Why a “Contraceptive Mentality” Can Save Lives

Seems the Converts’ Zeal thread has attracted one of the “contraceptive mentality” types who can’t seem to see any value whatsoever in the Vatican’s recent tentative moves to recognize that maybe their absolutely-no-condom policy is harmful to people in countries ravaged by AIDS. Seems Tony can’t quite believe that there could be any value whatsoever to relaxing the Church’s position on condoms where one spouse has AIDS or HIV; he feels that the spouses should just suck it up and never have sex again.

But, via Qusan at State of the Qusan, here’s an example of why that might not work out so well in practice:

Kenyan women’s rights activists have condemned an MP who told parliament that women usually say “No” to sex, even if they mean “Yes”.
During a debate on a new sex crimes law, Paddy Ahenda said Kenya women were too shy to openly say “Yes” and warned the law could prevent marriage.

Twelve of Kenya’s 18 female MPs walked out in protest, saying Mr Ahenda and other MPs were “trivialising” rape.

Many Kenyans are alarmed by a huge rise in the incidence of sexual abuse.

“This is a nation that should be in shame because its leaders are laughing at offences committed against women and children,” said Kenya National Commission on Human Rights official Catherine Mumma.

‘Impediment to marriage’

Several male MPs feared that the bill went too far and could lead to a spate of false accusations by women. *

“If the bill is adopted the way it is, it will prevent men from courting women and this will be a serious impediment to the young who would want to marry,” said Mr Ahenda.

“In our culture, when women say ‘No’, they mean ‘Yes’ unless it’s a prostitute.”

The AFP news agency reports that many of his male colleagues laughed and applauded his comments.

So here we have an example of a culture in which women aren’t really going to have the option of nobly foregoing sex with their husbands lest they fall prey to a “contraceptive mentality.” Oh, no — this is a culture where forced sex is considered “courting,” because “no” really means “yes,” so even if she refuses, there’s no such thing as rape, because of course, of course she really meant yes!

Erm, unless she’s a prostitute. Which means, apparently, that she can mean no when she says it. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

But back to this condom thing. The Catholic Church is an enormously powerful institution and has its hands in all kinds of relief organizations serving the countries and continents most affected by AIDS. Yet until recently, they wouldn’t even entertain the thought that condoms could have any value in prevention, so they stood in the way of AIDS education that promoted condom use. As a result, you have a lot of women in countries with fucked-up attitudes like those on display in the Kenyan Parliament at the mercy of men who view them as property. Women are expected to be pure, but men can fuck whomever they please — which means that even good girls who remained pure until their wedding nights and faithful to their husbands are contracting AIDS from those very husbands — who visit prostitutes with impunity. And without any contraception, these women are also getting pregnant and passing HIV to their children.

Outside of abstinence, condoms are the single most effective form of AIDS prevention available. Comprehensive AIDS education that takes into account cultural taboos and the disparity of power between men and women can be effective in controlling the spread of the disease (Thailand, for instance, home to a large sex-tourism industry, has had success in doing so). It is enormously damaging to the very populations the Church is trying to assist with poverty relief, vaccinations and sanitation programs to discourage the use of the one truly effective weapon against uncontrolled HIV infection.

_________
* This doesn’t really have anything to do directly with the subject of the post; I just wanted to highlight this as a perfect example of the whole “those lying sluts” phenomenon. If we acknowledge that women have autonomy and can say no, if we then make it a crime to violate that autonomy by forcing a woman to have sex against her will, men will be the real victims because women will falsely accuse them of rape. So, better not make rape a crime, then.


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51 comments for “Why a “Contraceptive Mentality” Can Save Lives

  1. April 28, 2006 at 11:53 am

    In many sub-Saharan Africa countries, getting married actually increases your risk of contracting HIV if you’re female. But at least by not using condoms, they’re serving a higher purpose and giving themselves fully to their husbands. Or something.

  2. April 28, 2006 at 11:58 am

    *African

  3. Marian
    April 28, 2006 at 12:01 pm

    Jill I have heard the argument that this just means they need more abstinence-only Christian education programs to encourage the men to wait. And that those infected by other means (dirty knives or needles, etc.) just need to abstain for life. For some, anything’s better than ‘contracepted’ sex, including foregoing marital companionship entirely or having a sexless marriage.

    That’s probably the response you’ll get here from opponents.

  4. Thomas
    April 28, 2006 at 12:44 pm

    Marian, there are certainly folks that are so insistent on avoiding sin that they think that expecting people to abstain for life (and presumably abstain from masturbation, as well) is perfectly reasonable. All we can do is get those people to be up front about their very, very radical position, so that all of us in the reality-based community know to ignore everything they say.

    There’s no more point in talking to people who think that a lifetime of self-denial is a reasonable expectation than there is in talking to people who think that Adam and Eve rode triceratops to church.

  5. Marian
    April 28, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    True. Every debate about contraception seems to go something like this:

    Religious nut: “Contraception is bad. It destroys marriages and leads to promiscuity.”

