President Obama has not only once again taken up arms and directed a full-force attack against the Church, religion in general, and the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, he has also benevolently told millions of Americans that it is ok to have irresponsible sexual activity anytime they want. In effect, the President has legally protected sexual promiscuity.
At first glance, President Obama's ruling seems to be nothing more than a violation of the First Amendment which explicitly states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The President's new "law" violates the Amendment's explicit proscription against making laws that prohibit the free exercise of religion. In this particular case, the rights of millions of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians to practice their faith in faithful, informed and sincere obedience to the teachings of the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being trampled upon by a government administration which has succumbed to a relativist ideology and is increasingly becoming hostile to any ideal or group which openly contradicts its own beliefs and positions.
The current government administration is guilty of both moral and ethical relativism. Ethical relativism is the belief that morals and ethics are in direct relationship to the norms of one's own culture. That is, whether an action is right or wrong depends on the moral norms of the society in which it is practiced. In this particular circumstance, the United States government says that birth control is acceptable because the majority of American people, including members of the Churches and faith communities who advocate against it, practice it. For the ethical relativist, there are no universal moral standards - standards that can be unanimously applied to all people at all times.
There can be no doubt that we live in a society whose moral standards continually decline year by year. One only has to turn on the television to see how far off the track we have gone morally and ethically on certain issues, especially in the area of sexuality. It's basically an "anything goes" mentally. The only sexual taboos remaining in American society now are sexual acts with a minor and bestiality. We see images in our favorite television sitcoms of passionate kisses exchanged between men, of sexual acts between women, of bodies exposed in various degrees of nakedness on beaches, beds, hotel rooms and elsewhere, engaging in various sexual activities. Almost every television show or movie has some sexual activity in it. The basic message that Hollywood and others want to convey is that sex is hot, sex is cool and that it is perfectly alright and permissible to express one's sexuality at any time, in any place and as frequently as one chooses.
President Obama's new "law" is really a weak attempt to correct a problem that has become pandemic in our society, the problem of sexual promiscuity. The blatant disregard for the sacredness of human sexuality and the lofty estate of sexual relations by many within our society has resulted in a law which will now force those who have consistently advocated responsible sexual activity and ethics to go against their religious convictions and beliefs in order to allow a greater number of our fellows to pursue the wrong path and continue in behavior which is unhealthy and dangerous in more ways than one.
President Obama's "law" is not the solution to a problem at all. In fact, it will only exacerbate an already serious situation and further accelerate the moral decline of our society. The new law basically tells people: "It's ok now. You can go out and have as much sex as you want. And don't worry about that annoying "p" word, because we have made it easy for you to have unrestricted access to whatever birth control you want, without any cost to you. So go out and enjoy yourselves, have as much worry-free sexual activity as you want. Your right to irresponsible and selfish sexual gratification is now protected under law."
Proponents and supporters of the law say that it is a woman's right to choose whether or not she wants to get pregnant. This is certainly true. But the only way a woman can avoid an unwanted pregnancy is by abstaining from sex.
The real issue is not about women's health or responsible family planning. The real issue here is that people want to have as much recreational sex as they can without having to be responsible and accountable for their actions. The use of birth control does not ensure or guarantee responsible or accountable sexual activity.
Men and women are called by God to work actively with Him in continuing the human species. Sexual activity must always be open to bringing forth life in the conjugal act, and the conjugal act itself must always and only see its expression within a loving and committed marital relationship between a man and a woman.
Sex is a gift given by God and therefore is inherently good. As with all gifts we have been given, however, we must always show ourselves to be good stewards of them. This is no less true when we talk about sex. We must treat our sexuality with the greatest respect and use it wisely for the greater glory of God and the perpetuation of the human race.
All human beings are sexual beings. This includes, but is not limited to, the desire for love, affection and, of course, sexual exploration, expression and gratification. But all men and women must understand that sexual activity, especially sexual intercourse outside of marriage, which has as its sole purpose personal gratification and which impairs the capacity to transmit life which God the Creator desires, manipulates and frustrates His plan for humankind.
Without a doubt, sex is very much a part of each and every one of us and, contrary to what some people or groups would like us to believe, it is not dirty or evil. On the contrary, sex is good, beautiful and wonderful. It is something to be enjoyed and looked forward to with great anticipation, but it is something that needs to be treated responsibly and with the utmost respect. Like any good thing, there are limits and boundaries - sexual expression involves respect for one's self and others.
In the realm of human relationships there is nothing more beautiful and fulfilling than sexual activity shared between a married man and woman. In the conjugal act, the two give totally and unselfishly to each other. It is in sex within marriage that love finds its most perfect expression. In giving of themselves totally to each other, their marriage vows and their sacramental union as one flesh becomes real and tangible. In their physical union, which is the ultimate expression of their love for one another, husband and wife reflect the perfect union of the Holy Trinity. God Himself blesses their union and calls them to participate actively with Him in His continuing work of creation.
