Legislating morality

May 11, 2011


To the editor:

Members of the new Kansas Legislature are beginning to show their true agendas. This includes shoving their religious and right-wing social values down our throats. The latest attempt targets clubs that have exotic dancers. The latest laws that they are attempting to enact will severely regulate how much clothing the dancer must have on and the distance the dancers can come near patrons. Of course, the whole idea is to terminate such clubs all together. There is absolutely no reason for such regulation because there is nothing that contributes to criminal activity.

These are the same Republican legislators that are always complaining about government regulation. However, these hypocrites are most willing to legislate their idea of morality and pass regulations that will enforce their will. Instead of concentrating on the main problems of Kansas such as creating job opportunities for the numerous people on unemployment, they waste their time on trivial issues.

You can’t legislate morality, it is not a black-and-white issue. What is immoral to these legislators is just natural and not immoral to many people such as myself. My advice to these right-wing conservatives is to mind your own business and live your life as you like and we will live as we like. Stop trying to force your values on others!


Scott Drummond 6 years, 11 months ago

You are, of course, correct, but the right wingers will never just stop pulling this nonsense. Defeat them and remove them from office is the only solution.

Bill Getz 6 years, 11 months ago

Kansas legislatures have always been known for wasting time on insignficant moral issues to the neglect of their mandated responsibilities. The disappearance of the Prohibition issue poses the same problem to state GOP as the demise of Godless Communism does to their counterparts at the national level. Here, they are trying out lap dancing as a substitute. At least it diminishes the time they have to spend on the more nefarious aspects of their agenda. BG

thebigspoon 6 years, 11 months ago

What the hell is contrived about sex and sexual expression?

Cai 6 years, 11 months ago

to be fair, chimpanzees trade them for grooming and fruit. (yes. really. lap dances, sex, and murder for hire). one presumes that this is because they don't have currency.

Cai 6 years, 11 months ago

That's genuinely interesting, actually. though, it also demonstrates that society has to be behind the law in order for it to work.

jaywalker 6 years, 11 months ago

tange got to it first: lap dancing is "natural"?? That's a chuckle.

oldvet 6 years, 11 months ago

"...shoving their religious and right-wing social values down our throats."

as opposed to the liberals who want to shove their radical and left-wing social values down our throats.

Brock Masters 6 years, 11 months ago

Good point. Let's all agree to stop shoving our personal values down each other's throats.

pizzapete 6 years, 11 months ago

Yea, since when was helping out your fellow man an American value? Tough luck if the poor can't afford health care, education, food, or shelter. Helping the less fortunate is pretty radical.

Brock Masters 6 years, 11 months ago

Helping your fellow man is a moral and personal decision. No stops an individual from being charitable on their own, but some want to legislate to force others to embrace their morals and help others.

Many may agree that we should help others, but it is still a moral issue and so where do you draw the line when as a society we accept that we can or should legislate morality? The problem is morality is not universal. Your morals may not be mine and vice versa.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 11 months ago

While I agree that morality is not a black and white issue, I would like to remind the letter writer that both political parties play that game. Republicans are pushing hard on some issues, Democrats on others. Perhaps it's their way of meeting in the middle. As an example, I have no problem with adult themed businesses, but keep them a certain distance from schools and parks. But if one side says they must be anywhere they want to be, the other side will try to eliminate them completely.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

Pelvic politics, it's called in some circles. Left over from Victorian England and ancient legends. For a good discussion ot the implications, see Maguire: Pelvic Orthodoxy: The focus of orthodoxy enforcers is mutable. The inquisitors were not interested in Galileo’s views on masturbation or birth control. The orthodoxy concern was in the stars. Galileo would have no problem today. The focus has turned from astral to pelvic issues. The modern Christian inquisition will be heard from in the halls of legislatures if the issue is gay rights, sex education, erotic art, contraception or abortion. And here another dimension of authoritarian religion emerges, its inherent fascism. The desire is not just to control the faithful but to subdue the entire polity. The abortion issue illustrates this mind-set at work. (Daniel C. Maguire, Religion and Reproductive Policy.)

KUnlv13 6 years, 11 months ago

I actually enjoy living in Las Vegas immensely, Mr. Burger.

Stuart Evans 6 years, 11 months ago

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jonas_opines 6 years, 11 months ago

"Both sides do it!"

