Showing posts with label birth control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birth control. Show all posts

Friday, May 03, 2013

Seeking Clarity in the Face of Tragedy

I have watched a child die—suddenly, tragically, accidentally. It was the worst moment of my life, and a far worse one for the child’s parents and siblings. Left with a ghastly void in the space that a vibrant young life so recently occupied, we desperately seek to fill it—with explanations, rationalizations, comforting old sayings.

Richard George Davis, CC-licensed.
A preacher in the local congregation did his best to make sense of the senseless, a commendable and compassionate effort. His kind words of comfort at the funeral and in private conversations were pitch-perfect, offering a sense of fulfilled purpose to a devastated family. He shared a heartfelt Christian love with them, and with the shocked and grieving believers around them.

Their fondest hope for themselves and their loved ones is to reach the glory of heaven, he said. God had spared this child a lifetime of trials and temptations, bringing the reward to hand at a young age. The assurance about eternity was an attempt to offer some consolation, in the face of a very real tragedy that had been experienced right here on earth. It was religion serving its purpose, and doing it well: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).

So what are you supposed to think when your religion is widely seen as playing a part in the unfolding of tragic events? It is hard to miss the possible connection when a mother from your church, a religion that strongly opposes birth control, reportedly tells officers she smothered the youngest of her nine children “because she thought she had too many children already and she was jealous of the attention her husband was giving to the baby” (Forghani 2013).

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Birth Control as a Basic Human Right

Check out this blog from Finland about the Laestadian ban on birth control and its impact on fathers as well as mothers.
Women and men should know that there does not exist any ban of birth control in the Bible. This Laestadian doctrine of large families and of sin of contraceptives are created only by human beings, by the Laestadian preachers who know almost nothing about biblical scholarship.  Sex and sexuality have been the exclusive domain of Laestadian husbands and preachers in the patriarchate gender system. Laestadian women are  never asked to express their opinions and experiences on this issues. However, the birth control is a determinate part of the human rights, and everyone’s right to privacy should always be respected in these issues. 
The UN’s World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows: 
Reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and people to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence. 
If you would like to investigate more details e.g. about the Bible and contraception, read this post by Ed. A. Suominen.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Speak Up for the Children

A Laestadian woman in Phoenix was arrested Thursday for the suffocation death of her ninth child, a six-day old baby.

Let your heart break for all the victims in this tragedy. Let yourself feel righteous anger at the authorities in her life that allowed this to happen, despite all the warning signs.

But please, stay angry. Let your anger motivate action. Talk to your relatives. Write to the preachers. Leave a comment on the news article. Write to the court. Do something.

This tragedy was entirely preventable. Those of us with Laestadian backgrounds know why a mother with mental illness continues to have children, and why a father aware of his wife's mental illness would not use birth control. If you don't remember, listen to this sermon from Phoenix Laestadian Lutheran. It not only condemns birth control but advocates maternal self-sacrifice, even unto death. It is the very definition of immoral.

From the 18-minute mark:
But it could be, as is often the case, that many children come, and then the dear mothers feel, that kind of trial, that kind of difficulty, that time in life where they become very tired. The business of life, of raising those little ones, feeding and clothing, these are part of the life of a believing family. There are questions that come, and doubts come as well, how can I raise these children when there is so little time in the day. These are also questions. And even the ENEMY may raise doubts in our minds. He may even during those busy times of live, come with this kind of sermon, that you know, there are ways, that you can not have children, that there are ways you can control the number of children you have. There have been these kinds of occasions were the ENEMY has tempted some with practicing birth control. It is not according to GOD's word, it is not according to the teachings of GOD's kingdom.
Think of the eight children without their mom, whom the husband says was a good and loving mother. Think of the countless thousands of children neglected by overwhelmed parents. If you can't speak up for the mothers out there, speak up for the children.

Laestadians control nature in all kinds of ways. They control nature every time they get a flu shot or use an umbrella or get a stent installed. Forbidding women the control of their own fertility is irrational, inconsistent, and immoral.

It has to stop.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Current OALC attitudes about Birth Control

A recent anonymous commenter had the following question:

I was wondering if members of the OALC believe in birth control? I know that there is no sex before marriage but i am wondering any birth control during marriage?
I would love to know anything! Thanks

I know that in the ALC it used to be frowned upon, but I think now practices vary widely. Can anyone answer for the OALC? And I'm also curious about whether the answer differs for Laestadians in Finland and Sweden versus the United States.

See also: Healthcare and the OALC

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Healthcare & the OALC

I just received this email and am hoping we can help. I've asked the writer to read this blog for your responses.

Hi, I am a nursing student at Clark College. As a class, the students here are doing projects about the importance of adapting health care to different cultures, religions, and ethnic groups. The main purpose of this project is to create awareness and improve future health care delivery. I am writing this email because I would like the opportunity to learn some of the values and belief of the Apostolic Lutheran faith that should be considered by health care professionals when providing care to members of the church. For example, some religions abstain from the use of pharmaceuticals, birth control, and life support. Any information that is willing to be shared would be greatly appreciated. Again, the purpose here is to increase awareness and respect for all patients in a health care environment.

I have tried to contact members of the OALC, but I have had little success. I was reading your blogs and thought you might be able to provide some beneficial information.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Left the Laestadian Revival Movement . . .

I just found this essay online and am very eager to share it with you. It is by a Finnish woman from Ostrobothnia who left the Laestadian faith ten years ago. I hope she finds comfort and healing. I love her candor and sense a kindred spirit.

Here is an excerpt:

It was emphasised at services that it is not about rules, but rather the fact that a Laestadian wants to operate in a certain way. I recall how I preferred to speak about desires, rather than rules. I was pained to read newspaper articles about things that Laestadians “were not allowed to do”. The question was about what I wanted to do or to choose!
But whose desire was it really all about?
I was not asked what I wanted, or what I felt was important. For instance, the negative stance on birth control was taken in the late 1960s at a meeting of preachers, where only men were present.

I knew already at the age of 13 that I did not want to be the mother of a big family. It was not until I was over the age of 20 that I said out loud that I cannot stand the idea of a big family. My friends answered that “you can’t know in advance what it will be like”.
I was supposed to simply trust that God would give me exactly the right number of children, even if I did not use birth control.
I knew that my mind could not handle such an experiment. I simply did not want to become pregnant reluctantly. My thoughts did not find resonance, because they resounded with the voice of reason, not that of faith.

Some felt that faith is that people are encouraged to push their reason aside in big matters. For me rejecting reason would have been an abandonment of my own psyche.
I was not ready to bend at all in the birth control question, or to hide my opinions. The security of the Laestadian community began to turn into insecurity.