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Waarden en seksualiteit

Voorkant Jakobsen-Pelegrini 'Love the sin - Sexual regulation and the limits of religious tolerance' Janet JAKOBSEN / Ann PELEGRINI
Love the sin - Sexual regulation and the limits of religious tolerance
New York etc.: New York University Press, 2003; 175 blzn.;
ISBN: 08 1474 2645

(ix) Acknowledgments

Voor beide auteurs is dit een nieuwe ervaring: samenwerken aan een boek. Het zijn blijkbaar mensen die allebei wilden werken aan de kwestie seksuele bevrijding in relatie tot religieuze bevrijding.

[Ik weet niet, hoor. Waarom zou je je met religie bezig houden? Ik verwacht weinig van religie waar het om seksuele bevrijding gaat. Ik verwacht hoe dan ook niets van religie. Te conservatief en dogmatisch voor bevrijding, denk ik. En hoe kun je mensen die zeggen in god te geloven hoe dan ook serieus nemen? Dit boek heeft een achtergrond in de Verenigde Staten.]

"In this book, we argue for the production of new values through various forms of intimacy [mijn nadruk]. These intimacies and the values they enable do not come from nowhere, but emerge in part out of social movements." (ix)

(1) Introduction - Why Religion, Why Sex

"Love the Sinner. Hate the Sin. This familiar catch-phrase seems to be the guide for thinking about a number of contemporary moral issues, particularly those having to do with sex. (...)
Love the sinner, hate the sin means that when Christians like Rev. Jerry Falwell or media personalities like Dr. Laura denounce homosexuality, they are not being hateful. They are simply taking a moral stand about a particular act or set of acts. In practice, however, love the sinner, hate the sin allows people to take positions that are punitive toward their fellow citizens, while at the same time experiencing themselves as being not simply ethical, but compassionate and even tolerant of difference.
Professions of tolerance mixed with stern moral judgments have become routine in American political life."(2)

[Herkenbaar. De zonde veroordelen en de zondaar niet lijkt inderdaad een nieuwe bemorele benadering. Maar natuurlijk is dat hypocriet. Dat is zoals Wilders praat: ik haat de Islam, niet de aanhangers ervan. Yeah right ... En zo doen de Amerikaanse christenen het blijkbaar ook. Pseudotolerantie is het.]

Beschreven wordt hier waarom de typisch christelijke moraal zo'n grote rol speelt in de wetgeving en de wetshandhaving van de VS, ondanks de gepretendeerde scheiding van kerk en staat, ook daar waar iemand niet gelovig is of een ander geloof heeft.

"But why in a country that prides itself on the disestablishment of religion should anyone’s notion of what counts as sin — and sin is a specifically theological category— be the basis of criminal law?"(2)


"One of the issues we raise in this book is how it has come to pass that Christian theological pronouncements have become so institutionalized in the official life of the nation that they can be taken for just good old American values. How is it that religion provides the backbone for much of state policy and law around sex? As we show, even the Supreme Court, the institution charged with maintaining the constitutional principle of church-state separation, seems to draw on theology as easily and as often as case law and precedent when rendering decisions that touch on sexual life and homosexual life in particular. This is why, even if you are not Christian and even if you are not particularly religious, you cannot escape the implications of particular interpretations of Christian morality. We need to recognize and confront the following paradox: In a country that proclaims religious freedom, citizens are judged (sometimes even by the highest court in the land) by the standards of a particular religious tradition. Why?
Supreme Court Justice Byron White says this is because “the law is constantly based on notions of morality.” And when it comes to morality in American public culture, in the end we’re almost always talking about religion."(3-4)

[Dat is erg, ja. Het is precies de onzin die ik ook graag bestrijd. Religie is niet de voedingsbodem van moraal, religies hanteren gewoon een bepaalde invulling van moraal, dat is alles. Moraal heeft principieel niets met religie te maken, is een eigen gebied waarin we heel goed kunnen bewegen zonder het ooit over religie te hebben. Het is schokkend dat de moraal van een enkele religie zo'n grote rol speelt in een samenleving dat ook mensen die niet religieus zijn of van een andere religie zijn er mee lasatig gevallen kunnen worden.]

De regulatie van seks grijpt in de VS op die manier terug op een enkele religie: het christendom.

