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WP: Romney, Santorum Have Too Many Kids

From the ‘Belief Watch’ section at the Washington Post:

Romney, Santorum and archaic ideas on fertility

By Lisa Miller
March 2, 2012

Between them, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have as many children — 12 — as there were tribes of Israel. Ron Paul has five of his own, and in an early debate, perhaps unwilling to be outdone by Michele Bachmann’s fostering of dozens, Paul boasted that when he worked as a physician he delivered “4,000 babies.”

There’s nothing wrong with big families, of course. But the smug fecundity of the Republican field this primary season has me worried. Their family photos, with members of their respective broods spilling out to the margins, seem to convey a subliminal message that goes far beyond a father’s pride in being able to field his own basketball team. What the Republican front-runners seem to be saying is this: We are like the biblical patriarchs. As conservative religious believers, we take seriously the biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply.

We can’t help but wonder if Ms. Miller has these same concerns about Muslims or even Hispanic families?

Especially worrisome is the inevitable corollary to that belief: Women should put their natural fertility first — before their brains, before their ability to earn a living, before their independence — because that’s what God wants.

And now, with their crusade against birth control, the Catholic bishops are helping to articulate and elevate that unspoken and archaic value in public. Fertility is a gift from God, they say. To mess with that gift goes against God’s plan. (The appeal of Sarah Palin to so many Christian women was exactly this: She prioritized her fertility while juggling a big job and a husband who was frequently out of town. Her fans call her a Proverbs 31 woman, a reference to the biblical character who does it all — and who keeps herself looking good. Her price, the Bible says, is “above rubies.”)

To which I say this: We’ve come a long way from the days of the Bible, baby, and I don’t want to go back there.

The Bible contains profound truths about faith and love and justice and fidelity, but as a point-by-point guidebook to modern domestic life it’s nearly worthless. It was written at a time when women were men’s property, only slightly more valuable than sheep. Their worth was connected to their fertility. Infertility was a shame, a scandal, a condition the women of the Bible prayed to God to be released from. The value and status of a man could be measured by the numbers of his children and grandchildren. That’s why the Bible editors used all those “begats.”

In the Middle Ages, the only way for a woman to escape the binds of her God-given fertility (and the possibility that she would die bearing children) was to join a convent. There, she might learn to read and write.

The birth control pill, which became widely available in 1960, revolutionized modern life not, as so many conservative pundits argue, because it allowed women to have sex with as many men as they wanted (although some women did do that), but because it allowed them to take charge of their fertility, and in so doing, to take charge of their education, their earnings potential, and eventually, the planning of their families, and the loving, nurturing raising of their children. It is not an accident that the influx of women into colleges and universities, into law schools and medical school occurred after the invention of the pill.

This shouldn’t be news to anybody, but apparently, in 2012, it is. Family planning is good for families. In an economy where nearly all mothers work, where their ability to earn money doesn’t merely allow them the occasional splurge at the department store but actually pays the mortgage and the college bills, the romantic idealization of biblically abundant families is a retrograde dream.

Smaller families allow everyone in the family to be healthier and better educated. Healthy, well-educated people live longer and are more prosperous than those who are not. In the poorest parts of the developing world, the average woman has six children; in the richest parts, that average woman has three. This is the reality, Mitt Romney the outlier. As a man who earns $20 million a year, he can afford to have as many children as he can manage to conceive.

I am the first person to say children are a miracle, a blessing, a gift from God. But I also thank God that I live in a time and place where I can get up every morning and go to work, and with the money I earn help feed and educate my child. I’m guessing that if you asked them, most American women, liberal or conservative, would vote with me.

Remember how they laughed when they said that it wouldn’t be long before families would be told how many children they would be allowed to have?

By the way, according to her biography at the Washington Post, Lisa Miller is former senior writer at the Wall Street Journal.

She is a senior editor at Newsweek and oversees all of its religion coverage and writes the regular “Belief Watch” column for Newsweek/Washington Post.

