Who’s Afraid of Pregnant Women?

The growing idea of “pets over kids” is frighteningly incompatible to God’s call for human life.

On October 28, San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’ wife, Tiffany, gave birth to their child—a girl. While I extend my sincerest congratulations to the Rivers family, I probably wouldn’t have even known about the event except for one key detail: baby Rivers is the family’s seventh child.

Philip Rivers has taken public hits from the likes of ESPN and Deadspin (not to mention the litany of armchair quarterbacks on social media) for his decision to have a big family. Journalist Mollie Hemingway identifies the criticism as the latest case of fecundophobia, our culture’s “growing fear of children and fertile women.”

Pets over kids?

In recent years, the birthrate in the United States has dropped lower than at any other time in the nation’s history. Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., are on the forefront of this trend affecting other major cities and Western nations. Fewer than 20 percent of all households in these three cities have a child.

In my hometown of Seattle, there are cats, dogs, and children “in that order,” numerically speaking. In fact, there are 50 percent more cats than children. No wonder people now commonly refer to their pets as their “babies.”

Seattle’s Green Lake is a popular urban spot for people to walk, jog, skate, and ride bikes. Curiously, I have seen people pushing their pets (usually a cat or dog) in baby strollers around the lake. I have seen other people carrying their pets in front packs made for babies. Sales of Halloween costumes for pets have increased 68 percent since 2010 and now exceed $300 million per year.

Pet-friendly restaurants, pet insurance, and wills that bequeath an inheritance to pets represent further evidence of this trend. “Dogs Are People, Too,” declared a recent New York Times column.

“To breed or not to breed”
While animals get the human treatment, humans are increasingly denigrated as animals—especially those humans that choose to have more than one or two kids.

There is growing vocal contempt of parenthood in cities, where mothers are pejoratively referred to by some as “breeders.” I always thought we called them by the more affectionate title “moms,” but I guess the world has really changed, and it’s time to start buying my mom a “Happy Breeder’s Day” card.

Not long ago, a women’s rights group organized a protest against our church. They met in a park then marched to our downtown church to criticize “breeders” before proceeding to their final stop—an enormous strip club—to protest the objectification of women. The fact that our church and the strip club ended up on the same team just goes to show that common sense is anything but common.

“To breed or not to breed, this was the question,”  pondered one married woman writing for The Seattle Times. Her article, “Why I Am Not Having Kids,” offered many reasons for her decision, including: “Not having a child is the most important thing I could do to reduce my carbon footprint.” I might add, another way is to stop writing for newspapers printed on murdered trees.

God is a Father with lots of kids

The Bible helps us stop marching in step with this fools’ parade. The Bible teaches that our place as God’s human image bearers is below God and above animals (Gen. 1:26–28). We are not equal to God but rather created by God and under his rule. And animals are not equal to us but rather created by God and under our rule.

Pure evolutionary thinking that treats a human being as nothing more than a particular arrangement of cells and matter will inevitably lead to contempt for life that’s either active (genocide, abortion, and snarky comments that belittle a dad like Philip Rivers) or passive (selfishness, lack of empathy, isolation).

The only viable, honest alternative comes through knowing the God whom the Bible calls the “author of life” (Acts 3:15). He created the world and said to fill it up with people (Gen. 1:26–28). He declared children to be a blessing (Psalm 127:3–5). He is a good and perfect father to millions of kids, and he invites anyone to join this big, happy family through Jesus, who happened to enter this world through a “breeder” mother named Mary who went on to have other sons and daughters.

Jesus was part of a large family—possibly even larger than the Rivers (Matthew 12:46, 13:55-56; Luke 8:19; Mark 3:31; John 7:1-10; Acts 1:4; Galatians 1:19).

Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church, based in Seattle, Washington, and a #1 New York Times best-selling author. This post was adapted from his latest book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? He and his wife, Grace, have five children and one dog.

Mark Driscoll
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  • Secular1

    IceAngel you said “There is a big difference between not believing in something disapproving of belief systems that differ from your own.” May I ask you a simple question, you are interviwing a person for a position under you and that person over coffee mentions that he still believes that the King is alive (by that I mean Elvis). Would you feel compelled to hire that person do you feel compelled to not hire. Let me pose another question, do you approveor disaprove the belief systems of the Cargo cultures of Pacific Islands – the belief system that if you make replicas of airplanes and watch towers big birds will bring goods and cargo. Do you, really??

    I am not aware of the religious example that you used as being a common practice in any faith, but let’s say that it is a real tradition. The first thing that you seem to assume is that, because priests go into people’s homes to pray for their departed, that means that priests are asking you specifically to come into your home to pray for your departed – unless a religion has spoken to you directly to tell you this, Thats how much you know about anything that religion is Hinduism. So now you anthromrphosize religion. They speak to you through the filthy superstitious bigoted texts called scripture.

