Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Separation of Church and Sex

Yesterday the local news reported a story about a newborn baby found on the steps of a church in East Tennessee. According to the report, an anonymous call was made to the pastor who found the baby shortly thereafter. The report stated, “A spokesman for a Blount County group that aims to protect newborns says Tennessee's Safe Haven Law would have protected the mother from prosecution if she had left the child at a hospital, birthing center, community health clinic or outpatient clinic.”

Does this mean that the authorities will now be looking for her so that they can press abandonment charges because she apparently misunderstood the law and left the baby at the wrong place?

This story got me to thinking about Christians and how some of us are hung up on sex. Now, I don’t know this woman’s (girl’s?) situation, but my imagination being as active as it is has come up with a possible scenario: The girl comes from a conservative Christian home. Sex outside of marriage is not just frowned upon but is condemned and routinely preached against from her church’s pulpit. This girl let her hormones get the better of her and had sex with her boyfriend, which resulted in a pregnancy. She “knows” that her parents will react harshly and probably will kick her out of the house (after all, she is the biggest sinner in her church right now), so she doesn’t tell anyone and hides the pregnancy. She begins to have a fondness for baggy sweat pants and oversized shirts, and she is able to successfully disguise her baby weight. She gives birth in a bathroom—maybe she has told a friend and has some help—and knowing that the law says that newborn babies can be left at a “safe haven,” she decides to leave the baby at the church. Even though the church would condemn her for having sex outside of marriage and bringing an illegitimate child into the world, no church lady is going to turn away such a precious gift from God. (Is the irony coming through here?)

All of this deception and heartache could have been avoided if the church loosened up and actually talked realistically about sex. Why not give teenagers some real life information about it rather than just preaching about how bad and sinful it is, making teens feel like they are demon possessed for having raging hormones? And when a teen does unfortunately end up pregnant, why does the church so often ostracize the poor girl instead of lovingly taking her under its wing and helping her through the difficulty?.

We are called to bear one another’s burdens, but it seems that the church often has an aversion to helping those who fall upon hard times because of poor choices—pregnancy, drug addiction, etc.—but isn’t everyone susceptible to making a bad choice, saved and unsaved alike? We sometimes have the attitude that those who are “saved” are somehow corrupt if they happen to fall into temptation and make a bad decision, and we want to separate them from the church so that they won’t corrupt the rest of us. In reality, those people need the love of the church more than the “righteous” people do. The world will know who the real Christians are by their love, not by their judgemental attitudes.

8 comments:

Jana said...

You're speakin' the truth, JMG! And we are most certainly ALL susceptible to making bad choices...no one is perfect after all...some of those choices are just more obvious than others...

In my opinion, the sins of the heart are much more insidious than the sins of the flesh, because we can hide them away while we point the finger at the unwed pregnant mother, drug addict, etc.

jettybetty said...

Where did we ever get the idea we had to be perfect to be in the church--o yes, Satan, I suppose!

It just doesn't make sense--thanks for putting some great thoughts to words!

JB

I, hypocrite said...

Hit the nail on the head. Too many churches have forgotten that it's not our place to judge. Plank in eye much?

militaryman said...

Real Christians. This makes me think of the parable of the wheat and the tares sown in with each other. Jesus knew it was around in the first century just like it is today.

militaryman said...
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Bar Bar A said...

Very Thought provoking, thanks for sharing.

Kurtasutra said...

I'm Agnostic but I found your comments very encouraging and thoughtful. I think your scenario for the child abondonment is very plausible. I hope that more Christians become like you in terms of understanding that humans are human and make mistakes. It is humane to forgive those who have transgressed in their actions and consistent with the teachings of the New Testament.

David Kear said...

In my opinion, the reason that a state would have to have Safe Haven Laws is because the church as a whole has not done it's job in loving and caring for those in need. This is never more evident than the "christian" home that you described.