Quoting Quiverfull: Happy Breeders Day?

Quoting Quiverfull: Happy Breeders Day? December 16, 2013

by Mark Driscoll Mars Hill Church in The Washington Post – Who’s afraid of pregnant women?

On October 28, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’ wife, Tiffany, gave birth to their child—a girl. While I extend my sincerest congratulations to the Rivers family, I probably wouldn’t have even known about the event except for one key detail: baby Rivers is the family’s seventh child.

Philip Rivers has taken public hits from the likes of ESPN and Deadspin (not to mention the litany of armchair quarterbacks on social media) for his decision to have a big family. Journalist Mollie Hemingway identifies the criticism as the latest case of fecundophobia, our culture’s “growing fear of children and fertile women.”

There is growing vocal contempt of parenthood in cities, where mothers are pejoratively referred to by some as “breeders.” I always thought we called them by the more affectionate title “moms,” but I guess the world has really changed, and it’s time to start buying my mom a “Happy Breeder’s Day” card.

Comments open below

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.

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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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • persephone

    I hate the word breeder. Hate it. It’s destructive and negating and ends any chance of discourse.

  • Brennan

    *eyeroll* Google-fu indicates that “criticism from the likes of ESPN” refers to this article titled “Who’s Crying Now? Chargers QB Philip Rivers stays in the pocket vs. his critics” (for the uninitiated, a QB “staying in the pocket” is a good thing in football-speak;). It’s a very short article in which Rivers, after a disappointing 2012 season, was invited to respond to some of his many internet critics. The “anti-family question” was taken from some poor soul’s anonymous comment on a football message board along with allegations that he doesn’t respect his coach, that he has a crappy offensive line, and that he’s “a crybaby on the field.” The article intentionally frames him in the most positive light by giving him free reign to respond to the haters with no chance for rebuttal. Certainly, no one was calling him a breeder outside of a few angry comment threads from disillusioned Chargers fans. In short, there was no criticism in this puff piece until certain people decided it marked the impending doom of the family and end of Western civilization and possibly the extinction of white people.
    Apparently, Mark Driscoll’s afraid of anonymous internet sports commenters.

  • Lauren Borrero

    I hate that word “breeder”. Something about it sounds kinda sexist ad if a woman having a big family on her own free will is a bad thing. What ever happened to her body her choice?

  • Nea

    Translation: I found some haters on the internet and am now going to frighten my sheltered audience by saying that the whole secular world is like that.

  • mayarend

    Funny thing is, where I participate in (chilfree groups which I’ve been leaving lately because of a usually anti-woman position), breeders aren’t those with large families, but those that seem to have children simply because, because “that’s what people do” and don’t seem to really care about the children or the adults they become. As in, education is from school, anything else is taught in the world, all I have to do is pop them out and then pay for stuff. That’d be “breeder”. Any parent that actually, you know, parent, would be a… parent! Mom and dad. 🙂

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I hate it too and found that one of the most offensive things about the original article at the WaPo. It reduces women to objects yet again, something the QF crowd loves to do, strip people of their humanity.

    The part in the original article where Driscoll bemoans the fact that in San Fran, Washington DC and Seattle have declining numbers of children in the city proper yet fails to realize that at least in DC people with children tend to move out to the burbs of Virginia and Maryland. Why? Because your child can ride a bike without fear of being squashed from traffic, you’re removed from some of the less family-friendly things of the big city such as crime. Not saying that you cannot raise a child in the city but that many people that work in DC prefer to live in a place that is not DC. Of course he doesn’t factor in things like that because it doesn’t fit what he wants to say.

  • My issue is: when women are taught that children=blessings from God, and are cultured not to say “no” in the bedroom, how is it really her choice how many kids she has?

  • Vaughn Ohlman
  • tulips

    This article was probably not a great choice for supporting your position. I’m curious why you thought it might be?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    My position? I was just posting it as in interesting example of the kind of places where the word ‘breeder’ is used.
    If I want to support my position, I do it from Scripture, not this kind of article.