"As we argue, these quintessential American assumptions about religion, values, and public life are crucially connected to sexuality and its regulation. The secular state’s interest in regulating sexuality is an interest in maintaining religious— specifically Christian—authority [mijn nadruk]. In cases concerning homosexuality, the Court refers directly to Christian religious tradition to support its position. The direct appeal to religion is all the more remarkable because the government does not fall back on religion as its primary rationale except when it comes to sex. That is, the state does not commonly call upon religion to justify or provide the final grounds for its decisions in other areas of law or policy."(4)

[Ja, en in andere landen is het de islam die de basis vormt of het hindoeïsme. Fraaie kritiek hier op de VS waar veel staten nog Bijbelse wetten hanteren tegen homsoseks, overspel, anticonceptie voor ongetrouwde personen, etc etc. Steeds staan het klassieke huwelijk en het klassieke gezin centraal.]

"Why does religion seem like the natural and appropriate basis for public policies concerning sex, but not for other ethically charged questions? Poverty, the death penalty, the exploitation of the earth’s resources, international trade policy—it is not as if these issues have no moral bearing. And yet religion is not the primary language for debating them. Why do the assumptions change when it comes to sex?"(5)

[Nou, wat dacht je van abortus, van euthanasie? Er zijn wel wat meer onderwerpen waarin religie meteen een grote rol toegedacht wordt.]

"This obsessive focus on sex was even extended in a little-known portion of the law that offered states millions of dollars in federal matching grants for sex education in public schools, but only on the condition that they make abstinence the exclusive aim of their sex education efforts. According to the 1996 federal guidelines, children are to be taught that “sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.” When the law came up for renewal in 2002, in addition to continuing funding for abstinence education, the Bush Administration also proposed a new funding initiative for marriage education in public schools. Why were either of these provisions part of a bill about changing the way that we as a society address poverty? What’s sex got to do with it?"(6)

Een en ander is gebaseerd op een overdreven belang dat aan seks gehecht wordt, seks wordt zo machtig gevonden dat het gereguleerd moet worden, in die zin van controleren en onderwerpen.

"This way of thinking about sex and its potentially destructive power serves to justify extensive regulations on sex and sexuality in the United States — regulations that otherwise seem at odds with the high value supposedly set on freedom in the United States. Sex is one area where this ideal of freedom does not seem to prevail. (Indeed, contemporary descriptions of the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s would have us believe that, if anything, there is too much sexual freedom in the United States.)
Sexual regulations are not just about sex. By regulating sex, the state attempts to regulate family life and American social relations more broadly. Through myriad regulations the state actually defines what counts as family."(6-7)

Maar waarom zou de staat moeten bepalen wat een gezin is? En dat alles binnen de privacy van het gezin is toegestaan is ook niet waar.

"Many consensual sexual acts, however, whether “homosexual” or “heterosexual,” undertaken by Americans in their own homes are actually illegal. Sodomy laws, for instance, cover a wide range of sexual activities between same-sex as well as cross-sex partners."(7)

"One of our fundamental concerns, then, is that promises of “freedom” and “privacy” — promises supposedly made to every American by virtue of being a citizen — are actually held out as rewards, not rights, and only to those who belong to the right kind of family. What kind of freedom is this when enjoyment of it requires subjection to narrow, exclusionary, and even sectarian understandings of who and what constitute family? This social contract really contracts, limiting the possibilities for freedom for all Americans."(9)

"We not only believe that worrying about sex becomes a way not to worry (or even think about) other pressing issues; we also believe that many common American concerns about sex are misplaced. We take sex and questions of sexual justice seriously, but we’re concerned that the way in which sex is usually argued about in public debates actually distracts from such fundamental questions. We advocate an alternative set of moral possibilities for valuing sex and valuing sex differently, even as we recognize that in many public debates about sex, some moral perspectives (the ones we are advancing, for instance) are ruled out in advance as no morality at all."(10-11)

"But why assume that morality in the public sphere is about moral agreement rather than moral debate? We do not object to having moral questions inform public debate, but we do object when morality is thought to mean religion, and only religion, and morality is thought to be singular rather than plural and open to debate.
Different religious traditions offer different ways of thinking about the good life, but one need not be a person of religious faith in order to be ethically engaged. Religion is one way of thinking about morality, but is not the measure of it. This might sound like an argument for stricter enforcement of church-state separation, but recognizing ethics that are distinct from religious views does not necessarily mean mandating public secularism, at least not in the ways the religion-secularism distinction is currently understood." [mijn nadruk](11)

"But recognizing secular morality as morality and giving it public weight do not necessarily demean religion or religious people; such public recognition adds another set of voices to an ongoing conversation."(11-12)

[Standpunten dus: Een niet-religieuze morele insteek is heel goed mogelijk zonder tegen religie te zijn; secularisme sluit religie niet uit; we hebben niets tegen religie op zich, religie hoeft niet tot een conservatieve politiek te leiden etc etc. Ik vraag me werkelijk af of dat zo'n geweldige benadering is. Waarom altijd zo voorzichtig met religie?]

