Il Diavolo In Parrocchia

di Romano Giachetti
The Devil in the Church
The Devil in the Church

I have received a translation into English from Paolo in Fremont, California. He writes:

"The 1968 Italian article is interesting, like reading from an old newspaper wrapping forgotten items. I like these kind of relics of a not so distant past. I have translated it for you below."


New York, June 1968

The earthquake that is soundtrack to this part of the 60's in America is not hitting only the social and political institutions, the more widely criticized by the exploding protest, it also shakes the moral fundamental, and tries to give a new form to principles considered untouchables until yesterday. One of these building blocks, as you can imagine, is the sexual behavior. Born from a solid puritan tradition, the US are today facing one of the most disarming customs revolutions of the century. However, this phenomenon hasn't yet received the due attention, maybe because shadowed by the apparently more serious problems like war and minorities protest. We know, for example, that magazines like Playboy are advocating since years a sexual reform; that smart people profiting from the Nation's mood made money with various pseudo-scientific tests, especially in universities, that newspapers are publishing columns of unclear goal for the ordered manner in which boredom is growing in the bourgeois families of the rich suburbs. What is less known is the continuous and dedicated work of some reformers that roam America from top to bottom, praising absolute sexual freedom, and put in practice their principles in the most disconcerting ways.

One of these reformers, Sam Sloan, came to New York from California, and when interview him, one gets the feeling of dealing with a crazy paladin, if it wasn't for the data he provides with the exactness of a methodic analysis of our times, we would ask ourselves if he was not in our time from a distant past.

"Because", he says, "the real meaning of the revolution that I and many other are praising, is right here, in the casualness of the act, attempting to give to the man an unbarred freedom, even in the area thought to be taboo until yesterday".

Why, is not a taboo today ?

"Only today we can talk freely about it, we can write and discuss it. We can even make it natural, in some cases, like ordering a coke, a jam sandwich. In California, especially in the San Francisco area, people is taking advantage of the changes to get rid of hundred of blocks, to open themselves in the simplest and most conscious manner, in a word to be happier". That would mean that from theory we're going to practice. We must see first how popular is this phenomenon, and even before, in which ways the people finds this new freedom.

"To conduct a complete discussion", says Sam putting his glasses in place, "we have to go back to 1966. Then, the seed have been planted already. American was already very much discussing itself, and a social element in crisis, one of the most important, was indeed sexual behavior. The traditional couple couldn't find satisfaction in the way of life indicated by bourgeois concepts. Divorce proponed the same solution, just as today. At that time in Berkeley, at the University of California, a new organization saw birth, lead by Richard Thorne, a student. It was called Sexual Freedom League. I joined mainly out of curiosity. But quickly realized that Thorne and his friends were serious, they were conducting a battle.


"I decided", continues Sloan, "to drop studies and devote myself as organizer. I had enrolled in Math, then moved to Criminology, but after four year I had the feeling to be still at the starting point. I saw a great dissatisfaction around me. Sure, everything ended in the sexual field, but sexual activities were undoubtedly part of that lack of satisfaction. I started studying the problem and finally I experimented in practice. It is the same method that I use even today with exceptional results".

Being asked to be more precise, Sloan smiles, like he brands the interlocutor of coming from a ended world. "It's simply about private parties", he replies then. "California doesn't prohibit private parties. Drugs are prohibited, like minors and use of camera for pornography. Then the rule is no drugs, no minors, no cameras. Everything happens in a simple way. Guests come as couples, and at the beginning it's just a party like another, then it becomes something else, but who doesn't want to be part of it can leave or stay without being approached. At the end, we are looking for some freedom".

But aren't these isolated cases ?

"Not at all. I've seen myself more than twelve hundred young people, twenty four old in average. I'm sure that marriage as institution won't suffer from that, as far I'm concerned it is possible that one day or another I become tied to a girl and want to marry to be with her for the rest of my life. One thing doesn't preclude the other. We are praising sexual freedom, not free love"


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