    Contraception user: “I use it and my marriage is fine, and I’m monogamous. So are most people I know.”

    RN: But that can’t possibly be. Contraception destroys marriages and causes promiscuity.

    CU: How can you prove that?

    RN: Well, it’s just this “mentality.”

    CU: I don’t have that mentality.

    RN: You think you don’t, but you know you do.

    and on and on……

  6. PHLAF
    April 28, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    RN: You think you don’t, but you know you do.

    Actually, I think that line probably goes more like, “you think you don’t, but I know you do”.

    The problem with the notion of a contraceptive mentality is that is doesn’t account for individual situations, cultural context, or, free will. It assumes that we are all to be exactly like one another. We must all fit the same mold. We must all, based on our gender, take on a predetermined role. All women must stay home and breed. Period.

    It also buys into the suffering for suffering’s sake, ascetic view in which nothing is deemed of any value if it doesn’t involve suffering or feeling bad or sacrifice. NFP is deemed good (no matter what the motivation or what the damage it may cause) because it requires people to suffer or sacrifice. Non-NFP birth control is bad because it works towards the same ends as NFP, but it frees people from the sacrifice and suffering.

    I’m not saying we should all be selfish hedonists, and I certainly believe that life requires sacrifice all the time – every choice we make requires that we sacrifice the other options, parenting is a lifetime of sacrifice, etc. And suffering is a part of life and we should accept it and learn from it. But deliberately seeking out unnecessary suffering and wearing it on one’s sleeve like some kind of status symbol is, in Christian terms, idolatry.

    I think there are Catholics who are idolizing suffering and sacrifice and who feel it is their duty and obligation to see that others suffer “for their own good”.

    Science and technology have given humans wonderful treatments for terribly painful conditions. We can cure things that people routinely died of not so very long ago. Why, all of a sudden, it’s evil and bad and selfish to plan our families without suffering and sacrificing something, I don’t know.

    Catholics will talk about altering the natural act of sexual intercourse. Well, we alter the natural progression of death all the time. Catholics will tell us this “culture of death” is the result of a contraceptive mentality and that we must respect the cycles of natural life and natural death, yet they not only fight natural death all the time, they fight people who WON’T fight natural death. It’s crazy.

    There are bad things in this world, and a lot of them are due to selfishness – many, perhaps even most, are due to the kind of corporate selfishness and greed that many Catholics not only condone, but engage in themselves. Yet, supposedly, a responsible, married couple using a diaphragm or a condom is responsible for everything bad under the sun. Crazy. Totally, absolutely crazy.

  7. April 28, 2006 at 1:32 pm

    Shorter Jackass MP:

    “To prevent women from hurting men, we need to keep it legal for men to hurt women.”

    An accusation of rape depends on the cooperation and judgement of other members of the community to succeed. Rape itself, on the other hand, is quick and easy work for one person. How many times could a woman accuse men of rape before she loses believeability? Meanwhile, how many times can a man rape women in a culture that looks the other way so thouroughly?

    Comparative worth. “We can’t have a law like that! It might lead to women hurting us like we hurt them!”

  8. April 28, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Speaking of rape and Africa (and government officials), some US Congresspeople were arrested for disorderly conduct in a protest outside the Sudanese embassy regarding the genocide and various other atrocities (rape included) going on in Darfur.

    Yahoo News.

  9. Marian
    April 28, 2006 at 1:38 pm

    Phlaf: Yet, supposedly, a responsible, married couple using a diaphragm or a condom is responsible for everything bad under the sun. Crazy. Totally, absolutely crazy.

    Phlaf, you’ll get a kick out of this.

  10. April 28, 2006 at 2:25 pm

    This is interesting. Being married can actually increase your chances of contracting AIDS, because the husbands have a tendency to visit prostitutes.

    Let me get this straight… You’re blaming the high incidence of AIDS on Catholic Church teaching with regard to condoms. So a man who ignores Church teaching with regard to committing adultery is going to all of a sudden follow Church teaching with regard to condom use?

    Excuse me if this just sounds silly.

  11. evil_fizz
    April 28, 2006 at 2:41 pm

    No more silly than running a website called Manly Men. What are you? Harvey Mansfield’s alter ego?

  12. Hestia
    April 28, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    Excuse me if this just sounds silly.

    So do you advocate that the church abandon its positions on every issue? and that it should stop expressing its opinions entirely? You appear to be implying that because they don’t actually influence anyone’s behavior, the Vatican’s positions are useless and a waste of time.

  13. geoduck2
    April 28, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    Let me get this straight… You’re blaming the high incidence of AIDS on Catholic Church teaching with regard to condoms. So a man who ignores Church teaching with regard to committing adultery is going to all of a sudden follow Church teaching with regard to condom use?

    No, what I’m saying is that you appear to be ignoring the facts of the situation. Your argument is that a married couple ought to abstain from sex.

    You, however, appear to be ignoring the fact that many wives, do not have the choice to abstain from sex. This is particularly true in countries with little other economic choices or rights for women. Women without power have little options to avoid sex with their husbands.

