Friday, November 17, 2006

Brave New World Revisited?

From LifeSiteNews, with a tip of the gimme cap to FreeRepublic:
A pro-life trend among conservative Protestants is picking up steam in the US, Newsweek reports. In 1995, David and Suzanne Bortel of San Antonio, Texas developed a website called to lend support and encouragement to couples who are totally open to as many children as God gives them. Under the name of Quiverfull, the group encourages its members to reject all forms of birth control and welcome children as "a gift and blessing from our gracious heavenly father."

[…] Members of Quiverfull reject not only birth control but also Natural Family Planning, a natural method and one condoned by the Catholic Church as a moral way, under serious circumstances, to avoid conception by abstaining from sexual intercourse during the fertile periods of a woman's monthly cycle.

Quiverfull's beliefs also do not condone any form of artificial conception, such as in-vitro fertilization. Mary Pride, a Quiverfull believer and author of the book, 'The Way Home', says, "You shouldn't be unnatural in going to a fertility clinic or in trying to avoid having children by regulating when to have sex with your husband."

[…] Rejection of birth control is a growing trend among many denominations of Protestants. Many Protestants who previously espoused birth control methods, are becoming more and more alarmed by the contraceptive mentality that has overtaken the country. In today's society, sex and procreation of children are commonly viewed as two separate components of marriage. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is very convicted and outspoken on the subject. He says, "If a couple sees children as an imposition, as something to be vaccinated against, like an illness, that betrays a deeply erroneous understanding of marriage and children."

Brad Wilcox, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Virginia thinks that a possible reason for the trend is that evangelical Protestants are uniting with Catholic leaders on other moral issues in today's society. He says, "The increasing cooperation of Catholic and evangelical leaders on abortion and same-sex marriage has allowed some cross-pollination where evangelical leaders are starting to become familiar with Catholic thinking on the family."

Speaking for myself, my beliefs on this have come full circle. When I was a kid, I just accepted Catholic teaching on the matter. As I got older and “converted” to the agnosticism of personal self-indulgence, I concluded the whole thing was a crock. As an Episcopalian, I was “reasonable” in my opinions. Now, as a fortunate survivor of liberal Protestantism by the grace of God, I can’t help but think the Church was right all along. I look around me and see the results of a contraceptive culture: the disconnect between sex and procreation that results in the abandonment of traditional morality, the dissolution and redefinition of the family, birth rates below the replacement level and the accompanying social problems, children viewed as possessions or trophies, or alternatively, children being overly pampered as the doted-on one-and-onlies of aging and increasingly sterile parents.

In 1930, the Anglican bishops meeting at the decennial Lambeth Conference voted to permit the use of contraceptives by married couples – the first such pronouncement ever by a Christian church. Two years later, the infamous agnostic, Aldous Huxley, published a book which prophesied what the bishops could not see - the structure of a society committed to the contraceptive ethic. That Brave New World has proven to be a remarkably shallow world as well.