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FACT Report: March 12, 2014

The Real Answer to Sex Week (March 12, 2014)

Tennessee legislators have rightly been concerned about the educational message that Sex Week at UT Knoxville sent to our young people, but anything the legislature does to “fix” Sex Week is more of a topical solution than a remedy to the disease of the sex-is-nothing-but-biology philosophy of today.  What is needed is more men and women who are living out monogamous, healthy marriages, providing a picture of a kind of relational beauty that even the most cynical person would recognize and that would tug at the deep longing we all have for an intimacy enhanced by strong emotional bonds and the security of mutual commitment.

We debase something really beautiful when we reduce it to nothing but biology.

The best “argument” against things like Sex Week to provide examples of intimate relational beauty for our youth to see.

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Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, The Real Answer to Sex Week 

The Answer to Sex Week

Last week was Sex Week at the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee.  It has received plenty of publicity.  The Tennessee House p assed a resolution condemning the event and another resolution is in the offing that will direct the University of Tennessee’s Board of Trustees to “fix” the problem before next year.  However, the real problem with Sex Week is something much deeper and the “real” fix will be much longer in coming.  

The legislature is rightly concerned with the type of “education” about human sexuality that Sex Week promotes.  For example, it is highly doubtful that the porn star who is part of the program is going to paint a true picture of all the harm that comes as a consequence of pornography.  There is not space enough to recount all those harms but the information is readily available.

And the legislature is rightly concerned about what message Sex Week sends to prospective parents who are considering where they are willing to plunk down the tuition dollars for their children.  Maybe UT’s trustees aren’t worried about the university’s image or think parents don’t care what their children are going to be exposed to.  But if they think that, then they need to be replaced.

But, with all due respect to the legitimate concerns of our legislators and their efforts to get UT to address those concerns, there is a bigger and deeper problem. And it is pervasive in our society – our current view of human sexuality and sexual intimacy in particular.

I remember a friend telling me that she had been told by a former leading figure in public higher education in Tennessee that sex was nothing more than an animalistic urge that had to be satisfied.  It seems to me that such is the perception of so many in our society — sex is a mere biological need that must be satisfied in whatever way works for the individual.

If that is truly all sex is, then I would concede that there is little basis upon which to object to whatever meets a person’s need, except prudential considerations related to understanding the harm that could come to you and preventing harm to an another person.

And certainly there are prudential considerations related to a sexually active person’s physical and emotional health that they need to understand.  Unfortunately, some of those facts go against what is politically correct and are kept relatively quiet, particularly among students in our public colleges where a liberal worldview dictates everything.  What I read in this regard in the book, Unprotected, by Dr. Miriam Grossman, was appalling and deeply troubling.

In my opinion, legislators would do well to make sure that certain specific information is being given to students on our college campuses about the physical and emotional health issues associated with sexual promiscuity and certain sexual practices in particular.  Only the most hateful person would not want students to get this information.  But it would take more courage by legislators to support that type of legislation than to condemn Sex Week, because the liberal media would paint them all as prudes who are backward and bringing embarrassment to our state.

However, even such legislation is more of a topical solution than a remedy to the disease of sex-is-nothing-but-biology philosophy of today.  What is needed is more men and women who are living out monogamous, healthy marriages that are a picture of a kind of relational beauty that even the most cynical person would recognize.

If such pictures abounded in our society, then I believe they would tug at the deep, eternal longing we have for something more than physical pleasure, a longing for an enduring type of love and intimacy where strong emotional bonds and the security of commitment heightens pleasure.

We debase something really beautiful when we reduce it to nothing but biology.  T he best “argument” conservatives can make against things like Sex Week is  becoming examples of sexual and relational beauty for our youth to see. 

FACT Report – February 20, 2013

Protecting Religious Liberty Is No Laughing Matter (February 20, 2013)

Tennessee legislators will soon vote on a bill to protect the religious liberty of student organizations on college campuses. Currently, the state has given law enforcement powers to public colleges and some private ones. One of those, Vanderbilt University, prohibits Christian ministries from requiring that their student officers be Christians.

This would be laughable if the principle involved weren’t so serious.

Essentially the state has delegated the protection of your right to religious liberty while on the public streets and grounds of Vanderbilt’s campus to an entity that disrespects religious liberty. Talk about the state putting the fox in charge of the henhouse!

The new bill would prohibit law enforcement powers from being given to discriminatory organizations. Protecting us from discriminatory organizations is no laughing matter.

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David Fowler commentary  No Laughing Matter

SB 1241/HB 1150 (by Beavers and Pody) Prohibits the delegation of police authority to colleges that discriminate against religious groups.

The Real Erosion Causing the Fiscal Cliff

Fall is over. Winter is here. And the heat is on. The “fiscal cliff” looms.  But the talk in Washington and the rumblings in the Republican Party about election losses reveal that few understand what created the cliff in the first place.

Like the Grand Canyon, our fiscal cliff is the result of a gradual erosion in our economic landscape.  Sadly, a great many of the Democrats in Washington have supported the policies that caused that erosion.  And while some Republicans in Washington have joined them in the past, now even more seem to want to exacerbate the erosion by ignoring its cause.

Our politicians want to focus on changes in the tax code and tax rates, and whether and how much spending of our tax money stimulates the economy.  Those issues do need to be debated.

But to think that the tax code or spending created the “fiscal cliff” or that changes in tax policy and more or less government spending are sufficient to keep us from falling off the cliff reveals a fatal blind spot.  If the erosion that actually created the cliff isn’t addressed, the edge of the cliff on which we’re now standing will eventually give way regardless of these other changes.

Apparently we didn’t learn much from the recession of 2008.  It should have taught us that we cannot divorce economic prosperity from moral and ethical issues.  Greed, cheating, lying, imprudent spending by individuals and by government, and debt eroded our economy and contributed to where we are economically today.

But these are ethical issues, not just fiscal ones.  Our culture mocks the notion that there are such things as right and wrong and ignores the values of thrift, personal restraint, and sacrifice.  So is it any wonder that cheating and stealing in government and business now run rampant and we’ve piled up enormous debt on future generations?

But the erosion of these ethical values was caused by an earlier form of erosion, namely, the erosion of marriage, families, and the inherent dignity of Man as a bearer of God’s image.  To think married moms and dads are not important to the future well-being of their children, one has to ignore mounds of social science data and suppress common sense.  Even nature insists that there be a mom and a dad for the continuation of the species.

Parents provide the environment in which values are taught and, more importantly, modeled.

It’s not pleasant to say this, but it needs to be said: teaching our children by our  actions that we can break the promises made in marriage to a person we said we loved if it’s to our personal advantage bears a striking resemblance to the ethical conduct we now find in business and in politics.

The importance we place on personal affluence and the willingness to step on people or incur personal debt to secure that affluence manifests themselves in business ethics, political ambition, and our clamor for “things” from the civil government.

That Christians, on the whole, are often no different than our culture in these matters affirms to our culture what it already thinks.

And when the image of God is denied, life is cheapened.  And, in turn, people over time become nothing more than “resources” that the ethically challenged have no problem using up or as a “stepping stone” for the sake of their personal advantage.  Ever thought about why businesses have shifted in their terminology from having a personnel department to an office of human resources?  I submit it’s not just a matter of semantics.

A society that ignores the ethical realities of the social order will erode, and one consequence of that erosion is a fiscal cliff.  Addressing these ethical realities, not ignoring them, is part of the solution.

Without a return to sound ethics, we will lack the bedrock needed to stabilize the ground and stop the erosion that will otherwise collapse the cliff on which we now stand.