Monday, March 21, 2011

The Honest Young Woman (or, Sincerity and Dialogue)

“An error is more menacing than a crime, for an error begets crimes. An Imperialist is worse than a pirate. For an Imperialist keeps a school for pirates; he teaches piracy disinterestedly and without an adequate salary. A Free Lover is worse than a profligate. For a profligate is serious and reckless even in his shortest love; while a Free Lover is cautious and irresponsible even in his longest devotion.” –GK Chesterton.

It is amazing the kind of friends one meets in this post-modern world of ours. One such friend, who is thoroughly Pro-life has, within the past three weeks, invited me to a couple of meetings with abortionists. The first time round, the abortionist was also a convert, so the meeting made sense. But the second one was unapologetically pro-choice and, what was worst, it was very much political. I make this somewhat flippant statement, but I mean it wholeheartedly. I believe that a sin is not nearly as bad as an erroneous belief, that politically advocating abortions is worse than having an abortion yourself. “For it is out of the heart that good and evil come.” See the preliminary quote if you think this idea needs to be fleshed-out anymore.

That is why, from among the many wonderful and strange things I heard that evening, there are two in particular that I want to highlight. The first came from the mouth of one of the Planned Parenthood doctors who had, from among the many noble elements in her liberal ideology, chosen to retract liberal socialism in favor of fiscal conservativism. Namely, she argued that healthcare reform demands efficiency, that abortions are cheaper and more efficient than paying to carry a baby to term and, therefore, the government should pay for abortions. What a strange logic! It would be like saying that public school meals should be low grade and cheap because that’s what’s best for taxpayers. The health of the person in question in never brought into the question. But is saving tax-payers money really the goal of healthcare reform? Is it not to provide better health care to the poor and marginalized, regardless of price? You cannot in one breath support an admittedly expensive overhaul of the healthcare system and then, in the next breath, say that you want the cheapest alternative. If you want good healthcare, you must be willing to pay for it. Regardless of whether or not socialized medicine is the best approach to solving the problem, it seems quite obvious to me that cheap ‘fiscally conservative’ healthcare is the worst. It’s like the inverse of cash for clunkers, where Uncle Sam forces on his constituents a poor product and in return asks them to pay for it.

I will not dwell on this argument however, for something more fantastic happened that evening. Towards the end of the discussion, when all sides had made their points and spoke their peace, the small, nervous woman who had been running the Powerpoint stood up and spake thus; “I know that there are some conservatives in this room and I applaud them for their ability to remain chaste, but I want to have sex!” The room went quite for a split second before the Planned Parenthood officials interjected, politely asking the poor girl to calm down and reserve such comments for other times. Had I not been one of three men in the room of fifty people, I might have stood up and defended the young woman. I dare say, it is likely that she was the most sincere person in the room that night! If we are to dialogue about sexuality and healthcare, we must begin by discussing the reality of a couple alone in a room wanting to have sex. It seemed to me that the most appropriate time to discuss sexuality’s longings and desires is at a meeting devoted to “healthy sex.” The doctors and lawyers in the room seemed to think otherwise.

Which brings me back to where I began, with Chesterton talking about error being worse than sin. A young woman who stands up in the middle of a crowd and admits to not having the strength to live a chaste life deserves some sort of accolade. She may be a sinner, but it is Lent! Judge her not. Speaking personally, I think that she was honest and should have been commended for it. Yet, notice the strange reality that followed. Rather than being welcomed and applauded by her feminist friends, she is quieted down and asked to keep to herself. They were embarrassed of her (for her, about her, etc?)! I offer no solution to the conundrum here. I simply want to point out how erroneous beliefs lead to paradoxical behavior in reality. I, the close-minded Christian, was more than willing to let people stand up and say “I want to have sex!” It was the progressives that invoked censorship. Indeed, I hope that God rewards the courage of that young woman, the only one of us willing to speak about woman’s sexual desires at a meeting devoted to the topic of woman’s sexual health. More importantly, I pray for those who support abortion on demand but place strange limits on when women can talk about wanting to have sex.

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