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Uriah the Hittite, television violence and the 'moral' majority

Over the last two Sundays, in Anglican churches across Ireland, a depraved story of sex and violence has been revealed. Yes, that's right, the Revised Common Lectionary has dished up 2 Sam 12-13 as the Old Testament lesson for the last two weeks.

For those unfarmiliar with the tale, it involves King David of Judah. He fancies the wife of one of soldiers, Uriah the Hittite. So when Uriah is besieging a city, David gets his generals to put Uriah into the thick of the fighting. When things get tough, they withdraw, and leave Uriah to be killed. David then goes to 'comfort' Uriah's wife, and in the process 'lies with her' and gets her pregnant.

To be fair, there is a moral lesson in the tale. The baby ties, and David is ridden with guilt. Nonetheless, there are some who sat reverentially in the pews listening to this, who are horrified whwn similar things are shown on BBC1.

The point I'm making is - sex is talked about more and more openly in our society (good thing). Indeed it is almost now seen as a commodity, much like chocolate or microwave ovens (bad thing). However far too many people still associate the churches with a stuffy embarassment about sexuality. The churches are seen, in my view unfairly, as being out of touch on this issue.

In my view sex is a natural part of life. Infidelity is not a good thing, but it seems to be a natural part of our make up. Gay sex? - well if it was so wrong, how come Jesus didn't say much about it in the gospels?

Many people will here point to Pauline theology. Well, Paul may have been divinely inspired, but it important to recognise he was also human, and fallible. Few people would agree with his attitudes towards women nowadays, so why do persist in treating his attitudes to sex as gospel truth, rather than epistle truth.

If we continues to hide from dealing with sex openly, we will, in an age of sexual openness be consigned to oblivion.

I hear another chant of, 'well the churches have changed their attitudes towards sex'. In continental Europe this is certainly true. But in Ireland? - come on! The attitudes of the Church of Ireland and Methodist Church in Ireland are vastly different to those of their counterparts across the sea. As for the Catholic Church, again I accept thing are changing, but the average Catholic priest still gets totally uncomfortable about sex even within a happy, Catholic, contraceptive-free marriage. Get them on to homosexuality, fornication or even the pill and you're practically condemned to hell forever.

In conclusion, I am not saying that free love is the answer. But any of us who have even a cursory interest in the bible know that sex and sexual violence are part and parcel of it, even among God's most favored. Many of the actions would shock our '90s Western morality, but not God, who is omniscient and exists outside time. If He can be open about it, why can't we??

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