    Then you go to say “I don’t see how other people’s traditions have any effect on you. I suppose the closest analogy that I can think of with this is that of gay marriage; if a gay couple being married has no effect on my own someday marriage, why would this tradition of mourning the dead have any effect on your own tradition of mourning the dead?” Your anology is not even close by a light year. These parasites called priests exploits these superstitions to provide for themselves. They scare the begeeses out of the kin of the departed provide for them year after year with this stupid rituals – Kapeesh.

  • pjs-1965

    My wife and I are happily child-FREE here with our cats who ARE our children. Mark Driscoll can take his sanctimonius judgmental attitude and his stupid Bible and silly God and shove them all up where the sun don’t shine!

  • Evaporateddwarf

    Ironic post of the day.

  • pjs-1965

    I suppose Jesus who preached “judge not, lest ye be judged” was also being ironic when he threw the money changers out of the temple.

  • cents or sense

    This looked like it could be a good article, but then it just rambled around.
    Kids can be a blessing, but having too many kids and not being able to feed them is certainly not a blessing. So I can see both sides of this issue, and a coherent well thought out article would have been welcome. Instead we have this rambling group of thoughts.

  • pjs-1965

    True. This article is a disjointed series of rants.

  • LuceLady

    Well, ladies and gents, maybe a reality check is needed here. This was written as an opinion article in the Faith section. This was written in America, so Mr Driscoll is allowed freedom of speech. You may not agree with him, and the Faith section may not be everyone’s reading pleasure, which is fine. Argue evolution/creation elsewhere, or at least be nice about it! Interesting how “tolerant” we all say we are, until we disagree with someone. You may feel that his viewpoint adds nothing to your life, in which case, politely say so and move on. Vote with your feet, not your hate. I get so tired of online nastiness. If you don’t believe in God or feel Faith has any value, then why would you care? Or even be here? It’s quite possible to ignore articles you dislike. Or sure, comment that you disagree and why. There’s no need to be hateful, condescending, or insinuate things (about his church), Intellectual condescension is not helpful either (though if you’re going to be pretentious, at least avoid bad grammar, and the repetitive use of the same belittling terms.) I would like to say, I have often learned a great deal from others who do not share the same worldview I do. Perhaps rather than engaging in such a polarized debate, science and faith could actually learn from one another. Too bad people always need someone to vilify. So go ahead! Tell your children (if you have them) that those who believe in Creation are inbred, uneducated fools, who believe in fairytales and have been responsible for all the wars in human history, or, alternately, tell them that evolutionists are the spawn of Satan, uneducated, hopelessly lost, responsible for the current morally bankruptcy of America, and unable to read more widely than their basic biology textbooks. Let’s just fan the flames, destroy the nation, and ignore things of more relevance. Problem solved. No one wins. And the pets will inherit the earth! Peace, OUT!

  • Secular1

    That is always the dumbest citation I have ever heard ascribed to the mythical JC. My own personal opinion was that the Money Changers were providing a valuable service. This silly dimb JC did not have clue and threw them. THat was as dumb as the anti-usury proscriptions of another splendid tome of superstition and bigotry the Al Kitab or AKA Koran. JC had no clue the risks the Money Changers were taking in trading foreign exchange, instead like a rabble rouser threw them out and out of their livelihood.

  • Secular1

    LLady, Mr. Driscoll and his ilk like Rick Warren and others are public figures with followers of gullibles. When they write sanctimoniuos drivel like this theu desrev to called out on it. THey peddle in superstition, magic and bigotry, so they desrve nothing but condescension and ridicule. They are not humble but they demand undeserved special respect from one and all, just for their superstition peddling. That we are not willing to give them. Thye do not deserve any respect except ridicule of their dumb ideas and concepts, which they try to sell the gullibles as some profound thoughts.

  • pjs-1965

    LuceLady, I want to say one word to you, just one word. Are you listening?


    There is a great future in paragraphs. Will you think about it?

  • pjs-1965

    “This was written in America, so Mr Driscoll is allowed freedom of speech. ”

    And many of those who disagree with him may be in America, so we are allowed the freedom of speech to flame him as we see fit. We’re not here to be polite.

  • LuceLady

    PJ. You’re right. I love paragraphs. I haven’t posted on this site before though, and some websites submit when you hit enter. I will definitely think about it in future. LOL

    And I disagree, Sec. No one deserves condescension and ridicule. It moves no one to change. It just makes the person doing it look mean and petty. He’s not demanding undeserved respect. He has a right to his opinion. America was founded on these principles. Yes, you have a right to say you disagree. Is there any good reason we’re NOT here to be polite?