Healthy sexual expression and attitudes require education and the ability to talk freely and positively about this important human activity. The subject of sex is not something we should shy away from or be embarrassed about talking about. It is not a topic that should be talked about behind closed doors, nor is it not a topic to be left solely to schools and parents to deal with. The Church needs to step up to the plate and take an active role in helping to develop healthy and balanced attitudes in its members, both young and old, regarding sex.
The Church has a responsibility to play an active role in sex education and that role should be one of positive leadership. That is to say, the Church needs to speak positively of the beauty, merits and awesomeness of sex. It must convey the message and understanding that sex is a gift from God Himself and therefore it is good and something to be valued and cherished. God Himself said to our ancestors Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth."
Contraception is seen by many as a way of controlling unwanted births and the world's exploding human population as well as deterring sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. They see contraception as the "responsible" way to act. But birth control is not the answer to these very serious problems.
Contraception is manipulative and degrades the human person. Contraception basically allows couples to engage in a mutual kind of masturbation where personal pleasure and satisfaction are the only consideration and goal. Because of contraception, sexual intercourse, which is intended to be a deeply interpersonal expression of mutual love, now becomes an act of mutual exploitation - a lifeless, selfish and needs-centered act.
If the intent of the Obama Administration is to "respect" religious freedom, then why is it that the Church, Church-affiliated and other religious organizations are being forced to go against their very core beliefs? How does giving the Church an additional year to violate its doctrines and beliefs strike an appropriate balance between religious liberty and living in what has basically become an atheistic police state? What right does the government have to tell the Church what it can believe and profess?
The Obama Administration asserts that decisions about whether or not a woman should use birth control, and what kind, should remain in the hands of women and their doctors. If a woman wants to wait to have a child until she feels she is ready economically, professionally or otherwise, or if she simply wants to avoid an unwanted pregnancy altogether, then the only decision she can make is to abstain from sexual intercourse. But abstinence in this case does not solely apply to women. Men, as well, must make the same responsible decision if they don't want children. Unfortunately, we know this is not going to happen because what it really boils down to is that most men and women, want to be able to satisfy their sexual desires and urges without any undue pressures or obligations. Contraception allows them to satisfy their sexual desires and urges freely and as often as they want without having to bear any responsibility for their irresponsible and selfish behavior.
Birth control, rather than really serving a useful purpose, encourages promiscuity and furthers the moral and ethical decline of societies everywhere. In these instances, sexual activity becomes nothing more than a selfish indulgence of self-gratification and loses all semblance of its noble and lofty purpose.
The only instance where one may condone the use of birth control would be to prevent the spread of dangerous sexually transmitted diseases. For example, the decision to permit the use of condoms by prostitutes to prevent the spread of AIDS could be tolerated, even though their use is intrinsically wrong, if it meant sickness and even death could be prevented. For example, we look with great concern to such places as Africa, where the incidence of AIDS is high. Even in this circumstance, however, the use of condoms is not the sole answer to solving the problem of AIDS. On the contrary, this concession must be accompanied by a comprehensive and on-going program of education, the end results of which should be 1) the realization that sex is not something to be trivialized or commercialized, and 2) a change in behavior and attitude.
That is not to say, however, that casuistry should be the rule and not the exception. We must always be faithful to the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to the teachings of the Church Fathers, and to the Tradition of the Church. But the lesser evil in this case would be to permit the use of condoms rather than allowing unnecessary sickness and death to occur. If we know for certain that such pandemic sickness and death can be prevented by a means we believe is not morally acceptable then we are obligated to consider allowing it, for the greater good and welfare of all.
The real intent behind President Obama's birth control law is not to safeguard the common good, but rather perpetuate the misguided belief that sex is something that shouldn't be restricted or controlled. There is nothing wrong with alcohol, but drinking to excess is dangerous and could result in someone getting killed. That is why we have laws against drunk driving. There is nothing wrong with eating, but eating to excess is gluttony. In other words, things that are good, when they are done to excess, can become morally wrong and even sinful.
There is no doubt President Obama's new law is nothing less than a direct attack on religious liberty and the rights of millions of Americans to live their lives according to God's law rather than the laws of what is increasingly becoming a Godless society. In enacting such an outrageous and morally reprehensible law President Obama is leading an effort to strip America of its moral fiber and greatness. Further, he is empowering a group of people who consider pregnancy, childbirth, family and its related responsibilities an inconvenience, and who want to retain their "right" to satisfy their sexual appetites any time and as often as they want.
The Church, and all Christians of good will, can no longer stand quietly and take it on the chin while their very beliefs are being trampled upon and their right to follow and obey God is being assaulted. It is time to stop turning the other cheek and to dig in and stand firm in our beliefs, regardless of what the consequences may be to our own personal well-being and comfort.
The future of religion in this country does not look good. Our President is working very hard to remove religion and faith out of the American way of life. I have no doubt that with another four years of President Obama and those like him in charge we will soon see the day when clergy are arrested and charged with hate crimes for preaching the Gospel of Christ in any forum, including the pulpit.
May God have mercy on those who govern us wrongly and may the Holy Spirit guide us all to righteousness and holiness that we may live as God intends us to live, as beings created in His image and likeness.