Institutional “Enabling” And the HHS Mandate

Last week I wrote some thoughts on the tragic death of Whitney Houston.  In that article, I also opened up regarding some of my own personal past events, in an attempt to relate, as best I could, to the sad but clear truth that we could all without a doubt be a “Whitney,” had we been thus enabled by walking in her shoes and situation.

In re-reading my piece, I began to find myself further exploring the whole idea of “enabling” on a societal level, whether drugs, alcohol, or within the realm of sexuality.  It briefly occurred to me then, but more so now, how much the entire flap over forced payment of contraception and abortifacients by church and para-church organizations is indeed a case of this type of enablement.

What I do not think people fully realize, even those who are against this move by the Obama administration, is how much of a slippery slope we have already been on to even bring us to this point, or for how many years. It was called in the 1960s the “New Morality.” With that change in paradigms the birth control “Pill” became common, living together outside of marriage was suddenly acceptable, and sexuality in all forms was openly explored. It was no longer tied to one of its main purposes, which is the continuation of the human species, and became an end in itself. That altered thinking or, as some call it, the “contraceptive mentality,” was major in its ramifications. It was no longer the “norm” for a woman to stay at home and raise a family, but became just as common or more so to work and day care centers began to boom as an industry. Divorce became “no-fault” and those, like myself, from backgrounds of same-sex attraction too were liberated. What had been commonly accepted as correct behavior was turned on its head in a short enough time that I, even as a child and then teen during that era, easily observed the entire change by the time I graduated from high school, the year after Roe v Wade legalized abortion on demand nationwide.

I have seen many who have written on the Constitutional and religious liberty issues with regard to this issue but not so much on this more subtle piece to the puzzle. Perhaps we shy away from it due to our own senses of guilt or shame, or other reasons too, but I think we need to face squarely the fact that our society allowed this to happen and did not in fact even notice it coming because we were too busy participating.  Some forward-thinking people, such as Pope Paul VI, obviously did, to be sure, but they were considered to be overly inflammatory, “haters,” or just plain gloom-and-doom types who did not really know the score.  As it turns out, they were the only ones actually keeping score.

English: picture of pope paul VI Español: foto...
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We as fallen humans use some very complex psychology in order to enable others on any level, personal or otherwise. We first try to second-guess what might be the best for people, basing it upon possible or probable future behavior, whether good or bad.  Instead of then dealing with the underlying behavior issues, such as in this instance sexual promiscuity and wanton selfishness, we try to help them to plan for it. The faultiness in this approach is clear to me just by looking at my own past grievous faults and actions.

In my other article, I speak of a man with whom I was briefly involved in 1993, one who turned out to be HIV positive (the virus which causes AIDS).  The ironic thing is that I had never been in even a remotely dangerous sexual liaison until in my early 30s and in the process of divorcing, and had lost my dearest friend in ministry, as well as his wife, in the mid-1980s to this lethal illness. In his case it was due to a drug-dependent past, and then after he became a committed Christian he unknowingly passed it on to his equally unsuspecting wife. So I was aware of the horror of HIV/AIDS early on.  I was also educated on ways to prevent it.  But I still stepped into the trap of risk-taking.  And the very people who aided and abetted me in those risks were the same ones whose stated intentions were to help people make wiser decisions, such as the MN AIDS Project and others.  Let me be clear that no one told me to take risks. But it was assumed that I would, and thus thought necessary to teach me how to minimize them while maximizing my own pursuits for pleasure.

English: The Red ribbon is a symbol for solida...
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Obviously I was old enough and knew enough that I must own any choices I made at that time, but the fact remains that I might have been swayed otherwise if I had been warned more clearly about the gravity of the perils I was walking into, even of such things as failed condom usage and of the many other sexually transmitted diseases not always prevented by “playing the field” as I was heartily doing, even in a supposedly “safe” manner.  Instead the local LGBT bars handed out condoms for free to all customers, and the view was very simply that “we were going to do it anyway” so we might as well do it as safely as possible.

The striking similarity between giving an alcoholic just enough drinks to make him or her “feel good” and then to hang upon the futile hope that they will cheerfully comply with a 2 or 3 drink limit is an irony not lost to me. The bars, the MN AIDS Project, the LGBT publications, and even the “gay-friendly” churches all presumed the same thing—that being sexually active was the “new norm.” And, partly at least owing to that pervasive attitude, we did exactly that. People strongly tend to act as they are expected to. Basic psychology 101.

For my part I was not overly risky in my activities, and always stayed within commonly recommended “safer sex” guidelines. But when a person who I had spent one passionate night with died just one year later, of a disease I had sworn I would never allow myself to even get near to, it jolted within me a wakeup call, slowing me down abruptly  and considerably.  While it was several more years before I became fully celibate, I was suddenly far more particular as to who I went home with and how often, knowing that each encounter could be the one that might give me that dreaded and lethal condition. In effect the “field” became less fun but had far fewer weeds at that point.

The idea therefore that we must provide easy contraception for women who are sexually active is ludicrous to me in the same way as the well-intentioned folks at the bar who used to give me condoms by the dozen at no charge.  In both cases we are expecting the worst, not the best, to occur, and in doing so we essentially make it easier to happen.  That is what enabling does.

