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