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Making babies for Jesus: BBC highlights the lunacy of the Quiverfull evangelical movement

THIS evening, the BBC World Service will broadcast The Womb as a Weapon, an examination of the spread in the UK of a dotty  and dangerous trend that insists that good Christians mums should produce babies as fast as their bodies will allow.

Christians in the Quiverfull movement believe in giving up all forms of contraception and accepting as many children as God gives, both as a sign of obedience to God and in a bid to ensure the future of the faith.

Quiverfull ideology also advocates a return to “traditional” roles in the home, where women are wife and mother first of all. They are their husband’s “helpmeet”, designed to support him as head of the household and primary breadwinner.

The programme features one woman who tested her faith in Quiverfull to the limit  – Vyckie Garrison, a mother of seven. Once a cornerstone of the Quiverfull movement in the US, she left in 2008. Her No Longer Quivering is described as a “place for women escaping and recovering from spiritual abuse”.

Garrison suffers from a rare bone condition that made pregnancy dangerous. Her husband had a vasectomy after baby number three. But after reading several Quiverfull authors, her ideas and the vasectomy were reversed.

Garrison continued to get pregnant against all medical advice, almost dying with the birth of her last – and seventh – child. But for a true believer, dying in childbirth is supposedly a noble act, she says.

I really believed that I wouldn’t die unless God willed that I die, and if he did then I would accept that, because obviously he’s the smart one, and has the big picture and knows the whole plan.

The programme appears to omit the tragic case of Andrea Yates.

Andrea Yates pictured with her husband Rusty and four of their five chiildren that she drowned in 2001

Andrea Yates pictured with her husband Rusty and four of their five chiildren that she drowned in 2001

Yates , A Texas mum suffering from a severe untreated psychosis and post partum depression, was drawn into the Quiverfull movement at the insistence of her husband Rusty, who in turn was under the spell of a fire and brimstone preacher named Michael Woroniecki. In 2001 Andrea Yates drowned all five of her children in a bathtub, and to this day remains in a mental hospital.

Woroniecki, according to this report, was a sharp-witted, sharp-tongued, self-proclaimed “prophet” who preached a simple message about following Jesus but who was so belligerent in public about sinners going to hell (which included most people) that he was often in trouble. He even left Michigan, to avoid prosecution.

He denounced Catholicism, the religion with which Andrea had grown up, and stressed the sinful state of her soul.

He also preached austerity, and his ideas were probably instrumental in the way the Yateses decided to live. As Andrea had one child after another, she took on the task of home-schooling them with Christian-only texts and trying to do what the Woroniecki and his wife, Rachel, told her.

In one letter to Yates, Woroniecki said:

You are evil. You are wicked. You are a daughter of Eve, who is a wicked witch. The window of opportunity for us to minister to you is closing. You have to repent now!

Later, Yates stated she had considered killing the children for two years, adding that they [Woroniecki and her husband] thought she was not a good mother and claimed her sons were developing improperly. She told her psychiatrist:

It was the seventh deadly sin. My children weren’t righteous. They stumbled because I was evil. The way I was raising them, they could never be saved. They were doomed to perish in the fires of hell.

She also told her psychiatrist that Satan influenced her children and made them more disobedient.

The Womb as a Weapon will be broadcast on the BBC World Service on 18 May at 19:32 GMT. Listen back via BBC iPlayer radio or download a podcast.

Hat tip: Agent Cormac

 

 

 

 

33 responses to “Making babies for Jesus: BBC highlights the lunacy of the Quiverfull evangelical movement”

  1. Ex Patriot says:

    Maybe she should have drowned her idiot husband instead of the kids, I think that would have been justifiable homocide, Another case of listening to a religious wacko spouting pure poison, which all religion is,as it fouls all and everything it touches

  2. Robert Stovold says:

    The Quiverfull movement cites Psalm 127:3-5 on its website. Have more babies so you can out-compete the enemy. Sounds almost Darwinian, doesn’t it?

  3. Buffy says:

    Women as nothing more than broodsows and maidservants. How vile. No wonder Andrea Yates went nuts.

  4. barriejohn says:

    R Stovold: They ARE Darwinian. Stephen Green stated recently that he accepts “microevolution” but not “macroevolution”. WTF? And just get this from Answers in Genesis:

    After Adam and Eve sinned and the Curse ravaged the earth, mutations, natural selection, and other mechanisms led to much variation within the created kinds. This diversity helps animals to survive, especially in the diverse and hostile post-Flood environments.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/get-answers/features/natural-selection-is-not-evolution?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=natural-selection-campaign

    They just can’t see it, can they?

  5. Lazy+Susan says:

    Looking at the picture, they seem to have more than the usual number of teeth.

