Avoiding the Hypocrisy of Chastity

One is justifiably reluctant to declare Michael Novak flat wrong on matters of religion and culture, but I’m compelled to do just that in response to his writing:

Being a liberal means having a right to do anything that you want sexually anywhere, anytime, and with anybody. Thus, there is no way for liberals to be hypocritical about sex. Except by being chaste.

To avoid such hypocrisy, all liberals need do is either fetishize chastity or make an orientation of it, as with asexuality. Thus, the avoidance of or disinclination toward sex becomes, itself, a sexual state of being. Whereas in Christian thought, both sex and chastity, when rightly ordered, are spiritual acts.
The reason these aren’t merely two sides of a coin — and people inevitably will judge for themselves the significance of this difference — is that conservatives are skeptical of attempts to broaden the preferences, whims, and even lusts that are seen as rightly ordered toward God, while liberals are content to incorporate all of life into sexuality. And that brings me back to the intellectually safer ground of agreeing with Mr. Novak, who also writes that “the center of liberal values has migrated to sex and gender.”

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