing. Were she not there, one must believe the abomination in his pants would burst forth. Oh, the virility. No wonder Pence supports Trump against such scurrilous observations, even if only with his silence. Pence knows that if he were a lesser man like Trump, he’d have done the same thing, but his hands are bigger. It’s night and day. Yet, thanks to the Strangest Bedfellows of politics yet, we’ve got a presidency that gives its spiritual ear to a particular form of Christianity that holds sexual immorality in especially low esteem, as one does with abominations, but for them, it’s only some abominations that matter. When it comes to judging them equitably, their scales are not true.
Meanwhile, a huge chunk of the country is so caught up in the culture war between the pro-LGBTQIA+ liberty demographic and the anti-LGBTQIA+ liberty demographic that I think many, if not most of us, take something for granted…that we know what is meant by “sexual immorality.” Those words were not written down ages past in English. Whatever words were used and in whatever context they were used, they have been translated into “sexual immorality,” the connotations of which seem to be problematically subjective, regardless of what they originally signified when they were first written and then studied by now ancient sages. If ever there were a concept that is not absolutely clear in Scripture, it is what is meant by sexual immorality. A great many may think they have pat answers. From my own reading, I would suggest that it’s not so clear cut as one might think.
At stackexchange, which often features some fairly advanced discussion, it’s such a contentious and unresolved issue that the question is closed because, despite the best efforts of the handful of respondents who engaged (it wasn’t the best showing), the answers received were ultimately rooted in opinion. One can Google the question of what it means, but should absolutely expect to find results dominated by evidently biased sources. Of course, the explanations provided by those sources tend to be sorely lacking in linguistic analysis, and the few that do accomplish little more than putting on a cherry picking expo. They mostly traffic in their own interpretations rather than source materials. Ultimately, interpretation is the best we can do. We weren’t there back then to know with utter and absolute certainty every last detail of what was meant by the words translated today as sexual immorality.
Right about now, anyone who has made it this far is probably expecting me to make some excuse for whatever I personally interpret sexual immorality to mean. No. Instead, I’m going to turn to another sort of interpretation I lean toward on matters biblical. When I want to know what Old Testament concepts mean, I turn to Jewish literature and customs. The OT was theirs. They wrote it. And they have the longest history of scholarship and traditional literature pertaining to it. I just want to know just what sexual immorality is since the only people who make a huge show of conveniently political certainty are steeped in perfidy.
So I looked. And I stumbled upon something really insightful at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York (emphasis mine).
“However, the rabbis are not merely concerned with a ban on incest, adultery and bestiality. The Talmud records detailed discussions about engendering passionate and meaningful sexuality in marriage by avoiding more subtle forms of “immoral sex” (see Nedarim 20b). For example, the Talmud forbids any kind of sexual coercion in a marriage (either physical or emotional). One is forbidden to fantasize about someone else while having intercourse with one’s spouse. The Talmud also condemns marital intercourse while drunk. The Talmud discourages sexual relations after a fight. Engaging in sexual intimacy with a spouse whom one has “mentally divorced” is also considered an abomination. All of these examples demonstrate the rabbinic value of loving and mutually fulfilling sexuality. According to the rabbis, when a spouse focuses only on his or her own physical enjoyment, without embracing the emotional component of genuine intimacy, sexuality has been tainted.”
When the current party in power is supported by a particular stripe of theological influence prone to giving out politically expedient “mulligans” on an ideologically biased basis, it’s important to note not only the political cynicism of that kind of religiose posturing, but it might be worth considering that, if words mean things, and biblical words especially, there are political operatives in this national conversation, a conversation foisted upon us from the top down by the most odious charlatans they can put behind a microphone, who express anything from malign neglect to outright contempt for the deeper principles that follow from what they debase into a shallow, one-dimensional caricature of a deeply held conviction.
Maybe I’m mistaken. Maybe Perkins and his merry band of heretics, in conjunction with their power puppet Trump, could sell no sex outside of marriage back in Peoria. Maybe they could make a big political hit by showing hostility to any form of sexual coercion inside of marriage, since that is equally sexual immorality.
