For anyone under 60, birth control is just a fact of life. Those under 50 wont recall that it was ever controversial. The pharmaceutical separation of sex from babies has been so thoroughly accepted by Western society that any holdouts are seen as fringers: orthodox Catholics, Mormons, and health hippies.
But questions about contraception are arising from unlikely sources lately: not enough to call it a trend, but significant enough to notice.
For example, the film, Birth Control: How Did We Get Here? Its Protestant director, Brian Peeples of Huntersville, North Carolina, said he got the idea after he and his wife changed their minds about birth control at a Baby Conference in 2010. Its more of a movement than a movie, however, with a second film expected later this year, and a series of books and study guides to communicate the Biblical position on birth control and its impact on the church, marriage and family.
The birth control movie was born from a desire to communicate the truth about birth control and family from the Word of God to other believers, explains its website; this in a culture where there is little if any difference between Christians and non-believers when it comes to preventing children.
Its the sort of ideology thats expected from Catholic clergy and the more serious Catholic laity, but this film features mostly Protestant evangelicals: high profile Calvinist minister R.C. Sproul Jr., author George Grant, and Geoffrey Botkin of the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences.
It retells the history of birth control from an evangelical perspective, recounting how in little more than a century, Protestant churches turned away from ages-old teachings on sexuality and marriage. In a flurry of European eugenics and overpopulation science they began to view children as inconvenient. Their teachings and birth control practices were before long indistinguishable from nonbelievers.
Yet before that, one commenter in the film observed, Every single church affirmed that children are a blessing and that we have no business saying no to Gods blessings.
The film recounts the eugenic roots of the birth control movement and its rabidly anti-Christian, racist, hedonist founder Margaret Sanger, who seized on then-persuasive Malthusian overpopulation theories. Opposing her were protestants like Anthony Comstock, a 19th century Puritan-tradition crusader who saw birth control as the devils particular attack on the young, and as being inextricably wed to pornography and abortion all born of the same mindset , according to the film, the corruption of the sexual impulse [and] contrary to scripture
With the fall of contraceptive laws in the mid-20th century, first pornography and then abortion were rapidly legalized; so, like him or not, Comstock is vindicated.
So is the Catholic Church, which the movie notes was the sole voice given that the Protestants had collapsed to weigh in, with Pope Paul VIs Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life) encyclical, affirming everything Christianity had taught about birth control for the millennia previously.
In a way the movie seems a bit of a mea culpa for mainstream Protestantism missing the boat. Opposition to birth control was seen as a Catholic thing, one commentator says. Protestants were for liberty.
One of the great tragedies of the last century, says another, is how willingly Christians co-operated with the anti-baby, pro-eugenics, agenda, compelled by science, a sense of duty, a desire to be modern, and for deliverance from responsibilities of children while having all the pleasures of adulthood, as one commentator put it.
Some saw birth control as a means of preventing abortion. However, 50 years and 50 million American abortions later, that is a harder argument to sustain.
The difficulty in defending marriage today derives in large part from the legal arguments for the new right to privacy that brought birth control to the West. It began with privacy in marriage, which soon gave way to privacy for the unmarried, this in turn gave way to privacy for homosexuals, the film narrator remarks. Now that sterility is universally accepted, marriage has lost its fundamental purpose; procreation. Marriage, disconnected from its purposes, loses its meaning and the historical definition of marriage hangs in the balance.
It is this half-century years of hindsight since the birth control pill was first marketed in North America in 1960 that is beginning to spur the sexual counter-revolutionists.
I think were seeing the fruits of the whole contraceptive revolution and quite honestly the fruit is rancid, Julie Roys, host of the radio show Up for Debate on Moody Radio, says in the film. She notes that since the pills arrival, the marriage rate has declined by a third, divorce has almost doubled, the proportion of children born in single parent families has more than tripled and now were seeing the hookup culture.
In that respect, the film is not alone. Mary Eberstadts 2012 book Adam and Eve After the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution recounts in detail the harm done by sexualization of the West, from rising divorce, increasing promiscuity, juvenile delinquency, neglect of children, abuse and objectification of girls and more.
Society is losing its mooring and all of us are beginning to ask, Where is all this heading? Roys says in the film. She finds that many young people particularly want a deeper understanding of male and female sexuality, and and its deeper meaning.
In any case, the first rumblings about birth control have not been missed by pro-abortion advocates. Robin Marty, a columnist at rhrealitycheck.org, a sexual and reproductive health news site, has launched an ongoing series of commentaries under the title Theyre Coming for Your Birth Control. And one atheist blogger calls it a freaking creepy trend.