Sex is Violent

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Last night, while surfing cable television for some entertainment, I happened upon the show “Spartacus – Vengeance” on Starz, one of the premium cable channels.  The episode that I saw was a visual smorgasbord of gratuitous nudity, close to pornographic sex, and indulgent violence with a bit of plot mixed in to provide the illusion of coherence.  The episode made me think of a Jane’s addiction song coined, “Ted Just Admit It,” which the group released as part of their 1987 album Nothing’s Shocking.   Here is a brief excerpt from the song’s lyrics:

“Camera got them images, Camera got them all, Nothing’s shocking Showed me everybody Naked and disfigured Nothing’s shocking And then he came Now sister’s Not a virgin anymore Her sex is violent
The T.V.’s got them images T.V.’s got them all It’s not shocking Every half an hour Someone’s captured and The cop moves them along It’s just like the show before The news is Just another show With sex and violence
Sex is violent Sex is violent Sex is violent Sex is violent Sex is violent Sex is violent Sex is violent
I am the killer of people You look like a meatball I’ll throw away your toothpick And ask for your giveness
Because of this thing Because of this thing Because of this thing
That’s in me Is it not in you? Is it not your problem? A baby to a mother
You talk too much To your scapegoat That’s what I say He tells you everyone is stupid That’s what he thinks
Snapshots Make a girl look cheap Like a tongue extended A baby’s to a mother
Sex is violent Sex is violent Sex is violent Sex is violent.”

In my opinion this alternative rock song captures the cultural obsession with sex and violence better than any fundamentalist preacher who rails against pornography in media.  The song by stating, “I am the killer of people…Because of this thing, Because of this thing, Because of this thing, that’s in me, Is it not in you?  Is it not your problem?” cuts to the heart of this issue by attributing violence and profligate sex to a “thing” within us that stems from a darker nature.

I make the claim that “profligate” sex stems from a darker nature to distinguish it from the kind of beauty that occurs when two devoted adults engage in the process of “making love.”  Many evangelical fundamentalists advocate for morality by publicly condemning homosexuality and attempting to encroach upon a women’s choice of how to use her body.  In my opinion, a homosexual has just as much chance of being holy as a heterosexual to the extent that they stay within certain prescribed guidelines such as devoting themselves to a life partner.  To be honest, distinguishing “holiness” from “debauchery” makes me feel uncomfortable as though I am some kind of judgmental Moses proclaiming parameters for living from a morally superior mountain top, but the bottom line is that some kind of “parameters” in reference to sexuality are necessary to separate us from the “state of nature” to which Perry Farrell and the rest of Jane’s Addiction so eloquently refer.

But what are the parameters that separate us from other more violent mammals as it concerns violence and sex?  In the state of nature, the strongest and most apt in reference to violence become the “alpha males” of that society and consequently end up “studding” all of the available females.  To some, this might be natural selection’s way of keeping each species strong and healthy, but to me this represents perhaps the heart of the matter concerning sex and violence.  In the state of nature “power” is the essence of authority.  The “strongest” lions rule the pride.  The first epistle of John describes the state of nature as “the world.” 1 John 2:15-17 states, “15Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Some may make the claim that the “world” according to God is society writ large and that believing in God demands a kind of separation from society writ large, but I assert that ‘the world’ is a darkness that exists in all of us, the darkness that “wills to power” out of fear of annihilation.  The state of nature is characterized by a constant struggle for supremacy which stems from the fear of death.  So in the state of nature, sex is part of violence.  In a sense, in the state of nature, sex is a reward for violence.  All one needs to explore to see that sex is a reward for violence in our “baser” instincts is the mass rape of women that has often occurred throughout history after warring factions fought a battle.  In fact the tendency to rape women as a “reward” for victory in war has only subsided in relatively recent history.

