I've been reading a lot of Flannery O'Connor recently, and I came across her thoughts (as a devout Roman Catholic) on birth control. In a letter to a friend, she writes:
"The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease. I wish various fathers would quit trying to defend it by saying that the world can support 40 billion. I will rejoice in the day when they say: This is right, whether we all rot on top of each other or not, dear children, as we certainly may. Either practice restraint or be prepared for crowding..." (The Habit of Being, 338).
I was thinking about birth control already, after reading an article in The Economist about the impact of the one-child policy in China, and the preference for boys in both China and India. I wrote a post called 100 Million Baby Girls Who Never Lived for the Park Forum. An excerpt from that post:
Christians can attest that every human life is a valuable one. And yet it is worth considering whether Christians have contributed to the problem [of sex-selection]. Protestants have accepted the role of contraception for most of the past century, and contraception lends itself to the idea that human beings decide when and where to have babies. How much of a leap is it from deciding where and when to deciding which ones and how many?
What do you think? Is birth control an act of stewardship? Do most Protestant couples understand it this way? What impact does it have on families? On society? What relationship exists between the sexual permissiveness of our culture and birth control? What role did Protestant churches play in creating this relationship?
I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I am certain that support of birth control must be coupled with support of families and divorced from assumptions that it is God's will that we do what we want, when we want, with our bodies. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.