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Thoughts on the Slippery Slope of discarding the Church’s teachings on sexuality

People have denounced “The Slippery Slope” argument as a logical fallacy, and perhaps it is in some cases, depending upon how it is used, but there are many instances where in fact embarking upon a particular path leads to fairly predictable consequences. The argument can of course get quite heated when people disagree over where such actions will ultimately lead, but I think we’ve seen multiple examples where the warnings of embarking upon a slippery slope have indeed been quite prescient, despite vehement protestations to the contrary.

You’ve undoubtedly guessed where I’m heading with this, given the title of the thread, but one such example is with human sexuality. Pope Paul VI had warned of the dire consequences of disregarding God’s Law/natural law/moral law, of deliberately separating the intrinsic meaning of the conjugal act, in his encyclical, HUMANAE VITAE (On The Regulation Of Birth).

He was roundly criticized and derided for those predictions, and yet, over time, his warnings have proven tragically correct. Those who railed against Our Lord’s teachings, as explicated by His Church, on the other hand, have been shown to be glaringly wrong in their predictions.

They felt contraception would strengthen marriages and drastically reduce, if not eliminate abortions. “Every child a wanted child.” was a common rallying cry. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. Divorce, teen pregnancy, child abuse, venereal diseases and abortions have become rampant. Rather than a great liberation for women, it has become a tool for their subjugation.

Sex, stripped of its primary purpose, begetting children, has become a meaningless lust for pleasures, often enslaving its worshippers as sin so often does.

That lust for pleasure, unmoored from its true meaning eventually lead to the homosexuality movement which would have left the founding fathers of our nation and their descendants, up until a few decades ago aghast. Such ideas as homosexual “marriages” would have been so foreign to them as to make the idea so absurd no one would have even considered it.

When a small cadre of homosexual advocates began pushing so hard to “normalize” homosexual activity, they vociferously criticized anyone who pointed to the slippery slope our culture had already been sliding down.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen had warned some time ago that tearing down God’s law did not actually free people, but rather than enslaved them. He used an analogy of children on an island with a secure fence around the area in which they lived. They were happy and relatively carefree, until someone started agitating for tearing down this fence which limited them. It kept their balls from rolling away, but also kept them from the ability of exploring the island and going wherever they wanted.

Over the objections of some they eventually tore down the fence.

But then dangerous animals killed some of the children and others fell off of cliffs, or got stuck in quicksand and so on. Eventually, they all ended up huddled together in their little clearing afraid to go anywhere because of the new dangers that lurked everywhere. The fence was not put there to limit them and take away their fun, but to provide them security and safety. In fact, it was an instrument for allowing them to most fully enjoy the gifts they had, and tearing it down eventually brought them much misery.

In similar fashion, some have agitated for tearing down the moral boundaries which have protected western societies for many centuries, while others have warned of the inherent dangers of doing so. They first asserted that we only needed to tear down the moral laws proscribing artificial contraception, and then only in extreme cases. But those rare cases quickly turned into a flood as the moral laws came tumbling down. Then came the battle over abortion, which some had predicted was the next stop on the slippery slope, while others ridiculed them for being so reactionary and hysterical. There was no way society would accept something so absurd, they maintained. But as we all know, the absurd became the law of the land… a “Constitutional Right” in fact that overrode all state and local laws to the contrary.

Then came the battle over “normalizing homosexual behavior”, which some had predicted would be the next “logical step” if sex was indeed to be artificially separated from its primary intended purpose and pursued for its pleasurable aspects alone. Once again many ridiculed them for being so reactionary and hysterical. There was no way society would accept something so absurd.

But once again, the moral boundaries were rapidly torn down, and what was deemed so absurd became “the new normal” and those who objected were suddenly rejected for holding to the moral standards society had embraced for millenia.

Unfortunately, things haven’t stopped there. Those who fought against the normalization of homosexual behavior warned that the slippery slope continued much further. They warned that if one were to continue the arguments for normalizing homosexual activity, that line of reasoning would lead to things like acceptance of things like sado masochism, bestiality, pedophilia and incest among others. Quite predictably they were attacked and denounced as extremists and haters and of course the Slippery Slope argument was held up as a fallacy as though it “proved” their theories were wrong, and their worries unfounded.

But once again, “the reactionaries” were right. Society has continued down that same path they have been warning against for so long. For instance, more and more professional manuals and studies from prestigious organizations such as the American Psychological Association which conclude that pedophilia (some call it “intergenerational love”) may not be harmful for the children:

“The authors’ conclusion? That childhood sexual abuse is on average, only slightly associated with psychological harm–and that the harm may not be due to the sexual experience, but to the negative family factors in the children’s backgrounds. When the sexual contact is not coerced, especially when it is experienced by a boy and is remembered positively, it may not be harmful at all.