  14. Thomas
    April 28, 2006 at 3:36 pm

    Marian, that’s interesting, but their conclusion is … what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah: Stupid.

    More women are in the workforce because real wages peaked in 1973, and ordinary people need two incomes to raise kids. Houses in the middle of America are not getting much more expensive, but houses in desirable urban markets where effete chattering-class conservatives who pretend to represent “red America” live have gone way up. Why? Because after the massive fraud that was the dot-com bubble, the money all had to go somewhere. While Bush policies (like tax cuts for dividends) have transferred wealth from the middle class to the wealthy, they stopped putting their money in financial assets and instead, highly paid professionals (like me) bid up the prices of homes in and around the big cities where their highly-paid professional jobs were. Ask Zuzu what happened to the value of small apartments in Brooklyn. Or ask me what a house in a Westchester ‘burb did between the April 2000 meltdown and today.

    Meanwhile, in Central Indiana, I’m told that everyone who lives more than an hour from a college campus is hanging on by thier fingernails in towns where the jobs keep draining out like the water in a leaky bucket. There is no housing bubble in flyover country, “contracepting mentality” or not.

  15. Marian
    April 28, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    Marian, that’s interesting, but their conclusion is … what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah: Stupid.

    I agree with you, Thom. That’s why I linked to it. :-)

  16. Thomas
    April 28, 2006 at 3:40 pm

    Tony, the Church also teaches that a man can give his life to God, never marry, and not have sexual contact with anyone. Certainly, lots of folks have achieved that ideal, maybe even most of those who have tried; but the attempt to impose it widely has been a tragedy … and that’s among a population that volunteered for a life of sacrifice!

  17. April 28, 2006 at 3:41 pm

    No, geoduck, I’m not ignoring that fact. You seem to be ignoring the silliness on it’s face of the fact that a man who does not follow the Catholic Church’s teaching with regard to how a man ought to love his wife (like Christ loves His Church) would all of a sudden decide that he was worried about committing a sin by using a condom.

  18. geoduck2
    April 28, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    Something I think is interesting about the whole “contraceptive mentality” concept & teaching:

    It centers the sexual experience entirely around the male ejaculation and orgasm. The female orgasm and sexual experience is completely absent from the whole teaching.

    Do they beleive that if there is any touching between the spouses that a duty of coitus must result? (Hey, you kissed me and touched my xyz, so that means we have to have coitus that leads to ejaculation.)

    The determination of sin seems to be all centered around whether the man gets to ejaculate in a vagina.

    What happens if a couple just wants to engage in heavy petting, or kiss, or hold hands? Apparently that’s a sin too, if the couple is worried about getting pregnant.

    Quite frankly, it all makes sex sound like a horrible duty, and I’d prefer to be chaste in that marriage.

    The teaching also never really explains why a woman would be willing to endure the stress of multiple pregnancies, live at the mercy of her fertility, and threaten her born children’s economic circumstances, in order to have coitus with her husband.

  19. geoduck2
    April 28, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    You seem to be ignoring the silliness on it’s face of the fact that a man who does not follow the Catholic Church’s teaching with regard to how a man ought to love his wife (like Christ loves His Church) would all of a sudden decide that he was worried about committing a sin by using a condom.

    That is YOUR concept of “love.” There are millions of men around the world who believe it is their wife’s duty to have sex with them, particularly in 2 and 3rd world countries.

    And the point is not whether a man is more likely to use a condom, which in a 3rd world country he is not likely to use because of availability and the cost, but whether the Church will acknowledge the potential use of condoms in reducing the spread of a deadly disease.

    It’s not like AIDS isn’t causing horrible problems in some African countries due to both parents dying and leaving many, many orphans.

  20. evil_fizz
    April 28, 2006 at 3:52 pm

    Tony: you think people don’t hold ridiculously contradictory views all the damn time? Regardless, you’re missing the point. If a woman is married to a man who goes out and sleeps with prostitutes and is still expected to sleep with her husband and has been taught that condoms are impermissible, there is *nothing* to be done to protect her from whatever STI’s he might pick up. She’s not supposed to use condoms even though she’s plainly at risk.

    It’s not just about him, it’s about her too.

  21. Thomas
    April 28, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    Tony, a man who would use a condom if it were readily available will not if they are not readily available. Catholic doctrine is a significant force in keeping international organizations from distributing them free, discouraging retailers from stocking them …

  22. Jannia
    April 28, 2006 at 3:59 pm

    You seem to be ignoring the silliness on it’s face of the fact that a man who does not follow the Catholic Church’s teaching with regard to how a man ought to love his wife (like Christ loves His Church) would all of a sudden decide that he was worried about committing a sin by using a condom.

    Because of course it’s all about the man. It has nothing at all to do with telling the Catholic wife of a man who thinks it’s his right to visit prostitutes that she won’t burn in hell if she asks him to wear a condom.

    Moron.

  23. PHLAF
    April 28, 2006 at 4:01 pm

    Marian, too funny!

