on population, reproductive health & ethics


By Daniel C. Maguire
President, The Religious Consultation on Popultion, Reproductive Health and Ethics


hen you are up to a lot of immoral mischief and even criminality, you must either admit you are evil or find some way of looking sensitive and good, preferably in some area that will not inconvenience you much. In other words, you need a mask.

The United States is a rogue nation, armed to the teeth with Weapons of Mass Destruction while preaching disarmament, the only nation to use atomic weapons on population centers in a classical example of terrorism, having today 800 military installations sprinkled all over the world, rushing into wars without declaring them in the way the Constitution requires, overturning more than 25 governments around the world since 1945, ranking 22nd of the 22 richest nations of the world in per capita foreign aid, welching on its bills to the United Nations, and having millions of its children bereft of health care insurance.

Time for a mask!

The first tactic of mask-making is displaced indignation. Minor issues stir fervent moral passions. Rigid pelvic orthodoxy is a favorite masking technique. Get really serious about sexual and reproductive issues. President George W. Bush deserves a masking award.

Of course he requires a good mask. He is marked out by the fact that he is the first president in United States history to start and be losing two wars simultaneously. (Neither Iraq or Afghanistan could be described in terms of "victory." Chaos, yes, but victory, no.)

So suddenly, same sex marriages threaten our civilization, our families, and our own heterosexual marriages. The Constitution (that document he violated by going to war without a declaration) must be amended to stop them. Abortion decisions by women are more serious and abhorrent than the carnage of our military adventures and the deaths from our foreign aid penury. In a weird contortion, resulting no doubt from an excess of puritanical zeal, contraceptive aid to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (aid that would prevent abortions) is stopped by the president's imperial decree. On top of all that, our reformist president, who should have been a bit more tolerant on the subject of drugs, even agonized in his 2004 State of the Nation about performance enhancing drug use by athletes. Horrors!

Meanwhile Rome burns.

Of course it is an old gambit. If you are allegedly sexually abstemious and judgmental, you can swallow big doses of evil. A United States delegate to the Baptist World Alliance congress in Berlin in 1934 gave this telling comment on Nazism:

It was a great relief to be in a country where salacious sex literature cannot be sold, where putrid motion pictures and gangster films cannot be shown. The new Germany has burned great masses of corrupting books and magazines along with its bonfire of Jewish and communistic libraries. Commenting on this, biblical scholar Walter Wink writes: "Surely, so the reasoning went, a leader who does not smoke or drink, who wants women to be modest, and who is against pornography cannot be all bad. Evil is always parasitic of the good and must masquerade as good in order to remain in office."

There were German chaplains accompanying the Wehrmacht in its ruthless invasion of the Netherlands who preached sermons warning the troops against the Dutch prostitutes, overlooking a few other problems like World War II and the holocaust of Jews, Poles, gypsies, and homosexuals.

Evildoers wearing chastity masks make other hypocrisies seem almost benign.

October 3, 2004

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