Competing Populations

When was the last time you went to a public place and your first thought was “wow; I wish there were more people here?” OK; sure, many of you live in less populated places than smack dab in the middle of population explosion known as the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, but still, don’t you think most rational people know we don’t have infinite space on this planet and that it might be useful to have conversations about the challenges created by overpopulation?

The last time I checked, I couldn’t find any reason to assume “be fruitful and multiply” was going unheeded. And, we have the related population problems to prove it: not enough food, energy shortages, massive pollution, fresh water challenges, an earth groaning from abuse.

Despite this reality there is a movement among conservative religious groups (of all religions, by the way) to seek world domination by out populating other groups of people. God apparently gave a commandment to have children and people are to obey without any serious thought to whether or not we’ve already fulfilled it.

There are at least a couple of things I find troublesome about Colin Campbell and others in the Christian Patriarchy movement, and a complete refusal to use sound reasoning is one of them. If we lived in a society where we needed more people to work the fields or find and secure some protein source or had sky-high infant mortality rates, I’d completely understand the reason to produce scores of children.

But clearly, this is not where we are as a global community. And yet, there are some who continue to tout the population mantra despite the significant challenges we face—challenges due precisely to a failure to make our procreation choices a matter of informed decisions.

Now, I’m not trying to get nosy about people and their individual decisions about whether or not to have children, or deciding how many children someone should bring into this world. I am interested, however, in pointing out how some people including Colin Campbell are specifically urging others to have as many children as possible, the goal being to create larger populations than other groups; you know, a kind of population competition.

Under the guise of believing “all children to be a blessing” these people are using one phrase taken from the Bible and using it as an instrument of imperialism and domination. At the core of this fear-motivated “missionary” enterprise is an entire generation of children who are created as weapons to be used in a population war that will exacerbate the problems plaguing our world.

In the Genesis narratives of creation a caring God provided a way for humans to procreate in order to sustain themselves. This loving God also implored these humans to tend the garden, caring for the earth and enabling God’s great vision of cooperation to continue.

These are not isolated commands, given without regard for their inter-connectedness. And, there is no way for us to do our part in continuing God’s grand creative design if we are going to let fear of those who are not familiar to us drive us to seek to dominate them through a ridiculous population war.

Besides, whatever happened to the characteristic impulse of those first followers of Jesus who understood what radical hospitality was like? Aren’t we as pilgrims on The Way to welcome the stranger?