U.S. birth rates rise, media finds negative story

Story by Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow.com - 1/25/2008 4:00:00 AM

Birth rates are up in the United States, and most are saying that's a good thing. But Associated Press began its reporting of the highest U.S. birth rate in 45 years with a negative spin -- describing Americans as "bucking the trend in many other wealthy industrialized nations." However, Carrie Gordon Earll of Focus on the Family has a different take. "We consider this to be very positive," she reports.

But according to Associated Press, unnamed experts blame the rise on "a mix of reasons, [including] a decline in contraceptive use, a drop in access to abortion, poor education and poverty." Other media reports blamed lack of career opportunities for the increase in U.S. fertility rates. But Earll thinks the media may be missing the real reasons behind the shift.

"What it says is, to a great degree, Americans are still pro-baby. They are pro-child, and they're having children," she points out. "And we think that also speaks to the resilient message of the pro-life movement -- that children are a good thing, they are blessing, and that we want to be having them.

In light of the negative reports, Earll warns media consumers to take any analysis of new statistics propagated by the mainstream media with a grain of salt. "You do need to take into consideration their political and ideological perspective," she maintains, "because that will have an impact on how they interpret the data."



Freedom of the Christian

Genesis 38:8-10

8 And Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the LORD; therefore He killed him also.

Luther writes:

Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime to produce semen and excite the woman, and to frustrate her at that very moment. He was inflamed with the basest spite and hatred. Therefore he did not allow himself to be compelled to bear that intolerable slavery. Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore God punished him. [Luther's Works, vol. 7 : Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 38-44 (Ge 38:9-10)]

A friend has pointed out that many people argue that just because the church fathers, Luther, and others claim that intentionally non-procreative sex is a Sodomitic sin, does that mean it really is. Are they not also prone to error? We are certainly free as Confessional Lutherans to disagree with the non-confessional writings of Luther.

This is one of the major arguments people make against the position of this blog. My response to this argument is that if you disagree with Luther you aren't just disagreeing with him and a few church fathers and other wackos. You're disagreeing with the consensus of orthodox theologians throughout all ages, both liberal and conservative. There are few issues of exegesis on which there is the same unanimity with which the sin of Onan is interpreted. There was absolutely NO disagreement in ANY church that Genesis 38:10 condemned contraception until the middle of the Twentieth Century.

All the new interpretations I have encountered are not based on some new exegetical finding or correction, but rather on a desire to legitimize non-procreative sex in these latter days which celebrate individuality, self-fulfillment, and free-love. The new interpretations I've run into usually even contradict each other. More importantly, the new interpretations are inconsistent with the rest of Holy Scripture. Charles Provan (THE BIBLE AND BIRTH CONTROL) does a thorough job of debunking the most common of these modern interpretations using Scripture alone. I have also had some VERY productive arguments with others based only upon Genesis 38:10.

Ultimately, we must hold this as one of the clearest verses in which Scripture condemns non-procreative sex.

I'm not saying that one must always agree with an historical interpretation of Scripture. Indeed, we must be willing to throw out Luther and the Confessions themselves if and where we can prove them wrong on any point. But if one is going to disagree an historical interpretation of Scripture which is as solid in it's unanimity as that for Genesis 38:10, the burden of proof certainly is on that person to show why the historical interpretation is wrong. In all my years of studying this issue, I've never heard a single argument against the historical interpretation of Genesis 38:10 that is even slightly credible. Have you?

When you read modern discussions of the issue of contraception, I rarely see ANY reference to Scripture, nor any debunking of the historical position of the church. It is just assumed that we are "free" to plan our families because Scripture is silent on the issue. But the church has never before seen Scripture as silent on this issue. If they are going to disagree with doctrine that has been so consistently taught for 2000 years, they can't just say "Scripture is silent." They must prove the historical Scriptural position of the church to be in error! Until they do so, the church must hold to the teachings of our fathers.