"Just think of the rich history of progressive movements for African American civil rights that were grounded in the Black Church, the movements for economic justice grounded in the Catholic worker movement in the United States and Catholic base communities in Central America, the long-standing tradition of Jewish progressive politics, and the Quaker movements on behalf of abolition and against war. These social justice movements, their histories and achievements, should make clear that the entry of religion into politics and public life is not in and of itself conservative."(12)

[Het hangt er maar van af hoe ver je wilt kijken. Zo lang religies goden boven mensen stellen zal er ergens iets fout gaan in seculier denken, vanuit mensen denken.]

"Building on this insight, we are taking a different tack than those who argue simply for a stricter enforcement of the separation of church and state. We desire more public space for secularism, space that would recognize secularism as a legitimate moral stance. But we simultaneously desire more religious freedom [mijn nadruk] (which is not the same thing as advocating more religion). These two desires are neither mutually exclusive nor necessarily antagonistic. We want the freedom not to be religious and the freedom to be religious differently. And we want both these positions to count as the possible basis for moral claims and public policy. If the United States is to realize its claims regarding the free exercise of religion, then no single set of religious moral prescriptions (or proscriptions) can be the basis of public policy or national identity."(12-13)

De VS is in essentie christelijk zoals je ook ziet aan allerlei rituelen als een president die de eed aflegt etc.

"What does this mean for non-Christians or even for those who are Christian in another way? Under these circumstances, those who are different will always and only be “minorities” to be “tolerated” within the “general” American public. Dissenting ethical perspectives can be admitted to the public square only on the condition that they overlap in some way with this dominant framework. If there is insufficient overlap, these ethical counterclaims will be placed outside the realm of recognizable values. They simply are not values."(13)

"In short, for dissenting views to be heard currently, they have to speak the language of a consensus from which they are already excluded. The price of refusing to speak this common language is either not to be recognized at all or to be recognized only so as to be dismissed as an “extremist.” And for this we’re supposed to be grateful. Such are the limits of tolerance in America. What does it feel like to be on the receiving end of this tolerance? Does it really feel any different from contempt or exclusion? Can one actually love the sinner while hating the sin?"(14)

"We believe that the freedom to be different and act differently should not depend on whether or not an individual is “born that way.”
Our proposal to make religion the ground of sexual freedom, rather than the justification for sexual regulation, is not just an attempt to intervene in contemporary debates over homosexuality and gay rights. It also represents an attempt to rethink some important American values: religion and freedom. Accordingly, in chapter 4, “The Free Exercise of Sex,” we detail how and why religious freedom and sexual freedom in America are conjoined projects—or should be so linked."(16)

[Ik vind het maar een merkwaardige insteek. Waarom al die moeite doen voor religieuze vrijheid en voor seksuele vrijheid gebaseerd op een andere invulling van religie? Waarom hoe dan ook nog aandacht voor religie? Scheiding van kerk en staat moet simpelweg totaal doorgevoerd worden zodat religie iets wordt van individuele mensen in hun privésfeer waar anderen die niet religieus zijn op geen enkele manier mee te maken hoeven te hebben. Er mag in het publike domein ook geen moraal bepleit worden op basis van 'heilige boeken' als de bijbel of de koran. Alleen een seculiere moraal is daar toegestaan.]

(19) 1 - Getting religion

Praten over seks is in de VS praten over religie, waarbij seks ook nog eens als een moreel probleem wordt gezien. De secularisering daar heeft alleen in schijn de religie buiten de deur gezet: men praat er over 'moraal' maar vat die onnadenkend op als religieus. Het is een moraal gebaseerd op Protestantse religieuze ideeën over wat 'natuurlijke seks' is en wat niet. En de wetgevers daar gebruiken die moraal en die ideeën. Dit hoofdstuk beschrijft allerlei rechtszaken waaruit dat blijkt.