The authors of the article propose that psychologists stop using judgmental terms like “child abuse,” “molestation,” and “victims,” using instead neutral, value-free terms like “adult-child sex.” Similarly, they say we should not talk about the “the severity of the abuse,” but instead refer to “the level of sexual intimacy.

The authors conclude that behavior which psychotherapists commonly term “abuse” may only constitute a violation of social norms. And science, they say, should separate itself from social-moral terminology. Religion and society, these writers argue, are free to judge behavior as they wish…but psychiatry should evaluate behavior by its own set of standards. (1) (2) (3)

Then we had the spectacle of the head of Princeton University’s ethics department, Peter Singer, advocating dropping the taboos against bestiality:

“Not so long ago, any form of sexuality not leading to the conception of children was seen as, at best, wanton lust, or worse, a perversion. One by one, the taboos have fallen. The idea that it could be wrong to use contraception in order to separate sex from reproduction is now merely quaint. If some religions still teach that masturbation is “self-abuse,” that just shows how out of touch they have become. Sodomy? That’s all part of the joy of sex, recommended for couples seeking erotic variety. …” (4)

“…In other words, according to Singer’s preference utilitarianism, bestiality is ethically correct as long as (1) it is not cruel; (2) if it satisfies the mutual preferences of those affected (i.e., the human and the animal); and (3) if it has the best consequences for the greatest number of people involved (i.e., the total amount of “pleasure” experienced in the world would be increased). ”(5)

On September 11th Lifesite News ran the story whose headline is reused for this thread,

‘The Notebook’ director says if we back gay marriage, why not incest?

Defenders of marriage have long said if the institution is redefined beyond one man and one woman, there is no clear end to the new combinations that could be considered “marriage.” A growing body of evidence shows the popular culture, led by Hollywood elites, do not intend to stop with same-sex unions.

Nick Cassavetes, the director of the romantic film The Notebook, told reporters at the debut of his new film that incest is no different than allowing same-sex weddings.

“Love who you want, isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want,” he said.

“If you’re not having kids, who gives a damn?” the son of legendary director John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands asked in an interview

Meanwhile, a celebrity gossip rag has become the latest publication to support polygamy and polyandry.

In a column entitled “Three Shouldn’t be a Crowd,” the digital tabloid The Frisky stated, “Polygamy and polyamory get a bad rap.”

Carrie Nelson wrote, “Opening marriages and expanding what makes a marriage…may well end up saving relationships and the institution as a whole.”

The call for broadening the number of people in a marriage has intensified since a judge in Sao Paolo, Brazil, registered a three-person “stable union” last month.

The decision led UK Guardian writer Jean Hannah Edelstein to ask, “If three, or four, or 17 people want to marry each other simultaneously and equally, why should they not be granted the same status as two people who want to become a legal family?” Banning such an arrangement would be “a bit illiberal,” she said. … (6)

It would appear that the battle for the control of our culture is far from over. Many are already calling it a Post-Christian society, but I don’t think the Culture of Death has fully prevailed yet, though it has certainly been winning some key battles. I think more and more people are beginning to see the ongoing slide back towards a pagan culture and are fighting against that slide.

Christians are called to be “the salt of the earth”, and a light on a lampstand, and the number of Christians and their influence on culture is far greater than it was in pagan Rome before it was converted. Christians also seemed to overcome insurmountable odds to convert Europe which later became known as Christendom. Christianity also seems to be growing in Africa and perhaps in Asia so there are some signs of hope despite the obvious slide of the Church’s influence on the culture in the western world in our present day and age. Although it’s sad to see where we’re headed, we can truly and securely put our trust in the Lord. We know after all Who wins this war in the end.

Endnotes:

1. The Problem of Pedophilia
www.narth.com/docs/pedophNEW.html

See also:

2. On the Pedophilia Issue: What the APA Should Have Known
By Joseph Nicolosi, Ph.D. and Dale O’Leary
http://www.narth.com/docs/whatapa.html

3. The APAs: ‘Academic Pedophile Advocates’
by Dr. Judith Reisman
http://www.wnd.com/1999/03/2723/

4. Heavy Petting Peter Singer Nerve, 2001
http://www.utilitarian.net/singer/by/2001—-.htm

5. Reading The Singer on “Bestiality”
Dianne Irving, PhD
http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_23singerglobalethics.html

6. ‘The Notebook’ director says if we back gay marriage, why not incest?
by Ben Johnson Tue Sep 11, 2012
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/the-notebook-director-says-if-we-back-gay-marriage-why-not-incest

Todd Akin’s linguistic errors in regards to a rape exception in abortion laws

There’s no question that Todd Akin stuck his foot in his mouth, but despite his very poor choice of words, and his apparent misunderstanding of the biological workings of a woman’s body after a rape, I think his policy with regard to abortion, even in cases of rape is the right one.

