Possessed as they are of an unrelentingly secularist mindset, our mainstream media seems compelled to commemorate the Christmas season with any variety of anti-Christian content. This year has proved no different, WaPo recently running a story condemning reverence for the Virgin Mary as a ‘celebration of purity’ that is ‘offensive’ to rape victims.
Written by one Rev. Ruth Everhart, a Presbyterian minister and author of a rape memoir, the piece naturally has to include several unseemly – not to mention seasonally inappropriate – references to menstruation and vaginal odor:
I could say more about living in a female body, but it might be helpful if you just checked in with your own body right now. Is your body feeling quiet and clean and pure at the moment? Or is it hungry or noisy or smelly? Does it have needs?
That’s what I suspected. Bodies are like that. Even bodies that don’t bleed or ovulate or lactate. Bodies have needs… Don’t get me wrong — I love having a body. A body is super convenient for getting around in. It is a gift from God.
If you’re a woman, it’s a complicated gift… Why? Because to some people, vaginas are inherently dirty. They can never be purified. And isn’t that the definition of hopelessness? Does it bother you that half of the human population is condemned to hopelessness because their body parts can never be pure?
It’s difficult to see how this sort of talk can be seen as anything other than a gratuitous and click-baity attempt to offend people – mainly Catholics and Orthodox – who regard the Blessed Mother with some reverence. But, for what it’s worth, Aquinas treated the Catholic view of this at considerable length:
Three maledictions were given to mankind on account of sin. The first befell woman, that she would conceive in corruption, carry in discomfort, and bear in labor. But from this the Blessed Virgin was immune, since she conceived without corruption, carried with solace, and bore the Saviour in joy… So she was therefore immune from every malediction, and consequently “blessed among women,” since she alone took away the malediction and brought the blessing, and opened the gate of paradise.
But as distasteful as all this menstruation-mongering is – and it certainly makes one appreciate the scrupulous propriety more traditionally minded people like the Burmese display in such matters – it gets worse (at least theologically speaking). Everhart goes on:
Of course, I was traumatized. But what was harder to describe — and more long-lasting — was how the crime became bound up in a sense of sexual shame. I wondered constantly: Did I somehow deserve to be raped? Had the rape ruined me irreparably? Both questions seemed inevitable. After all, what is the opposite of being sexually pure? Sustaining irremediable damage. Being ruined…
I’m convinced of this: Mary is not responsible for what we’ve done to her story. Church culture has overfocused on virginity and made it into an idol of sexual purity. When it comes to female experience, the church seems compelled to shrink and distort and manipulate.
Maybe that’s why, more than a decade after I was raped, I became a pastor. I had to face down the demons. To do that, I had to live inside church culture. I had to come to terms with Mary’s story, and so many others. What is the gospel call for women? I believe it’s more than being a good girl.
For starters, I believe it’s impossible to be a good girl — meaning unblemished and pure — and also inhabit a body. It’s certainly true if you’ve been sexually assaulted, and may also be true if you are fortunate to not have been.
Such a view shows a tremendous misunderstanding of Christian teaching, primarily regarding the relationship between corporeality and sin – even coming from a Presbyterian, her premise seems shockingly Gnostic to me – but secondarily regarding Christian traditions and their role in Western views towards women; it was Christianity – specifically St Augustine – that eradicated the Roman notions of honor that led many rape victims to commit suicide.
Augustine condemns suicide in the strongest terms—in order to prevent his people from taking suicide an option. But concerning women who were raped and committed suicide he writes, ‘Even if some of these virgins killed themselves to avoid such disgrace, who that has any human feeling would refuse to forgive them?’ (1.17, cf. 1.20).
Augustine argues that sanctity depends on the will (1.16). Thus ‘not even when the body is violated is it [sanctity] lost’ (1.18). Augustine takes the argument even further and argues that even the body remains holy if the will remains holy: ‘so long as the soul keeps this firmness of purpose which sanctifies even the body, the violence done by another’s lust makes no impression on this bodily sanctity, which is preserved intact by one’s own persistent continence’ (1.18). I should note that Augustine is here discussing ‘sanctity’ of body, not bodily integrity. He is entirely consistent in saying that rape is a sin against a woman’s body; he denies that the rapist’s sin can touch the holiness of the victim’s body or mind.
The Church’s role in advancing the cause of women is something that gets lost among devotees of contemporary Third Wave feminism and its post-modern, anti-Western inclinations, which is a shame because it’s quite important. There really is no cultural epoch in the world that has been so respectful regarding the place of women as Christian/Western culture. Certainly not Islam; their attitudes towards women are well-known. Asian cultures, especially those without a strong Western influence, are hardly enlightened in their attitudes either. Many Sub-Sahraran African cultures are notorious for valuing cattle more than females. And the pre-Christian Pagan world was rife with anti-female practices and prejudices (forced marriage, honor killing).
