Hobby Lobby versus Obamacare contraception, who hasn’t heard of that case? The Christian company is now arguing in front of the Supreme Court that the insurance they offer employees shouldn’t have to cover birth control.
Christians versus contraception, why does that issue keep coming up? Ten minutes watching 19 Duggars & Counting reveals how passionately some Christian families oppose birth control. Catholics teach that all forms of contraception are evil, even contraception meant to prevent the spread of STDs. For example, though the Catholic church is the biggest provider of medication to AIDs sufferers in Africa, they refuse to distribute condoms that could slow the spread of AIDs from husbands to wives and prevent children from becoming orphaned.
Even those Christians that don’t go to the extreme of throwing all the pills and condoms down the garbage disposal, often push themselves to have five or six kids. There even used to be a saying in evangelical Christian circles: “Two kids is worldly. Three kids is Christian.” Why are more children more godly?
Psalm 127:3, the “children are a blessing” verse, is a much quoted scripture in pro-big family circles. I agree children are a wonderful blessing that enrich your life. Financial security is a blessing too, as is good health. And that’s what the Bible is all about, right?—lining your pockets with as many blessings as possible.
Oh wait, the Bible teaches sacrificial living and giving up blessings you desire in order to serve others. Hmm, maybe using Psalm 127 to encourage Duggar-sized families is misusing the verse. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7 that Christians can do what they want, but if they really want to invest in God’s service, they should stay single so they have more time for God’s kingdom.
At one time monasteries and abbeys flourished across Christendom because of this verse, but Martin Luther and other reformers moved away from the church’s emphasis on singleness. These reformers rightfully pointed out the futility of wearing scratchy hair shirts and whipping yourself to earn grace when the Bible teaches all you need to do is believe Jesus is God and ask Him to forgive your sins. But some monks had a life outside of scratchy shirts and flagellation. The Jesuit monks traveled the world with their Bibles, often risking their lives to teach people about Jesus. The Jesuits certainly couldn’t have done this if they had families.
Now in Paul’s day there wasn’t much in the way of contraception. So, when Paul said marrying would take up all your time, did he really mean your spouse or the fifteen accompanying pregnancies? Well, as the workaholic childless lawyer couple who both spend 80 hours a week in court and depositions could tell you, it’s the child, not the marriage, which will bring your little work empire tumbling down. So, in the spirit of Paul’s encouragement perhaps we should urge those Christians who really want to do a great work for God’s kingdom to marry, but remain childless so they have more time to invest in God’s work.
B-b-but the big family advocates stutter. What about supporting life? Some forms of birth control can result in early abortions. How can a Christian support killing babies? Well, I’m pro-life, just like I’m anti-infanticide. And I respect Christians who have different personal convictions about what form of birth control they choose to use. But in a fallen world is there really any way to always prevent early abortions?
Breastfeeding is a huge push in the Quiverfull movement, where followers laud their commitment to life while never using so much as a condom and bearing 15+ children. As most know, breastfeeding often delays pregnancy. What most don’t know is that breastfeeding does not just suppress the release and fertilization of an egg, but rather makes the woman’s luteal phase so short that the fertilized egg doesn’t have time to implant, resulting in a very early abortion. Is breastfeeding an abortifacient like those hormonal forms of birth control that pro-lifers detest? Well, the truth is, if you had your tubes tied on your wedding day, you’d be much less likely to unintentionally have an early abortion than if you birthed and breastfed 15 babies.
Now I don’t blame Hobby Lobby for not being thrilled with Obamacare’s bureaucratic regulations. I don’t think anyone these days is that thrilled with Obamacare, even Obama. Just take a look at his new executive orders to postpone, um, all of it. But is it really rational to say a court case against contraception is a court case for life?
I see where advocates of minimal contraception and big families are coming from though because James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to bear many children.” Oh wait, it doesn’t. James 1:27 says “to look after orphans and widows in their distress . . .”
You mean it’s more noble to adopt orphans and care for homeless children than to abstain from birth control? Yes. You mean the less children you have the more time you will have to invest in helping orphans, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or preaching the gospel? Yes, that’s part of being finite and only having 80 some years on this planet.
So if a Christian wants to have a large family, by all means go ahead and enjoy your little blessings. While you’re at it, invite me over, because there’s nothing cuter than a rosy-cheeked baby.
But if Hobby Lobby and other Christian employers want to inspire their employees to do something great for the cause of Christ, for pity’s sake pay for their birth control prescription and hand them a flier for the local foster care ministry or homeless shelter. And while they’re at it, why don’t they support life by donating some condoms to Africa so there aren’t as many AIDs orphans.