Recently there has been a heated discussion in our country about whether or not religious institutions should be required to provide birth control coverage to the recipients of their health care plans. While the issue is less about contraception and more about the freedom of religion, some clarification on the issue of birth control may be helpful and shed some light on the topic. It would be nice if we could do more than shrug our shoulders when our friends or family asked us our opinions on the subject. Digging into a few points on the topic may be surprising as you are let in on a few things that the world isn’t quite being honest about. After reading this article you’ll be able to see the real issues that are at stake and why they matter. Your own opinion may be influenced too.
Let’s start here. Imagine that you lived in a society where the meaning of words were redefined. Let’s say that “stealing” was now called “borrowing,” vice versa. It would lead to a whole lot of confusion, wouldn’t it? “No Joe, I didn’t steal your RV; I was only borrowing it for my summer vacation.” “No, judge, I didn’t steal the car, I was only taking it out for a drive.” What would be like to live in a society where language was confused and we weren’t quite sure what someone else was saying? It would certainly change how we interacted in society, at least until we figured out what everyone else meant by what they said.
And yet that’s similar to what has happened over the past years with the word contraception. I suppose that the common definition of contraception, the definition that most people assume that everyone else is operating under, is the one that says that contraception is any method of birth control that prevents the sperm and the egg from uniting. Whether one uses barrier methods, chemical methods, surgical methods, or natural methods (see below for an informative explanation of the different types of birth control), all these forms of contraception are united in the point of preventing fertilization from occurring. After all, that is what the word contraception literally means, right? “Contra-ception--Prevention of-conception.”
But what happens if I told you that the word has been REDEFINED? What happens if I told you that when the world uses the term they also include methods that prevent the newly formed child from implanting in the uterus? Beware! When you hear talk about contraception you must understand that not all contraception is created equal. What is sometimes called contraception is really an “abortifacient,” a drug that induces an abortion.
Consider the first days of the newly formed child. The sperm and egg unite. New life is instantly formed. Twenty-three chromosomes from each parent come together to form all the unique characteristics of a unique human person who is different than any human being who has ever lived and breathed. At the moment of fertilization the baby's genetic makeup is complete. The child is a totally distinct and separate genetic creation than their mother or father. The sex, eye color, hair color, intelligence, finger length are already determined. This unique, individual then begins the journey down the Fallopian tube to the uterus. As the child travels during these seven or so days, the child grows in size, the cells dividing and reproducing. The week old human, no bigger than a poppy seed, then implants in the uterus and begins the next stage of growth. Psalm 139 says, “You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb…Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.” Science and the Bible declare: The unique life of an individual person begins at conception.
And so when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services enacted a rule in January requiring employers to provide access to health insurance that includes birth control, even “birth control” which causes the death of an unborn child, they stepped over the line. While President Obama later announced a so called “accommodation,” the accommodation amounted to nothing more than a sleight of hand. Instead of churches paying for the birth control their insurance plans would have to pay for them. Religious people will be required to indirectly support means that that are used to destroy the lives of innocent children.
The President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was on the panel that testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill two weeks ago. Rev. Matthew Harrison boldly said, “We fought for a free conscience in this country, and we won’t give it up without a fight… the heart and conscience has room only for God, not for God and the federal government … We must obey God rather than men … Please get the federal government, Mr. Chairman, out of our consciences.”
However, the issue before us isn’t so much about contraception, but about the freedom of religion secured by the U.S. Constitution and given to us by God. The government doesn’t have the right to tell religious people what they can believe or how they are to live their lives. As the free exercise of religion is infringed upon, it is thus not merely a Roman Catholic issue, but a universal one.
As Christians we are given freedom only to go so far. Our freedom, at times, also implies a burden. For the sake of others we limit our freedom. Jesus once put a child in the midst of His disciples saying that the greatest among them was the least. “No one,” He said, “giving a cup of cold water to a child in my name will lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42) It is a God given duty to fight for the rights of those who are the least among us, who do not have a voice, and who cannot protect themselves. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
P.S. This article, especially the information listed below, was informative in nature. There was no way possible to say everything that could be said about the topic in one article. If your conscience is burdened or you desire further clarification on the issue please speak with me. I am here to absolve broken sinners and comfort hearts troubled by sin or decisions committed knowingly or unknowingly.