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6 Christian Denominations With the Most Conservative Stance on Birth Control

By    |   Tuesday, 12 May 2015 05:10 PM

Within the Christian faith, views on birth control have varied widely. In some instances, leaders within denominations have suggested the practice is acceptable — in limited circumstances — while other Christian branches denounce it outright.

Below are six Christian denominations that continue to hold a conservative stance on birth control:

1. Amish

One of the Christian denominations with the most conservative view of contraception is the Amish faith. As outlined in this article on Amish America, followers take the “go forth and multiply” edict in Scripture quite literally.

Amish have adopted a widespread, long-held ban on birth control, though the trend could be slowly changing, as evidenced by the statistical decline, albeit a small one, in family sizes.

2. Baptists

The Baptist denomination in and of itself has varying beliefs, with some followers holding true to traditional views and others starting to lean slightly toward more modern, progressive attitudes, a reality outlined in this piece in the Baptist Standard.

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Not surprisingly, Southern Baptists have been the staunchest opponents of birth control, and many followers within this specific sect spoke out about the contraception provisions encapsulated within Obamacare.

3. Catholics

Catholics are, perhaps, the most widely recognized opponents of birth control – a nod, most likely, to the sheer size of the denomination on a global level. As with the Southern Baptist faith, Catholics are slowly shifting their views, though the Vatican continues to denounce birth control.

A brochure on the teachings of the faith titled "What Does the Catholic Church REALLY Teach about Birth Control?" offers the church’s view of the so-called morning-after pill.

The text was reproduced on the Eternal Word Television Network’s website.

“(It) makes the inner lining of the uterus very hostile to implantation. It is not known how often the pill acts in this way, but it cannot be denied that the pill may be acting as an early abortion agent in any given cycle in any given woman,” the brochure stated.

4.  Lutherans

Similar to the Baptist denomination, leaders within the Lutheran faith have wide views on birth control.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, for instance, has stated contraception is permissible to avoid abortions. The ELCA's "A Social Statement on Abortion" included an item that specifically addressed contraception as a means of avoiding unplanned pregnancies.

"Prevention of unintended pregnancies is crucial in lessening the number of abortions. ... We recognize the need for contraceptives to be available, for voluntary sterilization to be considered, and for research and development of new forms of contraception," the statement said.

The ELCA even goes so far as to say, "Whenever sexual intercourse occurs apart from the intent to conceive, the use of contraceptives is the responsibility of the man and of the woman."

It should be noted that the ELCA believes that sexual intercourse should within "the context" of marriage.

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But the Lutheran Church of the Reformation disallows its usage altogether. In its "Procreation Statement," the church doesn't directly allude to contraceptives, but takes an unenqivocal stance against the reasons behind them.

"The reasons given to justify the prevention of conception are often based upon myths, selfishness, materialism, hedonism (love of pleasure), convenience, usurpation of God's prerogative, or humanistic reasoning and generally indicate a distrust of the Almighty God and His Word," the statement said.

5. Mormons

As noted in this position statement, leaders within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long condemned birth control in all its forms. A 1969 statement by the church said, in part, that followers should not “artificially curtail or prevent the birth of children.”

The denomination’s most recent handbook suggests a slight attitudinal shift
, however, and calls on church members not to cast judgment on an issue "between husband and wife".

"Children are one of the greatest blessings in life, and their birth into loving and nurturing families is central to God’s purposes for humanity. When husband and wife are physically able, they have the privilege and responsibility to bring children into the world and to nurture them. The decision of how many children to have and when to have them is a private matter for the husband and wife," the LDS Church stated.

6. Orthodox Church

Leaders within this Christian denomination have long held a steadfast view against birth control.

More recently, the church has adopted a statement that states artificial contraception remains unacceptable, though alternative methods might be permissible with spiritual counsel.

"The Stand of the Orthodox Church on Controversial Issues,"  an essay by the Rev. Stanley S. Harakas, outlines the Orthodox Church’s views on what it refers to as controversial issues.

"Because of the lack of a full understanding of the implications of the biology of reproduction, earlier writers tended to identify abortion with contraception. However, of late a new view has taken hold among Orthodox writers and thinkers on this topic, which permits the use of certain contraceptive practices within marriage for the purpose of spacing children, enhancing the expression of marital love, and protecting health," wrote Harakas.

Rev. Peter Preble expands Harakas' view of the orthodoxy on contraception.

"Contraception should not be used to avoid the birth of all children, as that is of course one of the functions of marriage, but as has been stated to spread things out a bit," Preble wrote on his blog, Shepherd of Souls.

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Within the Christian faith, views on birth control have varied widely. In some instances, leaders within denominations have suggested the practice is acceptable — in limited circumstances — while other Christian branches denounce it outright.
christian, denominations, conservative, stance, birth control
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2015-10-12
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 05:10 PM
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