Onward Christian Soldiers…”Birth Control”

Onward Christian Soldiers…”Birth Control

By: Jennifer Lawson -Zepeda

 “A good soldier knows many battles are always looming on the horizon, so he prepares to handle them one by one.” (The Christian Battle)  – Hector Earle

This series involves the Christian Soldier, his battles and how their battles affect the rest of us.  It also questions their theory that they are fighting government intrusion into our lives as Christian Fundamentalists insist they are doing today.  

Christian Soldiers 

Timothy 2:3-4

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”

Christians define their three enemies as:

  1. Desires of our human nature – “the works of the flesh”
  2. Pulls of a sinful society – “the world” 
  3. Battles against Satan and his ever-deceiving tactics

In the following article, The Christian Battle Christians assume they are on a mission to fight ongoing battles with mankind against their faith.  They assume that mankind is against them in our pursuit of progress and they have decided it is their duty to monitor the progress of mankind to ensure that others do not break God’s law, even if it has no effect on anyone’s life but the ‘heathen’ that breaks these laws.

A good soldier knows many battles are always looming on the horizon, so he prepares to handle them one by one. He doesn’t get confused and wonder why he must go into battle, for he is aware of his calling and expects to face the foe. The battles in which Christians are involved are a calling, and just like a soldier is proud to defend his country, we likewise should be proud to defend the cause of Christ in this age of “anything goes” and moral relativism.

(Source: http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/christian-battle/)

Christian Battles

Today’s Christian Soldiers have defined their battles and prepared for long wars.  There is a long list of issues they’ve decided to take on:

  • Deciding which birth control is acceptable for others
  • Deciding if people can wear Christian Symbols
  • Forcing anti-abortion views on everyone else
  • Preaching in public interrupting the peaceful enjoyment of others
  • Wearing clothing degrading other religions
  • Deciding which literature is appropriate for all of us to read
  • Deciding which sexuality is acceptable for everyone
  • Deciding who qualifies for marriage
  • Defending the right of religious protesters at private funerals

All of these issues and more have fallen in the Christian definition of battles they need to control.

Many of these battles fight for the right to determine values forothers, instead of defending a Christian’s right to enjoy their own values.   I’m guessing this need to control others falls under their theory of fighting “Pulls of a sinful society,” because logically, if something has absolutely no effect upon you, you really have no dog in that battle.

But, when you take a look at some of the Christian Soldier’s top battles, one wonders.  For this article, I’ll begin with the fight to control birth control for others.

The Pill

In 1960, the Searle drug company received FDA approval for a new pill called Enovid – the first birth control pill. This was a milestone in women’s reproductive health and Fundamentalist opposition to it; because it brought women to the forefront of taking control of their bodies and destinies.

The Catholic Church immediately took a stance against the use of artificial birth control, with  but Pope Pius XII suggesting an alternative form of birth control, using the rhythm method as a natural form of birth control. Previously, the only option approved by Rome was abstinence.

In 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower told the world in a press conference that birth control “is not a proper political or government activity or function or responsibility” and adds emphatically that it is “not our business.” By 1963, 2.3 million American women were using the Pill.

Less than a decade after President Eisenhower declared that the government should not get involved with birth control, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed through legislation for federal support of birth control for the poor.

Bare in mind that this legislation was not forcing birth control on the poor. It provided them access to birth control, if they so chose.

Those opposing birth control are not simply opposing this method for themselves.  They are inflicting their values on others.

Lyndon Johnson’s decision to offer federal support of birth control for the poor was an intelligent option for those who had little means to purchase something that could improve their lives — family planning.

Family planning has proved to provide poverty reduction around the world.

CONTINUED RAPID POPULATION GROWTH poses a bigger threat to poverty reduction in most African countries than HIV/AIDS, according to researchers.

Family planning programmes create conditions that enable women to enter the labour force and families to devote more resources to each child, thereby improving family nutrition, education levels and living standards.

Slower population growth cut the cost of social services as fewer women die in childbirth; and demand eases for water, food, education, health care, housing, transportation and jobs.

(Source: United Nations Population Fund, FAMILY PLANNING AND POVERTY REDUCTION BENEFITS FOR FAMILIES AND NATIONS)

But, if family planning benefits women, then why was there any opposition to it at all.  After all, thousands of unintended pregnancies cause ill health and maternal deaths each year. It has been found that access to contraceptives improves women’s lives. It can reduce poverty and slow population growth.  So why would anyone fight this?

Here is why:

June 23, 1964, Pope Paul VI created the Papal Commission on Population, the Family and Natality, informally known as the “Birth Control Commission.” This was the year of Vatican II and monumental reforms in the Catholic Church. Many within the church supported the use of the Pill. Both clerics and the laity were extremely hopeful that the Pope would approve the use of the Pill for Catholics.

