Pregnancy and Flu Pandemics

Lisa Krieger writes for Mercury News, quoting Dr. Steven Parodi, regional chief of infectious disease with Kaiser Permanente:

Although pregnant women have many of the same initial virus symptoms as other people, they face greater odds of complications, Parodi said.

"During pregnancy, the immune system has different components. A pregnant woman's immune system shifts away from the ability to fight off viruses and shifts more toward fighting bacteria," Parodi said. "It puts them at higher risk of viral influenza."

The growth of the baby compresses a woman's lungs, so her breathing capacity is reduced. "With less lung capacity, you're more likely to get sick," he said. "And if you get an infection, it's harder to clear."

Flu seems to also increase the risk of delivery complications, such as spontaneous abortion and preterm birth, especially among women with pneumonia.

Additionally, it poses problems for the baby, if the woman has high fever. Studies show that maternal fever during the first trimester doubles the risk of neural tube defects and other birth defects. Maternal fever during labor is a risk factor for seizures, encephalopathy, cerebral palsy and infant death. Doctors recommend treatment with acetaminophen to reduce a pregnant woman's fever.

In England, initial hysteria over infection caused the nation's Department of Health to advise women to consider delaying conception until the pandemic passed. The Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also advised pregnant women to avoid rush hour, stay indoors and restrict the movement of other children so the virus didn't get brought home. But both groups have since softened their stance.

Pregnant women should feel free to work, play and do other normal activities, Parodi said.

"Pregnant women should avoid people who are coughing or actively ill," he said. "And if we're ill, we should protect them, by not going to work. It's a way we can all help."

An elevated number of influenza-associated deaths among pregnant women were reported during the pandemics of 1918-1919 and 1957-1958. In a study of 1,350 women who had flu during the 1918 pandemic, about half the women got pneumonia and about half of the women with pneumonia died — a case-fatality rate of 27 percent. During the 1957 flu pandemic, pregnant women accounted for half of the flu deaths in a study of Minnesota women of reproductive age.

I wonder if the Vatican (or even Lutherans) would consider this current pandemic a "serious" and "grave" reason to avoid conception.


A Baby Cut from Her Mother's Womb ... Survives!

FoxNEWS reports that "A baby cut from the womb of her murdered mother in Massachusetts was found alive in New Hampshire."

The murder victim was eight months pregnant.

The child, fortunately, survived and is now receiving proper medical care.

This is a good reminder to those who favor late-term abortions that a child in the womb is a living child. But how sad it is that such a reminder should even be necessary, and how sad it is that the baby's mother did not survive and that the father's identity is uncertain.

Read about it here.

May God our heavenly Father care for this precious orphan among us.


Is The Gay Marriage Debate Over?

Is The Gay Marriage Debate Over?
What the battle for traditional marriage means for Americans—and evangelicals.
Mark Galli | posted 7/24/2009 10:27AM

at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/july/34.30.html

An excerpt with my comments:

One could become wistful about the time in history when marriage was a settled affair, when everyone agreed on what it was, when no nation on the planet would have entertained the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage. But wistfulness is usually reserved for times long ago and places far away—not for a state of affairs that existed less than a decade ago.

In December 2000, the Dutch parliament became the first to pass legislation that gave same-sex couples the right to marry, divorce, and adopt children. On April 1 of the following year, the mayor of Amsterdam officiated, for the first time in human history, at the ceremonies of the first four gay couples. In the ensuing eight years, Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), and Norway (2008) followed the Netherlands' lead, and Sweden may now not be far behind.

* * *

[T]raditional Christians feel like the armored tank of history is rolling over them, crushing traditional marriage under its iron treads, impervious to argument, the ballot box, or judicial logic. Even more disheartening has been to witness how, in each mainline denomination, and even in some evangelical seminaries, fellow Christians lobby hard for gay marriage.

* * *

David Blankenhorn, president of the New York–based Institute for American Values and author of The Future of Marriage, argued this in a nonreligious way in a September 2008 Los Angeles Times op-ed. There is one constant in the constantly evolving understanding of marriage, he says: "In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children."

