Book Plunge: The Sexual State

What do I think of Jennifer Roback Morse’s book published by TAN Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I want to thank Dr. J, as she prefers to be called, for sending me a review copy of this book. Dr. J’s book is about the sexual revolution and the damage that it has done. The book is definitely written from a Catholic perspective, but Protestant readers like myself will still benefit from it.

Dr. J starts with talking about many of the victims of the sexual revolution that have been silent. These are people who have been hurt by the tearing apart of the family, including the divorce culture. This isn’t to say that divorce should absolutely never happen, but when divorce is way too easy, it has led to people with their own fallen natures seeking to end a marriage easily. Even when Allie and I were still in our seventh year of marriage I was told by some people we had a “long marriage.” Very sad.

Dr. J contends also that all of this required the necessary involvement of the state. The government has been pushing much of this, which is definitely the case when we realize that Planned Parenthood is government funded. Many of our elites also have a great interest in the sexual revolution. Think about how many people got ousted in Hollywood and media by the MeToo movement.

Dr. J sees this built on three pillars. The first is the contraceptive ideology. This is the one that tries to separate sex and babies. As a Protestant, I didn’t agree with this one as much as the others. After all, even devout Catholics practice Natural Family Planning to be able to have sex without having babies.

There’s also the case of situations where the motive is entirely right to avoid childbirth. I know someone once whose wife had a serious bone condition. If she got pregnant, she could die. They have measures taken to make sure this doesn’t happen. Is that wrong? I don’t think so.

For this, I largely think it depends on the circumstances. I would definitely agree that anyone wanting to use contraception in order to have easy sex outside of marriage is in the wrong, but notice that in this case, it is the activity itself of sex outside of marriage that is wrong. Were we to live in a culture where sex was kept within the bounds of marriage, I don’t think this would be as much of a problem.

Of course, I definitely agree that abortion is an evil. The only possible exception could be if it is required to save the life of the mother and the baby would die anyway. Abortion is one of the greatest evils of our time and I find it repulsive to think that even many so-called faith leaders are accepting it.

From there, we move on to the divorce ideology. This one destroys the permanence of marriage. Again, there are times I think everyone agrees that divorce is a sad necessity, such as a highly abusive relationship, but even then, it is a tragedy because it means someone broke their promise before God and men.

On the other hand, I do know of some women who favor no-fault divorce because it allowed them to get away from abusive husbands where if things had gone wrong, they would have stayed in that situation and been punished by the husband. I am not a legal scholar at all, so I can’t answer what can and can’t be done, but I would definitely agree that divorce is too often done and too many couples go into marriage saying that if things don’t work, they can get a divorce.

Sadly, this can also lead to people assuming that moving in together before marriage to test out a relationship will work. In reality, this is something that increases your odds of divorce and puts you in a more dangerous situation and allows men and women to treat each other as test subjects. It’s especially bad for the woman. After all, the man gets all the rewards he wants, namely free sex, and he doesn’t even have to commit to the woman!

Finally, there’s the gender ideology. It first started with the goal to remove the gender requirement for marriage, but now it seeks to eliminate gender altogether. If we looked at how the feminist movement went down the path, it’s quite a development.

The first step was saying that women are equal to men. This wasn’t in an ontological sense but saying women can vote, drive cars, own property, hold a job, etc. Most of us today would have no problem with this perspective.

The second was saying that women are superior to men. This has led to men often being just sperm donors and having it be easy to cry out rape at any event. Women have tried to show they don’t need a man in anything. I often thought Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 could have just been “Vote for me because I’m a woman!”

But then the third step went somewhere most feminists didn’t expect and some have argued against. Now, thanks to the transgender movement, women are men. This has also led to some amusement from many of us men. Now men are able to compete in women’s’ sports. When they win, now men are no longer just superior at being men, but at being women apparently. Of course, there’s no risk also that many young men won’t use the new laws on transgenderism to be allowed to shower with the girls. Nope. After all, we’ve learned men have no interest in looking at female bodies.

Each of these chapters is followed with the Catholic response. Again, Protestants can get something out of this. I don’t agree with the Catholic Church on many issues, but they do some of the best work in moral philosophy today.

A final section also has Dr. J talking about the gift of grace and such. This is also how she ended her book Smart Sex and Dr. J I think is truly at her best when writing about the gift. She does not write as a highly sophisticated theologian or Biblical exegete. I would contend it is the simplicity of how she writes that makes it special and many of us who are Protestant Christians can stand up and cheer at this point.

While many people will have different levels of commitment, I think most of us in the Christian camp will agree the sexual revolution has been a disaster. If we could return to saving sex for the person you are married to it would help us out so much. (Just think of how much we would not have to spend in researching and treating STDs) No laws will ever give us utopia as long as we are fallen human beings, but we can say that some ideas make it worse, and that includes the sexual revolution.

In Christ,
Nick Peters