The recent news that the “morning after” pills will be available to girls as young as 15 without a prescription or even parental consent was shocking to many people across the USA. This latest intrusion of the federal government into a realm of life that most parents believe is between them and their children is shocking. It happens because of two important principles the federal government believes to be true:
- Children cannot be expected to abstain from sex after puberty sets in, and
- Parents have no right to interfere with the government in the teaching of sexual morality, the human right to life, or the eternal value of the life that begins at conception.
It is tempting to try to address both of these issues that are expressed simultaneously in this announcement, but this post will focus only on issue #1. This principle is a subset of the principle that no person can rightly be expected to resist the urge for sexual expression after puberty sets in. The reduction in the age at which a person can obtain the medication that will prevent an unplanned pregnancy after sexual intercourse has taken place simply reduces the age at which the government has decreed that people cannot control themselves.
This announcement flies in the face of other announcements citizens are expected to receive submissively and obediently.
The government has huge web sites in place to tell people what to eat. The government apparently believes that people who are unable to govern their sexual urges can and will govern their physical appetites at the direction of the First Lady. She says they should eat more veggies, because she believes that if she says it, they will do it. In the case of dietary control, the First Lady clearly believes that adults and even children are capable of self-control when planning what to eat. In fact, some of her statements imply that children have better self-control about food than adults have, and that children should tell their parents what to eat.
The government has another web site that is all about exercise. The government constantly produces radio and TV ads that promote walking and biking and taking the stairs. Government agencies talk about redesigning cities so people can’t use cars in certain sections, a restriction that will require more physical activity. It is hard to tell if the government believes people can control themselves and plan their own exercise, or if the government believes that people must have it forced on them by withholding the option for transportation. It would be nicer to believe that the government is simply offering kind accommodation to a mounting demand for more walking space
The government also promotes ideas such as recycling and green energy, ideas that require people to tolerate inconvenience at greater or lesser levels in the service of a high-level objective that will supposedly save the planet. The promotion of these projects without any associated penalties suggests that the government actually believes that citizens are capable of self-control when it isn’t fun.
It is hard to imagine, therefore, why the government believes that it is impossible for humans to control their sexual urges and refrain from activity that might produce an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.
The government does not hold US citizens in the same high regard that God has for all people. God loved the whole world so much that he gave his only Son, that whoever believed in him would have eternal life. He didn’t send his son into the world to condemn the world. Whoever didn’t believe in him was condemned already. He sent his son into the world to save the world. God loves people that much, and God thinks people are worth saving, even at the cost of the death of his own son. The government does not have that kind of love for and esteem for people.
Instead, the government tells citizens that it thinks they are all completely lacking in character, helpless, weak, and needy. The government says that citizens are so weak and so needy that the government knows citizens of all ages will be engaging in sex at all hours and will frequently be so completely hopeless and helpless that they won’t remember anything they ever were told about the right time and the wrong time for sex. They will be so confused and needy and poor that if they do fall prey to their weakness, they will need free medicine to prevent pregnancy, even if they are little girls only 14 or 15 years old. They will be so disconnected from their parents or their parents will be so dismally immature that it is completely evil to expect them to talk with their parents about what has happened or to expect their parents to do the right thing if their children do come to them. Citizens cannot manage or control their sexuality; only the government knows what to do.
If the government image of human beings were realistic, the USA would not even exist. The Founders would have had no one to tell them what to do when the king overstepped his bounds. In fact, if the current government image of human beings were realistic, the king’s view of the colonists would have been completely justified. They didn’t need to take their government into their own hands. They were needy, weak, hopeless and helpless servants of the state.
Fortunately, the government image of human beings is a myth. God created human beings with immense personal power, so much power in fact, that humans often mistake themselves for God himself. Humans are capable of amazing accomplishments, most of which require formidable self-control. God has given people the power of self-control. The government may not think much of it, but God thinks very highly of it. God has very high expectations of human beings precisely because he has given them the ability to choose to do hard, even painful things.
The Bible tells us over and over about this gift. One day, Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his lifewill lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25) Another way to say the same thing is to say, “If you want to come with me, you have to be willing to give up everything, all your cravings and urges and needs and personal comfort. If you want to follow me, it will be hard, but I’m telling you right now, it will be worth it. When you do it my way, your life will be so rich and full that when you look at what you thought you wanted, it will feel dead to you.” In other words, Jesus said that his disciples would need to exercise self-control. To “deny himself” a person must have some power to make that choice. Denying self is at least as hard as denying a sexual desire, but Jesus said that people can do it.
Paul wrote about self-control, too. He told Timothy that “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” Paul didn’t think Timothy was too weak and helpless and needy to be a pastor. Paul knew from personal experience that it was possible to make hard choices and stand firm in those choices. That “spirit of fear” is the spirit of need or the spirit of not getting what everybody else is getting, the need to get along because so few people agree with you. Paul didn’t think Timothy needed a free “morning after” fix for all the times he could not control himself.
Paul wrote about a long list of virtues God gives to people, when he wrote, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Human history is replete with examples of people who have not exercised self-control, but that does not mean that it was not available to them.
Self-control, the human power to choose a principle or a goal and do what it takes to support it, is the basis for the practice of sexual abstinence. Government spokespersons constantly declare that it is unrealistic to expect young people to show any self-control. Yet these young people are the ones who undertake the discipline of Olympic sports, the ones who climb mountains and explore caves and start new businesses. Young people have a great deal of self-control. It fails them only when people talk them out of it.
The US government is trying to do just that in the arena of sex. The reports coming out of sex education in the schools tell any attentive reader that the government-mandated sex education promotes experimenting with sex, sexual orientation and sexual identity. Instead of celebrating the natural gift of human sexuality expressed in the disciplined relationship between a man and a woman for the good of family and society, the government promotes self-indulgence and perversion and promiscuousness. Then it promotes a “fix” to be obtained at “no cost” (only the cost of high taxation) on the “morning after.”
Contrary to the government mantra, self-control is possible. Abstinence is possible. Satan and the federal government want people to believe otherwise, but abstinence is a realistic solution to the problem of unwanted pregnancy, and what’s more, it eliminates the spread of sexually transmitted disease. Abstinence has a 100% success rate both at preventing pregnancy and at preventing disease. It is a free solution that does not require any intervention or service from the government. It is not only possible, but it is within the reach of every human being, because God created human beings with the power of self-control.
Every human being who ever accomplished anything useful is living evidence of the power and availability of self-control. Olympic gold medal champions, mountain climbers, teachers, dog-catchers and knitters all know about self-control. Abstinence from inappropriate sexual behavior is no more out of reach than those goals. The government defined by our Constitution performs valuable services to the citizens of the United States. However, that government is demonstrating a complete lack of self-control when it tries to insert itself between parents and their children by advocating sexual behavior without self-control followed up by a free government fix for the problem. God created people to be powerful and strong, upright, with personal character and integrity. He did not create them to be needy and helpless and hopeless and dependent on government for their needs.
Why not abstinence? Abstinence is God’s plan for the control of the beautiful, creative power of human sexuality. Christians must no permit secular government to interfere with their relationship with their children in teaching the power, the beauty and the blessing of human sexuality expressed under self-control.