It took awhile to get my mind around the fundamentalist, christianist platform on abortion. Obviously, no one celebrates abortion; yet the depth of anti-abortion passion exhibited by the religious right rates single-issue political status with these zealots. Take the story of a long time acquaintance of mine. He asserts his general affinity for the common man and historically he has voted for the Democratic Party, yet now elects Republicans because “the Democrats allow the choice for abortion and also promote restrictions on gun ownership.” At face-value these two attitudes might seem contrary, even oxymoronic — to be pro-life for the not yet born, while pro-lethal force, if required, toward the living, breathing. Yet these ideas dovetail nicely with the christian concept of innocence. It works like this, we all are protected and pure while in the womb without self consciousness. Once born and aware, we become vessels of blame and guilt. This thinking demands an acceptance of the christian belief that man has an inherently evil nature overcome only by redemption. For those of us “born OK the first time”, these mental/emotional gymnastics boggle the mind.

Within the above context, precepts of fundamentalist Christian teaching grow clearer. Abstinence-until-marriage becomes the only correct answer to: teenage sex, sexually transmitted infection, contraception and unwanted pregnancy. Options this narrowly defined, beckons authority and necessarily melds with today’s Republican Party platform — where security, whether viable or not, trumps freedom every time. Fear kills rational thought. A vulnerable populace embraces control from a predator class of leaders — largely Republican. Instead of nuanced responses tailored to our multi-cultural society, authoritarians propose all or nothing answers. Today’s people under control, delegate standards of ethical behavior, especially issues of morality, to established religious institutions. Consequently, public instruction on matters sexual is thwarted by abstinence-only solutions. Tax dollars fund faith-based organizations with anti-sexuality education. Fear often dominates as a method for teaching, even at the expense of truth. [“Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says“] Science books and classrooms are censored for illustrations of anatomically correct persons. Sexuality educators face discipline for giving straight forward answers to student’s questions in the context of classroom study. Necessary health programs fight cancellation when they stray from the message of abstinence-only. [“Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education Censors Vital Health Care Information, Jeopardizing Teenagers’ Health“]

When ignorance is king, individuals and society suffer with the misfortune of disease and unwanted pregnancy. Medical breakthrough in cancer prevention becomes contentious when the disease follows as a consequence of sexual activity. Take the advent of vaccine developed to protect women from gynecological cancer. Two U.S. pharmaceutical companies recently touted successful testing to prevent human papilloma virus (HPV). This disease causes 70 percent of all cases for cervical cancer diagnosed in America. If future trials prove both safe and effective, inoculation should be mandated as a public health service, as with other infectious disease. The religious right opposes such deterrence, first on the principle that it does not conform to abstinence theory. This position fails the humanity test, so an alternate fall-back strategy quickly followed; allow vaccination but require parental consent. Why the reservation, why risk a preventable ravaging cancer, one that cannot be prevented by the safe sex use of condoms? The answer from the abstinence-only crowd — disease prevention could be seen as a license to participate in premarital sex.

There you have it. For the christianists, the world holds such little cheer that we must endanger our own children’s health as we deny the realities of this life and rigorously prepare for an afterlife — such a waste.

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