Quoting Quiverfull: Birth Dearth?

Quoting Quiverfull: Birth Dearth? January 17, 2013

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.

Doug Phillips of Vision Forum February 18, 2012

“Mocking aside, astute demographers are sobered by the startling inevitability of a “Demographic Winter” that will soon grip not only Russia, but many other industrialized nations as well, including Japan, the US, and the countries in Western Europe. This fact is well documented in such films as Demographic Winter: The Decline of the Human Family and Demographic Bomb, and was thoroughly explored at Vision Forum’s Baby Conference.

This looming global crisis hasn’t happened by accident. It has been fueled by an agenda at war with God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, a worldview of selfishness that says that it’s better to have another car in the garage and a bigger 401k plan than it is to welcome more precious souls into the world through the fruit of the womb. We have valued pretty things and “security” above the blessing of children, and our myopic hedonism is hurling much of the world toward economic disaster.

The enfeebling of our old Cold War nemesis should prod us to humility. Rather than gloating over Russia’s struggles, we should realize that our nation is only a few steps behind in its moral and economic decline due in large degree because we’ve rejected fruitful wombs for more immediate temporal niceties.

It’s time we cherish children above “things” and embrace them as our greatest reward this side of heaven.”

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • saraquill

    Considering that there’s 7 billion people on the planet, I think it’s safe to say that the species has been plenty fruitful.

  • Lois Brown Loar

    According to Labor Dept. statistics, it used to be 2.9full-time workers to pay for 1 social security recipient. Now it is 1.75 due to fewer working age adults and far too many people out of work.When my sister would rag on me for having so many children(she had none, by her own choice), I told her mine would be paying her social security. It’s just how that system is.

    And with so many out of work for long periods of time in this generation, it is very difficult to care for our aging parents the way they were able to care for their aging parents. It may take all 12 of my kids to look after us in our old age.

    I hope not, but in the economy we’ve had through our adult years, it’s been very difficult to save enough.

  • Nea

    I love how security is in scare quotes. How secure is a family with no resources and lots of mouths to feed? How is it good economy to bring more children (with their attendant needs for food, clothing, shelter, education, and medicine) into a family, thus enlarging the bills?

  • It’s also worth pointing out that Russia’s situation is on the mend and the primary issue facing the nation now is NOT a “birth dearth” but working age men dying in workplace accidents. Furthermore, the crisis happened after the fall of Communism, which provided for children and allowed women to work through the support of the government. (I got this from Wikipedia, but it’s widely available in Google. Start with Mary Dejevsky’s “Russia: What Demographic Crisis?” article in Open Democracy).This is not a defense of communism by any means, but it shows that it’s not a lack of religiosity that causes low birth rates.

    How typical. Any time we have a population problem, we blame it on the women either for having too many or not enough children. Immigration, workplace fatalities, disease, etc. don’t exist or are negligible in the world of scaremongers that blame everything on women. Google has been around for quite some time,

  • Sorry, I meant to say, “Why don’t people use it?”

    And by the way, why do people assume that all childless people and small families are materialistic and swimming in economic privilege? Many childless and small families are poor or working class, and others are middle class people who are not struggling like the rest of us.

  • revsharkie

    I once heard someone suggest that we consider the possibility some commandments might no longer be binding once they’re fulfilled. The specific one she referenced was “Be fruitful and multiply.” I think humans have done a pretty good job of being fruitful and multiplying, and filling the earth, so perhaps we could consider that one fulfilled and move on.

  • dangermom
  • Lolly

    The population’s going up, but not in the proper God-approved way. There just aren’t enough sufficiently Christian and/or white babies to keep the country’s appearance exactly as it was a hundred years ago.

  • texcee

    This reasoning just boggles the mind. Our planet is struggling with the over abundance of people. If you take a good look at the problems every continent (and, yes, I’m including Antartica) is having, it all boils down to too many people — poverty, war, disease, hunger, pollution, global warming, destruction of wild habitat that is killing off entire species of animals, poaching, overfishing — the list is endless. And yet we should “be fruitful and multiply” even more??? If we are in the End Times, it’s not because Jesus is going to come down out of the sky on a cloud. It’s because we’re killing the only planet we have to live on and we’re rapidly making it uninhabitable.

  • JoannaDW makes a good point. In nations where birth control is readily available, the nations which have the largest problem with low birthrates are those in which women who have children feel themselves unable to choose both children and work outside the home. This occurs most often in cultures where flexibility is lacking in the workplace: for instance, where there is a very high cost of leaving the workforce temporarily to have children, such that women are unable to choose to go back into the workforce at a later date. When there is no flexibility for mothers, women who can decide not to become mothers, are much more likely to make that decision.
    I could probably find a link to the evidence for this if requested.

