One decision determines the fate of the American people every four years: Who will be our next President? This man or woman will almost certainly drive our 320-million-person passenger van through economic upheaval, volatile international affairs, violent terrorist threats and any number of sensitive social issues.
The candidates are pouring in, and the race is heating up. So who’s the favorite?
Specifically, sexual autonomy or freedom. The single most powerful, most driving, most appealing person, idea or reality in American society is sex—the intense and intimate attractions and sensations felt between people. I define it broadly, because Satan’s grassroots campaign has planted sex’s posters and pinups in all kinds of places today, not just the marriage bed. We wish we could define it more narrowly, as God intended when he created sex, but it’s crawled into too many corners and won too many worshipers.
Sex—sexual ecstasy, autonomy and freedom—is the trump card in American entertainment, politics and marketing. And as Randy Newman writes in his book Questioning Evangelism, “As long as we uphold our sexual autonomy as the highest value in our lives, we separate ourselves from God’s majestic and redemptive reign” (157). A nation—or a person—governed by sex, and not God, has rejected God. Sex has won far too many elections, but it cannot satisfy like God, nor will it be able to stand against him in the end.
Why has sex so captivated American society?
You might say that God is gloriously to blame here. What God has created with sex is unlike any experience or mystery in this life. Newman writes, “Sex uniquely engages all of our being—physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional and intellectual. It is unparalleled as both pleasurable and profound” (158).
Those who love and follow Jesus enjoy some of the deepest, most intense pleasure in bed with their spouse. And those who refuse or mock Jesus still find some of the same gratification. For some perfectly calculated and good reason, God has allowed men and women to access some of the pleasure of sex in unnatural ways: lust, adultery, premarital sex, pornography, homosexuality. They’re consuming, but not in a way that can truly (genuinely or fully) satisfy, fulfill or last. They sip and sip, but never quench their thirst.