Brave New World

By Fr. Michael Heidt (2009):

The 1970s were famous for many things, such as Led Zeppelin, unprayable translations of liturgical texts, the cassock alb, or ‘chalb’, neat looking American muscle cars and lest we forget, Population Explosion.

Stemming in part from Dr. Ehrlich’s 1968 best seller The Population Bomb, it wasn’t long before the idea of teeming millions living in a ruined ecosphere was immortalized on film, with MGM releasing the classic movie Soylent Green in 1973.  

In it, Charlton Heston plays a New York cop in 2020, by which time the Big Apple is host to some 40 million starving people, subsisting on little more than suspicious looking wafers doled out by football helmeted policemen under a haze of greenhouse gas. This is unfortunate because the wafers are made out of algae and recycled human bodies. 

Terrifying, and surely a fate to be avoided at all costs. Ehrlich foresaw this in his bomb book and advocated stern countermeasures, from compulsory birth regulation to the addition of temporary sterilants in water supplies and staple food. “Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government.” Chilling, but presumably anything, even forced sterilization, is better than those horrific wafers.

Don’t Have Kids

Looking back it all seems somewhat hysterical – the fragile ecosphere is still with us and New York didn’t become the particular nightmare foreseen by Ehrlich and MGM – but The Myth lives on in The Episcopal Church, where not having children in order to avoid Ehrlichian catastrophe has become part of the intellectual DNA of it’s constituency. Katherine Jefferts Schori, TEC’s leaderene, tells it like it is in her 2006 New York Times interview with Deborah Solomon:

DS: How many members of the Episcopal Church are there in this country?
KJS: About 2.2 million. It used to be larger percentagewise, but Episcopalians tend to be better-educated and tend to reproduce at lower rates than some other denominations. Roman Catholics and Mormons both have theological reasons for producing lots of children.
DS: Episcopalians aren’t interested in replenishing their ranks by having children?
KJS: No. It’s probably the opposite. We encourage people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.

Some people, notably Roman Catholics and doubtless Mormons, were rather offended by +KJS’s comments but regardless, you get the point. Episcopalians are educated enough to have drunk deeply at the antique 1970s well of population explosion orthodoxy, so they don’t have many children in order to save the planet. Well done, Schori puts it politely, others less so.

Kill, Kill, Kill

With the newly minted head of the Episcopal Divinity School the gloves are off. For NARAL (National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws) activist Reverend Katherine Ragsdale the solution is clear. Don’t have children if they get in the way, terminate them instead. She speaks:

“And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving… relationship… (and) has access to a safe, affordable abortion - there is not a tragedy in sight -- only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s… life’s work… is simply blessing.”

In case her listeners didn’t understand:

“These are the two things I want you, please, to remember - abortion is a blessing and our work is not done… abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.”

Thus speaks one of TEC’s new decision makers and if anyone's in doubt of that religion’s departure from Christianity they might take the time to reflect on the above. Just who is this "God" that blesses infanticide? Moloch? But to return to the point, +KJS et. al. are busy living the population explosion myth and it’s starting to bear fruit.

No One Left

With rare candor, the recent report compiled by TEC’s Committee on the State of the Church realizes that there’s something wrong with the state of the union. You see, The Episcopal Church’s figures don’t look so good. 

Between 2006 and 2007 the denomination lost 5% ASA (Average Sunday Attendance), a total of 36,979 worshipers, with the biggest diocesan losers being Spokane, Northern Michigan, Kansas and Northwest Texas – down nineteen, fourteen, thirteen and twelve percent respectively. From 2003, the year of Gene Robinson’s consecration, till 2007 things get even worse, with three dioceses declining by over a 25% – Florida, North West Texas and Kansas – with many others trailing close behind and not a single domestic diocese showing growth in ASA. 

The report goes on to highlight the conflict caused by the Robinson consecration, demonstrating that this has had a negative impact on church growth. This, the authors feel, is "the elephant in room." Perhaps, but there’s another larger beast roaming through the demographic veldt of the West and its ecclesial bodies.

The real elephant is this, contra Soylent Green, Ehrlich and their TEC disciples, we’re not giving birth to enough babies to sustain ourselves. This is especially true in Europe, where birthrates have declined to 1.3 children per woman (2.1 is need to keep population at current levels), which will lead, given current trends, to something like a 50% population decrease by 2047. We see the same thing writ small in Schori’s variant of the Anglican tradition, where membership declines naturally by 40,000 deaths per year over and against 21,000 births; in other words a loss of 19,000 people every year and that’s without the congregation-depleting upset over gay rights. 

The moral in all of this is straightforward and, interestingly enough, supplied by +KJS herself. Unless we want to die out as a culture and a part of God’s Church, we had better embrace a theology, like those presumably ill-educated papists, that promotes life. 

We have such a thing or at least its there for us to embrace; it’s called catholicism and it lives in that Body which is animated by none other than the Risen Lord. Confident in His triumph over death may we fight for life against the powers of darkness and their culture of death.

Forward in Christ

Proclaiming the Faith and Order of the Church, given to us by Christ.