Further, he says, "Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and a father, accountable to the child and to each other."

The argument is nuanced, and goes on to take into account heterosexual couples who will not or cannot have children. But he grounds marriage not in two people, but in two communities: the family and the state.

McGill University law professor Margaret Somerville, in a 2003 brief before Canada's Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, argued in much the same way. She says that to form a society, we must create "a societal-cultural paradigm." This is a constellation of "values, principles, attitudes, beliefs, and myths" by which a society finds value and meaning, both individually and collectively.

"Reproduction is the fundamental occurrence on which, ultimately, the future of human life depends," she says. "That is the primary reason why marriage is important to society." Thus, it is crucial that societies protect marriage as a fact and as a symbol, as that institution that fosters human life, doing so in the context of family and society. "Even if a particular man and woman cannot or do not want to have a child, their getting married does not damage this general symbolism."

Again, the argument is involved and nuanced. Both Blankenhorn and Somerville ground marriage in something larger than two selves who wish to find fulfillment. Marriage is inescapably connected to children and thus family, and family is inescapably connected to society.

The fact is that "if a particular man and woman [choose not to] have a child [as opposed to cannot], their getting married does . . . damage this general symbolism" and, indeed, the very foundation upon which marriage is built. I posted the following comment in to the article"

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony . . . duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained. First, It was ordained for the procreation of children . . . . Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication . . . . Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort . . . ." By accepting the licitness of contraception in the past century, "against almost unbroken [Christian] disapproval", as C.S. Lewis noted, Christians have undermined one of the three foundations upon which marriage is built. If we are to offer a coherent defense of traditional marriage, we must be open to life in our marital intimacy, returning to the accepted understanding of all Christians prior to the 20th century that contraception is gravely sinful. Matt. 7:1-5. May the Lord have mercy and forgive our sins.

Most of the other comments on the article rend one's heart.

Kyrie Eleison.


Ginsburg Perceives Eugenic Motivation to Legalized Abortion

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a NYT interview published July 7, 2009:

Q: If you were a lawyer again, what would you want to accomplish as a future feminist legal agenda?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.

Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?

JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong. (Emphasis added.)

Can it Get Any Worse?

You decide.

Yesterday (July 14, 2009), I posted on President Obama's appointee to head the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, who favors "a stance of 'respect for [patient] autonomy' and 'nondirective counseling'" when a mother "indicate[s] an interest in aborting" a child who is diagnosed in utero with a disability, such as Down Syndrome. See Dr. Collins versus Dr. Porter at http://lutheransandcontraception.blogspot.com/2009/07/dr-collins-versus-dr-porter.html. It is hard to imagine how it can get any worse than that. But . . .

In yesterday's (July 14, 2009) Washington Examiner, available at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Obamas-science-czar-suggested-compulsory-abortion-sterilization-50783612.html we read the following:

Obama's science czar suggested compulsory abortion, sterilization

David Freddoso reported,
Internet reports are now circulating that Obama's Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, penned a 1977 book that approved of and recommended compulsory sterilization and even abortion in some cases, as part of a government population control regime.

Given the general unreliability of Internet quotations, I wanted to go straight to this now-rare text and make sure the reports were both accurate and kept Holdren's writings in context. Generally speaking, they are, and they do.

The Holdren book, titled Ecoscience and co-authored with Malthus enthusiasts Paul and Anne Ehrlich, weighs in at more than 1,000 pages. Of greatest importance to its discussion of how to limit the human population is its disregard for any ethical considerations.

Holdren (with the Ehrlichs) notes the existence of “moral objections to some proposals . . . especially to any kind of compulsion.” But his approach is completely amoral. He implies that compulsory population control is less preferable, because of some people's objections, but he argues repeatedly that it is sometimes necessary, and necessity trumps all ethical objections.

* * *

Holdren refers approvingly, for example, to Indira Gandhi's government for its then-recent attempt at a compulsory sterilization program:
India in the mid-1970s not only entertained the idea of compulsory sterilization, but moved toward implementing it. . . . This decision was greeted with dismay abroad, but Indira Gandhi's government felt it had little other choice. There is too little time left to experiment further with educational programs and hope that social change will generate a spontaneous fertility decline, and most of the Indian population is too poor for direct economic pressures (especially penalties) to be effective.

