June 4, 2006
The Power of Words
We oft hear of the power of words, of emotional poetry and of moving speeches; words that have sway over the public, words that can make or break even a presidency. I would like to mention just one word that has the power to perhaps change our society as can no other single word. However, I must caution that reader discretion is advised.
Hearing this word spoken in public can instill fear and panic in people, can cause grown men and women to cover their ears and to pull their children away. Speaking this word in public can cause one to lose one's job or office, hurt one's career. The swiftness with which a teacher would get fired would be head-spinning upon the mere utterance of this word near children. This newspaper will most probably be filled with fear of outrage over it being printed. A movie having something to do with this word would terrify. The Church pretends that this word does not even exist and would banish it from our language if it could.
Yet this word has the potential to heal, this word is that powerful. Properly applied this word can help save people from years of pain. Properly understood, this one word can bring relief to many suffering people.
This word is, masturbation.
A few may be snickering, but that this word and others like it are still taboo is indicative of a streak of primitivism in American society, an example of the sexual immaturity of America.
The attempt to ward off the "evils" of a universal and fundamental emotion through the waving of the sole magical talisman of "abstinence" is futile and simply tightens the bonds of repression. In the power struggle of ideas, "abstinence" as the only word to deal with our very human sexual feelings is simply another word for "repression."
But as I said, this word is powerful, and needs to be offset with other words such as "education" and "discussion."
The Clergy, and the religious-minded, by preventing sexual education, are preventing the proper maturity of children and hence of society. Suppression and repression will simply enable the centuries, yes, centuries, of clerical sexual abuse. Only through sexual education, wherein masturbation is no longer a dirty word, can our society mature.
This will seem ridiculous to many, and blasphemous to most, but it will stave off emotional pain and trauma, if within the Church, regarding a priest's confessed improper sexual urge, instead of the words, "Brother, let us pray." was heard the words, "Brother, have you masturbated?"