Boston – More Pagan Than Rome?

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Fifty years ago, European savants and American libertines were fond of labelling American culture and mores “Puritanical.”  For example, often one would hear the phrase that someone had “come out of the closet,” usually meaning that that person was publicly acknowledging to be homosexual, lesbian, or bi-sexual.

But currently in Boston, no one and nothing has remained in the closet. Everything is out in the open and, in fact, celebrated.

The explosion of radical sexual behavior and its ready acceptance throughout Boston and in many institutions in the Commonwealth takes your breath away. A decade ago, one used to hear of the gay and lesbian agenda. This has now expanded to an alphabet soup which, for many, is hard to even understand:  LGBTQQIP2SAA.  The term apparently stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, pansexual, two-spirit, asexual, and ally.

Is this progress?

How does this compare with pagan Rome?

In The Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Suetonius, writing in the early second century A.D., recounts in great detail the sexual exploits of several of the emperors, including Caligula. Caligula slept with his three sisters Agrippina, Drusilla, and Livilla, and ultimately married his favorite sister, Drusilla. He also routinely slept with whichever wives of leading Roman senators he fancied 

Emperor Nero, Suetonius writes, outdid the shockingly degenerate behavior of Caligula. Nero abused boys and committed adultery with married women. Of Nero, Suetonius also says:  “He gelded the boy Sporus, and endeavored to transform him into a woman. He went so far as to marry him, with all the usual formalities of a marriage settlement, the rose-colored nuptial veil, and a numerous company at the wedding. When the company was over, he had him conducted like a bride to his own house, and treated him as a wife.”

Is this not similar to the transgender movement and its ready acolytes at Boston’s Children Hospital who were a leading force in ushering in transgender surgery on minors, starting in 2007?

According to Suetonius, Nero took Sporus out in public, kissing him/her fondly from time to time, Later, he played the catamite with his freedman, Doryphorus, “imitating the moans and tears of a virgin,” again according to Suetonius.

This kind of rampant sexual debauchery was not confined to emperors and nobles. The Roman city of Pompeii, destroyed by volcanic fire in A.D. 79, is rife with erotic sculpture and frescoes which evidences an amazing celebration of sexual behavior, to which any tourist can attest.

In Boston, since the Goodrich case was decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2003, the culture has “progressed” from marriage being between one man and one woman to same-sex marriages. And now in Cambridge, Somerville, and Arlington, we have the spectacle of legally recognized polyamorous partnerships. (In case you are unaware of what a polyamorous relationship is, it is a domestic partnership – not a marriage as in polygamy — between any number of married or unmarried people, heterosexual, homosexual or transgender, living together or apart).

This is perhaps more pagan than Rome, which continued to affirm marriage to be between one man and one woman (although divorce at the time of the Claudian emperors became as easy as sending one’s spouse a letter in the mail).

Since the triumph of Christianity in the fourth century, throughout the Western world, its laws and cultural mores have been founded primarily on Judeo-Christian principles, the foremost of these being the Ten Commandments and the teaching of Jesus, his Apostles and disciples. The second commandment forbids the worship of idols. An idol is defined as any image, thing or desire which becomes a substitute for the one true and living God. Thus, it is not just graven images and statues that are idols but also  things like money, power, and sex can become idols. And so has abortion.

The recent U. S. Supreme Court decision, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Services, which overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the power of deciding the legality of abortion to the states, has shown that abortion in the Commonwealth has become an idol for many. The outpouring of emotion, anger, and even hate by many, including elected leaders like U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, has been astonishing. There has even been vandalism against crisis pregnancy centers and now various Democratic politicians are seeking to shut down these clinics by charging them with “false and deceptive advertising.”

Amazing that efforts to save the lives of unborn children would be seen as immoral and even evil.  Clearly, for many here in the Commonwealth, a woman’s total control of her body, including the right to terminate the life of an unborn child, is an absolute and unconditional right.

This idolization of abortion reeks of the pagan idolatry in Rome – not dissimilar to the worship of Bacchus and Eros – as the culture’s obsession with indulging each individual’s favored sexual identity and practice. History has shown that individuals, and nations, that idolize sex with all its trappings as the highest good are destined for downfall and to be confined to the ashcan of history. May we learn this lesson and turn away from the pagan idolatry of sexual license and abortion before it is too late.


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