Perhaps that might be misrepresenting their case a little, but This report in the Age and other media, released appropriately on Mother’s Day, gives the Anglican Synod’s position on the population debate.
They argue for less children, less immigration and state that not taking into account the needs of future life on Earth risks breaking the eighth commandment “Thou shalt not steal”
The report recommends doing away with the baby bonus, calling it irresponsible, but says that it should be replaced by improved support for parental leave.
While I think that we need to be responsible and to have a debate about appropriate population levels, I find the reported comments rather strange. I personally find it a bit of a stretch to call increased population stealing, but even if we accept the concept – why would immigration be defined as such? Potential immigrants are people already on the earth, usually with less access to resources than they would have in Australia. It is surely not stealing from anyone to allow them to migrate, more a case of sharing resources more equitably.
The argument for parental leave instead of the baby bonus is surely inconsistent. Both measures are an incentive to breed. But switching from the baby bonus to improved parental leave will disadvantage those parents who are not currently in work, single-income families and perhaps low income families. This recommendation seems to be based on ideology not purely on a concern about population.
I tried to find the actual report or any reference to it on the official websites of the Anglican church in Australia but I could not. The Google cache seems to indicate that it was once on their website, but it is no longer there. As a father of five who goes to an Anglican church this issue is of some concern to me, and I find it strange that the report is not available to read.
As a counter argument to this, the Quiverfull movement, mainly in the US, advocates abandoning birth-control and having large families. Their text is Psalm 127:3-5
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
Some women who were once part of this movement have written about their experiences and of leaving this belief system in the excellent blog NoLongerQuivering