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Phoenix Goddess Temple - Lighting the Way with Her Love and Wisdom
Fair Trial Not Possible?

Mother's Religion of Goddess Worship 

The Holy Body & Full Spectrum Energy Healing (Shakti)

is legally blocked by Judeo-Christian Stigma of Prostitution

 

By Frans van Rossum, Retired Professor & Dean (college withheld for discretion)

 

I Fair and impartial trial

The Constitution essentially secures its citizens a fair and impartial trial. But how can that reasonably be guaranteed in prostitution cases unless the judge demands and enforces from all involved (judge, prosecution, defense, defendant, and each jury member) an absolute separation of State and Church?


Simultaneously the judge must enforce for all parties their constitutional right of freedom of religion (as defined in the Constitution). This implies freedom of non-religion. This same strict separation of State and Church is also required to achieve decriminalization and legalization of prostitution. Why?


II Separation of State and Church

Consider these arguments:

THE STATE

1. The state stays generally out of the privacy of people’s sexual activities (as long as parties are of legal age and the activities happen by mutual consent). Namely the state

a. Does not criminalize premarital or extramarital sex

b. Does not legally require procreation

c. Does not require either love or sex for a marriage to be legal

d. Does not criminalize adultery

e. Does not criminalize long-term non-married relationships that include sex

f. Does not criminalize short-term relationships that include sex (“affair”)

g. Does not criminalize promiscuity

2. The State guarantees freedom of religion and the exercise thereof

3. The State does criminalize prostitution (sex for hire)

THE CHURCH

In the USA

Currently, 81.20 % of the US population counts as Christian, 1.65% as Jewish, and about 1.51% as Muslim; 12.81% counts as Agnostic.

Source – Wikipedia  The Association of Religious Data website, retrieved March 3, 2012;

ARIZONA:

According to a 2008 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the most common self-reported religious affiliation of Arizona residents are: Christian 67% and Jewish 1.6

source - Wikipedia “Demographics of Arizona” retrieved March 3, 2012

Churches

1. Does generally control the privacy of people’s sexual activities

2. Does explicitly require sexual activity for the purpose of procreation

3. Does explicitly condemn sexual activity for any other purpose than procreation

4. Does namely condemn adultery (One of the Ten Commandments as adopted by all Christian churches; the Catholic Church also condemns the desire for “your neighbor’s wife” – Commandment IX)

5. Does require progeny as proof of procreative sex for a marriage to be considered consummated and therefore not annullable

6. Does condemn pre-marital, extra-marital, and post-marital sex

7. Teaches chastity in marriage beyond the mechanical sexual activity for procreation

8. Does condemn any other kind of sexual activity other than intercourse for procreation

9. Does condemn any form of contraception and the planned procreation as interfering with procreation

10. Does condemn abortion

11. Does condemn homosexuality

12. Does condemn prostitution

In addition:

13. Christianity generally teaches by doctrine that the authority of God, as the creator of all including mankind, overrules any civic authority. No higher authority than God’s authority.

14. Christianity teaches therefore that Christians first answer to God and then to the civic authority.

15. Christian conscience is shaped and trained by the belief in God as the ultimate authority, and by the doctrine that following God’s Will and Commandments plus the teachings of Jesus prevails over any civic law that may not follow the Christian vision and belief.

III Sacred sex teachings deserved equal religions freedom

Generally, civic law and Christian doctrine kind of overlap one another regarding in criminal matters. One glaring exception is the prostitution law because it pertains to sex and in sex matters civic law and Christian doctrine are directly opposed andincompatible.

Given that about 67% of the Arizona population is Christian it can be reasonably expected that a sizeable majority of the jury members in Tracy’s trial is Christian.

There is reasonable probability that the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney are Christian.

(Unless the contrary can be proven, the defendants have performed their professional duties with all respect and care due to their customers, morally, ethically, and humanly. This is an imperative in all trades. Customers have not filed complaints.)

Christians can be reasonably expected to follow their Christian conscience when asked outside the trial case to judge this case, as the freedom of religion allows them.  Given their Christian conscience, it can be reasonably expected from them to deem prostitution morally and socially wrong.

