Opening the Floodgates

A quote from Robert Reilly’s book Making Gay Okay. Here is a paragraph from his concluding chapter. His central point is a good one.

We cannot blame the homosexuals for all of this. As mentioned before, first came contraception and the embrace of no-fault divorce. Once sex was detached from diapers, the rest become more or less inevitable. If serial polygamy is okay,  and contraceptive sex is okay, and abortion is okay, what could be wrong with a little sodomy? First, short-circuit the generative power of sex through contraception; then kill its accidental offspring; and finally celebrate its use in ways unfit for generation…I only wish there were survivors from the 1930 Lambeth Conference-which first endorsed limited use of contraceptives-who might be forced to attend the Gay Pride events and officiate at same sex “marriages”, so they could dwell upon what they hath wrought. Just as there is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant, there is no such thing as a little compromise on moral principle, as the Boy Scouts are about to find out. If the ideology behind the Casey decision [Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, a 1992 court case, which upheld the right to abortion] is correct, then the homosexual position is the right one. It substitutes the primacy of the will for the primacy of reason. If we can make it up as we go along, then there are no moral standards in Nature to distinguish between the use and abuse of sex, only personal taste. The broad embrace of this view has opened the floodgates to sexual dystopia. The problem with this inundation is that it threatens the very democracy that allows it.

Sex, Procreation, and Historical Context

BedIn a  previous post I said this:

If you could not physically have sex you could not get married. There was no marriage of the heart only. If you could not have sex the Lord had made you a eunuch (Matthew 19:12). If you went to battle and lost your man parts, you could not marry. But if something happened physically after marriage the vows still held.

Geneva refused marriage to those who could not have sex. One question that arose from this comment was, “Did they do this because they felt marriage was for procreation?” The answer to this is yes, but it helps to put the laws in their historical context. What I am about to say is brief and there are exceptions, but in general it is true. Continue reading

Too Far Gone?

A sculpture promoting China’s one child policy. 

China has officially moved from a one child policy to a two child policy.  Parents now have permission (???) to have two children instead of just one. Any policy that reduces the number of abortion is a good thing. But can a culture that for decades has promoted in every way possible one child now magically change? I am not convinced.

The article states that the one child policy has prevented 400 million births, that is 400 million abortions. Let that number roll around in your head and heart for a moment. The population of the United States is around 320 million. Imagine our entire nation and then some wiped out.

China adopted the one child policy in the late 1970’s. The leaders in China said this policy, along with opening up trade, led to dramatic economic growth for China. But all sin is short-sighted. The economic growth of the 80’s and 90’s has been replaced by a slow downturn. Now China’s population is aging rapidly. The Economist addressed this problem in this 2011 article. There are way more men than women with some estimates that there are over 50 million more men than women. The number of employees is shrinking as the age of the population grows. China, despite being the most populous country in the world, is dying.

Because the economy is struggling the leaders have decided to allow couples to have two children not just one. I am glad there has been a  policy change. It will mean less abortions, but how many less? Are there millions of Chinese who want two children, but were forced to have only one? I don’t think so. For example, in 2013 China modified its one child policy allowing urban couples to have two children. However, there were not many takers. Most families still had one child. My guess is that will continue to happen even with this policy change.

Here is the end of the article

As the country has grown wealthier, couples have increasingly delayed having even one child as they devote more time to other goals, such as building their careers.

“There’s a lot of opportunity cost to having children. The norm has changed to one or none,” said Joan Kaufman, Director of the Columbia Global Centers East Asia and a long-time expert on China’s population planning.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a massive unleashing of this pent-up desire for children.”

The Chinese public met the announcement cautiously, with many saying the change would only add to the already intense social and financial pressures attached to reproduction.

“I will have four parents to take care of, along with two children,” noted one online commenter. “This is too great a responsibility”.

Wu Bohao, a 23-year-old single child, told AFP: “Raising a child is quite expensive. For me, having one kid would be enough.

