What I want to talk about today is the use, or non-use, of contraceptives during marriage.
Here are some of my thoughts related to the subject. I believe that people who are sexually active, whether in a relationship or not, should get themselves tested for HIV and STIs. I believe that when two people get married, they commit to love each other and stay with each other for a lifetime. Because of that, I think that given that both partners are HIV and STI free, they don’t have to use condoms to prevent those, and can use other forms of contraception for birth control. Though, they could of course continue to use condoms as birth control if that’s their choice. I believe that when people get married to someone, they know that this is the person they want to have any future children with (if, of course, they want to have kids at all).
Yet… having kids is a huge decision. It effects every single aspect of your life, and will for the rest of your life. I’m saying that even when a married couple has decided that they want to have a big family, it is irresponsible of them to dive in without using contraception. Even if they come from big families, they do not know what it’s like to be parents. They are the ones who have to provide for these kids. They are the ones who are responsible for raising these kids. As a newly married couple, they are still learning what it’s like to be married. Adding on the pressure and responsibility of parenthood is a decision that no one should take lightly.
Members of a movement called Quiverfull do not agree with me. Quiverfull members are married couples who choose, based on religious beliefs, to not use any form of reliable contraception. I’m not going to argue that point today. My bigger gripe with Quiverfull is their conscious intention to use their beliefs for the purpose of basically taking over the country.
Here is a quote from Kathryn Joyce, author of a book called, Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement, and recent guest of NPR’s Morning Edition:
“If everyone starts having eight children or 12 children, imagine in three generations what we’ll be able to do.” […]"’We’ll be able to take over both halls of Congress, we’ll be able to reclaim sinful cities like San Francisco for the faithful, and we’ll be able to wage very effective massive boycotts against companies that are going against God’s will.’"
Here’s another, also from Morning Edition. This is from Nancy Campbell, author of Be Fruitful and Multiply, She is also a leader of the Quiverfull movement:
“The womb is such a powerful weapon; it’s a weapon against the enemy”
Wanting to have a big family is one thing. Choosing not to use contraception because of religious beliefs is one thing. But having a big family for the purpose of furthering an agenda is wrong, no matter what the agenda is.
Saying that the womb is a weapon to be used against the enemy is not only bizarre and plainly offensive, but it is a slap in the face to those people who believe that children are special, unique individuals. A child should not be raised for the purpose of anything. They should be encouraged to discover themselves and their own unique paths in life. Knowing that Christian groups are widely known to be defenders of so-called family values, it is interesting that some so-called Christians are using their families to advance and promote their own discriminatory interests.
Having values is important. Teaching values to your kids is important. I’m not arguing that. But telling your kids that everything in the world is black and white and that there are only friends and enemies, is wrong. Parents should teach their children to look at all sides of an issue and to use critical thinking in making their decisions. Can a five year old do that- no; but as a child grows up and develops a set of values, they are influenced by their parents.
A group that has visions of taking over the country based on beliefs that deprecate and condemn certain innocent people as “enemies” is not a group that I want in charge of my country. I don’t believe that Quiverfull will actually rise up and take control, but there are already many people in power who share at least some of their conservative views.
Overall, people are entitled to their views, and it is the job of parents to raise their children to be responsible, conscientious adults. But having kids before you’re ready and having more children than your can reasonably care for, along with forcing such unbending, restrictive views on those children, can only lead to no good. Put on a large scale, Quiverfull’s plan will backfire.
Turning this around, I am going to teach my children to believe that all people have value, no matter what those people’s values are. I hope that my children will grow up learning that different does not equal wrong, and that diversity brings strength.
I know that the parents in Quiverfull do not have bad intentions. They’re doing what they believe is right.
I just disagree.