    Criminal? LOL! What a sense of entitlement! This guy is all bent out of shape because he can’t afford the house he wants, where he wants it, and right now, wahwahwah, so he cries and blames someone else. Real mature.

    He chose to live his life one way, other people chose to live theirs another. As a result, he can’t afford something he wants. They can. If you’re living your life according to what you believe is a higher calling, and if you believe your life after death is more important than your life here on earth, why does this matter so much to him? And if Jesus could hang on the cross and die for us and forgive the people who put him there all in the same breath, why can’t this guy deal with having to live in a cheaper house in a less ideal neighborhood?

    What a whiner! And on what day did this world owe him a life in which he got everything he wanted? My kids know better than to pull that kind of attitude.

  24. Thomas
    April 28, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    PHLAF, surely this guy would gladly sacrifice material possessions and status symbols and such, it’s just that the “less desirable” neighborhoods have those people in them … and it’s not that he’s,
    you know, it’s just that, well, you know …

  25. PHLAF
    April 28, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    If this poor slob ever came to my neighborhood and realized that thirty percent of the population is African American and that “starter” homes run about half a million, he’d probably drop dead of a heart attack. No doubt it’s bad enough he can’t afford to live here, but once he found out that those people can….well, his head would just explode…

  26. geoduck2
    April 28, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    I Can Name It in Four Steps
    We talk disgustedly about the over priced housing all over California and search our minds for the cause. My husband finally states emphatically “It is all because of contraception!”

    That article was quite funny. Talk about a misdiagnosis of the problem!!!

    It’s true that housing prices in San Fransico are crazy — but contraception as the cause???

  27. April 28, 2006 at 4:17 pm

    Ok, I know I’m really going to regret this, but here goes:

    Actually, I think that line probably goes more like, “you think you don’t, but I know you do”.

    The problem with the notion of a contraceptive mentality is that is doesn’t account for individual situations, cultural context, or, free will. It assumes that we are all to be exactly like one another. We must all fit the same mold. We must all, based on our gender, take on a predetermined role. All women must stay home and breed. Period.

    No, you don’t have to breed at all. When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers, Sr. John Vianney, never bred.

    It also buys into the suffering for suffering’s sake, ascetic view in which nothing is deemed of any value if it doesn’t involve suffering or feeling bad or sacrifice. NFP is deemed good (no matter what the motivation or what the damage it may cause) because it requires people to suffer or sacrifice. Non-NFP birth control is bad because it works towards the same ends as NFP, but it frees people from the sacrifice and suffering.

    Maybe you know of some wierd side effect of abstaining from sex that I don’t know about. But I have never heard of any damage being caused by NFP. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen many benefits. Current stats show that among those who faighfully practice NFP, the divorce rate is 2% (yes, that’s two percent).

    Sacrifice is a necessary component of marital love. The putting of “the other” (or others if you have children) before yourself. This doesn’t fit in with the “me” generation. If I’m horny and can’t have sex, I’m suffering. Not “we have made a mutual decision not to engage in sex for the benefit of our family”.

    I’m not saying we should all be selfish hedonists, and I certainly believe that life requires sacrifice all the time – every choice we make requires that we sacrifice the other options, parenting is a lifetime of sacrifice, etc. And suffering is a part of life and we should accept it and learn from it. But deliberately seeking out unnecessary suffering and wearing it on one’s sleeve like some kind of status symbol is, in Christian terms, idolatry.

    Only if you consider it “suffering”. There are many who have embraced chastity as a single person as a lifetime committment.

    I think there are Catholics who are idolizing suffering and sacrifice and who feel it is their duty and obligation to see that others suffer “for their own good”.

    No, seeking out suffering for someone else is not charitable. If you don’t subscribe to Humanae Vitae, and you don’t wish to live sexually as the Catholic church teaches, well… carry on. I’m going to tell you, though, that you are going to miss out on benefits. You won’t get those benefits by all of a sudden not using birth control, but by embracing God’s design for your life.

    What you believe is “suffering”, I see as joy. What you consider “liberation” I see as slavery. Just a differing in opinion between us, I guess.

    Science and technology have given humans wonderful treatments for terribly painful conditions. We can cure things that people routinely died of not so very long ago. Why, all of a sudden, it’s evil and bad and selfish to plan our families without suffering and sacrificing something, I don’t know.

    Not evil and bad, but diminished. I’m saying that it could be better, much better. But we see relative benefit and suffering differently, you and I. This doesn’t make you a “bad” person, or me a “good” person, simply because this is one and only one aspect of our lives. You could be a saint except for this one little aspect, and I could be the worlds worst sinner in every other aspect but this. So let’s not start using terms like evil and bad. Sinful, I can agree with. Then if you don’t subscribe to my idea of sin then it isn’t a problem.

    Catholics will talk about altering the natural act of sexual intercourse. Well, we alter the natural progression of death all the time. Catholics will tell us this “culture of death” is the result of a contraceptive mentality and that we must respect the cycles of natural life and natural death, yet they not only fight natural death all the time, they fight people who WON’T fight natural death. It’s crazy.

