Monday, May 23, 2016

Why Religious Fundamentalists Are Sex Obsessed

There's a reason that religious fundamentalists of both the Christian and Islamic variety share a common obsession with sex.  It is all about control.  Control of people's lives and, at least in the minds of the theocrats, control of people's thoughts.  Thoughts that might lead the populous to over throw the theocrats' influence and control, especially political control.   In Iran, the religious extremist government is waging a war against women who fail to wear head covers.  While utterly different on the surface from the American Christofascists' war on LGBT citizens, the root motivation is the same: power and control - and thought control so that the masses don't begin to release that they are being sold a bunch of fairy tales that help keep their religious elite in power.  A piece in The Daily Beast looks at both the sex obsession of Iran's rulers and how it translates to American Christofascists.  Here are excerpts:
Welcome to Operation Spider 2. Yes, Iran’s War Against Hair even has a code name. In a sting led by no less significant a unit than Iran’s cybercrimes division, eight other models were arrested and charged with “promoting western promiscuity.” State prosecutor for cybercrimes Javad Babaei confirmed that his unit was focused on Instagram and is concerned with “sterilizing popular cyberspaces.” Many of the country’s leading models have reportedly suffered this clampdown. They are accused of promoting "immoral and un-Islamic culture and promiscuity.”
As moderate political forces continue to gain ground in Iran’s educated city centers, establishment clampdowns against “Western promiscuity” are becoming more visible, and more desperate. 
A desire to restrict any of these voices is a desire to control. When enforced on others, religion becomes nothing but a tool of power and control. Sexuality, in particular, obsesses male theocrats more so than any other topic. 
Whether in Iran and Saudi Arabia, where women’s dress is government enforced, or in Syria and Afghanistan, where Islamist terrorists seek to enforce it, or across Muslim-majority nations more generally, sexual expression has fast become a dividing line for fundamentalists harboring presumptuous assumptions about a “pure” East and a “promiscuous” West. 
Oddly, hundreds of years ago it was the opposite. A Europe in the Dark Ages, plagued by the Inquisition and conflicts caused by religious intolerance, placed a similar premium on sexuality. Back then, it was the East that European Orientalists fetishized as overly “promiscuous,” while the West valued its prudishness. The one common factor is a correlation between the rise of theocratic demands anywhere, and restrictions on sexuality.
In this way, sexuality has become the axis upon which enlightened values and progress have pivoted between nations. Sexual freedoms have become a litmus test between open societies and closed ones. The drug that dogmatic ideologues are usually addicted to is control, and the thirst for control almost always manifests itself in sexual control. This is why the subject of sex among women, gays and “unmarried” youth fascinates extremists of all bents. And it is why—regardless of our gender or sexual orientation—the struggle against controlling sexuality should preoccupy us all. 

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