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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Three Faces Towards Eve

“My God, you’re hurting me” the woman began to scream. “You’re killing me, I’ll never be able to have babies… Stop! Stop… Let me out of here!”

In this world, women are viewed in essentially one of three ways: through the lens of secular atheism, through the lens of Islam, and through the lens of Christianity. The paragraph above is a quote from the Population Research Institute Review, which in turn quoted court testimony from a recent case, a case decided by the United States’ Eleventh Circuit Court on January 23, 2004. In that case, a woman sued Dr. William P. Egherman for forcibly committing an abortion upon her.

The Secular View of Women
In 1997, the young mother had entered the abortion clinic seeking to have an abortion. The woman was put on the procedure table, where the abortionist attempted to use a 12 millimeter dilator to begin the procedure. As the opening paragraph to the article indicated, the doctor’s choice of instruments changed her mind. She screamed. She didn’t want the abortion. She tried to get off the table. Nurses entered the room and held her down while the abortionist, who had barely begun, eventually ended the procedure by partially disembowling her because he mistook her intestines for uterine tissue.

But don’t worry. The doctor was very careful after that. He called an ambulance and told it to come slowly, with lights and siren off. Her screams had already disturbed the other patients. No sense adding this “lights and siren” nonsense to their day.

The woman sued the abortionist for violating her reproductive rights. The Eleventh Circuit Court disagreed with her. The abortionist had every right to forcibly abort her child, said the court. It was his medical decision to make, not hers.

In the secular world, women are objects to be used, cleaned out and re-used. Entire women’s magazines are devoted to how to become a more pleasing object. Women, especially young women, read the thirty-seven tricks they must know in order to please him. Today, we see the spectacle: young women are taught how to be objects by older women.

That’s why eleven-year old girls are given birth control pills, for instance. Everyone who has studied the issue knows that the younger the girl, the older her partner. Young teens and pre-teens are generally being exploited by twenty and thirty year old men, such as their public school teachers. But the secular world insists on providing birth control to such young girls without parental notification. If the girls suffer bad effects from the drugs or the surgeries, well… the girls are replaceable. The key here is the men. The men must be protected from negative consequences.

Islam’s View of Women
And that view, the idea that men must be protected from women, is not unique to the secular world. Women are the source of evil in Islamic theology. According to Mohammed’s visions, hell is populated primarily by women. Apparently, most deserve that fate. Heaven, of course, is also populated by women, but not human women. The perpetually virgin houris of song and story are spirits who occupy heaven solely for the pleasure of heaven-bound men.

As Daniel Pipes points out, the entirety of Islamic custom and belief is ordered around the idea that women are inherently dangerous. The female is the hunter, and the man her passive victim. That is why she must be muzzled and chained: bound by law, dress and custom so that her wiles and appetites are not unleashed to the detriment of society.

Pretty much everyone agrees the West is becoming more decadent. That’s why Western society is so dangerous. From the Muslim viewpoint, it has none of the controls necessary to keep women from destroying civilization. The lack of these controls is precisely why Western culture is decaying. Western cultural icons like Sex and the City are, in this sense, very Muslim in character. As far as Muslims are concerned, such displays merely prove their point.

The Catholic View of Women
The decay of Western culture is precisely what Christian thinkers in the West have been trying to combat. While many, though certainly not all, evangelical and fundamentalist preachers blame Eve exclusively for being the origin of this decay, Catholicism has always denied this.

As is pointed out in Fact and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code, the New Testament is the first place we see the tendency to blame women stridently rejected. While Paul twice states that Eve was deceived by the serpent (2 Corinthians 11:3 and Titus 2:13), he blames Adam exclusively for both the trespass itself and for being the cause of death (Romans 5:14 and 1 Corinthians 15:22). Even Genesis insists that “the eyes of both were opened” only after Adam ate of the apple.

In Dante’s Inferno, most of the occupants of hell are men, not women. John Paul II famously said that the Marian profile of the Church is more fundamental than the Petrine. Why? Because Christ entered the world through Mary and reserved the greatest gifts for her. Peter is merely the steward of God. Mary is the Mother of God. Peter would not be the Rock if Mary had not shown him the way. After all, she was the rock from which the Living Water emerged into the world.

Catholics know Western society is decaying because it has stripped God out of its life. With God gone, original sin rules. Original sin is that which takes away our humanity, a tendency in ourselves that each one of us cooperates with, not unique to man or woman, but common to all.

But, Catholic Faith is also the only faith to understand how to solve the problem. Salvation comes to us through a man born of a woman. Though woman may have begun the work of the Fall with her refusal to obey, the man is the primary cause of the Fall. Likewise, the Man is the sole cause of our salvation, but that salvation depended upon a woman’s “fiat.” Both sides get the blame, and both sides get the glory.

For Catholics, we’re all in this together. It’s a better way to live.

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