The following comes from a Sept. 11 posting by Jacob Lupfer on the Associated Baptist Press website.
This week, the Christian right observes a leadership change in one of its most important institutions.
Last year, Richard Land announced his retirement as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Land’s successor is Russell Moore, formerly dean of theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Moore’s inauguration is a generational changing of the guard — a fresh face with a winsome tone replacing an aging partisan known for inartful statements.
What conservative group wouldn’t want Mike Huckabee at the helm after Rush Limbaugh went off the rails one-too-many times? Already, Moore has earned high praise for his intelligence and sincerity.
At first glance, it may seem irrelevant that the ERLC presidency is turning over at a moment when, for the first time in decades, white evangelicals are involved in a public debate about birth control.
Ever since January 2012, when the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidelines requiring certain religious employers to provide contraception coverage on their group health insurance plans, evangelicals have stood with Catholics and other religious-liberty advocates against the HHS mandate.
On the surface, the protest has been over religious liberty, not contraception. After all, along with every religious group, the overwhelming majority of white evangelicals approve of contraception, at least for married couples.
But there is a quiet revolution brewing among a growing segment of fundamentalist Protestants. Certain sects, usually hyper-Calvinist and often identified with “Christian patriarchy,” Dominionism or the “Quiverfull” movement, are wooing mainstream evangelicals and exhorting them to let God determine the size of their families.
Once seen as a pesky denominational nuisance, Calvinism is on the rise in today’s SBC. A commission of prominent Baptist leaders recently released a statement that legitimates Calvinist theology in Baptist churches and institutions.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler, easily the most respected and influential voice in the SBC, has offered a contradictory statement on birth control: “Christians may make careful and discriminating use of proper technologies, but must never buy into the contraceptive mentality. We can never see children as problems to be avoided, but always as gifts to be welcomed and received.”
Except when married couples want to avoid conceiving a child, apparently. Mohler’s relatively frequent diatribes against the “contraceptive culture” give cover to other Baptist elites who want to do away with contraception altogether.
Moore, the new ERLC president, has gone even further. Knowing, as smart religious leaders do, the vital role of birth rates and retention (not just conversions) in denominational market share, Moore exhorted Southern Baptists in 2006 to “outbreed the Mormons and out-preach the Pentecostals.”
In 2011, Moore endorsed a controversial anti-contraception book by Allan Carlson, an intellectual leader in the Christian patriarchy movement. “This provocative volume by one of the world’s foremost family-issues scholars suggests that perhaps American Evangelicalism unwittingly traded the Blessed Virgin Mary for Margaret Sanger,” Moore wrote in his review. “The arguments are hard-hitting and unrelenting. Reading this book is like seeing an unwelcome reflection in a mirror. But it might just start a conversation that is well worth having.”
It’s not exactly clear what part of evangelicals’ engagement with the birth-control issue is so unwelcome to Moore or what kind of conversation he wants evangelicals to have. But his sympathies for the anti-contraception movement should at least provoke the religious media to ask him to clarify his views, which so far they have not.
It is undeniable that the decoupling of sex from procreation was a dramatic technological change with profound social, moral and theological implications. Southern Baptists should want their top ethics expert and chief lobbyist to have grappled with the issue. But the 15 million Southern Baptists for whom Moore now speaks have the right to know if he thinks they are sinners for using contraception to control the number and spacing of their children.
Conservative Protestants have adopted Catholic positions on other sex-related issues. Perhaps it was only a matter of time until evangelical elites began pushing back against birth control. If they think they can convince the rank and file, they should take a good, hard look at the Catholic hierarchy’s absolute failure on that score….
To read the original story, click here.
Nature abhors a vacuum. When the Catholic Church tosses aside holy things, the world takes them up. Look at the Rosaries that were thrown away by the nuns. These sacramental are now jewelry. The Church got rid of St. Valentine, and now his feast day is the universal day celebrating love and sex. All Souls day is down played, and Halloween is honored world wide. It is a shame that the Amish and other Protestant groups are becoming better Christians than most Catholics. Until the Cath9lic Church resumes teaching as Christ would, the disintegration of Holy Mother Church will continue. It is all part of what Our Lady revealed at Fatima, and Akita. This diabolical disorientation has done great harm to the Mystical Body of Christ, and only the true consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary can repair this awful damage.