"One of the most puzzling, yet persistent, features of public life in the United States is how quickly talking about sex turns into talking about religion and, conversely, how quickly talking about religion turns into talking about sex."(19)

"The claim that sex is inherently “trouble” is a baseline of American public discourse about sex. According to this view, sex by its very nature is so morally fraught as always to require a chaperone. We certainly do not dispute the immense symbolic weight that sexual practices and identities carry in the contemporary moment. We want to ask, however, why this is the case. Why sex? Why religion?"(19-20)

"Contemporary conversations about sex and sexual values in the United States are often impeded by these linked assumptions: sex is a problem, and a moral problem at that; it has always been a problem; religion is the solution. We disagree. These assumptions ultimately misrecognize both sex and ethics, seeing one as always and everywhere a problem for the other. Sex is no more a “problem” that requires solving than religion is the necessary solution."(20)

"In the United States, these moral rules are often enforced by the state. Religion continues to supply the rationale for the state regulation of sexuality. At first glance, this might seem like a startling claim. After all, the United States is supposed to be a secular society, organized on the principle of church-state separation. And yet, religion — specifically Christianity — shapes legislation, public policy, and even jurisprudence around sex. One of the reasons religion can continue to operate this way, even in the face of the official doctrine of church-state separation, is that the assumptions that underlie sexual regulation are so deeply embedded that people no longer recognize them as being derived from religious thought."(21)

"In the particular case of the United States, the dominant framework for morality is not simply “religious” or even “Christian,” but is specifically Protestant."(22)

"Sodomy laws are a fascinating example of this forgetfulness in action. On the one hand, in enforcing sodomy laws, the secular state is enforcing specifically religious ideas about “natural” and “unnatural” sexual acts and appetites. On the other hand, the secular state understands itself to be doing so not in the name of religion per se, but in the cause of a universal morality. And yet, time and again particular religious interpretations provide the state’s last best defense for its policies concerning sex."(22)

"As we shall see, when it comes to homosexuality at least, often what the

[Supreme] Court dispenses is not justice but religion."(23)

"Heteronormativity is not synonymous with heterosexuality. There are forms of heterosexual practice (“polygamy,” for example) that are not heteronormative. Heteronormativity describes the moral and conceptual centrality of heterosexuality in contemporary American life. The Court’s interest in upholding heteronormativity obliged it to overlook or wish away non-normative heterosexuality of the sort practiced by the Does—and by many other self-identified heterosexuals too."(28)

"On the one hand, in Romer, the Court held that homosexuals cannot be denied the equal protection of the law simply on the basis of who they are. On the other, because Hardwick remains in force, “homosexual conduct” is still grounds for arrest in sixteen states."(36)

"In the end, for Scalia the “traditional” moral condemnation of homosexuality is strong enough that it is constitutionally acceptable to curtail the political activity of not just homosexuals but anyone who would advocate gay rights. Not only are the “traditional sexual mores” Scalia defends ultimately those of the Christian tradition, but their defense is undertaken in terms that have historically been used to enforce Christian dominance in the United States."(41)

(45) 2 - What's Wrong with Tolerance

Tolerantie is vaak in strijd met met vrijheid en rechtvaardigheid. Met andere woorden: Iemands gedrag tolereren is niet hetzelfde als iemand de vrijheid en het recht te geven om dat gedrag te hebben. Het feit dat je groepen niet vervolgt of criminaliseert en er ruimte voor laat betekent nog niet dat je die groepen dezelfde rechten geeft als de dominante groep. Een analyse van de media / de journalistiek verduidelijkt dat.

"Tolerance is supposed to be a sign of openness and a wedge against hate; but in practice it is exclusionary, hierarchical, and ultimately nondemocratic. Tolerance is certainly an improvement over hate, but it is not the same thing as freedom. Paradoxically, tolerance is at once un-American and the most American thing of all.
The history of tolerance in the United States, like the history of sexual regulation, is inseparable from the history of religion."(45)

"Most conventional histories of the Reformation and its aftermath understand the “wars of religion” to have been resolved through the development of religious tolerance. But this tolerance, from its inception, was quite limited. For example, in England, the Established Church was (and remains) a Protestant church, the Church of England. The “Toleration Act” of 1689 removed certain legal penalties against those Protestants who dissented from the Church of England, and it ended the requirement that all British subjects subscribe to the articles of faith of the Church of England. Crucially, however, the Act did not protect non-Protestant dis- senters from persecution. Catholics and Jews, Muslims and atheists, were all outside the bounds of official tolerance. Although the boundaries of toleration have been expanded over time, the Church of England remains the established and official faith of England.(...) So, for example, while Quakers were no longer in danger of eradication by persecution (as long as they registered as non-conformists), they were still exempt from holding local, civic or national offices which were still protected by statutory tests of conscience.” In other words, the civic peace that religious tolerance was supposed to achieve institutes a hierarchy. After all, being allowed to live in peace (being “no longer in danger of eradication”), and being a free and equal member of society are two different things. [mijn nadruk]"(46)

