Originally posted at: https://anglicansforlife.org/2019/09/23/protected-sex/
Of all the euphemisms and half-truths used by
abortion advocates, one of the most current is the call to “safe
sex”—alternatively, the warning against “unprotected sex.” Of course people
using this language are not suggesting abstinence. Rather, they mean that sex
must be safe—protected—from the possibility of pregnancy (and, secondarily, the
transmission of disease).
“Safe sex” is a powerful euphemism, subtly packing a
whole world of meaning into two words. First, there is the implicit assumption
that sex is naturally something from which we need protection, rather than a
good to be embraced. There are good aspects of sex and not-so-good aspects of
sex, so the thinking goes, and the responsible person finds a way to separate
the good from the not-so-good. Of course, the means of separation are ready at
hand—not only the wide variety of available contraceptives, but also
increasingly easy access to them through taxpayer monies.
Apparently, sex divorced from pregnancy is not just
good practice, it is also a right. Even the Supreme Court supported abortion in
Planned Parenthood v. Casey because, the majority opinion
held, “people have organized intimate relationships and made choices that
define their views of themselves and their places in society, in reliance on
the availability of abortion in the event that contraception should fail.” Our
highest court could not have been clearer: Consensual sex, whether in or apart
from marriage, is a good that must be defended, preserved, and even
Secondly, the same-sex euphemism obscures the very
real way we do need to be protected in sex. Sex is powerful, because it unites
a man and a woman in ways that reach beyond the physical. Which is why sexual
relationships that do not endure are so painful, or, as experienced
increasingly in our “hook up” culture, deadening. The Scriptures suggest this
very thing—sexual sin is sin “against the body” (1 Corinthians 6:18). This does not mean that sexual sin is worse
than other sins, but suggests that sex affects personally and deeply us in ways
that other sins (e.g., stealing) do not. As it turns out, we do need to be
protected from sex. The protection we need, however, is not a condom, but a bright
line warning us that sex belongs in marriage—where we can be protected in sex.
The sanctity of sex, by the way, explains why many
in the pro-life movement do not see contraception as the answer to abortion, a
position non-sensical to supporters of abortion-on-demand. The reasoning is
simple, and it goes beyond the fact that contraceptives often fail.
Contraception does not just separate sex from its natural end of pregnancy, but
also creates a mentality that encourages sex apart from its intended place in
marriage. On one level, the solution to abortion cannot be to encourage the act
that creates the demand for abortion. But on another level, the solution to
abortion cannot be to promote an act that inevitably leads to the harm of those
who engage in it—as extramarital sex always does. Even if those engaged in what has been called
“the sexual marketplace” choose to deny it, sociological studies have
demonstrated the devastating effects of sexual license in individual lives, and
in the culture. Millions can bear personal witness to such.
The word “sanctity” comes from the biblical word
“holy,” which has to do with God, and with things closely associated with God.
One attribute of the holy in the Bible is danger. In the Old Testament, there
are holy places that only certain people could enter, and holy objects that
only they could handle; holy days were required to be observed under the threat
of punishment. These practices were good in and of themselves, but they must be
approached in a given way—the Lord’s way—lest the holy be the undoing of the
people. In other words, there was a danger associated with holiness. The people
needed to be protected.
So it is with sex, for in the end sex has everything to do with God. Hear the words of St. Paul, quoting and then commenting upon Genesis concerning the sexual relationship of man and woman: “‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:31-32). Whether or not we realize it, the sexual union of a man and woman is an allusion to the relationship between Christ and the church. In other words, sex is holy. We need to be protected—again, not by the barrier of a condom, but by the boundary of marriage that surrounds a man and a woman and allows them to be naked and unashamed.
Written by the Rev. Dr. W. Ross Blackburn. Rev. Blackburn is the Rector of Christ the King, an Anglican Fellowship in Boone, NC and an Anglicans for Life’s Board Member.