"The body is not for fornication, but
for the Lord; and the Lord for the body ...
Flee fornication ... Your body is the temple of the
– 1 Corinthians, 6.13,19.
At the heart of the Christian religion lies
a disturbing hostility towards humanity's essential physicality.
Though less stridently proclaimed today than in earlier eras,
the circumspection, disdain and outright condemnation of human
sexuality in the dogmas of the church has given rise, for two
millennia, not only to the most monumental hypocrisy
but to all manner of sexual-emotional disorders. In simple terms,
sex was, and remains, a distraction, rival, and
enemy of organized religion – and in private moments, an indulgence
and reward of its high priests.
Repressed sexuality, on the other
hand, can be channeled
into a fierce piety and kill-joy religiosity,
its uncompromising ardour harnessed for the purposes of the
Church. But "inner conflict" is a predictable consequence,
as is an obsessive preoccupation with other people's sexual
The faith-based moralizer rages over private pleasures,
such as homosexuality and the "sanctity of human life" – whilst
condoning without embarrassment the slaughter of distant peoples
who do not happen to share their own peculiar interpretation
of the divine.
A weaker vessel
"Wives, be in subjection to
your own husbands ... behold your chaste conversation coupled
with fear ... let it not be that outward adorning
of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on
of apparel ... but after this manner in the old time the holy
women ... in subjection unto their own husbands ... Husbands,
dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the
wife, as unto the weaker vessel."
– 1 Peter 3.1,7.
Though women are Christianity's largest and most
loyal constituency, misogynous sentiments from the ancient world
still agitate the ruling male patriarchy, reluctant to share power
with a "weaker vessel". The
attitude of the Church fathers towards women reflected widely held
social attitudes of their time (and not any sentiments
handed down from "Jesus"). According to their precepts,
women were by nature inferior to men and were "not
to usurp authority over the man." (1 Timothy 2.12). But the
Christian bigots were worse than their pagan contemporaries, who
indulged feisty women with a certain disdain. Noted the satirist
"Most intolerable of all is the
woman who as soon as she has sat down to dinner commends Virgil,
pardons the dying Dido, and pits the poets against each other,
putting Virgil in the one scale and Homer in the other. The
grammarians make way before her; the rhetoricians give in;
the whole crowd is silenced: no lawyer, no auctioneer will
get a word in, no, nor any other woman."
– Juvenal, Satire 6, The Ways of Women
In the Roman world, fortunate women could become
educated in the classics. Though they had no legal rights they
enjoyed citizenship and a wide measure of personal freedom, which
included attendance of the theatre, the baths, the festivals,
and even the gladiatorial games.
But the Christian misogynists set about putting
women "in their place". During the dark centuries of
Christendom women would know only discrimination and repression,
a subjugation scarcely distinguishable from slavery. They would be
consigned to loveless marriages and short lives of unremitted
toil and near continuous pregnancy. They would know violence
and they would know terror.
The darkness would be relieved only by the flickering
candles of the virgin, pageants for the saints and dreams of a
bogus salvation beyond the grave.
"Henry, Bishop of Liège
, was a legend in and beyond his own lifetime
... His children by many concubines, several
of them nuns, numbered sixty-five, which was
a trifle excessive for a prelate even in those
days. He ended up murdered by a Flemish knight
who was outraged at what the bishop had done
to his daughter."
– Peter de Rosa, Vicars
of Christ, p417
Chased not chaste
Christian polygamy – a church
Abbey ... was nothing but a den of prostitutes serving
the local monks."
– Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ,
Of all religions, Christianity alone regarded
sexual relations outside of marriage as a grave sin. To this
prohibition, the Church added the call to life-long celibacy,
with the consequence that for centuries millions of
individuals suffered sexual
and psychological misery. Worse yet, with sexual pleasure
identified with demonic forces, even within monogamous marriage,
intercourse solely for
the procreation of children remained permissible,
and even this was a 'venial' sin.
Yet the gangster prelates
of the Church had no intention of living this way themselves.
