The American religious right's particular advocacy of pro-life, pro-family, and pro-children leads it to oppose real equality. How this plays out for women is often clear: They should forgo a career to raise children while relinquishing control of their bodies. But the stunning cover story in the latest issue of The Nationreveals the racist implications of these positions. Perhaps feeling their domestic influence wane, Christian conservatives are looking abroad, warning that Europe faces the prospect of a "demographic winter" due to declining fertility among native (i.e. white) Europeans and higher rates among immigrants, primarily Muslims from the Middle East and north Africa.
This is not a fringe movement. Groups dedicated to heading off this "end of European civilization [that] can be counted in years" have forged an alliance among evangelical Protestants, Catholics, and particularly Mormons, and have made alliances with the big shots: the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, and even former Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. This coalition taps into not just reactionary religiosity but also fear of terrorism, homophobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, and opposition to immigration, both moderate and explicitly xenophobic.
In case the racial message wasn't clear enough (winter is, of course, the season of darkness), anecdotes such as this one highlight it:
At the national level, in 2004 [conservative] Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi offered a "baby bonus" of about $1,000 to parents who had a second child.... The racial preferences behind Berlusconi's "baby bonus" came into embarrassing relief when immigrant parents were accidentally sent checks for their offspring and then asked to return the money: the Italian government hadn't meant to promote those births.
Of course, calls for people of certain races to have more children because others are having too many isn't just racist - it is eugenic. That it seeps from the political right should come as no surprise to those who have a basic understanding of twentieth century European history. But it may come as a surprise to those who have bought into the use of anti-eugenic rhetoric from the right wing, which sometimes tries to smear abortion rights with the historical association between early abortion advocates and eugenics movements. Ironically, that rhetorical has been used by some of the very organizations that now back higher fertility among whites to prevent a dark "demographic winter."
Previously on Biopolitical Times:
Posted in Eugenics, Jesse Reynolds's Blog Posts, Race, Religion
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