We talked earlier about my confusion over prayer. My confusion over the status of bearing children is similar. On the one hand, I hear that it's magical, a blessing from God. On the other, I hear that bearing children is a curse.
Which is it?
This is an incredibly important distinction in terms of hormonal contraception access. If we're being honest, no one would force anyone to partake of a blessing. That's the truth. I love chocolate. Chocolate is a blessing. Chocolate is the best blessing ever. Yet I'd never force you to eat it.
Most Christians would say Christ is a blessing, and yet, they'd never force you to accept him. And yet, there are those like Rev. Harold J. Drexler, who write things like this:
As we joyfully acknowledge the divine likeness of each person and the marital union in which God shares His power to create the immortal person, we recognize easy access to contraceptives is gravely harmful.Easy access to contraceptives is gravely harmful. There's two reasons for this. The first, which most Christians who are anti-contraception won't acknowledge, is that child birth is the curse of woman. Because Eve ate some fruit at the dawn of time, the following was pronounced on her--and every woman after her--in Genesis 3:16 (NIV):
To the woman he said, "I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."Childbearing is part of the punishment for being sinful. Thus having a way around that divine punishment undermines divine authority. You can now choose whether to accept that punishment or not.
The second reason Drexler freely acknowledges:
In the marital union God shares His miracle power to create new persons destined for eternal life with Him.The purpose of sex is to create souls for God to save. It seems like a really ineffective business model when you think about it--you're creating more and more work for yourself, churning out more defective models that you then have to fix. Who really wants to do that?
I'd like for Drexler to understand a few things, and although I know he most likely never will, here they are anyway.
You are not allowed to legislate your morality onto my body.
I do not believe in an immortal soul. I believe that life, like our memories, is a complex series of electrical and chemical processes in our brain. Damage the electrical flow, and you damage our minds, our ability to reason in some cases, to remember in others. That is us. That's the "soul".
When we cease to exist, those processes stop, and thus, we do too.
Your beliefs on the immortal soul are irrelevant to mine--and so your beliefs on the immortal soul should not be allowed to govern over my body. Period. You may very well believe contraception is a miracle. I agree and disagree--it's a natural phenomenon, one that has been studied and explored to my satisfaction. But it also is magical, in the right time and place, to conceive a child with someone that you care about.
But that's not a universal experience.
For some people, children aren't in the cards--and those people are allowed that right. They should be allowed access to the family planning sources that help them reach that goal. They should not be governed by someone else's idea that conception is a miracle, or even by the ideas of someone like me. They should be able to make their own choices, which hurt no one, with the full support of a medical option that modern scientific advancement has made available to them.
That a secular society can still be influenced by matters of belief--when they stand in clear contradiction to both Enlightenment principles and science--is mind-boggling.
We're not avoiding a divine punishment, because we don't believe in the divine. It's not our responsibility to create immortal persons for a deity that we don't believe is real. It's simply not.
And I can't wait for the day that we hopefully all reach the point where we stand in the secular light and say, "I may not agree, but that is okay."