Yep, but only one builds their voting platform on the idea that they don't.

statesman 6 years, 11 months ago

Cheeseburger, what's your definition of "normal" society? One where everyone has equal rights and has the freedom to live their lives as they wish, or one where the ruling party's religious views are forced upon those of us who don't accept those religious values? Last time, I looked, there were a lot more people going to Las Vegas for vacation than coming to Kansas! I, for one, don't want to live in the "normal" world as you envision it. I want to be free to marry and/or have sex with whoever I wish, entertain myself in my own home however I wish, and not have my life governed by believers of fairy tales and superstition.

verity 6 years, 11 months ago

Of course we legislate morality. That's pretty much what laws are about. It's the degree to which we are willing to infringe on another's freedom to do as they please that we disagree on. We probably all agree that murder is wrong and we have laws against it, but we don't agree on what murder is. Some people believe all abortion is murder, others feel it's not and should be allowed on demand, and others (probably most) think there should be some regulation.

The problem, as I see it, that we are having now is that instead of dealing with the pressing issues of the economy, which many of us see as a moral issue, state and national legislators are wasting time on issues which either involve personal morality, having little or no effect on other people, or which would better be left to local governments.

I'm not sure what the motives are---I suspect there are a number of them. One is pandering to a radical fringe to keep them inflamed and voting. Another seems to be the dumbing down of society so that we are more easily inflamed and led.

I'm suspecting that it will backfire.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

verity (anonymous) says… "Of course we legislate morality. ... I'm not sure what the motives are---I suspect there are a number of them. One is pandering to a radical fringe to keep them inflamed and voting..." ====== verity: You are correct. For some clues as to what is behind the movement, research the C-Street Cult (AKA The Family), which trained our governor and many other politicians. http://www.yuricareport.com/PoliticalAnalysis/GodsSenatorBrownback.html

verity 6 years, 11 months ago

Paul, I have researched C-Street and tried to warn people in these comment sections before the election. So I probably spoke too quickly when I said I wasn't sure of the motives. Among other things, the end result is a theocracy in which women have little or no power.

I guess it's just too difficult to get my brain around the insanity and sometimes I forget just how dangerous people like Governor Brownback are.

And for those of you who want a theocracy---beware what you wish for. It may not be the religion or cult of your choice that you will be forced to follow.

beatrice 6 years, 11 months ago

Anti-big government Republicans continue to tell others how to live their lives. Sad.

Kyle Reed 6 years, 11 months ago

Pro-big governement Dems continue to tell others how to live their lives and pretend they don't. Sad.

gogoplata 6 years, 11 months ago

Republicans and Democrats both continue to tell others how to live their lives. If you'd prefer to be left alone vote Libertarian.

Brock Masters 6 years, 11 months ago

I would but most candidates come across as loons. The libertarian party needs good candidates.

Stuart Evans 6 years, 11 months ago

they come off as loons because it's such a novel idea that government isn't telling us what to do or how to live. most libertarians are regular folks who don't have ties to big pharma, big oil, and Wall Street.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

"And for those of you who want a theocracy---beware what you wish for. It may not be the religion or cult of your choice that you will be forced to follow." === Good points, verity. Perhaps the most chilling/telling quote (for me) from Sharlet's book was in the section on Sam. "Brownback doesn't demand that everyone believe in his God--only that they bow down before him." (p 270)

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 11 months ago

Small government when it comes to corporations.

Big government when it comes to personal liberty.

This is the GOP way.

Stuart Evans 6 years, 11 months ago

show your math. show me the percentage of democrats (50.1%) who are "morally bankrupt". I'd also love to see your list of what is and what isn't morally acceptable.

Stuart Evans 6 years, 11 months ago

Abso-freakin-lutely! this letter nailed it.

verity 6 years, 11 months ago

Stop the presses!

Apparently Florida has passed an anti-bestiality law which accidentally outlawed all sex between humans.

Not even Kansas can top that---can we?

verity 6 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the laugh this early in the morning. Good for my health.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

If the strippers had their John's pay sales tax on their lap dances, and there was a way of tracking how much cash they were bringing in and they paid income taxes accordingly, this whole issue wouldn't even be considered. Just think how much income taxes are missed since strippers are paid in cash from $20 - $30 for just one song, and this isn't factoring in the dollars shoved in their g-strings when they are dancing on stage. Some of those women bring in over $1000 in one night. Do you sincerely think they pay income taxes on that money? - more likely that money goes for drugs.

denak 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Tucker, by your own admission, this is not a black and white issue but you try to make it so by claiming that the motive of the legislature is purely a religious/morality one.

However, it isn't.

