Tag Archives: Culture

Cutting Through the Smoke: Condemning Cigarettes but Defending Abortion?

at Catholic Online

Did you hear that now the nanny government is forcing cigarette makers to put color photos on their packages of what happens when you smoke cigarettes – like an image of a diseased lung; a woman on an oxygen mask; a man on an autopsy table, a premature infant in an incubator, etc.?

Full disclosure:  I despise cigarettes and cigarette smoking.  I think it’s a nasty, stinky habit along with being destructive to the body.  I admit I don’t enjoy being around folks who smell like an ashtray.   I do not appreciate being forced to breathe in other people’s cigarette smoke in public, either.  I get livid when I see pregnant women smoking.

All that being said, I have to agree with those who find this new required packaging to be over-the-line.  If there’ s anyone out there today who still doesn’t know how bad cigarettes are for your health, then pardon me, but it’s time to come out from under your rock and join the world again.  If teenagers are smoking in epidemic numbers, it’s because they have clueless or permissive parents, not because the cigarette package didn’t have the right picture on it.  The answer isn’t graphic images, but involved parents.

Why does the government have the right to make tobacco companies put these images on their packages?  Has the concept of personal responsibility gone entirely extinct?  As I said, I despise cigarettes, but I’m not sure it’s Uncle Sam’s place to say to any manufacturer, “You must put this picture on your product warning people not to buy and use your product.”

If someone really wants to destroy their own lungs, guess what?  They’re allowed.  I’m allowed to consume too much sugar if I want, and that’s not good for me, either.  (Though sugar just makes me all the more sweet, not smelly like an ashtray, and no one else has to breathe in my sugar.)  Again, what makes me truly go berserk is when a pregnant woman endangers the health of her unborn child by smoking.  Or by drinking, or doing drugs, or taking medicine that has deadly side-effects for babies, etc.

So here’s the better question:  if the government is willing to force tobacco makers to put graphic (some say gross) images on its packaging for the intended purpose of discouraging people from buying and smoking those cigarettes, because they’re concerned about people’s health and well-being, then why not require every abortion clinic in the U.S., including Planned Parenthood, to put poster-size color photos of aborted fetuses at the front door?

Underneath the severed limbs, the crushed head and mangled, bloody body of the baby they can write, “This is what happens in this clinic.  An abortion will result in your fetus likely being dismembered, or her head crushed or heart stabbed.  Abortion will result in the certain death of your fetus.”  (Unless, of course, your little one has the nerve to survive, in which case, we will take the necessary steps to make sure the abortion is “successful” since that’s what we’re paid a lot of money to do.)

If it’s informed consumers we’re after, then I want such signs outside every abortion clinic tomorrow.  If it’s truth in advertising that the government is demanding, then there’s no reason at all not to put such “graphic and disturbing” images of the results of abortion front and center for everyone to see.

And why is it that people get more bent out of shape at having to see images of aborted babies than the fact that the babies were aborted in the first place?  Why is it so offensive and cruel to show people what actually happens to a baby through an abortion, but the act of aborting is not?  Why will people be angered by a picture of a tiny, bloody fetus with her little hand cut off, but refuse to say the killing must stop?  If the picture of the act is so troubling, why is the act itself acceptable?

Here’s the difference between the tobacco companies and the abortionists, between cigarette smoking and abortion:  one is a product, albeit an addicting and unhealthy one, that adults can legitimately choose to consume; the other is the intentional killing of an unborn child by whatever means necessary (stabbing, crushing, suctioning, dismembering, etc.).

The government actually does have the right – the obligation – to intervene where abortion is concerned.  This is not a question of privacy or personal liberty, but of the life of an innocent human being.  This is the purposeful elimination of a person who has been declared by the law to be less than a person, in order that we might legally kill him.  That’s the advantage of one class of people declaring another class of people to be “less than” or “not fully” human – the ruling class can kill the lesser class indiscriminately.

As vile as slavery was, blacks were considered 3/5th of a person under the law.  Today, our unborn children are considered nothing at all.  They are utterly disposable.  They are legally extinguished at an astonishing rate.

