American evangelicals with large families

Swanson family. Barbara Bradley Hagerty/NPRThe
United States birth rate is rising and Evangelical families in the
Quiverfull movement (named after a verse of Psalm 127) are playing
their part in the trend -- to the alarm of the greens, no doubt. A few
weeks after the New York Times looked at the subject of large
families, National Public Radio has run a feature on the movement,
which comprises about 10,000 families, mainly in the Midwest and South
of the United States.

NPR interviewed some families in Michigan. Kelly Swanson and husband
Jeff say they didn't want any children when they first married, but
then began to notice that the Bible gave special value to big families.
Now they have seven children and would like more. They are leaving it
up to God to decide how many they can handle. The average family at
their church has 8.5 kids, which compares with a national total
fertility rate of 2.2 children per woman. (In 1976, 20 per cent of
American women had five or more children, but by 2006 that figure had
fallen to 4 per cent.)

Misty and Seth Huckstead, both 31, have six children and another on the
way. When they were 23, already with four children, Seth had a
vasectomy, but they then came to realise that sterilisation was an
affront to God and he had the procedure reversed. "Family has always
been the foundation of church and society," they say. "It's God's
design; it's beautiful."

Nancy Campbell, a leader of Quiverfull and author of Be Fruitful and
, sees her six children as allowing her to "impact the world
for God." She says if believers don't start reproducing in large
numbers, biblical Christianity will lose its voice -- while the Islamic
world is strengthening its voice, simply by "multiplication". Outsider Kathryn Joyce, who has also written about the movement --
although from a critical point of view -- says its people have
ambitions to take over the Congress and talk of reclaiming "sinful
cities like San Francisco" and being "able to wage very effective
massive boycotts against companies that are going against God's will".
~ NPR, March 25 (cross-posted from Family Edge)


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