Here are some of her latest hits:

FEB 23: The religion and politics of division — Christian conservatives are playing an ancient game: Using religion to divide people.

FEB 16: How to win the ‘war on religion’ — What can the Golden Rule’s call to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ teach us during this fight over birth control coverage?

FEB 9: A battle to protect the revolutionary gains of America’s women — To hold the consciences of a few loud voices over the private needs of families is not just unfair. It is unconscionable.

Needless to say, Ms. Miller is nothing but a foot soldier for the Left in the war on religion.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, March 5th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

17 Responses to “WP: Romney, Santorum Have Too Many Kids”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “The Bible contains profound truths about faith and love and justice and fidelity, but as a point-by-point guidebook to modern domestic life it’s nearly worthless.

    Now there’s a perfect non-sequitur.

    As a non-practicing member of the Christian faith, these past three and a half years have been very illuminating. I categorically disagree with Miller’s assessment. “nearly worthless” is clearly from a thinker that the book is not timeless nor a useful guide. She also probably believes the Constitution is a “living document” subject to the whims and winds of change to suit the current social climate.

    But if you read and interpret the Bible correctly, it’s a very good guide in a great many areas but requires the reader to be self-critical. Perhaps that’s what she doesn’t like. Perhaps under her interpretation, the Bible is “mean”. That’s usually one of the first whines that comes from a person who is unwilling to do the difficult, most-correct thing and also when asked to be critical of themselves.

    I’m guessing she’s a moral relativist and that muslims killing people is ok…while Christians in military uniform killing muslims is somehow wrong. People like her should never be given a voice in public, except to identify them as the loons they are.

    • tranquil.night says:

      “But if you read and interpret the Bible correctly, it’s a very good guide in a great many areas but requires the reader to be self-critical. Perhaps that’s what she doesn’t like.”

      Could be, fellow tribalist troglodyte dinosaur.

  2. David says:

    Especially worrisome is the inevitable corollary to that belief: Women should put their natural fertility first — before their brains, before their ability to earn a living, before their independence
    And how many of these “smart” women that are earning that living have their own secretary because they can’t manage their own schedules? Try managing 6 people’s schedules and and doing so in such a way as to create a nurturing, and positive environment! Companies like Apple and Google pay consultants millions to achieve the cohesiveness from their diverse members that stay-at-home moms have had figured out for centuries!

  3. River0 says:

    These people are so financially illiterate that it’s laughable, and it perfectly illustrates the malignant nature of ‘progressivism’/socialism. Like a disease, they destroy the host that feeds them. They are rarely producers of anything, just consumers and deadly critics. Occupiers and layabouts.

    Not only are they systematically destroying healthy economies by enforcing stupid laws and over-regulation, they’re sucking the lifeblood out of us all.

    The EU socialist/’progressive’ economic model – which we are imitating in the U.S. – requires a birthrate of at least 2.5 to 3 children per household – and a growing economy – in order to generate taxes to pay for it. Present low birthrates in the U.S. make the system “unsustainable”. Low birthrates are dooming Europe, Russia, China, and Japan, down the road.

  4. geronl says:

    Smug?

    What is more smug than a leftist?

  5. hokeymcdokey says:

    Belief Watch is nothing but a bunch of idiots. I got into an argument with them over some of their terms and some of their conclusions. It’s hard arguing with idiots.

    • Rusty Shackleford says:

      “It’s hard arguing with idiots.

      And so very often, the bystander cannot tell the difference.

    • JohnMG says:

      Don’t argue with idiots. They’ll only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.

  6. canary says:

    News reporter Lisa Miller in a religious grandiose delusional state of mind claiming

    ” I am the first person to say children are a miracle, a blessing, a gift from God.”

    Sorry Lisa Miller but you don’t even come close to being the first. You come in last defending children or people who adopt children)

    ” I’m guessing that if you asked them, most American women, liberal or conservative, would vote with me.”

    Did I miss something? What position or office is the bigoted reporter Lisa Miller running for that women are voting for – a mother of 1 child contest?

