Avi Zenilman has this tale on VanityFair.com that puts the personal touch on Mark Souder’s moral hypocrisy. Enjoy:
Politico is reporting that longtime Indiana congressman Mark Souder, a socially conservative Republican who railed against consensual sex outside of marriage, is resigning because he had an affair with a female aide. He is a married father of three.Oops. Souder frequently meddled with CDC research into at-risk behavior, and made life difficult for medical researchers of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. For example, in March 2004, Souder hauled Dr. Jonathan Zenilman, a former C.D.C. officer and S.T.D. specialist at Hopkins who happens to be my father, before his committee and proceeded to lecture him on the sins of condoms and sex outside of wedlock and its liberal enablers.
My dad, at the time “speaking as a proud parent of three teenagers” (I’ve grown up since then!), thought it was important to push a message of delay, but that demanding celibacy was just not going to work. “An
abstinence-only approach which excludes safer sex messages and includes messages that emphasize intercourse only within the context of marriage, is therefore clearly out of touch with the realities and practices of the vast majority of Americans,” he said, complaining that the whole debate was “framed in an absolutist stark context.”
Souder ultimately responded by saying that teen sex needs to be aggressively confronted, like date rape, because out-of-wedlock sex always leads to pregnancy and ruins lives. My dad said well-informed people use condoms. This led to the following exchange:
Zenilman: Teenagers having consensual intercourse or adults having sexual intercourse is not the same as a date rape or sexual harassment. The latter has a lot more of the consequences that you mentioned previously.Souder: I don’t think this data backs that statement up. I believe they are awful and I have worked with them, but you are not going to argue here that out-of-wedlock pregnancy and related things are less damaging overall to a life’s career than somebody who has been sexually harassed, which, by the way, may also occur in the teen pregnancy and the out-of-wedlock or non-married sexual activity.
Zenilman: A consensual adult who is actually having sexual relations and is properly informed will be contracepting.
Souder: This isn’t really a debate, and I am sorry I got us off into that. We have a substantial disagreement.
If Souder was my dad, I’d be very confused.