    Medicine is used to fix something that’s broken. Treating your fertility like some sort of disease that needs medicine or treatments to “cure” is a hallmark of the contraceptive mentality.

    Our bodies were designed to provide the raw materials to partner with God in His plan for continuing creation. This is their purpose. ABC thwarts that purpose. It denies an aspect of ourselves… a holy and good aspect of ourselves.

    There are bad things in this world, and a lot of them are due to selfishness – many, perhaps even most, are due to the kind of corporate selfishness and greed that many Catholics not only condone, but engage in themselves. Yet, supposedly, a responsible, married couple using a diaphragm or a condom is responsible for everything bad under the sun. Crazy. Totally, absolutely crazy.

    Wow, talk about hyperbole. No. They aren’t responsible for everything bad under the sun. But their own lives could be more joy filled. Their own marriages could be better. God doesn’t ask us to do things that are bad for us.

    And the Catholics who are engaging in unethical behavior probably don’t care much about the Church’s teaching with regard to ABC. ABC, when used properly requires a spirituality and a surrender to the will of God that usually isn’t easily accomplished by selfish, unethical people.

  28. Thomas
    April 28, 2006 at 4:18 pm

    PHLAF, then he’d have to write an article explaining how contraception led to increased government welfare programs, because obviously his brain could not process any other way for African Americans to afford a $500,000 starter home. Because, you know, he’s not saying he’s better than them … but, you know.

  29. geoduck2
    April 28, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    Tony,

    If I’m horny and can’t have sex, I’m suffering. Not “we have made a mutual decision not to engage in sex for the benefit of our family”.

    1)Again, here the only concept of sex is coitus. It’s completely centered around a male orgasm.

    2) NFP is a system of contraception. Women who do not “contracept” bear a child once every 24 months.

    Until couples are willing to actually do this, don’t tell me they aren’t using contraception. They are not “walking the talk.”

  30. PHLAF
    April 28, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    No, you don’t have to breed at all. When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers, Sr. John Vianney, never bred.

    Oh, excuse me…my bad…you either have to be a breeder or a nun. Apparently even if you aren’t even Catholic, heh.

    Maybe you know of some wierd side effect of abstaining from sex that I don’t know about. But I have never heard of any damage being caused by NFP. As a matter of fact, I’ve seen many benefits. Current stats show that among those who faighfully practice NFP, the divorce rate is 2% (yes, that’s two percent).

    Sacrifice is a necessary component of marital love. The putting of “the other” (or others if you have children) before yourself. This doesn’t fit in with the “me” generation. If I’m horny and can’t have sex, I’m suffering. Not “we have made a mutual decision not to engage in sex for the benefit of our family”.

    And how many of those marriages are happy and how many merely shams of marriages in which bitterness and resentment are just festering away, or one or both partners are paralyzed with depression or are overwhelmed or where one or both partners are unfaithful? How many are merely intact only because the Church will not permit divorce?

    Yes, marriage requires sacrifice. Truly rewarding intimacy requires a giving nature, not a selfish one. I know. I’ve been married a long, long time and have four children. But, according to the holier-than-thou crowd, I know nothing about love, marriage, motherhood or sacrifice because I went on the pill rather than have a surgery I didn’t want (which would have rendered me completely infertile, anyway, so I could still have wild, meaningless sex to my heart’s content, so how the pill all of a sudden has rendered my marriage meaningless is a true wonder…).

    Only if you consider it “suffering”. There are many who have embraced chastity as a single person as a lifetime committment.

    If celibacy and chastity is a personal choice, great! If others choose to live differently, that’s their business. Sounds like you think it’s not fair that some people have to be celibate and not others, and yet you’re claiming this celibacy/chastity is not suffering because it’s freely chosen – well, which is it? A personal choice that brings the person joy and a closer relationship with God, or something that’s not faiiiiir because other people don’t have to do it too, wahwahwah?

    No, seeking out suffering for someone else is not charitable. If you don’t subscribe to Humanae Vitae, and you don’t wish to live sexually as the Catholic church teaches, well… carry on. I’m going to tell you, though, that you are going to miss out on benefits. You won’t get those benefits by all of a sudden not using birth control, but by embracing God’s design for your life.

    What you believe is “suffering”, I see as joy. What you consider “liberation” I see as slavery. Just a differing in opinion between us, I guess.

    God’s design for my life is between God and me. What is between myself and God is never yours or anyone else’s business.

    Many things others might consider as suffering, I consider to be a joy, too. I can’t tell you how many times people were shocked and horrified at the thought of a girl as young as I was at the time getting married and having kids right away. I really never bothered much what they thought and just lived my life.

    Not evil and bad, but diminished. I’m saying that it could be better, much better. But we see relative benefit and suffering differently, you and I. This doesn’t make you a “bad” person, or me a “good” person, simply because this is one and only one aspect of our lives. You could be a saint except for this one little aspect, and I could be the worlds worst sinner in every other aspect but this. So let’s not start using terms like evil and bad. Sinful, I can agree with. Then if you don’t subscribe to my idea of sin then it isn’t a problem.

