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The invisible man

March 8, 2012

I’ve been watching the issue of whether the government should mandate that health insurance policies, even those that are for religious institutions, be required to cover contraception with great interest for some time now.  As a blogger, I’ve been wondering if/when/how I should chime in.  Should I take a side as people try to frame this as either a religious freedom or a woman’s health issue?  Or what?

At times it seems like everyone else in the country has already spoken on the issue.  The President has, all the Republican presidential candidates have, members of congress have, left and right wing TV networks, websites and bloggers have, many Christians have.  Why am I silent?

The discussion took an ugly turn several days ago when Rush Limbaugh took to the air with vile comments about a young woman who had been invited by Democrats to testify before Congress in support of the health care mandate.  After calling her unspeakable names and making a snide request that she post a sex video online the furor grew to a fever pitch.  And still I said nothing.  Should I now chime in?  Should I condemn Limbaugh?  Or suggest, as some have done, that there is a double standard because he is a conservative?  Thankfully some fine Christians have spoken eloquently about this.  Here is a quote from Al Mohler:

“Words are a symbolic representation of character. Out of a man’s heart come his words. And that’s where Mr. Limbaugh finds himself in trouble… Christians have to be very careful—to be reminded at all times that we are judged not only by our arguments but by the very words and phrases…that we deploy in making these arguments.

 As a formidable public figure, Mr. Limbaugh can fend for himself. I for one would wish that he had not even in his apology suggested that in using these words he had lowered himself to someone else’s customary level, but rather that he had just taken personal responsibility for using words that should never have been used in civil discourse. The Bible is clear in affirming just how much damage words can do. Words can bless, or words can hurt. And as this controversy also underlines, long after the context is gone the words remain.”

 As I could not say that clearer, there seemed to be no reason for me to add my voice.  So, I thought, should I remain the invisible man on this issue and stay silent?  And then it hit me what I wanted to say.  I wanted to talk about the invisible man.  The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that lost in this discuss is the free pass we are giving to the invisible man.

The liberals, focused on women’s health issues, tacitly exclude the invisible man.  The religious community, worried about their freedom also lets him pass.  Conservatives, citing personal responsibility, ignore the least responsible person here, the invisible man.

The truth is, the woman speaking before congress, and every other woman seeking contraceptives, was having sex with some man.  And yet the extent to which we talk about him (practically never) makes him the invisible man.  Why do we do this?  Why do we let him off the hook?  Why, when studies show that young unmarried evangelicals are having sex at the same rate as other people their age, do we let the invisible Christian man off the hook?  So here is my take on the issue – “Man up, Mr. Invisible Man!” – we see you and will not stay silent.


From → Christianity

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