The Church did not get rid of St. Valentine. Halloween is not honored world wide. Russia has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Father Karl I agree with you. You give me hope with your words because it is in the fact that I am reading that someone else can reason well and that I am not alone. Praise God….as long as we continue to have more people who convey well as you do, it gives us courage. Praise God that He sends us those good words of comforts and common sense.
I am grateful for these kind of Christians, they speak up when our church should too but since we lack these convictions, the protestants are filled with the word of God and it truly shows. I pray for the conversion of all Catholics, may we take back what we have always stood for and show remorse for the lukewarmness we have allowed to infiltrate in our church. Its sad that our church is losing more Catholics because of it’s scandals and watered down Catholicism. I pray for our church.
I agree with Fr. Karl on most things, but many Catholics still celebrate St. Valentines Day in the right way. I do know what he means about the awful commercials for that day, implying that it is all right to have marital relations with a girl friend to whom you are not married, and much of T.V. is unfit to even be watched. Blessed Pope John Paul II said that Russia had been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart and Sister Lucy before her death did say that the consecration had been accepted by Our Lady, all according to the Blue Army, who should know, and other orthodox Catholic websites.
For no one can know Christ as he wishes to be known unless they come to the fullness of the Catholic faith.
That has not changed
I remember years ago (1972-6) at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena some students arguing that abortion was a woman’s right. A very good systematic theology professor wrote a tract on abortion defending this position. I have to think that behind that mindset was a purposeful acceptance of artificial forms of birth control as a necessity for students, many of whom were married. To question the appropriateness of artificial means of contraception was unthinkable at the time. Proscribing any of the forms would have been considered a violation of christian freedom and enslavement to Catholic legalism. I haven’t been back to the campus since graduating, but wonder if anything’s changed since then. As a firm supporter of Humanae Vitae, I marvel at the seismic gap between most Protestants and (faithful) Catholics on this issue. And I marvel that artificial contraception is now on the table with the Baptists.
We need to pray for them, Dan.
Contraception prevents abortions.
So does murdering all females before puberty.
Contraception prevents and destroys conception, which is the work of God. Those who support it are doing the work of Satan.
Contraception can prevent the zygote from attaching to the uterine wall, thereby causing an abortion.
Actually many forms of contraception kill the unborn …..so it does not prevent abortion…
tom in san jose. SOME forms of contraception prevent implantation of the zygote. Other forms prevent zygote formation. I think there are people who would differentiate between pre-conception contraception and post-conception contraception. OK I get that that is a bit of a set of misnomers, but do you get what I mean?
Artificial contraception is a grave evil.
It also helps cause breast and other cancers in women and other medical problems, along with polluting the water so badly from the urine in the sewage system of women taking it that the sexuality of male fish has been deformed.
Anne, you’ve mentioned this theory before and I’m intrigued. I don’t know a whole lot about it and hope to look up the evidence. It’s not an absurd suggestion. You might also be interested in the data on BPA. I don’t know a lot about that either, but I have a transgender friend who swears that many cases of transgender individuals can be traced to BPAs which leach from certain plastics and allegedly interfere with proper sexual development.
yfc,Anne… my niece had severe breast cancer and did alot of research (she’s an rn) and found that milk from plastic containers contains female hormones from the plastic. I suppose orange juice, etc. would be the same. She eventually determined that her cancer came from a pesticide that she was exposed to when working for a state research project one summer…apparently she has a genetic predisposition to cancer. There’s no way to really know how she got it but she avoids things that she found to be carcinogenic…it’s been 13 yrs now and she’s still cancer free. Even the cardboard milk containers have this plastic as a lining. Hard to avoid. Boys could be receiving massive doses of hormones in their milk and even in the drinking water. Then of course, there’s the hormones in meat. It’s virtual poison roulette for our children.
Plastics do have a lot of estrogen, or whatever the term is, in them and is helping to cause some male fish deformities in some areas where there are plants making plastics according to the articles on estrogen in the water. Just look up “Estrogen from birth control pill deforms fish”, and you can pull up many such articles, even from non Catholic sites, in fact I think they are mostly from non Catholic sites.
At least one website says it is getting into the tap water in some areas and countries and causing breast enlargement in men.
Isn’t it strange that the environmentalist never mention that in this country. It is like a taboo subject? The Pill seems to be sacrosanct to some.
The World Health Association has listed hormonal contraception as a CLASS I carcinogenic right up there with cigarettes and asbestos.
Most methods of contraception are ABORTIONS, chemical abortions!
May God have mercy on amoral America!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M, Fisher
Contraception causes abortions!
This is not a true statement.
