Fearing God Regardless of Religion

As Catholics consider the consequences of more Anglicans entering into full communion with the Church, Cathy Kaveny raises some interesting questions below with regard to how well the strictures on contraception will sit with these newly minted Anglo-Catholics. These questions are made even more timely by the USCCB's consideration of a new pastoral letter on marriage and family, which reiterates that contraception is "intrinsically evil." NCR has a copy of the proposed draft here.Interestingly, there is also a story on the NYTimes website about a bill currently making its way through the Filipino Congress that would provide reproductive healthcare for the 70% of the population that is too poor to afford such services not currently included in the state's government run healthcare program. The bill, which would provide contraception (among other services) is being opposed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.For those of us who appreciate at least the ideal of the separation of church and state in America, I found the following quote from Rev. Melvin Castro, the spokesman for the Bishops, to be a pretty good summary of what's wrong with the pro-life movement:

The Constitution is very clear that the state should protect life from conception up to its natural end, Father Castro said. Regardless of their religion, Filipinos are God-fearing and family-loving. This bill will change that culture.

So, no matter what religion, all people of faith are God-fearing? What about Buddhists? Secondly, how does providing birth control to those who are unable to provide for the children they already have lead directly to a non-family-loving culture? Presumably, some parents don't want more children because they love the ones they already have too much to deny them basic material needs. One couple who have been victims of scarce family planning resources are "barely able to buy vitamins for their youngest child, let alone send more than two of their older children to school." I wonder what Father Castro would say about contraception if he had 8 children to support on a fraction of his salary.

Eric Bugyis teaches Religious Studies at the University of Washington Tacoma.

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