Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Onanism v. Homosexuality

After a bit of a discussion on Triablogue, (TB), the comparison of Onanism (Gen. 38:8-10) to homosexuality (Lev. 18:22) came up.  The original presenter of the article (Steve Hays, who remained silent during the comments, at least thus far) presented a link to a PDF, which for the most part the Catholic could agree to - however, when it came to points of artificial birth control (ABC) the author left objectivity behind and took a stance which has only been made somewhat popular (in non-Catholic sects) for less than 100 years - and really didn't pick up much popularity amongst such groups until the last 50 years or so.  There have been a couple more responses on TB since I started writing this article, but they (like I) are just repeating themselves which is why I decided to make a fuller response here with more detail and documentation.

Prior to the Anglicans relaxing SOME restrictions on ABC methods (1930) one would be hard pressed to find ANY Christian resources supporting ABC.  It would not be until the 1960's and 1970's during what is commonly called "The Sexual Revolution" - that ABC methods would become widely accepted in non-Catholic circles (and even some dissident Catholic circles too).

So what happened in 1930? 
Lambeth Conference of 1930 - Resolution 15
The Life and Witness of the Christian Community - Marriage and Sex
Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience.
Voting: For 193; Against 67.
It was here that for the first time a major Protestant communion opted for some limited use of contraception, so long as the motives were not selfish, based in luxury or mere convenience.  Now, honestly ask yourself, for what other reason, outside of a personal health issue, would have been considered acceptable by such limitations?  Not many, if any!  Yet less than 100 years later it is precisely for selfish, luxury or mere convenience reasons that contraception is practiced!  Today's practices by most who participate in contraception would be condemned by the 1930 Lambeth Conference!  It should be noted as well, than more than a third of the voting members of this conference voted against acceptance of the resolution.

So what happened in the 1960's and 1970's?

To be clear, the 1960's and 1970's didn't just pop out of a vacuum!  Ever since the 1930's the use of ABC's amongst Anglicans increased so that by the 1958 Lambeth Conference, most Anglicans were using various forms of ABC.  In less than 30 years the practice went from outright condemnation to commonplace.  And so that you don't think I'm just putting my Catholic bias on this, the following comes from "thechurchofengland.org" - an official Anglican website:
By the time of the 1958 Lambeth Conference, contraception was a way of life among most Anglicans, and a resolution was passed to the effect that the responsibility for deciding upon the number and frequency of children was laid by God upon the consciences of parents 'in such ways as are acceptable to husband and wife'.  http://www.churchofengland.org/our-views/medical-ethics-health-social-care-policy/contraception.aspx
If this weren't the reality, an objective reader might think I was using a slippery slope argument, but this IS the reality!  By the time of the 1960's and 1970's the rest of Protestantism was catching up to Anglicanism and the age of "free love" was born and songs like "Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight" by James Taylor (1972), and "We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (1978), just to name a couple, were climbing the charts and promoting sexual relationships without the committed relationship of marriage.

Now, while sexual promiscuity was in epidemic proportions and use of contraception was widely accepted, not everyone used contraception and even when they did, it was not always successful, so another phenomena was developing - more and more children were being born out of wedlock.  To prevent this, the crime of contraception turned even more sinister - abortion.  In 1973 the landmark case of Roe V. Wade decided that it was okay to kill the innocent victim of the sexual choices of the "parents" and made it, what we Catholics consider to be murder, just another "choice" in "planned parenthood" decisions.

What are many Evangelical Christians doing now?

Well, as an article in Salon puts forth, the anti-contraception movement (primarily Catholic) had not caught hold among Evangelicals, but that all changed in 2011.  The "HHS Mandate" was passed on July 19, 2011 and according to Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, on July 20 said: “HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has recommended mandatory coverage for ‘emergency contraception,’ which is a euphemism for the morning-after pill, which often kills a newly conceived child by not allowing the embryo to implant on the wall of the mother’s womb.”  In September of 2012 the founder of Hobby Lobby sued Kathleen Sebelius and based on the fact that his company was founded upon Christian principles, they should be exempted from the mandate.

