Scrolling through social media early this afternoon, I encountered a public conversation that made me cringe.
A blustering blowhard who runs a famous pro-life NGO at the UN had tweeted: “There is great pressure to feminize the pro-life and pro-family movements. I salute the remaining tough guys” and then “I mean some want all of us to be wusses.”
People were liking and sharing these musings, as if they meant something.
Another internet-famous talking head chimed in. “They want the Life issue as a pretext to the nanny state, when in fact it’s a violent counter-revolution against sexual hedonism.”
I really can’t think of a better condemnation of what passes for the pro-life movement, lately, then letting the people who lead it talk.
Life, hearth, family, the love of a man and woman for one another, the bringing of children into this world, a mother nourishing and safeguarding the miracle of life in her womb for three-quarters of a year: we mustn’t make this girly, says the pro-life movement. We mustn’t think of life as a woman thing. It has to be a virile and gory, violent counter-revolution against people trying to have a good time. That’s the real issue at hand: not that society is broken and people are dying, but that some people are feminine and people wanted to have a good time. It’s not that our society has exploited and abused women, children and families to the point that we all cry “Blessed are the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed,” and Christians desperately need to heal that wrong. It’s that girls are yucky, and people shouldn’t want to have fun in the bedroom. The killing of children is an afterthought for this particular version of being pro-life. It’s actually all about masculinity and fighting hedonism.
God help us if we feminized pregnancy.
This is as offensive as when Taylor Marshall referred to the Holy Theotokos as “the womb belonged to Joseph.”
One of my friends calls this line of thinking “a fertility cult without the fun,” and I can’t think of a better description. It’s as anti-Christian as any belief system ever was. It bears plenty of resemblance to the hyper-masculine, no-nonsense Romans cheering as Saints Felicity and Perpetua were torn apart in the arena and no resemblance at all to Our Lady’s Magnificat. But at least the ancient Romans had a good time. They understood the importance of bread and circuses. This new fertility cult wants to be a circus without enjoying any of the entertaining parts.
As for me, personally: I am a Christian. I worship the God C. S. Lewis called “a hedonist at heart,” a God whose deepest desire is that His children– us, all of us– be perfectly happy. He may have to intervene and say “no” when we’re trying to make ourselves happy in a way that will actually hurt, but happiness is the goal. I worship a God Who ordained that every human life after Adam and Eve should come into the world through the body of a woman, and Who himself obeyed that rule– His whole incarnation waited upon the consent of Miriam and not Saint Joseph, despite what Taylor Marshall thinks. God could have put Saint Joseph to sleep like Adam and become incarnate using one of Saint Joseph’s ribs if he’d wanted to do away with the feminization of life and family, but He didn’t– instead, He honored a human woman more than any other creature and became incarnate as her son with her consent. I worship a God who referred to Himself not only as a bridegroom, a shepherd and a king, but also as a mother hen and a vain housewife who searched the whole house to find her lost coin.
For that God’s sake, I am called to have reverence for life, from conception until natural death, and I try as hard as I can to be faithful to that. I want to do everything that I can to safeguard and revere life, including unborn life. But I find I can have less and less to do with what calls itself the pro-life movement, because they actually do seem to view themselves as being tough guys waging a violent revolution instead of actually helping people. I noticed it first of all over a decade ago, the preachers screaming slogans at women running into abortion clinics so that the sidewalk counselors didn’t stand a chance. That wasn’t about life; it was about violence. I’ve seen far more than I ever want to see of Frank Pavone’s shocking disrespect for the human beings he claims to be helping and Abby Johnson making a racist fool of herself. That wasn’t about life; it was about publicity and money. None of this has been about life.
I choose life instead.
If that makes me feminine, well… I guess he got me there. I am feminine.
And that is the pro-life thing to be.
(image via Pixabay)
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