Consider: Sundance Film Festival accepted a film showing men having sex with horses. Reviewers called the film “surprisingly tasteful” and “elegant, eerily lyrical.” The horses’ opinions were not reported. This “delightful” little film was based on a man who died of a perforated colon after having receptive sex with a horse. Karma?
Many people see nothing wrong with filming a “documentary” about humans having sex with animals. After all, we’re just animals, aren’t we? What’s wrong with one animal having sex with another? Let me count the ways!
In an effort to eliminate stigma, bestiality was renamed zoöphilia, and deleted from the DSM-5, the diagnostic manual for psychiatrists and psychologists. If therapists feel that zoöphilia needs treatment, they can include it under “other disorder.” If not, they can fob it off as a normal variant. We wouldn’t want to be “judgmental.”
Many also see nothing wrong with the premier of a movie at the Sundance Film Festival showing 12 year old Dakota Fanning being violently raped. The rape scene, no matter how it’s spun, is disturbing and unsettling in fictional terms. In real life, though, it’s creepier to think that Dakota’s parents considered this a scene that was appropriate for their daughter.
An exhibition open to children showed imported human corpses skinned, dissected, and covered with plastic. The bodies are not accompanied by death certificates and may have been dissidents executed in China for all we know. But no one protests – not human-rights advocates, not clergy, not physicians, not medical examiners, not police.
There are many ways to characterize America today, but one of the most meaningful is to note the absence of anything sacred.
Congress restored funding to the National Endowment for the Arts, despite its sponsoring photographs of a man with a bullwhip in his anus, a man urinating into another man’s mouth, a nude little boy, and a little girl with her skirt revealing her genitalia. Another photo, titled “Piss Christ,” showed a crucifix submerged in urine, while a painting depicted the Virgin Mary decorated with dung.
Unlike paintings, photos require real children posed as they are depicted, and a real crucifix in urine. People were outraged to see their tax dollars used to insult their deeply held beliefs. Indeed, the golden light outlining the crucifix could just as well have been produced by honey, and the photo titled “Sweet Jesus.” The motive of the “artist” seems painfully clear – to insult Christians. He has that right under the First Amendment, but he does not have a right to have his “art” funded and exhibited at taxpayers’ expense.
It was no accident that the “artists” included both degradation of the human form and desecration of a religious symbol.
If the human form has no special meaning, neither may the human being. Abortion on demand has taught us that even a full-term baby is not legally a “person” and can be murdered with impunity. Yet we claim to be shocked, shocked, when a pregnant teen tosses her newborn baby into the trash.
If the very young risk being dehumanized, so do the old or disabled. Remember Jack Kevorkian, a pathologist and euthanasia activist? Most of his “patients” were women, and several had disabling but not fatal conditions. What does that say about our regard for the disabled or life in general? “I’d rather be dead than disabled” easily becomes “You should be dead.” If you doubt this, Google “Terri Schiavo+vegetable” and see how many hits you get.
Much has been said about what is wrong with health care, education, and criminal justice. Distrust of politicians and lawyers is rampant. Each of these fields has its own problems, but there is a common thread. Avaricious doctors, unconcerned teachers, corrupt politicians, and deceitful lawyers all share a lack of respect for their professions and their fellow humans
In the past, most people grew up in religious homes. Even if they later became irreligious, they often retained the idea that some things are sacred. Now many grow up without learning that anything is sacred. How can they appreciate the significance of a marriage certificate, a contract, or an oath of office, much less a handshake? What is to prevent them from thinking, “How can I get out of this?” rather than “How can I stick to it?” And when they say something, even under oath, what is to prevent them from thinking, “How can I hide the truth?”
People eventually tire of seeing their taxes used to insult their deepest held beliefs. They tire of seeing additional categories of human life declared less than human. They tire of lawyers and politicians using language as an octopus uses ink – to confuse and conceal. They tire of seeing children or animals abused for “entertainment.” But what’s next? Teachers having sex with young students? Oh wait, that’s already happening. So now what? Animal sacrifice? “Extreme” fights to the death? Beheadings on cable?
If we leave our young people with a hollow core, they may fill their emptiness with whatever they find, no matter how poisonous it may be. Before this happens, we must rebuild trust. A good place to start is the idea that some things are sacred – things such as our word, an oath, our faith, our values and most importantly, human life, whatever its age or economic value.
If we can’t agree on such basic principles, can we survive as a nation? Or better yet, do we deserve to survive?