Why Churches Shouldn't Push Contraceptives to Their Singles
At the same time, ideals can inspire. "The more transcendental your patriotism," Chesterton once said, "the more practical will be your politics." Communities where contraception is advocated as a solution (whether from the pulpit or in the counselors office) are communities free from the deadly burden of the cross, free from the sufferings and co-laboring that will inevitably come from caring for single mothers and their children. When I posed this idea to someone they suggested that no one would be with the single mother at 3 a.m. while the child is crying. That the possibility is ruled out before it can be considered says more about the extent to which we strive to keep our communities free from a bloodless martyrdom than it does about whether we should accept contraception.
There is no question that we need to reduce abortions, both inside the church and without. But as a church, we are not called to reduce abortions by any and every means available to us. Sin is compounding: error has a long train, and abortion is near the end of it. It is easy to turn to contraception in order to prevent abortions. But in doing so, we have not done what only the church can do: call people to repentance for our sins and exhort us toward the holiness that ought to mark us off as the people of God.
Matthew Lee Anderson is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why our Bodies Matter to our Faith. He writes at MereOrthodoxy.com, and you can disagree with him on Twitter.
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Earlier Christianity Today articles on contraception include:
Weblog: Are Artificial Contraception Foes Anti-Sex? | The New York Times Magazine looks at the contraception wars (May 5, 2006)
A Hard Pill to Swallow | How the tiny tablet upset my soul. by Agnieszka Tennant (Nov. 8, 2005)
Unwanted Interruptions | Why is our culture so hostile to children-inside and outside the womb? An interview with theological ethicist Amy Laura Hall (June 22, 2004)
Has Natural Birth Control Been Proved Impossible? | Don't believe the media reports, cautions the author of Birth Control for Christians. By Jenell Williams Paris (July 15, 2003)
Make Love and Babies | The contraceptive mentality says children are something to be avoided. We're not buying it. By Sam and Bethany Torode (Nov. 12, 2001)
'Be Fruitful and Multiply' | Is this a command, or a blessing? By Raymond C. Van Leeuwen (Nov. 9, 2001)
Mourning the Morning-After Pill | Ever since the introduction of the birth-control pill, "liberated" Americans have hankered after still more spontaneity: they have wanted a "morning-after pill" to baby-proof their relationships. A Christianity Today Editorial (Apr. 7, 1997)