"The American principles of religious freedom were supposed to overcome these limits of toleration. In principle, religious freedom provides for the equal treatment of different faiths — there is no established church, and all religions are free to practice as they please. But this ideal of religious freedom has never really been enacted in the United States. On matters of religion, the United States has two conflicting self-understandings: that this is a nation of religious freedom and equality, and that this is a basically Christian nation. Thus, in practice, life in the United States has proven to be much more like the situation in Britain than our national mythology implies. If tolerance marks a space of well-defined hierarchy like that between the Church of England and other religious faiths in Britain, what is the place of tolerance in a society that is supposedly based on the free and equal participation of all citizens?"(47)

"Despite the fact that Penn established Pennsylvania on the basis of religious tolerance in 1682, seven years before the British Act of Toleration, he too offered only a narrow version of tolerance — one in which only Christian men could vote. In the American colonies as well, religious toleration was only offered to various versions of Christianity (sometimes failing to include Catholics); toleration did not apply to those who were not Christian, most notably American Indians and non-Christian Africans."(47)

"To be sure, the boundaries of tolerance have expanded; Jews, Muslims, and even atheists are included within the circle of those who are to be tolerated in America. Nonetheless, the basic structures of difference and hierarchy established by religious tolerance continue powerfully to affect American social relations. There are still those in America who are central and those who are marginal, but tolerated. One can technically be a citizen and yet not be treated as a full member of American society, and the dangers are redoubled for those who are not citizens but are placed in categories like “resident alien” and “illegal alien.”"(49)

"It can be quite dangerous to be offered tolerance rather than full membership in American public life.
As was the case with the “wars of religion,” tolerance is often advocated as the response to this type of hateful, eradicating violence. However, in our view, contemporary secularized tolerance is as inadequate a response to hatred and violence as was (and is) religious tolerance. Freedom and equality, rather than tolerance and hierarchy, are the appropriate response to social differences in a democratic society."(50)

"Whenever “we” are asked to tolerate those “others,” this same center-margins relationship comes into play. If “Americans” are asked to tolerate “homosexuals,” it means that at some level homosexuals are not fully Americans. Being the object of tolerance does not represent full inclusion in American life, but rather a grudging form of acceptance in which the boundary between “us” and “them” remains clear, sometimes dangerously so. This boundary is also elevated to a mark of moral virtue. The tolerant are generous and open-minded even as they are exclusionary. How can a tolerance that depends on defining someone as an outsider be the opposite of hate? To teach tolerance is to teach precisely the type of us- them relationship upon which hate thrives. Teaching tolerance, then, cannot be the answer to hate and excessive violence, nor can tolerance adequately address other forms of social division."(52)

"Framing our public discussions in terms of tolerance versus hate makes it seem as though the major problem we confront as a nation is one of misplaced feelings rather than problematic social relations. [mijn nadruk] Tolerance is supposed to remedy a specific feeling (hate) or disposition (bias). This form of response personalizes and decontextualizes a larger issue, disconnecting feelings or biases from both structures of power and the everyday enactments of those power relations."(60)

[Heel goed gezien.]

"What does it mean for those who have been minoritized that they must either identify with the “general public” (by whom they are only tolerated) or risk various forms of violence if they persist in their difference? The choices are rather stark: (1) assimilation to dominant norms, which may or may not provide protection and which certainly does not offer the freedom to be different; or (2) activism to change the structure of the general public — an activism that puts one at risk of being labeled an “extremist.” What’s so scary about difference? And what’s so scary about activism? Isn’t it part of democracy?"(67)

"Being the object of tolerance does not represent full inclusion in American life, but rather a form of acceptance in which the boundary between us and them remains clear. We see this us-them boundary drawn and redrawn in so many different contexts."(68)

(75) 3 - Not Born That Way

Je kunt niets doen aan dat je zwart etc. bent (je raskenmerken). Kun je wel iets doen aan dat je homoseksueel bent? Veel homo's en gelijkgestemden zeggen: 'Nee, we zijn zo geboren, het is niet alleen maar gedrag, het is niet iets van milieu.' Onderliggende vraag is dus of je een keuze hebt. Conservatieven zeggen van wel en in de VS zijn dat meestal protestantse christenen. Volgt een analyse van advertenties tegen en voor rechten voor homoseksuelen etc. Met als conclusie onder andere dat groepen als homoseksuelen geen speciale rechten nodig hebben, maar gewoon de rechten die eidereen heeft.