For them, celibacy meant freedom from the restrictions and
responsibilities of marriage, not restraint from sexual activity.
Indeed, a pan-European network of monastic houses and female "orders" ensured
that a plentiful supply of unwed and institutionalised women
were always available to service the needs of the clergy.
It was a resource that far exceeded the seraglios of the
rather more than scriptoriums and vineyards: they were part
of the penal system. With stout walls, severe
discipline and often remote locations they served as the
prisons of their age. "Management" of a monastery
was often within the gift of a regional warlord, typically an
abbot or bishop who was himself a warrior-brigand
on horseback. A
monastic house, with vast acreage under
cultivation, provided a "living".
A favoured son of the church might be rewarded with, or might
wrestle from his rivals, hundreds of such "livings".
The practice of religion formed no part of their activity. Access
to vulnerable women, enslaved by the church, came
with the property.
The 4th Lateran Council of 1215 made it obligatory
for every person within Christendom to confess annually
to the parish priest. It was a requirement which
provided institutional cover every form of abuse imaginable:
"The privacy of the confessional provided
the clergy with ready access to women at their most vulnerable,
that is, when they were obliged by
canon law to confess every impure thought, deed and desire ... Confession was
thus often a means by which the clergy corrupted women
and eluded the demands of celibacy."
Rosa, Vicars of Christ, p423.
The immorality of the clergy, as much as the
scandal of indulgences, would provoke the Reformation – as
well as the crisis in Roman Catholicism in the late 20th century.
Medieval Church prescriptions
Various handbooks for priests set out the occasions when sex was forbidden.
The list included Advent, Lent, Easter week, Whitsun, fast days, feast days, Saturdays, Sundays, during pregnancy, lactation, or menstruation, during daylight, while naked, or when in church!
Unenforceable, of course, but a wonderful source of guilt and the need for the services of a priest.
At the same time, God-fearing Christians were urged to "be fruitful, and multiply." (Genesis 9.7).
Devil Woman – used and abused
"For this cause God gave them
up unto vile affections: for even their women
did change the natural use into that which is against
nature ... The men, leaving the natural use of
the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men
with men working that which is unseemly ... God
gave them over to a reprobate mind."
– Romans 1.26,28
"Ignorant and clumsy physicians blame
all sicknesses which they are unable to cure or which they
have treated wrongly, on witchery."
– Johan Weyer (1515-1588)
For many centuries the henchmen of Christianity,
often in a psychotic denial of their own sexuality, turned
their pent up frustration into brutal attacks upon women. For
them, Satan appeared in the guise
of a beautiful woman, stirring up thoughts that distracted
men from God. Or else, women were the daughters
of Eve, disobedient and weak-willed, corrupting
male morals by their lascivious nature. Male responses were
sometimes private acts of cruelty, meted either upon the temptress,
innocent third-parties, or even upon themselves. But more tragic
still was the madness which became a collective act of vengeance,
as in the 16th and 17th century
witch-hunts, when frustrated
sadists in clerical garb waged a campaign of terror against
an imaginary malevolence. In the dysfunctional Christian mind
the nightscape had become populated with an odd assortment
of demonic creatures, succubus, incubus,
and not least, naked women on broomsticks – a
tormenting fetish, if ever there was one.
Witch hunts provided employment for witch hunters
and necessarily, the witch pricker. It seems
the devil's mark was to be found secreted about the body. The
genitalia – of course! – were subject
to painstaking inspection. Warts, moles, liver spots, or any
other blemish could all be indicative of demonic liaisons. An
extra teat or nipple (by which the witch supposedly suckled
her familiars with human blood) was proof positive. Yet extra
nipples appear naturally in a small percentage of the population. Tough
of "fallen women"
During the 19th century, in
Ireland and elsewhere, the Church established
a network of asylums for women and girls who
had offended its strict moral code or were
deemed to be in danger of carnal sin. They
entered against their will and could not easily
These institutions were not
refuges but workhouses where the “Magdalenes” – so-called
from Mary Magdalene, the prostitute follower
of Jesus – were set to work "scrubbing
away their sins" by scrubbing dirty laundry.
