The common factor behind why the pro-life movement can’t get traction but the homosexual movement advances unabated - and why we’re not talking about it.
But homosexual acts are immoral, and for the same reason that the use of contraception is immoral: they deny the inherent, natural meaning and order of our sexuality. Or, as St. Paul says in Romans 1.26, they are “contrary to nature.”
Thus, a consistent philosophy of sexuality requires that one either oppose both contraception and homosexuality or else embrace them both. Christians who oppose homosexuality but accept contraception are being inconsistent; if they (rightly) do not want to embrace homosexuality, then they need also to return to their historical opposition to contraception—which, in fact, was lost only in the last century.
The Costs of Silence
Of course, these connections are well known in certain circles, and have been examined in greater detail elsewhere. Why, then, has opposition to contraception remained on the periphery of pro-life and pro-marriage activism? I suspect there are at least two reasons for the reluctance to draw too much attention to contraception.
First, the contraceptive mentality is so deeply ingrained in American culture, and contraceptive use so unquestionably considered a great, even necessary, good, that it seems both futile and politically suicidal to fight against it publicly. This is probably a correct assessment for the short term. But since the life and marriage movements ultimately depend for their success upon convincing society to reject contraception and the disordered culture it inherently carries with it, they only postpone progress by remaining silent now.
Second, most people today who see the problems with contraception are Catholic (with some Protestant exceptions), and in many quarters the issue of contraception is seen as a strictly Catholic matter. Many Catholics fear that if they speak up about it, they’ll alienate their evangelical Protestant allies in the battles to defend life and marriage. But by remaining silent, they not only fail to address a significant roadblock in the way of their broader cultural goals, they also allow their allies to unwittingly help perpetuate the problem.
A New Movement
Despite the best of intentions, ceding the issue of contraception has been one of the great strategic errors of the pro-life and marriage movements. The blame can be shared by those Protestants who abandoned the historic Christian view of sexuality in the mid-20th century to accept contraception as well as those Catholics who have actively dissented from their Church’s teaching or remained silent about it (both clergy and laity).
Correcting the sexual confusion from which have sprung both the abortion holocaust and the cultural acceptance of homosexuality requires proclaiming the whole truth about the human person and sexuality, and this includes opposing contraception and the defective culture it inherently carries.
So, we need another movement. A serious, well-organized movement against contraception and for the true meaning of our sexuality is necessary for a successful defense of life and marriage in the long term and, more so, to any attempt to rebuild a sustainable culture for human flourishing.
A review of Mary Eberstadt’s book Adam and Eve After the Pill, published in Christianity Today in 2012, concluded: “In this day and age, such a suggestion will seem ridiculous to Christians and non-Christians alike, but the data is undeniable. If we want to think seriously and Christianly about sex, then we need to think seriously about contraception.”
Indeed, the fates of the unborn and the institution of marriage depend on it.
Brantly Millegan is Assistant Editor for Aleteia. He is also Co-Editor of Second Nature and Co-Director of the International Institute for the Study of Technology and Christianity. He is finishing up a M.A. in Theology at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity and will begin working on a Ph.D. in theology at the Catholic University of America this fall. He lives with his wife and children in South St. Paul, MN. His personal website is brantlymillegan.com.