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    I don’t think our culture is afraid of all big families. I think our society is afraid of women being coerced and taught that their highest purpose is reproduction. We are afraid of people who continue to have children when they are unable to properly care for them, because it will affect everyone else. We are afraid of children being raised in social/financial/scientific ignorance and married off before adulthood to start the whole process over again. Two or three generations of child brides/no college/homeschooling results in children who are increasingly at risk of poverty, brainwashing, and abuse.

    I realize that there is a grey area when it comes to having enough money to raise children properly. Somewhere between “the house lacks heat, running water, and food and social services is removing the children for their safety” and “Solidly Middle Class,” parents have to make hard decisions. Or at least they should make hard decisions. “Leaving your birth control up to God” is an attempt to avoid responsibility and blame God for whatever happens. And when that adversely affects your children…yes, you frighten me.

  • tulips

    Ah, that makes better sense then. I object to the term breeder, but this particular blogger doesn’t seem disagreeable in general. A few of her observations are sort of accidentally devastating to most pro early marriage + large family propaganda so obviously…seems a curious selection.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Oh, I don’t mind reading opponents. If I didn’t I would hardly come here, eh?
    And it is hard to be ‘devestating’ if she doesn’t quote Scripture, eh? I mean, against my view.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >> I think our society is afraid of women being coerced and taught that their highest purpose is reproduction.

    Which, of course, besides using loaded words begs the philosophical question.

  • Saraquill

    If our culture was so scared of big families, I doubt that shows featuring them would be so popular

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    I am more likely to call it “taught” when a grown adult woman walks into “Biblical Patriarchy” and “militant fecundity” with more or less open eyes, with a decent level of education and experience in mainstream society.

    I am more likely to call it “coerced” when a female child is raised in “Biblical Patriarchy” and “militant fecundity” from a young age, especially if she is taught that rejecting these ideas will result in her loss of salvation, being disowned by her family, financial ruin, excommunication from her church, the withdrawing of God’s divine protection, or an active cursing by God. There may be a few I have left out, and other women are welcome to add any severe consequences they have either been threatened with or seen used on someone else.

  • tulips

    Not necessarily, there’s scripture aplenty that doesn’t line up with your view. What this blogger does do is articulate some very real losses experienced by women as a result of childbearing that will hit the mark for your audience while not being negative on the subject of children or parents generally.

  • tulips

    If I wanted to make a persuasive straw man re childfree individuals for example…I’d look for the childfree equivalent of MRA forums and use that.

  • tulips

    I had an interesting discussion over dinner with my spouse the other day. He asked me which I thought was more dangerous from a cultural perspective…reality shows like Duggars or like Jersey Shore. I think they are both dangerous but here’s the rub. Assuming nothing goes wrong in a life trajectory altering way (which is a big if) people can recover from spending a few years with too much party. It also isn’t held up as some sort of purity driven ideal. A young man or woman in the early marriage/big family movement though…is making decisions that are irreversible mostly based on propaganda. They are entirely unprepared for the weight of the burden, promised that if they just continue adding to the weight everything will be fine, and when that promise is proven false it is just too late for most of them. The suspicion that this is a feature not a bug is chilling.

  • Nightshade

    Yep. I have no problem with motherhood being considered a good thing, a ‘high calling’ if one chooses to use that term, and actually minimal issue with it being called the ‘highest calling’ if that’s how a person arranges their priorities. I do have a problem with it being presented from walking and talking age and up as the only option, that if a woman doesn’t have as many babies as nature allows that her life is worthless and will end with eternal damnation. If that’s not a choice that really isn’t any choice at all then I don’t know what is.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    It is hard for *this post* to be *devastating* to my view if *this post* doesn’t use Scripture.
    No one, least of all me, will deny that childbearing involves ‘real losses’. Indeed that is one of the foundations of the ‘selfish’ charge.