    And my being on the pill could be completely not sinful at all. Not your call. Not your business. You don’t know all the facts. God and I do. And my husband. And a few girlfriends. But, either way, sinful just ain’t your call. It’s God’s.
    Medicine is used to fix something that’s broken. Treating your fertility like some sort of disease that needs medicine or treatments to “cure” is a hallmark of the contraceptive mentality.

    Our bodies were designed to provide the raw materials to partner with God in His plan for continuing creation. This is their purpose. ABC thwarts that purpose. It denies an aspect of ourselves… a holy and good aspect of ourselves.

    Death is natural. It doesn’t mean we’re broken. Actually, if you’re a Christian, there really isn’t any such thing as death. But any nurse and any doctor in any hospital across the country will tell you no one will fight death as hard as a Christian. Weird, but true. People of other faiths tend to be much more accepting of death. Heck, a lot of atheists I know are more accepting of death than most Christians.

    As for partnering with God, God gets to decide how a person is “partnering” with him, not you. Maybe partnering with God for one person may mean having a smaller family but having a career in caring for the sick and elderly. Again, not your business. Taking a cookie-cutter approach to humanity is actually pretty insulting to God.

    Wow, talk about hyperbole. No. They aren’t responsible for everything bad under the sun. But their own lives could be more joy filled. Their own marriages could be better. God doesn’t ask us to do things that are bad for us.

    And the Catholics who are engaging in unethical behavior probably don’t care much about the Church’s teaching with regard to ABC. ABC, when used properly requires a spirituality and a surrender to the will of God that usually isn’t easily accomplished by selfish, unethical people.

    Nope, God doesn’t ask us to do things that are bad for us. He also tends to be pretty private about the things he asks of us and doesn’t feel the need to run them through you, the Pope, or anyone else first. Lots of marriages could be better, including ones in which the couple is using NFP. Again, you’re assuming NFP and NFP alone is some kind of magic bullet that guarantees a perfect marriage and wards off all other sinful behaviors.

    I assume you mean “NFP” in the last sentence of that quote. Anyway, here’s a news flash – all of life requires a spirituality and surrender to God’s will that isn’t easily accomplished by selfish, unethical people.

    NFP isn’t anything other than a tool. That’s all it is. It has no moral value on it’s own. The same morality that can be applied to the USE of NFP can be applied to non-NFP birth control. And the same immorality.

  31. Thomas
    April 28, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Only if you consider it “suffering”. There are many who have embraced chastity as a single person as a lifetime committment.

    Once again, a life of celibacy, even if achieved by most of the priesthood, is so generally difficult to achieve that the attempt to impose it has been a disaster, with innocent child victims strewn all over the globe. And that’s among a population that volunteered for a particularly hard road.

  32. April 28, 2006 at 5:13 pm

    What you believe is “suffering”, I see as joy. What you consider “liberation” I see as slavery. Just a differing in opinion between us, I guess.

    Which would be fine, except that people with your worldview are attempting to push it on everyone else, resulting in a whole lot of problems. You want to abstain periodically, practice NFP, whatever? Go for it. But when the Church agitates against condom distribution and access to contraception/disease prevention methods in developing nations, it extends beyond a person belief and becomes a public health problem.

  33. geoduck2
    April 28, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    I find it baffling when people who aren’t married and do not have children presume to tell me that my marriage is not “loving” because we don’t use a specific system of contraception called NFP.

    Really, I find this completely bizzarre.

    I have never heard of this contraception makes “marriages not loving” and “husbands treat their wives like sex toys if the couple doesn’t try to have another child” meme until reading about it on the web a few weeks ago.

    (And about half of my relatives are Catholic. They started using contraception three generations ago.)

    Actually, it’s kind of like my primary research into the 19th century has come alive. It’s amazing that today’s anti-feminists say the exact same things as the anti-feminists of the 1860s and 1870s. They used the same rhetoric about “free love”, the protection of women’s morality, and Victoria Woodhall in their arguments against woman’s suffrage.

    And the arguments about keeping contraception illegal are pretty much identitcal to today’s anti-contraceptive people. The major difference is that NFP is actually a system of contraception, and today’s anti-contraception people are not willing to have a family of 9-15 kids.

  34. April 28, 2006 at 5:38 pm

    Analogy time, kids!

    Tony is to Deep Thought as…?

    Seriously, though – maybe all of Tony’s ideals would work if everybody on earth was a good Catholic, but they’re not.

  35. April 28, 2006 at 5:58 pm

    P.S.

    From the other thread:

    The english language is really deficient when it comes to discussing love. In Latin you have caritas which is love of neighbor, you have eros which is sexual love between a man and a woman, and you have agape which is the self-giving unconditional love of God.

    Actually, you don’t. Eros and agape don’t exist in the Latin language. They’re Greek, and they come from philosophy.

