Quotes and noted

25 Mar

“Nothing optional — from homosexuality to adultery — is ever made punishable unless those who do the prohibiting (and exact the fierce punishments) have a repressed desire to participate. As Shakespeare put it in King Lear, the policeman who lashes the whore has a hot need to use her for the very offense for which he plies the lash.” ~ C. Hitchens, “God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything”


One Response to “Quotes and noted”

  1. Dana March 26, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    Hmm interesting, but he catches himself in a bind there. Shakespeare did not cite a religious person as his example. He cited a policeman. So it’s not totally fair to make this a point against religion.
    But regardless, let’s use the example of adultry. Lots and lots of people repress a desire to cheat on their spouses. But there has yet to be a religious (or secular) outcry to outlaw it. In fact, adultry is the example I use when Christians talk about how gay marriage should be illegal because it attacks “real” marriages. Seems adultry is a far bigger villain when it comes to hurting married men and women, the Bible shuns it, so where’s the organized outrage against adultry? Could it be too many worry they might be the criminals if sucha law were passed?
    Now I will say I think pastors, religious leaders and advisers get hung up on the particular Biblical no-nos that they struggle with. Time and time again we see preachers who constantly attack homosexuality get caught is a gay-sex scandal. But this happens with every topic.
    For example, one of my religious mentors in college would really discourage watching horror movies. The reason? He couldn’t watch them without his mind wandering to dark places … so he couldn’t understand how other people could watch them innocently and for fun.
    My point? I don’t think it’s as cut and dry as “people punish the acts they repress.” Clearly we don’t punish adultry (except the partner who was cheated on sometimes gets a better divorce settlement), and sometimes we discourage or ban certain things not because we desire them, but because we want to protect people from things that we think might be harming them in the same way they harm us.

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