The New York Post recently ran a devastating article detailing the crisis of sexually transmitted diseases that our country is currently facing. It's important to remember that this emergency hardly snuck up on anyone. Over a decade ago, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control were warning about drug-resistant sexual infections like super-gonorrhea and various strands of syphilis that had begun spreading.
Amid quotes from health officials calling the current epidemic "out of control," the Post reports that syphilis infections have risen 26% and HIV is up 16% last year alone. Authorities blame the rise on the "liberated" feeling Americans are enjoying post-COVID restrictions. But again, this growing calamity predated all Dr. Fauci's stay-at-home-in-plastic-bubble-wrap decrees.
The staggering consequences our society is now facing is a result of believing the lies of the sexual revolution while embracing our own unhealthy desires and undisciplined passions.
That's why the one quote that really stood out at me in the Post's report came from the CDC's Dr. Leandro Mena who asserted, "It is imperative that we … work to rebuild, innovate, and expand (STD) prevention in the US."
While this focus on prevention is a welcome change from the long-established pattern of indulging our desires and then merely treating the consequences with drugs, all so we can go right back to indulging those same desires again – the very approach that led to drug-resistant diseases in the first place – it still struck me as short-sighted.
We've been crowing about prevention for decades without much to show for it. As conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey astutely observed,
Public schools have been receiving ‘comprehensive sex education' for decades on the premise that it encourages safer sex. There is literally 0 data proving that to be true.
She has a point. Any safety record of condoms notwithstanding, handing them out to high school kids like candy encourages precisely one behavior, and it isn't the creation of oddly shaped balloon animals. It makes absolutely no sense to try to stop a problem that is created solely by pre-marital and extra-marital sex by encouraging pre-marital and extra-marital sex. But that's what we've been doing, all while calling it "safe."
This backwardness reminds me of a New York Times piece several years back by Gabrielle Ulubay. Writing about the popularity of hook-up culture, she vulnerably expressed her concerns over being perceived as a "slut," "morally deficient," or "dirty" after a one-night stand.
Throughout her article, Ulubay expressed an underlying desire for, "a man who wants me despite how fallible, loud or political I can be. Someone who, with a kiss, can snap me out of my self-pitying reverie."
It doesn't take a psychologist to diagnose what her heart longs for is real intimacy. She wants the safety of what God always intended marriage to be. And like so many, she finds herself adrift in a culture of shallow romance coupled with sexual excess. A culture that clutches its chest and sighs longingly as it watches the third make-out session on that night's episode of The Bachelor, while simultaneously relegating abstinence, virtue, and Biblical sexual morality to a bygone era.
I don't mean this in a condescending way, but it's a remarkable commentary on mankind's self-absorption that he can pine for romantic and sexual intimacy, that he can desperately seek liberation from the ravages of disease and infection brought on by flippant sexual encounters, and not realize that God's way is so much better than what we're doing.
There's more to the Christian sexual ethic than a despotic list of don'ts. There's a holistic and healthy ideal that includes recognizing the person you are dating is someone's future spouse and should be treated with the same dignity that we would want another treating our future spouse. There's an enduring commendation of the formation of lifelong, loving relationships built not upon tawdry lusts but self-sacrificial commitment; the recognition that love is not something we feel, but something we do. There's a self-control that protects humanity and liberates it from sickness and suffering.
It's God's way; and because no one knows better what will bring us lasting peace, safety, and contentment than our own Creator, it's the better way. Can you imagine for a second how different these WHO and CDC reports would look if our "prevention" involved the singular step of listening to Him?
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