Thursday Highlights

Good morning.

  • UCC and end-of-life issues at On The Square.
  • Great Power, Great Responsibility … the “Spider-man ethic” if you will. Rejected at Overcoming Bias.
  • Sentire cum Ecclesia on what muscular Christianity looks and feels like.
  • Rowling takes about faith noted at the Scoop and at the Claw of the Conciliator and GetReligion.org.
  • Scot McNight is done with ex-Gays?, noting

    The American Psychological Association warns therapists about the potential danger and harm to clients if the therapist seeks to help a person change sexual orientation. So they studied distress factors in those seeking change, including spiritual functioning, and they especially studied those who have not returned to a gay identity but who are achieving significant change or continuing to progress in change.Their conclusion: “we find no evidence that the type of attempt to change sexual orientation studied here is harmful” (332). Once again, a chp full of tables about data and results.

    I suppose “conventional wisdom” will just reject the data presented (and apparently there is a lot).

  • A timeline of East-West relations. (HT: Sentire cum Ecclesia)
  • A minority opinion worth holding at the Boundless Line.
  • 100 thoughts from Dan Edelen after 30 years in the Church at Cerulean Sanctum.
  • Ben Myers recommends a primer/introduction on Barth, because “Indeed, Barth’s thought is so challenging and so difficult to penetrate that the production of “introductions” becomes a matter of some urgency.”
  • William Ken offers the confusing notion that Mr Gore’s recent prize opens the election question at the Moderate Voice. This is confusing to me because the prize indicates acceptance in the elite Western European voting block, which has exactly what to do with enfranchised US voters?
  • Blog neigbor David Schraub writes what seems to me is an embarassing gaffe of a post. The post keys on rape-as-joke … where the target is the political opposition and the rape in question is counter to the sexual preference of the subject. I don’t see how humor enters here. But, it also seems to me, if tables were reversed, if rape-as-joke was used in a political way by the right … “is outrage” would be the response. I guess “right thoughts” mean “right practice” is not necesary.
  • Finally, a disagreement over grounds for divorce noted at One Eternal Day.

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7 comments

  1. On the One Hand, It’d Be Mean…

    Mark Olson calls me out on inappropriate humor. In my defense, this arguably isn’t a rape joke, per se — assuming the unnamed male partner is consenting, the question is “would you consent to having sex with a man to stop a terrorist attack”? But i…

  2. PG says:

    I think I’m sensitive to attempts to use rape as a joke, and I certainly didn’t read David’s post that way. He was making fun of the simultaneous anti-terrorism machismo and ridiculous homophobia in the GOP. He was not taking rape itself lightly.

    It is vital to understanding rape to know that there’s a difference between sex without consent (clearly rape) and sex without desire in order to obtain another goal (not-clearly rape). For example, prostitutes often have sex without desire — sometimes to the point that the prostite’s general sexual preference is for women but she has male customers — but I would not want to prosecute their partners for rape if the prostitute gave meaningful consent. You can give meaningful consent even if there’s a threat of violence, as long as the threat is against anonymous others (which is what is implied by a terrorist attack) and not against yourself or someone near to you. There’s a similar concern in prison sex, where many conservative prison reformers want to define all homosexual activity as “rape” in order to forbid and punish it. While rape in prison is horrible and epidemic, there also is sex between parties who desire one another, as well as between parties who consent but where one may be trying to obtain material goods in exchange for the sex — in essence, is prostituting himself. It doesn’t make sense to subsume that sex under the same label as rape. Cf. Alice Ristroph, http://spr.org/pdf/Sexual%20Punishments.pdf

  3. Mark says:

    PG,
    If one uses threat of violence against a mother’s children (or father’s) to to coerce sex, that’s clearly rape. And also clearly what’s implied here.

  4. PG says:

    A terrorist attack is a threat against the president’s children? I suppose it might be if the terrorist is threatening a city in which the president’s children live, but it’s a big assumption to make about David’s premises, and certainly not an assumption you stated in your criticism. Or do you mean it in the sense of “a threat of violence against any mother’s child”?

  5. Mark says:

    PG,
    I see, a mother’s children is privileged by association in a way in which a threat against the citizens in your district are not.

    Let me ask you this: If a woman is coerced into unwilling cooperation in a sexual encounter but those threatened are unrelated that’s not rape? For example, a bank robber takes hostages. No hostages know each other. He threatens to kill the other hostages if one does not perform sexual favors willingly for him. She submits. Is that rape?

    I say yes. You … apparently, do not.

  6. Mark says:

    PG,
    Sorry, I missed the “near” in your former remark. What does “near” mean? Why doesn’t it mean those in your town or district? Those for whom you have some notion of responsibility?

  7. PG says:

    If the threat is against persons for whom you have some notion of responsibility, I could see the threat as sufficiently emotionally coercive that you are being raped. However, if you are doing it out of a sense of largesse rather than responsibility (as in my example in the comment thread on David’s blog, re: my consenting to sex in order to prevent someone from raping another person), then no, I don’t think it’s rape.