What is not a true statement Mbuku Kanyau Mbithuka?
Con – ception = with Life
Contra – ception = against Life
God is for Life.
Satan is against Life.
Excellent one Tracy…
Sounds like the Baptist leadership has finally come to the realization that to increase the number of births among the faithful they need to eliminate rational management of the body and completely throw it open to chance, like NFP, for example. The candid admission that “leaving it up to God” means far more children born to families than they want, need, or can afford is the precise problem that Catholic families have faced for centuries and finally to its break with Rome on this issue. The Baptists are going back in a time machine to the 1950s and think that replicating that era in the Baptist world will solve their problems. The Catholic backlash to the mental, emotional, physical and financial damage done by Church harshness about NFP will be repeated in the Baptist world. Then, too, the odds of the Baptists signing off on this kind of rule aren’t very good, in that their denomination already prudently uses birth control that works. It’s one thing for this issue to be on the leadership’s agenda, quite another for it to be on the average Baptist’s family agenda. Look at we Catholics……in the US, 80% prudently contracept, in Europe it’s even higher. If 4 out of 5 US Catholics won’t use NFP, we’re hardly a role model for anybody not to use it, huh? This is a dead issue that will never see the light of day. Well, maybe in Lincoln, Nebraska…
Chance? NFP? Church harshness about NFP? I must be living in another universe than good cause. If I am not mistaken, Paul VI asked scientists to study feminine fertility to understand better the generative cycle in order to assist couples to cooperate with the Natural Law, as opposed to leaving things to chance. Harshness? Humanae Vitae is anything but a harsh document. Moreover, Paul VI was extraordinarily prophetic about the Faustian bargain the culture would make with the acceptance of artificial means of contraception. Harshness? Maybe there was a time when this was so, but not in my time as a Catholic, which began an an adult in 1978. It’s been rather like studied indifference. The real message of Humanae Vitae is that Grace is mediated through nature, or, what is the same, the Moral Law is indissoluble from the Natural Law. The spiritual poverty of this the contracepting age bears witness to this connection.
The reason why 80% of Catholics prudently contracept is that 100% of Catholic bishops and priests have failed to communicate the Church’s teaching that contraception is evil. That is noticeably changing however. Ironically there is a movement away from contraception in the Catholic Church that parallels the movement in the evangelical churches. The concerned laity in the RC are putting increasing pressure on their spiritual leaders to correct their glaring failures in this matter.
Rodney, I think what you say is valid, I only differ with your term “prudently” contracepting. I don’t see anything “prudent” about using contraception. I would agree with you, however, that the reason so many Catholics contracept is out of ignorance and misguidedness.
I have never met a Catholic that did not know the Catholic position on contraception.
Most Catholics believe they are being prudent (I’m not saying that they are, but they believe they are) and most Catholics think that the Church doesn’t really mean what it says about contraception but that she has given people the green light to use it as they see fit. Many people were explicitly told this by priests. But what passes as a prudential reason in our culture (which says, “having more than two children is irresponsible and bad”) is not the same as what might be considered prudential in other cultures. That’s the problem with deciding that this should be a prudential matter, however well-intentioned it was meant.
Sad to say, too, many of the women who were falsely told this are now dead from various medical problems from the Pill.
The issue of NFP is one that was taught to me the wrong way. My understanding was you used NFP as you would normal contraceptives.
In reality NFP is only to be used to prevent pregnancy only when your spiritual director advices it. For this to be the case you need a holy and faithful Spiritual Director as a couple.
There are so many levels to this story that I scarcely know where to begin. I have read that some Protestant Evangelical faiths have been moving steadily towards the Roman Catholic Church in matters involving contraception for some time now. Actually, in my readings, Martin Luther himself was staunchly in favor of many children and large families, and dead set against abortion, though it was hardly an issue in the 16th century. As I believe was true of most of the so-called “reformers” like Calvin, etc. But the need for so many to SPACE their families in the Europe of those centuries, 16th through the 18th and beyond, was at a very primitive level. As a consequence, infant mortality was extremely high, as these families attempted to regulate or space their many births, with it not being uncommon for some family groups to generate 17 children, but with only half or less surviving very long after childbirth. But with first the “rhythm” method, then later NFP, which has some 100 ways to regulate births according to Catholic teaching, it’s become a dream come true for many Catholic families who try to live out the Church’s teachings. So GOOD ON the Baptists who are actually using Catholic practices but, in many instances, aren’t conscious of it. GOD BLESS ALL, Markrite