    But this is all beside the point. As I have nothing further to say, I’ll follow my own advice and get on elsewhere tonight. Honestly, life’s too short to spend it angry, or among angry people. It blocks any real discourse. I learned that early in my academic career. You can agree with me or not, as you like, but that’s my experience. Can’t get anywhere on boards where people insist on being hotheads. Goodnight, friends. .

  • pjs-1965

    Good night, LuceLady. Don;t mean to turn you off. There is a lot of heat on some of these boards. That’s what makes them interesting. Put on your asbestos suit and bring a flame thrower.

  • LuceLady

    You’re right, PJ. I love paragraphs. However, some websites submit when you hit enter, and as I hadn’t posted here before, I erred on the side of caution. But I’ll take your sage advice and definitely consider it in the future.

    I disagree, Sec. No one deserves condescension and ridicule. It changes nothing and only makes those engaging in it look mean and petty. Which detracts from anything you’re trying to say, and justifies what you want to dispel.

    Is there any good reason NOT to be polite? Of course no one HAS to be. But life’s too short to spend it being angry, or around angry people. I learned early in my academic career that you never get anywhere discussing things with hotheads. People can’t listen well when they’re frothing at the mouth.

    I do think he has a few good points. I’ve only recently heard the term “breeder.” It’s a relatively new term on the linguistic landscape, and not a pretty one. I heard it because I accidentally strolled onto an anti-breeder site one day. There are whole forums of people who apparently hate parents and an entire vocabulary build up around their hatred. I was, quite frankly, a little thrown. I think it’s a disturbing trend, and the term itself is a terrible way to refer to a parent, any way you look at it.

    Anyway, now I said what I needed to say, so I’ll take my own advice and move along..

    By the way, I like the asbestos suit metaphor, but I don’t need a flame thrower. I prefer a good spotlight.

    Goodnight, friends.

  • cricket44

    Perhaps, Luce, if the piece itself hadn’t been condescending, it might have gotten different responses. You can find a site for *anything.* It’s the internet. That doesn’t make it a movement that’s taking over.

    A little perspective, please.

  • Rosebud

    There is growing vocal contempt of parenthood in cities, where mothers are pejoratively referred to by some as “breeders.”

    Huh? I have heard the term for years and years applied affectionately to straight men and women (not all of whom actually have kids) by their gay friends. I’ve heard straight people call themselves that, and never pejoratively.

  • cricket44

    See, now, you’re going to ruin the rant over this mythical bias if you start injecting reality into the mix.

  • astraea1980

    I couldn’t care less how many children any given woman chooses to have. As long as I don’t have to carry them, bear them, raise them, and sacrifice for them, I’m fine with it. My husband and I chose not to have children, and for a simple reason. We just don’t care to live our lives according to the wants and needs of another human being for the next 18 years and beyond. Period. And ask me how many insults have been thrown my way for admitting THAT! LOL! Then ask me if I care.

    I’m also not in the least bit surprised that Mr. Driscoll dragged religious beliefs into the equation.

  • cricket44

    It’s disturbing how people can’t see women as anything other than mothers.

  • Zechariah

    Religious beliefs enter into any equation when the topics of morals, civility, and world-views are discussed. Where a person’s convictions are born from shapes how that person approaches the topic and what stance he/she will likely take.

    If Mr. Driscoll did not offer an apologetic on his stance then the casual participant in the conversation would no doubt ask a lot of follow up questions as to the reason for his position. He is inviting others to understand from where his conviction comes from. Rather than standing afar off demanding people side with him, he is inviting opponents, supporters, and those in the middle to see his reasoning. it is an invitation rather than a debate.

    Seeing that this article is included in the section, “On Faith,” I would be shocked if there were no stance of faith mentioned in the article and would wonder why it was placed here.

  • haveaheart

    astraea1980 wrote:

    “I couldn’t care less how many children any given woman chooses to have. As long as I don’t have to carry them, bear them, raise them, and sacrifice for them, I’m fine with it.”

    Well, there’s the problem. We may not have to carry them or bear and raise them, but we all sacrifice when couples have multiple children.

    First, a disclaimer. While I don’t have children, I’m not anti-child. I happily pay my property tax, knowing that it goes in part to improving and supporting the local public school system. I believe that there is strength in families.

