Sunday, April 17, 2005

Stone the Virgin!

For those of you who might think that only the US must battle the Religious Right, here's a disturbing story from Peru. An 18 year old female posted an ad offering to sell her virginity for 20,000 soles ($6,136.48) in order to help pay for her ailing mother's health care.

As reported in The Guardian Unlimited (here are some excerpts),
The advert has provoked a storm of indignation in Peru, where saving Graciela's virginity has become a question of national pride - while the reasons why she feels forced to sell it are largely ignored.

'Deciding to sell my virginity was not an easy thing, but what else have I got?'

Television presenter Pamela Vertiz, Peru's Jerry Springer, criticised her saying that the nation's reputation was at stake.

'Have you thought about how people would look at Peru if other young girls followed your example?' Vertiz said. 'This is not the way to do it, Graciela. You have good hands and legs to work with. This is no way to earn money.'

As the reporter aptly points out, while the religious zealots have framed the issue as one of depraved national morality, few have offered this poor girl any realistic solutions. More importantly, the national debate has avoided a discussion of the serious reasons why this young woman felt this was the only avenue open to her.

In the US, we face these same kinds of debates. Religious conservatives blame poor people for resorting to the selling of drugs or prostitution to put food on the table, yet refuse to back measures that might allow these very same individuals the opportunity to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

Morality or ethics is fine for people with full bellies, but it's a hell of a lot harder for those who are hungry or destitute. Jesus (the supposed moral example of the Christian Right) understood this fact. On more than one occasion, he fed the multitudes BEFORE preaching to them. He understood that people are more apt to pay attention and to learn new ways of thinking or acting when their attention isn't on trying to figure out where their next meal might come from or who is going to pay for their sick mother's medical expenses.

For me, this represents the whole problem with conservative Christian morality. It amounts to nothing more than a blathering of words without the sincere actions needed to make those words meaningful. Self-righteous words and precepts are worthless without compassionate action. And that's basically what one gets from the Religious Right.

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