This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Catholic Herald: The Right Way to Oppose Birth Control

In today's Arlington Catholic Herald, Mary Beth Bonacci writes about her reflections on 50 years of the birth control without actually writing about the pill itself. Instead, she writes about Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, whose legacy she definitely does not celebrate. Mrs. Bonacci has good reason not to, since her grandmother was one of the women who was unknowingly sterilized when her last child was born (Mary Beth's father). This was part of Sanger's desire for eugenics, where Italians and African Americans were considered undesirable parts of the human race. At the time, the miners in the area of southern Colorado where the family lived (including her grandfather) were engaged in labor struggles with Sanger backer John Rockefeller over attempts to enforce the rights of workers to organize and receive a just wage. Italian workers demanding their rights were not Sanger or Rockefeller's kind of people. You can read her moving piece at

This personal story moves the discussion on contraception to where it should be and to where Pope Benedict XVI takes it as well - to its roots in opposing eugenics, especially involuntary eugenics targeted on "inconvenient" populations.

President Obama would be wise to listen to such arguments, since the inclusion of family planning in the developmental budget of his government operates from the same eugenic assumptions and the target for such eugenics are people who look like and are related to him.

Rooting our teaching in social justice is much more productive than basing it on clerical notions of sexuality. Indeed, the prior is affirming of human freedom and dignity, while the other is based on fourth century notions on sexuality that see sexuality as incompatible with spirituality, even within Sacramental marriage (which did not exist then). The first affirms human dignity while the second does not - at least in the opinion of many married Catholics who ignore the Church's teachings on the aforementioned birth control pill.

If we stressed economic justice more, both for the poor in developing nations and for low income workers and families here, there would be much less resistance on this issue. When the American Church both advocates for (and pays) a living wage as defined as a substantial raise whenever a child is born, it can more authoritatively teach on this issue. This is one example where we must follow the command of the Lord to love one another so that all will know that we are His disciples.


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