Sex, sex, sex, sex, sex
August 3, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – At some point yesterday I was scrolling through a rather mundane news article on an equally mundane news site, when my eye was suddenly drawn to the lascivious photo of a beautiful woman prominently featured on the left-hand side of the story. Superimposed on the photo was the headline, “Actresses’ first nude scenes.” And then the words, “Click here.”
I confess that, as attractive as the invitation seemed, I didn’t react quite as the proprietors of the website evidently intended. I did not “click here.” Instead, I got mad.
As a proud, chest-thumping moral Neanderthal, I still believe that sex should be reserved for people who are married, and even then, only with each other (that’s a joke). Indeed, so primitive is my moral code that I even take seriously that much-maligned (and misunderstood) Gospel stricture that “He who looks at a woman lustfully is already guilty of adultery with her in his heart.”
This, of course, has interesting ramifications for someone like myself, who is required to work all day, every day, on the internet. Most of us spend so much time immersed in media that we no longer see it clearly, or have any concept of what life is like apart from it. But if we stepped back for a moment from the bizarre virtual reality into which we have willingly immersed ourselves we would realize that the internet and television are completely, and absurdly, saturated with sex.
Those who have no particular interest in pursuing what is traditionally called “purity” (i.e. reserving sexual thoughts and actions for one person – viz. one’s spouse) may not have noticed this. For such a person, the provocative ads, prurient celebrity gossip, and increasingly ubiquitous sex scenes and soft-core porn come and go, and may or may not be indulged in depending on his or her mood at the time. No big deal either way: if the constant bombardment of sexual stimuli leads to an uncomfortable build-up of sexual energy, there’s always porn and masturbation to turn to for relief.
But try for one single day to stand sentry at the gates of your mind against any sexual thoughts involving any person other than your spouse, and you will be given a rude awakening into how vast is the horde of uninvited interlopers. Surf Facebook, read a news article, browse the latest movie trailers, watch the latest drama (or the news for that matter) – and, if you wish to avoid sexual titillation, you will find yourself switching the channel, clicking to a new page, or covering up part of your screen, for about as much time as you actually spend surfing or watching.
By this point, most online publishers, for instance, have realized that Jennifer Lopez’s sculpted bottom, or Victoria Secret’s latest super-model, or the ‘50 hottest sex tips’, are much more likely to translate into “click-throughs” - and, hence, more pageviews, and more advertizing revenue – than an article, say, about, well, just about anything else.
Such publishers, of course, are simply catching up with what retailers have long known. As C.S. Lewis once put it: “There are people who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us. Because, of course, a man with an obsession is a man who has very little sales-resistance.”
Necessity requires that, to a point, we accept things as they are and get on as best we can. When it comes to the preponderance of soft-core porn on television, at the checkout counter, in our movies, at the mall, on our street corners, on the internet, we simply have to do our best to avoid the “near occasion of sin” and pray for the grace to get through relatively unscathed. After all, sexual temptation is hardly new. But yesterday, being abruptly presented with the unwanted, unwelcome, and unapologetically blunt option of ogling a cornucopia of nude actresses, or remaining faithful to my wife, made me step back and take in the cultural landscape.
And, as I have already said, it made me mad.
Consider, for instance, that the entertainment industry has successfully marketed to millions of our children pop starlets whose single ambition in life seems to be to outdo their rivals in shocking the moral sensibilities of the age—which, given the dullness of the aforementioned moral sensibilities, by this point simply means doing everything short of having actual intercourse on stage and in their music videos.
Even movie trailers – prefaced with the increasingly laughable statement that they have been “approved for all audiences” – are more and more playing host to snippets of explicit sex scenes, nudity, and suggestive motions inclusive, with only the “important parts” strategically covered up. But, really, how important are the “important parts,” when confronted with the sight of two nude bodies intertwined, labored breathing and all? The actual movies, of course, don’t leave nearly as much to the imagination.
This is to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of explicitly pornographic websites that have given rise to a prevalence of sexual addiction, even amongst many of our children and youngest teens, that truly boggles the imagination. Ultimately, of course, this is the Rome to which all these other paths lead. Inflame the passions sufficiently in myriad more subtle ways, and then provide easy access to hardcore pornography, and it is only a matter of time before most people follow the rabbit hole to the very bottom. Which is why the pornography industry is raking in billions of dollars every year.
There are those who say: “So, you want to remain chaste? Then don’t look at pornography, don’t click on the links, don’t look at the ads, don’t read the gossip.” Which is all well and good. Except that it completely fails to take into account human nature, not to mention the near omnipresence of sexual stimuli in our culture. Such people may as well say, “Pluck out your eyes,” or “Cut off your ears.” Someone did once say something to that effect, but the Church (except for one notable exception) has typically interpreted the remark as dramatic overstatement.