Because of the extremely polarized positions between State and Church, Christian jury members in Temple cases (or any other prostitution case), cannot and should not be expected or required to shut down their (Christian) conscience and judge the allegations purely on a civic, legal base.  This would not be fair to jury members.

How can the State warrant the constitutional right of an indicted person to a fair and impartial trial in a matter where State and Church hold polarized positions? Where a sizeable majority of the jurors can be expected to let their Christian conscience prevail over the intentions and logic of civic law, and where the State is legally bound to uphold the separation of State and Church?

The usual method is to inform potential jury members during the selection process of their right to excuse themselves on grounds of religious belief.

This may not suffice in cases as Tracy’s where the legality or illegality of sexual activity for hire is the core of the issue.  For a Christian any sexual activity that is not for procreation, whether as part of marriage or not, is a priori a major sin.

As far as I understand, the law does not allow forcing a citizen to state their belief in general (religious or not religious) or their religious affiliation.

I do not know if the law allows a judge to explain that, in this particular case, the polarized positions of State and Church on sexual activity must be considered a serious potential infringement upon the right to a fair and impartial trial of the indicted citizens because a proper Christian conscience will condemn the activities a priori.

I don’t know how the State can ever guarantee a fair and impartial trial on the legality or illegality of sex acts for hire without guaranteeing the strictest separation of State and Church as well as a use of conscience not tied to Christian obligations and adherence.  These form a contradiction in terms.

This, I think, it the most compelling legal reason to decriminalize prostitution:

in a nation with more than 80% Christians (the majority of them self-described), a fair and impartial trial of criminal indictments on matters sexual is impossible by default, at least impartiality must be considered questionable beyond reasonable doubt, at least not guarantee-able.

IV

The second reason to decriminalize prostitution

As I strolled randomly along prostitution laws, I did not find any language even suggesting that their purpose was criminalizing and outlawing sex acts for hire per se.  Their purpose was clearly to target the potential negative effects of prostitution practices in general, such as health risks (uncontrollable spreading of venereal diseases and other physical injuries), social chaos (loitering), theft (either party stealing money or personal possessions of the other party), substance abuse, public display of indecent behavior (public sex), risks for social morals, protection of minors, human abuse, human trafficking, and other assorted crimes it might cause.

This suggests that, if a prostitute would be tried for knowingly spreading venereal disease, the main charge would not be prostitution but aggravated physical injury, which is covered by another law. Any crime would be tried in the first place under its proper statute rather than as prostitution.

Prostitution (sex for hire) may facilitate crimes, but a sex act per se is not known for making victims, and therefore is a crime without a victim, a rare phenomenon in crime land.

As a phenomenon that may facilitate criminal behavior it is certainly a risk for society, but must it be outlawed because it poses serious risks?

Does society outlaw the banking industry, the mortgage industry, the insurance industry, the church, government, the medical practice, the oil drilling industry, et cetera, because they have proven to instigate criminal behavior, or because they have proven to use practices that may substantially hurt an entire nation, the global economy, and thousands of citizens in one sweep?

Society does not outlaw these aspects of society, but does prosecute particular institutes and individuals who have trespassed the laws. It might amend and improve regulations but the practice as such will remain legal because those phenomena per se cannot have victims without additional human activity.

The actual risk for personal injury or damage during sex acts for hire per se between consenting persons of legal age is not different or greater than with other physical service such as massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, yoga, t’ai chi, tantra, fitness training or other such physical services between consenting adults where an expert provides the service and oversees procedures, and both parties agree before or during the procedure upon the nature of the service. The risk for injury or damage is in particular not greater when the service is legal and properly regulated as is normally done in the service industry.

For this reason it is in the greatest interest of public well-being that the State, not hindered by moral considerations of religious nature, to decriminalize and regulate prostitution like any other commercial labor.

In order to achieve this, it is imperative to adhere to an absolute separation of State and Church so that professional elected legislators may consider this issue objectively and without the pressure of religious conscience.  This is what they are mandated to do, the ultimate consequence of making themselves available for this work.

V

Why impartiality at trial must be considered unachievable in prostitution trials,

namely The Phoenix Goddess Temple trial.

In prostitution cases, exercising Fairness and Impartiality runs into substantial problems for another reason.

