So Bill Maher (and his minions) finds it hi-larious that Christians (“the Christian Right”–at least he acknowledges that they’re right) oppose the HPV vaccine. His argument (that’s generous of me) is roughly as follows: because Christians hate sex so much, they’d rather kill their daughters than allow them a little “fun.” Ha, ha. Those silly Christians.
But of course, if your entire “argument” is one big exercise in missing the point, what are some snide jokes in the process?
Now for the bad news: Not everyone is pleased with this vaccine. That prevents cancer. Christian parent groups and churches nationwide are fighting it. Bridget Maher — no relation, and none planned — of the Family Research Council says giving girls the vaccine is bad, because the girls “may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.”
Which is really a stretch. People don’t get the vaccine for typhoid and say, “Great, now I can drink the sewer water in Bombay.” It’s like saying if you give a kid a tetanus shot she’ll want to jab rusty nails in her feet. It’s like being against a cure for blindness because it’ll encourage masturbation. It’s like being for salmonella poisoning in peanut butter because it’ll discourage weirdos from spreading it on their ass and calling the dog.
These analogies would only work if people want to drink the sewer water in Bombay or jab rusty nails into their feet, or if people actually think that masturbation–there’s a selfless action for you!–leads to blindness, or if…well, you get the picture.
Now, whatever the other Maher might have said, the point is not so much that girls will have a license to engage in premarital sex, as if, as Maher so subtly points out, this vaccine will make girls who had no prior thought of sex suddenly want to jump into bed. Again, not the point. Rather, it’s that those who are having sex will lose further inhibition. This is not an isolated case, as if the only consequence of sex was HPV. This is about an all-out crusade on consequences.
Here is the point that Maher with his sledgehammer-style commentary couldn’t have seen even if he wanted to: we don’t like consequences. We don’t like consequences of sexual promiscuity, so we have herpes medications, HPV medications, AIDS medications, etc. What STD do we not have a medication for? And if you get that other horrible disease from sex–the dreaded fetus–we have “clinics” where you only have to hurt and bleed a little bit to solve your problem: our modern purgatory. Don’t like the person you married, or their sex (as in gender)? That’s alright, we’ve got cures for that, too. It’ll only cost you a couple hundred dollars, and you can be free. Don’t want a divorce? Find another unhappy person to fulfill your shortcomings. Two halves make a whole, right?
Someone’s already jumping to the exceptions: what if your husband beats you? Are you saying divorce shouldn’t be allowed? What if you’re raped? You can’t get an abortion? What if you got AIDS from a blood-transfusion? They just have to suffer? Besides the fact that exceptions to a rule are exactly that, exceptions to a rule, there is something very important at stake here that our modern hedonists cannot understand: sometimes life is not fair. If your husband beats you, you should get out of the house. Should you get a divorce? That’s another question. If you get AIDS from a blood transfusion, should you have medicine? Of course. And you should have medicine anyway. But you are ignorant if you think that having medicine for herpes and commercials that show people living fun, free lives do not contribute to a recklessness when it comes to sex. All those commercials say is that herpes may be a little uncomfortable, but it’s not bad at all! Members of the opposite sex will still want to have sex with you! You are ignorant if you think that we can remove all consequences from all actions and have a better world in the process. More importantly, maybe it’s not always the best thing to get rid of all conceivable sources of suffering. If that were the case, I would eliminate Bill Maher and his juvenile column.
What might a world without consequences look like? We might start with the positive: the secular hedonists are likely to go the way of the Shakers–that is, the way of extinction. What with the diseases and no offspring, I’ll give them a couple generations at most.
Negatively, if they get their way, all our children will have STDs because it just won’t matter anymore. It’s not about having sex, it’s about having sex that goes against what is built into us: to be one flesh only with one other person. Once again, I have little to no chance of getting HPV (at least the sexually transmitted kind) because I’ve had sex with only one person (my wife) and she has had sex only with me. The consequences have nothing to do with not liking sex. Hey, I love…nevermind. They have to do with having sex with the wrong people.
But the above only focuses on the lack of physical consequences for what they tell us is free, fun, no-strings sex. There are consequences beyond what we see and experience in our bodies. If you actually think that there is such a thing as “no-strings” sex, you are simply naïve. For those who might wish to attribute to Christians anything other than malice and evil motives, could it be that we might actually be concerned about things that go deeper than the physical? The physical is of course intrinsically connected to the spiritual, but we are speaking to those who think the physical can be utilized like one might utilize a hammer or a pencil. (“There is my body, and then there is me.”)
One more thing we should be clear about: I am not against the vaccine itself (other than the aforementioned crusade against consequences), but against making it mandatory–even with an opt-out clause–for little girls. No one has given any percentages about those who have HPV and cervical cancer. The media makes it sound as if every single woman or girl who gets HPV will get cervical cancer. I don’t think so. Talk about scare tactics.
But it would be no good explaining these things to Bill Maher. These are all things that he doesn’t–maybe cannot–understand.