Two generations ago, Christianity defined the centre of gravity of personal morality. People either followed the precepts of the Church of England (homosexuality, abortion and pre-marital sex _bad_) or felt they should at least feel guilty about it. There was significant social opprobrium for people that did not follow these rules, even if they were not
Now, for each of those topics, even Christianity itself can't raise a majority against (and there's good reason to suspect that self-declared Christians will over-estimate their moral conservatism when being questioned). Even Catholicism can't raise a majority against abortion, the very definition of what should be an issue. And in the UK population at large they are completely dead issues. Whatever various fringe groups think, those issues are not only never going to be condemned, they are never even going to be discussed.
So if these issues don't even have a majority opposing them _within_ Christian denominations, why is it that to the outsider, they're the only thing Christianity is talking about? Given all the other things churches would like to discuss --- poverty, injustice, discrimination --- wouldn't shutting up about sex be a damned good idea?
"Given all the other things churches would like to discuss --- poverty, injustice, discrimination --- wouldn't shutting up about sex be a damned good idea?"
Indeed. But talking about sex is a great distraction from tackling really hard problems, such as poverty, etc.
Interesting to see that while I was typing that, the Pope was apparently being quoted saying roughly the same thing. When the Pope (the Pope!) thinks it's time to shut up about sexual morality, there really is a sea change afoot.
IO, Poverty, injustice, etc. are seen as the work of the government, unions, the health services, etc. Secular enterprises. In the US, religious folk are expected to keep their noses out of it or they're regulating morality for everyone else. Religion is what you're supposed to do at home, away from the public. Freedom of religion is now freedom from religion. Christians let it become that way; they fell silent, just as they became more accepting of secular opinions of abortion, etc.
"talking about sex is a great distraction from tackling really hard problems, such as poverty"
Futile to attempt to separate the issues like that, seeing that misuse of sex is a big contributory cause of poverty.
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