Before there was prostitution, there was sex, the innate sexual nature of human beings, the natural urge for sex and all it pertains.  By nature, sex is needed for a healthy life, like breathing, eating, drinking, and sleeping. It is counter to nature and human life to reason against sex.  It is naturally prudent to practice sex like we practice eating, drinking, and sleeping.  One can use it well, misuse it, or abuse it, but common sense says that each of these functions is fundamentally and equally necessary for the normal functioning of a healthy life.

So if sex is normal, necessary, and positive, than the sexual activity as performed under the label “prostitution” is equally normal, necessary, and positive. Money changing hands cannot change the purely physical nature of sexual activities from good to bad.

In a society following for 80% the Christian doctrine that most sex is against God’s will and therefore sinful (in civic terms: outlawed), it is unlikely that no objective information about the “goodness” of sex and prostitution, based on research, science, or personal experience, will change the obedience to God’s will.

In a civic situation where the State has outlawed and criminalized prostitution, the positive aspects of this “crime without victims” cannot be researched, studied, or dispersed officially.  The logic is that crime cannot be supported, and prostitution as a “crime without victims” cannot be exempted from this statute.

It follows that the average citizen is left with the State-supported opinion that prostitution is bad and has no positive sides.

No juror can therefore reach a true impartial conclusion about the nature of this “crime without victim” because arguments in favor of prostitution are not admissible and cannot be considered in jury deliberations.

A judge might point out to jurors that they must strictly follow the separation of State and Church (but he has no legal tool to control this), while he should also point out that arguments in favor of prostitution cannot be considered.  Although sex may be good, sex for hire is a crime.

VI

THE PHOENIX GODDESS TEMPLE CASE

The Phoenix Goddess Temple case is important for the ongoing efforts to decriminalize and normalize sex work (prostitution) as a socially accepted profession, especially if in this case the prostitution charges would be dropped.

The main challenge with decriminalizing commercial sex work (prostitution) is, as I see it, that this work cannot achieve an honorable reputation as long as it is legally a crime.  How can one convince the public opinion (mostly indoctrinated by religious belief) that a crime is not a crime at all but something essentially beneficial?

The practices within the Phoenix Goddess Temple offer an excellent example how sex and sex work can get this honorable reputation because of the actual practice and their excellent results:

- They show how discretion and the privacy of sexual activity can be warranted in public

life (in fact, not different from massage therapy, chiropractic, psychotherapy)

- They show that sex work can be done with normal dignity and respect for all parties

- They show that sex work is fundamentally based in spiritual awareness; that physical

experiences must go hand in hand with spiritual experiences

- They show that sex can be a tool for spiritual growth

- They show that there is a great demand for this approach

- They show that it is actually possible to de-stigmatize sex work.

VII

DE-STIGMATIZATION

De-stigmatization of prostitution and sex work is the first step to de-criminalization and normalization.

In my opinion, the challenges for sex workers to work toward decriminalization are:

- emphasizing again and again and again, not the ubiquitous fun and pleasures of sex, but all the individually positive effects of sex (as in: why it is good for us to have sex together),

advertising their quality of service and commitment, their professionalism, their customer-friendly approach, the innate human qualities of their sex services,

using any language that helps to de-embarrass the customers’ sensitivities and negative mind-set.

 

Documenting the outcome / effect of each professional encounter, both positive and negative, or in between. Collecting these will help to establish objective standards for the “goodness” of sex work and help sex workers to build the quality and professionalism of their labor. It will gradually offer objective tools to improve the social and human reputation of sex work and sex workers.

 

Achieving these challenges, among others, must be a joint effort of all sex workers.  It’s should be a mind-set.  In a society that is for 2000 years indoctrinated with negative information about sex and sex work, it will take clever, subtle strategies to turn the common social opinions around.

 

The Sex & Consciousness Community’s efforts seem to offer a sensible and effective model with which one should begin arguing and negotiating decriminalization with legislators.

Once an official discussion is initiated, it offers an excellent legal argument to put a moratorium on the prostitution laws, to begin discussions for “a pilot program”.

I find that the Arizona Temples ought to be given legal status of “tolerance zone” the law’s protection of a pilot program in sex work that is socially acceptable, as well as highly desirable.

As we know, it’s all overdue.

Frans Von Rossum

 
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