Beliefs Culture

Evangelical coalition rallies behind family planning

RNS photo courtesy NRCAT

WASHINGTON (RNS) A coalition of evangelicals is calling on fellow Christians to support access to family planning across the world, saying it does not conflict with evangelical opposition to abortion.

Most Americans believe employers -- even religious ones -- should provide contraception coverage for their employees, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

Most Americans believe employers — even religious ones — should provide contraception coverage for their employees, according to a new survey by LifeWay Research.

The centrist New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good released a 15-page document Monday (Oct. 16) calling for “common ground” support of family planning and the health of mothers and children.

“We affirm that the use of contraceptives is a responsible and morally acceptable means to greater control over the number and timing of births, and to improve the overall developing and flourishing of women and children,” said the Rev. Jennifer Crumpton, one of the advisers to the evangelical group.

The NEP document does not include abortion in its definition of “family planning.” It emphasized that access to contraception prevents unintended pregnancies and reduces abortion, and stressed the need to avoid “confusion of family planning with abortion” that has led some religious groups to oppose both.

“It is urgent, urgent and imperative, that this issue be discussed and cleared up,” said Crumpton, a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister who was raised Southern Baptist.

The Rev. Richard Cizik is president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

The Rev. Richard Cizik is president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

The Rev. Richard Cizik, president of the two-year-old organization, said family planning used to be considered a “third rail” topic of discussion but his organization is now calling on churches to address it. He said NEP leaders intend to circulate the document to gain signatories.

The National Association of Evangelicals, where Cizik worked for years as vice president, has urged frank talk about the vast majority of young evangelicals engaged in premarital sex and briefly mentions family planning in its online “Theology of Sex” document. Among discussion items for church leaders is a question about whether they should advise their congregants on “informed choices about family planning.”

An NAE representative could not be immediately reached for comment about the New Evangelical Partnership document.

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About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

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  • “in the beginning, it was not so.” In his response to the question of divorce, Jesus directs us to the original form of relationship between man and woman where the love between a man and women, both spiritually and physically is meant to be nuptial, and an experiencing of authentic love. That is, loving as God loves. St. Paul also tells us that our marriage is to image Christ’s love for his Church. God loves us freely and totally, his love is always life giving, and it is eternal. Christ loves his Church unto death, holding nothing back for its sake.

    When a married couple uses artificial contraception, they are not loving as God loves. They are holding back a part of themselves, and the marital union is no longer life giving. Their love is incomplete and it hurts the relationship. Taking fertility out of the marital act leads to the use of the other person for what they can give us, not loving that other person for who she or he is.

    The birth control pill many times acts as an abortifacient, so this most common form of artificial birth control can result in an abortion and cannot be completely separated from the stance that one is against abortion, and also support the use of the pill.

    Promoting the use of artificial contraception encourages pre-marital sex, when as Christians, we should be instead encouraging young adults to understand the God’s plan for their sexuality is in marriage, not outside of it.

    Up until 1929, all Christian churches denounced birth control. The Anglican church was the first to officially allow its use by its members, and most denominations have followed suit. Since that time, and especially since the advent of the birth control pill, we have seen a surge in divorce, single parent families, physical abuse of women, and pornography in our so called advance society. Only one church has remained steadfast in its opposition to artificial contraception and has recognized its contradiction to God’s gift of our sexuality, the Catholic Church.

    To accept artificial contraception because in the end it reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions is not a moral act as an objective evil cannot justify the means. The best way and only 100% effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies is to abstain from sex.

    If you are an evangelical, and your church or pastor is leaning toward, or has said that it is okay to use artificial contraception, or if you are interested in a very biblical exortation on marriage and sexuality I recommend you Google “Theology of the Body”. You won’t be disappointed. It will change your understanding of God’s plan for marriage and sex. It will also give you a new perspective on authentic love both in marriage, but also how we are to love everyone authentically.

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