Is Prostitution the New Methodist Sexual Liberation Front?

Barb Wire

By John Lomperis

We cannot forget the UMC General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) defending premarital sex and the anything-goes ethos of Unitarian sexologist Debra Haffner, pro-homosexuality activists uncritically rallying behind a (failed) proposed 2012 sexual-morality statement for our church that would have deleted marriage or any other firm sexual boundary (beyond some general frowning at exploitation), the main sexually liberal caucus recently holding a secret workshop exploring “polyamory” (concurrent multiple sexual partners), and liberalization proponents’ apparent belief that risqué drag queen shows are appropriate for church-related events. In light of these, it is fair to ask if there are any limits to the radicalism promoted by the sexually liberal caucus groups in the UMC.

An indication of an answer came in my inbox yesterday.

The Church Within a Church (CWAC) movement is a semi-schismatic liberal group that in the past has said it refuses to make a firm commitment to either staying within or leaving the UMC.  It spun off some years ago from the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), the denomination’s main sexually liberal caucus.

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To honor Women’s History Womyn’s Herstory Month, CWAC sent out the testimonial of a transsexual former “sex worker,”  Janet Mock, who sees nothing inherently sinful or shameful about teenage prostitution. Rather, what is truly “shameful,” according to this author, is the lack of mainstream acceptance of “underground economies like sex work.”

CWAC uncritically touts this pro-prostitution essay as an encouragement “to reconsider our assumptions about woman/womyn, sex, gender and ultimately, redefining realness.” Taking the “how can any form of consensual sex be wrong?” arguments of the LGBT cause and the (factually flawed) “it’s my body” arguments defending elective abortion to a logical extreme, CWAC responds to this defense of prostitution by telling its network of pastors and church activists: “For Women/Womyn to be able to have full access to making choices about their person, body and way of being is still a revolutionary notion. We have much work to do.”

This CWAC-linked essay portrays prostitution as far more than just a last-resort means of making financial ends meet. Mock recalls “perceiv[ing] the sex trades as a rite of passage” for male-to-female transsexual individuals. As a teenager, many of Mock’s mentors in this subculture “engaged in the sex trades at some time or another – some dabbled in video cam work and pornography, others chose street-based work and dancing at strip clubs.”

Indeed, Mock seems to glorify prostitution. Mock was “empowered” by “witnessing the women … tak[ing] their lives into their own hands” by selling their bodies on the street.

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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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