by Maureen Kramlich
July 3, 2003
If you're an average computer-user like me, you get inundated with "spam". Everyday. Spam is annoying. It overwhelms your inbox. It slips in-between legitimate emails. As I delete it, I can't help but notice some of the subject headings. My favorites:
Free money to pay your bills
Flush Fat Away Forever
The little Unknown Liquid! Get your Sample Today...
Couplemakers will help you find love for free
Who could possibly believe these advertising promises? Free money? Free Love? Flushing fat away? You can have it all: money, love, truth and beauty (and the little unknown liquid) right over the internet!
Makers of the birth-control pill once advertised in college publications that the "Pill" was also a beauty aid. The FDA reprimanded the pills' makers for producing misleading ads.
Planned Parenthood once promoted "emergency contraception" (EC) (which also acts as an abortifacient) with postcards—the kinds of postcards that are targeted for and distributed on college campuses and in nightclubs. One postcard features a photo of a rumpled bed. The text on the card reads:
YOU HAVE 72 HOURS TO ERASE LAST NIGHT
Another postcard has an airbrushed image of a couple in flagrante delicto. The back of the card reads:
Just had sex? Worried about pregnancy? If you have had unprotected sex for any reason (felt too good to stop, the condom broke, unwanted intercourse, forgot to take the Pill, the diaphragm slipped out of place) emergency contraceptive pills are available which can prevent pregnancy if used within 72 hours of unprotected sex.Another EC campaign targets college campuses. The ads feature college men with messages promoting EC. One shows a group of guys standing outside a dorm. Below them is the message:
So many men. So many reasons to have back-up contraception.
The other shows frat boys on a soccer field. The message:
Delta Delta Thi. 27 Upstanding Young Men. 34 Billion Sneaky Little Sperm.Advertising—whether it be through spam, flashy postcards or slick ads—has sold to a whole generation of young people a false notion of humanity, a twisted notion of the meaning of life.
Such a different view of the person do we have in our Catholic faith. Men are not little sperm factories. A fraternity doesn't exist for a college student's sexual exploits. A man and a woman cannot erase an evening's affair with a pill. And the "Pill" cannot make you beautiful.
"The meaning of life," as the Holy Father said, "is found in giving and receiving love, and in this light human sexuality and procreation reach their true and full significance. Love also gives meaning to suffering and death; despite the mystery which surrounds them, they can become saving events" (EV No. 81).
Only the recognition that human beings are made in the image of God will make anyone beautiful. Only the saving power of the cross can erase a sordid affair (and truly erase it!). Only a relationship founded on mutual self-giving will bring true love.
Maureen Kramlich is a public policy analyst with the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.