Thursday, May 12, 2022

About the Men

One of the loudest criticisms being shouted against a pro-life position right now is, "What about the men?" If you're so interested in what a woman can do with her body (which is a terrible argument, since we're not talking about only the woman's body, but another living body that is inside of her which, by the way, might also be a female body), then what about the men? If you're so interested in regulating the egg, what are you going to do about the sperm (to put it less crudely than the world does)? 

Ha! Gotcha!

This is the world's position - that we need to stop talking about pregnancy as a women's issue and pretending that ending abortion is the answer to life when it takes two to tango. And there has been no shortage of very crude, obscure, and not-really-comparable suggestions of what we should be doing to men if "forcing" a woman to carry a child is our end goal. And then the world shoves the question back in our faces and dares us to have an answer. 

But Christianity has always had an answer for this. In fact, it has been the only truly Christian position on the issue since, well, Christ (and actually, before that). It is the moral conviction that sex should remain inside the covenant of marriage, where the man and woman are already committed to one another and prepared to face life - as well as its challenges and developments - together. 

See, the world's argument goes right back to what we were talking about yesterday, this notion that sex should be free. It is only because the world believes that sex should be free that they can even talk about a separation between man and woman in the sexual act and its outcomes. To the world, sex is just an act that occurs between a man and a woman, any man and any woman, and therefore, attempts to "regulate" one party must be matched by efforts to "regulate" the other. 

The Christian ethic needs no such regulation because it has always maintained that sex should not be an act between any man and any woman, but that it is a sacred act between one man and one woman who have left father and mother and cleaved to one another and become helpmeets under the authority and grace of God. 

Of course, as soon as we say that, the world snarks back. "So that's your answer? Marriage? We should just force these men and women to get married?" And of course, not really. Our answer is marriage before the sexual act. Despite the history of the church that has seemed to commend marriage at least before the contractions start, there is not really a Christian ethic that would say that a man and a woman who find themselves pregnant by a sexual act outside of the covenant of marriage should, or should have to, get married. That doesn't suddenly align them with God's idea of intimacy and sex. In Christianity, the time for marriage is always before sex. 

It's tough to explain this to the world, who just keeps shouting, "Okay, so now what? What about the man and woman who are pregnant outside of marriage? What about him?" 

And, well, that's where grace comes in. This is the challenge we face in every area of our lives every day. It's the question of what we are supposed to do with broken things in our lives, with the things that don't live up to the standard that we know God has set. It's what we all have to figure out to do with our fallen shorts - quite literally in this scenario. 

But it doesn't mean that we don't pretend that we don't have a moral standard when in fact, we do. Just because we're failing to live it perfectly doesn't mean it's not still the best way. Just because we have to figure out grace when we mess up doesn't mean that the standard itself is not good. 

So what about the men? In a truly Christian ethic, this is a non-question; it's already been answered. Sex is not free; it is reserved for the covenant of marriage where the man is already committed and involved. 

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