I think his very poor choice of words, “legitimate rape”, shouldn’t be as big of an issue as many are making it out to be. I can’t imagine that anyone honestly thinks he meant there are instances where he thinks rape is “legitimate” as in “acceptable”. Anyone listening to his interview in the context of the question about possible exceptions for rape in abortion laws knew or should have known that he was contrasting cases where women were actually raped as opposed to claiming they were raped when in fact they weren’t.

Rebecca Kiessling, an author, attorney and pro-life speaker, and who was herself conceived in rape, said in a recent interview that Mr. Akin, like other pro-life politicians did a poor job of defending his position, but it is still the right one.

She noted that the problem of trying to determine what is a “legitimate rape” is caused by the “rape exceptions” in many abortion bills and by things like the Hyde Amendment which forces states to pay for abortions for victims of rape or of incest. That obviously gives women who want an abortion an incentive to say that they have been raped even in cases in which they have not. One such example was Norma McCorvey, the “Roe” in the infamous “Roe v Wade” landmark Supreme Court decision throwing out all of the State laws against abortion claimed she had been raped, but later admitted that she had made the story up.

Unfortunately, when there are incentives for people to lie, some people will in fact do so. It is unpleasant to talk about such things and it can be rather tricky to discuss such topics without making a misstep or having people misinterpret what one is saying, or in some cases to even have enemies try to spin what was said into something else entirely.

Congressman Akin shouldn’t have brought that possibility of lying/fraud up during the questioning on his position on abortion in case of rape, even tangentially as he did. It obviously was an extremely poor way of expressing himself, but even more to the point, it was unnecessary to show that his position was in fact the only moral one. As Rebecca Kiessling noted in her interview on Issues, etc., the courts have ruled that the death penalty was “cruel and unusual punishment” for rapists, and therefore prohibited by law. If it is too cruel for even the most vicious of rapists, why should we give the death penalty to innocent children?

I think Mr. Akin’s clumsy attempt at shortening the phrase, “In rapes where the woman is not lying or exaggerating” to “legitimate rapes” was regrettable, but no worse than many other things politicians and celebrities have said that were virtually ignored by the media in contrast to the outrage and vicious attacks leveled at Congressman Akin who quickly apologized for his poor choice of words.

I was more shocked that he thought that a woman’s body had some sort of defense mechanism to help keep her from getting pregnant. But despite his misunderstanding the fact of the matter is that it is relatively rare for women to get pregnant from a rape. http://bit.ly/SjVg4k

Perhaps that is because many women are on birth control at the time they are raped, or because many are treated at hospitals or doctor’s offices where they can be treated and various methods of contraception like spermicides, cleansings etc. can be used. Even the Catholic Church has issued directives allowing the use of contraceptives in the case of rape (but not abortifacients). http://bit.ly/PV7Jw8

My guess is that he was talking at some political rally where some doctor or nurse said that conception after rape was a rare occurrence anyway, and he tucked that away in his mind misconstruing things such that he felt it was brought about by a natural process in the woman’s body.

But despite his misunderstanding, however that came about, the point he was trying to make in that interview still stands… conception via rape is relatively rare in the U.S.

Of course the fact that it’s rare isn’t really a satisfying reason for prohibiting abortion in cases of rape, and it certainly isn’t the real reason it’s against the moral law. Recognizing and pointing out its relative rarity might help deflect a bit of the attention the pro abortion crowd pays to “the hard cases”, but how common or rare something is is no guide for determining whether it is moral or sinful.

The bottom line is that abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. (1), (2), (3) For a Christian, the ends can never justify the means. We can never use evil means to bring about good ends. The deliberate killing of an innocent human being is inherently evil. Therefore we cannot intentionally kill an innocent human being/commit an abortion to bring about a desired good, such as, but not limited to eliminating a reminder of a brutal rape, allowing one to continue their education, etc.

Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that attempts to thwart the natural law – God’s law – is not satisfying in the final analysis. Attempting to remove the memory by killing the child in fact tends to intensify it and burn the memory into his/her mother’s conscience, causing much more agony over time than the rape. (4),(5) But that is a by product of railing against God’s law, not the reason that it is wrong.

Endnotes:

  1. When does life begin?Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearings April 23-24, 1980 http://buchholzins.com/cir/whenlifebegins.senate.html
  2. When do human beings (normally) begin?”scientific” myths and scientific facts http://lifeissues.net/writers/irv/irv_01lifebegin1.html
  3. “My intent in every abortion I have ever done isto kill the fetus and terminate the pregnancy.” Leroy Carhart testimony, The Abortionist Speaks – –  Stenberg vs Carhart
  4. Abortion Cures Rape? www.pregnantpause.org/aborted/curerape.htm
  5. Abortion as a Traumatic Experience http://www.lifeissues.net/writers/bur/bur_11chap8abortiontrauma2.html