Skip to main content

Evangelical Christians and the "Contraception Culture"

Christine Gardner writes in today’s WSJ Opinion Journal that Evangelical Christians embrace the “contraception culture”.

With the recent approval by the FDA of the over-the-counter sale of Plan B, the "morning after" pill, there has been much discussion of where various groups of Americans come down on the issue of contraception. When we think about American attitudes toward a topic like this, we tend to assume that religious "red state" Americans line up on one side of a divide, with secular "blue state" Americans on the other. Perhaps, but only up to a point. American evangelicals, as it happens, are pro-contraception. A Harris Poll conducted online in September 2005 shows that evangelicals overwhelmingly support birth control (88%).


It makes one wonder how Catholics and Evangelical Christians can be so close on pro-life issues like abortion and euthanasia and so far apart on an issue like contraception. I think it stems from the lack of sacraments within the Evangelical Christian tradition. For the Evangelical Christian community, marriage is a human contract, blessed by God, but still completely human. A Catholic sacramental view of marriage acknowledges a distinct mystical change that occurs with the sacrament. It is an avenue for God’s grace. Two people give themselves totally to each other and through their union give each other totally to God. Through the sacrament of marriage, they are duty bound to lead each other to Heaven.

Through this total self-giving and love for each other, they model God’s love for mankind. Christ is the bridegroom. His Church is the bride. Through the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage they participate in God’s gift of new life. Therefore, marriage is not seen as merely a good thing for the bride and groom. Marriage is a vocation as solemn as Holy Orders. The married couple dedicates their lives to working for the Kingdom of God through their vocation of marriage. This means completely surrendering their own will to God’s will. A contraceptive mentality, whether it involves the use of artificial contraception or periodic abstinence, is not total surrender.

That doesn’t mean you cannot plan or space children. It does mean the reasons for being opposed to pregnancy must be serious. It is wrong to pass judgment on others based on their choice to have less rather than more children. All we can hope is that couples adequately discern their reasons for avoiding pregnancy. In a truly Catholic culture the decision to avoid pregnancy cannot be made lightly. It requires prayer and reflection. In contrast, the “contraception culture” views avoiding pregnancy as the norm.

Comments

Rosemary Bogdan said…
When one is not under an authority gudided by the Holy Spirit it is very easy to get confused or to miss the entirety of a truth.

Popular posts from this blog

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling. I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road.

I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become so …

United Breaks Guitars

This guy is really talented and what a creative way to get your message across. I think he captured the "indifferent employee" perfectly. They don't just work for airlines. I think I ran into them at Walmart on Friday!