It took me a while to think whether or not I would actually write anything related to a story about a couple in North Carolina being jailed for making porn involving bestiality with a dog. I mean, what more is there left to say?
But then I read the following comment, by someone calling themself, rather appropriately, ‘Blindman’, in response to the story:
“So while i think this act is disgusting, i honestly didnt know it was actually illegal.
You can literally by Dildos shaped like various animal dicks, machines that will pound you in every orifice, and make a video of you getting shit and pissed on while a transsexual has sex with you, and yet this is illegal?
Maybe i don’t understand, but if these freak want to get it on with a dog and post it on a website dedicated to people having sex with animals, should it really be illegal.
Again, i feel after typing all that i need to say i find the act itself disgusting in the extreme, but i don’t find that a reason to make something illegal.”
It occurred to me that, while this person may possibly be blind, this would be no excuse for understanding that anyone/thing involved in the act of sexual intercourse with a human being must be able to demonstrate a consent that is humanly understandable.
Blind? I think not. Stupid? Without a doubt.
It’s about consent.
Plain and simple.
No matter how ‘in touch’ you may be with the inner workings of your dog’s or cat’s mind, even if you were Dr. Dolittle, you are unable to demonstrate, beyond any reasonable doubt, that your pet has given consent for any sexual act YOU may CHOOSE to inflict upon it. Even the regular humps I receive on my leg from my husky-mix are not an invitation or licence for me to do the same to her.
Bestiality is, quite rightly, illegal in the United Kingdom. It astonishes me however, that on the shelves of sex shops on the continent, I can quite freely and legally purchase videos involving dogs, cats, horses – any animal actually – for just a few Euros. (Although, seeing as Romania has recently decided to slaughter thousands of its own street dogs, should we be surprised that others who share the continent have similar levels of compassion for their four-legged ‘friends’?) And yet, if these videos involved children, there would be an uproar. Not that I support either, but there is the argument to make that, unlike animals, children are, in the vast majority of cases, able to explicitly give consent. It is only the law that states that consent sought from minors cannot be recognised.
It is quite right, even though I am an animal lover, that we elevate the safety and well-being of children above those of beasts, but is it really so far-fetched an idea to see the hypocrisy that some are too blind or ignorant to understand if bestiality is ever deemed as acceptable?
We would be utterly horrified, and most of us are, by the idea of anyone under the age of 18 being co-erced or even, for that matter, ‘choosing’ to be involved in pornography, but force them to cover their faces in the name of religious freedom and we (or at least some) deem it acceptable.
In fact, thousands of minors in this country alone are FORCED, usually from an early enough age where they haven’t the ability, let alone the inclination, to object, to be mutilated, covered in a bizarre variety of garb (most of which is never mentioned in any religious text whatsoever) depending on their sex and the religion, wear their hair in specific styles (men and women), be starved for certain periods of the year, to be forced to pray (or at least look like they are doing so) several times a day, and, to top it all off, be continually made to believe that if one fails to do any of these things, they run the risk of spending an eternity in the after-life in some burning pit of hell-fire.
Only this week, in a common-sense (albeit watered down, ruling) by Judge Peter Murphy at Blackfriars Crown Court, a defendant was told that she must remove her niqab if she wishes to testify. Meanwhile, Birmingham Metropolitan College was forced (some might say ‘bullied’) to reverse a decision after over 8,000 people signed a petition against its policy to ban students from wearing the niqab.
Is religious freedom really something that deserves being fought for? Why should something so irrational and based on nothing but myth and fairy tales and, without too much doubt, lies, be permitted the same level of freedom we bestow on things that are grounded in far more sense? That we put religion on the same level as a race, gender, disability, age, sexuality is an utter insult to all those things. Religion is a CHOICE. The others are neither a choice and nor are they based on shoddy evidence and centuries of diluted chinese whispers, let alone give people a licence to involve themselves in, and co-erce others into, acts that would be otherwise intolerable in the minds of most within a sensible, evidence-based society.
We might draw the line at flying planes into skyscrapers, but it seems that, as long as its done in the name of a cult – uh-hum, my mistake – I mean, ‘religion’, then the rest of us either grin and bear it or, as is too often the case, elevate it to some level of respectability. So, its okay to chop off your kid’s foreskin, force your little girl to conceal every portion of her head except (in some cases, including) her face , make your little boy shave off all his hair except a few strands behind his ears, deny your kids the right to access all forms of communication and access to the ‘real’ world and let them die because you refuse to allow them a blood transfusion or necessary medical treatment. There are even cases in the USA, such as that of rastafarian, Ras Iyah Ben Makahna, who was permitted to import cannabis because, as the federal court argued, it was for religious reasons and consistent with his beliefs. (Get this: getting high allows people to get closer to God. Well, there’s a f**king surprise!!! When I’m high, I can get in touch with various fictitious beings too!)
It dawns on me that I’m missing a trick here. I was dismissed from my teaching job for doing something that some people deem unacceptable. If its cool to do completely irrational and abusive things, let alone the sane, sensible and legal thigs, in the name of religion, why on earth didn’t I take the time to set up a cult – sorry – a ‘religion’ and state that public displays of sexual activity were an essential part of my belief and enabled me to get in touch with a supernatural being too? The truth is, it IS a fundamental, if not exactly an essential, part of my belief. But my belief is in the human existence and experience and its ability to explore all avenues of its sexuality and does not hinge on the unlikely belief in a fictitious entity in the skies. Am I being discriminated against for this? Or is this just another example of a f**ked up society with a total inability to see the hypocrisies and double-standards of its own making?
- North Carolina Soldier and His Wife Arrested for Making Dog Porn (gawker.com)
- Judge compromises over niqab for Muslim woman in dock (theguardian.com)
- The veil: where will it end? (lawyerssecularsociety.wordpress.com)
- Downing Street backs ban on veils in hospitals and councils (telegraph.co.uk)
- Analysis: The niqab judgement explained (bbc.co.uk)