The Pill became the most popular form of reversible birth control in America.

Despite general public approval for birth control, ghosts of the Comstock Laws lingered. Eight states still prohibited the sale of contraceptives, and laws in Massachusetts and Connecticut still prevented the dissemination of information about birth control.

In 1970, two-thirds of all Catholic women were using the pill, in spite of the church’s position on the pill.  In March of 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that in the case of Eisenstadt v. Baird a state cannot stand in the way of distribution of birth control to a single person.  It struck down Massachusetts law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives to unmarried women.

(Source: Timeline: The Pill)

Romans 14:1-23 

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

Birth Control Today

In Arizona, health plan coverage for birth control drugs has been changed by the government.  Legislation sponsored by a Republican representative, allows employers to request personal medical records from women who want to use their health care benefits to pay for birth control.

The bill would allow all employers with religious and moral objections to birth control to refuse to provide coverage for that purpose through their health plans. Those employers would still have to provide coverage for contraception drugs for other medical reasons but could make women seeking reimbursements explain why they needed it.

(Source: Arizona Might Curb Birth Control Coverage)

There are many arguments against the right of government to choose which treatment a woman may pursue with her doctor for her personal health. I’m not sure that politicians are the best reference for deciding medical treatment.

One thing that stopped me while reading this though, was the fact that never in the history of getting health insurance coverage, did I ever get a medical health insurance policy without paying a portion of the cost for my coverage.  This happens in the following ways:

  • joint payment of premiums
  • deductibles
  • co-payments.

So I wondered if this legislation didn’t inflict the employer’s moral values on the individual also paying for the coverage.  And where do we divide the rights of deciding which treatments are morally acceptable and which are not.

I think of the Christian Scientists who do not believe in medical science that we’ve charged with child abuse for not seeking medical treatment for their children.

And while I agree with that assessment, what makes my moral views any more significant than theirs?  Isn’t this the same thing?  We are deciding that the Christian has the right to determine which medical treatments are appropriate for the rest of us now, instead of the medical community.

On one hand, the medical community is trusted (as they should be) with deciding that not providing medical treatment is abuse.  On the other hand, we devalue the medical community’s opinion by saying Christians now have the right to make those decisions for us.  If that is so, then we are hypocritical if we don’t immediately release each and every Christian Scientist who has been charged with a crime for not medically treating their children!

And let me make this clear…I hope that never happens!

Yet, the Tea Party Christian Right claim: 

They don’t want government intrusion into our lives?

James 1:26:  “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” 

I’m not sure how this passage has been taken by those who call themselves religious.  To me, it is a beautiful quote that really gets to the essence of what God represents.  I’ve said it many times…I don’t hate religion, I hate Christians!  This is why…

Abortion

Around the 1820s, laws forbidding abortion after the fourth month of pregnancy came into play in America.  By the year 1900, abortion had  been outlawed.

In 1973, the Supreme Court threw out all the rulings against abortion after the case of Roe v. Wade, declared most existing state abortion laws unconstitutional.

This we all know!  This we do not question.  And many celebrated the decision.  It was a new time for women, where they finally had a choice about their own future and procedures affecting their bodies.

Others, especially in the Roman Catholic Church and Christian Fundamentalists were vehemently opposed to the decision of the Supreme Court.  And they set out on a mission to outlaw abortion and take back the control of women’s reproductive rights.

Operation Rescue

In 1987, Randall Terry formed the group Operation Rescue, which blocked entrances to abortion clinics and many family planning centers.  He was one of the pro-life group that opposed the Supreme Court’s decision.

His views that abortion was murder and should be made a capital crime united many reborn Fundamentalist Christians.  They joined forces under the assumption that their morals represented the majority of Americans.

Hence, they came up with a new term, calling themselves the Moral Majority.  Randall Terry’s low regard for the laws caused his arrest over 40 times proving what his brand of morality was.

If one looks into his family life, one obtains a strong idea of what a ‘moral majority’ member believes is moral.  First, he banned his adopted daughter, Tila from his home after she became pregnant outside of marriage twice by age 18.  Then, he publicly humiliated his adopted son when his son decided to reveal he was gay.

In 2004, (his adopted son) Jamiel publicly announced that he was gay and wrote an article for Out Magazine for which he was paid $2,500. When he learned that the Out article was to be published, (Randal) Terry pre-empted Jamiel by writing an essay, My Prodigal Son, the Homosexual, in which he writes of pain and disappointment, blames Jamiel’s homosexuality and other troubles on his childhood experiences, and contends that much of theOut Magazine article is false and was written by other people.

Jamiel’s response was, “My father’s first and foremost aim is to protect himself. He talks about how I prostitute the family’s name, but he’s used the fact that he saved my sister from abortion and rescued me from hardship in his speeches and interviews. What’s the difference?”