"Certainly, the issue of homosexual conduct cannot be sidestepped if we are interested in the freedom not simply to be gay, but the freedom to “do” gay. In this chapter we’ll explore why lesbian and gay advocates so often frame their arguments in such narrow terms. As we will show, the dominant ways of arguing for “gay rights” do not simply offer limited and limiting models for sexual freedom, but they also pose real risks for social justice, including racial justice.
Opponents of lesbian and gay rights have overwhelmingly depicted homosexuality as a behavior-based identity, as a lifestyle choice only, and a bad choice at that. Proponents of lesbian and gay rights have responded by portraying homosexual identity as innate, in some way rooted in an individual’s essential nature."(76)

"As literary scholar Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick points out, the claim that homosexuality is immutable — unchangeable — is frequently motivated by a desire to “insulat

[e]” gay and lesbian identity from “societal interference,” moral condemnation, and even eradication. The “born that way” argument is not simply a matter of political strategy or convenience; it is also a sincerely held view. Many gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people would describe their identities as inborn, something they were aware of from a very young age. At a minimum, they would say that they could not be other than who and what they are."(76-77)

"We also believe the “born that way” approach has serious, even dangerous, limitations."(77)

"In light of this, we urge a shift in focus away from the content of particular propositions about homosexuality to the way these propositions circulate and operate culturally. In practice, this redirection is a caution against trying to out-reason and out-exegete homophobia, as if falsifying homophobic pronouncements were sufficient to assure equal rights, civility, or even grudging “tolerance.”"(89)

"The temptation to play “the Bible game” will be strong. But turning to what the Bible “really” says about homosexuality reasserts the cultural authority of the Bible and the political pro- nouncements of its interpreters.(...) What we are objecting to is allowing “the” Bible to frame public discussions of sexuality."(89)

[Prima opvatting.]

"Like race, homosexuality is unchosen, and just as it is illegal to discriminate on the (unchosen) basis of race, so too should it be illegal to discriminate on the (unchosen) basis of sexual orientation. Or so the argument goes. But these legal strategies in which homosexuality is analogized to race so as to assert the immutability of homosexuality have failed miserably in the courts."(92)

"Born that way” arguments, then, do not give us strong grounds for protecting conduct, whether that conduct be associated with gender, race, and/or sexuality. Additionally, there are good historical reasons for objecting to born that way arguments. As noted above, grounding racial and sexual difference in nature has more often worked in the service of discrimination, rather than against it. We should not forget that both slavery and racial segregation (in other words, some of the most painful experiences in the history of the United States) were defended on the grounds of nature. The idea that sex differences are natural has been no less pernicious for women.
Nor do we need to settle the question of what part (if any) of race, sex, and sexuality is biological. This is because biological difference is not itself the issue; the problem is the way that biology is mapped onto moral distinction, a mapping that ends up turning difference into a matter of superiority and inferiority. In our view, biological arguments should not be the basis for antidiscrimination ordinances. We need to develop persuasive accounts for the value, rather than mere toleration, of difference. [mijn nadruk](96)

"We believe a strong case can be made for linking race, sex, and sexuality. Rather than depending on dubious appeals to innate differences, we argue for the positive value of freedom with regard to social difference. By eschewing a reliance on biology, it is possible to connect rights to freedom, thereby expanding the reach of movements that are now narrowly focused on gay “rights.” This move would allow us to make alliances with African American civil rights movements, which have historically worked as freedom movements, without being dependent on the problematic “like race analogy.”
We make this shift by switching from the current legal framework, with its focus on nondiscrimination, to one based on the free exercise of religion promised in the First Amendment.(...)
We want first to explore the implications of shifting from a paradigm of race to a paradigm of religion."(98)

"To require that homosexuals change or “convert” to heterosexuality in order to receive the full rights of citizenship is to compel sexual orthodoxy. And it is not simply that this sexual orthodoxy (heteronormativity) is akin to religious orthodoxy; it is an expression of a particular religious orthodoxy."(100)

[Ik begrijp opnieuw niet waarom de auteurs op p.97 naar een paradigma van de vrije uitoefening van religie willen. Maar het lijkt iets te maken te hebben met de grondwet van de VS, in casu met het eerste amendement op de Constitutie - 'protection for' en 'protection from' religie. Omdat de beoordeling van seksualiteit, bijvoorbeeld van homoseksualiteit, in de VS gekoppeld wordt aan een typisch christelijke religieuze orthodoxie, haalt zij de vrijheid van religie en het eerste amandement erbij om die orthodoxie te bestrijden en seksualiteit te bevrijden.
Wat een onzinnige weg eigenlijk. Waarom niet de vrijheid van godsdienst opheffen en alle religie bestrijden? Waarom hebben conservatieve religieuze gelovigen recht op hun visie en het uiten daarvan via advertenties? En ook al waren alle religies het met elkaar eens over dat homoseksualiteit niet mag, dat is alleen van belang als religie als morele woordvoerder zou mogen optreden. Maar dat mogen ze niet van mij en zouden ze van niemand moeten mogen. Religie is niet het fundament van moraal, is geen rationele afweging van zaken over wat goed of verkeerd is etc.]

