Thursday, June 16, 2011

Toasted Weiner To Resign Today: Plus Jerry Newcombe

by Rev. Austin Miles
(Antioch, California 6/16/11.)  We were alerted early this morning by Executive Research Associate, Helen Trautmen of Results Unlimited in Pittsburgh, that Congressman Anthony Weiner will resign his seat today, after much resistance and defiance.  So much pressure arose from his pants descending that there were demands from both sides of the aisle that he had no other choice.
 At the same time, I found this column just penned by Jerry Newcombe who has a radio program out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida which is the best Christian-political essay on this scandal yet publshed. Jerry Newcombe, we surrender our keyboard for you write this issue.
Weinergate: Playboy Ethics, Puritan Consequences
By Jerry Newcombe
The story of a politician caught in a sexual scandal repeats itself in various ways and in various times. Of course, the latest installment is New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, with a name guaranteed to make him the endless subject of late night jokes.
The details of the story may change. The technology may even change—-as we see in this latest example where the scandal included sending inappropriate messages via the social media, e.g., Twitter or Facebook.

To add a criminal aspect to this scandal is that before he came clean in a public mea culpa, Weiner not only blamed the messenger, he accused him of committing a felony. He accused conservative media maverick, Andrew Breitbart, who broke the story, of committing an alleged crime—-hacking a sitting congressman's computer—-in order to send out these reportedly lewd photos of parts of Weiner's anatomy.
Although this is a familiar and repeated story of a sexually-fallen public figure, there's a side to the story I think that is seldom spoken: We have Playboy ethics, but Puritan consequences. We are constantly bombarded with messages to do whatever feels good. Then if someone does it, he suddenly faces censure.
That's like your boss telling you that he's laid back about everything and then busting your chops when you come to work five minutes late. Think of the messages we send to young people. We teach them how to put condoms on cucumbers in schools, but then we frown at teenage illegitimacy. The one follows naturally from the other. Listen to many of the pop songs of our time. They send this message: If it feels good, baby, do it.
In one of her songs, for example, Madonna croons, "If it's against the law, arrest me. If you can handle it, undress me." Not to be outdone, Lady Gaga sings, "But I got a reason that you're who should take me home tonight. I need a man that thinks it right when it's so wrong."
We routinely see sex outside of marriage on the big screen and the little one. In 1995, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, complained that 88% of sexual activity in prime-time television was between unmarried people—-thus, making "lust more attractive than love."
If it was that bad in 1995, it's only worse in 2011—-since marriage as a whole continues to suffer significantly in our culture.
Of course, just because we're bombarded with these messages doesn't excuse anybody from giving into his or her base nature or of taking advantage of anyone by unwanted sexual advances.
One of the sacred cows of the Playboy ethic on sex is that anything goes as long as it's between two consenting adults. But the "consenting adults" principle still doesn't halt the consequences of promiscuity—-such as a failed marriage, a broken heart, venereal disease, or scandal
Weiner has at least come clean and apologized. But he has lost the public trust, and one could only wish he would have resigned. Why do we have the Puritan consequences to sexual practices? I believe our forebears were on to something with their belief that sex was to remain within its God-given strictures: inside the bounds of holy matrimony (of course, between a man and a woman).
This view is not unique to the Puritans. Throughout most of history, virtually all major groups held to this ethic, including Catholics, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others. We may mock monogamy all we want. But interestingly, a major study on sex in America found that the Puritan ethic of sex promotes happiness in the bedroom to its adherents.
To date, the most comprehensive study on sex in America was that conducted under the auspices of the University of Chicago in the early 1990s. It made the cover of TIME magazine, and the findings were reported in a book, Sex in America.  They found that "conservative Protestant women" had the highest rates of sexual satisfaction. (They used the o-word.).
Furthermore, the book noted, "Once again contradicting the common view of marriage as dull and routine, the people who reported being the most physically pleased and emotionally satisfied were the married couples….The lowest rates of satisfaction were among men and women who were neither married nor living with someone—the very group thought to be having the hottest sex" (Sex in America, p. 124).
If you agree to the hedonistic view of sex, then be prepared to live with the consequences. Just ask Congressman Weiner.