Via Josh Tinley, a Chicago Tribune report indicates that some parts of the politically-active Christian Right outside of Catholicism oppose lawful contraception. And I'm not talking about the morning after pill, but methods that prevent fertilization, like condoms:
"It is clear there is a major rethinking going on among evangelicals on this issue, especially among young people'' disenchanted with the sexual revolution, said the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "There is a real push back against the contraceptive culture now.''
Mohler has written extensively on the subject on his blog. Here's one slice:
Second, we must affirm that God gave us the gift of sex for several specific purposes, and one of those purposes is procreation. Marriage represents a perfect network of divine gifts, including sexual pleasure, emotional bonding, mutual support, procreation, and parenthood. We are not to sever these "goods" of marriage and choose only those we may desire for ourselves. Every marriage must be open to the gift of children. Even where the ability to conceive and bear children may be absent, the will to receive children must be present. To demand sexual pleasure without openness to children is to violate a sacred trust.
Really? Why? How is this ethic exegeted? Mohler never explains. And despite his big pulpit, I might be inclined to dismiss this chilling perspective as a fringe movement, except that I have seen it before. In Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes:
One of the fundamental tenets of feminist ideology has always been the right of a woman to determine for herself if and when she will have children and how many children she will have. Shulamith Firestone, a feminist thinker and writer in the 1960s and 1970s, spoke for the movement when she insisted: "The heart of woman's oppression is her childbearing and childrearing roles."
The Christian world has been unwittingly influenced by this way of thinking, leading to the legitimization and promotion of such practices as contraception, sterilization, and "family planning." As a result, unwittingly, millions of Christian women and couples have helped to further Satan's attempts to limit human repoduction and thereby destroy life. (169)
This section is entitled Myth # 27 "It's Up To Us To Determine The Size Of Our Family." To her credit, DeMoss does at least try to make a Biblical argument, stating from John 10:10 that Satan wants to steal and destroy life. That's a proof-text that would make even Rick Warren cringe. Nor is it even applicable, as an unfertilized egg is not human life. If it were, women would be committing manslaughter every time they have a period. In fact, to carry DeMoss' argument to its logical conclusion, women are morally obligated to seek fertilization with each and every menstrual cycle -- whether or not they are married -- simply to prevent the death of this 'human being' within them.
This what I like to call a "retroactive argument" -- when a person predetermines an ethic and then seeks justification for it. The underlying motive is that some morally conservative Christians aren't just anti-abortion, they're anti-sex. This is a perspective with an ancient history, originating in Middle Eastern dualism that also gave rise to Christian and Jewish forms of Gnosticism during the Early Church period. The material world, especially the human body, is impure in this perspective (contra God, who declared his Creation 'good'). It eventually spawned the more extreme forms of monasticism and is still present in American conservative Protestantism. We've all heard fire-and-brimstone preachers order us to "Subdue the flesh!" Why? Because the human body, especially the of act sex, is inherently sinful (thank you so much, Augustine), even within marriage.
I just don't have the time today to create a clear argument for non-procreative marital sex being compliant with Christian ethics. But suffice it to say that my wife and I will continue to use birth control and I have yet another reason to vote Libertarian in the November election.