One argument that I never saw in the long battle over same sex marriage was that society had also testified loudly and proudly against this very interest by helping to develop, to widely distribute, and to make moral the use of artificial contraception to control fertility. Yet, and I realize again that I may be stepping on toes, by the widespread teaching and availability of artificial birth control, by its acceptance in churches, by its use in marriage, they do exactly that. They testify to a certain perspective, namely that marriage isn't always, or even principally about, fecundity and the bearing and rearing of children. Some who've read this far will suspect that I am foisting a falsity on them, the falsity being that there was ever a time when churches generally agreed that artificial contraception and abortion violated God's design for marriage. It's a funny thing, that. A thing becomes so commonplace that one disputes that another condition -- the absence of that thing -- ever existed. For example, I recently saw a Tweet from a knucklehead who queried in a Twitter post why old push button home phones had a hashtag ("#") key, when Twitter wasn't even invented until 2006? Well, in much the same way, Christian folk who are not versed in the history of our society nor in the teachings of the church over time may suspect that, setting aside the rather bizarre Roman Catholics, all other Christian denominations had always recognized that artificial contraception was an important tool for married couples. The fact is that, until very modern times there was little dispute amongst the denominations about the nature and purposes of marriage, and that, as such methods became available, the use of artificial contraception struck a defiant note against God's design. Let me take an aside here. Do you enjoy C.S. Lewis? Perhaps his Chronicles of Narnia, or some of his nonfiction? I'll start with an honest confession. I have read **some** C.S. Lewis, specifically Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and Mere Christianity. I also read his Space Trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. Here's the confession, I tried and tried to read The Chronicles of Narnia, but I just never was captivated by them as I was with his Space Trilogy or with J.R.R. Tolkien's Ring Saga. But I loved Lewis' Space Trilogy, loved it and read and re-read it.
"Up to the first landing they were in darkness; on the second and last the light from the first floor fell.
"Looking down on them from the balustrade were two men, one clothed in sweepy garments of red and the other in blue. It was the Director who wore blue, and for one instant a thought that was pure nightmare crossed Jane's mind. The two robed figures looked to be two of the same sort. . . and what, after all, did she know of this Director? And there they were, the pair of them, talking their secrets, the man who had been dug up out of the earth and the man who had been in outer space. . . . All this time she had hardly looked at the Stranger. Next moment she noticed his size. The man was monstrous. And the two men were allies. And the Stranger was speaking and pointing at her as he spoke.
"She did not understand the words: but Dimble did, and heard Merlin saying in what seemed to him a rather strange kind of Latin:
"Sir, you have in your house the falsest lady of any at this time alive."
And Dimble heard the Director answer, "Sir, you are mistaken. She is doubtless like all of us a sinner: but the woman is chaste."
"Sir," said Merlin, "know well that she has done in Logres a thing of which no less sorrow shall come than came of the stroke that Balinus struck. For, sir, it was the purpose of God that she and her lord should between them have begotten a child by whom the enemies should have been put out of Logres for a thousand years."
"She is but lately married," said Ransom. " The child may yet be born."
"Sir," said Merlin, "be assured that the child will never be born, for the hour of its begetting is passed. Of their own will they are barren: I did not know till now that the usages of Sulva were so common among you. For a hundred generations in two lines the begetting of this child was prepared; and unless God should rip up the work of time, such seed, and such an hour, in such a land, shall never be again."
"Enough said," answered Ransom. "The woman perceives that we are speaking of her."
"It would be great charity," said Merlin, "if you gave order that her head should be cut from her shoulders; for it is a weariness to look at her.""
Nor was theirs a conscienceless coupling like rabbits. The backstory reveals both a church wedding, and an intimate recall on Jane's part, at least, of the vows she spoke.
I mention C.S. Lewis for my Christian friends who may think what I am saying about artificial contraception is solely a matter of concern for Catholics, and doesn't reflect a teaching common to Christian churches in any era of church history. While C.S. Lewis enjoyed a great friendship with the Catholic author Tolkien, Lewis was no Catholic. He was, however, both a Christian, and a learned man. My surmise is this: the controversial Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops of 1930 admitted for the first time that certain circumstances might warrant artificial contraception and avoidance of pregnancy in a Christian marriage. The Lambeth Conference was highly controversial and both the product of and instigator of conversation about human sexuality and marriage. When Lewis published the Space Trilogy the 1930 Conference was just fifteen years past, certainly it was even more recent while he was in the process of writing the series. Lewis followed the Lambeth Conferences. We know that he did. He wrote a letter to the 1948 Conference on the topic of admitting women to Anglican priesthood. I think Lewis perceived the moral error of Lambeth, of teaching that salting the womb could be a moral right. And so, when the unleashed terror of holy judgments -- Merlin -- is restored to life and perceives the self-inflicted infertility, he simply states what is, to him, obvious. Here there is a gross moral imbalance.