An Interview with Allan Carlson: Why Evangelicals Only Recently Came to Accept Contraception

If you’re like me, and came of age after 1970, you likely can’t remember a time when evangelicals actually opposed contraception. However, the majority of evangelicals only recently came to accept contraception. In fact, before 1960, we were almost unanimously opposed to it. Then came fears of overpopulation and Paul Ehrlich’s famous, but now largely discredited book, “The Population Bomb.”

According to Allan Carlson, author of “Godly Seed: American Evangelicals Confront Birth Control,” these fears, not theological arguments, compelled evangelicals to embrace contraception. In this 2012 interview I had with Carlson, he discusses the details of how the evangelical consensus on birth control changed. Plus, he reveals the role Eugenics — or so-called “controlled breeding” — had in changing Protestant minds.

Programming Note

We’ll be talking about contraception this Saturday on Up For Debate with popular Catholic theologian Christopher West, who opposes contraception – and Messiah College Professor, Dr. Janell Paris, who believes contraception is a legitimate option for Christian couples. Before making up your mind on this issue, I encourage you to listen to the interview above. Then, join me Saturday for what I know will be a fascinating discussion!

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