James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sexually Mature, Emotionally Mature

It is one thing to have sex with children who are not sexually mature. What about those who are sexually mature, but not considered "emotionally" mature enough to give their consent?

Who's to say they're not emotionally mature, the dominant culture and the laws of the State that the dominant culture produces? What if they're part of a subculture in which physical and emotional maturity coalesce at the same time? In which marriage and the responsibilities of marriages are expected in the teenage years? Why is that culture warped, whereas the culture in which teenagers are treated as "too immature" for sex despite their impulses, and thus do become "too immature" for sex, is assumed to be "normal?"

In The Nativity Story Joseph was depicted as an established, respected adult, whereas Mary was 14 or 15. Their betrothal was considered normal for the time, and Protestants, at least, consider Joseph, this "pedophile," to be a righteous man who is the earthly father/mentor of The Lord Jesus Christ.

(As I understand it, Catholics, apparently, believe that Joseph and Mary never did get it on even after Jesus's birth, because they consider Mary a perpetual virgin and that allusions to Jesus's brothers is a translation that could be interpreted as cousins. This page is vague concerning what this meant for Joseph.)

Christians dismiss this marrying of younger teenage girls as "the culture of the time." It was alright for the earthly father/mentor of The Lord to crave underage girls, but that was way back then. Morals are different today, even though Christians are normally the first to claim that morals are timeless and universal.

So if a religious sect tries to recreate the culture and values that prevailed where Jesus Christ was born, what do these same believers in Jesus Christ do? They (or at least American Christians) would have those people arrested, because in today's culture, sex with "underage" teenage girls is about the most evil thing they can imagine. Torturing Iraqi civilians is okay for them, but a sect in which 15 year-old girls get married? That's inexcusable (except, apparently, for Joseph, earthly father/mentor of Jesus).

I don't want teenage girls to marry. I don't like polygamy. The wives at the El Dorado sect that I've seen are more brain-dead and creepier than the Stepford Wives. I wouldn't want to be a part of that culture, or see children raised there.

But there are lots of cultures that I think are damaging to children. That doesn't mean I have the right to intervene. They're not my children. I believe all custodial rights over children belong to their mothers, and the only reasons to strip mothers of their rights is abuse or neglect. Following a "wrong" or "abusive" belief system doesn't rise to that level. If you think polygamous Mormons should have their rights stripped because of their belief system, perhaps I think you should, too, if I think your belief system is also abusive. Whatever argument you make, you are guilty of the same allegations by somebody else. If you say somebody who makes more money than you is greedy, than I can say the same about you if I make less money than you do. Likewise, if you believe these Fundamentalist Mormon views are quirky, extreme, and dangerous, than I, too could make the same charge against your religious beliefs if I believe they will be similarly dangerous to the status quo.

If the mother is one of many wives, or if the mother has many husbands, that is none of the State's business. If physically immature children are used for sex or in sex rituals, I could see State intervention. But the fact that sexually mature young women in a sub-culture are getting married - at the age they expect to get married by their teachings and upbringing - doesn't seem to me to be a "crime." Especially in a southern state where most people are Christian, and the girls of this sect are marrying at the same approximate age that by all accounts was the age that Mary was betrothed to Joseph.

If "Bible-believing" Christians concede that Mary was just a young girl, and was still young when the marriage to Joseph was consummated, who are they to judge others who today believe it is right and natural for sexually mature young women to get married? Indeed, it seems to me that it is more screwed up to design different ages for sexual maturity and emotional maturity. That might be what we have in this day and age, but it doesn't seem natural. God creates sexual impulses at one age, the maturity to handle them at another age - that is screwed up. Sects and cults that try to right this wrong should probably be encouraged, not obliterated. Otherwise, we will only raise the next generation to be even more sexually neurotic than we are already.

In any case, the initial call against this Fundamentalist Mormon compound appears to be a hoax. So let the children return to their mothers. Children shouldn't be ripped from their mothers to accommodate some aberrant Victorian rule about the "appropriate" age to get married.

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