Sex, Sinners, and Stigmas – Toward the Creation of a Culture of Life
Note: Although I’m writing, here, mostly about young women and young men, what I’m writing also applies to women and men of all ages and in all life situations.
I think we need to create a culture that doesn’t stigmatize women, especially young women, for doing what comes naturally: having sex and getting pregnant. In fact, the desire to have sex is a very powerful drive we all have, especially in teens.
Our culture should applauded women for becoming pregnant, and celebrate the new life they carry, no matter what the circumstance surrounding how they became pregnant. We should offer them any and all assistance they need to raise their children or give their children to someone else to raise.
Our historically and predominantly Protestant puritanical attitude created, long ago, an “I’m not married and I’m pregnant; therefore I’m now a social outcast and a sinner” cultural mentality, which is horrible, and is the exact opposite of the sort of mentality a culture that embraces life should have.
Imagine a culture wherein a young, unmarried woman becomes pregnant, due to having had sex with her boyfriend, and, when she discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t say “Oh shit, my parents will kill me” but says instead “Wow, my parents will be so happy for me!”
This may seem impossible, but it’s not impossible when we get our priorities straight: sex outside of marriage is a sin, according to Christian teaching, tradition, and the Church, but it’s nowhere near as great a sin as is the sin of abortion on demand.
Once the young woman announces she’s pregnant, it’s time to prioritize, and both her parent(s) and our society should: 1) Celebrate this new life! 2) Ask her: “What are your plans?” 3) Support her in every way to nurture and bring forth this new life; 4) Ask her what she has learned from this experience; 5) Tell her: “Welcome to the adult world of temptation, sex, and sin!”
Having sex and becoming pregnant is probably the most natural thing in the world. Is it not? Adam “knowing” Eve is on the very first page of the Bible. And the Bible is replete with genealogies and “begats”.
Getting pregnant isn’t like robbing a bank, or slitting someone’s throat. But abortion is, which is why it’s wrong. Becoming pregnant isn’t a sin, according to the Bible, but murder is.
They say every dark cloud has a silver lining, and I think if Christians want to look at teens (or anyone) having sex outside of marriage as sinful, which we all do, we should at least realize just how low in the ranking of various sins this particular sin is. And we should all be able to appreciate the wonderful blessing of new life that normally and naturally comes into the world as a result of this sin.
Think about it: how many sins produce something so wonderful and so beautiful?
According the the Old Testament (OT) law, when a man and woman who are unmarried had sex, and got caught, what they had done was not considered a capital offense, or: a mortal sin. The couple was told to either get married or to go their separate ways, and the man would be made to pay restitution to the woman’s family if they didn’t wish to get married. This doesn’t sound like unmarried sex was thought of under the OT law as being grievously sinful, but as natural – albeit social unacceptable – behavior within the community; marriage being the socially acceptable context for sex, due to the expectation of pregnancy, children, and family, which are the normal results of sexual activity.
But for many years, the Church and all Christians have deemed two unmarried peoples having sex as “fornication!” and have equated “unmarried sex” with “grievous mortal sin”. The “fornicator!” stigma, which virtually all Christian teens have drummed into them as something to avoid, makes this healthy, normal, and natural activity pretty much the worst thing a young woman can ever do, and the “fornicator!” stigma attached to her within the Church often becomes the “slut!” stigma attached to her within the larger society.
My point is that although having sex outside of marriage is a sin, and is best avoided for many reasons, it is very low on the list of sins in comparison with abortion. And we need to put things into proper perspective if we’re going to create a culture that embraces life.
The word “fornication” actually means “whoredom, “being a whore”, or “frequenting whores”, which is not at all what two people, especially teens, having sex with each other, because nature is driving them to do so, are doing. They’re not whores or whoremongers… they’re simply normal, healthy people with natural, strong desires who, quite naturally, find resisting the temptation to have sex a very hard thing to do.
I think the reason having sex and becoming pregnant is so looked down upon by people within our society is that having sex outside of marriage, or engaging in so-called “fornication”, if and when it results in a pregnancy, is the one sin a woman cannot hide from others. We all prefer sins we can hide from others.
If she fools around with her boyfriend no one will know. But, if he impregnates her, wait nine months, and then everyone will know.
What’s the all-too-common solution, in our puritanical society, which stigmatizes young women as “fornicators” and “sluts” for having sex outside of marriage? A private place where no one can see her…. where the boyfriend pays someone to kill their child and dump (or sell) the body, so that no one will ever know they had sex, which is horribly sad, considering the naturalness of both the sexual activity and the conception of a child.
Abortion on demand is a perfect example of a case where “the cover-up” is worse than “the crime”.
I think if we, as a society, would get our priorities right by celebrating every pregnancy and every new life, and by honoring and celebrating every woman pregnant with child, we would begin to see the end of abortion on demand and the culture of death that surrounds it.
An emphasis on sex, sinners, and stigmas only fuels the culture of death, whereas an emphasis on sex, celebrations, and congratulations would fuel the creation of a culture of life.
OT law penalties for peoples who have engaged in unmarried sex
“If a man seduces a virgin who is not betrothed and lies with her, he shall give the bride-price for her and make her his wife. If her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the bride-price for virgins.” Exodus 22:16
“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29
Jesus’ Teaching about Divorce
Jesus used the word “fornication” within the context of marriage, which should cause people to ask the question: “If the word ‘fornication’ means: ‘sex between two unmarried people’, then how can someone’s wife (or husband) commit ‘fornication’?” What Jesus was saying, in this passage, is that the only exception he allowed for divorce was if one of the spouses was acting as ‘a whore’ or ‘a whoremonger’, which is what the word ‘fornication’ means.
“The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:3-9 (KJV)
“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9)
λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται. (Matthew 19:9)
πορνείᾳ (porneia) – fornication, whoredom – http://biblesuite.com/greek/4202.htm
μοιχᾶται (moichatai) – to commit adultery with – http://biblesuite.com/greek/3429.htm
Matthew 19:9 (Greek-English)- http://biblehub.com/text/matthew/19-9.htm