Should churches begin excommunicating infertile couples to win the marriage equality debate? Some see the action as necessary.
“I would rather be gay than childless” one young woman confessed during the Barren Believers couples retreat meeting. A shocking observation by any standard, it reflects the deeply personal pain facing Christians dealing with unfruitfulness or homosexuality. The subject is deserving of compassion.
Caught between what ‘can’ be done with the aid of science and what ‘should’ be done, many loving couples are left feeling perplexed and abandoned by their church. There’s a scriptural basis for this.
The Primary Goal of Marriage Equality – Makin’ Babies
The definitive phrase “marriage between one man and one woman” is a powerful one. Natural procreation requires one man and one woman to make a baby. Even bumper stickers say so.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” – Genesis 1:28
The scriptures, beginning with Genesis, reveal an evolution in the concept of marriage. The Genesis 1:28 command is a baseline. Within the marriage equality and barren marriage debates much of the contentious banter orbits around the Genesis 1:28 central policy. Separation of sexual acts from procreation is a direct violation of God’s order. It’s a sin. Both infertility and homosexuality separate sexual acts from procreation. While this quality makes gays and the barren equal in terms of Gen 1:28, it doesn’t mean automatic entitlement to marriage equality. There are other similarities to consider.
The Causes of Infertility and Homosexuality are Both Steeped in Sin
Infertility and homosexuality are not genetic. By definition, the trait of homosexuality or baby impoverishment cannot be passed on from generation to generation by reproductive means. For many Christians it is difficult to accept both fruity gayness and fruitlessness both as sins against God’s first command.
Sterile couples look normal, not at all like homosexuals. How could they be the same in sin? Through divinely inspired cognitive dissonance, the well sanded evangelical mind reconciles this seemingly confusing state of perplexes with clear reason. Babies are not born homosexual or infertile. Babies develop these conditions based on environmental, societal and demonic means.
Clearly, both homosexuality and baby poverty are the result of sin.
Infertility has many causes. Some – but certainly not all – are the result of sin. High on the list are sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), which are often the result of immorality.
Abortion, especially when repeated, is a leading cause of infection and scarring in the uterus that make later conception and implantation difficult or impossible. Studies show that STIs are aggravated by oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and elective abortion. Both abortion and PID cause ectopic (tubal) pregnancies which lead to infertility in many women. The number of ectopic pregnancies has sky-rocketed in recent years.
It’s ironic that one result of the “sexual revolution” is a rise in infertility. Other causes of infertility include pollution, alcoholism, drug abuse, marijuana use, and smoking. For the sake of the health and happiness of our young people, they need to be warned about the possible consequences of these behaviors to their future fertility. – Baptists for Life, Fertility Assistance Web Page
Walk this Way, All Non-Breeders
The evangelical warning against un-breeders compared to gay marriage equality has been similar, but culturally distinct. Both the perpetually childless and LGBT homosexuals are given similar advice to “pray away” their condition. While some proclaim effectiveness, it has failed to gain sustainable popularity.
Good examples for both ending infertility and homosexuality come wrapped in didactic patterns for male and female behaviors. “I am Maggie”, a graphic rendering of a woman’s role as wife and mother, is one such strong example from the Family Research Council.
The Family Research Counciloffers good advice for couples in Maggie and Hanks predicament. Focus on the Family, another group lead by the sage Dr. James Dobson, encourages women to accept their empty family with self-reflection and thoughtful review of the consequences of past sin by gently nudging the infertile bride and groom into feelings of worthlessness and malaise with regards to marriage. Marriage equality does not apply to infertile couples anymore than it applies to same sex couples.
“How Could He Still Love Me?” reflects the female voice of contrition by filling her empty, childless womb with shining jewels of doubt and self disgust. For men, the “Am I Less of a Man?” essay serves to place the infertile groom well below breeding counterparts in the faith hierarchy.
Both essays offered by Focus on the Family may seem harsh, but reflect faithful adherence to Genesis 1:28. This is consistent with church doctrine in that LGBT people are condemned as a less worthy. While perhaps the gays are not judged as gently as the infertile, both are validated as condemnable on the same scriptural basis. This leaves couples wanting a family in the dark. For some it means erring once again by turning to science.
Science is not a Continuation of Scripture
For those desiring parenthood, both LGBT and fallow ground couples, options are limited. In vitro fertilization or surrogates are a no-no for everyone, since they bring third parties into a marriage that may usurp the church’s third party authority over the union.
It is a displeasing condition when something works to a desired end (parenthood) and God’s response to prayer is a firm ‘NO’. No means no. God’s “NO” is in a capital letters. Science is like sass talking God.
The Bible remains God’s final word. There is no sequel, with the exception of knee-mail replies. Science, carbon dating, meteorology, evolution and more specifically the field of genetics and reproductive science are not divinely inspired.
Due to social networking and a devil soaked internet, far too many people believe they can find “community” and hope within science to correct their sin outside of church. The Bible doesn’t mention the internet or social networks. Clearly both LGBT gays and the infertileare called to remain alone in their pain.
Adoption is for ‘Real’ Families
Defining marriage as one man and one woman is predicated on the first directional command (Gen 1:28) given to Adam and Eve. It seems pretty evident, with nearly 7 billion people today, this command was enthusiastically understood.
What is maybe less known is because of Eve’s sinful nature the union lead to the formation of the first dysfunctional family. Comprehending this doesn’t require a great deal of cognitive lifting. Most will agree that when kids exhibit a sibling rivalry that ends in murder, the label of “dysfunctional family” doesn’t require extra debate glue to stick. This concerns many Christian leaders.
While some gay and infertile couples can pass adoption screenings, certainly not all can. Christians tend to want laws banning homosexuals and unfit un-breeders from adopting post born and pre-born children. Some find using the strength of the free market is best, by offering pre-borns on Craigslist.
Can Too Much Compassion for Infertile Couples Open the Door for Marriage Equality?
While some churches have threatened excommunication for infertile couples and even fired employees for seeking fertility treatments, many others attempt to understand why infertile heterosexuals are disappointed in the church’s teaching and allow non-breeders to remain in the church. This is dangerous.
The LGBT community seems almost tentative when it comes to pointing out the inconsistency of treatment for infertile couples as a crack in the marriage equality debate. Perhaps this is due to the deep kinship that sinners seem to share. More likely they understand the internal damage an infertile couple can cause.
When disappointment begins to gel, these non-breeders may question doctrine, refuse to watch the children in the nursery so breeders can enjoy a moment’s peace in Sunday service, or even shun or avoid calls for last minute babysitting.
Should Churches begin denying marriage equality to infertile couples? For some this would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water. For others, it’s about winning the marriage equality debate against homosexuality at any cost.