    Did it occur to reporter Lisa Miller that the candidates had children and adopted children because they love children and feel more at stake of making America a better place for their children.

    Lisa Miller has came up with an attack against Republicans in order to help Obama become re-elected.
    Her shorit counter-argument is just making one person, herself, look like an expert.

    Miller’s counter-argument should have been unbiased and told of Obama’s own admittance in his 2006 book that he was a lacking father whose wife felt she was raising her children on her own, and his admittance after becoming president that he wasn’t the best father.

    Miller’s counter-argument should have been to the other extreme and detail Obama’s and Clinton’s
    extremity of legalizing “Full-Term Baby Abortion”.

    Shame on Lisa Miller who claims to be a Christian to not have put some effort into caring for innocent children.

  7. The Redneck says:

    Now let Santorum or Romney comment with anything but praise for a welfare-mother who’s got 12 kids on her own, and see how long it takes people like Miller to crawl out of the woodwork and scream about how someone else’s personal life is nobody’s business but hers….

  8. beautyofreason says:

    I’ve never seen a white liberal with more than two kids. They seem to be offended at the thought of reproducing above the replenishment rate, regardless of the growth of other groups. Stranger still is the mix of arrogance and self-effacement when they talk about their own. Liberals promote being as diverse and supportive of other cultures as possible, but depict Western culture as dogmatic and colonial. Their view of white Americans is lower still, believing most to be fat, uneducated, Walmart shoppers whose excess children and religious views threaten to wreck the environment and create a theocracy. They champion gay rights, knowing that many of these people will not have children.

    The environmental nuts are particularly big on negative stereotypes, and interestingly they are also the ones who most encourage population control. As for other groups, I’ve noticed a large increase of immigrants from third world countries in my area over the past decade. Maybe it’s just my location. Although some of these people are hard working, I feel that others are here for the money. Does that woman wearing a burqa in a hot Florida summer really give a crap about freedom? Probably not. Will the three children trailing behind her? No telling. Are a lot of amnesty recipients going to vote for the politician who offers state support and chain migration? Possibly. At what point did this nation decide to let in just anyone, as long as they vote Democrat?

    • David says:

      I have been thinking about this liberal repugnance to big families too. I wonder if there would be an uproar if Obamacare required everyone to subsidize invetro and other drugs designed to help generate these big families?

  9. GetBackJack says:

    Rainbow Six, Tom Clancy, 1998

    An elite community of politically hard Left activists, scientists and monied trust funders decide the Earth would be serene and as it should be if everyone in the world were eliminated … but them.

    They fund and engineer a catastrophically disastrous virus for which there is no possibility of a cure. They themselves will hole up during the death of the human race in wildly expensive bio-engineered facilities immune to the chaos in the outside world. When all but their happy band are dead … they will inherit the Earth and live happily ever after.

    Now, how on earth did Clancy come up with such an outrageous, “out there” idea as that?

    (see above)

    • tranquil.night says:

      What was out there was how Chavez just happened to be doing security consulting at the Sydney Games when the other Rainbow Team learned that’s precisely where the eco-terrorists were going to release the virus! D:

      I played the heck outta the video game back in the day.

      Clancy’s a huge righty. He loves him some Reagan.

    • GetBackJack says:

      IMHO, I’ve always considered Clancy a cut-out. A way for spooks still loyal to the Republic to get critical information and “heads-up” out into the general population.

      Think Fr. Malachi Martin being released by Paul VI to go forth and write about what was really going on inside the Church.

      Clancy is our Malachi.

  10. fallingpianos says:

    Lisa Miller’s throwing a hissy fit because she found families that outnumber her functioning brain cells.

  11. Petronius says:

    Hard to believe the Wash Post would pay good money to Lisa Miller to write such rubbish.

    I’ll take the Duggars every time –– wholesome, happy, decent, self-sufficient, debt-free, home-schooled, full of pioneer spirit, and clean-cut, Christian American-Americans.


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