This might surprise a few readers of this blog who have not been with me long, but quite a few years ago, Farm Boss and I led a teen-age youth group from our rural church. We did this over a period of years and had their Sunday night meetings at our farmhouse.
The sessions were a Bible study and making it practical for issues they would face in their daily lives (sometimes there would be a pizza, movie and hot tub party). These were the years when we believed in a fundamental Christian view of the Bible; so don't panic that we were leading them into decadence. We did, however, discuss many touchy subjects and one of them was birth control.
Back then we taught that sex outside of marriage-- any sex outside of marriage-- was a sin biblically speaking. BUT birth control was not. We took the view that many unwanted pregnancies come out of young people who think they can let themselves be carried away by sex and somehow avoid feeling they sinned as greatly if they were not using birth control-- you know the old-- if it just happens, there is less blame than if it's planned. We taught that adding birth control onto sex didn't enhance the infraction.
The Catholic basis for their claim it is a mortal sin goes back to the story of Onan (Genesis 38:8-10) where I believe they totally missed the point of the story as many do with Sodom and Gomorrah. However, they don't care much about that fact as with their Pope getting orders directly from God, they can say it's a sin with no logical biblical basis.
For anybody without a Bible or who doesn't want to bother looking up the story of Onan, it's typical Old Testament. Fathers took wives for their sons. God smote whoever didn't do his will.
In this case, Judah got Tamar as a wife for his oldest son. Oldest son did evil in God's eyes (doesn't say what). God killed him. So Judah ordered his son Onan to have sex with his brother's widow, as her brother-in-law, and the child would be considered that it was his brother's.
Onan, not surprisingly didn't take well to this idea. The offspring would never be his. Sounds like he'd not even get to marry the widow. Frankly it's a weird story however you look at it. But Onan went to her and 'wasted his seed on the ground' which might mean withdrawal (Catholics also use this story to claim masturbation is a mortal sin). Anyway when God saw this, He killed Onan too. (Tamar has an interesting story if you want to pursue what happened next to her).
Most of us, using logic (not needed for those who base everything on faith), would say God was mad at Onan because he wouldn't do what his father and God wanted-- produce an heir illicitly for his brother-- the one who did something so bad that God had killed him for it.
So to rebel against God or your father could end up with a death sentence. But the story isn't about birth control as anybody can see. The Popes though began to use it as their justification for no birth control (except the rhythm method-- figure the logic on that one)-- and considering it to be a mortal sin if you do use it. And for any non-Catholics reading here, mortal sins are the biggies, the kind God smites you for (see above for what that could mean) versus venal sins which are the minor ones. (Wonder where they classify Bishops who hid the sexual molestation being done by their priests -- probably okay as it was protecting the Church which clearly always takes the priority).
Anyway now we have in our country some people, even those who are not Catholics, defending the Catholic right to dictate this logic onto every single person in the country under threat of law if enough voters agree with them.
Now I think the evangelical wing of the church (and mostly christianists whatever they call themselves as their practices sure don't follow Christ's teachings) want to block birth control access because they are convinced that everybody using it is out committing some kind of licentious act. If they block birth control availability, people won't be doing that... Told you logic isn't a factor in any of this.
You know, I don't really have a problem with people using twisted logic and considering themselves to be better than everybody who doesn't. It's their problem-- right up until they want to make everybody else also follow that logic. Then it's my problem.
When a pharmacist in a small town in the South said he would not fill a birth control prescription for a woman because it was a sin to use it, it was really the first volley in a new culture war. We are now being told it would be okay, this by a candidate running for the presidency of this nation, if a state voted to make all birth control illegal. It would be okay to make Catholic moral laws into American legal laws (based on believing that above story makes sense as well as that any Pope has a direct pipeline to God for being given instructions for what we should do under threat not just of death now but also hell). A lot of us are still in shock.
The argument that birth control allows for illicit sex is obviously proven wrong by statistics. Half of all pregnancies are unplanned according to statistics (maybe going back to the logic of if I didn't take birth control, the sin is lessened).
Any stupid argument that a couple should have all the children god naturally gives them makes me want to ask-- so no intervention regarding your nearly rupturing appendix since god gave you that too?
What is happening now is purely illogical. Not that logic is much praised these days from the far right where only blind faith is admired and as for facts-- what are those?
You know to believe in making sure birth control is easily available to women does not mean one is promoting a licentious lifestyle. Where it comes to sexuality, I don't have the religious view on it anymore but still believe living a life of sex with a rotating set of partners is not healthy. I believe in honesty and openness in sexual connections even if marriage isn't a factor or frankly even if it's polyamory. The thing is even for those doing the one-night stands, it doesn't make it more healthy to add with no birth control.
My guess is most birth control is used within marriages or committed relationships. For those of us shaking our heads at this even being an issue again, we see this as not about morality but about responsibility for yourself, the children you might have and the ones you already have. This means not just as an individual but as a community-- which is why it matters that birth control is available and easy to get-- even if it's no longer an issue for us personally. It's about operating from logic not blind unthinking faith.
This is a good link and I hope you take a look at it.