R. Albert Mohler Jr. Responds to the Evangelical Unease Over Contraception

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of SBTS.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of SBTS.

Is evangelical unease about contraception really just a cover for conservative white male evangelical leaders to keep women out of pulpits? Evidently some think so, or fear so, or perhaps even hope so.

That was made clear in a recent Religion News Service op-ed by Jacob Lupfer, raising a key question about the controversy over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate: Are evangelical protests rooted in concern about religious liberty or about birth control? The answer is yes.

Lupfer argues that while the concerns are ostensibly about religious liberty, evangelical leaders are actually “attempting to sow seeds of doubt about the morality of birth control itself.” On that count, he understates his own case.

A good many evangelicals hope to do far more than sow seeds of doubt about the morality of birth control. Our concern is to raise an alarm about the entire edifice of modern sexual morality and to acknowledge that millions of evangelicals have unwittingly aided and abetted that moral revolution by an unreflective and unfaithful embrace of the contraceptive revolution.

Lupfer observes that the embrace of contraception “has become a fact of life in America.” Thus, those who push back against the contraceptive revolution are the standouts in this cultural moment, and Lupfer clearly asserts that something other than concern about birth control must really lie behind the evangelical urgency.

What would that be? According to Lupfer, “the intended effect of bemoaning contraception is to idealize pre-feminist conceptions of marriage and family.” Futhermore, he says, the concerns about contraception are “a mere skirmish in a larger theological and ideological battle.”

According to Lupfer, those larger theological and ideological battles include an evangelical ambition to increase “market share” by out-breeding those with other worldviews. He also suggests that male evangelical leaders operate out of a logic that comes down to simple arithmetic — the more children a woman has, the less likely she is to work outside of the home or to follow the modern feminist dream. But Lupfer does not stop there. He goes on to argue that keeping women out of the pulpit is the real issue, part of maintaining male control over women and their ambitions.

Wow. That is a lot to handle. Evangelical (white, male) leaders are accused of launching a moral, cultural, theological and ideological revolt against women, using the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate as pretext.

The problem with that accusation, however, is embedded in Lupfer’s own essay.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Religion News Service