The recent Golden Globe awards provided an interesting insight into how the idea of a “right to choose” has been warped into a sense of fatalism and helplessness.
In her acceptance for best actress, Michelle Williams, pregnant with the child of film director Thomas Kail, said, “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose.” Now, she honestly meant what she said, but I’m sure she had no idea of the irony of her remark.
“I would not have been able to do this” – do what? Be an actress and have a child? Did Ms. Williams not realize that at the very moment she was winning an award for being an actress, she was pregnant and about to have a child? She was, in fact, doing, without an abortion, the very thing she said she would not have been able to do without an abortion.
Cultural Cognitive Dissonance
If we follow her train of thought, though, it sheds light on what I can only call a kind of cultural cognitive dissonance that is becoming louder with each passing year.
The essence of sin is that we know something is right, but we want something else more. I know it right to tell the truth, but I want to preserve my reputation more, so I lie. I know it is right to hold my tongue, but I want to hurt someone else more, so I insult him. To avoid this, we have two choices. Either we struggle, with the help of grace, to do what is right, or we deny that what is right is right. If we choose the latter and deny that what is right is right, then we must continue to deny it or face the fact that we have been such a person as not to do the right thing in the first place. This is why pride is not only a sin but the sin, because, among many other things, it keeps us from recognizing the evil we have done. Pride engenders spiritual cognitive dissonance.
There are two more problems. One is that the weightier the issue on which we first deny the truth, the more difficult it is to turn back. There’s more to lose. A lie told to avoid prison will be defended more vigorously than a lie told to avoid paying a minor fine.
The second is that virtue and vice are habits; they become easier, to the point of second nature, the more we do them. We all know people – perhaps we are one of them – who have so persuaded themselves that what they do is right, although they once knew it was wrong, that they honestly believe that now it is right. A drug addict is usually convinced it is all right to steal to support his habit.
Lies Surrounding Sexuality
With issues of sexuality, the stakes are extremely high. God created us as sexual beings. Male and female He created them (Genesis 5:2). Lies here go to the core of our being and, as such, are defended with more vehemence and more difficult to admit. So much is at stake. (And, therefore, the more heroic are those who get themselves out of the web.)
Lies also produce a continuum of deceit. We either admit the first lie or heap lie upon lie to defend the first, and the last must be defended most strongly or we must admit we have lied all along. This is why the left is at such pains to defend any sexual deviation today. To admit the lie of sexual practice (the LGBTQ agenda) would be to admit the lie of the results of sexual practice (the pro-abortion agenda). To admit that lie would be to admit the lie of the purpose of sex (the pro-contraception agenda). For almost a century, we have layered lie upon lie, dissonance upon dissonance, and each must be pushed further and further because to stop anywhere would be to ask “Why stop?” To stop anywhere would be to look back and we realize we are lost.
This also explains why the cultural left does not want those who might choose other than what they want to have any information. They do not want the sexually confused adolescent to have any counselling. They do not want the woman seeking an abortion to know her options or see an ultrasound. They do not want women to know the chemical and psychological effects of birth control. They are the very opposite of “pro-choice” because a right to choose implies a right to information about that choice. They are desperately afraid someone may make a choice other than theirs and thus reveal their false sense of fatalism. To those caught in a lie, any honesty is a threat.
Notice the passivity of Ms. Williams’ words: “I would not have been able to do this”; i.e., she had no choice but to choose an abortion. Is abortion now the “no choice” choice? Has the “right to choose” now made women powerless? Perhaps to Ms. Williams, it was because to do so would have been to admit that there was a child and that a child – a human being – is more important than any career. (Another irony for many in Hollywood who seem to do little more than ridicule those whose careers are based on money, fame, and comfort.)
None of us likes to be confronted with our own dissonance. Very few of us ever do so on our own. It takes a mountain of grace and usually a moment when that grace pierces through and sheds a light on our lives. We must pray that when Ms. Williams looks into the eyes of her next child and sees that it is a child and has been a child, she will be one of the heroic few to acknowledge the lie she has long been held captive to and lead others to do the same.