We can no more “turn off” our senses than we can stop the sun from shining. And as long as the senses are performing their tasks well, and the body is otherwise healthy, the sight of the human form presented in a sexual manner will entice, and set in motion certain thoughts and desires. Of course, as free human beings we have the capacity to reject those thoughts and desires, to gain control of our reactions (and that, indeed, should be our goal), but if we are continually being bombarded with unwanted and increasingly explicit stimuli, the effort to stand aloof can be mentally and spiritually wearing: so much so that for many in a sex-saturated society such as ours, defeat may seem practically inevitable.
In this world there will never be any freedom from temptation, and those who seek to coercively eradicate all occasions of sin are rightly labeled fundamentalists, and dangerous. But it is not Puritanism to argue that one should not have to be bombarded with invitations to see “actresses’ first nude scenes” while simply wishing to read about latest poll numbers, or the weather. If we were walking along the street and someone walked up to us and shoved a copy of Playboy in our face, we would rightly be offended and angry. And yet, we tolerate precisely such behavior from advertisers, publishers and entertainers every day, behavior that can only be termed a form of spiritual assault. It is little different from a drug pusher who offers the first hit “free,” except that the pushers of pornography have the additional advantage of being able to deliver the first “free” hit with or without the viewer’s explicit approval.
This article is not endorsing any particular solution to the problem. The question of how to redress the excesses of a society in which sex has been blown out of any sense of proportion, is a complex and multifaceted one, and cannot, for instance, be reduced to a simplistic legal solution such as enforcing laws against pornography (although that might not be a bad place to start). If I hope for anything it is simply that my readers will share in my anger, for anger is the first and necessary reaction against an injustice. Every day we are being taken advantage of by people “who want to keep our sex instinct inflamed in order to make money out of us.”
Let us reject their advances and send them the message loud and clear that “no means no.”
‘Little miracles’: Mom gives birth to naturally-conceived quintuplets after refusing ‘selective reduction’
AUSTRALIA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- A 26-year-old Australian mom has given birth to five healthy babies, all conceived naturally, after refusing the doctor’s advice that she must abort three of them in order to give the remaining two a better chance at life.
“After my initial ultrasound I was told I could consider the selection method to give 2 babies the best chance in life,” wrote mom Kim Tucci in a Facebook post last September.
“I watched a YouTube video on the procedure and I cried. I could never do that! Was I selfish for not giving two the chance of 100% survival? All I knew is that I already love them and that every heart beat I heard I connect with them more. For me life starts when a heart starts beating and all I know for sure is that I will do whatever it takes to bring them into this world healthy,” she wrote.
Last Thursday Kim and her husband Vaughn welcomed the five new members into their family — one boy and four girls —increasing the number of their children from 3 to 8. The babies were born at 30 weeks, 10 weeks early, due to insufficient space in Kim’s womb. They weighed on average about 2.5 pounds.
The quintuplets’ story began last March, after Kim and Vaughn had been trying for six months to conceive just one more child for their family. Due to health complications, Kim wondered if she would ever become a mother again.
After what she thought was an extra long cycle, she decided to take a pregnancy test.
“I was feeling tired and a little nauseated and thought I would take a pregnancy test just to get the ‘what if’ out of my head. To my shock and utter excitement it was positive,” she wrote on a Facebook post.
The parents got the shock of their lives when doctors confirmed in an ultrasound examination that there was not one baby, but five.
“After a long wait for the ultrasound we finally went in. The sonographer told me there were multiple gestational sacks, but she could only see a heart beat in two. I was so excited! Twins!”
“I was moved to another machine for a clearer view and had the head doctor come in and double check the findings. She started to count, one, two, three, four, five. Did i hear that correctly? Five? My legs start to shake uncontrollably and all i can do is laugh. The sonographer then told me the term for five is ‘quintuplets,’” Kim wrote.
Even though Kim began to feel stretched to the limit with all those human lives growing inside her, she chose to focus on her babies, and not herself, referring to them as “my five little miracles.”
“It's getting harder as each day passes to push through the pain, every part of my body aches and sleeping is becoming very painful. No amount of pillows are helping support my back and belly. Sometimes I get so upset that I just want to throw my hands up and give in.”
“Sometimes my pelvis becomes so stiff I can barely walk and my hips feel like they are grinding away constantly. I'm finding it hard to eat as I basically have no room left in my stomach, and the way it is positioned it's pushed all the way back with the babies leaning against it.”
“My skin on my belly is so stretched its painful and hot to touch. It literally feels like I have hives! No amount of cream helps relieve the discomfort. I have a lot of stretch marks now. Dealing with such a huge change in my body is hard.”
“Is it all worth it? Yes!!!! I will keep pushing through,” she wrote in one Facebook post days before the babies were born.