(103) 4 - The Free Exercise of Sex

Het gaat dus niet om (theoretische) rechten, het gaat om de praktijk, om de vrijheid niet alleen om homo te zijn, maar ook om homoseksualitit uit te oefenen. Er is in de VS maar één constitutioneel beschermde vrijheid als praktijk: het recht om een religie uit te oefenen. Vandaar de insteek om via religie te laten zien wat vrijheid van seks betekent.

"Rethinking sexual freedom in terms of practices rather than those of the overarching enlightenment narratives of liberation, is a major project. Is it really possible to practice freedom in the American context? In this chapter, we turn to a constitutionally protected freedom that specifically names practice — the free exercise of religion. We are bringing together homosexuality and religion not because we want to make hard and fast claims about what it is to be religious or to be gay, but because we want to refocus public attention on practices of freedom."(103)

[Ik vind het maar een omweg. Bovendien maak je religie zo impliciet belangrijk.]

"Free exercise means that the state should not (at least not without a compelling interest) make it difficult or impossible for any person to practice his or her religion. In other words, the state should not force any person to practice any religion, nor should the state block a person from practicing any religion."(104)

"One of the reasons that there is so little religious freedom in the United States is that we do not have genuine disestablishment; as we have seen, Christianity is the de facto established state religion. The United States practices a form of religious toleration that is not all that different from the toleration offered by the state churches of Europe, even though this limited and limiting religious toleration is what American religious freedom was supposed to overcome. Nonetheless, Christianity (specifically Protestantism) has been the religion of the land, enacted through American history in everything from prayer in public schools to the religious identifications of the president."(104)

"In the United States, heterosexuality is also a de jure established sexuality. Heterosexuality is privileged in federal and state laws, from immigration to taxation to healthcare. Disestablishing heterosexuality and its privileges would represent a major social transformation, a transformation that is necessary if we are to move beyond sexual toleration to sexual freedom."(105)

"For example, when a heterosexual office worker puts up photographs of his wife and kids or talks to fellow workers about what he and his family did over the weekend, no one accuses him of flaunting his sexual life. But the lesbian who tells her colleagues about what she did over her weekend, and with whom, may well be accused of drawing unnecessary attention to her sex life. (In most U.S. states, she can even be fired for this “flaunting.”) Although many gay men and lesbians might settle, Garbo-like, for being left alone, we advocate a more expansive view of freedom, one that contests the public-private distinction so dear to liberalism."(106)

"Being able to be “out” and not having to worry about being attacked, arrested, or fired is one version of “freedom of assembly.” By being out, we do not mean elaborate gay pride parades and festivals, but rather a range of seemingly innocuous activities that are unremarkable when performed by same-race heterosexual couples — such as holding hands, making out in a car, registering at a hotel, having dinner at a candlelit restaurant."(106)

"Our conception of religious freedom is based on holding together both dis- establishment and free exercise. Accordingly, if we are to base a claim to sexual freedom on an analogy to religious freedom that lives up to the ideals of the First Amendment of the Constitution, then once again we would need to follow both principles. That is, we would need to disestablish sexuality (get government out of the business of regulating sexuality) and have the right to take up public space in which freely to exercise sexual difference. (This freedom to exercise sexual difference must also include the freedom to choose celibacy, but this is a far cry from abstinence-only education.)"(116)

"From tax relief and inheritance rights to preferential treatment in immigration cases, state-sanctioned heterosexuality confers a host of material benefits and rewards. And all this is in addition to the heterosexual couple’s symbolic role as the nation’s anchor, with the heterosexual family representing the body politic on a smaller scale. In response, Duggan playfully—but seriously—suggests a new disestablishmentarianism. But the “state religion” that would be disestablished is “the religion of heteronormativity”. The rhetorical value of such a move is that it highlights the embeddedness of heteronormativity in the state."(122)

(125) 5 - Valuing sex

'Making sex' wordt gesteld tegenover 'making love', omdat je heel goed seks kunt hebben zonder liefde en dus ook waarden en normen kunt hebben alleen en specifiek voor seks. De conservatieve reactie in de VS op seks is: moet gereguleerd worden vanuit de (christelijke) moraal. Progressieven zeggen daarentegen: vermijdt dwingende regulatie via de moraal. De auteurs stellen daar tegenover: beide benaderingen zijn fout.

