Are evangelicals ready to join the crowd in recommending that unmarried individuals use contraceptives? Adelle Banks of the Religion News Service says yes in an article, "Evangelicals Say It's Time for Frank Talk About Sex," that had the Q Gathering (see "Strange bedfellows" from the current issue of WORLD) as its primary piece of evidence.
Maybe it's time for some frank talk about the money trail from the pro-abortion Hewlett Foundation, to the contraception-for-all National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, to the National Association of Evangelicals, to the Q Gathering.
The NAE has more than 40 denominations as members, but its budget is small—about $1 million per year in 2009, 2010, and 2011—and its revenue constricted. Helped by the Campaign's $1 million grant, the NAE was solidly in the black in 2009 and 2010, but as that funding ran out, it had a deficit in 2011 of $336,467.
A combination of financial need and crowd-pleasing ideology may have contributed to the NAE's mixed message in regard to one of the Bible's clearest statements, "You shall not commit adultery." That's tragic, because young evangelicals are looking for guidance from their elders, not trendy shortcuts.
Immediately prior to the panel summarized in our page 9 news story, some 400 Q participants were asked what they thought of a local Christian church taking this position: "The Bible teaches that sex outside of marriage is wrong. But if you are going to be sexually active outside of marriage, we encourage you to use contraceptives to prevent an unplanned pregnancy."
Two-thirds agreed with the statement, "This would make it seem like the church was telling people it's OK to have sex with people outside of marriage." Most said, "This would be hypocritical—they can't say that sex outside marriage is wrong, then tell them to do it safely." Almost half said, "This would just encourage more unmarried people to be sexually active."
But almost two-thirds agreed with another statement: "The reality is that unmarried people are having sex, and the church would be dealing with the issue realistically." Many young evangelicals seem to be conflicted. Only one out of five, though, said that the church's position "wouldn't matter one way or another." What churches say does matter: The young need the Bible-soaked wisdom of their elders.