I’m celibate. I follow historic Christian teaching on sexual ethics by default. Straight people who practice contraceptive sex don’t.
A lot of ppl get angry when I make this observation. They feel like they’re being judged. Like I’m telling them that they’re living in sin just for having sex with someone they love. That’s interesting, because it reminds of how gay ppl feel.
To be clear, I’m NOT saying that you’re living in sin for having contraceptive sex with your spouse, so no worries. I don’t think you’re living in sin! Birth control is a human right, & denying access to contraceptives leads to horrendous abuses, most often toward women.
Notice how that last tweet made you more comfortable?
Why do straight Christians immediately loosen up and feel relieved when they’re given permission to ignore 2 millennia of near-unanimous church teaching on a topic that impacts heterosexuality? But if I say that I don’t think gay ppl are living in sin either, many freak out.
Right about now, you’re probably running through your mind all excuses you can think up for why contraceptive sex doesn’t play by the same rule book as gay sex. The Bible is clear on homosexuality after all, no such clarity exists for contraception.
Well, think again. Sexual orientation didn’t exist as a concept until the 19th century, whereas contraception has been around for as long as people have been making babies. So actually, the Bible has been just as clear, if not more so, on contraception than it is on homosexuality
Modern Christians have reinvented the “sin of Onan” (Gen. 38:8-10) to be a condemnation of masturbation. But in fact, from the early church up until the 20th century, this passage was understood to be a condemnation of birth control and proof that contraception equals murder.
In other words, up until the 20th century, the Bible was “clear” on contraceptive sex.
Clement of Alexandria, early church father, said, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted. To have coitus other than to procreate children is to do injury to nature.”
Another early church father, Epiphanius, who was known for correcting heresy and promoting orthodoxy, said, “They [heretics] exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption."
Jerome: “Some go so far as to take potions, that they may insure barrenness, and thus murder human beings almost before their conception.”
Augustine: "Although they be called husband and wife, are not; nor do they retain any reality of marriage, but use the respectable name [of marriage] to cover a shame. ... Sometimes this lustful cruelty, or cruel lust, comes to this, that they even use sterilizing drugs."
Luther: “This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a Sodomitic sin.”
Calvin: “Deliberately avoiding the intercourse, so that the seed drops on the ground, is double horrible. For this means that one quenches the hope of his family, and kills the son, which could be expected, before he is born...” (cont)
Calvin (cont) “...When a woman in some way drives away the seed out the womb, through aids, then this is rightly seen as an unforgivable crime.”
Wesley, speaking of the sin of Onan, “Observe, the thing which he did displeased the Lord--And it is to be feared, thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls. "
In other words, condemnations of contraceptive sex are not just a “Catholic thing.” The church was unanimous on this topic from the early church through Protestantism up until the 20th century.
The Protestant embrace of contraceptive sex in the 20th century can be directly traced to changes in Western sexual behavior that foreshadowed the sexual revolution in the 1960s.
Once more, I’m not trying to say that contraceptive sex is a sin. Instead, I’m pointing out a great inconsistency in modern church teaching.
Modern evangelicals must engage in a vast, whole-scale reinterpretation of Scripture in order to justify contraceptive sex, but then they look at gay people and cry foul when gay people apply the same reinterpretive methods.
Modern evangelicals will go to great lengths to find every possible excuse in the book for why traditional biblical teaching on heterosexual sex is no longer valid or was never valid at all, but then point the finger at gay ppl and accuse THEM of doing hermeneutic gymnastics.
It amounts to a shocking double standard that few straight Christians ever sit with. The truth is: Many want gay people to follow historic Christian teaching on sexual ethics without ever needing to follow themselves.
The point is not to walk away and conclude that straight people who practice contraceptive sex are living in sin. The point is to consider the interpretive grace we claim for ourselves and give it to gay people. “For with the measure you use, you will be measured” (Matt. 7:2).

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh
 

Keep Current with Bridget Eileen Rivera

Bridget Eileen Rivera Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!

PDF

Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @TravelingNun

12 Sep
“If you don’t vote in this election it’s because you’re a selfish, privileged elite who can’t understand the needs of the oppressed.”

This is a bald-faced lie fabricated (ironically) by political elites in order to bully other ppl into voting. [thread]
First,

The older richer & whiter you are the more likely you are to vote. There’s a multitude of reasons for this but most pertinent is that ppl are more likely to feel represented by our two-party political system if they are older richer & whiter. nytimes.com/interactive/20…
Second,

Non-voters are more likely to be poor, less educated, and non-white. Surveys of low-income and POC citizens report high levels of voter disengagement due to feeling unrepresented in politics and the belief that voting won’t make a difference.

nytimes.com/2019/11/07/ups…
Read 13 tweets
24 Aug
Have you wept over the death of someone killed by the police in your immediate circle?
I have.
Have you stared into the haunted eyes of a child whose father/mother/family was arrested last night?
I have.
Have you wiped the tears of a young person whose father is sitting in prison?
I have.
Read 19 tweets
18 Jul
This is a huge problem I’ve noticed at BLM protests. White ppl expressing outsized rage (which really doesn’t make sense...their job is to be the allies not to be the angry ones) & POCs tasked with reigning them in.
At many protests I’ve attended, white people are the ones shouting things like “fuck the police” while POCs are the ones trying to get more positive messages out and gaining traction, eg: chanting “This is what community looks like”
I’ve also seen white people interfere in conversations between POCs, as the cop in the video described, when that is just not their place to do.
Read 6 tweets
26 Jun
“I was a druglord & gangbanger...”

“I was sleeping around w/ men just playing the whore....”

“I was a homosexual sex addict....”

“...UNTIL I FOUND JESUS.”

Few things do more to reinforce dominant cultural pathologies than the Christian Testimony™
The function of these types of testimonies is to reinforce things like racism, sexism, and homophobia while simultaneously exoticizing the “sinful lifestyle” to make the person’s present-day self-righteousness look “cool”
Those w/ power appropriate the stories of people like this and turn them into ornamental “proofs” that the straight, white, cisgender, middle-class way of life w/ men in charge is the “Christian Life” & the only way your life should look after Jesus
Read 9 tweets
21 Jun
Abortion in America is racist. Set aside the pro-life v. pro-choice debate for a minute and sit in that reality. Abortion is racist. Let’s talk about why. [Thread]
The white feminist movement excluded the needs of women of color from the get-go. White women wanted the freedom to work outside the home. Women of color had *been* working outside the home for generations.
White feminism started from the premise that women needed liberation from the family. It never considered that women of color had *never* been given the freedom to be home in the first place...to focus exclusively on the needs of their family without working *all day long*
Read 22 tweets
12 May
“Why do you get judged for gay sex if you’re celibate?”

The reason is that Christians see sex when they see gays. Plain and simple. When I walk into a cons. church I might as well have “gay sex” tattooed to my forehead. They see THIS and not me.
And if you think it’s my fault for identifying as gay, think again. This happens whether I say that I’m gay or not! It has nothing to do with how I identify and everything to do with the prejudices that Christians harbor in their hearts.
Christians inherently sexualize gay people. It’s a problem that has been going on for generations, and it functions to maintain gay people’s status as “perverts” in the church. They refuse to see us as people. We’re sex demons and nothing else.
Read 10 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!