I was blessed, not deserving so, I might add, to find myself after 9 months of tests to still to be HIV negative. Other people, good people who our Lord loves and who carry His dignity and image, have not been so blessed as me.  But I wish to heaven someone out there had truly cared enough to not suggest that I have “safer sex,” but instead would have seriously challenged me to be celibate.  I am not sure I would have listened—but I might have—and did eventually.  No one though within the LGBT community or for that matter among other family and friends ever even attempted such a thing. Not one, and not once that I recall at least.

Fast-forwarding to now, in the name of “women’s health” of all things, we are doing the exact same type of enabling with HHS. The idea of even suggesting abstinence is approximately somewhere between idiotic and far-fetched to many of the people involved, and yet one of them is a faithful and at least apparently monogamous husband (President Obama), several are noted Catholic women with longstanding marriages, such as Kathleen Sibelius and Nancy Pelosi, and one, the head of the Catholic Health Care Association, Sister Carol Sheehan, has taken a lifetime vow of celibacy and chastity, which we can only assume she follows personally.  What a strange, strange group to be promoting promiscuity in the name of health!!!  How it must be a stench before our God.

President Obama signs the Ryan White HIV/AIDS ...
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Revelation speaks of the “whore of Babylon” and her desire to spread her immorality to others. Why would the above-mentioned group (picture is slightly different), all who claim to be practicing Christians, spend so much of their valuable time, efforts, and even reputations to do the same?

Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama
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Birth control is not illegal in this nation.  Nor, for that matter, is abortion sadly.  But the idea that it is somehow our moral responsibility to begin paying for such services to those who otherwise could not afford it, rather than using that same exertion and money in educating  those women (and men) in better ways to live, such as abstinence outside of marriage and NFP (Natural Family Planning) within it, which has been long proven to work just as well as the “Pill” by the way, causes me to wonder just what could motivate anyone who names the name of Christ to encourage others to do things with their bodies that they themselves clearly choose not to do?  The word stupid does not begin to describe it.

I am baffled, sickened and irate about this whole thing, as are many, many others. But I know one thing on a first-hand level that seems to be missed in this whole argument in both directions. I know the fear and apprehension that comes from supposedly “safer sex.” And I have seen friends die from it.  That to me is reason enough to oppose this immoral mandate.

English: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Healt...
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Adding one last but very crucial point, the MN AIDS Project does many fine things. I would take nothing away the fact that they have pioneered efforts to fight HIV when few were doing so. I am simply saying that I fervently wish they would add abstinence education to their agenda. I do not expect them to do so, however. So this is not primarily about them–but it is about me and the many of us who once supported everything within the LGBT community, and can no longer do so.  However they (MN AIDS Project) do raise much money each year to fight AIDS and to help, in practical ways, those who currently are afflicted with it. A link to some of those activities is listed just below this paragraph. A better approach however might be to give to Catholic groups who also assist those with AIDS, but do so without advancing the idea of so-called “safer sex” but instead abstinence and helping people to achieve this this goal, no matter what their sexual inclination may be. Many such fine groups exist, such as Catholic Relief Services and the apostolate Courage. Their links are just below as well: 

http://crs.org/hiv-aids/

http://couragerc.net/

https://community.mnaidsproject.org/aidswalk

12 thoughts on “Institutional “Enabling” And the HHS Mandate

  1. wagz

    I agree with you, Richard. 🙂 Which brings to mind how I once asked a friend who was a medical doctor, what were the health risks of a particular sexual act which I am too ashamed to mention here, and I look back with regret that he never gave me the worst case scenario, but rather that the risk was very minimal. And with that ambiguity and apparent lack of risk…I went ahead and experimented with that sexual act…and not just once but several times with different partners, some anonymous flings, and I now live with regret and fear that I might have contracted some STD, or even just exposed myself to the risk…thinking that I just might have avoided my past foolish sexual behavior had I been sternly warned of the risks and advised to stay celibate instead. Well, that’s in the past. I pray by God’s grace I have been spared from any STDs, knowing full well I simply have to face the consequences of my actions. I am currently a member of Courage, by the way. And a definite NO to HHS.

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    1. catholicboyrichard

      Thanks so much for your frank words, Wagz…my one strong suggestion is to get tested. You are probably fine, but it will give you peace of mind once and for all. Have the “Courage” to do so, and offer up whatever the results are to Christ on His Cross even ahead of time. Testing is much better and I believe quicker than in 1993 when I had my “scare.” God be with you friend!

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  3. Powerful testimony, Richard.

    In my younger days I was a ballroom dance instructor at an Fred Astaire dance studio in Houston (the second largest in the country.) The majority of the teachers were homosexual. While working there I was also attending cosmetology school. As a result, I spent a lot of time with homosexuals. Most became close friends. One thing I can say with certainty is their lives were anything but “gay.”

    Later, I was in Phoenix when the news of AIDS first started to leak out and I lost a work mate to “TB”, which is what everyone was saying at that time. Over the subsequent years, I lost every one of my friends from the dance business to AIDS (that number is well over a hundred) – except for the ones that committed suicide, like my very closest and dearest friend. It’s been about 40 years now. I miss him still.

    If he had been counseled differently, there is no doubt in my mind I would still have my friend.

    Happy Shrove Tuesday…

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