When necessary, then, compulsory sterilization is justified. This attitude suffuses the following passage, in which the possibility of putting a “sterilant” into a population's drinking water is seriously discussed. Holdren and his co-authors do not recommend this particular method, but their objections to it are merely practical and health-related, not moral or stemming from any concern for human freedom.

* * *

Holdren and his co-authors . . . look with more favor on [a] “milder” form of coercive sterilization:

Of course, a government might require only implantation of the contraceptive capsule, leaving its removal to the individual's discretion but requiring reimplantation after childbirth. Since having a child would require positive action (removal of the capsule), many more births would be prevented than in the reverse situation.

Holdren and his co-authors also tackle the problem of illegitimacy, recognizing that it could be one consequence of a society which, in its effort to limit births, downgrades the value of intact nuclear families and encourages lifelong bachelorhood:
[R]esponsible parenthood ought to be encouraged and illegitimate childbearing could be strongly discouraged. One way to carry out this disapproval might be to insist that all illegitimate babies be put up for adoption -- especially those born to minors, who generally are not capable of caring properly for a child alone...It would even be possible to require pregnant single women to marry or have abortions, perhaps as an alternative to placement for adoption, depending on the society.

So, while Dr. Collins favored no efforts to dissuade a mother from aborting her disabled child, John Holdren favored involuntary sterilization and even abortion in some cases. The reader can decide which is worse. These are examples of those whom our nation now has directing our health and science programs.

Kyrie eleison.


Dr. Collins versus Dr. Porter

As readers may be aware, Dr. Francis Collins, an Evangelical Christian, has been appointed by President Obama to head the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Collins does not hold views on the sanctity of human life which one would hope from a man who is known for being a devout Christian. For example, David Klinghoffer's article at Beliefnet notes that Dr. Collins:
considers [in a book he co-authored in 1998] a bioethical situation where a genetic counselor is discussing with a (married) mother, 8 weeks pregnant, whether to abort her child because there's a 7 to 8 percent chance the child will have a mild learning disability. Should the mother indicate an interest in aborting, Collins and his two co-authors commend to the counselor a stance of "respect for [patient] autonomy" and "nondirective counseling."

See "Francis Collins on Abortion: Obama's Pick for NIH and His "Devout" Views on Terminating Down Syndrome Children," available at http://blog.beliefnet.com/kingdomofpriests/2009/07/francis-collins-on-abortion.html.

Contrast this with the view that handicapped children are gifts from God to bless their parents expressed on the first hour of the July 13, 2009 episode of Catholic Answers, "Raising a Handicapped Child," available at http://www.catholic.com/audio/2009/mp3/ca090713a.mp3.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days.

May God open the hearts of our people to love the children made in His image with which He so graciously blesses us and not to contemn the gifts of God.


Sell your eggs for a free Indian Vacation!

From an email sent to me from a friend, commenting on the depths to which we have sunk and how our "liberated" age has just opened new avenues for women to be exploited.


When I first heard about the Indian "rent-a-womb" industry, I couldn't believe Oprah was promoting it as a good thing for women. And yet she presented it as a great opportunity for women. I am still mystified as to how she could see this as anything other than what it is - the exploitation of poor women of color for the benefit of wealthy westerners. The industry in Inda is still almost completely unregulated and has now started advertising on college campuses here.

OK, so I'm not allowed to eat Big Macs, Twinkies or GM corn, but if I am 20-something, smart and healthy, I can pump my body full of chemicals that will likely leave me infertile with a greatly increased risk of cancer and may even cause a stroke or death -- all for the benefit of some rich couple. What do I get out of it? A few bucks in the bank and a free vacation to India.

Yea, I am woman, hear me sell myself.

