Sunday, August 28, 2005

I'm Erect. Why Aren't You Erect?

A victory for the forces of lechery and turpitude:
A new state law banning seminude lap dances at Missouri strip clubs was declared unconstitutional by a judge Friday, two days before it was to go into effect.

Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan said provisions of the law violate First Amendment protections and state constitutional limits on amending a bill beyond its original purpose.

"The state may not limit persons of majority age from engaging in lawful expressive conduct protected by the 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution without a substantial and direct connection to adverse secondary effects, a showing that has not been made," Callahan said in the declaratory judgment.

Under the law, signed in July by Gov. Matt Blunt, seminude lap dances would have been banned and dancers would have had to stay at least 10 feet from each other. Customers would have faced misdemeanor charges for tucking money into a dancers' G-strings, and the minimum age for dancers and customers would have risen from 19 to 21.


The attorney general's office said it was reviewing the judge's decision and didn't yet know what actions it might take.

Hey, I've got an action you might take. How about not fucking worrying about people's sex lives?

The big difference between the very religious -- no, scratch that, the very moralistic -- and those who aren't is that those of us who aren't don't spend every waking hour worried about what the hell other consenting adults are doing and how it offends their weak, oversensitive Gawd.

This spills over into everything having to do with sex, sexuality, and childbirth: women's rights, the abortion debate, contraception, stem-cell research, explicit scenes in video games, the flash of a breast on national TV, "dirty words". And, bluntly, all this noise, all this time, all this money, all this anguish and angst and recrimination and in many cases hatred spent on such topics gets in the way of doing actual, y'know, good.

Let me spell it out more concretely. Because their God wants all children born, moral people would force women to bear every child conceived. It doesn't matter if the child has potentially life-threatening birth defects, if the mother can't afford it, if it would disrupt her career, if she is carrying the child of her rapist... all that matters is the actual birth. After that, the moral people couldn't give a shit what happens to the kid.

Because their God tells them that every embryo is a full human life, moral people would block embryonic stem-cell research with the potential to help millions of people with all manner of medical problems. And we're talking about embryos that would otherwise be thrown away. Nope, nope, nope -- Baby Jesus weeps for them all.

Because their God tells them that anything mentioning sex in any way besides as something sinful, moral people believe all forms of contraception, aside from abstinence, are bad. Unfortunately, humanity has a pretty intense sex drive hotwired in. This means that people, especially young people who don't know better, have sex without knowledge or protection. This means more children are born, more diseases are sexually transmitted, more young lives are derailed by the bearing and raising of children they are not emotionally, intellectually, or financially ready for.

In this particular case, because God tells them that sex and sexuality are wrong, moral people would outlaw lap dancing. I'm sure they'd say it's directly connected with prostitution; perhaps it even is.

Big Yip. That's another discussion for another day, but, briefly, I haven't got much of a problem with prostitution, either, at least not conceptually. The reality of it, i.e., pimps, STDs, and the emotional harm it can inflict on families, are pretty awful; but the concept of someone being paid to provide a service, in this case physical pleasure, is practically the backbone of our economy these days.

How much is the state of Missouri spending on pursuit of this, that they aren't spending on crime prevention?

If there is a God with a massive Hell waiting for all sinners after they die, and He's really all that concerned about lap dances, then let Him take care of it.

Huzzah! Yay for the judge, and thanks for pointing this out.

One nitpick: you were correct the first time you said "moralistic" -- and then you went and said "moral" all the rest of the way down the line. I'd have stayed with "-istic" 'cause, you know, some of us nonwingnuts are moral folks. We don't kill. We don't rape, or twist our kids' minds with tales of Hell, or even steal the change our coworkers leave lying around :-)

Not that we don't fantasize about it :-D

And hey, I like the idea of a national Lap Dances for Jesus campaign. Buttons, bumper stickers... :-D
I did consider it, for exctly the reasons you mention. I even was gonna launch into a whole diatribe differentiating morals and ethics. In a lot of ways, the word "moral" has been diluted and twisted as much as "liberal" has been. People who make bold public claims about "morality" tend to mean "we've got religion and you don't". Some of them have gone as far as to ask, "Well, if there isn't a Heaven or Hell, what's to keep you from, say, committing mass murder?" At which point I [a] mention my many ethical reasons for not doing so, and [b] shudder that fear of an Invisible Sky Superhero is all that's keeping some of these whackjobs from killing people.
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