Condoms Vs. Christianity - When The Church Tries To Play God
Jan 19 '05
The Bottom Line Can the church really play god without some dire consequences?
For some time now I have been receiving a religious newsletter that the former owner of the house subscribed to. No matter how many times I informed them that the former owner moved, asked to be removed from the list or called to complain, the issues still arrive. This time it was different; I caught the name Mel Gibson on the front and decide to flip through and see what they were talking about in regards to good old Mel. I never made it to the article, instead I was stopped in my tracks when I saw a small, half page rant about how condoms are not effective in preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS. Huh? How can anyone with two functioning brain cells possibly rationalize that statement? I went on to read through the rant several times thinking that I possibly misinterpreted what was being said, but the more I read it, the more I sensed that this was not a religious take on the AIDS epidemic but a small group of people who are seeking to out and out rid the world of “gays” who are “spreading the disease like wildfire”.
As a parent of four boys, the through is always there. What happens when they hit their teen years and start experimenting? I have raised them to think about all the possibilities of their actions and the life long consequences that could come from thinking “for the moment”. This isn’t limited to just sex but every aspect of their life. I like to think that I know what is best for my boys, they are after all my best friends and the things I cherish most, but above all else, they are human and can and will make mistakes. I am not comparing spilling milk or ruining the paint job on the SUV from a botched science experiment with contracting a disease … so hold your comments until you read the entire editorial. My boys are homeschooled, something that people still hold against them, often saying they will lack socialization skills necessary to advancement in the workplace or that when they start college their professors will not take them seriously since they didn’t attend a “real school”.
When it came time for my oldest and I to sit down and have “the talk” I was a bundle of nerves. What do you tell a kid about sex? Birth control? Pregnancy, Premarital sex? Sexually transmitted diseases? Even typing this out I am breaking in to a cold sweat. It turns out that my little egghead was already aware of “sex” or at least the mechanics of it. Hearing him talk about zygotes, fertilization and embryo sacs was about as interesting as learning how paint is made but I sat, riveted, listening to him talk about how we were all created. Not once did he talk about sex as something dirty, nasty, X rated or off color, his understanding of it was in complete textbook form. This is something that he could have easily learned in a conventional school however its something that he wouldn’t have had the chance to learn for another three years according to the lesson plans of our local schools.
One last thing, none of my boys have a set religion. None of them were baptized or christened in a church and we have no weekly “church” that we attend. After having religion shoved down my throat for years and being forced to attend Catholic schools I wanted to expose the boys to all the different religions that are available to them and let them decide which they feel comfortable with. I was publicly brandished by several women who said that it was my obligation to make sure the boys were baptized “in the eyes of the Lord” and if they died without this sacrament they would be condemned to hell due to the original sin [what I like to call the Death Clause]. I can vividly recall a Roman Catholic nun [or one of the various sects] leaning over my desk telling me I was going to hell because of “The Original Sin”, something that I had nothing to do with. Want to really get under the skin of a religious zealot that refuses to leave you alone? Ask them about Adam and Eve. If they were the only people in the Garden of Eden, then aren’t we all products of incest?
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When The Church Tries To Play God
I have respect for God. I think that there is a higher power out there, something that sits back and observes humanity. I used to place a lot of faith in one God but over the years I have started to think that no one religion has nailed it down and all of them have some flaws. That’s just my take on it. I believe that there is a higher power but I’m not bold enough to say which one is right. Personally I think that it’s better to believe in “something” or that “something” exists than to wander through life half heartedly attending church, saying prayers and praising a god that you have questions about. Enough about that, now you know where I am coming from in regards to my religious past and why I choose to “play the field”.
When we lived in San Diego we were a stones throw from Mexico. To some people this might sound like heaven; the chance to go get smashed for about ten dollars, somewhat good food and the usual tourist attractions. That type of thing wears off after a month or so then you start to see the real Mexico. The poverty, the houses made from cardboard, the kids with no shoes on their feet and the mothers that sit on the sidewalks asking for change. I never understood all this, we’d seen homeless people before and always gave them food or a few dollars but this was something beyond what I could fathom or comprehend. I started asking people who lived in Mexico but worked in the United States why there were so many homeless people begging and the answer that I got really shocked me. The reason there are so many homeless and poverty stricken families is because of the Catholic religion and their stance on birth control. That may sound like a very archaic thing to say in this day and age but it is the truth. The church says that birth control is something that is against the rules, a sin.
Now give that statement a moment or two to sink in.
Mexico isn’t the only place where religion has such a stronghold. Some third world countries take a negative stance against birth control because the infant mortality rate is so high due to hunger and disease. Maybe if the governments would look at the big picture and try to educate the people about why the infant mortality rate and disease is so high then they would have a better chance at a better life. That all sounds so simple and cut and dry and to some it may sound a little callous but it is the truth. People pray to whatever god they worship when they are having trouble. If it were that simple to solve the ills of the world then I’d give up the life I have now and go join a monastery so that no human would ever feel an ounce of pain but that’s not how it works. These people are having babies without have enough food to sustain their own lives, and by “these people” I am not looking down on them of classifying them as a lower class of people. I am simply saying that they are trying to get three steps ahead of the game but knocking themselves back with each child they have. Look at Ethiopia, there are hundreds of thousands of starving children there and only about 35% of them make it to their teens so the parents have more and more kids to try and better their odds. What does that do? Tax an already burdened food system, bring heartache to parents who have to bury a child and make a bad situation even worse.
