I loved my Jurisprudence classes in University very much. It’s the one reason why I’d study law again if I come back to this side of the divide. I was super excited when we did “Law & Morals”. We discussed the issue of the criminalization of murder. Why was killing another person a crime? Was it because it was wrong? If it’s wrong, who determines what’s right and what’s wrong. (Please note, we were not justifying murder! We were having a discourse in class about law and morals!). Sometimes, I wish I was a lawmaker too… imagine what I’d do with my powers; all my pet peeves would be criminalized. Peeing on the streets, tossing Gala wraps out of the window of your moving car, even foolishness would be a crime if it were up to me! We talked about prostitution and whether it should be criminalized as it bordered more on morality when we explored the topic further. The issue of bigamy as a crime was raised; some people argued that it wasn’t the business of the State what a man did within the privacy of his bedroom but whether we like it or not, morality has somehow found its way into our laws.
Last week, I was having a very animated discussion with TJ about his article on whose responsibility it is to get contraceptives and he said “Atoke, your readers are quite self-righteous! Do you mean nobody is having sex outside of marriage?” As a Voltron, I was offended by the wide sweeping generalization but it actually got me thinking about the issue “Sex OUTSIDE of matrimony.” So why exactly is the issue of sex outside marriage an issue? Please don’t get angry yet and jump to the comments section… hear me out.
- Is it a religious requirement? If it is, is there a presumption that everybody shares the same religious beliefs? If my religion is silent on the issue of sex outside of marriage, why should I be judged by your religion? Why should I be castigated for not living by the instructions of your religion?
- Is it a legal requirement? Is there a law one is breaking if one is having sex outside marriage? Is adultery or fornication a crime?
- Is it a cultural requirement? Does our culture prohibit sex outside of marriage?
- Is it simply morally wrong? Bearing in mind that morality is highly subjective, we know that what is moral to John may be simply appalling to George!
I put this up as my personal message on my Blackberry Messenger: ‘Is No Sex Outside of Marriage’ a religious requirement or a cultural one? Please share your well thought out thoughts. The responses I got were mostly in favour of religion. My friend, MiMi, said “Both, but more religious because some cultures allow you have babies outside of marriage! In fact, some cultures wont allow you marry if you’re not pregnant” So I asked if I was required to be held by the same standards if I wasn’t bound by the requirements of that religion. To that she replied “Oh well, I guess, to each his own“. My friend, Funke, said, “The Bible says it’s wrong” So I retorted cheekily “So do you abide by the laws/requirements of the Bible sensu stricto”. Unfortunately, I asked my silly friend, Anne and her response was “It’s an insane one” and she went further to buttress her point concluding with “Getting married in a church doesn’t automatically make you a christian. Neither does getting married in a registry make you a law maker. Why pick and choose the laws you want to obey?People just talk from a sanctimonious point of view oh jere! “
I guess these things get to me because of the things I see in my line of work. I find that a lot of people take the moral high ground on a lot of issues without having properly thought them through. I’m afraid that the more I think about issues and I rationalize them, I’d become less sociable because I’d end up not really having an opinion about a lot of things.
What do you guys think? Is sex outside of marriage wrong because it’s morally wrong? Is it wrong because your Holy Book says it’s wrong? Is it wrong because our fore fathers have said it is wrong? Or is it just a crime to be going at it without a certificate legalizing it?
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