While they’re at it, they could take a hard line on the kind of lust peddled by Sports Illustrated and your friendly neighborhood breastaurant. How many sexually immoral adulteries of the heart has that one “child-safe” magazine alone caused? How many sexual immoralities have been committed over a greasy serving of Hooter’s curly fries? I’m not suggesting Melania should cover her…arms or anything, but maybe the #fakezealot brigade could score points at home by aggressively demonizing the act of picturing, well, not Melania (that would be rude to suggest), but anyone other than one’s spouse.
Imagine the political capital they’ll build when they hit the country music airwaves as vehemently against the sexual immorality of drunken married sex. That would catch on so fast it would just be a matter of time before we get headline “Tipsy newlyweds caught in flagrante delicto, dragged to death behind truck.” They’re the reason we have hurricanes and tornadoes and wildfires, after all. Sell that hard enough, and you’d have a Republican lock on all three branches for the next 80 years, right?
Make up sex? That’s dirty liberal talk there. If it’ll lower taxes for the rich, I’m confident the true Trumpist would sacrifice some of the very best sex there is, because sexual immorality is an abomination.
And how much should we wager that in Great America, loveless marriages will also go sexless? After all, one sexual immorality is as much an abomination as the next. One might as well bugger a goat for all the moral difference it would make.
And I can’t wait to see the warm reception the alt-right, alphabro, PUA, Steubenville-flavored rape culture will give to the kind of vitriolic opposition generally reserved for gay people. Focus on one’s own sexual enjoyment is to the exclusion of other’s, after all, an abomination. When we learn that decent people can refuse them service on deeply held religious convictions, those poll numbers can only go up, up, up, baby.
I’m just here to help, Perkins. And Graham. And Pence. I’m just here to help. When you fully reveal your apoplectic opposition to all these abominations, and all those things like them in spirit, we’ll finally be vindicated in believing you all to be genuinely pious men of sincere and coherent principles. I’ll be cheering on your well-deserved political success when you do. Oh, I’ll be cheering.
Or, you know, we can be vindicated in what we’ve known about them all along when they do no such things as anticipated above. They’re snake oil salesmen of the worst sort, trading their politically motivated sacrilege for the souls of the credulous. Sadly, they’ll never hear of this particular shot at their hypocrisy. If they should notice, the truth and I are beneath their notice. But the beauty is that, even if a response could be forced, they’d be fools to pick up the gauntlet, for they’d have to explain how their discernment is on par with the men who penned an inerrant and divinely inspired Bible. Perkins is no Ezekiel. Graham is no Jonah. Pence no Paul. But I’ll concede that Trump could be a modern day Herod, our modern mashup of power corrupting corrupt religion corrupting corrupt power.
It would be an amazing explanation, indeed, when they can’t even seem to keep up with the learned sages whose words on the Law are studied these thousands of years later. In a hundred years, Perkins and Graham won’t even be footnotes. As for Pence and Trump, we’ll be fortunate if their regime ends without calamity and relegated to short chapters of embarrassment, mockery, and contempt in future histories.
While we’re on the subject of sexual immorality and abominations, we should recall that not all abominations are sexual. It’s one of those squares and rectangles things.
Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord.
Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.
It’s almost as if these words were written with this administration in mind.
As for me, I do anger. At least it’s not an abomination. I understand it does not produce the righteousness of God. I may be no Elijah, but like him I’m past giving mulligans. I pray for justice, and may God have mercy on their souls because I wouldn’t. I should maybe be concerned lest I become an abomination for condemning the righteous, but I’m not. When I see a compelling argument for believing an unrepentant abomination with the lips of a liar can also be justified by faith I’ll recant. To borrow from Paul, that would be to suggest that a member of Christ could be an abomination or vice versa. By their fruits you shall know them. Verily, I wouldn’t want to be them, for their prayers and donations are worse than nothing.
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
Just where do I get off, one might wonder? I know my kind.
The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. Last I checked, God and I are doing okay, though.