Mr. Ahern was a homophobic misogynist. Or at least, that’s what I heard about my theology teacher, who was a pretty controversial figure at my private, all-girls Catholic high school.
Two years before he taught me, he made local headlines for assigning a “racist, anti-woman” handout about how the abortion industry targets black women.
He was the big, scary conservative on campus, and I, a left-leaning pro-choice 17-year old, wanted nothing to do with him. So, when I opened my junior year schedule, I was quite disappointed.
“Dang it!” I banged my fist down.
“What?” my mom asked.
“I got Mr. Ahern.”
Indeed, I got him. Or, he got me, because, to my surprise, I didn’t find a homophobic misogynist—I found a teacher with a point.
That year, you could catch me in the back of his class every morning, except Thursdays. I made it my obligation to find keywords to catch Mr. Ahern, but I couldn’t find anything. It all made sense.
Besides learning about moral relativism, Aristotle’s levels of happiness, the sacraments, the Personalist Norm, and Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Mr. Ahern took days off to talk about other issues. He taught us that men and women have their differences (they’re “complimentary,” as he put it, but are both equal), and how the wage gap was a myth. He taught us the different waves of feminism, and the Catholic perspective of birth control, sex, and traditional and gay marriage.
The more I learned about some of these Catholic principles, the more I began to agree and empathize with the people I disagreed with.
I no longer believed that there’s no difference between men and women. We have different wirings, different hormones, and different body builds, after all. Men and women are equal, I concluded, but not the same.
I finally understood that just because you critique feminism, it doesn’t mean you’re “anti-women” or that you don’t believe that women are equal. It’s just that some realize that one version of feminism doesn’t bring the same happiness and satisfaction to women like other paths do.
I learned that the wage gap isn’t based on two people with the same job. It’s based on the different jobs and hours that each gender generally takes on. I finally understood Christians like the Little Sisters of the Poor and baker Jack Phillips, even though I am one. I saw them in a new light.
I no longer wanted the government to force the Little Sisters of the Poor into paying for abortifacient birth control. I no longer wanted the government to force devout Christian bakers like Jack Phillips into making a cake for a gay wedding or gender transition.
No one had ever explained to me why people were against gay marriage, but I finally understood why—even if I’m not fully on board with it. And it wasn’t because I hate the LGBT community, like I once thought, but because you have the right to religious freedom. Christian marriage was designed to protect a woman’s right to a supportive male partner, and, if the government can force someone to go against their will, the government can force you to do anything.
So when we reached the last subject of the year, I surrendered.
Mr. Ahern flashed a slideshow on his whiteboard, and he refuted each and every pro-choice argument there was. He talked about how Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the founder of NARAL, made up statistics about back alley abortions in Roe v. Wade. He talked about how rape and incest cases make up less than one percent of all abortions.
He talked about how abortion doesn’t free women; it traps the majority with deep guilt, and plenty of regret.
That was it; I was sold.
Right after that lesson ended, Alabama outlawed abortion. The fury people had towards it further piqued my interest around the subject, so I went down a rabbit hole that led me to people like Ben Shapiro, Steven Crowder, Allie Beth Stuckey, Dennis Prager, Dave Rubin, and so many more. A year and a half later, I’m still going down that hole, all because of a teacher I luckily came across.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.