The restrictions put on strip clubs are neither new or strictly Republican or even American. In 2010, Iceland, a country that routinely ranks as one of the top 3 most democratic societies in the world, outlawed strip tease. The basis for their argument was not a moral one but one that recognizes that human beings.....and yes that includes women.... are not commodities to be sold. If this argument does not meet with your satisfaction, there is the legal argument of whether or not strippers should be considered employees and thus have certain legal protections or if they should be considered independent contractors. Many strip club owners favor strippers being considered independent contractors so that they are not liable for the actions of any stripper nor do they have to offer them mandatory pay for overtime or worker's compensation. It is a way for the owners to exploit their workers, not to value their workers.

As for your argument that stripping is not a criminal offense, perhaps not but it is naive and dishonest for people to pretend that criminal behavior does not occur in strip clubs. There is ample documented proof that human traffickers routinely use strip clubs as "stops" as they traffic their human victims. There is also the very close relationship that many clubs have with the mob. It is estimated that sex trafficking will become the leading mob activity, replacing drugs, in the next 5 years and much of their activity is funnelled through strip clubs. And before you make the argument, that it is legislating morality to regulate when two consenting adults can have sex, bare in mind, that those who are trafficked do not consent and that the average age of a female prostitute in the US is 13, the average age for a male is 14. There is NO consent.

There is, lastly, the human psychological cost to the strippers. As much as t.v, movies and certain advocates like to paint stripping as "freeing to the woman and her sexuality," this is rarely the case. If anything, stripping reduces the individual to nothing more than the sum total of his or her physical anatomy. It is, for most, demoralizing, damaging to their self-image, damaging to their relationships and ability to have healthy relationships, and damaging to their bodies. Bodies that aren't, by the way, covered by their employer insurance. If you want to dismiss my response up to "oh she is imposing her morality" go ahead because my morality says that it is wrong to reduce human beings to commodities and to not offer them the full range of employee protection and to force human beings to work in an environment that is not healthy, not regulated and not consensual.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

Much of your argument exists because prostitution and drug use are currently illegal.

If they were legalized, the criminal enterprises surrounding them would disappear, as happened with the repeal of Prohibition.

Anything involving consenting adults should be legal.

The underage issues you mention are of course completely valid, but would also be valid if drugs and prostitution were legal for consenting adults.

And, the fact that stripping/prostitution/drugs/etc. may not be good for people is not a good enough argument to deny people the legal right to make those choices - where does that stop? Should we outlaw fast food restaurants/watching too much tv/etc.?

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

It's Sam Browback and the RINO's from hell imposing more big government on the state of Kansas.

Recall RINO Sam Brownback ASAP!!!

Jan Rolls 6 years, 11 months ago

As the republicans sit in their clubs in Topeka enjoying adult beverages.

KWCoyote 6 years, 11 months ago

Religious hostility to anything sexy comes from two sources. One is that Judaism, Christianity and Islam all come from a hot dry part of the world where traditional people didn't take regular baths or showers, wash their clothes often or use deodorant. They were stinky. Get naked enough to have sex and you let more stink out. That wasn't a sexy place to live. Sex was something that the dirty immoral animals did, and religion tried to make people forget that they/we too are animals, even stinky ones. The religions arising in the Mideast are built around the idea that anything bodily is offensive. This is in addition to the Mideast idea that women are men's property.

The other religious angle is based on the allegation that every religion was invented by priests for the material benefit of priests (easy money, in other words). To round up members, a common trick was to convince people that they were sinners in need of salvation, and an easy way to do that is to convince people that the natural urges and pleasures and body parts of sex are sinful. Sell that guilt and you fill your temple or church!

jayhawxrok 6 years, 11 months ago

The hypocrisy of the far right is something everyone else notices but they can't see. They think it's fine to whine about big gov when a Democrat is in power but enlarging gov when a Republican is in power is justified.

They would prefer America were a theocratic state and they can't stand the fact the majority are against that and will NEVER let it happen.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

KWCoyote : "The other religious angle is based on the allegation that every religion was invented by priests for the material benefit of priests (easy money, in other words)." === "Invention" may be too strong a word, but there is some truth to this. The priests/leaders soon realized they could attract power money and young women if they played their cards right. One of the first agricultural progams was the ancient Jewish model. The leaders got to pick the cutest girls for 'training' and they stayed in the holy places. The farmers who grew the most olives were granted a 'whack' at the young ladies as a reward. Christianity carried on the tradition in other forms. Note the practices of the Catholic church for centuries. We are sexy chimps but fear our biological roots. Many religions, including the three great skygods invented by the 'sweaty tribes' mentioned above use religion to suppress sexuality, particularly among the masses. As for the masters, remember the golden rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.

verity 6 years, 11 months ago

Coyote, your first line of reasoning regarding religious hostility to sex is one I have never encountered before and I find it quite interesting, although not completely convincing. Any references or books where I might look into this idea more thoroughly?

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