What comes to mind when you first hear the word “commodity”? I am sure that a wide array of products or natural resources that are bought and sold come to mind. In any case, what should not come to mind are human beings. Sadly, our culture reflects otherwise.
A few weeks ago, NCLN hosted an event in Toronto called “#CommodityCulture: Rescuing our Campuses from Rape Culture, Porn & Abortion” in Toronto. Before the evening, I had never thought about these topics together, believing that because each had their own roots and reasons, it would be a bit challenging to link them. However, two things I heard that evening from our wonderful guest speakers stuck with me, forever cementing the interconnectedness of the topics in my mind.
“When we can objectify the person right in front of us whom we can see, we can very easily objectify the pre-born child that we cannot see.”
This point made by Jonathon Van Maren (CCBR) around the beginning of his presentation was as clear as day to me.
If the acts of rape and watching pornography are performed by persons who justify the objectification of another human being as a means to satisfy their lustful desires, then why should we expect a pre-born child, whose humanity is hidden within the womb, to be seen with any sort of dignity? The child is merely an impediment to pleasure, and because we can pretend that it’s “not really there yet,” our own desires take precedence.
Discussing the issue of abortion with the culture would be much easier if everyone we talked to understood the concept of their value as a human being. But this task becomes much more difficult when our culture accepts or ignores the use and abuse of so many. It became much more obvious to me that because of the way certain born human beings are being used, the pre-born child could easily be forgotten and dismissed. Where do we go from here, then?
“The pro-life movement is the answer to fighting commodity culture.”
I heard these words stated at the end of Daniel Gilman’s presentation and it was a concept I needed to grapple with. I thought to myself, “Wow, that was a bold statement – how can that possibly be true? We have such a big task already with just dealing with how rampant abortion is.”
I think the problem was that in my mind, I was still categorizing the three issues separately. We have to remember that the people we speak to about abortion may be hindered from seeing the truth of its destruction because of our commodity culture. These are people who are exposed to, subjected to, and/or have participated in the commodity of human beings, whether by being addicted to porn, having been a victim of rape, or taking part in pornography or the rape-culture. So those of us who do see the truth of abortion in spite of the commodity culture need to know what we are up against.
This event emphasized the fact that rape-culture, porn, and abortion contribute to a commodification of human beings for the purposes of pleasure and convenience in any of its disguises. These three cultural poisons are infecting university and college campuses across the country in great numbers. Being aware and educated on what we are exposed to is a sure way to remind ourselves that trying to change hearts and minds is about more than trying to save the next generation from abortion, but also to save our own generation from the lies of our commodity culture.
Check out “Porn Fuels Rape“ to read more about Jonathon and Daniel’s work.