    There are four types of love in Greek philosophy: eros, agape, philia, and storge. Eros is desire, philia is friendship, storge is familial love, and agape is love of the divine. Agape cannot be felt between humans, only between mankind and the gods.

    (Credentials: classics major, going on to a PhD in classics, and I recently got these four tattooed on my back. So yes, I do know what the hell I’m talking about.)

    /digression

  36. geoduck2
    April 28, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks Nomie for the Classics info!

    Seriously, though – maybe all of Tony’s ideals would work if everybody on earth was a good Catholic, but they’re not.

    I don’t know; it sounds to me like his concept of marital sex revolves around male ejaculation.

    It also sounds like a wife who doesn’t want to have coitus with her husband might qualify as “sinful” in his worldview unless she’s literally in pain. .

  37. Gordon K
    April 28, 2006 at 7:14 pm

    So a man who ignores Church teaching with regard to committing adultery is going to all of a sudden follow Church teaching with regard to condom use?

    Surprised no one’s said this yet, but committing adultery is something some men want to do. Not wearing a condom is something some men want to do. I think the argument isn’t that men aren’t wearing condoms just ‘cuz the Church says so; but the fact that the RCC is advocating against condoms makes it that much harder for a woman to convince her partner to wear one (among other reasons, because he can point at the catechism and say, “see? See?”).

  38. Ledasmom
    April 28, 2006 at 7:29 pm

    Incidentally, that low divorce rate for couples using NFP means exactly squattola as to the effect of NFP on a marriage. Statistically speaking you cannot say whether more-committed couples are more likely to use NFP, or conversely whether using NFP makes a couple more committed to each other.

  39. zuzu
    April 28, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    Let me get this straight… You’re blaming the high incidence of AIDS on Catholic Church teaching with regard to condoms. So a man who ignores Church teaching with regard to committing adultery is going to all of a sudden follow Church teaching with regard to condom use?

    Remember, not everyone follows Church teachings; there are plenty of Protestants, animists, Muslims and whatnot in the developing world that do not follow the Church’s teachings. But given the Church’s widespread influence and their involvement in Third-World relief, the Vatican has effectively removed the choice of whether or not to use condoms to stem the spread of AIDS not only from Catholics, but from all others in areas under their influence and control.

  40. Julie
    April 28, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    PHLAF- you said everything I wanted to say and so perfectly! I think that was one of the best arguments to this whole thing I’ve read yet.

  41. April 28, 2006 at 8:15 pm

    Actually, you don’t. Eros and agape don’t exist in the Latin language. They’re Greek, and they come from philosophy.

    There are four types of love in Greek philosophy: eros, agape, philia, and storge. Eros is desire, philia is friendship, storge is familial love, and agape is love of the divine. Agape cannot be felt between humans, only between mankind and the gods.

    Thanks for the correction, Nomie.

    (Credentials: classics major, going on to a PhD in classics, and I recently got these four tattooed on my back. So yes, I do know what the hell I’m talking about.)

    But why the anger?

  42. PHLAF
    April 29, 2006 at 6:14 am

    I find it baffling when people who aren’t married and do not have children presume to tell me that my marriage is not “loving” because we don’t use a specific system of contraception called NFP.

    Uh-huh. Or supposedly good Catholics who have managed to find “grave” reasons to only have two children, and then go on to tell me, who has four, that I’m not as open to life as they are.

    Or, for converts who spent the first dozen or so years of their marriage on the pill or using condoms, had one or two kids, became Catholic, and then all of a sudden “needed” a hysterectomy, therefore rendering them infertile, and who then STILL go on to say how my marriage is garbage because I don’t use NFP, even though they never did either – and even though I wasn’t using any birth control at all while they were on the pill during their most fertile years.

    I guess these people forgot all about casting the first stone, and all that. Or being judged as they judge. Or being forgiven their trespasses as they forgive others theirs. Or doing unto others.

    Catholicism was never this dumbed down, fundie, nosy “I am my brother’s keeper” crap. St. Francis’ gentle reminder that actions speak louder than words really is the better way. It not only tends to be more charitable, more genuine and more effective, it’s also less likely to make you look like a hypocritical fool.

  43. April 29, 2006 at 9:03 am

    Or, for converts who spent the first dozen or so years of their marriage on the pill or using condoms, had one or two kids, became Catholic, and then all of a sudden “needed” a hysterectomy, therefore rendering them infertile, and who then STILL go on to say how my marriage is garbage because I don’t use NFP,

    Or recent converts who just 10 years ago were sleeping with everything that moved, be it unprotected or protected but definitley not married, who today remain single and childless but now call single women who enjoy sex “sluts” and purport to know exactly what makes perfect marital sex because of their “epiphany.”. (Regular readers know exactly who I am referencing).

  44. afrit
    April 29, 2006 at 9:14 am

    I’m going to tell you, though, that you are going to miss out on benefits. You won’t get those benefits by all of a sudden not using birth control, but by embracing God’s design for your life.

    For example, you might not get to be a tiresome martyr.