Kamilla Ludwig

ht: Jennifer Lahl www.cbc-network.org

(I also hope to have my own post up this weekend: www.bravelass.blogspot.com )

Arjuna on the Destruction of Family

I have joined a reading group at the Christian university at which I work on Indian literature as part of the university's programs in India. We are meeting today and I am finally getting around to reading The Bhagavad-Gita (as translated by Barbara Stoler Miller). For those unfamiliar with the work, it begins with a war between family members competing for a kingdom. Arjuna is torn by his duty to the kingdom and his duty to his family and asked Krishna to advise him. Some wise words from that work (even if based on a false religion) which have application to our time and place:

How can we ignore the wisdom
of turning from this evil
when we see the sin
of family destruction, Krishna?

When the family is ruined,
the timeless laws of family duty
perish; and when duty is lost,
chaos overwhelms the family.

In overwhelming chaos, Krishna,
women of the family are corrupted;
and when women are corrupted,
disorder is born in society.

. . .

The sins of men who violate
the family create disorder in society
that undermines the constant laws
of caste and family duty.

Krishna, we have heard
that a place in hell
is reserved for men
who undermine family duties.

Kyrie eleison.


Whom Are You Receiving?

“So, what are you having?”

Call it a rite of passage. Every pregnant couple goes through it. Friends, relatives, and even those less familiar—the cashier at Wal-Mart, the teller at the local bank, or the Schwann’s deliveryman—ask, “So, do you know what you’re having?”

Customary responses include “a boy,” “a girl,” “we don’t know yet,” and “we’ve decided to keep that a secret.” I know of one couple who replaced “we don’t know yet” with “Yes, we know what we’re having—a Lutheran, of course!” (Their Lutheran pastor baptized the baby within hours of birth.)

The question “what are you having?” may seem innocent enough, and no doubt most who ask it have no ill intentions. Nonetheless, there is something unsettling about the question itself. This becomes clearer with each new pregnancy.

“Are you hoping for a ... this time?”

Consider, for example, the typical experience of a couple whose first child is a girl. With Baby #2 now in the womb, the question “so, what are you having?” is joined by “Are you hoping for a boy this time?” The question makes sense in a culture where some parents do hope for a boy when they already have a girl (or for a girl, when they already have a boy). But the question also normalizes this attitude, as if “hoping for” one sex or the other is an attitude worth encouraging.

“Are you trying for a ... this time?”

After two or more girls, the question becomes, “Are you trying for a boy this time?” The phrase “trying for,” as compared to “hoping for,” suggests a greater degree of agency on the part of the parents—as if there is something mom or dad could do to determine the baby’s sex.

King Henry VIII unfortunately blamed his wife for failing to bear him a son; ignorant of genetics, he did not realize it was his failure to contribute a viable Y chromosome that resulted in the child’s feminine sex.

What are you technologizing into existence?

As Francis Bacon quipped, “Knowledge is power.” Now that we know about X and Y chromosomes, among other things, technology has empowered us to choose sons over daughters, or vice versa. Men and women (I won’t quite call them fathers and mothers, since in vitro fertilization technicians assume part of those roles) can now quite literally “try for” and even “obtain” a boy or a girl at will—and for a hefty price tag, too.

Having morphed from “what are you having?” to “what are you hoping for?” to “what are you trying for?” to “what are you biotechnologizing into existence?”—alas, the question no longer appears so innocent.

Broadening our horizons, increasing our cross-cultural awareness, only reveals the problem more deeply. In China, for example, a one-child government policy and a cultural preference for sons over daughters (or, son over daughter—singular) has encouraged the deployment of surgical abortion for purpose of sex selection. As for sex selection in the United States, it perhaps is more common to “terminate the spare embryos” at an IVF clinic, or else to freeze them indefinitely until a more convenient time.

May I take your order, please?

Extreme examples, perhaps. But even the original question already stands at the edge of the proverbial slippery slope. “What are you having?” Is that really how we speak of children? Such a question is more appropriate for a restaurant. The wife peers over her menu, asking her husband, “So, what are you having?” Then the waitress arrives, inquiring, “May I take your order please?”

Yes, I’d like one of each, please.