  6. Angela_K says:

    This attitude towards women is part of every religion:women must be subservient baby factories and breed more soldiers for jesus/mo etc. These christian loons are not going to out-breed the enemy – which is code for muslims. As I posted on a previous thread, the islamists are colonising the West by stealth and breeding like rats.

  7. Matt+Westwood says:

    Someone ought to develop a virus which severely crocks the fertility of the human race. People will not limit their fetid offspring voluntarily, something needs to be done to force this to happen. If this attitude upsets broody women, tough shit.

  8. […] of "UK time," and almost instantly breaking bending the above new rule, (hat-tip to The Freethinker) there's a programme on the BBC World Service tonight, at 7:30 UK time (currently […]

  9. AgentCormac says:

    Just what the world needs – more brainwashed xtians.

  10. JohnMWhite says:

    Naturally, the very idea of Quiverfull is a dangerous and disgusting extension of the complete disregard Abrahamic religions have for women, as well as their peculiar notion that children are objects or tools to be used for the sake of the faith. It is depressing to find that the supposedly rational response to this nonsense seems to be suggestions of unleashing infertility viruses across the planet and comparing human beings to rats. Not education, certainly not compassion, but judgement and vindictiveness.

    What really concerns me is that Yates and her husband managed to go from being ok with vasectomies to suddenly deciding it was absolutely vital that they have as many children as possible, apparently because they read a few books. What is in these books that can convince somebody to make such a u-turn and put such an enormous strain on their bodies and their families? I suspect this may be an example of the insidious power of religious faith: if you believe in Jesus and heaven and hell, it may not take much to convince you to start hedging your bets and trying to appease the sky bully with offerings suggested to you, in order to avoid burning for eternity. Heaven has never been much of a carrot, but the fires of hell make for a great stick to drive people into whatever behaviour a faith demands of them.

  11. Lazy+Susan says:

    JohnMWhite – I ask myself the same questions. I suspect that they have been studied and maybe answered by psychologists – which is way out of my area of expertise. (If I was on Mastermind my area of expertise would be “the non-zero values of 1 bit.”)

  12. Broga says:

    These people are planetary destructive nutters. We already live in a world infested with the most destructive pest on the planet and which is driving to extinction so many other animals. Polluted seas, air that is becoming unbreathable (and is already that in many places), desperate shortages of drinkable water and nations of humans busily slaughtering other nations and often because of beliefs in invented gods.

    These sad clowns, of course, in their madness think their particular god is going to look after them.

  13. Marky Mark says:

    (Woroniecki, according to this report, was a sharp-witted, sharp-tongued, self-proclaimed “prophet” who preached a simple message about following Jesus but who was so belligerent in public about sinners going to hell (which included most people) that he was often in trouble. He even left Michigan, to avoid prosecution.)
    …This says it all! These people are anti-social psychopaths using their religion for hate.

    (Later, Yates stated she had considered killing the children for two years, adding that they [Woroniecki and her husband] thought she was not a good mother and claimed her sons were developing improperly.)
    …And I’m sure this preacher continues on spewing his hate taking NO responsibility for his influence on an ill woman. Still blaming Satin for her actions.

  14. Lazy+Susan says:

    … you’d think she would cotton on! (sorry)

  15. Equality Jack says:

    *facepalm*

  16. Matt+Westwood says:

    “… the supposedly rational response to this nonsense seems to be suggestions of unleashing infertility viruses across the planet and comparing human beings to rats.”

    I have seen nothing in humanity to disabuse me of this notion. Humanity is disgusting.

    … just a minute, where did I say “rats”? Rats are great.

  17. Robster says:

    Quiverfull..Do they live in a really cold place? where on earth do they get these crazy names from? I’d suggest the same place that makes all the silly hats.

  18. Matt+Westwood says:

    @Robster: A “quiver” is a receptacle for arrows usually strapped to the back of an archer allowing him/her easy access for rapid deployment. Presumably the metaphor here is that her little darlings are arrows for Christ to be loosed into the heart of pagan darkness that is the secular, humanist, liberal modern western world. Oh sorry, I forgot, I promised I wouldn’t do irony any more.

  19. T says:

    Muslims do a better job of this than the xtians. Muslims just get on with stealthily incubating hoards of little islamic fundamentalists without bragging about it. Islamists are literally the baby boomers.

  20. Daz says:

    Regarding the origin of “quiverfull.” Psalm 127:3-5:

    3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

    4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

    5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

  21. Lazy+Susan says:

    I’ll just fetch my arrows and quiver. On second thoughts, I’ll quiver first.

  22. Angela_K says:

    Talking of quivers:”The Earth shall burn but we shall quiver” http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=i7Ge0fWvgr8

    Sorry if I’ve posted this before, it gets very funny a minute in.

  23. 1859 says:

    This story just underlines how similar religious belief and madness are. They are not even mirror images – they are, when stripped of all pretension, manifestations of the same thing – a delusion based on a delusion based on a delusion based on another stupid delusion…..