  • tulips

    Ah, a miscommunication. No, I don’t expect it to be a problem for you individually as you consider these losses to be just fine and something women should be willing and eager to accept (or that you are willing and eager for them to accept in any case). Compound that with actual scripture holding up childless + unmarried as the ideal not being an impediment for your belief system and I have to conclude that your system is self sustaining. The women that you preach to though…who were told that motherhood as soon as legally possible would be the best most awesome thing ever…it would be pretty devastating for them.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >> in her loss of salvation, being disowned by her family, financial ruin, excommunication from her church, the withdrawing of God’s divine protection, or an active cursing by God.

    As a serious member of both of the groups you mention, I will say I have never heard anyone say or do any of those things. And, indeed, I believe that someone would be excommunicated if the DID teach their daughters any of those things.

    What they will teach is that rejecting God’s Word, on these or other areas, is wrong.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Well, no. For an article to be devastating it would have to show, using good exegesis from Scripture, that something I believed was wrong.
    And even then it wouldn’t really be devastating, I would just change my beliefs and go on accordingly.
    And you are rather foolish if you think that our girls are told it ‘will be the best and most awesome thing ever’. Indeed the very seflish argument is counter to that. They are taught that it will be very hard. They have seen their mothers struggle through morning sickness, miscarriages, blocked ducts, and the like. Our girls tend to get to see the hard part long before they get married.

  • tulips

    Using good exegesis…(laughs) Self sustaining.
    I’m so pleased to hear you address this re the irreversable reality of parenthood. What publisher will you begin your course corrective campaign with?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    >>Using good exegesis…(laughs) Self sustaining.

    There certainly is a certain extent to which these discussions are presuppositional.

    >>I’m so pleased to hear you address this re the irreversable reality of parenthood. What publisher will you begin your course corrective campaign with?

    Our girls learn these lessons growing up in their full quiver homes. And there are many books, some even quoted here, that talk about many of the difficult realities of this lifestyle.

  • tulips

    You mentioned the G rated difficulties. Most children can related to nausea. they have had a stomach bug and know that while it is unpleasant…it will soon be over and no real harm done. It’s a false equivalence to present morning sickness as one of the long term problems women have with pregnancy. How about permanent disfigurement? Is that discussed over a light lunch with boys and girls? Perhaps with anatomy photos? Nulligravida and post natal?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Given that my daughter is a Duala/midwife student who has written a paper on the issues of VBA multiple C-sections…
    But if you are suggesting that many conservative Christians keep their children in the dark about many non ‘G’ rated issues I agree with you, and speak out against the same thing. I don’t think they do it because of a desire to shelter them against the problems with multiple births, but more because of a general queasiness and false defintion of the word ‘modesty’, an issue I speak of in my latest Qoting Qiverful post.

  • tulips

    Your daughter is pursuing an MA level certification from an accredited school? How excellent for her! Please extend my sincere congratulations. So, as I was looking over your information somehow I must have misunderstood thinking teenage marriage + serial pregnancy as an ideal automatically equated to an immediate and total halt to all formal instruction. How did you design the support structure to make this possible?

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    No, my daughter has her Duala certificate, and is (off and on) pursuing her midwife certificate via NARM, I believe.
    The roles of midwife and/or Duala/Childbirth educator are ones that fit very well with a FQ lifestyle.

  • tulips

    Oh, I’m so disappointed to have my suspicion confirmed.
    You realize of course that her ~sort of~ degree that she is ~kind of~ doing “off and on” via distance learning isn’t an appeal to authority at all.
    There’s no doubt that this fits well with the QF lifestyle. It 1) requires no actual academic or clinical rigor that would be out of her reach and 2) allows people who can’t afford medical care due to their early marriage and QF lifestyle to at least pretend.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    I wasn’t appealing to authority! I was pointing out that she just did a research paper on all of the various difficulties that a woman can expect to have, up to an including death, when she attempts to have a vaginal birth after having repeated c-sections. She is fully aware of those difficulties.

  • Nightshade

    Also using midwives allows QF’ers to avoid any real medical care, thus flying under the radar of the ebil guv’ment.

    And yes, I’m well aware that not all midwives fit into that category, but those who do…well, we all know what can happen.

