What does our work on being Naked & Unashamed have to do with our current political reality in the United States? Are sex positivity and relational freedom relevant and pertinent topics right now, or are there “more important” things to focus on?
They are absolutely relevant and pertinent.
Christianity that controls identity and lifestyles leads to oppression, abuse, and fascism.
Christianity and Fascism
Social norms are direct influences on laws. Restrictive Christian social norms about who can and cannot participate in traditional family structures, engage in certain sexual practices, terminate a pregnancy, or use public toilets lead to laws that legalize these norms into decent vs criminal behaviors. Countries like ours who allow Christian norms to turn into civil legalities use harmful versions of Christianity to dictate how one must act in society.
Criminalizing certain relational, sexual, and bodily acts can lead to state-sanctioned elimination of undesirable peoples. (See Nazis, Uganda, Chechnya, etc. http://www.eurasiareview.com/23042017-chechnyas-gay-purge-anti-lgbtq-violence-and-state-sanctioned-genocide-of-homosexuals-analysis/) Criminalizing deviance from social norms is fascism. Under fascist influence and control, sexuality is often one of the gateways for access to the inner life or social regulation. So to say other political issues are “more important” would be to ignore an avenue of political control. Sexuality and relationality is one strand of the interconnected web of oppression. We must resist this form of control while also resisting control via race, class, gender, ability, documentation status, incarceration status — any means of othering.
Lutherans and Christian Freedom
While this oppression happens in versions of many, if not all, religions my experience and my studies have focused on this phenomenon in Christianity. And my conclusion is that controlling deviance is at odds with Lutheran theology.
According to Luther’s treatise on Christian freedom, we are servants to all AND LORDS OF ALL. Focusing only on the latter may be a theology of glory, but focusing only on the former is a theology of slavery. In Lutheran theology, Christ has freed us from the need to prove ourselves decent and worthy before God. We have the freedom to be creative, liberative, and life-giving with our relationships.
Rejecting fascism includes rejecting all ways in which we try to control how others act and live. It means rejecting the idea of norms altogether. It means making sure everyone has a right to live and thrive.
Our democratic political system was founded on the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When we look at this through the Lutheran lens of Christian freedom to serve the neighbor, we are called as a community to protect our neighbor’s life, liberty, and our mutual pursuit of happiness. When it comes to relationality and sexuality, it should be no different.