Love, Self

Guess What? There's A Pro-Birth Control Passage In The Bible


In the middle of this heated debate over birth control and religion, it's easy to get the impression that Christians are anti-birth control, and so is God for that matter. Yet, as a mom, a person of faith, a married lady and a birth control lover, I don't see it as so simple. 

The people taking birth control aren't all promiscuous teens. They're women like me, married women who take birth control for family planning reasons, or women like my married friend Nicki, who takes birth control to regulate her severe PMS symptoms. Or even women like the YourTango community member Andrea MacDonald who writes in the comments to an article on the birth control debate, "I'm married and love my husband dearly so of course we are having sex. I'm also 38, my last pregnancy was high risk due to my age, another could be worse."

And the religion thing? Well, it's not so simple either. In an article on the Huffington Post, David Carr, professor of Old Testament studies at Union Theological seminary, writes, "Not many in the current debate realize that the Bible contains a book that celebrates non-reproductive sex and features substances used by ancient women for birth control. The book, Song of Songs (also known as Song of Solomon or Canticles), is a dialogue of love and sexual passion associated with King Solomon. It depicts a woman and a man (it's not clear that the man is Solomon) who desire each other and see each other in secret. Yet, it is not clear that they are married, children are not mentioned as a goal of their love, and their dialogue is laced with mentions of materials that we know were used in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and/or Greece to prevent pregnancy."

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It seems illogical that one person's version of what Christianity mandates should trump another person's idea of God's plan for their life.  In a 2006 speech, Obama noted, "And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would it be James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount — a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? We — so, before we get carried away, let's read our Bibles now. Folks haven't been reading their Bible."

This issue of birth control, relationships and religion is clearly a divisive one, yet it's just more complicated than "don't have sex." Birth control is often an integral part of caring monogamous relationships either for health or family-planning reasons. And many of these women are religious and have no problem reconciling their use of birth control with their faith. It's time to get past the reductivist "slut-shaming" arguments and get to the heart of the issue.

Do you take birth control? Tell us why.