November 16, 2017
How many of you sat down and thought about the environment before you decided to have children? According to Dr. Travis Rieder, you should have. "Science proves kids are bad for Earth," is the title of his controversial new column on NBC. "Morality suggests we stop having them."
A father himself, Rieder insists his arguments for population control are long overdue. "Although culturally controversial, the scientific half of this position is fairly well-established. Several years ago, scientists showed that having a child, especially for the world's wealthy, is one of the worst things you can do for the environment." In other words, if children don't exist, neither will our environmental problems. If that sounds crazy, it's because it is. In their worldview the planet, not people come first. Rather than the earth being our home, a place we are to make subservient to the needs of human beings (Gen. 1:28), they would eliminate human beings as just another way to balance the CO2 equation.
"I'm certainly not arguing that we shame parents," Rieder claims (despite spending 1,000 words doing exactly that). But, he goes on, "some amount of an offspring's emissions count toward the parents' ledger." Then, stunning readers, he compares child-raising to murder. "If I release a murderer from prison, knowing full well that he intends to kill innocent people, then I bear some responsibility for those deaths -- even though the killer is also fully responsible. My having released him doesn't make him less responsible (he did it!). But his doing it doesn't eliminate my responsibility either."
Unfortunately, Rieder's views are nothing new. This is the same camp that once called people "the AIDS of the earth," then proved it by launching a "Voluntary Human Extinction Movement." For years, these green extremists used photos of cuddly polar bears and harp seals to cover up their real agenda of radical environmentalism. What they don't seem to realize is that the population is already on its way to a full-scale collapse. "The total fertility rate," Census officials say, "has fallen below the 2.1 children that a couple needs to replace themselves." That spells disaster for an aging country like ours. If you can't grow the families, you can't grow the economy. But then, that's the irony of liberalism. They complain about overpopulation and push for abortion, when the rest of their big government agenda falls apart without more taxpayers. And where do we get future taxpayers? From the same wombs Rieder wants to empty.
In our book, Personal Faith, Public Policy, Bishop Harry Jackson and I devoted an entire chapter to the importance of conservation as a core social value. We talk about how the world is on the verge of reaping the long-term consequences of this mentality that children are a drain on resources, rather than a reward from the Lord. Just look at Scripture. Nowhere in Scripture does God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" have an expiration date. If we really want to save the world, it's time we looked at children -- not as burdens, but blessings.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.