Det danske Fredsakademi
Kronologi over fredssagen og international politik 29. januar
2009 / Time Line January 29, 2009
28. Januar 2009, 30. Januar 2009
Religion Crowds into America's Bedrooms
By Don Monkerud
Evangelical, right-wing groups are engaging in a vast, many-pronged
"cultural war" to manipulate sexual anxieties and determine what goes
on in American's bedrooms.
To help roll back the sexual revolution of the 1970s, the Bush
administration spent over $1 billion on abstinence-only programs.
Thousands of sermons, workshops and other propaganda reinforced the
message. Under the pithy slogan ABC (Abstain, Be faithful, use
Condoms), ultra-conservative religious groups, such as Focus on the
Family, American Family Association and Concerned Women for America,
promote marriage as a solution to everything from suicide to poverty
and self-worth issues.
"How could an aggressive minority successfully push the most
grotesque message of abstinence, and why are 95 percent of Americans
who claim to have had premarital sex unable to admit it publicly?"
asks Dagmar Herzog, a professor of history at the City University of
She became interested in the topic from her studies in European
history that revealed: Far from discouraging sex, the Nazis promoted
it among both married and unmarried Aryans. At the same time, they
targeted Jews, who supposedly engaged in "dirty sex," and "immoral"
supporters of the Weimar Republic, and enlisted German Protestants
and Catholics to clean up the "sex mess."
"The conservative evangelical sexual politics of the 1990s and early
21st century are totally new," Herzog says. "Premarital sex was
perfectly normal in the South when I grew up. The churches weren't
hung up on sex back then so I knew that this new sexual repression
In Sex in Crisis, the New Sexual Revolution and the Future of
American Politics (Basic Books), Herzog shows how the origins of
today's anti-tax, anti-government movement began during the Civil
Rights era when the government revoked the tax-exempt status of the
religious-oriented Bob Jones University that first denied admission
to African Americans and then banned interracial dating. The
"cultural war" strategy also coincided with the AIDs epidemic and
gays and lesbians coming out of the closet.
Far from being anti-sexual, today's evangelicals push "a
hyper-sexualized" message, complete with Christian pornography and
bragging about having great sex. Evangelical sex advice books
emphasize the dangers of sex outside marriage, but revel in
titillating sexual details. Even if they aren't interested, Christian
wives are told to be "available" to their husbands at all times,
especially for "quickies."
"Although the evangelical movement is contradictory and hypocritical,
it's important to understand that it's pro-sex," says Herzog. "The
evangelicals promise physiological orgasms, called 'soulgasms,' which
combine psychological orgasms, a close emotional connection with the
spouse, and the blessing presence of God in the bedroom. At the same
time, they're homophobic and hostile to all sex outside marriage."
To develop a strategy to focus on state and local legislation that
would target homosexuals and gay rights, leaders of Focus on the
Family, the Eagle Forum, Traditional Values Coalition, the National
Legal Foundation and other Christian political groups met in Colorado
in 1994. Most importantly, they decided to shift their tactics away
from strictly religious messages to adopt the secular language of
fermenting fear and disgust of disease. Subsequently, religious
conservatives turned their attention to pushing abstinence. Their
message would adapt to the new age and human potential movements with
talk of self-help, individual empowerment, self-improvement and
Playing on increased primal sexual anxieties that include confusion
about the relationship between sex and love, and doubts about one's
own attractiveness to one's partner, doubts that increased with
exposure to Internet porn and Viagra, evangelicals promoted a
relentless no-sex-outside-marriage program.
In 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services issued
sex-education guidelines that mandate teaching about "the potential
psychological side effects" of sex, such as drinking, disease,
depression and suicide. Money for abstinence education discouraged
sex among unmarried Americans between the ages of 19 and 29.
This assault on sexuality doesn't work. According to surveys
conducted by evangelicals, 95 percent of adults admit to having
premarital sex. Half of all Christian men claim to be addicted to
Internet porn, along with 20 percent of Christian women. Adolescents
who take the abstinence pledge wait 18 months longer to have sex, but
girls are much more likely to become pregnant when they do have sex.
In contrast, Europe teens are taught that sex is natural, healthy and
pleasurable. They get free contraceptives, medical care and
counseling. Despite what Americans would call a permissive society,
some would say sinful, American teenage girls are three times more
likely to get pregnant than those in Sweden and four times more
likely than those in Germany. American teens are 70 times more likely
to get gonorrhea than those in France or the Netherlands.
Presenting premarital sex as "risky behavior" hides an intrusive and
insidious attack on sexuality. Far healthier would be to recognize
human autonomy and self-determination of sexual expression. America
needs comprehensive sex education, contraceptive distribution and
counseling to overcome the destructive social and personal effects of
sexually repressive religious morality.
"Reproductive rights and sexual self-determination are human rights,"
Herzog says. "We need to affirm humans' rights to sexual expression,
sexual pleasure, and the freely chosen formation of intimate
eller søg i Fredsakademiet.dk