I have given up hoping that Evangelical leaders will get this. I mean truly understand the foundations, how we got here and how radically they have failed countless church members and parachurch supporters.
I’m not talking about despair, something I will never give into. I’m simply acknowledging that it is foolish to expect anything but a slight change in emphasis and rhetoric. Not when organizations like the venerable ERLC publish a statement such as Here We Stand which is devoid of any suggestion that civil disobedience should be put on the table as a possible response to the Obergefell decision. Not when the statement is also a handwringing caution against outrage and a call to something termed convictional kindness. And not when CBMWs leader issues a call to Build a Marriage Culture that fails to mention one of the most important cultural phenomena contributing to a devaluation of marriage: contraception.
Nope. I am not wasting anymore psychic energy or pixels. I’ve begged long enough, my pleas have fallen on deaf ears for too long. I’ve been a fool to continue as long as I have.
But there is hope. An increasing number of young women (in particular) are seeking out information on fertility awareness and natural family planning. These aren’t fringe “traddy” Catholics or Quiverfull Stay-at-Home daughters, either. These are bright, gifted, educated young Evangelcal women pursuing advanced degrees and working in policy institutes, parachurch organizations and writing books. They are out there and their tribe is increasing. Contrary to the teaching of “complementarianism”, the men leading Evangelcalism now might, when they reach their dotage, find their venerable organizations led by women.
That’s my little soapbox speech. Nice, but what do we do now?
First, we read, study, mark and inwardly digest Humanae Vitae. Study it until you come to recognize its profoundly prophetic nature.
Then, read this whole series by my friend Jennifer Lahl and the good folks at The Center for Bioethics and Culture, Family Equality Requires Eggsploitation (link takes you to the first of the series).
Finally, you pray, you keep reading until you know where to act and how. If you keep studying, praying, and become acquainted with the organizations and people fighting faithfully for the eternal truths of marriage and family, unimagined opportunities will come to you.
We sent out engraved invitations, decorated the hall, engaged the caterers and then threw the door wide open. That process began less than 90 years ago when the first Christian body officially embraced the permissibility of the use of contraception in Christian marriages. How many of us even know that no Christian denomination accepted the use of birth control before then? In fact, in the 19th century, it was Protestants who led the charge against contraception on the grounds that it would lead to lower morals! Yet, in little more than a generation after that first breech, Rome stood alone in her faithfulness to the generations that had come before. And now, less than 90 years after the Anglican Communion’s meeting of Bishops at Lambeth 1930, the American branch of that body has officially sanctioned weddings that are a demonic parody of the rite of Christian marriage. At some point the slippery slope ceased to be a cheap and possibly fallacious argument and became an historic reality.
We began sending out the engraved invitations in 1930 and have acquiesced or assisted in arranging this cultural watershed moment for the next 80+ years. A narrow acceptance quickly became, by the 1960s, an unremarkable commonplace. This trend was followed by an increase in divorce rates which shamefully mirrored the frequency of family sundering in the culture at large. By the late 80s churches were spending more time and money on divorce recovery workshops than on marriage preparation. And remarriage after divorce ceased to become a problem, it as simply assumed that any divorced couple were each free to marry others and, more probably than not, would do so.
Once we severed procreation from marriage, once we denied that the procreative meaning and end of the marital union was a good and a given, there was little reason to restrict the one thing that makes babies to the union created to foster the begetting and rearing of children. Churches routinely solemnize the marriages of fornicating and adulterous couples without a whisper of caution.
And, once we denied the teleology of sex, it was an easy move to bring baby-making into the laboratory. We normalize sex without babies, why not embrace babies without sex? Children are now manufactured, not begotten. No one questions the ethics. Virtually no one considers the little murders that happen when their less “viable” offspring are casually discarded in the process. The flagship publication of evangelical christianity, Christianity Today, even published a glowing review of a book describing the process of PGD (embryos are created in vitro and screened for genetic disease before being implanted, with embryos carrying the disease being discarded) where the author tells about her use of the technology and directing three of her offspring be destroyed because they carried the disease. We even make children this way while deliberately depriving them of one or both of their biological parents when third party reproduction makes use of “donor” gametes. The only part of this process which Evangelicals have yet to embrace the common use of is the practice of surrogacy, a form of human trafficking in which a woman is paid to carry someone else’s baby and deliver him or her up to them upon, well, delivery. The practice is highly exploitive, mainly targeting poor women of color in parts of Asia and requiring they live in dorm-like multi bed wards for the duration of their pregnancy. Contracts can include a demand for cesearean birth scheduled at the convenience of the contracting “parents” and clauses requiring the product (read: baby) be destroyed (read: abortion) if it doesn’t meet certain standards (multiple pregnancy, sex, defect or disease).
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby …
If same sex couples have the right to marry, they also have a right to create a family. No? Well, sorry folks, you’ve already embraced the logic which led us here. We might not be able to construct a formally valid philosophical argument, but the evidence e is there before us. The logic of human behavior and desire dictates it. You won’t find it in a “Rules for Arguments” logic textbook, but you will find it in the culltural wisdom of rhymes, proverbs and poetry.
Long ago we forgot the wisdom in that old poem by William Ross Wallace, The Hand that rocks the cradle. I fear it is already too late to recall the wisdom in the old playground singsong, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby …
Our Imperial Court (formerly known as SCOTUS), has gone full Humpty Dumpty on us and disregarded the Constitution and stuck a thumb in the eye of universal, and I mean nowhere known to history or anthropology, practice and given us the legal novelty and ontological fiction of “gay marriage”.
This wasn’t a culture war, it was far worse than Chamberlin, Quisling and a host of fifth columnists all rolled into one hideous mess.
We sent out engraved invitations.