By Alan F. H. Wisdom, interim editor, Theology Matters.
You may have seen the news. Amnesty International leaders have added prostitution–they prefer to call it “sex work”–to the list of human rights they will defend. Last Tuesday the Nobel Prize-winning human rights organization adopted a new policy endorsing “the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work.”
“All aspects” means that Amnesty will seek to shield from prosecution not only the prostituted women and men but also the “johns” who pay them and the pimps who profit. Perhaps these participants in the sex trade, if arrested, might join the list of Amnesty-certified “prisoners of conscience.”
Once again, we are reminded that we inhabit a world that “call[s] evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). Even prestigious international organizations can get the two mixed up.
How Did “Sex Work” Become a Human Right?
The first is the assumption that “it’s my body, and I’ll do what I want with it.” In this neo-Gnostic view, “the real me” is the conscious self and the body is an external object controlled by the self. The body has no inherent value or purpose; its value and purposes are only those assigned by its sovereign master, the conscious self. The body exists to enable the conscious self to have gratifying experiences. It makes no difference, in this view, whether the experience being sought is an athletic accomplishment (say, running a marathon) or a sexual conquest.
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