James Dobson’s Flawed Take on Population Decline (no.1: We’re Not in Decline) by T. Grant
As this report notes (link is much farther down this blog page), more pressure is placed on WOMEN to marry and have children than is placed on MEN.
I know that culture and Christians can treat single / celibate / childless men like trash, but they are TEN TIMES worse on Christian WOMEN in these regards.
Women get far more pressured to marry and have kids than men do or ever will.
Women get more shamed and insulted by Christians (and at times, secular culture) for staying single, celibate, and childless than males ever are.
Just because most women are capable of carrying a baby inside them, society and churches think it’s their DUTY to have a baby (as though women serve no other purpose in life), and if they choose to opt out (or cannot have a kid), they are still marginalized or insulted for it.
Men don’t face nearly as much insult or pressure to have kids as women do.
I am right of center – but I agree with this left wing (liberal) guy that other right wingers such as Dobson’s real goal is to be against what he perceives as liberal threats to the church or culture. That is one very real motivator some right wingers have, in why they do things like harass women to have children.
I also want to say how utterly moronic I find this approach by Dobson.
I was brought up in a traditional- values family where I was encouraged by my parents and the churches we went to to believe that being a wife and mother were my only, or main goal, in life; that God wanted me to be a wife and mother above all.
To a point, yes, you might get a certain lifestyle foisted on you growing up in the midst of it – being brainwashed by the church of your youth and influenced by your family – but does Dobson actually think that if some 21 year old woman is reading his articles or listening to his radio show about parenting (I seriously doubt many are), that she will sit there and think to herself,
- “Why, I was planning on going to college, establishing myself in a career before marrying and having babies, but James Dobson thinks I should forgo or delay college, and instead, marry pronto and have a kid or two, so by golly, I will do so!! He even quoted the bit from Genesis about being fruitful and multiplying, so I guess I had better run out and have a baby right now!”
I don’t know of a single woman on the planet who is going to base a major life decision for herself based on what some 75 year old Christian author says on a radio show or editorial in a Christian magazine.
The only way I see Dobson having any influence on young Christian women is if his material comes into her life in some manner, and it’s part of the steady “drip drip drip” that Christian females get from the time they are youth.
My mother used to buy Christian magazines and books by guys similar to Dobson who did opine about how important marriage and motherhood were and how evil those secular feminists are, and yes, to a point when I was younger, it did shape my world views.
But even in my youth, when I was more “on fire for Jesus” and really believed the conservative Christian talking points about everything, there was no way I would have blown off college, or married immediately, or married any old guy with a pulse, all just to crank out a kid or two by the time I was 29.
Even I, at the height of my Jesus-us-ness, and in the time I was more right wing than I am now, would’ve felt fine disregarding Dobson’s propaganda to convince me to marry and have kids on his say-so, or due to fear-mongering cries of “but our population is declining.” (I really do not care if our population is declining.)
I just do not see any 20- something woman reading this nonsense by Dobson and thinking, “Golly, I had better run out right now, marry the first guy to come along, and have a baby with him.”
Dobson is delusional if he thinks his views are going to strongly influence any woman to that degree.
There’s a man shortage among conservative Christians. I take it that Dobson likely believes in the “equally yoked” teaching? How does he expect Christian women to marry and crank out kids, when there are no Christian single men for them to be matched up with?
(Link): James Dobson’s flawed take on population decline (no.1: We’re not in decline) by Tobin Grant, April 13, 2016
- James Dobson published an (Link): editorial in Christianity Today on population decline and, frankly, why people (maybe just Christians) need to start having more children.
- He says that Americans are beginning to realize that we are facing a “demographic nightmare.”
- Our problem is not too many people but a plummeting birthrate. There are more single women today than those who are married, and the birthrate has been declining steadily. If it were not for immigration, this nation would be below zero population growth.
First off: the statement is false.
- Even without immigration, the replacement rate in the United States continues to be high enough to increase the population. (Link): Pew Research estimates that without immigration in the future, the population will still be equal (or slightly greater) 50 years from now. Of course, we will have immigrants and our population will continue to grow by another 100 million with immigration.
- …Dobson’s canards play into fears of demographic changes brought on by immigration. Or by Africa or Asia growing in population. We are not facing an inverted pyramid. Our population is increasing without immigration.
- …In his first draft of this essay (available here) he’s more explicit about his belief that God wants people to multiply. He blames riots in Germany and France on populations growing older (this, too, is incorrect: younger populations are less stable and more likely to have violence).
- Dobson links population decline to death panels, Hillary Clinton, socialized medicine, and other boogeymen. He calls for the government to pay (via tax breaks) those who have children.
- Dobson is using the same crass view of humans that he sees in population control policies. Persons are valued for their ability to maintain the economy, pay for government services, and provide for political stability.
- Reading the CT editorial and the original essay, the problem Dobson is really attacking becomes clear: women aren’t fulfilling their role as mothers. They need to follow God, put aside their selfishness, and procreate at a level that keeps up the population.
- The problem is never fathers or men. Dobson repeatedly focuses on women. Dobson’s aim is to convince women that they need to have children. Sure, he says, women have the right not to have children but if they exercise that right, we’re doomed.
(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): 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