Saving Secular Government

Photo: Church and State.

Photo: Church and State.

Cole Mier, Opinions Editor

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Every quality piece of writing, be it fiction or nonfiction, begins with a hook. Originally, mine was going to be, “Dude! Wouldn’t it be so awesome if prostitution was legal?” I came to the realization that this was in poor taste, so I purposefully omitted it from this editorial. However, I believe the question is still valid.

Perhaps the “awesomeness” portion is not, but the legality question still puzzles me to this day. I have yet to find a good, concrete reason why prostitution is illegal in this country. I see no issue with sex that is consensual. I understand that the way sex workers function in our society currently is appalling, and thus, illegal, but I believe that legalizing prostitution would solve all of the appalling aspects of prostitution in its modern form. America should switch to a system similar to those found in Australia, where individual solicitation of sex is illegal, but brothels are legal. Workers are monitored by a government agency that regulates the brothels and makes sure that workers are qualified, registered, drug free, and do not possess sexually transmitted diseases. By switching to this system, pimps in America would virtually disappear, ending the horrendous abuse sex workers normally face. The high prevalence of drug addiction in prostitution would diminish because employees of brothels would be held to the same standards of any other employee of any other business. The government could properly allocate all of its resources to tracking down and destroying sex trafficking rings, no longer having to concern itself with small-scale prostitution. Finally, the government could place heavy taxes on brothels; the legalization of prostitution would make the sex workers and customers safer, would cut down on physical abuse and sex trafficking, and would allow the government to make a profit by organizing a system in which goods and services could be bartered, albeit in an untraditional way.

        While I believe my argument for the legalization and regulation of prostitution holds definite merit, I also know that it is pointless. Legislation legalizing prostitution could never come to fruition in America. I know, I know- I just went on a massive tangent about sex in the middle of the school newspaper’s opinions section, but I swear, I have a point. Rational, well thought out arguments have arisen in government before, and they have been rejected for seemingly ridiculous reasons. I am not saying my argument is perfect, but I do believe it is indicative of a larger trend in government: the halting of social reform by the traditional set of Christian ethics held by many representatives in government. Now, to be clear, I would oppose legislation solely supported by any faith, but Christianity is the most common among American elected officials so I choose to focus on it. If a bill proposing legal prostitution were to emerge on the House or Senate floor, it would be rejected because prostitution is considered terrible, morally corrupt, wrong, and sinful. Where do these descriptions of sin come from? Christianity. Many elected officials’ perception of what is sinful and what is not is dictated by their faith. Gay marriage was opposed for years for this reason: because marriage was supposedly between a man and a woman. This definition did not come from the Constitution or the Bill of Rights- it came from the Bible. I understand the necessity for religion in people’s lives, and applaud any and all members of the government who use their faith to define their own set of morals and ideals as individuals. However, they cannot use that same faith to define the morals and ideals of the nation. We live in a secular democracy, where freedom of religion is granted. Yet, the government is enforcing policies guided by Christian philosophy and logic. To this day I have no idea why gambling is illegal other than its “moral” reprehensibility, and even that I do not understand. This is a step in the wrong direction, and the continued acceptance of faith-centric legislation will cause massive consequences.

        I see these consequences manifesting in Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore. His controversial opinions and policy preferences on many issues are infamous, but I would like to focus on just one: his stance on religion. Moore has a prejudiced and misguided view of Islam, arguing that Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim in Congress, ought to not be sworn into office because “Islamic law is simply incompatible with our law.” However, the most telling statement on religion he has made came from his lies that there were American communities under Sharia law. He said, “Sharia law is a little different from American law. It is founded on religious concepts…Sharia law incorporates Muslim law into the law. That’s not what we do.” It appears as if Moore’s Islamophobia has given him a proper understanding of how a secular government functions, yet, his hypocrisy is made evident by his statement, “It was the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America that Christianity ought to be favored by the State.” This is a candidate for a position in our national government that clearly understands the concept of a secular government yet willfully ignores it in order to complete his goal of a government guided by his own religious principles, a Christian-Caliphate, if you will. While all of this is obviously appalling, I fear we only have ourselves to blame. For years we have not protested when religious ideals and morals have guided our politics. The secular nature of government has been prodded for a long time, and now, it is under direct attack by people like Roy Moore. If a change does not occur soon, then disaster will strike.

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