  24. 1859 says:

    O one other thing – probably more important than my last post – those poor, poor kids. Isn’t it time the law was changed to prevent parents, teachers, preachers,or anyone from stuffing chilrends’ heads full of delusional crap? I know this is like the law invading the sacrosant family home but – shit – if it can save their lives and their minds I think it’s worth it.

  25. Lazy+Susan says:

    1859 – It’s one of these things where the cure is worse than the disease.

  26. AgentCormac says:

    1859

    I live in a small village and the house next door is used as a holiday let. Two weeks ago a mini bus turned up containing a massively overweight guy (his size isn’t exactly pertinent to the story, but there you go), an adult woman and seven girls ranging in age from about 7 to 14. This was on a Friday evening.

    The following day the curtains in the upstairs rooms remained closed all day and the curtains downstairs were half-closed. No one came out of the house at all. By late afternoon I was concerned enough to call the guy who looks after the house for the owners and he went to investigate. Turns out it was some kind of retreat. Apart from an hour on Sunday morning (when they presumably went to church or to some kind of religious gathering), the girls were not allowed out of the house and what was going on inside was clearly being kept from the rest of the world.

    I thought long and hard about calling the police, but in the end decided they wouldn’t thank me for wasting their time if a smiling (fat) vicar/priest/minister answered the door and vouched for the girls’ wellbeing. However, I dread to think what kind of psychological abuse those children were being subjected to and can only wonder at the mentality of the parents who allowed their offspring to be taken away for such purposes.

    Like you, I think the law should be able to protect the young and vulnerable from the abuse of religion.

  27. OurSally says:

    If you are interested in Quiverfulls here is a website for people who have left.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism/

    (The name is not helpful.) Libby Ann reports on the whole quiverful, woman-despising, home-schooling, child-abusing wacko Christian ultra-right movement from which she escaped.

  28. myth buster says:

    Now I am a Catholic, and I mean no pretense by posting on this atheist site, but has it occurred to you that if you can get the civil authorities to regard religious teaching as child abuse that religious people could do the same with regard to atheists? Once you set this precedent, what prevents religious people from declaring teaching children to be atheists as corruption of a minor? You cannot deny rights to your political adversaries and expect to maintain them for yourself.

  29. Marky Mark says:

    Myth Buster…your argument is the same as saying, Galileo was wrong because his scientific evidence refutes the Bible. But facts have proven him to be correct.

    Since religious folks are already teaching children that Science is wrong, and the planet is only 6-9000yrs old. It is a form of mental child abuse.
    They also say that Agnostics and atheists are evil and will be burned in hell, and in some extremes, wish death upon us. As they do to gays, abortion Doctors…ect.

    (You cannot deny rights to your political adversaries and expect to maintain them for yourself.)
    They are a hate cult singling out specific groups of humans for NOT believing in what they do.
    It is fair to point out their hypocrisies and throw their hate right back at them.

  30. Stephen Mynett says:

    Marky, we may well have a hit and run troll here which is why I did not answer. However, another point worth making is what he has missed or ignored, is that atheism is not about indoctrination but free thinking.

    Richard Dawkins made a good remark when he was interviewed on, I think, mumsnet, about faiths chools. He was asked if he would like to counter these by setting up an atheist school. Dawkins reply was that if he did that he would be guilty of the indoctrination he accused the faith schools of. He said he would like to set up a free school where many religions, belief and non-belief systems were taught and give the students a chance to make up their own minds.

    This is where myth buster, like many religionists, has it completely wrong, they cannot see that teaching students to be free thinkers and make their own decisions is good for them.

  31. barriejohn says:

    This is where myth buster, like many religionists, has it completely wrong, they cannot see that teaching students to be free thinkers and make their own decisions is good for them.

    But suppose they made the wrong choices? Then their souls would perish in hell and their parents would bear that dreadful responsibility for all eternity. Would you allow an infant in your care to put its hand into a naked flame, or would you prevent it from harming itself? Blah…blah…blah…blah…blah…

    He’s a troll!

  32. Broga says:

    myth buster (what a joke pseudonym!) would benefit from reading, thinking about and absorbing the contents of “Godless” by Dan Barker. Dan, with erudition, comprehensive research and wit, does a brilliant job in demolishing the Jesus’ myth and exposing the farcical nature of biblical “truths.” The comparisons of the Mythras cult and Christianity offer persuasive and often exact parallels with Christianity. That Dan Barker was a fundamentalist Christian preacher before discovering the satisfactions and freedoms of atheism adds weight to his comments.

    AgentCormac: On Retreats. There is a Buddhist Retreat fairly near me and in a sparsely populated area, with hard bitten country folk, its occupants are universally well regarded. They are utterly non intrusive but show active concern should they encounter anyone in trouble. I just make the comparison with your unpleasant experience.