One theme of the book spoke of 'consequences'. Actions have consequences - a constant theme in my childhood. But reading the book, it dawned on me that so many consequences we face for our actions are not directly associated with the action itself. And what's more, many negative consequences are only defined as negative from a narrow point of view.
Single mothers are forced to bear an "unhappy struggle to rear an illegitimate child". Why do we as a society say that such a struggle MUST be "unhappy". I have no doubt of the difficulty involved - but is the struggle itself "unhappy"? Maybe there are some out there that find rewards, indeed happiness, in being a single parent. Even more surprising to me are remarks venturing outside well-defined results:
"So called sexual freedom changes what should be pleasurable and clean into something cheap and detestable. So, which do you want - an occasional brief moment of illicit sexual excitement with all the risks and problems in involves, or the satisfaction of having a clean conscience before God"
The same book goes on to tell how dating/dancing/music/appearance lead to sex, and so all those things should be done to prevent that from happening. The basic line of reasoning is: certain music leads to sex, which is inherently bad outside of marriage, therefore that music is bad. But, the final consequence of a dirty and unclean feeling didn't come from sex, it came from teachings about sex. To me, this amounts to playground reasoning:
"I don't see anything wrong with having sex"
"But, you'll get all sorts of nasty diseases."
"But I practice safer sex by limiting partners and using protection"
"You can still get diseases"
"I can still get diseases if I have sex after I'm married, and using safer sex practices, the risk of infection is small enough to not remove the other benefits - both health and emotionally"
"You will feel dirty after"
"Actually, I feel rather good"
"But, you should feel dirty, cause my Father in heaven, who is the biggest most knowning person ever wrote in his book that sex is bad if you aren't married, Neener neener"
Consequences from sex are one obvious theme. But this goes into so many other places.
Refusing to be Christian has consequences. Is it the refusal that causes the problems or reaction from that refusal? A person that decided to smoke pot faces consequences - less from the drug itself and more from the reaction of society to using a non-approved chemical for pleasure. The same goes for any number of other illicit chemical substances. A Governor recently went down for paying a prostitute. Pundits spouted moral outrage at his actions. My outrage is more for the hypocrisy of this man than his hiring of a sex worker.
The monster of consequence is constantly flashed at children, and yet we as a society are ignoring real consequences. 4,000 people dead in Iraq - that is REAL. Those people are not coming back - they have faced the ultimate consequence. We can sprout off some playground reasoning for why having sex or doing drugs has 'consequences' from some random piece of paper a group of men with funny hats denoted as Holy, OR we can look at the real, concrete consequences of our actions.
And in the end - that's the point. The religious right is so concerned with creating consequences for people they don't agree with that they have forgotten the soldiers of our countries being used as a ploy for oil and religion. And that, friends, pisses me off.