Population Decline and Bay-bee Obsession – Patriarchy, Quiverfull, Traditional Family, Christian Gender Complementarian Nuts
More links to be added about this issue to this post as I find them. As this post has already gotten quite long, thanks to the excerpts, I will be making a Part 2, Part 3, etc, to include new links as I find them.
This Part 1 post is an anchor, though. This is probably the post I will direct people to when they want to gripe with me about this.
I am not necessarily in agreement with all opinions on all pages I link to, or with all views held by individuals or the organizations by blogs and sites I link to. (I may agree 100% with one of their pages but be in total opposition to other pages on the same site.)
I am not into global warming or environmentalism.
I am not left wing, liberal, progressive, or Democrat. Since my teen years, I have been right wing, conservative, and a Republican, but as I grow older, I am becoming disenchanted with aspects of the right wing (but still continue to disagree with the left wing on most topics).
I do not agree with or support abortion or homosexuality or legalization of homosexual marriage. Some of the pages I have found which refute many of the “be fruitful and multiply” arguments of conservative Christians are by people claiming to be Christians who are sympathetic to homosexuality or who support homosexuality.
I do not support homosexuality but some of their pages (aside from the pro-homosexuality propaganda) make some decent points against the un-biblical fixation some Christians have on “traditional family” rhetoric and their tendency to apply the “be fruitful” verse as supposedly being applicable to all Christians in all eras.
— THE LINKS—
The people behind this site appear to support homosexuality, but they make some very good points on this page:
(Link): The Family Idol
Perhaps the ugliest idol that we see today is the so-called “traditional family.” This idol is widely worshiped in the conservative factions of most religions. It should be obvious to its worshippers that it is an idol when these people see agreement between groups who have traditionally held opposing theological viewpoints. There are Roman Catholics and die-hard Evangelicals who are joining together to worship this idol. Muslim and Christian fundamentalists alike bow at its feet, all the time, pretending to be the true followers of their religion. While they cannot agree on the real tenets of their true religion, they find remarkable agreement in the false religion of “family values.”
The reason that the family idol is so particularly heinous is because it cloaks its emptiness and poison under the “gold-leaf” facade of respectability, social responsibility, and “proper” religion. Like almost no other modern idol, this idol pretends to be True G-d, while it is in fact a golden calf. In order to distract its worshipers from the truth, it points to sexuality and calls “perversion” the “golden calf.”
This idol has established itself firmly on the altars of most churches. It is so clearly cemented in the Free Church denominations (Evangelicals, Baptists, Pentecostals, etc.) that whole campaigns are built around it. Holding the Scriptures in its hand, the family idol cloaks itself as the “word of G-d,” leading its devotees to forget about the Incarnate Christ and the message of love. “Family values” replaces “Christ is risen” as the primary hymn of this religion.
In other circles the idol is less blatant and perhaps less well noted. In the Anglican, Protestant, and Reformed churches, the idol prefers to set itself somewhat inconspicuously on the round tables of committees rather than on the central altar. While these groups often abhor the blatant bigotry of the “family values” charlatans, they nonetheless give the idol voice and vote on their committees and hold back truth and honesty in its name.
… The family idol spreads its immorality very insidiously among all segments of the population. Most obvious, of course, are the many Christians who have given up the Gospel Message to worship the family. Sadly, these former Christians may not even recognize their change in religion.
…Confused by the lies of worshipers of the family idol, many people who do not fit its narrow definition of “family” turn away from G-d and religion altogether.
…The symptoms of the family idol’s worship are very strange. It causes the equation of a heterosexual, dual-parent, child-raising family with some sort of moral ideal.
These groups do great harm to the people who do not fit their narrow concepts. They also draw people away from G-d because they present a false image of G-d. They present a hateful, narrow-minded, bigoted God that no sane person would want to love. Their self-defined “family” is their idol, their politics is their idolatry, and their actions are immorality in the clearest sense of what the Bible describes as such.
(Link): Rethinking Vision Forum
– many resources here refuting or exposing baby obsession, population decline scare arguments, strict/ sexist (gender complementarian) views, pressuring women to marry too early, etc.
From that blog:
(Link): Doug Phillips on the Threat of Population Decline
[Excerpts from the page “Doug Phillips on the Threat of Population Decline”]:
Phillips sets up a dichotomy here: If you don’t want more children (or any at all), you are selfish; if you have multiple children, most especially 6, 8, 10, or more from the looks of the pictures featured on the Baby Conference website, you are following God’s commands. It’s easy to see how susceptible people can fall prey to Phillips’ teachings and to the rhetoric of the Quiverfull movement.
The trouble is of course that choosing to have only one or two children, or even none, does not mean one is automatically “selfish.” There are all sorts of ways to give back to the world and to those around us, to work to make the world a better place, outside of having children. Furthermore, wanting to give each child the best we can, or to raise children with economic security, is not selfish.
On the contrary, because we live in a country that uses exorbitant amount of finite resources, every additional child we have leads to additional environmental strain and potential for resource wars or economic problems down the road. Choosing to have six or eight children, then, is not somehow being “selfless” when it comes to our environment, economy, or the world. Further, choosing to have that many children might mean, for some, raising children in poverty and on the edge of economic disaster. I don’t see this as being very “selfless” either.
