There, But for the Grace of God Go I

Posted: April 24, 2010 in Ethics and Morality

Thanks to my new friend, my writer’s block is gone… for awhile, anyway.

She told me the whole sordid story of why her ex was in prison. He ran afoul of the law by molesting little girls, I guess. Welll, let me say this about that: “Our society is so hung up on sex (i. e. Puritan ethics) that it’s no wonder there are so many guys – and gals – going to jail for molesting little kids.” That being said, I am not an absolute proponent of the predetermination theory that says everything is determined and no matter what you do you can’t change that. No, I am a believer that we have choices to make and everybody makes choices and must be held accountable for them. To believe otherwise is to cede your very existence to some predetermined make-up.

However, there is something to be said for being merciful in our judgment of those who transgress society’s codes. I would be the last to argue against strictures against having sexual experiences with little kids. It is only as abhorrent as “doing it” with a member of the same sex. Oops! That has become acceptable in our society; so forget that comparison. Where molesting little kids diverges from homosexual relations is the former is taking advantage of the innocents and leaves emotional scars for the rest of their lives. I cannot accept the argument that these innocents are merely introduced into the world of sex and the only reason they have emotional scars is somebody mixes them up with a new code of ethics. That argument goes that people who grow up without the confusion of alternative codes of ethics do alright in later life. I don’t really buy that. To understand my perspective you have to have brought up daughters and realized that there is no way I could have physical feelings for them. My only mistake is not imparting a strong code of ethics in them.

Now, if I think I am a man of genius, I would add the quote by James Joyce (an opinion after all but does have an element of truth): “A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are portals of discovery.” My errors, therefore, are portals (in this case, my daughters) for discovery that has left them no more confused than anyone else who lives in the real world.

Actually, I surmised that my friend’s ex just might have made the ultimate transgression in our society; and I am reminded of the really sordid story revealed if you google “The Power to Harm”. So, He was guilty. Ok. But if we don’t lighten up about sex in our society the Puritan (see “The Scarlet Letter”) ethic becomes nothing more than the draconian (google “Draco” or just “draconian”) society that is so infamous for its destructive effects on law and order.

That’s why “The Power to Harm” story is about the ultimate destruction of true law and order in its very corrosive effect on the relatively difficult ability to get a conviction for the guilty.

But, his story is a very different one than mine. Yes, he had other options and if he would have (woulda’, shoulda’) simply be a little more introspective he wouldn’t have made the mistakes he made. Perhaps there was a little bit of mental or emotional trauma that he witnessed in his growing up. It is a well accepted fact that many, if not all, molesters learned the sin from those they came in contact with as they grew up. Now, if that doesn’t confuse a man or woman who is in a state of confusion already, nothing does. There are many who take religion way too seriously and they become “brittle” to the point that they break when they try to lead good lives.

But, what if my friend’s ex has this deep dark hole in his soul that became part of him as his young personality took shape? There again, I don’t want to excuse true sins with personality development; but what is it about “The quality of mercy is not strained…?


 

“… It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice bless’d;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes

The throned monarch better than his crown;

His scepter shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptered sway,

It is  enthroned in the hearts of kings,

It is an attribute to God himself,

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this,

That in the course of justice none of us

Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy,

And that same prayer doth teach us all to render

The deeds of mercy.

 


 

I was recently shocked at a joke sent to me by somebody who I thought didn’t have as much of a sense of humor about sexual matters as he/she does. I am including the he/she inclusive pronoun because I’m not absolutely sure who sent it to me because the person, or persons, who sent it share the same e-mail address as husband and wife. That practice yields the down-side of any positive intentions they may have.

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