But back to Mexico. I’ve seen this all first hand so the stuff you are reading isn’t from the pages of the newspaper or some obscure byline from CNN, it’s what happens every single day and it could easily be avoided if the church would open their eyes to what is going on. When you are a tourist you are almost always targeted by beggars and panhandlers; that’s the simple truth about going to Mexico. Some of the women you see with three or four kids rent them for the day for a few dollars so tourists will feel more sympathetic. The kids may get a cut of whatever they can bring in or they might just go home with a full stomach. Who’s to say what happens when the sun sets and the gringos go home. One woman was living in Rosarito, a really nice part of Mexico, and would drive to Tijuana every day with three or four kids that she would rent. She paid about five dollars for each of them and made anywhere from two to three hundred dollars a day. That’s a tremendous amount of money to be making in Mexico, especially when the kids are doing most of the work.
I only mention this so that people will understand that not every person that asks for change actually needs it. She was exposed by the Mexican authorities when the mother she was renting the children from demanded more money for the use of her children. This happens a lot in Mexico but a majority of the kids that come running up to you asking if you want to buy gum or have your windows washed know no other life. They don’t go to school or play soccer, they beg. So why do people have five or six children? That all goes back to the mindset that the more kids you have the bigger the man you are, in other words, machismo. I won’t get into the area of child support in Mexico because that doesn’t seem to exist unless you have four older bothers that are willing to go and beat the guy down on a regular basis. No, what I am talking about is the conflict between what the church says is right no birth control] and what is best for the people [at least having the choice to use it if they want]. Walk in to any pharmacy or drugstore in Mexico and ask for condoms. They are hard to come by and most are outdated or some obscure brand that you never heard of. This also introduces the question of the AIDS epidemic in Mexico and why the numbers are going up there instead of down.
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American men that go to Mexico for sex better bring their own condoms because if they are cruising the strip looking for some action, chances are they’ll come back with some type of disease. More often than not prostitutes will tell you that they are clean [have you ever heard of a hooker that admitted having gonorrhea?] and for a few extra dollars they’ll have sex with you without a condom. But that’s neither here nor there. The subject here is how the church dictates to its people. If condoms were made available to people then the spread of disease would be less. People are going to have sex regardless of what the church says. That’s something that you can’t deny or argue with. However it’s pretty funny that they will play Russian roulette with their lives by having sex without a condom. The church says that its wrong to have sex unless you are married but in the eyes of most that’s something that is overlooked but hey, you better not wear a condom while you are having marriage outside of sex. Understand the irony of that?
The real losers here are the kids. They didn’t ask to be born, they are the ones that end up paying the ultimate price in this war of words. And after all, that is all that it is, a war of words. How the church views the world of the bible and how those who follow the religion take it to heart and continue the cycle. I would rather see a man and a woman use a condom to prevent a pregnancy than to have them conceive a child that they can’t afford. That’s the bottom line. Is it worse to have to watch a child starve to death or to break a law of the church. I could really argue the issue and say that the church is to blame for all the innocent deaths in third world countries. How does that strike you? They tell people that it’s a sin to use birth control because it goes against gods plan in regards to procreation but they aren’t there to see the results of their words.
This also brings up abortion and the ethics of it. The church has a strong stand against abortion but I’ve seen the darker side of it. A neighbor from a few blocks away had a thirteen year old daughter that got pregnant. She told her mother and they talked over the options. Of course a thirteen year old has no way of making such a decision without some type of parental advice or counseling. After much debate they decided that an abortion would be best. When they made the appointment at a clinic they had no idea that protesters would be there. The thirteen year old was shouted at, spit on and called a murderer. Someone from a local church said that if she agreed to have the baby they would do everything in their power to help her. Free diapers, day care, formula; what ever she needed. The girl stopped to think and decided to no go through with the abortion. Weeks later she contacted the church to ask about daycare for when she would go back to school and they said that they couldn’t help her because she was having a child out of wedlock. Then she asked about the diapers and formula and all the other things the protesters promised that they would help with. Again, she was told that there was no help for her since she was not married. This isn’t something that you read about in the paper. It’s something that happens every single day in every community in the world. The girl eventually decided that she wanted to go through with the abortion but she was two weeks outside what was legally allowed in the United States. She and her boyfriend went to Mexico with two hundred dollars to a place that someone told them about and she had it done. Less than two weeks later she was dead from an infection from unsterilized instruments and an abortion that was only partially complete.
The issue of whether or not abortion is right or wrong isn’t the subject here. What is being questioned is the ramifications of what the protesters said, how they went about their tactics and the end result; a dead girl that believed that someone was going to help her. The girl’s parents weren’t poor and they could have easily afforded to take care of the child when she returned to school but she saw it as her responsibility to try and take control of the situation. Becca was a great kid that made a poor judgment call when it came to having sex. She was a straight A student, had a loving family and was never in trouble. I really wish things had turned out differently for her and that she would have been able to get the medical help she needed. Hopefully this brief mention of her situation and the disastrous outcome will be of some help to someone. The protesters that promised help essentially killed her, I hope that little fact is something that comes back to haunt them a million times over.
The Bottom Line
All this might sound like some grand rant from a woman who has a pretty good life, but it wasn’t always that way. When I was younger I spent many a night hungry, alone and foraging through garbage cans for something to eat. But that was a choice that I made for myself, I left home and dealt with the consequences. The innocents in this situation were put there; they didn’t have a choice in the matter. The church, meaning any religion, that has a strong bond with a certain group of people should have some type of moral obligation when it comes to their rules and regulations, essentially the commandments or laws.
As always, thanks for the read!
~^V^~ Freak ~^V^~
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