Virginia has sent many emissaries into the world, some of them great, but the record is not perfect. This week the Old Dominion is shamed that two of its own were involved in a sex scandal in New York’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Being of naturally sunny disposition, we are slightly cheered that the event in question did not include altar boys, priests, bishops, deacons, or a horny choir mistress. The act was consensual, between a man and woman, and somewhat hidden (taking place in the vestibule). Indeed, one school of thought has it that compared to other sex scandals of our day this one might be considered a step in the right direction.
But the sad fact is, these two Holy Rollers deserve a good dunking and perhaps a horse-whipping on the side. Most Virginians, at the very least, are taught early on that there are some things you just don’t do in church. You can snooze, but you never snore. Your mind can wander, but you must keep your hands to yourself. You can go in drunk, but don’t complain if the parson singles you out as the Devil’s Spawn and someone picks your pocket.
And you certainly don’t go into church for a poke. That’s true even if you’re married and the place is empty. You might take a tumble in the graveyard but it had better be a very dark night and you’d better leave the place just as you left it. One goes to church on Sunday, as the old saying goes, to beg that Saturday night’s wild oats experience a divinely directed crop failure.
The St. Pat’s event, from all reports, was bereft of any hint of grace. The couple in question did the deed as part of a game in which points are scored and prizes are given. By one reasonable interpretation, that makes this a case of sex for material gain. Here in the South we have a word for that: prostitution. Of course, the traditional way of understanding prostitution involves Person A (John) paying Person B (the Ho). In New York, as we know, things work a bit differently. In this case, a radio station — WNEW — was the sponsor of the game; a third party was anteing up. This sounds almost like a government program.
All of this reminds us of how far our culture has slipped. Not too long ago the typical Ho was known to sweat in church. In this case, there was someone nearby calling in a stroke by stroke commentary. Lord, what a turnaround. Defenders of the Dreck Industry are fond of pointing out that people don’t have to watch or listen, which is partly true. But when you’re paying people to go to church to bang away, with a commentator calling in from nearby, we can all agree there’s something invasive going on.
Indeed, the fact that a radio station would materially reward people for having sex in a church that has, through the ages, officially taught sexual restraint is a direct attack on that institution. This is the religion, we should remember, whose Founder held that simply thinking about sex outside of marriage constituted Adultery, which is on the Top Ten list of proscribed activities. To send an unmarried couple on a bonk mission while the faithful observe Mass is truly an outrage (a word this correspondent rarely uses). This is something like dispatching a puppy killer to a PETA convention, except the latter would of course never happen.
The act was bad enough. Now comes the attempt to slip the legal sanction for lewdness. We are told the couple only simulated sex, and couldn’t have really gotten down to business because they kept their clothes on. That line of defense suggests that Virginians don’t have zippers on their clothes — or, if we do, we don’t know how to operate them. That is another outrage, though one sees a “Southern strategy” at work here. We are informed that one of the disk jockeys involved is named Opie, bringing to mind a beloved child character from Mayberry. The female offender’s first two names are Loretta and Lynn, which also brings to mind things Southern. If the lawyers have their way, they’ll probably put out word the accused drove to the Cathedral in a donkey cart. The message: What do you expect from Trash?
That is crude regionalism, and two can play the game. Southern sympathizers could argue that these two Virginians were the victims of a couple of city slickers who have made a pretty good name for themselves up north. One April Fool’s day these jocks announced the death of Boston’s mayor — as a joke. They put on a skit about an incestuous relationship between a father and daughter. Has this hurt their careers? To the contrary. They made it to the Big Apple — the premier market. We could also point out that their kind of humor is widely appreciated up that way. All will recall that the wife of New York’s former mayor was tapped to perform in The Vagina Monologues, to give but one of many available examples.
But we won’t drop to that level. These people were Virginians, albeit from Northern Virginia — Quantico and Alexandria, to be exact — but Virginians nonetheless. They traveled to a great city and acted very badly. “God is mad at you!” shouted one New Yorker as they departed a court appearance. That may be true; if so, may He cause their privates to wither and die. Virginia is also mad, or at least shamed. We Southerners learned long ago that sex and church don’t mix. And for that, we once again thank you, Brother Swaggart.