    I used to like religion, for the most part. I really did. I thought that for all its faults it did some people a lot of good. But goddamn if shit like this doesn’t cancel it all out.

  45. April 29, 2006 at 9:45 am

    For example, you might not get to be a tiresome martyr.

    Funny. There is another very religious blogger out there who has around 7 kids, and just had another at almost 50 years old. She wrote a post after her last kid was born talking about how she believes pregnancy is a way for a woman to be saved, because it puts enough wear and tear on her body that she’s humble enough for heaven (or something). She was proud of how exhausted she is, how much weight she gained after having kids back-to-back, etc. She believes people who use contraception are missing out on such a a humbling opportunity.

    Talk about a martyr complex.

  46. April 29, 2006 at 9:47 am

    And goddamn it if my blog title doesn’t match 99% of my posts on the Internet lately. Yannow, I really should change my blog handle to “the moderate realist” or something. Sometimes I question how “conservative” I truly am, what with the way this country’s conservatives are behaving these days.

  47. PHLAF
    April 29, 2006 at 10:17 am

    Well, to bring this back to topic, the reality is that contraception does indeed save lives – not just regarding the AIDS/Africa issue, or similar issue, but because hormonal contraception can be a way for many women to address some pretty uncomfortable and even debilitating conditions while preserving fertility. For me, the choice between hormonal BC pills and surgery is merely one of personal preference, but a woman who’s in her twenties or thirties won’t want a hysterectomy or ablation because she loses her fertility and absolutely ought to have the option of hormone therapy to treat her problems.

    It’s funny, too, how Catholics will warn me that, not only is my soul in danger from being on the pill, but, since will I’m over 45 and on the pill I’ll drop dead, like, in the next fifteen minutes from a stroke or heart attack, when the actual, documented truth is that, given my health history and my lifestyle, the likelihood of that happening is slim to never, while the likelihood of a sedantary woman who is 30 lbs. or more overweight and eats lots of processed, trans-fatty food suffering from life-threatening disease is incredibly higher than mine. Where’s the outrage over that, especially since sloth and gluttony are two of the seven deadly sins? Why is it always sexsexsexsex with these people? I guess it’s no wonder that they can only define love by sexual intercourse. It’s all they ever think about, and mostly they’re thinkin’ about other people’s sex. Like Catholics are all frozen in the sixth grade, or someting. Weird.

  48. April 29, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    Why the anger, Tony?

    Because I don’t like it when people try to use Latin or Greek to make a condescending point and then get it wrong to boot. The ancients had extremely screwed up morals and personal lives. Their main form of birth control was exposing infants on hillsides. Not a lot of storge in that, I’m afraid. You hit on a bunch of pet peeves at once.

    Also, it’s just before finals, I have approximately twenty pages to write this weekend, and I’ve had a headache for the past two days straight. You happened to grate on my last nerve and received a backlash that you didn’t fully deserve, and for that I apologize.

  49. April 29, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    Also, it’s just before finals, I have approximately twenty pages to write this weekend, and I’ve had a headache for the past two days straight. You happened to grate on my last nerve and received a backlash that you didn’t fully deserve, and for that I apologize.

    No problemo. Sometimes it happens to me too. I had a discussion with a Catholic traditionalist who tried to tell me that the Old Mass was completely done in Latin. I had to explain that Kyrie Eleison was Greek. ;)

    Take care of yourself.

  50. Sterno
    April 30, 2006 at 11:36 pm

    Why is it always sexsexsexsex with these people?

    I’ve never been able to figure that out.

    The godbags’ usually justify their fixation on contraception and every thing sexual with reference to “The Sin of Onan” Or, rather, their willful misreading of the story of Onan. Onan was struck down because he willfully refused to fulfill his duty to impregnate his brother’s widow. He just happened to do so by spilling his seed on the ground. Unless one happens to be refusing the direct order of Judah, the spilling of seed just makes one “unclean” until evening.
    Their reliance on the Old Testament is puzzling, because if you ask them why they don’t keep Kosher, they say that Yeshua changed all that. Which seems to be another willful misreading. He may have said, “The way is through me”, but he never said, Don’t keep Kosher anymore. And if we are to follow his example (like they keep telling us to), Yeshua was a good law following Jewish boy until the day he died: His last meal was a Seder!
    And, while the godbags may rant about how you can’t pick and choose, they insist that their *interpretation* of the *story* of Onan is correct and applicable, but have no problem violating a *direct prohibition* against wearing clothing made of blended fibres.
    I don’t begrudge them their worldview (no matter how messed-up or inconsistent)–as long as they keep it to themselves. But when they try to make everyone–regardless of belief–follow their rules, (even when their arbitrary rules conflict with Natural Law or other well reasoned systems of ethics), or tell me that I’m not truly loving, it really irritates me. (Especially when it turns out that the godbags that claim to be closest to god, and know best how I should live my life, and seem to be the most fixated on sexsexsexsex–Pentecostals–have the highest rate of divorce of all major denominations.)

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