Be Fruitful, Unless You’re Not Like Me

Posted on July 7, 2014


Facebook, Hobby Lobby, and crowded trains reveal a very strange way of thinking among some of my friends.


You know how most of us self-censor depending on who we’re talking to? We will tell things to our friends that we would never in a million years say to our parents; we use different language during our recreational pursuits than we do at work; with one friend, we avoid politics, with another, we can never use bathroom humor.

This is why Lila is pretty silent on Facebook. I have a diverse group of friends and am bound to offend somebody with just about any opinion I have. But it is interesting to see what others have to say, and last week was a doozy… specifically, regarding the Hobby Lobby court decision. They’re either in a flaming rage over it, or are suddenly in gooey love with the company for its apparent pro-life stance. The division is predictably along completely religious lines, at least among my friends.

The thing that really got me, though, was seeing just how inconsistent and willfully blind some folks can be, when they set their mind to it. One particular friend, a staunch pro-lifer who always votes purely on the abortion issue, gushed over the wonder that is Hobby Lobby, but then… on the very same day… posted a disgusted reaction to this video of attendants forcibly stuffing passengers into overcrowded trains in China (actually, I suspect this is Japan… see the second video here for a look at the Beijing subway, which is probably even worse).

Yeah, I’m pretty put off by that kind of overcrowding, too. But my mind is consistent on this issue: I believe contraception should be available to everyone worldwide, and I advocate female empowerment worldwide, because those have proven to be the two most effective factors in reducing birthrates and improving quality of life. In short, I’m against overcrowding anywhere and think we should all be doing something about it.

Yet somehow, my friend sees no dissonance at all in being revolted by Asian overcrowding, while simultaneously cheering for a court decision that makes it more difficult and expensive for American women to obtain contraception. The unstated sentiment is: be fruitful and multiply and cover the Earth, unless you are… well… not like me.

In addition to a distasteful unspoken sentiment, this friend demonstrates a total lack of foresight or imagination. If one is against contraception, the logical end result is a high birth rate. The logical end result of an unchecked high birth rate is overcrowding, and the known result of that – repeated many times over – is poverty, squalor, and competition for dwindling resources.

Well, how charming. Even if we were all a bunch of white-bread Christians in this situation (and we would not be), our environment would be just as squalid as any other overcrowded population.

Don’t get me wrong, the Hobby Lobby decision will not actually result in skyrocketing birthrates. Women will just keep doing what they have been doing for decades: paying their own way for reproductive control. I am just mystified at my friend’s abhorrence of contraception, paired with revulsion at overcrowding. Those two things don’t seem to go together.