Saturday, January 18, 2014

New Year’s Dissolutions

Having seen the year-end reviews of 2013, I am wondering what the New Year will bring. The world around us continues to change. Is our society evolving or devolving? I would like to remain optimistic, but signs are not very encouraging. As mores liberalize, Christians, and Catholics in particular, find themselves being gradually exiled from secular society.

Whether we like it or not, legal same-sex marriage is growing in acceptance and likely here to stay. Attempts to eliminate or even limit abortions are being shot down by the courts. Affecting change appears futile, and we now find ourselves taking a defensive posture trying to protect the practice of our religious beliefs from government interference. How did we get to this point?

Some would blame the sexual revolution and certainly our society’s view of reproduction has changed drastically. Once seen as a blessing, children are often treated as burdens, or unwanted consequences of one’s personal pleasure. Many grow up unloved and undisciplined. How many of these children end up angry and frustrated? We see increased acts of violence, disrespect, road rage, shootings and senseless terrorism. I doubt that many of the perpetrators came from loving two-parent Christian families.

Sex is now primarily portrayed as recreational rather than procreational. With the marriage covenant no longer regarded as sacred or necessary, the focus of sexual activity is self-gratification. If you are not doing it, something is wrong with you. Promiscuous behavior has been normalized by the media. Popular television programs regularly show young people hopping in and out of bed with no consequences. Even commercials are sexually nonchalant with ads for erectile dysfunction and other enhancements airing at all times of day.

Yesterday’s newspaper (January 16, 2014) printed a “Dear Abby” column where a woman wrote to express her concern that her boyfriend of eight months has not been willing to have sex with her. The woman’s age was not mentioned, but we might presume she was young since the presence of roommates was one of the excuses the boyfriend used for avoided sexual intimacy with her. Dear Abby’s response? Your boyfriend “may have a physical or emotional problem, be asexual or gay.” Her advice? “Before agreeing to marry him, I recommend you schedule some time alone together by spending a few romantic weekends at a hotel or motel.” Really? Can you imagine giving that advice to your own daughter? Could it be possible the young man is a good Christian who does not believe in pre-marital sex, but has been indoctrinated by society to feel it socially unpopular to proclaim it?

I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I fear we are losing the battle. Our secular society may not allow us to practice our faith freely, in effect forcing us into a sort of societal quarantine. Will we soon be forced to practice our faith in modern day catacombs? I hope not, but we seem to be moving in that direction. I take solace knowing that God will see us through this. Religious persecution is nothing new. As Paul Harvey once mused, “In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these."