Similarly, “Now that you have three boys, are you hoping for a girl this time?” follows a grammatical pattern more appropriate for a buffet line. People pass through, loading their plate with at least one of each kind, and going back for seconds if they have a favorite. But in the “buffet line” that people have misconstrued pregnancy to be, God sometimes serves several helpings of one sex before bringing the other sex to the table. How rude of Him, says our culture. We’d rather start with one of each.

And many would prefer to end with one of each, too. Perhaps all of those children’s books from the 1960s have brainwashed Americans into envisioning the perfect family as Dad, Mom, Brother, and Sister, plus maybe a cat or dog.

We’re finished now, thank you.

Those who came of age in the 1960s are prone today to assume that a family with, say, four daughters, would embark on the journey of pregnancy once more only to be “trying for” a son. A fifth (or more) pregnancy just does not make sense in this Era of Planned Parenthood, unless birth control failed or the parents really, really were hoping for a child of the other sex this time.

The buffet analogy strangely fits here, too. “We’re finished now.” Those who don’t call it quits after about seconds or thirds attract glares, ranging from curiosity to ridicule. “Don’t they know when to quit?”

But let’s press the question a little further. Quit on what basis? We’re talking children now, not the buffet line. Should a couple intentionally stop having children after being blessed with at least one boy and one girl? Or after having three or four or five children all of the same sex—as if it’s time to give up “trying”? But if it was proper to be “trying for” one sex or the other in the first place, why does it become less appropriate as the family expands? The logic seems to be this: try for one boy and one girl, but stop trying once your family size starts to impinge upon your lifestyle. Follow that rule, and no one will stare at you when you take your (two or three) children out in public.

Fortunately not all see family size in terms of "trying for" and then quitting. I rather like the slogan the Concordian Sisters have adopted – entrusting one’s family size to God means that “your family size determines your lifestyle rather than the other way around.”

Whom are you receiving?

In Holy Scripture, of course, children are not regarded as buffet servings. Nor does the Bible teach that children are things to be had, hoped for, tried for, or biotechnologized into conformity with one’s narcissistic dreams. They are persons to be received. Perhaps next time you talk with someone who is pregnant, you could try asking “What do you know about the one whom are you receiving?” rather than “What are you having?”

Receiving, of course, requires a sender. That makes it different than merely “having.” God sends. We receive. Or so the Lord intends it. As Christ instructed his disciples, “whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:5). Suggesting that this attitude toward children properly extends back to conception, The Hausvater Project has encouraged “that husbands and wives welcome all of God’s procreative blessings in their marriage, recognizing children as a heritage of the Lord.” This concisely captures the attitude expressed in Genesis 1:28, 24:60; Psalm 127, 128, etc.

Whom have you rejected?

Too often we receive, but begrudgingly. (Dare a parent ever admit to a child, “We decided to have a fifth, because we were hoping for a girl, but then we ended up with five boys instead”?) Sometimes we reject rather than receive—whether preemptively through contraception or after the fact through surgical abortion and the several forms of hormonal birth control that also function abortifaciently. Sinful actions stem from sinful thoughts (cf. James 1:14-15). Receiving begrudgingly is the first step toward rejecting murderously. Neither attitude welcomes children.

“I tell you the truth,” said Jesus in anticipation of the Day of Judgment, “whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:45).

Who has forgiven you?

Thankfully, Jesus also said more. He did not take on human flesh and walk this earth merely to condemn us for sinning endlessly against him and our neighbors in thought, word, and deed—although he surely had plenty of solid evidence at his disposal had condemnation been his game plan. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). This includes cheating tax collectors (the immediate context of the verse just quoted) as well as reluctant or picky parents. Indeed, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). (How frequently I have been comforted by that little word all—Christ purifies us from all unrighteousness. Hebrews 9:12 similarly emphasizes the all-sufficiency of Christ’s forgiveness for us.)

Who has called you into parenthood?

“With the help of the LORD,” said history’s first mother, “I have brought forth a man” (Genesis 4:2). And so it has been thereafter. God “opens” and “closes” wombs (Genesis 20:18, 29:31, 30:22). “Sons are a heritage from the LORD” (Psalm 127:3).