  • tulips

    The problem (May I call you Vaughn?) is that her “research paper” could be anything from a well cited and laid out paper that could possibly be peer reviewed under different circumstances to a collection of tinfoil hat propaganda that suggests treating uterine rupture with garlic + wiki references. It is entirely unclear whether or what if anything she is familiar with. This is even more concerning wrt her interactions with potential clients.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Given that the issue was that you seemed to be saying that QF daughters should be taught all of the X-rated (ie detailed medical) aspects of multiple pregnancies I would have thought that my agreeing with you would make you happy.
    But, if not, you will just have to wait until I finish editing my daughters paper for civilians and post it on my TLDW site. That is something I plan to do. But the editing is taking a while: getting rid of all of the medical acronyms etc.

  • tulips

    Maybe you should consider having people who are already familiar with the acronyms edit it for you.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    I an an LVN and EMT and am familiar with the acronyms. It is still a bit of an effort to turn a medical paper into one for general circulation.
    If you are eager to try, how about you rewrite these two paragraphs:

    All this data and enumerations of studies lead us to the following conclusions: Firstly, that VBA1C gives women a reduced risk in future childbearing compared with ERCD after 1 c-section. Secondly, that VBA2C is generally considered safe, and certainly does not increase a woman’s risk in future childbearing as would ERCD after 2. VBA3+C is controversial but considered by some to be safe, and again has the advantage of a lower risk in future pregnancies.

    ERCD is considered less risky by some after the first cesarean delivery, but the increased risk with each cesarean section causes this to be an inappropriate choice for women considering many children. ERCD following 3+ cesarean sections is still an issue that needs much clarification, but there is some evidence to support VBA3+C as a better or equal route. Women in this situation should be presented with the benefits and risks of both options in light of their childbearing future.

  • tulips

    In fact, just go ahead and run it by them for reference check as well.
    See…from my position…I’m not seeing how it’s responsible to present this to a teenager as anything other than settling for substandard medical care as a direct result of the QF lifestyle rather than questioning whether a 300 to 400 percent increase risk of neonatal death in comparable low risk hospital births is really acceptable. Are we really just sort of fine with that? I mean, in the spirit of good exegesis..no shortage of dead mothers or infants in the OT after all…right? Seems like it’d be a tough sell though, if presented honestly.

  • tulips

    No problem 🙂
    All the uncited data I have collected to support my belief that vbac without the possibility of immediate surgical intervention is medically safe is not considered legit by practicing physicians.
    You want more detail I’m going to need all her info.

  • tulips

    Except that we don’t all. Especially not teenagers who have been deliberately kept ignorant re the risks they are volunteering for. It is particularly despicable to first put them into a circumstance where they have no viable alternative (pregnant/no medical insurance) then mislead them re the safety of the home birth and expertise of their “provider”.

    Then just for giggles shame or intimidate them I suppose if they demonstrate discomfort with this plan. Do we think the church is coughing up serial medical care expenses for anyone who looked at the stats and said…”nope”. Doubtful. I’m guessing they get some “encouragement” re faith and dealing with fear and doubt.

  • Fledgeling Feminist

    If you haven’t yet read the story of a homeschooled daughter threatened with disowning because she wanted to leave home without a parental-approved marriage partner, you haven’t been reading these forums long. And for most girls denied college or sometimes even a high school diploma, being disowned *is* financial ruin. That is not an accident. It serves the purpose of making sure girls keep in line.

    You don’t usually find this stuff laid out in a “doctrinal statement.” That’s why it’s so effective…plausible deniability. No true Scotsman. No father I know would act this way. Etc. One tool of effectiveness of any coercive group is making sure a person is deeply invested before finding out the darker stuff.

    And, by the way, if you only teach that “rejecting God’s Word, on these or other areas, is wrong,” answer me this…what is the usual penalty for rejecting God’s Word? (I believe that rejecting Biblical Patriarchy is actually rejecting one interpretation of God’s Word, but for the sake of argument) If you equate Biblical Patriarchy with God’s Word itself, wouldn’t a rejection of Biblical Patriarchy come with some consequences?

  • Nightshade

    True, brief lapse of thought on my part.

