Tag Archives: Contraception

"We've laid down our blood to have a free exercise of religion in this country and will continue to do so."

Working from a variety of sources, I really don't wonder very much what the motive is.

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent.” Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis

The claim:

Just as the spectacle of an all-male Senate Judiciary Committee’s stern questioning of her in the 1990s drew women voters to the polls, these lawmakers and women’s groups say Thursday’s House hearing on the Obama administration’s contraception rule — with an all-male panel testifying before a largely male committee — could provoke the same kind of response


First thing:  There were two panels, the second panel included two women.

Second thing:  it's not about contraception, it's about religious freedom and it's fitting that religious leaders were on the panel.

"The real issue here, it's not birth control; it's religious liberty, it's freedom of conscience, [and] it's the freedom of individuals and their churches to determine their own positions and their own policies about contraception and abortion,"

From the Catholic News Agency (quoting Pamela Haag):

“The phrase 'women’s health' in the birth control dispute is the latest nimble euphemism,” author and blogger Pamela Haag wrote in a Feb. 17 essay published on the “Marriage 3.0” blog.

Access to contraception, she said, “isn’t really about my 'health.' It’s not principally about the management of ovarian cysts or the regulation of periods.”

“Birth control isn’t about my health unless by 'health' you mean, my capacity to get it on, to have a happy, joyous sex life that involves an actual male partner,” wrote Haag, criticizing White House supporters for discussing contraceptives mainly as “preventive services” for women's health.

Even the folks who support the mandate (who are not following the administrations party line) know that it's not about health, it's about the ability of women to have sex without responsibility or consequences.

From Timothy George and Chuck Colson , via Christianity Today:

But Catholic institutions aren't the only ones affected by this mandate. Prison Fellowship, for example, which employs 180 people, could not purchase insurance for its employees that covers abortifacients. Nor could the world's largest Christian outreach to prisoners and their families afford the fines we would incur.

Three years ago, when we co-authored the Manhattan Declaration, we predicted that the time would come when Christians would have to face the very real prospect of civil disobedience—that we would have to choose sides: God or Caesar.

Certainly for the Catholics and for many of us evangelicals, that time is already upon us.

Rev. Matthew Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod:

Harrison's goal Thursday, he said, was to tell Congress to "get the federal government out of matters of conscience for religious people, particularly in life issues where there's long-standing moral and ethical church precedent."

But he also wanted to drive home the intense feeling of alienation that, he said, conservative people of faith feel under the Obama administration. He said he would rather go to jail than comply with even the modified mandate, and that he would "give up my sons to fight" for the First Amendment.

On Friday, he explained those comments: "We've laid down our blood to have a free exercise of religion in this country and will continue to do so."

Harrison told the committee of the charitable work of the Missouri Synod and its members, calling the church "a machine which produces good citizens for this country, and at tremendous personal cost."

The members of his church "work, pay taxes, are charitable and responsible, take care of their children, participate in their communities and government, and serve in military," Harrison said. "The state should be interested in religion for this purpose: We produce good citizens. So stop attacking us. We are in every way a blessing for this country. We feel attacked for our fundamental convictions as if we're a detriment to our country. And that is a lie."


A commenter here (Elena) left a link in the comments section that (in a nutshell) says that our Christian marriages must reflect the church's marriage to God (so far, I agree). To go further (relate it to birth control), God would never use contraception in His marriage to the church, therefore we must never use birth control either. This theology (study of God) does not address the difference between artificial birth control and Natural Family Planning.

Actually, I fully accept Philothea Rose's view on God's marriage and our marriage...I just followed her reasoning to its logical conclusion...read on.

This is, primarily, mental Onanism. Fun, with little hope of producing anything.

Anyway, given that the way God increases His family is through salvation, the linked post connects contraception with sotierology. This argument actually strengthens the idea that God has a permissive will when it comes to family planning - and that God is a Calvinist (actually, the correct way of looking at the grammar - that Calvin's theology of sotierology is correct).

I'm going to look at this from both a Calvinist and Arminian/Catholic view of salvation.

This is premise I'm using - either you are conceived here and "born" when you enter heaven, or you are both conceived and fully born into the faith here.

1) (everybdy). We all recognize that God works in real and specific ways, and at very specific times in order to bring us to Him. If we fall upon our faith in His timing, is He not planning the time of "conception"? This supports family planning...however...

1) (Arminian/Catholic) If the way God increases His family is through salvation, and His will is that *everybody* comes to Him - how can you then justify Natural Family Planning? If God wants every single person possible to come into His family, how can a couple who says that artifical birth control is wrong, justify *not* wanting every single person possible to come into their family? I don't think you can. If you want your marriage to truly reflect God's marriage, you must strive to have as many babies as you possibly can. The Natural Family Planning thing does not reflect God's marriage.

2) (Calvinist) If the way God increases His family through salvation, and you believe in election (some are chosen, some are not), those who are "hardened", those who are prepared for destruction - the objects of God's wrath...these are never conceived. Faith is a gift from God and faith = belief = being conceived into the family of God. In sotierology/contraception theology, those who do not receive the gift of faith (belief/fertility) also do not receive the gift of life (conception/salvation).

3) (Arminian/Catholic) Arminius and the Catholic Church teach that a person can lose their salvation. This is where I think that an Arminian or Catholic should (yes, should find this sotierology/contaception theology absolutely abhorant.

