A Call to Freedom of Choice
in Religion and in Sexual Practice
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
. . In scholarly and popular commentaries on religion, it seems that
no religion is ever indicated to be among the so-called "great" religions
unless it has, by some historical means, acquired sufficient political
power (within some large geographical region) to enforce its views
on the mass population. Indeed, before there was the modern political
trend toward the proliferation of pluralistic democracies, religions
grew in size (and "greatness") mainly by political conquest (and not,
at large, by argument, evidence, or "proof" of doctrine and of traditional
report). However, the time has come when it should no longer be presumed
that any religious institution, tradition, or ideal has the right
to grow in numbers by means of political conquest, or (otherwise)
to presume that it, by virtue of some past conquests (or any history
of presumed power), has the right to enforce its views on the
general population of any presumed democracy. . . .
essay appears in Adi Da's annotated bibliographical work, The
Basket Of Tolerance.
Surely, the time has passed when Europe, or North America, or any other region or domain of pluralistic democracy can be (or ever should be) presumed to be inherently (or, otherwise, necessarily — and "officially") identified with Christianity, or with any particular religious institution, tradition, or ideal. Truly, in a democratic society, every human individual must be free to choose his or her own form and manner of religious (or, otherwise, philosophical) commitment and practice. And, because sexual practice is necessarily based on the particular views associated with one's own personal, and (possibly) religious, or, otherwise, philosophical understanding, every human individual within a democratic society must be free to choose his or her own form and manner of sexual practice and sexual commitment. Particular religious institutions, sects, or communities have the right and the obligation to guide their own adherents relative to what (from the "point of view" of the particular religious institution, sect, or community) is right practice relative to sexuality and every other aspect of functional, practical, relational, and cultural life. However, a strong objection must be raised whenever any particular religious (or, otherwise, philosophical) institution, sect, or community presumes the "official" right to speak for all members of any general (and generally pluralistic) democratic gathering (or even for the pluralistic "all" of humankind), and (thus) presumes the right to universally declare, make, and enforce laws, rules, and principles based on the "point of view" of some particular institution, sect, or community within the whole. . . .
. . . [I]t is always appropriate for anyone to write about and (in general) to publicly communicate his or her views on any matters at all. But, in a democratic society, it is not appropriate for anyone — or any particular tradition, institution, sect, or community — to universally establish and enforce laws, rules, and principles that are merely sectarian, or that prohibit universal free choice relative to the basic matters of human functional, practical, relational, and cultural life.
In a society in which human beings cannot be legally owned (or treated as legal property), sexual relationships should themselves be inherently free of all that is implied by the idea of "property". The sanctioning of marriage by the State is, basically, a device for controlling the transmission of property from generation to generation. The traditional "rule" (and legal expectation) of monogamy (or of any other sexual arrangement) is, basically, a means for imposing property laws (and tax laws) upon relationships of sex and love. (And, additionally, politically powerful religious sects have used sexual "rules" and laws as a means for imposing their sectarian control on the behaviors of mass populations.) Thus, in democratic societies, relationships of sex and love should be set free from State-"licensing" (and from arbitrary sectarian controls), and intimately related individuals should be free to make their own contracts of property (or, otherwise, to contractually release their relationships from any or all implications of property).
It is also clear that human beings must be helped and guided toward greater and greater Growth in the ego-transcending process of the (potentially) seven stages of life. Therefore, democratic societies should, as a whole, greatly value and allow the cultural and community activities of all particular religious (and other general cultural) institutions, sects, and groups — for it is only such institutions, sects, and groups (and not the all-inclusive, and necessarily non-sectarian, democratic "State" as a whole) that are the right, true, and really effective means for helping and guiding their particular adherents in the basic exoteric and esoteric matters of functional, practical, relational, and cultural practice.
. . . Let Christians argue such matters among themselves. And let all
others argue such matters within their own religious (or even non-religious)
traditions, institutions, sects, or communities. It is certainly
the case that, for most (but not necessarily all)
individuals, the true and full requirements (both
exoteric and esoteric) of sex and love will themselves (once they
are understood and valued) limit sexual activity and sexual relatedness
to (generally) only one partner in any significant period
of life (or, in many cases, even for a lifetime). Nevertheless,
the public rule and law of democratic societies should always
be one that both permits and honors free choice relative
to all sexual, and emotional-sexual, matters (whether heterosexual
or homosexual). And all religious (and non-religious) people
should, in every democratic society, always practice public
tolerance, respect, and love. Indeed, "civilization" (in its true,
free, and democratic sense) depends on such freedom, tolerance,
respect, and love — and not on the imposition of arbitrary
and sectarian ideals, expectations, rules, and laws. And it is only
by such truly democratic practices of public freedom, tolerance,
and love that every human individual can be set free from
the political and religious tyrannies of the past.
Return to Avatar Adi Da Samraj's Current Teaching
on Emotional-Sexual Relationships, Sex, and Celibacy