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Reproducing Racism?

Ethics Daily has reported on comments about Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theology Seminary, saying it was a sin for married couples to not have children. Welcome to Ethics! In addition to the ridiculousness of the comments, some are suggesting that new comments by him carry a hint of racism.

The white Mohler worried about demographic shifts since racial minorities have higher rates of childbirth: "We are barely replenishing ourselves. ... That is going to cause huge social problems in the future."

He also stated: "The tragic reality is that citizens of Europe and North America are now failing even to replace themselves in terms of children. We will soon face the phenomenon of an aging population with fewer young people to drive the economy and to support the entire social structure"

Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics said Mohler's use of "we" and "ourselves" is a "pronoun problem."

In another Ethics Daily column, Miguel De La Torre also took on Mohler's comments. Welcome to Ethics! He argues:

"The U.S. population is also growing, from about 280 million in 2000, to a projected 310 million in 2010, to a little under 400 million by 2040. If these scientifically projected increases are reliable, then we must ask: Why is Mohler concerned about under-population? Under-population for whom? In other words, who is the 'we' that is barely replenishing itself?"

"Hence, the religious call for 'full-quiver' theology is white-supremacy code language advocating for the increase of white babies. Mohler's call, whether he realizes it or not, is a race-based warning. It is a call for white fecundity, lest America becomes overrun with 'colored' children, which would only lead, as Mohler puts it, to 'huge social problems in the future.' Regardless of the racist overtures of Mohler's call for productive white sex, children, regardless of their color or ethnicity, can indeed be a joyous product of sex. Still, we cannot lose sight that the ultimate goal of sex is fulfillment, not having children."

As one who has studied some racist communication, I agree that Mohler's language could have dangerous implications and is similar to those you will hear from white-supremacist groups. Though I do not think that Mohler is racist, he does need to be much more careful about what he says.

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