Same Old, Same Old

Via the Economist, news of priests up to their old tricks, this time it’s Buddhist clergymen, in Ceylon:

Real-life lewdness is also out. In July police rounded up hundreds of red-faced couples caught holding hands, cuddling and kissing in public. In Kurunegala, a town near the centre of the island nation, they scoured hotel rooms for unmarried lovers. Similar crackdowns have been reported in many other places.

Prathiba Mahanama, a legal expert at the University of Colombo, says arresting consenting adult couples is illegal and suggests the victims could sue. But these efforts are popular. They are also backed by Sri Lanka’s powerful Buddhist clergy, whose support Mr Rajapaksa has carefully fostered.

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3 Responses to Same Old, Same Old

  1. dfhjdh says:

    The Buddhist angle seems tangential, not to mention the fact that here at Secular RIGHT you should not take it as a given that all of your readership will agree with your views regarding liberalizing sexual mores.

    That’s the thing Andrew, you consistently think that secular right means “libertarian right”. It doesn’t. The point in being a secular rightest is that even though we think religious claims are bunk, we agree with many “religious” values. That’s the only novelty in being a secular rightest here. Ayn Rand enthusiast who are areligious cheerleaders for capitalism are common on the web and if this site is just another one of them – as you seem to believe it is – then it’s redundant and overkill.

    I don’t believe in incorporeal beings with agency yet I believe that strict sexual codes of conduct are the health of a society. NOW you’ve got a secular right viewpoint that’s worthy of using a new term instead of just living in the HUGE nonreligious right libertarian tent.

  2. Andrew Stuttaford says:

    Dfhjdh, interesting comments – thanks.

    FWIW, I wouldn’t call myself a libertarian, although many of the viewpoints I hold certainly lean in that direction. Then again I tend to be rather suspicious of definitions, I suspect more so than you. You, for example, have one view of what being a secular rightist means. I have another (I’d guess that it’s more, to use an overused term, Burkean, than yours), but that oughtn’t to be a problem. The secular right *can* be a big tent even if it is not, currently, as crowded as I would like.

    Since you were wondering, the reason for the posting of this story was partly as a reminder that Buddhism isn’t necessarily the hippyish faith that many in the west assume and partly as a reminder of the way that so many priesthoods, regardless of faith, tend to be drawn to strict codes of sexual conduct. The reason for that can probably be found in the psychological make-up of those attracted to such a life, as well as their realization that such codes can be put to use (as you implicitly recognize yourself)as an instrument of social control, a realization they shared with the ideologues of Stalin’s Soviet Union and Maoist China, notably puritanical societies that are, I reckon, rather poor conservative role models.

  3. CONSVLTVS says:

    The Buddhism in Thailand was very different when I was there. Certainly no sexual puritanism. Indeed, if you want a look at the effects of a truly “anything goes” sexual morality, it’s not a bad example. Not one I can endorse, but very congenial to some.

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