Once again, I am feeling annoyed by the religious (which seems to be my default position at the moment). There was a report in several papers yesterday about plans for the NHS to encourage the use of longer-lasting and possibly more effective forms of contraception (implants etc) (See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,8122-1843486,00.html). It also reported the objections of LIFE (the anti-abortion group) on the grounds that this encouraged promiscuity. Once again, we see the enthusiasm of (some) Christians for trying to regulate women via fear of the consequences. (The same tone was visible in objections to possibly giving girls a vaccination against cervical cancer – see http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,,1587040,00.html).
Why arent such groups speaking out against treatments for lung cancer (which may encourage people to take up the vice of smoking) or improved safety in cars (which may encourage reckless driving)? Because, Im afraid, theyre obsessed about sexual behaviour and especially female sexual behaviour, which somehow leads them to think nostalgically about the days of bastardy and back-street abortions. If you are opposed to abortion, you should rationally encourage the use of reliable contraception. If you think children are better not brought up in single parent families or being unwanted, you should at least consider allowing some limited abortion. If you think sex is only permissible when it is open to procreation, you should tell the sterile or the post-menopausal to be celibate. (Andrew Sullivan has an interesting article on the contradictions of the Catholic views on this: http://www.andrewsullivan.com/homosexuality.php?artnum=19960318). [I once was at a Lent Group that was discussing AIDS and where the participants were nearly all Catholics – I was tempted to make some comment about the Popes opposition to condoms on the grounds that all intercourse should be open to the transmission of death. Fortunately, I resisted]. Christians should make a positive moral stand on why the good of sex should be kept inside marriage, not just be trying to exploit fears about disease and pregnancy. (And what does it say about the Christian attitude to children, if religious groups want them to be forced on women as harmful consequences, not positively wanted?) Christianity doesnt say you shouldnt covet your neighbours possessions because the stress may lead you to a heart attack; they should take a more spiritual view of why sex should be used properly.