    That said, I am appalled by the consumption and abuse of resources by couples who have large families. From the disposable diapers that clog the landfills to the fuel expended in chauffering multiple, overbooked kids to their multiple schools and after-school activities to the water resources consumed by large families (laundry, baths/showers, etc.) to the massive tax deductions couples get for having kids, these families are costing all the rest of us money. The disproportionately high income tax we pay underwrites their lifestyles.

    Here’s an idea. Let’s stop giving income tax deductions for having children. That would level the playing field somewhat. While we’d still be paying for the excessive resources consumed by these families, at least we wouldn’t also be paying for the privilege of doing so.

  • Carstonio

    Some of the commenters are defending Driscoll’s freedom of speech, which misses the point. He may have the constitutional right to tell other people how to live, but he’s not justified in putting his nose in other people’s business. As long as he’s free to sire as many children as he wishes, he shouldn’t care if other people choose to have few children or none.

  • Carstonio

    While I’m concerned about overpopulation as well, I strongly oppose lecturing individual couples to have fewer children, because that’s poking my nose into their private business. Policies like China’s one-child law are not only punitive but can have unintended consequences. If we reached a crisis point in this country, I would be open to the idea of capping tax deductions at, say, four children. Or perhaps tax credits for contraception – hell, opponents of ACA wrongly claim that the law provides free birth control anyway.

  • Catken1

    Well, he has the right to comment, and other people have the right to comment right back…

  • northernharrier

    Who decided that Mark Driscoll knows what God thinks and wants? Who decided that we should all base our decisionmaking on what Driscoll believes God thinks and wants? Oh, that’s right – the answer to both questions is: Mark Driscoll.

    Mr. Driscoll should know that criticizing the decision to have seven kids is far different than criticizing the decision to have kids at all. The former is not the same thing as contempt for child-bearing or hatred or fear of pregnancy and families.

  • northernharrier

    While we generally believe here in the U.S.A. that people have a legal right to decide how many children they have, that decision is not simply “their private business.” No decision that has a significant impact on other people and our environment and our resources is simply “private business.” If you don’t take responsibility for how your actions affect others, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. So, even if there is no legal prohibition on large families, we should all consider how our behavior and our decisions affect other living creatures and our planet in general.

  • northernharrier

    Mr. Driscoll’s assertion that evolutionary thinking inevitably leads to “contempt for life” is ridiculous. There is no evidence to support that assertion.

  • cricket44

    The whole piece is ridiculous.

  • Crysw

    There is a lot of misinformation here. We have 4 children. So not huge but larger than most. We homeschool, my youngest children wear all hand-held downs, we pay a surcharge on our water bill because our use is so low we are below the minimum required by our town, and we cloth diaper. Our monthly utilities work out to less than my brother-in-laws and he lives in a condo with just one other person. Go figure. Oh, and our monthly car gas bill is just $125-150 a month and gas here hovers at about $3.80ish. My husband works from home so that helps us save. We combine trips and most of our activities are within a 15 min drive. We walk where we can. We drive two 14 year old vehicles with less than 200,000 miles on them combined. Yeah, I’d say our larger family does a pretty good job not hogging the earth ‘s resources and all of the larger families I know operate very much the same way.

  • nkri401

    Indeed, C’est la vie!

    It’s interesting to note that those who are most likely to tell others what to do seems to take the most umbrage when they are told what to do.

  • nkri401


    I admire you – but the overconsumption does not go away because of one exemplar case like yours.

  • nkri401


    What is it that you have against the pets? Did your parents not get any pet for you and were jealous of your friend with a dog?

  • nkri401

    “God is a Father with lots of kids”

    What’s with you about the above statement? Even a layperson I am, know God had only one begotten son…

  • Catken1

    Nor will your kids always live together and pool their bills, either. Their costs to the environment as adults are still high.
    Mind you, given the individual kids, they may still make the discoveries that save us all, or otherwise do something else marvelous. You never know. Which is why I am not willing to say having many kids is a bad thing.
    But I would appreciate it if people like the original article writer didn’t so sneeringly dismiss any woman who DIDN’T want lots of kids as “selfish.”

  • Catken1

    Well, a Pagan might tell you that the Mother and Father have many, many children – and that their nonhuman children are no less important to them or beloved by them than are their human children.

  • Gloria2

    I bet if the woman with the seven children was a black woman, and if each of her seven children were from a different man, you would probably be the first to defend her against criticism.

  • northernharrier

    Gloria2: why would you bet that? You don’t know me, you have never met me, and yet you make a crazy assertion about what I think based not on my actual thoughts, beliefs, statements, etc., but on your stereotype-laced assumptions about me and who I am. Is that how you analyze and come to conclusions normally? If so, you should spend more time examining your own thought patterns and belief system, and less time speculating upon mine based on your bizarre assumptions.

