Net insanity: Santorum on sexuality

Rick Santorum came out in the last few as a supporter of state bans against contraception, stating that the practice is "a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be."

The way they are supposed to be, that is, as defined by Catholic teaching and the beliefs of conservative Protestants. The "supposed to be" is a reference to Catholic natural law teaching that holds that since genitals are involved in the creation of human life, that procreation is all they should be used for. Natural law is a way to study the patterns underlying Creation, and therefore, is a way to understand God's will. This was probably clever in the 12th century, but in a world of science, it is ludicrous.

But more on that another time.

The natural law argument cuts both ways. Just as in Jesus's parable (Matthew 13:47-48) about the net that catches fish both good and bad, natural law catches sexual behavior that is both good and bad in its net. The problem is that, unlike the parable, the bad fish are never thrown away.

The natural law net catches behavior that is demonstrably bad or hurtful -- rape, incest, prostitution, adultery and sex with children. But it also catches behavior that is hard to get excited about: masturbation and non-procreative sex within marriage. Imagine the moral quandaries that creates for  a married couple that is post-menopausal or in which one partner is incurably infertile! Further, the natural law net catches behavior that is part and parcel of the way humans are designed (cue Creation!): homosexuality and transgender. By refusing to make reasonable distinctions between sexual acts -- expect inasmuch as they do or do not lead to heterosexual procreation -- the natural lawyers walk away from their responsibility to help human beings lead more whole, happy and holy lives. The churchmen who use natural law to support their judgements miss the opportunity to grapple with real problems faced by real people. That few seem to care shows how stupid and immoral the Church has become. That churchmen use their stridency on sexuality to get promoted shows how corrupt the edifice is.

One last comment. I am amused at the tendency of political conservatives to reject government regulations. Yet when their pet issues are at stake, they have no compunctions against bringing the police power against sinners.

And they are afraid of a liberal-conceived nanny state? Please!