COLUMN 200503 - In God We Trust

Two recent stories of note for makers and users of Adult material: First, the ruling by United States District Judge Gary L. Lancaster dismissing all counts against Rob Black and Extreme Associates on Constitutional grounds, and then, from ecumenical news outlets (and then Drudge), a story about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia attending a Knights of Columbus celebration, during which, among other comments, he urged a mostly Roman Catholic crowd to be fearless in the face of “the contempt of the sophisticated world.”

Ah, the philological reverberations of that word “sophisticated.” Could the good Justice have been any less judicious in his selection of words? What hidden messages lies in that choice, what veiled significance to chosen ears? And if elevated to replace Rehnquist, should we then call him Chief Rube, or take the recent comments to mean that he is just a simple and pious man?

The connection between the two stories is on its face obvious, but with a new wrinkle. Most evident is the great rift in the soul of the average American, including your average Christian American, whether to fuck or not to fuck. The inner sex demon has been roused so routinely as to become banal, especially in light of the rising culture wars. But now, with the aching ogre of addiction all the rage, with this sexpert and that introvert laying claim (or pipe) to special insights regarding the true secrets of the flesh, why in God’s name, or at least for argument’s sake, can we not agree that there isin fact a base intolerance regarding sexually accommodating behavior?

“It’s all about sex,” says Frank Rich of the New York Times, by which he means that the religiously Right may try to drape their cultural complaints in moral fabric, but their true objections target the stark naked, at which point they join zealous hands with terrorists by any other name.

Enter not Scalia of the Orgies ("I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged,") but Scalia the Transcendent (“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools… and he has not been disappointed.”) We know a populist rhetorical flourish when we hear it, so let’s banish the idea of a swinging Justice from our minds. Anyway, it’s a disgusting image that only a Rob Black could further degrade. No, the Scalia we need to see is the one who dissented in Lawrence v. Texas, arguing that the court "has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda."

I am fast-forwarding a year or so to a potential appeal of the recent Extreme ruling, which has snaked its way to SCOTUS, a Court with Justice Scalia in charge and perhaps a few new faces to boot. How then will the Catholic Chief, still stubbornly faithful to his “originalist” interpretation, come to terms with the many precedent-setting Court rulings protecting the rights of adults to watch non-obscene sexual activity made by other consenting adults? How, after publicly pronouncing his affiliation with literal revelation, will he avoid a collision of beliefs and collusion with the unconstitutionally intolerant? Which part of himself will he have to set aside in order to preside over a just decision, or will he recuse himself once again, as he did with Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow?

It’s treading water in these deep wellsprings that gets smart people into trouble. “I find it hard to understand people who revere Thomas More but who themselves selectively oppose the teachings of the pope,” said Scalia, at that same Knights of Columbus fête. Then he would find me impossible to fathom, for I do revere Thomas More, and I am neither Catholic nor Christian, but still do selectively support many of the teachings of the pope, who’s opinions, furthermore, I would never want to be altered, even on those subjects where we virulently disagree. The devil’s in the details, future Chief Justice, and God, in whom we trust, lives in the spirit of freedom, tolerance, justice, and respect.