When one considers the “chauvinism” which characterizes our “baser instincts” the impotence of fundamentalist attempts to curb sinful dispositions like fornication and adultery is not surprising.  Fundamentalists attempt to curb a “will to power” with a “will to power.”  Fundamentalists seek to judge and shame the offender into stopping the offense.  Fundamentalists may make the claim that it is the modern “rebellion” of women that is to blame for our society’s erosion of morality.  But this perspective erroneously privileges some distant past wherein we as human beings were moral.  Just when was this past?  Has it ever really existed?  The truth is that any rhetoric which attempts to privilege males over females, white over brown, or straight over gay is intricately connected to “the survival of the fittest” way in which the “state of nature” functions.  Fundamentalists in a sense, attempt to impose their concept of order on others as a way to curb disorder.  But forcefully imposing “order” on people is an act of violence in and of itself.  Violence cannot curb violence in the long run and sexual chauvinism cannot curb sexual malfeasance in the long run either.  For the will to subjugate is inherently connected to the way in which the “alpha male” sexually subjugates in the darker recesses of our imagination.

So if “judgment” and “shame” do not work as ways to curb our baser instincts toward violence and debauchery, what does work?  In my limited experience, it has not been fear that has ultimately helped me in times of “temptation.”  Rather, devotion is the only force which I have found to be effective in my attempts to forgo “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.” Webster’s dictionary defines devotion as love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause and Hinduism describes devotion to a deity as a legitimate path toward bliss.   Devotion is not a force centered construct, but is rather a love centered construct.  Only love can conquer lust.  In times of fierce temptation it has been my sense of devotion or loving loyalty toward God or my wife or my kids that has given me the ability to reject the world as a corrosive delusion rather than an apt reality.

Some may say that only reflective thought separates us from living like wolves or dogs.  But I claim that reflective love also separates us from our baser instincts.  The ability to reflect on the questions of “what is love?” and “what does love look like?” are in my opinion the foundational building blocks of every advancement that human kind has made to date.  So if sex in the most chauvinistic view of the word is violent then love is non-violent and love and debauchery cannot occupy the same space.  So I suppose that my response to last night’s exploration of “Spartacus-Vengeance” is to continue to pray for my own love and the love of others to grow and expand and ultimately rule over every part of us, not through subjugation but rather the inspired revelation of what it is to be loving.

Dear Lucifer

Dear Lucifer,

There was a time when I hated you. There was a time when rage afflicted me as you confused me and my brethren into judging and maligning each other.

Dear Lucifer,

There was a time when I focused all of my malice against you.  For every time I thought of an entire race of people enslaving another entire race of people and calling it your will I saw you in the shadows laughing and mocking.

Dear Lucifer,

There was a time when I wanted to be the one that vanquished you in this generation, for when I thought about a nation stealing the land of other nations and calling it manifest destiny, I saw the imprint of your wicked hands.

But now dear brother, I must admit that I more pity than hate you.  You have exhausted me.  You have been such a little nuisance that now I just don’t have any feeling left for you.  And Lucifer, Beezelbub, Whore of Babylon, Lilleth and whoever else has been attempting to torment me and mine, I forgive you.  I do not think that I have the authority to forgive you on behalf of other people.  But for my part, I truly cancel the debt that you owe to me for all of your misery making.

The truth is Lucifer that I am now truly beginning to realize just how badly Jesus beat you 2000 years ago.  I mean you want to talk about a “Warrior King,” Jesus battled you as you attacked him from the outside through the rejection of the people he came to save and Jesus battled you as you attacked him from within through the nature of the corruption that he received from Mary’s flesh.  Jesus battled you his entire life and then he battled you again to make it to the cross, and then he battled you again on the cross.  And then he descended and battled you again in hellish places of conscious and natural torment.

And now dear brother, I am becoming aware of just how final his victory over you has become.  You see Lucifer, every human soul is destined to become either a Son or Daughter of God.  And while I do not understand it fully, somehow Jesus assured those destinies through his life, sacrifice, death, and resurrection.  And those destinies are locked into the annals of God’s foreknowledge brother.   Yes, for a time, we as human beings play roles of tyrant and victim, betrayer and betrayed, but soon these ideas and identities will fade away beneath the glory of Jesus’ second coming both in the flesh and through all human identity being wrapped up in the mysterious epiphany of love’s all-encompassing power.

