‘Stop it, punish it, corral people, shame people’

Last week we looked at an incident involving an evangelical college that fired a woman for having sex outside of marriage — offering her former job to the man she slept with. Examining San Diego Christian College’s double-standard, and the affirmation of that double standard in Christianity Today’s reporting on the incident, I wrote this:

Given the chance to choose between “saving babies” and controlling women, both the magazine and the college instinctively opt for controlling women.

Women who have sex must be punished. …

And over the weekend we looked (again) at the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act — a necessary piece of legislation that “pro-life” social conservatives ought to be enthusiastically supporting, but are not. That lack of support is so inconsistent with and contradictory to this movement’s purported aim of protecting the unborn that, I wrote, it seems to disprove the integrity of this claim, revealing the movement to be “really motivated by an anti-feminist impulse to control and punish women.”

Some responses to both of those posts have suggested I’m being uncharitable — that it is unfair for me to accuse the leaders of the pro-life movement of being driven by their desire to punish women who have sex.

That does seem like a rather harsh accusation. But in my defense, there’s one good reason I keep accusing the leaders of the pro-life movement of really wanting to punish women who have sex: The leaders of the pro-life movement keep saying that they really want to punish women who have sex.

Here is Family Research Council senior fellow Pat Fagan, speaking yesterday on a Christian radio program:

It’s not the contraception, everybody thinks it’s about contraception, but what this court case said was young people have the right to engage in sex outside of marriage. Society never gave young people that right, functioning societies don’t do that, they stop it, they punish it, they corral people, they shame people, they do whatever. The institution for the expression of sexuality is marriage and all societies always shepherded young people there, what the Supreme Court said was forget that shepherding, you can’t block that, that’s not to be done.

Fagan’s agenda is clear: Stop, punish, corral, shame. His words, not mine.

So yes, I am in fact accusing the leaders of this movement of cruel and unseemly motives, but that is only because they themselves say that is what motivates them. Is it uncharitable of me to take them at their word?

 

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