“Thou shalt not breed: Anglicans”, The Age, 9/5. The Anglican Church caused a minor flurry in May when it issued a statement saying that the baby bonus was environmentally irresponsible and should be scrapped (replaced by paid parental leave).
Wading into the population debate, the General Synod of the Anglican Church has warned that current rates of population growth are unsustainable and potentially out of step with church doctrine – including the eighth commandment, “Thou shall not steal”.
In a significant intervention, the Anglican Public Affairs Commission has warned concerned Christians that remaining silent “is little different from supporting further overpopulation and ecological degradation”.
“Out of care for the whole of creation, particularly the poorest of humanity and the life forms who cannot speak for themselves…it is not responsible to stand by and remain silent,” a discussion paper by the commission warns. “Unless we take account of the needs of future life on Earth, there is a case that we break the eighth commandment – ‘Thou shall not steal’.”
Approving letters, 16/5:
They’ve got it!
Congratulations to the Anglican Church for its courageous and principled stand on population growth. Accumulated and overwhelming evidence over the past 40 years has highlighted the folly of human self-interest and arrogance as the species continues to breed unabated while totally disregarding its effect on the world’s finite capacities.
Without halting population growth, the environmental and resource problems cannot be mitigated. A stand-out example is global warming, where the effect of the projected growth in local and global population will completely negate any reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
Sustainable development is an oxymoron in the face of population growth and it should be challenged every time it is uttered.
– Robert Boffey, Macleod
Curb the growth
The Anglican Church should be congratulated and supported wholeheartedly (on its call for a population curb in Australia).
Probably, this is the first time that a Christian church has taken such a momentous leadership direction. Most Western nations have near zero or negative population growth; but population growth is taking place in developing countries, by up to 5 per cent a year.
The biggest threat to world peace and civil society in the future will come from unsustainable population growth. People in most developing countries do not have sufficient water to drink or land to grow food, let alone materials to build shelter. In many poor countries, any economic progress they make is swallowed up by increasing population. Global warming and climate change will certainly make life more difficult in such countries. It is only a matter of time before large numbers of refugees from overpopulated countries seek to move to less populated countries. This will result in warfare, death and destruction.
It is to be hoped that all churches and political parties take the Anglicans’ lead and seek to curb population growth as a policy initiative around the world.
– Bill Mathew, Parkville
Thou shalt not mislead
The headline about the Anglican Public Affairs Commission discussion paper on population issues was misleading. Neither explicitly or implicitly does the paper argue that people should not have children. Rather, it suggests that the government incentive to have more children – the baby bonus – be removed and replaced by increased paid parental leave so as to strengthen the time parents are able to have with their babies.
The article also said that the paper came from the Anglican General Synod. In fact, it was prepared by the national Public Affairs Commission and will be considered by the General Synod at its meeting in September.
– Professor John Langmore, chairman, Anglican Public Affairs Commission
“Hoping for some gains amid the growing pains”, 12/5. This article aroused my ire as the couple profiled are displaying environmental irresponsibility by having so many children (four with another on the way).
Although Mrs Smith admitted money was sometimes tight for extra-curricular activities for the children, she said there were benefits to having a large household. “I love having a big family. There’s never a dull moment and always plenty of laughs, and a few tears,” she said. “Our aim was to start with two and then we quickly went to four and then we thought if we’re going to do it they can grow up together. When they are older they will be best mates.” Last year the budget brought some pain for the family – they were hoping this year would not be the same.
Well, if your budget is tight, stop breeding! Of course they expect Government handouts. A similar article featured a couple with five children and another on the way. What the hell is wrong with these people? We live in a society where most children can be expected to survive to adulthood, and contraception is readily available, so there is little excuse anymore to have large families. Such couples should also be classified as “environmental vandals”. They should be penalized from child #3 onwards, either actively with extra taxes, or passively by withdrawal of Government funding for extra children.
Australia is not the only nation promoting family growth; I came across this news item at the Kremlin.ru site: “Ceremony awarding the Order of Parental Glory to parents of large families”. Even if Russia’s population is declining, there is (as of 2002 census) just over 141 million – over 6 times that of Australia’s – hardly any reason to be concerned yet!