From Abortion to Gay Marriage: The Right to Life and Human Sexuality (Part II)
And they’re only going to change this place by killing everyone in the human race.
(“Invisible Sun”, The Police)
Throughout history the idea of “Utopia” has fascinated people. Typically Utopian philosophies are reactions to perceived injustices, and are attempts to create an “ideal” world where these injustices no longer exist. Both the Left (Communism) and the Right (Fascism) have experimented with the idea of “Utopia”. However, not all-Utopian ideologies are centered in the political world. There are also examples of Utopian ideologies based on religious and/or moral concerns (The Puritans, and Amish). In fact, when you look at religions, Utopia plays a monumental role.
In the Christian faith, life begins (The Garden of Eden) and ends (Heaven) in Utopia. It is only because Adam and Eve succumbed to temptation that we were cast into this world of suffering and death in the first place. The desire to return to Eden is the most important principle in not only Christianity, but in almost all religions. Heaven represents redemption and a chance to return to the bliss of Utopian Eden. A way to facilitate redemption is to align the world with the demands and expectations of our Creator; in other words, a moral Utopia.
Since the beginning of time, a struggle has raged over human nature. Many religions see humans as creatures who are susceptible to temptation unless constrained. One of the most powerful of all temptations is our sexuality, and religions have struggled for centuries to find a way to control it. Human sexuality threatens not only the foundation of religion, but the foundation of society as well, and its power must be contained. However, our expression of sexuality is quite unique and attempts to control it are every bit as threatening.
At the beginning of Part I, I pointed out that although abortion, stem cell research, abstinence, hormonal birth control and the legal definition of marriage are often presented as separate issues they are in fact bound by a common strand. This strand not only runs through them, but through the lives of every person in this country like a fuse waiting to be lit. That strand is human sexuality.
When I began this piece I was guided by two questions, “What is the Right to Life Movement (RLM) trying to do?” and “What would happen if they were successful?”
My first observation was that many in the RLM are in fact Utopians. They desire an “ideal” world where their morality and values are reflected in everything they see: a world where sin and temptation are annihilated. All of us possess this desire to some degree, and I genuinely believe most involved in the RLM are sincere and kind people. However, the truth is, history is riddled with the casualties of the well intended.
During the past thirty years, the RLM has focused almost exclusively on changing laws as a way to implement their agenda. There are several reasons for this choice. The first is that the RLM is a reactionary movement, and it is constantly responding to challenges either from the secular or scientific worlds. The second reason is they know no consensus will ever be reached on these issues. A great deal of disagreement exists even within the movement itself. Therefore, their only chance is to get the government to make the decision for us, and this is why I cannot support them even when we agree. (Which is more often than you may think).
If the RLM were ever able to fully implement its agenda, they would grant the Federal government absolute power over sexual behavior. Not only could the government force women to have children they do not want, they could force them to have children who were products of incest or rape. They would control what our children are taught about sex, what birth control we use, and what constitutes a “moral” relationship. In fact, the consequences are so vast it would take me a hundred pages to point out all the potentialities. I can say for certain however, that the RLM’s agenda would sterilize sex and in the process destroy our humanity.
Throughout history the desire for Utopia has enamored millions of people, and this is undeniable. But there is another truth that is undeniable; Utopia is impossible. The very idea of a “perfect” society is antithetical to human nature. We are incapable of perfection, and personally I like it that way. It is our mistakes, sometimes-egregious ones, that give our life meaning and force us to change and grow as human beings.
I will admit I admire idealists, and consider myself to be one as well, but I am also a realist. Our disrespect for life, and each other has nothing to do with abortion, birth control, or irresponsible sexual behavior. And trying to get the government to control these behaviors is the acme of laziness, and requires zero introspection. Sure we ban murder, but people do not murder others so they can feel connected to them, but they sure as hell have sex to feel that way. This is not the problem of some theoretical “them”; it is a problem we all must face. Why in the richest and most powerful country in history is there so much unhappiness? Why are there are so many people who are willing to do just about anything to feel alive? I can assure you it is not because abortion is legal, and creating some kind of moral Utopia is not the solution.
Utopia, after all, is just a fancy word for, Tyranny.