For those who live their lives under a cloud of moral relativism, right and wrong are often decided based on what makes them feel good or what is popular, not by an unbending set of principles. To such people, long held moral teachings can be confusing, and are often seen as artifacts of a bygone age.
So when organizations like the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute try to explain how Christian values are relevant to modern society they are not exactly on terra firma, and end up insulting the faithful in the process – just like they did this past week.
In a statement that celebrated the Obama administration’s attack on religious liberty, the Guttmacher Institute proclaimed that it’s the “norm” for Catholic women to defy their bishops and religious teaching on contraception, and seem amazed that the Catholic bishops would hold to the teachings of their faith in the face of such defiance.
Indeed, the opposition to contraceptive use by some religious leaders does not reflect the beliefs or actions of their laity: Contraceptive use by Catholics and evangelicals—including those who attend religious services most frequently—is the overwhelming norm in U.S. society.
In addition to praising President Obama and his self-described Catholic HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the Tuesday statement also served as a reminder of a report issued last April by Guttmacher on contraceptive use among Catholics and evangelical Protestants.
“In real-life America, contraceptive use and strong religious beliefs are highly compatible,” said Rachel K. Jones, the report’s lead author.
“Most sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant practice contraception, and most use highly effective methods like sterilization, the pill, or the IUD,” she goes on to say. “This is true for Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, and it is true for Catholics, despite the Catholic hierarchy’s strenuous opposition to contraception.”
Jones’s assertion that contraceptive use is “highly compatible” with strong religious beliefs is a blatantly misleading statement based on personal opinion that has nothing to do with science, nor an understanding of those principles of faith she is attacking. The use of contraceptives is in complete opposition to any Catholic who has “strong religious beliefs.” As Catholic bishops across the country have pointed out, especially in this past week, the use of contraceptives goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church.
While presenting lots of numbers and graphs in their report, Guttmacher fails to discuss the reality that being a true Christian and faithful Catholic means following all of the moral teachings of the faith to the best of one’s ability all of the time. They instead tell Catholics that it’s okay to defy their out-of-touch bishops because, according to Guttmacher, 98% of “sexually experienced” Catholic women use contraceptives, so “contraceptive use and strong religious beliefs are highly compatible.”
So if a religious teaching isn’t popular, it should be dropped. That would also mean that a teaching that is popular among the people but goes against the faith should be adopted as a new religious principle – because it’s popular.
This same vision of moral relativism can also readily be seen in the secular halls of government. The Constitution was created to guide the formation and character of our government, and most importantly, to ensure its limitations; but its guiding principles are often ignored, defied, and replaced by interpretations viewed as popular.
One of the most heinous examples of a legislator openly defying the Constitution’s role in government was seen in 2009 when then Speaker Nancy Pelosi scoffed, “Are you serious? Are you serious?” when asked where specifically in the Constitution does Congress have the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate. It’s not hard to imagine President Obama giving the same reaction to those questioning his assault on religious liberty with the contraception and sterilization mandate.
What we see in the statements of Guttmacher and Pelosi are how destructive a force moral relativism is to our religious faith, and to our government. If left unchecked, these moral relativists can and will destroy and rewrite long held principles based on the popular opinion of the day – whether it’s the teaching of the Church established by Jesus Christ, or the American principles established by our Founding Fathers.
In telling Catholic women that it is okay to defy Church leaders on the contraception issue because it’s the “norm,” Guttmacher goes beyond simply pushing their typical pro-abortion propaganda; they’re actually trying to replace a Catholic moral teaching.
What Guttmacher fails to understand is that religious principles are not based on a popularity contest. Christianity’s moral teachings are based on the word of God. Popular opinion and mob rule may be able to sway positive law, but they do not impact divine law.