Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah
Okay, for the most part I’ve tuned out the nattering nabobs of political negativity. The recent primaries and upcoming November elections are just a buzzing background that I try to ignore. I’m well into the “screw all of them” attitude towards politicians in this country. Democrats and Republicans are different sides of the same corrupt coin that is bankrupting, morally and financially, our country.
I have been hearing more chatter the last few days about Christine O’Donnell. Now, I don’t know her, I don’t know her background, and I have not really looked into her past or politics, but the media has been kind enough to inform me that she is against masturbation and that she once dabbled in witchcraft. The first admission makes people giggle; the second perhaps will send gasps of disbelief among her conservative cohorts. But I think this is way overblown.
As far as the masturbation issue, as a religious Muslim, I believe she is totally correct. Islam’s mainstream opinion is that one should resist this urge. Sexual gratification is for a man and woman within the bounds of marriage. If a person is married, they should share love an intimacy with their spouse, not themselves. If a person is single, he or she should fast, keep busy, that sort of thing, and marry early to avoid having to resort to this.
Unfortunately for Ms. O’Donnell, we live in an extremely permissive society where “hooking up” is viewed as a great way to spend an evening when you’re bored and NCIS is in reruns. Masturbation? We have fornication, adultery, open relationships, same-sex relationships, swingers, pedophilia, date rape. Masturbation falls pretty far down the line when you are concerned about the sexual health of this country. She is ridiculed for her position, treated as a naif and a buffoon for stating something that is actually a mainstream belief for religious Muslims, Christians, and Jews. She owes no apology for the belief.
Now, as far as the “dabbling in witchcraft” thing, I can totally understand where she is coming from. As young people, we hang around with friends, test the limits of family, and experiment, not always intelligently. She’s getting such a reaction from this that you would think she spent her adolescence sacrificing Persian kittens to Satan and bathing in their blood. She dabbled in witchcraft, just like I dabbled in a lot of things that I’d rather not admit to.
Okay, let’s see where she and I fall on the scale of teenage weirdness. When I was fourteen, I got involved in community theatre (yes, I’m a snob because I spell theatre with an “re” and not an “er”. So sue me.). I used to hang out with grownups, grownups who drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes and stuff I thought at the time were cigarettes but probably weren’t. Then I joined a medieval re-enactment group called the Society for Creative Anachronism when I was fifteen. I ran around Oklahoma and Texas going to tournaments with grownups who drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes and stuff I well knew by this time were not cigarettes, and beat on my friends with swords, threw spears at targets shaped like Roman soldiers, danced around Maypoles, drank while underage (gasp!) and basically enjoyed the heck out of myself. Many (most, okay, all) of my friends could be described as “non-traditional” (geeks, nerds, outcasts). Some were involved with Wicca, Druidism, and other non-typical ways of looking at the world (like through a haze of hashish). So if sometime, somewhere on the internet a picture surfaces of me in a thirteenth-century gown, holding a sword and standing next to someone with a wizard hat and a black cat under her arm, well, yeah, that’s me and I just have to live with that. That was part of my life back then. And most likely, a lot of those Wiccans and Druids have grown up to become moms and dads living in the suburbs driving mini-vans and regaling their kids with stories of how interesting they used to be. Some of them might even be politicians running for office. And I’m okay with that. Heck, we elected a president who has done cocaine.
So, Christine, I’ve got your back. You stick by your beliefs and don’t worry about that whole “dabbling in witchcraft” thing. Those who poo-poo your beliefs about abstinence and sexuality are wrong; those who think your past is going to come up and bite you probably have bigger skeletons in their closets. Forget them.
Now, before anyone thinks that I am a card-carrying Tea Partier, this is NOT an endorsement of Christine O’Donnel or anything like that. I hate politics. I just think this hubbub over these two issues is stupid. We have a wrecked economy, with one in seven households receiving some form of government aid, a moral morass of a society, a foreign occupation army that is murdering and being murdered, etc., etc., etc. Can we please focus on something that matters and get over this silliness? What? President Obama was really born in Kenya? Really? And Michelle hates white people? Wow, now that’s news!