Monday, May 23, 2016

Words have turned the world upside down

In an interview last week, actor Dax Shepard told Jimmy Kimmel that he “had a vasectomy and Kristen was not thrilled that I did it so quickly.” He and his wife already have two children—Lincoln (age 3) and Delta (17 months). She might have wanted more, but after a “pregnancy scare,” Dax told her: “We already have no life! This is going to be not worth living.” That was on a Tuesday, and the following Thursday morning he had a vasectomy.

Joy Behar, discussing the news on The View, asked: “Shouldn’t he have had a little more of a conversation with the woman?” But when the discussion turned from a man’s obligations to so-called “women’s rights,” Ms. Behar’s views were anything but egalitarian. “In terms of an abortion,” she opined, “it certainly is a woman’s decision to make. . . . It’s my body I do what I want.

There’s so much here you almost can’t unpack it all. There’s no framework for an actual discussion, and none of these folks have read Theology of the Body. I imagine most Catholics haven’t either, but they at least have a general notion about proper roles of men and women, marriage, family, contraception, sterilization, and openness to life. But this public conversation is happening in an increasingly secular society, and the discussion is based on practices and slogans that are very new, very modern, and very dangerous. 

This situation is hard, not just because of the issues, but because words themselves have been hijacked. The nihilist Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “All I need is a sheet of paper and something to write with, and then I can turn the world upside down.” We’re witnessing the power of the pen: “Planning parenthood” sounds more civil than “killing babies”; and “women’s rights” has a nicer ring to it than “women ruling the world.” A vasectomy, the mutilation of a man’s reproductive organs to render him sterile, is described simply as “snip, snip,” which often means that a woman is being “cut off” from having more children.

The boundaries continue to be pushed further. A few months ago, model Chrissy Tiegen and her husband, with the help of in vitro fertilization, decided to “put in the girl.” She was surprised by the backlash, because she “didnt think this was something controversial.” Now we’re getting another “view” of what marriage and family looks like in postmodern America. Does anyone else think it’s ironic that Kristen Bell, starring in the upcoming comedy Bad Moms, is being denied any future children by one of the stars in the television series Parenthood?

You can’t make this stuff up. 

The dangerous bit comes with the sterilizations and abortions. The first vasectomy occurred on a dog in 1823, and a human shortly after that. According to Wikipedia, only 7-10% of men regret being sterilized, but “regret was less common when both people in the relationship agreed on the procedure.” That’s obviously part of what upset Ms. Behar—Kristin Bell deserved to have a say. They would be her children, too, and it sounds like she wanted more.

However, in the spirit of the times, Ms. Behar also believes that if Kristin Bell was pregnant and did not want the baby, she would have a free pass to kill Dax’s baby: because that’s her right. According to this logic, women are in control of all reproductive organs on the planet—not just their own, but their spouses (“partners”), and their future children (“fetuses”). And that means that in a “perfect world” women alone would have the power over life and death.

It seems sexist, doesn’t it? And guess what? The word “sexist” was coined in 1965 by Pauline M. Leet, referring to the exclusion of female poets. Feminist Caroline Bird elaborated: “Sexism is judging people by their sex when sex doesn’t matter. Sexism is intended to rhyme with racism.” Thus moderns have made sex fluid, but sex matters a great deal—it has always mattered a great deal. God’s most perfect creature is the Virgin Mary, a woman. Only women are able to carry, nurture, and give birth to new life. There is no accident in this, no power of wordsmiths or surgeons that can circumvent what is written into our DNA, from conception until death. There is no time when your sex “doesn’t matter.

It’s a strange time indeed, when “having a life” means putting a stop to life, and “women’s rights” means the tyranny of women. Our “progressive” society, no longer recognizing the basic truths of biology, has transformed the family into a place of death and destruction—all in the name of “freedom” and “happiness.

But Joy Behar is right about one thing: the power of women. The real danger facing modern women is the failure to recognize evil and the lust after unrestrained liberty. The words spoken by Christ’s mother and ours, “Do whatever He tells you,” would surely be mocked as sexist by today’s feminists, who would rather chant the mindless mantra: “It’s my body—I do what I want.

I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Mt. 12:36-37)