If men had more respect for women, we had heard, they wouldn’t use and misuse them.
So my wife and I started small, with our own family. Both of us came from homes where our fathers respected our mothers. My parents were consistent in teaching their four boys that the sisters were to be treated as girls, not boys. “Keep your hands off the girls” was the well-worn refrain. Their active teaching and dad’s example bore fruit.
So it is with my family and so I try to make it in my classrooms; teaching the guys to respect the young ladies in attitude, action and word. It’s an uphill battle, but if I keep at it, the message slowly sinks in and bears fruit.
Now in my third year of active pro-life involvement, I am beginning to wonder if our work against abortion, the ultimate form of woman abuse and disrespect, is an uphill and losing battle.
We need to look at what produces the situations we struggle against daily.
Penthouse magazine boasts a circulation of 5,000,000. Pornographic videos and magazines are almost universally available. Explicit literature is stocked in even the most respected family stores (neighborhood, convenience and supermarket outlets). Entire areas of some cities have been morally written off as modern Sodom and Gomorrahs. The message of sexual freedom and non-commitment is common to rock, folk, opera or country music. Indeed, ours is a terrible fascination with sex. We read of child porn, child hookers, child abuse, and people willing to sell anything to anyone for a price. The sexual smorgasbord, despite the valiant efforts of parents and moralists and the best attempts of law makers and enforcers, has a seemingly endless supply of victims lining up to take advantage, to abuse and to exploit.
And here we are – telling our little boys to keep their hands off the girls! The permissive tone of our society pre-conditions boys to see females as bodies rather than people. These bodies are things to conquer and possess rather than cherish and protect. The guys are not the only guilty ones. Our youth and sex cult, as best seen in popular women’s and girls’ magazines, culturally programs females to believe that to succeed and be acceptable, they not only have to look like the models, but that they have to give sex, that abstinence is undesirable and repulsive, and that they actually gain something by allowing themselves to be used. And in a way they do, but the gains are so temporal. “Just say no” is for many guys and girls no more than a government buzzword which will never be taken seriously in the sweat of peer pressure. The concept of the throwaway society begins at the consumer level and easily contaminates relationships. People become discardable, their emotions and futures of no consequence. The individual reigns supreme, no matter what happens to someone else. Me-ism becomes utilitarianism; the end justifies the means. Little wonder that when these culturally pre-conditioned guys and these culturally pre-conditioned girls reach the age of sexual ability and a conception takes place, the natural, almost instinctive or programmed thing to do is discard that which gets in the way of furthering personal goals, satisfaction , or ambitions.
It’s a marvel our Canadian death rate is only 100,000 abortions a year. It’s no surprise that the American death toll, the home of so much that is free, permissive and perverse, of so much that is available, self-centered and violent is as high as it is. The last count I heard was 1.65 million abortions a year. History, if we last long enough for historians to write anything about our generation, will damn is in the harshest possible language for the slaughter of the innocents and our silent consent and non-protest.
As members of the pro-life movement, we have to broaden our horizons and do more than simply fight against abortion. Many pro-life organizations are now attacking the causes, but it is time to even further widen the front. To me, it is evident that the sexual revolution we heard so much about in years past is still a primary cause in that the revolutionists are now considered normalists. They have effected a monumental change of ethics in the world, and, while they may have thought they could handle it, the following generation obviously can’t.
Today, lust needs no licence or hiding place because the moral climate turns closet sin into open sin. The liberated practitioners say, “You live your life and I’ll live mine. I’m doing my own thing. Don’t hassle me and I won’t hassle you. We are consenting adults and it isn’t against the law.” Someone has to say they are wrong. The bottom line is that the law doesn’t measure up to the law of God. It confronts the Christian with a dilemma of conscience. Abortion is a focal point of what indignation remains because it is usually visible and, from a biblical perspective, continues to be easily recognizable as a sin. But other parts of our immoral landscape point to a full spectrum of desperate moral depravity which needs to be addressed by a voice of righteousness.
I regret deeply that the moral climate is forcing normally law-abiding citizens of both the US and Canada to deliberately break the law. Operation Rescue participation must be a terribly hard decision to make. But like the Old Testament Daniel, whose training and conscience would not allow him to worship a man, Canadians and Americans are wrestling with the ethics of seeing God’s laws regarding the sanctity of life as being more important than clinic property rights, judges’ decisions, injunctions or criminal records. If the climate of evil persists, I predict moral activism will escalate the fight against abortion and go on to tackle the multi-billion dollar pornography business.
I struggle with what I can do to change the moral climate. Circulation figures of five million for just one of the countless, unregulated pornographic magazines really intimidate me. I despair when I see row upon row of explicit violent movies freely available in video shops. I cry in my heart when I see grade school children using vocabulary and actions which belong only in marriage. I choke when I hear junior high school children talk of sleeping together on a regular and casual basis.
“Why shouldn’t we,” they reason, because far too many of their teachers are doing exactly the same thing. Some value system to teach! Some role model! I have almost reached the end of my understanding of where to turn next. I struggle like an inexperienced tightrope walker, with my inability to teach everyone about the great value of the individual, about respect. Is it mere bleating in the wind to chant, “Keep your hands off the girls?”
But there is one foot still firmly planted on a very solid rock. The foot is mine and the rock is the knowledge of what is right. I know the limits God has placed on sexual activity. I know what is right and what is wrong. I know my limits and I am increasingly becoming aware of my rights. Do we have to accepts the world’s standards as the norm which I want to raise our family? No! So my wife and I will continue our efforts to build a secure and safe moral future for our four children. I will continue to take a stand for correct behaviour and words in my classrooms and I will continue to do what I can for pro-life work in our town and province.
My consolation comes from history and physics.
History tells me wrong never lasts and is eventually won over by good. Physics tells me that a pendulum, once swung, comes back. The ideal, as I see it, is a moral pendulum, which remains at rest, significant of the fact that dignity, respect, honour, and purity are as much a part of the cultural mainstream as God would want them to be. Utopia? The impossible dream? A foolish vision? Not necessarily, because most dreams are fleeting and of indefinite quality. The vision for righteousness is neither. It is based on a firm reference point, the Bible, which I view as God’s authoritative message to mankind. Nor is my vision an option clause. It’s an absolute necessity if our countries are going to survive. In the same way that cocaine and crack tear the heart out of a living community, so too will the cocaine of permissiveness continue to excise the living heart out of all we hold dear and desirable for our children and ourselves. I want to continue training my family, teaching my students and informing my community that there are moral absolutes. I would like to see a lot more like minded people, men especially, standing at my side in this great task. Perhaps this article will inspire you to think beyond the security of your living room walls and the comfort of your church life.