I was recently emailed an article on environmentalists. Sadly, I can't find it online. It was an opinion piece by Kathleen Parker regarding this piece about some environmentalists who refuse to breed out of fear they are harming the planet. Parker's opinion was that these people are fundamentally selfish and worthy of the Darwin Award for "Those too Narcissistic to Breed."
I concur with her opinion.
Consider the position of one Toni Vernelli. She has worked for such organizations as PETA and Greenpeace. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that according to a PETA Europe news release, Vernelli believes that "Serving a burger to your family today, knowing what we know, constitutes child abuse. You might as well give them weed killer." One wonders how she was able to arrive at this position since she has never had children to feed burgers to and wouldn't know what child abuse actually looks like.
Anyways, Vernelli sincerely believes that children are a "burden" on the environment, since they must necessarily grow up to be polluters. Her claim is that "every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population." Despite this belief, she takes regular long trip flights and vacations and recently returned from a vacation to South Africa.
Yet we "breeders" are the selfish ones.
Need I point out I haven't been on a plane since my honeymoon?
Sarah Irving and Mark Hudson share a similar opinion. Irving feels that mother's who have large families "haven't thought through the implications." Hudson believes it is "morally wrong" to have children and therefor had a vasectomy.
I would like to ask him if he believes his parents sinned by bringing him into the world, since that would be the logical conclusion of his position.
These two cases illustrate the total depravity and fundamentally warped thinking of some people. In their view, parenting is a selfish activity but vacations are not. The parent awake at 1am cleaning up their two-year-old's vomit is a self-centered individual. The person on safari or lounging on the beach drinking a margarita is doing so for the betterment of the planet. Children are expendable; vacations are necessary.
In the opinion piece by Parker, she comments that parenting is perhaps one of the most fundamentally unselfish activities there is. I wholeheartedly agree. In order to properly care for their children, parents are frequently forced to do without. This is especially true when children are small. Nights are often sleepless. Meals are hurried. Vacations are infrequent. Often, they don't feel like vacations at all. Hobbies are put on hold as hours are spent properly teaching and training the children. Homes are almost never picture-perfect because as soon as one area is clean and tidy, another is messy. Walls are speckled with fingerprints, dents, scuffs, scratches and general wear-and-tear. Laundry load after laundry load piles up, to say nothing of the numerous diaper changings.
At this point I am forced to pause.
If anyone out there thinks that cleaning up the poop of another human being is a selfish activity, then they need more than a reality check. They need a straight-jacket.
It saddens me that anyone would view parenting as a selfish activity. It is a sad commentary on our world that children, the most helpless members of society, are viewed as a burden, or worse, destructive to the planet. People such as Vernelli, Irving and Hudson despise their parents simply because they are that: parents. No doubt if you were to question them they would all protest this and loudly proclaim their love for their parents.
They are all lying.
Despising anyone simply for being a parent is to despise one's own parents. Whatever the relativists might say, morality is an absolute. The standards one holds oneself to, one implicitly holds others to. If it is immoral for someone to breed, then it is also immoral for others to breed. The conclusion must be that their parents are evil for not conforming to the moral standard these children have invented. No one stops to consider that if their parents had shared the view that parenting was an ultimately selfish endeavour that should not be undertaken, these people would never even have been born.
So much for activism.
While I don't believe that children are the primary end of marriage, I do believe they are a significant perk. With good reason the Bible declares in Psalm 127:3 that "Children are a heritage from the Lord and the fruit of the womb is His reward." Notice it does not say burden. Regardless of what anyone might say, God gives us children as a gift.
We should treat them as such.
Children should never, ever take second place to a lifestyle or an ungrounded philosophical argument. If you aren't trying to save the planet for your children, for whom are you saving it? The fountain of youth has yet to be discovered and eventually we will all die. What then of activism? Did it really have a purpose?
Children are not produced in order to fill a biological need, although that does happen. They are not produced to fill an emotional need although that certainly happens too. They are not accessories to be dolled up and shown off, although most of us do that to some extent.
Children are a gift.
They are their own end, just as marriage is its own end.
God gives them to us and through them He furthers His kingdom, although He really doesn't need them in order to do so.
But, to be frank, I don't really expect the likes of Vernelli, Irving and Hudson to understand that.