  • tulips

    I said daughters and sons. It’s a relevant distinction.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Oh, sorry. Yes, I believe that sons should be taught that as well.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Wow, I think you are confused. The paper said, and says, nothing at all about the difference between hospital versus out of hospital births.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Wow, I have never seen anyone that needed citations in order to translate.
    the translation would read something like:
    All of the data in my paper, above, leads me to believe the following represents the best medical evidence:
    Firstly that having a vaginal birth when you have already had one C-section will reduce your risk during future pregnancies compared to having an elective (ie planned) C-section.
    Secondly, that having a vaginal birth even after two C-sections is generally considered safe by the literature and definitely does not increase the woman’s risk for future pregnancies as much as it would if she had an elective (planned) C-section….

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    Oh, I don’t deny that there would be consequences. But I think you put it a bit strongly when you say it is just for ‘rejecting the ideas’. I think that most, if not all, so-called patriarchal families would not ‘disown’ their child (by which I assume you mean not pay for whatever it is they want to do?) if they merely rejected their beliefs, but if they took some action they had been told, and warned, not to take. I know that would be my position.

  • tulips

    Reduce your risk of what? Rupture? Spontaneous unicorns?…..? This is vagued up in the extreme. Please provide citations that specify approval of vbac in an at home birth attended by a lay midwife. This is the context in which you are selling the idea and it’s absolutely medically irresponsible.

  • tulips

    No evasion allowed.

  • Vaughn Ohlman

    The entire paper is 3800 words long, including multiple citations and sections. It has, literally, nothing to do with lay midwifery. Indeed I think most of if not all of the data comes from hospital births.
    I posted two paragraphs, for fun, to see if you could translate the medical language into something that average would could read and understand. Not trying to convince you of anything.

  • Keary McHugh

    I don’t think, however, that they are popular because we, as a culture, like big families. Rather they are presented in as freaks– as one more entry of the modern day freak show that is TLC, along side the likes of Honey Boo-boo and Extreme Couponers/ Cheapskates and so on. We are invited to laugh at the freaky family with 20 kids, not invited to seriously consider their point of view.

  • Catherine

    By “disown”, it typically means removing as much assistance as they are legally able to. For someone of legal age, it can and has meant homelessness–which can be especially problematic for someone who has no worldly experience.

  • Catherine

    Why not through an accredited school?

  • tulips

    I find it strains credulity to believe that the kind of sort of off and on not quite lay midwife has produced a 3800 word research paper on the subject of “Yay for vbac, there’s really no increased risk!” which is being translated into civilian language for the masses of impoverished teenage QF households entirely out of coincidence. Call me a skeptic.

  • Gina

    If you don’t have a valid argument, ridicule will do.

    If Driscoll left his bubble, he might realize that there is far more sanctimony coming from parents towards those who choose to opt out. I’m child-free by choice and I want a truce. I won’t call parents “breeders” if parents will stop acting like martyrs and calling me selfish. Most of your children will be completely average at best. Some may contribute more to humanity than they cost; most won’t. Some will be losers or worse. Parents – especially those with big families – seem to think that they are doing us all a big favor by helping to (over)populate the earth. It’s as if we are all being ungrateful when we don’t kiss their butts for giving us the gift of spreading their obviously superior genetic material. It’s narcissism.

  • Nichelle Wrenn

    Every
    distinct group of people, mothers included, has a pejorative
    nickname. Some people are going to use that nickname. Just the other
    day I was called a heathen by my professor, in jest of course. Most
    of the world still calls mothers, moms. I think what Mr. Driscoll is
    attempting to do here is create yet another notch in the Christian
    persecution belt. And I think he was the word world the deliberately.
    Forgive me for getting all biblical on you but I think it helps to
    understand where Mr. Driscoll’s coming from here. Romans 12: 2
    states, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing
    of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
    and perfect, will of God.” (KJV). He is trying to connect the word
    breeder to (his perception of) the rest of the world’s views on
    motherhood. The few people who actually use the word breeder are not
    using it in a serious context, if Mr. Driscoll would get out of is
    conservative Christian bubble he might realize that. I’m not holding
    my breath.