An Age of Hidden Violence


Someone who was writing an article about the state of the culture asked me to send her by email a couple of quotes about abortion and porn. I thought I’d share my responses here.

About abortion:

<<Abortion takes a terrible toll on our country. The annual fatality rate from abortion (860,000) is higher even than that of heart disease (647,000), and cancer (599,000), the next leading causes of fatality.

But, as they say, abortion means one killed and one wounded. Millions of women are walking around with this awful day in their memories, and when they see a sonogram, reality hits them all over again. Maybe in 1973 we could claim ignorance, but today we all know what an unborn baby looks like. It’s a desperate juggling act, to believe yourself to be a basically good person, and to know what you allowed to be done to your baby.

The same goes for the fathers of these lost children, and everyone else in the family circle. America is full of walking wounded, and nobody wants to talk about it.>>

About porn:

<<The terribly wide-spread use of pornography is scary to me because I have eight little granddaughters. When I go out with them, I am aware that nearly every man we interact with–getting a movie ticket or stopping at a restaurant–has terrible images burned into his brain.

Due to the numbing effect, he will need increasingly stronger ‘doses’ of porn; and when it comes to porn, ‘stronger’ means ‘more violent.’ These little girls will grow into a world where the majority of men are becoming increasingly numb to the idea that there is anything wrong with treating women violently; indeed, they will be conditioned to think it’s sexy.

My granddaughters may date or even marry such men. I fear for them, for the misery and pain they may experience as a result. And this is something we can’t even protect them from. No one could predict, from just meeting a man, what depths he may have created in his soul. It seems like the only protection we can give them is prayer.

This is a terrible problem, and there appears to be no solution. The best hope comes from those men who recognize how porn is deforming them, and speaking out against it. But there’s so much money to be made by pornography that I think it will take a very long time for their voices to be heard. >>

Underlying all this is the instinctive sense everyone has for the sheer beauty of purity, and the inexpressible spiritual power of virginity. Many world religions have a special, honored role for the celibate—we all know about the Dalai Lama. There are celibate monastics in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism. Humans have an innate sense that sexual purity is powerful and beautiful, and it keeps reappearing, all over the world. We have come close to being unable to understand that, in our time; but it is still there inside us, that impulse to love and protect purity.

Above is the icon of the Annunciation that I commissioned (from Adela Stoicovici in Romania) for my granddaughter Evangeline’s name day. It brings to mind the beautiful Orthodox hymn:

“Awed by the beauty of thy virginity,

and the exceeding radiance of thy purity,

Gabriel stood amazed, and called out unto thee, O Mother of Life:

‘What praise may I offer thee, that is worthy of thy beauty?

By what name shall I call thee?

I am lost and bewildered.

But I will praise thee as I was commanded:

Hail, thou that art full of grace.’ “

About Frederica Mathewes-Green

Frederica Mathewes-Green is a wide-ranging author who has published 10 books and 800 essays, in such diverse publications as the Washington Post, Christianity Today, Smithsonian, and the Wall Street Journal. She has been a regular commentator for National Public Radio (NPR), a columnist for the Religion News Service,, and Christianity Today, and a podcaster for Ancient Faith Radio. (She was also a consultant for Veggie Tales.) She has published 10 books, and has appeared as a speaker over 600 times, at places like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Wellesley, Cornell, Calvin, Baylor, and Westmont, and received a Doctor of Letters (honorary) from King University. She has been interviewed over 700 times, on venues like PrimeTime Live, the 700 Club, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times. She lives with her husband, the Rev. Gregory Mathewes-Green, in Johnson City, TN. Their three children are grown and married, and they have fourteen grandchildren.

Leave a Reply