The church throughout all ages has universally condemned the sin of Onan as the sin of family planning: St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (c. 339-397), Hexameron, 5.18.58; Athenagoras of Athens, Letter to Marcus Aurelius in 177, Legatio pro Christianis ("Supplication for the Christians"), page 35; St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo (354-430), De Nuptius et Concupiscus ("On Marriage and Concupiscence"), 1.17; Barnabas (c. 70-138), Epistle, Volume II, page 19; St. Basil the Great, First Canonical Letter, Canon 2 (A.D. 374); Caesarius, Bishop of Arles (470-543), Sermons, 1.12; Clement of Alexandria, "The Father of Theologians" (c. 150-220), Christ the Educator, Volume II, page 10. Also see Octavius, c.30, nn. 2-3; Ephraem the Syrian, De Timore Dei, page 10; St. Jerome, Letter to Eustochium, 22.13 (A.D. 396); St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 24 (A.D. 391); Letter of Barnabas 19 (A.D. 74); Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies (A.D. 228); Lactantius, Divine Institutes 6:20 (A.D. 307); Minucius Felix, Octavius, 30 (A.D. 226); Origen of Alexandria (185-254), Against Heresies, page 9; Tertullian, Apology, 9:8 (A.D. 197), and The Soul, 25,27 (A.D. 210).

And, until a half-century ago, all Lutheran theologians agreed that Scripture condemns contraception.

Let these modern antinomians contend with these historical, biblical interpretations of Genesis 38:10. Show us where they are wrong! Otherwise, hold your tongues about the "freedom of the Christian." Scripture condemns family planning.


Procreation Euphemisms

We often complain that "Pro-Choice" is just a euphemism for "Pro-Abortion." However, I'd suggest that the "Pro-Life" group is just as guilty of misusing terms. I believe it would be more accurate to call the "Pro-Life" group "Anti-Abortion." You see, to me "Pro-Life" means you are in favor of procreation. But I'd be willing to bet that the majority of those who claim to be "Pro-Life" are actually "Pro-Contraception."

Certain contraceptors would be correct to call themselves "Anti-Abortion" but not "Pro-Life." They are "Pro-Life" only in the sense that they don't believe in murder. They are in favor of preserving life. But they are not necessarily in favor of life beginning in the first place. More often than not, they actually suggest various forms of contraception in order to reduce abortion numbers. "Contraception" means "against conception" (i.e. against procreation). These Anti-Abortionists really are just simply against murder. "Don't murder a person," they say. "Instead, you should prevent the person from even being conceived!"

You see, both abortion and contraception are "Anti-Procreation." In fact, most of the birth control measures used by people are themselves abortifacient. The "pill" and all other hormonal birth control methods, not to mention the IUD, depend at least to some degree on abortion to successfully prevent birth. People who use these are being inconsistent (or just plain ignorant) when they claim to be Anti-Abortion.

In fact, those of us who are truly "Pro-Life" could be called "Anti-Contraception." But that's a double negative (anti-anti-conception). And Pro-Procreation is a double positive. We should be the ones to claim the term "Pro-Life." The Anti-Abortionists and Anti-Euthenasia folks will just have to accept this. We are with them in their battles against abortion and euthenasia, but they shouldn't pretend to be Pro-Life if they're not.


Contraception Discussions

Discussing contraception with a group of pastors recently, I was amazed at the lack of information they had as to the abortifacient nature of hormonal contraceptives. It was of great interest to them for me to describe the triphasic nature of hormonal contraceptives.

Amazingly, most people still do not know that prevention of implantation is one of the three actions the use of hormonal contraceptives relies upon. Here we are no longer discussing contraception, but rather abortion. Most people who use hormonal contraceptive are unaware that they are to some extent relying upon abortion as one of the modes of this form of birth control.

On the other hand, some who know about the triphasic claims of hormonal contraceptives try to deny the third phase of action that the drug manufacturers advertise about their products. They say there is not enough evidence that this third phase exists. In contradiction to this, fertility experts would be the first to admit to the abortifacient action. Hormonal contraceptives are known to thin the endometrium to a thickness which is considered inhospitable to implantation - a thickness fertility experts would consider a serious impediment to retaining a successful pregnancy. Why this information is still so little known is a mystery to me.

The other thing this discussion with pastors brought out is why so many pro-lifers are so intent on identifying the exact scientifically defined moment at which life begins. It seems to me that the only reason to do this is to identify the point before which we might feel free to interfere with God's procreative purpose of marriage. How pro-life is that?