The Church made profits but
the women went unpaid. Brutalised and abused
by sadistic nuns ("Sisters of Mercy"),
broken in spirit and isolated from the world,
many of the women remained in the institutions
until they died.
In Ireland alone more than
thirty thousand victims were incarcerated before
the closure of the last "laundry" in
The most bizarre sexual
crime that a witch could be accused of was "penis thievery":
"And what, then, is to be thought
of those witches who in this way sometimes collect male
organs in great numbers, as many as twenty or thirty members
together, and put them in a bird's nest, or shut them up
in a box, where they move themselves like living members,
and eat oats and corn, as has been seen by many and is
a matter of common report? It is to be said that it is
all done by devil's work and illusion ..."
– Kramer, Sprenger, Malleus Maleficarum (2.1.7),
In the pandemic, whole populations were whipped
into hysteria and recrimination, and thousands of hapless victims
were hanged or roasted in public spectacles. This, at a time
when the cult of Mary's "virgin purity" was at its
height and an unnatural "abstinence" was urged upon
the young. In this frigid world, in which sex was no better
than a necessary evil, even masturbation was said to lead to
insanity. True intimacy, in both adult sexual relationships
and in physical affection between parent and child, was lost.
The wrong orifice? – Sodomy
"Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as
with womankind: it is abomination."
- Leviticus 18.22.
"In eternity there is neither male nor
– Galatians 3.28.
Despite severe scriptural sanctions, the priesthood
attracted the homosexually inclined because it provided ready access
to adolescent males. Troubled, as they were, by natural desire for
emotional companionship and physical intimacy,
churchmen often faced the choice between a life sodden by drink
or predatory homosexual encounters.
In the post "Da Vinci
it has become trendy to argue that JC had a liaison with Mary
Magdalene. Why not? We're talking fiction after all. But
historically one of the most popular icons in Christian art has
been the androgynous Jesus, a suitable recipient
male and female "love". Similarly, angels were
indeterminate sex. In the Christian wonderland gender has no claims.
Paul: "Queers don't go to heaven"
"Be not deceived: neither fornicators,
nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor
abusers of themselves with mankind ...shall
inherit the kingdom of God."
– 1 Corinthians 6.10.
Paul: "God punishes art lovers with homosexuality"
"Men are without excuse ... Although
they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged
the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like
mortal man and birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping
Therefore God gave them over in
the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual
impurity for the degrading of their bodies with
– Romans 1. 20,24.
recent scandals have shown, priestly abusers often enjoyed a career
of serial rape, protected by a church hierarchy rife with homosexuals.
Boys were selected for the priesthood before they knew what
sex was. Entrusted to the "care" of a mentor they were
physically and psychologically vulnerable.
Who was brave enough
to challenge the integrity of a professional "holy
In any event, throughout the Middle Ages, a priest's
calling placed him beyond the authority of secular courts. Even
in the modern era, complicity of and cover up by senior bishops
has been scandalous. The abuse,
involving hundreds of cases in the United States alone, has cost
the Catholic Church dearly. But the crisis of sexual orientation
continues to be traumatic for Episcopalians and Evangelicals too.
And all because their mind is transfixed by ancient and irrelevant
James Porter – 30 year career
molesting children of both sexes.
John Geoghan – 30 years of abusing hundreds
Paedophiles for Jesus
"But Jesus called them unto him, and said,
Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for
of such is the kingdom of God."
– Luke 18.16.
The psychosexual disorder of paedophilia may owe
more to the psychotic malaise of Christianity than mere institutional
In many respects, Christianity – and in particular
its iconography – has an obsession with the "Christ
child", a perfect,
often naked, infant.
Does this encourage
a morbid interest in prepubescent children? Does "love of
Christ" lead inexorably into "love" of
his children. For
some among the many thousands of priestly abusers, this must
certainly be the case.