Save us all from Satan’s power…
Befouling motherhood is only one front in the ongoing War Against Christmas, the other front involves an assault against the opposite side of traditional Christmas good spirit: the innocence of children. I’ve dealt with ‘Gender Dysphoria’ and the repugnant practice of subjecting minors to so-called ‘Gender Reassignment Therapy’ before.
Well, the powers that be have decided that Christmas is the perfect time to bring the matter to the fore again; the once-renowned National Geographic has decided to not just run an article, but dedicate their entire January 2016 issue to contemporary theories – really, ideology – surrounding gender.
National Geographic‘s controversial January 2016 cover, featuring a feminine 9 year old boy who goes by the name ‘Avery’.
Fusion‘s story is representative of the fawning reception National Geographic‘s decision received in the LGBT-friendly mainstream media:
As part of its January 2017 issue exploring our evolving understandings and definitions of gender, National Geographic is featuring nine-year-old transgender rights activist Avery Jackson on its cover—the first time a trans person has made the cover of the magazine.
The background of the cover model is disconcerting – a nine year old ‘activist’, really?
Jackson rose to stardom last year when she began documenting her transition with “Avery Chats,” a series of YouTube videos describing how she came to understand her identity at such a young age and eventually came out to her parents as trans. “When I was born, doctors said I was a boy, but I knew in my heart I was a girl,” Jackson explained in her first video. “So I may have some boy body parts, but that’s not wrong, that is OK.”
The videos themselves are quite disturbing; whatever adult is responsible for making and uploading them to the internet ought to be prosecuted for exploiting and corrupting a minor.
If this were only one story it would be bad enough but, like other instances where we are subjected to a flurry of LGBT propaganda sexualizing minors, this definitely seems something coordinated with other outlets; about the same time as the National Geographic‘s cover was being publicized, the always despicable Buzz Feed released a video that, if anything, was even more disturbing.
As I already noted in the previous post on this, these parents are sick, sick, SICK for using their children as props in some transgressive psychodrama. Morally speaking, there is little appreciable difference between sexually molesting a minor and providing them with gender reassignment hormones: both will do long-term damage to the child, physically as well as psychologically. No less a personage than Camille Paglia – hardly a doctrinaire social conservative – has denounced gender reassignment treatment for minors as ‘child abuse’ and ‘evil’ (A longer interview with Camille along similar lines is available here).
Finally, to leave no doubt about how deep this transgressive rot has set in our popular culture, we come next to the case of Merriam-Webster who, under pressure from feminists and so-called ‘gender activists’ changed the definition of ‘femininity’. Their specific issue was with listing ‘masculinity’ as femininity’s antonym, the antipodal treatment reflective of binary and linear thinking, entirely unacceptable in our Brave New Era of gender fluidity and radical self-definition.
But brave and as new as all this may be, there’s still wisdom to be gleaned from older, more traditional sources. We return again to Aquinas, this time the text Thomistic Psychology by Father Robert Brennan:
[Testosterone] engenders manliness, courage, enterprise – masculine characteristics at their best; and violence, brutality, callousness – masculine characteristics at their worst. [Estrogen] engenders womanliness, domesticity and tenderness – feminine characteristics at their best; and instability, emotionalism and vacillation – feminine characteristics at their worst. The point is that the differences between man and woman are more fundamental than the differences between their bodies, or the construction of their sexual organs, or the role that these organs play in sexual reproduction. The differences are also more basic than the environment in which male and female are reared, or the education they receive. Every cell of the human body bears the stamp of its respective gender.
Thomistic Psychology is out-of-print now and quite sadly so (I’m convinced that most of the used copies sold through Amazon have come about through my recommendation). It really is striking to realize how well such old ideas (13th Century in the case of Aquinas although rooted even further back in the works of Aristotle) hold up to reevaluation in the light of modern discoveries; for example, the Thomistic/Aristotelian idea of the passions/appetites of man are quite compatible with the modern understanding of endocrinology and the role our glands play in drives such as lust or aggression or acquisitiveness.
Gender – specifically the post-modernist concept of gender identity – is indeed one area where this more traditional understanding can shed light. For all its presumed ‘science’, gender reassignment treatments can do little more than create a chimera; the body will forever be dependent upon an external source for the hormones it will never produce naturally and its cells will always carry the genetic stamp of its birth upon its DNA (Yet again, from no less than Camille Paglia).
Even in the event of some doctor attempting to transplant ovaries into a male body (or vice versa), it’s difficult to imagine such a transplant taking without long term use of anti rejection drugs; actual ovulation and non-surgical fertilization seems a pipe-dream destined to remain in Dr Moreau’s lab. One could imagine some ambitious doctor using IVF to implant an embryo somewhere into some transgendered man’s abdomen and claiming such thing as a ‘pregnancy’, although it’s frankly a distasteful matter to contemplate.
Regardless of whatever unseemly developments the future may hold, we can all rest assured that the more transgressive in our midst will do their utmost to bring them to us sooner rather than later.