Let’s start with a disclaimer. We are not Mitt Romney-bashing, elitist journalists who can’t wait to pick on the guy. But sometimes we wonder whether politicians think past the immediate objectives of their guidance to the populace. For every action, Isaac Newton informed us, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
On April 27, Mr. Romney, speaking at the Southern Virginia University commencement ceremonies, advised the graduates to marry young and have “a quiver full of kids if you can.” A quiver, in case you are not familiar with archery, is that tube archers carry on their backs that hold the ammunition, as in arrows. How the heck did babies become metaphorical arrows?
In the Bible’s Book of Psalms, Psalm 127 to be exact, it is written, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
We agree that some kids can be like arrows, tearing right through their parents’ emotional guts. But the Bible sees them as a blessing; you know, the whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing. It even exhorts man (the Bible predates gender political correctness) to cover the earth with more of himself. Following this exhortation, there is a movement afoot called Quiverfull that believes God gave women bodies to make kids—so make them. Forget contraceptives. Be like Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar.
Here’s where we see the problem. What is mankind supposed to do once it actually does cover the earth with its progeny? ‘Cause guess what, mission accomplished. Before long there will be eight billion of us. As in “Earth, we’ve got you covered.” After all, aren’t we also supposed to be guardians of the Garden of Eden? Thou cannot protecteth that which thy overpopulateth.
During his presidential campaign, Romney ridiculed global warming. That would fit with his seeming disregard of the consequences of filling quivers with kids.
According to an article by Kathryn Joyce in Mother Jones magazine, the Quiverfull movement “has a long-term campaign to win the culture wars by outnumbering its opponents.” We are not saying that Romney is part of Quiverfull. But we are associating him with a blatant disregard for the consequences of the get-pregnant-as-soon-and-as-often-as-you-can mentality. According to Mother Jones, for years, conservative leaders of the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church have joined the Catholic Church and right-wing evangelicals on so-called pro-family issues. A Mormon think tank leader coauthored a statement of principles, “The Natural Family: A Manifesto.”
This manifesto was once adopted by the town council of Kanab, Utah. The Mother Jones article says that in the manifesto “families are described as the fundamental unit of society, individual rights are valued only insofar as they correspond with pro-natalist, pro-family goals, and women’s rights are qualified as follows: ‘Above all, we believe in rights that recognize women’s unique gifts of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.’”
The article goes on to assert that Quiverfull sees feminism and family planning as a slippery slope that involves women taking over a body that actually belongs to God. That slope leads to gay rights, abortion, divorce and witchcraft.
Personally, we feel that what a woman does with her body is her own business (with the exception of Dolly Parton, who went just too far), and that includes Mormon women and their fellow travelers. We are not out to skewer LDS. There is plenty of room for most belief systems. We just wonder why people with these fecundity beliefs fail to address the current environmental messes, the numbers of troubled kids, the levels of mental illness and disabilities, and the shortage of natural resources.
There are Enough of Us. And when high profile pols like Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and others trumpet the blessings of doing God’s work by popping out kids, we have to question whether they also speak for God’s feelings about the attendant consequences. This is certainly the wrong advice to be giving young women who just spent four years getting educated about all kinds of valuable stuff.