Parenthood is a divine vocation, as our Lutheran fathers testified (LC Fourth Commandment; LC Sixth Commandment; AC XXIII; AC XXVI, 10; Apol. XXIII [XI]—not to mention many other writings by Luther, Chemnitz, and the like).

Keeping this fact in mind may guide our conversations with others.

How can you answer those who ask?

“So, do you know what you’re having?”

“We know very little about the child whom we’re receiving. But we don’t worry so much about that. We know the One who has sent this child into our lives. The Lord our gracious God will take care of us, and help us to care for this child, no matter what may come. If we receive a son, we’ll raise him to be a man of God. If we receive a daughter, we’ll raise her for godly womanhood. Either way, we are grateful, and humbled, just to have the opportunity.”


J.W. Montgomery on "How to Decide the Birth Control Question"

In preparation for the Apologetics Academy in Strasbourg, I've been cramming the reading list for the course. One of the books I picked up in the final hours before leaving is "Slaughter of the Innocents: Abortion, Birth Control, and Divorce in Light of Science, Law, and Theology" (1981) by John Warwick Montgomery, founder and instructor for the Academy. His personal website is: http://www.jwm.christendom.co.uk/.

Dr. Montgomery resists a blanket condemnation of birth control but restricts it to marriage and the couple's consideration of their own physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual situation. "However he is led to fulfill his personal responsibility before the Lord of the church, the Christian stands free from the shackles of legalism and from the chaos of libertarianism. He suggests we present our bodies in a reasonable act of worship.

On the whole, Montgomery is condemning of both Rome for its view of marriage as "a means to the end" of procreation, and also of liberal Christianity which views marriage as "an end" unto itself.

Understood in the light of New Testament fulfillment [Eph 5:22-33], marriage cannot be regarded as simply a means ("Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth") or unqualifiedly as an end ("They shall be one flesh"). Rather, it is seen as an analogy - indeed, ss the best human analogy- of the relationship between Christ and his church... When, and only when, marriage is viewed as the type of which Christ-and-church are antitype can we avoid the Hegelian-like dialectic extremes of the Roman and liberal Protestant views of marriage and birth control."
To summarize, his following points highlight how Christ-and-church antitype inform the type of marriage. Namely:
  1. Marriage is not viewed as simply procreative. Birth control can aid in "subduing the earth". Yet, NFP is rejected for its Manichean and Neoplatonic depreciation of the flesh and the psychosomatic wholeness of marriage and the woman's cycle.
  2. The human love relationship is not an end in itself. "The love relationship between male and female must never be absolutized. It is truly meaningful only insofar as it reflects the Christ-relationship. Apart from this it becomes idolatrous, taking on demonic quality despite its lack of genuine ultimacy."
  3. In light of the divine analogy, children are central to the marital union. "As the union of Christ and his church does not exist for its own sake, but to bring others to spiritual rebirth, so the marital union is properly fulfilled in natural birth. And since natural birth precedes spiritual birth, as creation precedes redemption, so the Christian home can be the greatest single agency for nurture in the twofold sense... The burden of proof rests, then, on the couple who wish to restrict the size of their family; to the extendt possible and desirable, all Christian couples should seek to "bring many sons unto glory."" (25)
  4. "Sexual relations outside of marriage are unqualifiedly to be condemned, not for naturalistic (and logically questionable!) reasons... but because they violate the high analogy of Christ-and-church.
While we may find his permissive approach to birth control objectionable, Montgomery is right to caution against the extremes of legalism and libertarianism. Montgomery urges us to not condemn those who reject the antitype of Christ-and-church where they honestly believe it will afford a better human relationship, either in the family or community. (He has here in mind overpopulated areas though not in Malthusian terms.)

Yet, He states we should encourage couples to do all they can to make their marriages "evangelistic- generatively and regeneratively." Rightly, he encourages adoption, not at the expense of childbearing. Here the infertile couple is offered "a superlative privilege and opportunity." (27)

The text is an interesting read and worth the trip to the library.

  • Montgomery, John Warwick. Slaughter of the Innocents: Abortion, Birth Control, and Divorce in Light of Science, Law, and Theology. Westchester, Ill: Cornerstone Books, 1981.