Jeff Walton is Communications Manager for the Institute on Religion & Democracy and directs the Anglican program. He graduated in 2001 from Seattle Pacific University and is a member of Restoration Anglican Church in Arlington, VA.
By Rick Plasterer
The long standing sympathy of the religious left with Muslim activist groups, radical Muslim states such as Iran, and laws and policies, in particular restrictions on speech, which restrict classical freedoms in the name of combating prejudice, is part of the political and cultural landscape in the Western world. It is certainly one of the strangest alliances imaginable, between westerners committed to realizing Enlightenment ideals of life based on reason and personal and social liberation on the one hand, and on the other, militant components of a pre-Enlightenment religion committed to a theism of absolute divine monarchy and enforcing that monarchy in society at large. In particular, acceptance and advocacy for the sexual revolution is a major, perhaps even the most important, aspect of liberation theology as advanced in churches in Europe and America. Included in the revolution is both acceptance of sexual activities traditionally thought to be immoral (fornication, adultery, and sodomy), and the replacement of hierarchical relations between the sexes with sexual egalitarianism. More generally, liberationist thought seeks to diminish or eliminate punishment as a response to misbehavior or a means of social control. Yet this is one of the strongest contradictions between Islamist groups and liberationist movements.
The degree of contradiction can be seen in the willingness of Islamic societies to enforce their sexual mores. The actual use of punishment for consensual adult sexual crimes in the West was abandoned years before the more general social and legal abandonment of sexual morality. The aggressive legal drive to normalize homosexuality is now prompting changes in the law itself to penalize opposition to the sexual revolution, as legal scholar Robert George noted more than a year ago.
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