Here we also see the tendency of Christian Patriarchy groups to advocate a one-size-fits-all model for families. The truth is, every family is different, with different needs and different challenges. The idea that every family should start having child after child in order to “follow God’s command” and not be “selfish” is stifling and restricting. It’s also environmentally dangerous for several reasons.
Not unexpectedly, Phillips rejects the idea that a continually expanding population could lead to environmental catastrophe or resource wars or food shortages. Why? Because (a) God told us to be fruitful and multiply, not to be fruitful and multiply until there are enough people…
….do you notice how very nativist this entire idea is [by Phillips, where he complains about population decline]? Phillips ignores the fact that the populations in most parts of the world are booming. The trouble is that our populations, the populations of white Western Christendom, face decline. Kathryn Joyce addresses this nativism, especially as connected to Europe, in an excellent article here.
Fixing the world by making more babies sounds like a colossally bad idea to me. I would rather work to fix the world by helping those around me, supporting social justice and environmental justice, and extending my hands to all of humankind regardless of color. Rather than looking no further than my own home, I want to embrace the world and seek global well-being. But more than anything, I am simply glad that I no longer have blinders on telling me that the best thing I can do for the planet and the future is be a baby-making machine.
(Link): Vision Distortion Blog
Here are excerpts from a few different blog entries from the “Vision Distortion Blog” which highlights how distorted and anti-biblical some Christians have twisted teachings about marriage, having children, etc:
(Link): Patriarchy Fail – from Vision Distortion Blog
A woman on that blog writes of a “Quiverfull” patriarchy-type female friend of hers who de-friended her on Facebook and explained why she de-friended her:
She [the writer’s friend] also cited my college degrees, my not getting married until I was 27, and only having one child in two years of marriage (what huh?) as further proof of being “out for myself.”
(Link): Quiverfull – from the Vision Distortion Blog
I bring this all up because I have been watching the Quiverfull movement with interest for some time. I have two major concerns with it: firstly, it isn’t Biblical. Whether people like it or not, the Bible really doesn’t talk about birth control. This movement takes two verses out of Psalms [Psalm 127:3-5] and builds an entire theology upon them.
I don’t have time here to detail why it is ridiculous to build a lifestyle and theology on two verses plucked from poetry, but the fact of the matter is that these verses are not talking about birth control. They are simply stating that children are blessings.
To extrapolate from this that God does not ever desire one to use birth control is a stretch, especially since the subject of birth control is never really addressed. God was very detailed in the Levitical laws, and nowhere is birth control(of which there is much archeological and historical evidence of use in Biblical times) mentioned. If God could be so detailed as to what kind of fibers were okay to be mixed in clothes, I honestly think that pregnancy prevention would have found its way into the laws if it was that high on God’s list of important subjects.
Besides the lack of Biblical evidence, the Quiverfull movement leaves out another important piece of Christian theology: the will of God being expressed to a particular individual. I subscribed to the Quiverfull digest for two years while researching this subject.
Often on there someone would bring up that the Lord led them to move to this or that area, or to a certain job, or laid someone’s needs in particular on their heart. Often, women would write in terribly upset that their husbands(or the woman herself, or the couple) felt strongly that God had told them their family was complete. Invariably, the responses back would be simply that they were not trusting God enough, that they were just afraid of finances or another pregnancy or what have you.
The logical disconnect here boggled my mind. How can one be so sure of God’s leading in one area of life, but completely a similarly strong leading in another? Why could God tell one family to move cross-country, but be incapable of telling that family when their family was complete? Eventually, of course, I realized that it would not fit in with the predominant theology, so the leading from God would be tossed out.
And this is my main concern about the Quiverfull movement: You cannot make your own doctrine. If you accept God’s leading in one area of life, you cannot reject it in another area because it doesn’t match what you want the Bible to say. If God is telling you that your family is complete, that you are all here now, and that perhaps you need to think about sterilization, then you need to listen to God–not a book, not a website, not your favorite blogs, not a pet doctrine or theology, not your best friend. I find that QF’ers tend to like to twist Scripture and make their own theology and throw out all evidence to the contrary.
Related posts, this blog:
(Link): “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site
(Link): Christian Patriarchy Group: God Demands You Marry and Have Babies to Defeat Paganism and Satan. Singles and the Childless Worthless (in this worldview).
(Link): Married Preacher, Father of Eight Kids (and promoter of “Family Values” and Leader of wacko Quiverfull- and- Patriarchy type groups that promotes idolatry of “the family” and Marriage and of Having Lots of Children), Used Nanny as Sex Object – update on Phillips story
(Link): The Irrelevancy To Single or Childless or Childfree Christian Women of Biblical Gender Complementarian Roles / Biblical Womanhood Teachings
(Link): Never Married Christians Over Age 35 who are childless Are More Ignored Than Divorced or Infertile People or Single Parents
(Link): If the Family Is Central, Christ Isn’t
(Link): To Get Any Attention or Support from a Church These Days you Have To Be A Stripper, Prostitute, or Orphan
(Link): Misapplication of Biblical Verses About Fertility (also mentions early marriage) – a paper by J. McKeown