The newborns' names are Keith, Ali, Penelope, Tiffany, and Beatrix. They were born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Western Australia. Mother and babies are reported to be doing well.
UN rights chief tells Catholic countries to legalize abortion over Zika virus: bishops and cardinal react
GENEVA, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) -- The United Nations, following the lead of international abortion activists, is now urging Latin American countries hit by the mosquito-borne Zika virus to lift restrictions on abortion for pregnant women who have contacted the virus and whose pre-born children may be at risk for birth defects, including having smaller than normal heads.
The UN human rights office said today that it is not enough for South American countries to urge women to postpone pregnancy without also offering them abortion as a final solution.
“How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer… the possibility to stop their pregnancies?” UN spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told reporters.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said that governments should make available contraception and abortion services.
“Laws and policies that restrict (women’s) access to these services must be urgently reviewed in line with human rights obligations in order to ensure the right to health for all in practice,” he said.
But Brazil’s bishops strongly asserted yesterday that efforts should be made to eradicate the virus, not the people who may be infected by it.
The disease is “no justification whatsoever to promote abortion,” they said in a statement, adding that it is not morally acceptable to promote abortion “in the cases of microcephaly, as, unfortunately, some groups are proposing to the Supreme Federal Court, in a total lack of respect for the gift of life.”
Honduras Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga has also come out strongly against the notion of “therapeutic abortions” as a response to the problem. Unlike Brazil where abortion is legal in the case of rape or health of the mother, abortion remains entirely illegal in Honduras.
“We should never talk about ‘therapeutic’ abortion,” the cardinal said in a homily at a February 3 Mass in Suyap. “Therapeutic abortion doesn’t exist. Therapeutic means curing, and abortion cures nothing. It takes innocent lives,” he said.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) declared an international public health emergency February 1 on account of concerns over the virus, critics have pointed out, however, that not one death as resulted from the virus. Even on WHO’s own website the virus is described in mild terms.
“It causes mild fever and rash. Other symptoms include muscle pain, joint pain, headache, pain behind the eyes and conjunctivitis. Zika virus disease is usually mild, with symptoms lasting only a few days,” the website states. “To date, there have been no reported deaths associated with Zika virus,” it added.
Critics suspect that the crisis is being manipulated to advance an anti-human agenda on the pre-born.
“Is Zika, actually, a hideous virus that threatens to spread uncontrollably across the world creating an army of disabled children with tiny heads and low IQ’s? Or might this be a willful misinterpretation of the scarce data to manipulate public opinion and legislatures?” wrote pro-life critic Mei-Li Garcia earlier this week.
“It becomes very clear that the publicity surrounding this story has a very little to do with medicine and a lot to do with a convenient crisis that is being used by those pushing for the legalization of abortion around the world,” she wrote.
Hillary’s litmus test for Supreme Court picks: They must ‘preserve Roe v. Wade’
DERRY, NH, February 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Hillary Clinton has a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees - several, in fact. At a Democratic event on Wednesday, Clinton unveiled her criteria in selecting a judge for the nation's highest court.
“I do have a litmus test, I have a bunch of litmus tests," she said.
"We’ve got to make sure to preserve Roe v. Wade, not let it be nibbled away or repealed,” she said.
That echoes her recent call to arms speech before Planned Parenthood last month, when she stated that taxpayers must fund abortion-on-demand in order to uphold the "right" of choice.
“We have to preserve marriage equality,” Clinton said, referring to last summer's Obergefell v. Hodges case, a 5-4 ruling that redefined marriage nationwide. “We have to go further to end discrimination against the LGBT community."
Her views differentiate her from the Republican front runners. Ted Cruz has called the court's marriage ruling "fundamentally illegitimate," and Donald Trump told Fox News Sunday this week that he would "be very strong on putting certain judges on the bench that I think maybe could change things." Marco Rubio has said he won't "concede" the issue to the one-vote majority.
All Republican presidential hopefuls say they are pro-life and will defund Planned Parenthood.
Her husband, Bill Clinton, raised the makeup of the Supreme Court early last month in New Hampshire, saying it receives "almost no attention" as a campaign issue.
On Wednesday, Hillary said "the next president could get as many as three appointments. It’s one of the many reasons why we can’t turn the White House over to the Republicans again.”
Clinton said her judicial appointees must also reverse the Citizens United ruling on campaign finance and oppose a recent decision striking down a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 2013's Shelby County v. Holder, justices struck down Section 4(b) of the act, which said that certain states and jurisdictions had to obtain permission from the federal government before changing their voting laws.
At one time, most politicians frowned upon any "litmus test" for judicial nominees, emphasizing the independence of the third branch of government. "I don't believe in litmus tests," Jeb Bush told Chuck Todd last November.
But with the rise of an activist judiciary in the middle of the 20th century, constitutionalists have sought to rein in the power of the bench.