"What does it mean to take sex seriously as a site for the production of values? Sexual relations are human relations, and the activity of making sex forges these relations. We use the language of “making sex” (rather than “making love”) because, as we stated in the previous chapter, we don’t think that the value of sex necessarily depends upon whether the people involved are in love. But even more fundamentally, we believe that there is no one act or set of acts that con- stitutes “sex” — there are as many ways to make sex as there are people. “Making sex” better captures the agency and the imagination involved in sexual relations than does the term “having sex.” This agency is ethical agency, which involves how we relate to each other — sexually and otherwise."(127)

"If it’s difficult for many Americans to imagine moral possibilities that are not ultimately grounded in religious claims, this problem becomes even more acute when it comes to sex. When sex is construed as the problem and religion as the solution, there is little room to think about sex itself as a kind of ethical relation and still less room to think about sex as a practice of freedom."(128)

"Objections to our argument can come from two different directions. One set of objections, commonly heard in contemporary public discourse, comes from those (usually sexual conservatives) who think that sexuality requires regulation and that such regulation is a moral imperative. Another set of objections comes from progressives who worry that any use of the language of values will necessarily result in some form of coercive regulation. Perhaps surprisingly, our response to these two sets of critics is similar: Not all uses of the language of values are the same; not all ethics are geared toward regulation."(129)

"Conservatives are often used to rattling off a litany of harms that are attendant to sexual freedom (harms that could be ascribed equally to heterosexuality and homosexuality). Yet, in this honor roll of horrors, conservatives rarely offer any explanation as to why sexual freedom is the height of immorality and selfishness, while other types of freedom — political and economic freedom, for example, or freedom of speech and thought — are not only expressions of high moral principles, but are, in fact, the central values of the American nation. Conservatives point to the putative consequences of sexual freedom: unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, AIDS, broken homes, children without fathers (and from there it is a short slide to poverty and crime). Compare this to discussions of economic and political freedom: here, any argument about consequences is deemed irrelevant. For example, freedom of speech is so important, conservatives argue, that it must be protected regardless of consequences (unless, of course, the speech in question is sexual speech). Even hate speech must be protected, regardless of the harm inflicted on individuals or the damage done to the community as a whole."(129-130)

"We believe that sexual freedom is not a frivolous question. Like the other American freedoms (freedom of conscience and freedom of speech), sexual freedom is a value worth protecting. Sexual freedom is the freedom to form human relationships. This is why sexual freedom should not be dismissed as mere self- indulgence, for which it is often mistaken."(130)

"Nonetheless, time and again sexual preferences or tastes have become the object of intense moral scrutiny and sanction. To counter the breathtaking moral terms in which sex and especially differences in sexual taste are so often cast, Rubin (along with other theorists like David M. Halperin) has proposed that sexual taste, like taste in food, should be considered a nonmoral — not immoral or amoral, but nonmoral — question of human difference. We don’t make moral judgments about whether individuals in U.S. society prefer spicy or mild food; similarly we should not make judgments about whether individuals prefer spicy or mild sex."(136)

"Of course, as soon as one says that sexual appetite is an appetite akin to that for food, the objection arises, but what if one’s sexual appetites just happen to include a desire for sex with children?"(136)

"Marriage effectively creates a two-tier system that allows the state to regulate relationships. Why should anyone have to submit her or his consensual relationships to the state for either recognition or regulation? Why should some consensual ways of doing intimacy and family get the stamp of state approval and others not?"(142)

"To repeat: the state should not and need not be in the business of endorsing any particular familial form (and then calling it “the family”). The state should be neutral with regard to familial form. However, this disestablishment in no way requires the state to withdraw from its important supporting role in providing the necessary means of sustenance — healthcare, child care, ensuring a living wage, adequate housing — for its citizens ..."(143)

"One of the reasons to protect and promote freedom is that freedom allows for the development of moral alternatives. These alternatives are part of the social good that freedom brings into the world and can help realize the “rich relational world” dreamed of by Foucault."(144)

(149) Conclusion - Open endings, Dreaming America

"The tolerance of “love the sinner, hate the sin” is antidemocratic. Democracy has to mean more than coercive homogeneity. For those who are the measure of the norm there’s no great problem because their values form the center of public life and national identity; but for those who are in any way different from this dominant identity — whether in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, physical ability, religion, citizenship, politics, or ethics (in other words, a lot of people) — to be included in the dream of America requires setting aside, hiding, or bracketing what makes them different in the first place."(149)

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