The New York Times echoes the story that where once, 50 years ago, Catholics were essentially alone in the anti-contraception movement, today more and more Evangelicals are joining in.  Adding to that Kathryn Joyce of the Quiverfull movement argues that Christians who forgo contraception  "add children to the Lord’s army."

It seems that many Evangelicals are starting to realize the error of the slippery slope which Anglicanism began (officially) in 1930 (again, not in a vacuum, as the movement was gaining steam in the 1920's among Anglicans).

Which Church has officially not changed its stance on this matter?

While recognizing the abhorrent sins here, the Catholic Church has recognized, perhaps moreso recently than previously, that we must recognize the sinner and the sin are not the same.  While the Church has more openly embraced sinners - she has not changed her position on the sinful acts and/or lifestyles.  While the cliche may be a bit overused, it does ring true - "Love the sinner; hate the sin."  Pope Francis relates the Church to a "field hospital," and you really can't treat those who need you if you don't first bring them into the hospital!

So what happened on Triablogue?

Well, you can read the exchange yourself and see - but essentially, I can only assume here, that those respondents are supporters of ABC and/or participants in it - and thus have a vested interest in arguing for such methods, but do they realize they are so, so much in the minority of the historic Christian viewpoint?  Even among their own fore-fathers (for which they can only go back about 500 years, at best) ABC was by and large condemned.  In their relatively short history, only the last (less than) 20% of their existence as protesting (Protestant) Christians can be seen as supportive of the modern (or Modernist) views on ABC.  One would think this SHOULD cause them at least SOME concern!

Again, while this pro-contraception movement has only been part of Protestantism for the last (less than) 100 years of their (less than) 500 year existence - even there, the pendulum is beginning to swing back in the other direction.  More and more Evangelicals are coming back to the position that contraception is wrong and, like Quiverfull founder says, "children add to the Lord's army."


  1. rockingwithhawking 2/25/2014 1:47 AM

    Scott Windsor, Sr. said:

    I respectfully disagree. I have taken the text and exegeted precisely what it says - that it was what Onan DID which displeased God enough to slay him. Regardless of the rationalizations, you can't get around this fact unless you're eisegeting the text.

    You keep repeating what you've already said without interacting with what I've already said.

    For example, you don't interact with the fact that you entirely leave out the first part of v 9 ("He knowing that the children should not be his") and the last part of v 9 ("lest children should be born in his brother's name"). As I've already said, these might as well not exist given your "rationalization" of what the passage is actually saying.

    And that's the tip of the iceberg.

    Twice I've responded on TB, and both times the response disappears. There is no warning that moderation is turned on due to age or what ever, just no post after it first tells me it was successfully published.

    My response basically is that I have indeed address the text which "rockingwithhawking" posits I have not. The passage is quite clear, God slew Onan for what he DID, and what did he DO? He spilled his seed. All the rationalism aside, THAT is what God was displeased in. Afterall, if "rocking's" position is true, then simply the desire to not procure children from his brother's widow would have been enough to slay him - but it was the ACT which brought down God's wrath, not the desire.

    Methinks the Protestant doth protest too much.

    Now, since you're obviously reading this response over here - what about the fact that "Evangelicals" are starting to think more like Catholics when it comes to contraception (of any kind)?


  2. Well, Mr. Hays silence has ended. However, I have tried (twice now) to post a response to the original thread on TB, and after they originally were "successfully published" according to the TB blog, they disappeared and have not come back. I understand that after a period of time posts can go into moderation and have to be "approved" before publishing - will those replies be published? It's been nearly a week. Well, Steve posted a response to this article. I'll respond to his, but not tonight, I just found his response and it's getting late. If you would like to see Mr. Hay's response, you can find it here: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2014/02/ensoulment.html (links to responses have always been welcome here on CathApol).


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