Painfully mistaken – S & M for Jesus
Homosexual proclivities were but one consequence
of Christianity's disastrous attitude towards sex. The same violent
frustrations meted out upon women often found other victims.
ever, "theology" provided a divinely sanctioned rationale.
Christ had suffered on the cross for the sins of the world. It
was only just that unrepentant sinners should be given a taste
of that suffering. Pain was "good for the soul". It was a
preview of damnation and ever-lasting torment. A
goodly degree of torture, whilst it might destroy a victim's body, might snatch
a soul back from the jaws of hell and therefore was an act of Christian
So widespread was the perverse notion of sacred suffering
that the "flagellants," set about flogging themselves
into a frenzy of ecstatic delirium, a painful but pious method
of arousing an erotic response. Scourging and extreme
asceticism, whilst masquerading as religious observance and submission
to God, in any other context would be correctly recognized as masochism.
prudery's gift to the world? – Syphilis
the 15th century, a non-venereal treponomal organism
existed in the Americas as a relatively harmless childhood disease,
endemic in rural areas, and transmitted by skin contact between
naked children. Taken back to European cities by the early Christian
adventurers, the disease subsequently mutated
into a sexually transmitted disease in order to survive in
the colder, non-tropical climate. Making
matters worse, in the Americas Christian morality forced the native
peoples into clothing to hide their "shame".
a result many populations of native Americans, as well as Europeans,
were decimated by syphilis in the 16th century.
"In the parish of St John
Zachary in [15th century] London there
was a church service of a very remarkable kind.
It provided a brothel exclusively for priests
and friars ... No doubt the women selected
for this place felt that they had a special
– Peter de Rosa, Vicars
of Christ, p413
Nice little earner – The
In the dogmas of Holy Mother Church sexual
intercourse was a concession from spiritual purity made in the
interests of procreation. Inevitably indulgence in the act meant
shame and sin. But of course, the grandees of the Church
knew that such sinning was as inevitable as night following day
– and where there was sin there was money to be made.
The Church waxed rich on the proceeds of its sex
rackets. Sexual guilt, whether in thought or deed, required penance.
The ceremony of marriage became a Church monopoly. The churching
of children began the cycle of exploitation all over again. The
unwed existence of a vast portion of humankind, regimented into
'orders', made available both males and females for nefarious purposes.
Their celibacy ensured that the only beneficiary of accrued wealth
was the Church itself.
the ludicrous and self-serving doctrines of the Church still
extract a toll – in the anguish of unwanted pregnancy,
abortion or divorce; in torments over sexual orientation; in
the pain of guilt, loneliness and insecurity; and in the public
scandals which, from time to time, dethrone an icon of rectitude
and "family values".
puritanical doctrines have inflicted untold damage on the mental,
emotional and physical lives of countless millions of people.
Through the course of centuries this malevolent faith has left
a trail of emotionally and mentally disturbed people, people
who have punished themselves and caused distress to others,
in a life filled with guilt, shame and denial.
to suicide, frigid marriages leading to violence, years of
loneliness, anger and regret, are some of the milder consequences
of the psychosis. Misogyny,
pedophilia, homophobia, rage against abortion, opposition to birth
control, obsession with virgin purity, obstruction of stem cell
research, morbid self-denial, flagellation, censorship of literature
and art, intolerance of alternative lifestyles – Christianity's
legacy runs as a foul stain across the human landscape.
Cullen Murphy, The Word According to Eve (Allen Lane, 1998)
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Bantam, 2006)
Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (1927)
Sam Harris, The End of Faith (Free Press, 2005)
Paul Tabori, A Pictorial History of Love (Spring, 1968)
Philip J. Lee, Against the Protestant Gnostics (OUP, 1993)
Uta Ranke-Henemann, Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven (Penguin, 1993)
Peter Brown, The Body and Society (Colombia, 1990)
P. Aries, A. Bejin, Western Sexuality (Blackwell, 1986)
Some fifty articles are now available as a book.
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Copyright © 2007
by Kenneth Humphreys.
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material herein is sold for profit.