Reason to Quiver?

Quiverfull:Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement Kathryn JoyceBeacon Press, 2009; 258 pages, $25.95 Many Americans were appalled by the behavior of “Octomom” Nadya Suleman, the publicity-hungry, unemployed single mother whose litter of artificially-inseminated octuplets brought her offspring total to fourteen. Many were also outraged by developments on Jon and Kate Plus 8—the reality television show, which will presumably have to be renamed Jon (Plus Girlfriends) Minus Kate (with no Date) Plus 8 (Divided by One-Half of Their Divorced Parents’ Time). Yet, if Kathryn Joyce is to be believed, the most disturbing trend in American family life surrounds a small band of conservative Christians who are strongly committed to lifelong marriage, traditional gender roles, and the scriptural admonition to “be fruitful and multiply”. . . in the quaint, old-fashioned way. In Quiverfull, Joyce takes aim at a “quietly organizing” movement of conservative Christian families that draw inspiration from these words of Psalm 127: “Children are a blessing from the Lord . . . Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” Joyce not only believes these Christians represent a serious threat to enlightened civilization, but she also finds sympathy for her concern among the readers of Mother Jones, The Nation, and other left-wing publications for which she often writes. For example, author Barbara Ehrenreich says the “Quiverfull” movement threatens to “reduce women to the status of slave-like breeders.” Former Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt says this subculture “twists religion to justify keeping women barefoot, pregnant, and powerless.” Likewise, author Michelle Goldberg says these families have “taken misogyny to sadomasochistic extremes.” Joyce, to her credit, largely eschews such overheated language; but her ominous tone leaves little doubt about her biases. She begins, “In the corner
Please subscribe or log in to read the rest of this content.