It is a backwards and crazy world we live in.  Our government will flex its muscle and exert its power to make sure we’re confronted with the damage done by cigarette smoking, but will they dare to confront its citizens with the truth about the damage done by abortion?  Of course not, because abortion is a sacred “right” while cigarette smoking is truly deadly.

We take away real liberty and instead demand a false liberty for some that means certain death for others.  Cigarette smoking costs a ton of money in health care for people every day, so naturally, it should be denounced, and the government in its kindness is looking out for our best interests.

On the other hand, abortion costs more than 3,000 lives every single day, and is a wildly profitable business.  It’s a sin that tobacco companies make millions in profit on their stinky butts, but just hunky-dorey that a lot of folks in America get rich by killing our unborn children.

Yes, clearly, our national priorities are screwed up.  Clearly, our moral center has evaporated in a cloud of smoke.  It’s about time the government got back to doing what it was intended to do – protect its citizens, establish and enforce just laws, and make sure all American citizens are allowed to enjoy their God-given rights of LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  If we return to a right understanding of the sanctity of human life, including our children in the womb, then maybe we’ll be able to correct our tendency to indulge in personal pollution.

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Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Human Beings or “Sexual Beings”? Battle Over Planned Parenthood is About More than Money

There’s much more than a budget at stake in this battle over Planned Parenthood.  The horrifying abortion statistics and the hundreds of millions of dollars are certainly bad enough, but the choice before us as a nation goes much deeper than simply who gets federal funding.  It is actually about us; it is about two radically, fundamentally different ideas about who and what we are as people.

In a nutshell:  are we human beings or “sexual beings”?

Planned Parenthood knows that to maintain their bloody cash cow of abortion they have to win over the next generation of young people to their counterfeit idea of freedom and happiness (though they surely don’t believe it to be counterfeit) that says unconstrained sexuality is the pinnacle of life.  The only antidote to their warped thinking is the truth of the dignity of the human person, real human freedom and happiness that is proclaimed by the Catholic Church.

The Church has a great deal to say about man’s sexuality and none of it is dismissive.  The Church rightly understands that a person’s sexuality is an integral part of their identity and humanity – the key word being “humanity.”  We are human beings with a sexual component to our nature.

More accurately, we are embodied souls!  The distinction people want to draw between the body and the soul is a fantasy.  Our eternal soul is what makes us human!  “The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit.”  (CCC 364)

“The union of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body; i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.”  CCC 365

Our sexuality is an essential part of our humanity but it is not the summit of our lives.  That is where Planned Parenthood starkly disagrees.

PP sees people as sexual beings, not human beings.  To them the sexual nature is King.  It rules over everything and must be served, rather than serving the good of the person.  Their doctrine says unrestricted sex is required for happiness; the epitome of personal fulfillment is only found in sexual gratification.

From PP’s website come these insights into their thinking (emphasis mine):

“We are all sexual. We are sexual from the day we are born until the day we die. Our sexuality affects who we are and how we express ourselves as sexual beings.
Our sexuality includes:

  • our bodies, including our sexual and reproductive anatomy
  • our biological sex — male, female, or intersex
  • our gender — being a girl, boy, woman, man, or transgender
  • our sexual orientations — straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual

The ways we experience and express our sexuality include:

  • our desires, thoughts, fantasies, sexual pleasure, sexual preferences, and sexual dysfunction
  • our sexual behaviors — the ways we have sex including masturbation

Even though we spend our lifetimes as sexual beings, it’s normal to have many questions about sex and sexuality.
Many of us find that sexual pleasure is one of life’s most rewarding experiences.
It helps us create connections to other people and it helps us enjoy our world.”

Only “sexual beings” would find sexual pleasure one of life’s most rewarding experiences.  Human beings would say the most rewarding experiences are things like parenting, a loving marriage, professional and vocational service to others, serving God, honing their talents and skills, giving of themselves sacrificially for someone else, etc.  It is not sex that helps us create connections to other people, but love, which seeks the good of the other person.  It’s the practice of love, faith, patience, humility, temperance, and generosity that help us enjoy our world, and not sexual pleasure, which is merely self-seeking.