Lucifer, Satan, whatever and whoever you are.  However many there are of you.  I am writing you this day to say that I forgive you.  Perhaps not out of love, but more a sort of indifferent pity,  for you will lose as you have already lost.   Perhaps your final destiny is redemption, perhaps it is destruction, but either way dear brother, I do not want you occupying any space in mind more than what is absolutely necessary.  Oh, every now and again, I can see myself listening to the Holy Spirit concerning some wicked scheme that you have plotted against me, or every now and again casting you out of something or binding some principality, or helping someone who you have targeted with malevolent intent, but for the most part brother, I view you as a nuisance and I just don’t want to think about you anymore.

So I forgive you and I forgive all human beings who still in their ignorance serve you both unwittingly and voluntarily.  In truth devil, I have lost interest in you.  A time ago you were an interesting object for my mind and heart, even if it was hatred that I felt for you.  But now, you are so predictably pathetic that I just want to let go of our relationship and so I forgive you.  Again I say that I forgive you and am moved to pray, “Lord God, thank you for the teacher that satan, Lucifer, and the rest of them have been for me.  Thank you for every bit of suffering they have caused me, for in the long run it will only make me stronger.  Now I ask that you saturate my consciousness with yourself.  Lord God I ask that you reveal yourself to me in every dimension and cranny of the human experience.  Lord God, please bless me, like the Navaho Warriors Pray with “beauty before me, with beauty behind me, with beauty above me, with beauty all around me, I will walk in long life, I will walk according to beauty.  It is completed in beauty.  It is completed in beauty. It is completed in beauty. It is completed in beauty.”

Lucifer, I and all of my human brothers and sisters are completed in beauty.  And your madness in believing anything different will soon end either in your redemption or destruction.  I am not partial to either.  Go with God dear brother.  Go with God.

Mr. Officer?

By: Woodrow Odom Lucas

Mr. Officer your job is hard I know,

Policing men and women as they travel to and fro,

You have a thankless duty sure it’s true,

For just as you hate crime many criminals hate you,

But this I need to grasp good sir, this I need to see,

In the way that I fear you, do you fear me?

When you are called out to a crime scene and you sense that danger is near,

Do you double over in anguish? Do you feel this throbbing fear?

When you see a gun pulled out against you, do you feel as though you might?

Explode from trepidation and sink despairing into fright,

Because I must be honest from the time that I was young,

I have felt as though you hunt me and when I see you I think to run,

As fast as feet can carry for I seek not to be the one,

Whose dark shadows you cast your lights upon like hunters to a deer,

Mr. Officer, I must implore you, do you feel this fear?

That I feel every time I see you and every time I think of law,

When I think of the rights of my brothers that you trampled as no one saw,

Or if they saw they chose to ignore you as you beat me like a dog,

Of if they saw they chose to ignore you as you hunt me in this fog,

Of rancid hatred and dark musings I seldom share,

Of pain throughout my soul as you fix on me your stare,

Mr. Officer, I must ask you, when you step into your car,

Do you feel like a hunted animal or an insect in a jar?

Do you feel the heat of Tasers as they shock your skin and back,

Do you feel like a beast that has been cornered teeth glaring and poised for attack,

Mr. Officer, there was a time when I sought your protection but now I know your mind,

I feel like you have very little desire to protect me and those of my kind,

So I simply try to stay far away from your supposedly protective glare,

Because I can feel your eyes upon me as they strip my spirit bare,

Of the esteem that a man might come to expect in a world that was just and fair,

And perhaps one day when our eyes meet and we are locked in a poignant stare,

You will feel for just a moment what it feels like in your gut,

To be hunted like a creature and stepped on like a mutt,

Mr. Officer?, Mr. Officer? Can you feel the hatred in my tone?

Do you hate me as I have come to hate you as you turn my heart to stone?

Mr. Officer, You have a thankless duty sure it’s true,

For just as you hate crime many criminals hate you,

But this I need to grasp good sir, this I need to see,

In the way that I fear you, do you fear me?