Brothers and sisters, please turn in the Good Book to Genesis Chapter 2 Verse 25.
Now, read along with me.
"The man and his wife were both naked, yet they felt no shame."
They felt no shame. Think about that for a while.
OK, I'm not a big Bible fan and I believe the story of Adam and Eve is a fable, but I think it's a fable with a purpose and that purpose says something about humanity. It says we have a problem with the fact that, in the end, we are responsible for our own moral choices and even for the very concept of morality itself.
Let's get back to the specific case in point, the overreaction to Janet Jackson's Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" and how it illustrates what I believe to be the single greatest misinterpretation of the Bible by the faithful.
You see, Original Sin, the big no-no that supposedly got the first man and woman booted out of paradise, was not the fact that they were naked. God made them naked, and if he had had a problem with that I'm pretty sure he could have whipped up at least a couple of T-shirts and some jeans for his creations.
Maybe even a cute sweater for Eve and a black leather jacket for Adam.
But no, they were naked, and clearly nobody had a problem with that until they ate the fruit from the tree that gave them knowledge of good and evil, and then took it upon themselves to get all uptight about their wardrobe deficiency. Or maybe they just acquired a sense of style along with the burden of choice.
And it's that burden that so consumes us and troubles us so much that we consider it a curse.
Well, clearly we're not very good at the whole choice thing, especially when it comes to deciding what constitutes evil.
Nudity, for example, is not evil. Neither is sex, and, in fact, neither is sex outside of marriage that involves two people who are not in love or, indeed, not even of the same sex.
Which is not to say that homosexuals can't be in love, but perhaps I'm pushing too hard for some of you. Point is, there really is nothing wrong with what they do or with people having fun, so long as they take precautions.
That's their business.
There's nothing wrong with Janet Jackson (it's Ms. Jackson if you're nasty, which I'm not) doing some dirty dancing with what's-his-name, even if they are on a stage. What was wrong was that they did it in a setting in which not all of the viewers knew what was going to be going on and were not willing participants.
She forced her ideas on unwilling people, and that, my friends, is wrong.
But let's not go nuts. Let's not wail and gnash our teeth and actually try to organize a class-action lawsuit claiming that people were injured by her actions. There's some bunch of folks in Ohio (I think it's Ohio) planning to do just that.
Shocked and offended, sure, if you're that sensitive, but not injured. And if your kid saw the flash of Jackson's pulchritude I doubt that they will need extensive psychological counseling.
They may decide to get a nipple ring, but if they have a craving for that kind of pain there's really nothing you can do about it, anyway. Ouch!
So just why is it that sex is so awful to so many people? Why is it so scary?
Because it is the most direct threat we have to our sense of control, the same sense of choice that also seems to pain us so much. Sex is wild, at least when it's good.
Call it existential angst or original sin, it's a pain in the arse (begging the pardon of my British readers) to be responsible for deciding what is right and what is wrong. It's easier just to leave the choice to somebody else, or to get it out of a book, especially if that avows avoiding all the lures of the flesh that might confuse and challenge us.
Well, it may have been the sin that got us cast out to wander in this world of woe, but it's done now. We are sentient beings and we are the ones who decide what's right and what's wrong.
We should perhaps try to make better choices. How many of you who were so outraged by Jackson's stunt think Bush's concept of "preemptive war" is OK? How many of you are more offended by the concept of gay marriage than the fact that civilians and soldiers are dying in an unnecessary war started on false pretenses?
See what I mean by making better choices?
Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.