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July 26, 1985 - Image 32

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-07-26

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32

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, July 26, 1985

If no answer,
(313) 593-0526

For Information call:
(313) 584-4038

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OBSERVATIONS

How Judaism Speaks To
The Sexual Revolution

B1 IRVING GREENBERG

Special to The Jewish News

In the 'Sixties and 'Seventies,
the United States lived through
one of the great cultural revolu-
tions of all time — the revolu-
tion of choice.
Nowhere was the impact of
alternatives greater than in the
sexual revolution. The dramatic
message in the media was: sex-
ual explicitness versus repres-
sion, sexual freedom versus a
dessicated Puritanism. Hugh
Hefner was a liberator. Norman
0. Brown — and Linda Lovelace
— were the pioneers of a new,
free humanity. The opponents of
the revolution gradually shrank
down to residual bases within
religious traditions; they came
across as traditionalists who
could not keep up with the
transformation around them.
Marriage seemed to be out in
the cold. All the freedom — as
well as all the fun — seemed to
be on the side of the less com-
mitted. The new morality crit-
icized marriage in the name of
love. Why should a person be
held captive for having signed
legal documents, when all too
often love has fled? The answer,
"Because this is the tradition,"
was no longer credible. If any-
thing, being a tradition was con-
sidered a disability, a presump-
tion of less relevance.
Over the past two decades,
little by little, the other side of
the story has leaked out. In re-
cent years, the lives of Andy
Warhol's model, Edie Sedgwick,
and Linda Lovelace, have been
published. They revealed that
these two classic symbols of the
high life — pornography, sexual-
ity, fun, and drugs — were liv-
ing lives of frenetic exploitation
and even abuse at the very mo-
ment that the media were pro-
claiming them as symbols of
everything that is free and fun.
Studies have suggested that
communal parenting is far less
able to nurture a child than the
much-criticized nuclear family.
It turned out that the only thing
worse than being married was
being divorced or single, with
strong medical evidence that
suicide rates and heart attacks
were highest in divorced males.
Now, the statistics of sexual

disease show clearly that the
human is not built for promis-
cuity.
We are living in the middle of
a contagious plague of sexually
transmitted diseases. In the
words of Newsweek: "The
statistics are awesome: one in
four Americans between the
_ages of fifteen and fifty-five will
acquire sexually transmitted

The human body as
well as the soul is in a
harmony with
commitment.

diseases at some point in his or
her life. Twenty-seven thousand
cases are contracted every
day..."
The most frightening sexual-
ly transmitted disease is, of
course, AIDS, which causes a
collapse of the immunity sys-
tems induced by infection.
The vast majority of AIDS
victims are homosexual men. In
the public mind, therefore,
AIDS is identified with homo-
sexuality. However, this is just
not so. Multiple partners is the
key.
This is not intended to argue,
as some evangelicals have, that
God is 'punishing' homosexual-
ity through AIDS. Nor is it an
argument for sexual morality
out of fear of catching a disease.
The point is that the human
body as well as the soul is in
a harmony with commitment,
fidelity, and the creation of life.
Judaism, which insists that
the human is a body-soul con-
tinuum, would expect that
disorders of the soul show up in
disorders of the body. Disorders
of lifestyle are bound to show up
in diseases and disorders of the
physical systems.
Judaism offers an alternative
value system. It insists that the
central human need is to become
an image of God — to be con-
firmed by God and by other

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