If God gives a person the gift of life (salvation/conception) only to remove it later - is that abortion, or infanticide? The other issue - if God can abort a person that He has given the gift of life to, because He has found them wanting, that supports the idea that it is permissible for a couple to abort a baby that is found wanting. Do you really want to go there?

I reject the idea that God supports either abortion or infanticide, when it comes to His marriage and His family, so I must either reject Arminianism/Catholicism or sotierology/contracteption or both.

4) On the flip side, Calvinism, once a child is conceived (saved), they are secure, God will never get rid of them. There will be those who "fall on rocky soil", who never come to belief (I guess you could relate that to a miscarriage). But once you are given the gift of faith, God will not lose you.

So, there here are the points - if you truly want to
- God either is permissive (or even actively supports) family planning, or all family planning is sin, even NFP
- if you believe that the doctrine of election is true, then God specifically plans His family.
- if you believe that a person can lose their salvation, then God supports (and practices) either abortion or infanticide (I reject this)
- If you believe perserverance of the saints - that you cannot lose your salvation, then you believe that God would never abort one of His children.

Conclusion - if you're a Calvinist, you're okay with God practicing family planning. If God's okay with family planning, I am too...

If you believe that a person can lose his or her salvation, you are also okay with God practicing family planning, only in a much more disturbing way.

Taken to its logical conclusion, either this theology does not work...or Calvin was right.


These debates always trigger a much deeper dig for me...and I looked into Judah and I'm struck once again that the kinds of people God uses for His purposes. Certainly, He didn't use the perfect, and that is more to His glory.

I once heard a saying, "The footsteps your children will follow are the ones you thought you covered up..."

Judah was not the first son, he was the fourth son of both Jacob and Leah (the unfavored wife).

Maybe to understand Judah and "the trouble" with Tamar (I doubt that when God took an entire chapter to tell Tamar's story, all He had in mind was contraception), you have to go back to Judah's grandfather, Laben.

Remember, Jacob was all about avoidance (of Esau), when he fled to Haran. He and his mother conspired to lie to Isaac, in order to have Jacob sent to Haran. There, he found Rachel and asked for her hand.

A fine example for his grandson, Judah (who would later send Tamar away with the promise of his third son) - Laben promised Rachel to Jacob - and then secretly gave him Leah instead. jacob worked longer in order to have Rachel as well, which set the family up for even more problems.

Jacob loved one wife more than the other and the wives ended up detesting each other - their marriage was less about love and more about a son-bearing contest, even to the counting of giving their personal hand-maidens to Jacob, in order to rack up more "son" points. Even so, Jacob was loved by God.

Later, when Leah's daughter, Dinah was raped by a young man who was very taken with her, the young man's father was prepared to do the "right thing" and marry the two. Two brothers (neither of them Judah) lied. They said they couldn't do it - unless all of the males in that city were circumcised. They agreed, had the "procedure" and when they were recovering, Jacob's two sons killed them all and plundered the city.

So we're finding that the sons of Jacob didn't seem to be the "good guys"

Even the sons of the different mothers hated each other. Jacob already had a bunch of sons before Joseph was born. The older sons knew that Jacob played favorites, and they hated the favorite.

When the brothers decided to kill Joseph, Judah was the one that talked them into selling him into slavery instead.

[Reformed theology note: this is a place where I can see man's sinful choices working with God's sovereign plan. If God's plan to put Joseph in Egypt were to succeed, was it possible for the brothers to have killed Joseph, instead of selling him? Was Judah acting out of concern for Joseph, or in the will of a Sovereign God?]

Then, they all conspired to lie to their father (kind of what goes around, comes around...)

At some point after that (the Bible isn't clear on timing) Judah "went down from"his brothers and married an unnamed woman (the daughter of Shua), but we do know that she had three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah.

I once heard a saying, "The footsteps your children will follow are the ones you thought you covered up."

I don't know if these guys even tried to cover these footsteps, but Jacob got what he was in Judah; Judah got what he was in Er and Onan.

When Er married Tamar, God killed him because of his wickedness. So, on to the next brother...Onan. We all know what happened there (although the Bible doesn't say exactly why, other than Onan did a wicked thing). One thing is sure, Er didn't have an heir.

So, Judah (doing what that family seemed to have done best) - lied. Again.

Judah sent Tamar off to her father's house as a widow, with the promise of his next son - a promise that he never intended to keep. This would hint that Judah still had legal control over Tamar, else her father could have married her to another man.

As it was, Tamar sat at her father's house, in limbo, knowing that the youngest son, Shelah, was all grown up. She took matters into her own hand, dressed up like a whore and Jacob solicited her (not the other way around).

She had to trick Judah into being her "kinsman-redeemer", fulfilling the family obligation.

I am struck at how God's purposes are fulfilled by the basest of men. If God can use these people, He will, perhaps, be able to use me.

We've read about Judah and all of his trickery, but he was also the father of the kingdom of Judah; Christ is the "Lion of Judah".

Judah's sons never made it into the genealogy of Jesus - but Tamar and Judah did.

Later on, Judah's another kinsman-redeemer didn't have to be tricked - Boaz, who married Ruth - great-grandparents of King David.

Maybe, just maybe - the moral of the story is that - no matter how bad we are, no matter what our family history is, no matter what influences we've had to deal with - God can use us.