In the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s report “Stand and Deliver: Sex, health and young people in the 21st century” (by “young people” they mean anyone between age 10 – 24), they portray “comprehensive sexuality education” as the answer to nearly every societal problem all over the world. They state repeatedly that “young people are sexual beings.”  Sexual empowerment is what will free young people from poverty and open the doors of opportunity, while ensuring they develop satisfying and pleasurable sexual lives.

Obviously, their curriculum of empowerment and fulfillment does not include the concept of chastity; nor does it say anything about selfless love.  PP cannot comprehend that anyone would freely choose to live a virginal or chaste life or that such a life could bring immeasurable joy and satisfaction.

Chastity to them is a fetter of oppression and ignorance, since they insist it’s through sexual exploration that a person comes to know who they are.  People are “sexual beings” so they must order their lives around their sexual desires.  Abstinence is then absurd; the risks and consequences of sexual activity are unavoidable, and you needn’t even try to avoid them if you don’t want to.

For example:  IPPF has a booklet – directed at young people living with HIV – called “Happy, Healthy and Hot.”  (The twisted immorality of that title pains me to write.)  It is replete with silhouette images of young people in a variety of embraces, including same-sex couples.  The message of the booklet is clear:  you can and should still have an unrestricted, active sex life while living with HIV.  Pleasure is paramount.

“Young people living with HIV have the right to decide if, when and how to disclose their HIV status.”  “Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else.  These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.”

“Young people living with HIV have the right to sexual pleasure.”

“Improve your sex life by getting to know your own body.  Play with yourself!  Masturbation is a great way to find out more about your body and what you find sexually stimulating.”

“Some people have sex when they have been drinking alcohol or using drugs.  This is your choice.  If you want to have sex and think you might get drunk or high, plan ahead by bringing condoms and lube and putting them close to where you usually have sex.  That way you won’t forget them in the heat of the moment.”

“Sometimes people choose not to have safer sex.  If this is something you and your partner agree to, then it is your choice.  It is not always possible to talk to your partner(s) about or to practice safer sex – for example, maybe you know that your partner will get angry or aggressive, or you don’t have access to condoms or a safe place to have sex.”

Let’s see if I can sum all that up:  You are entitled to conceal the fact that you have an incurable, life-altering disease from any sex partner(s), and any law that compels you to inform your sex partner(s) violates your rights.  You have the right to transmit the disease to your sex partner(s).  Play with yourself!  Pleasure is your right!  Sex while drunk or high?  Go for it!  Just try to plan ahead and have condoms within reach.  That should take care of everything.  Got an aggressive or hot-tempered partner and you don’t dare ask him to use a condom because he might get perturbed?  Have sex anyway and forget the “safe” part.  Sexual pleasure comes first!

Is all of this really how we want to define ourselves and our sexual nature?  Is there not more to us than self-centered, slavish, animal sexuality?

The Catechism offers a wealth of teaching on the beauty and dignity of the human person.  Our male and female sexuality is to be embraced and cherished, for it is good and holy.  It is highly integral to who we are.  The tool by which we gain the proper understanding of our sexuality is chastity.

“Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.  Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.  The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.”   CCC 2337

“Chastity represents an eminently personal task; it also involves a cultural effort, for there is “an interdependence between personal betterment and the improvement of society.”  CCC 2344

“Chastity is a moral virtue.  It is also a gift from God, a grace, a fruit of spiritual effort.”    CCC 2345  “Chastity is the form of all the virtues.  Under its influence, chastity appears as a school of the gift of the person.  Self-mastery is ordered to the gift of the self.”  CCC 2346

“Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom.  The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy.  “Man’s dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint.”  CCC 2339

We are not “sexual beings” as Planned Parenthood presents it.  We are human beings – embodied souls – with a sexual aspect of our nature that is powerful and beautiful.  By mastering our passions and respecting the inherent dignity of each human person, we find the true freedom that brings with it true happiness.  If instead we enslave ourselves to sexual gratification, we degrade our humanity until we lose it altogether.  The choice is ours.

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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


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