  • Meggie

    The idea of children supporting their parents in old age doesn’t always work. To use two examples from my own family;
    (1) My parents are retired and have enough saved to support themselves for the rest of their lives. At the same time they are assisting both my brother and I to buy houses because my brother, despite a high wage, can’t afford the exhorbitant prices where he lives/works and I can’t secure a loan due to both my husband & I being employed on contracts.
    (2) My In-Laws, who are also retired and completely self supporting spend their days looking after my nieces and nephews so that my sister-in-law can work.
    So my sister-in-law (in her 40s), my brother, my husband & I (in our 30s) are all working and paying into the tax system but we are also still being supported by our parents. None of us do anything significant to help our parents in return. It is not good that we are still being supported by our parents, however, if our parents had more children the situation would actually be worse.
    (1) My parents, with ten kids instead of two, probably wouldn’t have saved enough for retirement. Instead of supporting themselves they would be on a government pension. So yes, there would be more of us paying into the tax system to provide for them but with less of us, it isn’t necessary in the first place. They certainly wouldn’t be able to help kids buy homes if their were ten of us. (Let me make it clear here that my parents are not buying us houses. They assisted us to get loans which we service.) As far as providing for their physical needs as they age, my parents have made it pretty clear that they have saved enough to pay people to do this for them. My brother and I have also made it pretty clear that we would do anything and everything for them when they need help. You don’t need ten kids for this. Just one or two who love and respect their parents.
    (2) My In-Laws with ten kids would also not have saved enough for retirement and, like my parents, would be dependant on the government pension. Childcare would be a problem as there are limited commerical places where they live and so having more children and would probably mean more stay at home mothers rather than more people in the work force. As far as their physical needs go, the family they have now do nothing to help out. I can’t see any reason why, if they had more kids, those would be any more likely to help out than the ones they do have.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    But they’re the wrong color people, saraquill. *snort*

  • Jennny

    Doug Phillips’ world-view may work in the USA, but here in the UK and in many other countries, there is no way we could have the large families he sees as God’s plan. Our homes are tiny compared with many in N America and the vast majority of us earn salaries that couldn’t possibly support more than 2 children – and most mothers have to work to sustain a mortgage on a very ordinary house. And what about families living in shacks in the huge slums of many cities – does Mr Phillips expect them to have unlimited numbers of children whom they can’t afford to feed or raise?

  • texcee

    Re Jenny’s comment about the difference in housing in the US and other countries. I think she hits the nail right on the head. Housing, feeding and clothing children is not cheap, even in the best of cases. What about countries where people are living in cobbled together shacks or mud huts and whole families live in one room? I’m not just talking the wilds of Africa, but industrialized nations with some of the largest cities — and the worst slums — in the world — India, Mexico, South America. What about Far East cities such as Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and other Asian cities? Housing there is tiny and expensive.

  • Lorell

    “Be fruitful and multiply” is not one of the ten commandments. But as a Godly urge, I agree it should be shelved. After all many “Christians” wear blended fabrics and eat unclean food and fail to keep the Sabbath

  • Exactly. And guess which cultures are less likely to prove the necessary support for mothers to be mothers and work? Patriarchal cultures that believe women should not be working anyway, as well as conservative cultures that frown on workplace protections, government assistance, etc. As Russia demonstrates, it was that evil atheist communist regime that ensured Russia had a healthy birth rate, because women COULD be mothers and workers. Again, this is no defense of communism and the evils that have occurred in its name, but it just reinforces the fact that falling birth rates are NOT caused by depraved secular values, selfishness, etc.

  • Persephone

    But I have to ask: How much more money would you have saved by not having twelve children?

  • Persephone

    Religion has become nearly as powerful under the current Russian government as it did under the tsars, so I doubt there’s a lack of religion behind the birth dearth. Women were able to limit the number of children they had and it became generally accepted that having fewer children made life easier.

    This is also happening in Brazil. Despite the pervading Catholic faith, over the last two generations the medical community has responded to women’s pleas and made it extremely easy for women to have tubal ligations after having one or two children. The result is that families are able to improve themselves financially, which also means that they are able to provide better educations for the children they have, and reduce the general level of poverty in Brazil.

    It’s been shown time and time again, women who have options, women who are educated, choose to have fewer children, and the result is that the families improve their financial standing, health, education, and future, and contribute more to their countries, not just in taxes, but also by volunteering, by participation in society, and by working to better the conditions for everyone.

  • Persephone

    It includes the command to fill the earth, and I think we’ve done that. We’ve reached peak water, and are wiping out natural resources, without properly developing replacements for these resources.

  • Persephone

    Excellent points. Also, by having ten children instead of two, they would have paid much less, possibly nothing, in income taxes, federal and state, while requiring more government resources, direct and indirect.

  • Persephone

    Most people here don’t have homes or incomes that could properly support more than two children. The families that do are struggling and dependent on the kindness of others to help support them. The families with large numbers of children who are doing well financially tend to be those in power in the movement, or who have sold their stories (the Duggars and the Bates on television, other Quiverfull followers regularly publish books, newspapers and magazines). Families who aren’t famous or who haven’t found a way to sell their lives struggle continuously.