First, I am absolutely in agreement with Elliot Bougis’ conclusions. Second, I am not so sure about his premises. He makes lots of plausible connections, but I’m finding it hard to see the cause-and-effect relationships.
For example (and this may be the biggest), because contraception was invented, homosexual sex is thought by Christians to be no big deal. That’s acceptable as far as it goes, but it says nothing about Christians using contraception. The misuse of something (or its idea) does not negate its use. That’s a simple principle that should be always taken into consideration in areas such as this.
Bougis and Steve Kellmeyer, whom he quotes, like this one a lot, and they argue against Christians who do not stand up against homosexual marriage because they, apparently, use contraception. They don’t quote any of these people to this effect, but, again: what does this prove, except that certain people who (supposedly) use contraception are not angry about something they should be angry about? But this is not necessarily the case. What about the people who use contraception and are out gathering signatures for constitutional amendments?
Some other problems.
Where is the Scripture? Judging by the article, there is no Scriptural support for the position, only repeated assertions of “what God intended.” (Certainly I think that God did intend much of what is asserted, I just want some proof for the position.)
Mr. Bougis’ explanation of why he personally opposes contraceptive use: (1) Tradition. He says (rightly, as far as I know) that the vast majority of Christians (including, of course, Martin Luther) were against contraception. But what kinds of contraceptives were our Christian fathers against (I’m assuming things more violent then those today)? I don’t know; I’m asking.
I’m a big proponent of tradition, but tradition does not win all arguments. For example, I’m wondering if Mr. Bougis has any car, school or home loans? Or any credit cards? Because all of the people he lists were probably against usury (charging interest) as well. But it would be nearly impossible to buy major things in the United States without being very well-off or taking out a loan. Lutherans were against insurance for a very long time as well; now we have our own insurance company!
(2) Contraception as “sexual deception.” “Contraception is saying ‘I love you’ with your fingers crossed. A condom does not simply put a physical barrier between a couple; it puts a spiritual barrier between them as well.” Basically, if you use contraception, you are denying to your spouse part of you. I don’t necessarily disagree with this, but does this raise it to the level of something you must do, every time?
(3) Contraception as “denying what sex is really for.” “Sex is a reproductive act of pleasure; sex is a pleasurable act of reproduction.” I am not disagreeing with this either. However, convince me that Scripture defines sexuality in these terms only. (Please, not “be fruitful and multiply,” unless someone is going to defend exegetically the claim that this does not apply only to Adam and Noah.) If this is true most of the time, must it be true all of the time? And, simply because some people take this to the extreme of “sex for pleasure only and always,” does that mean that Christians do this when they use contraception? I think not.
(4) And this brings us back to contraception causes apathy toward homosexual behavior. Yes, yes, bad things have come from the sexual revolution (of which widespread contraceptive use is a part), but how does that prove an absolute, God-intended prohibition on all contraceptive use by Christians? Should Christians see sexuality as something to use selfishly for their own pleasure alone? Should Christians use and abuse their spouses for their own selfish gratification? Should Christians decide that they simply don’t want to have children because they are an unwanted burden? Should Christians restrict their passionate love for each other only to “the moment” of sexual intercourse? It should be obvious that the answers to all of these questions is “NO!” But is contraception necessarily and without qualification answering these questions with a “Yes”? That is where I have not been convinced. If and because the widespread use of contraception has led to our pornography-saturated society, no-fault divorce, sexual promiscuity and immorality, abortion on demand, and the lack of outrage at the existence of homosexual marriage in Massachusetts (coming soon to a state near you), does this mean that it is off-limits for Christians? Show me the Scripture.
He does not address the ministerial use of reason in this area. I am sure the naysayers will be out in full force saying that I am exalting human reason over God’s Word if I claim that we might decide when and when not to use non-abortifacient contraceptives, but stating something does not make it true. Further, the whole article is an exercise in human reasoning, since there is no Scripture cited.
To be clear, I have not decided one way or the other (although I lean in the direction of adiaphoron, to be decided between spouses). Thus, this is an invitation for more discussion, which should lead to deeper understanding.