Articles from the July 1997 Unification News

Adultery: Today's Issue

by Michael Inglis-NYC

The last few weeks have seen the issue of adultery leap to the forefront of our attention. The many articles and TV newscasts document the moral confusion that pervades American society at the end of the twentieth century. A people who have lost hope in true love because they have not been true.

There are many causes for marital breakdown, but one root cause is our society's misapprehension of love. This misapprehension of love is sexually-based, and it is perpetuated in the popular media ad nauseam. How many acts of adultery take place on an average day of network television? How many songs celebrate lust and casual sex? Popular culture romanticizes the "affair," encouraging people who might otherwise be faithful to risk their family's welfare for an elusive "love" and cause incalculable suffering. Is it surprising then that adultery is broadly committed but lightly regarded.

The views of sexuality presented in the popular media are not healthy ones-sex as a commodity, sex as the center of all value and power, sex as the raison d'Ítre of all there is. While sexual fulfillment is an essential ingredient of human happiness, attempts to "liberate" or revolutionize sexuality in modern times, a k a the Sexual Revolution, have left many people with a decidedly disillusioned feeling. At the extreme end of the spectrum are wrecked lives, abused children and broken homes.

This is why all the great spiritual teachings point out that adultery is the greatest sin. If we are to avoid inevitable decline, our country and its citizens must come to a new commitment to a family culture. America has long exalted individualism but sex is not an individual thing. But if the American experiment is to survive, its families need to come before its individuals.

The family is our learning ground of love. All the other relationships in our lives are patterned after these primary relationships with our mothers, fathers, siblings and relatives. When I read about the young girl in New Jersey who threw her baby into the trash can and went back to dancing I can't help but wonder about the state of the culture that produces such events. There must be very little understanding of family in it.

As we fail to learn how to love successfully we take with us wounds that need healing, wounds which prevent us from being successful in family life. Whether these affect our ability to type or command soldiers in the field I don't know but they sure affect our ability to love.

We may try to draw a line between public and private but all too often there isn't one. Are human beings so mechanistic? In the long run, adultery affects one's entire life, and the lives of those around us. Should we not try to teach what is right and wrong?

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