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Terry)

His third daughter, the sister of Tila and Jamiel who he fostered and adopted, was never adopted by Randall Terry.  Ebony converted to Islam — a religion Randall Terry has preached is composed of “murderers” and “terrorists.”

Morals Christian Style 

Randall Terry was named as a co-defendant in the 1994 Supreme Court case, NOW v. Scheidler, a class action suit to compel pro-life leaders to compensate clinics for loss of business. Terry settled out of court with the National Organization for Women. Rather than pay the settlement, Terry promptly filed bankruptcy, prompting Senator Charles Schumerto propose an amendment to a bankruptcy bill in Congress which would “specifically … prevent abortion opponents from using the bankruptcy code to escape paying court fines.”

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Terry)

Romans 13:7-8 

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

The amendment was not included in the final bill. In 1998, NOW obtained more than 25,000 “frequent flyer miles” held by Terry in order to help satisfy a legal judgment. The long-running case was resolved on February 28, 2006, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 for Scheidler, against NOW.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randall_Terry)

Fast Forward to Tea Party  

Today, we have the Tea Party, once again, fighting legislation passed by the majority of Americans.  Now, they are trying to reverse court decisions, and in general…ignoring the majority of Americans’ views in their decisions to support a woman’s right to reproductive privacy.

And yet, they insist they want to keep government out of American’s lives.

The hypocrisy in their rhetoric has been captured by Santorum’s campaign now.

Finally pressed on why he supported the liberal, pro-choice Arlen Specter for president in 1996, he essentially conceded it was just business-as-usual political back-scratching: “Well, you know, when your colleague is running for office, and, you know, I was his colleague in the United States Senate, he asked me to stand with him. That certainly wasn’t one of my prouder moments I look back on. But look, you know, you work together as a team for the state of Pennsylvania and I felt that Senator Specter stood up and supported me when I was running in 1994 and I did likewise.”Yikes.

(Source: Right Turn, Santorum’s bad weekend (aside from PueRico, Rubin, J.)

So let me get this straight…the moral majority is only moral when their friends aren’t running for office?  WOW!

Victims, really???

His supporters have once again turned the victimization around. It isn’t the individual who wants to ensure their reproductive rights are respected.  Now, according to Santorum and the Christian Fundamentalists, it is the Christian who is cast as victim.

Now, it’s the control freak who has nothing to do with that person’s life’s decisions, who wants to force government regulations on that person’s decision making process over reproductive rights.

I see now…now I get it!  If you are a Christian or a ‘Conservative’ you have the right to use government to inflict your values on others.  But if you aren’t, then government is imposing their horrible control on you.

Santorum’s Reproductive Views

Mr. Santorum has expressed his disapproval over birth control and prenatal testing, and sex that’s unnecessary for the production of babies.

Santorum corrals his own life story to prove he knows about the perils of reproductive freedom. In 1996, his wife, Karen, gave birth to a boy, Gabriel Michael, at 20 weeks gestation. Sadly, the baby died after two hours.

It gets strange.

Rather than giving the child a quick and dignified burial, the Santorums brought tiny Gabriel home, where they and his three siblings cuddled and sang to him. Santorum even kept a framed photograph of Gabriel on the desk in his Senate office.

This unusual, to say the least, episode led Santorum to the conclusion that prenatal testing, such as potentially lifesaving amniocentesis, was a ploy by the medical community to identify and abort babies with Down syndrome and other afflictions.

(Source:  Weird reality of Rick’s World)

What Mr. Santorum will not tell you is the story of his wife, Karen and her six year love relationship with an abortion doctor.

Karen Santorum, the ultra-pro-life wife and mother of seven home-schooled children, has been the perfect complement to her husband, Rick, as he chases the Republican presidential nomination. On the campaign trail, the candidate often refers to her book,Letters to Gabriel, the story of the devoutly Catholic couple’s traumatic late-term 1997 miscarriage (the 20-week-old fetus lived two hours outside the womb). The couple opposes birth control as well as abortion, even in cases of rape.

But Mrs. Santorum, 51, apparently wasn’t always committed to the cause. In fact, her live-in partner through most of her 20s was Tom Allen, a Pittsburgh obstetrician and abortion provider 40 years older than she, who remains an outspoken crusader for reproductive rights and liberal ideals. Dr. Allen has known Mrs. Santorum, born Karen Garver, her entire life: he delivered her in 1960.

(Source: Before Karen Met Rick, Newsweek)

Mr. Santorum, under his veil of devout Catholicism conveniently leaves this story out the same way he left out his support of Arlen Spector.  Why?  Because he is trying to demonstrate what a good conservative he is.  I can’t help but think of this quote from the bible again:

Timothy 2:3-4

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 

If Santorum values himself as a Christian Soldier, then why does he keep entangling himself with the ‘riff raff ‘ he is fighting?