While pro-lifers and human rights people might be thrilled about this change, for the Chinese a 2nd child is “too great a responsibility” and “quite expensive.” And that is exactly what they have been trained to think. For several decades the Chinese government has taught its people to love freedom from children and money more than fruitfulness. This has been pounded in their heads by cheap abortions, forced abortions, speeches, policies, emphasis on the economy, etc. For decades society has been built around having one child. Most adults were only children, saw their parents raise one child, expect to have one child, and probably only have the desire to have one child. Why should I spend another nine months pregnant? Why should I miss more work to have 2nd child? The people have learned well. There will be more children, but there will not be a huge upsurge of births, at least not for a long while. Why should there be? Money and freedom have mattered more than children for over thirty years. Why should that change now?

I pray it will be different. I pray that China will become fruitful again. But I do wonder if, at least for the next several decades, she is too far gone for this to happen. I doubt that outside of godly Christians who desire fruitfulness permeating that society she will ever get near to the 1950’s average of over 5 children per family.

One Flesh Points to Reproduction

Stephen B. Clark commenting on Genesis 2:14.

“While it would be a mistake to regard one flesh solely in terms of sexual intercourse, it would be an even greater mistake to miss the reference to family and reproduction and concentrate instead on the modern idea of companionship. One reason that animals will not do as a partner for man is their inadequacy for reproductive purposes. The man needs someone with whom he can live and establish a household. Implicit in this, especially for the first man, is the need for sexual relations and reproduction.”

Once we make reproduction an option in marriage instead of a normal requirement and expectation we remove one of the impediments to gay marriage. If siring and birthing children is a central part of the marriage relationship then gay marriage makes no sense. Sodomites and lesbians cannot do this. But if the marriage relationship is based primarily or solely on companionship, love, mutual affection for and interest in one another then why can two men or two women or three men with five women or a man and dog not get married? Once again we are reminded that how we interpret Genesis 1-3 will often set  a trajectory for how we view the rest of the Scriptures, the world, man, and fundamental institutions, such as marriage.

There are many reasons gay marriage has become normal in our society. But the failure of Christians to see bearing children as an essential part of marriage has been a contributing factor.

By the way, I am not saying a couple who cannot bear children has a deficient marriage. Note my phrase “normal requirement and expectation.” There are exceptions, but the norm for a married couple should be reproduction.

Book Review: Godly Seed

Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control, 1873-1973Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control, 1873-1973 by Allan C Carlson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Carlson book, though I have read many of his articles. Carlson plots the change in the evangelical view of birth control from 1873 and the Comstock laws to 1973 and Roe v. Wade. It is a very dense book, with a lot of end notes. I would love to see an expansion of some of the themes. Also Carlson does not give any real clear answers as to what we should do. Yet it is clear he thinks we have gone astray on this issue. Several things stood out to me.

First, this is a very short amount of time for such a dramatic change in Christian views of sexuality.

Second, Christianity Today played a substantial role in making birth control acceptable among evangelical Christians.

Third, soft eugenics and postmillenialism played a large part in the acceptance of birth control between 1915 and WWII. After that the key factor for evangelicals was the population explosion. Billy Graham, as well as many other Christians, used the coming population explosion as sufficient proof that we need to use birth control.

Fourth, prior to 1973 abortion and birth control were linked by evangelicals. Their acceptance of birth control led to many leaders also considering if not outright supporting abortion. After Roe v. Wade views on abortion were revisited and modified. However, the birth control issue was not.

Fifth, the elevation of companionship as the primary reason for marriage was a key component in getting evangelicals to accept birth control.

Finally, Margaret Sanger and later Christianity Today used the Roman Catholic-Protestant divide to get Protestants to accept birth control.

I found the book very fascinating with a lot of excellent detail. For example, Carlson got access to boxes of notes, etc. at Christianity Today that have not been published. He also does a good job in showing the shifts in mindset that resulted in certain practical outcomes. I am looking forward to doing more reading on the subject, but this was a good start.

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