Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shopping in the Culture of Death

Over the last couple of weeks, I have spent hours scouring every children’s clothing store for something for my son to wear for the feast of his patron saint this Saturday. You wouldn’t think it would be too difficult to find an adorable outfit with shamrocks or the like for baby’s first St. Patrick’s Day. After all, Mommy Logic 101: babies are cute; therefore, you should dress babies in cute clothes.

Au contraire, claims the sex-saturated culture of death. Babies are cute; therefore, you must dress them in a way that destroys any semblance of their innocence, purity, and sweetness.

And so it was that I found the following:

  • A multitude of shirts bearing various statements as “one lucky stud” and “most eligible bachelor” (with a four-leaf clover to make it vaguely St. Patrick’s Day related).
  • A sleeper with a pot-of-gold on the seat which read “Lucky Charm.”
  • And last, but not least: One t-shirt with crossbones and a skull featuring green shamrock eyes. The seller advertised it as “bad to the bone with a lucky twist.”

Now, before you think that my lack of luck at finding a simple shamrock shirt was merely the unfortunate result of the general co-opting of a Saint’s Day into a day honoring Baucus, Dionysus, and the demon serpents which were driven out of fair Erin (which is partially true), I should add that I had the very same problem at Christmas.

Last time I checked, the culture of death had not yet fully choked the last breath of life out of the celebration of the most important birth ever. I was pretty sure that despite all the secularizing and sexualizing of the day, Christmas was still a day of rejoicing over life – more or less. So I thought until I stepped into the mall in search of an outfit for Christmas pictures. What did I see? Snowflake sweaters with skulls, red and green shirts with skulls, little baby-sized ties with skulls, even skulls on the little buttons on the little pairs of plain, old khaki pants.

I assure you this was Christmas and not Halloween. Furthermore this trend of covering baby clothes with skulls seems to continue year round. I could go on to tell how many of the clothes boast sexually insinuating messages, but I will refrain. Go see for yourself.

Memento mori is good, but this is more than that. This is the branding of our youngest children with the symbols of the culture of death, covering them with messages of sex and death itself. These skulls are not meant to remind us of our mortality so we may strive to live holy lives, but instead that life is short so we must party hard and have as much “fun” as we can, regardless of the good of others. So it is that Our little babies are being made into sex symbols before their first birthday. After all, the culture of death preaches, sex is “fun,” it is the “ultimate pleasure.” Their promise of life is being eclipsed by the images of death- physical and spiritual.

When will this madness stop? What can we do to force back this onslaught?

My infant son’s rear is nobody’s lucky charm. He might be handsome, but he’s not going to “get lucky” in the way those shirts suggest. And as a baptized Christian who has not attained the age of reason, I am confident that he is not “bad to the bone.” So I bought him a plain green shirt and that’s what he’ll be wearing on Saturday.

If someone wants to do something creative to help revive the culture of life, consider starting a line of children’s clothes. I’ll be your first customer.

St. Patrick, pray for us!

Mary Liz Kaltenbach is a contributing blogger for Notre Dame Right to Life. She graduated from Notre Dame in 2008 and served as NDRTL's president 2006-2008. She currently works as a pregnancy resource counselor in South Bend.

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