  • Gloria2

    Northern – you are the one who brought up criticizing the couple who chose to have seven children.

  • Catken1

    You are, however, the one who assumed that Northern would refrain from criticizing someone with seven children solely because of her ethnic identity, and/or her abundance of sexual partners. (And also the one who brought up the nasty racist stereotype of the irresponsible black woman with multiple children by multiple men…)

  • Gloria2

    I only brought up the liberal viewpoint.

  • PhillyJimi1

    NEW FLASH for Mark Driscoll – There are over 7 billion people on this rock we call Earth, there is plenty of breeding happening. Also America is a free country. If you want to get married and have kids you’re FREE to choose what you want. If you want to have 4 dogs rather then have kids you’re also FREE to choose that.

    Besides Philip Rivers has the resources to have 20 kids if he wants. Again he is FREE to do what he wants as long has he can provide for them. When an mother in her early 20’s has 4 kids with no means of supporting her children that become more of an issue. Especially when the conservative movement in this country wants to FORCE her to have her children and at the same time they fight to cut all social programs that directly help her raise precious gifts from god. Last time I checked your zombie Jesus doesn’t buy food, shelter and medical insurance. But Jesus is against birth control.

    I subscribe to “Pure evolutionary thinking” and you are attempting to force words into my mouth you snarky AH. I value every human life on this planet and I don’t hate and try to kill people because they worship different gods. Some of the most atheistic countries in the world, France, Czech Republic, Sweden and the Netherlands don’t seem to have a genocide problem. The same can’t be said for the Middle East.

    Here is some bible versus, 2 Kings 15:16 God allows the pregnant women of Tappuah (aka Tiphsah) to be “ripped open”. More evil and immoral command by the child killing god of the bible: Hosea 9:11-16, Numbers 5:11-21, Numbers 31:17, Hosea 13:16, Kings 15:16, Samuel 15:3, Psalms 135:8 & 136:10, Psalms 137:9, Leviticus 20:9, Judges 11:30-40, Psalms 137:8-9, 2 Kings 6:28-29, Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Judges 19:24-29. How many innocent children and pregnant women did god drown in Noah’s flood?

    Of course when god kills babies and children it is part of his mysterious and all-knowing will. Keep drinking the cool-aid.

  • PhillyJimi1

    No gloria you injected your own racist bias onto northern without any evidence or justification. Besides that isn’t the liberal viewpoint.

    I do believe 99% of the population would say it is NOT acceptable or healthy to have 7 kids with 7 different men with no means of supporting them financially, irregardless of their race. We all want to see all children grow up with the best chances to prosper. This doesn’t change based on the color of their skin for me.

    This is still off the topic of the article. Northern, made the point a choice not to have kids doesn’t automatically equate to contempt for child-bearing or hatred or fear of pregnancy and families. This whole article is just typical Christian belly aching and inventing of Christian hatred where there isn’t any. There is NO public outrage about the number of children Rivers’ has. Sure a very small fringe may have an issue with it. The reality is we all know an NFL QB makes millions and can afford 20 kids if he wants.

  • northernharrier

    Gloria2 said: “Northern – you are the one who brought up criticizing the couple who chose to have seven children”

    Gloria2: no, I didn’t bring that up — Mark Driscoll did. And, you didn’t bring up the liberal viewpoint. You brought up your lazy, false stereotype of the liberal viewpoint.

  • Secular1

    “Religious beliefs enter into any equation when the topics of morals, civility, and world-views are discussed” I just what morals and ethics have anything to do with religion or vice versa. As best as I see religion is totally devoid of any ethics or morality. Religions are very destructive social clubs of the society. Only goal of these social clubs are to expand their numbers by hook or crook (mostly crook). Religion is the only club that arrogates to itself the children of its club members. This is gross overstretch. Speaking of morality One example of total lack of ethics and morality is just take a look at the so called Ten Commandments. For instance this one “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor”. This filthy commandement is has three words too moany. That mars the commandment. In short out of four use case it admonishes the club members from lying only in one use case. The remaining thre 1) Lying for teh neighbor, lying against a stranger and lying for a stranger are perfectly OK or no position on the se three use cases. SO don’t even claimm tat there is any morality that goes with religion.

  • cricket44

    “Pregnancy is a natural process for ladies”

    That doesn’t make it compulsory. Also, it still can be quite dangerous.

  • Secular1

    “Pregnancy is a natural process for ladies and it is important to know how to look at it from a spiritual perspective and attract more spiritual evolved offspring.” Yes it is a ntural process you fornicate and you get pregnant sometimes, depending on teh toss of the coin – probably much less in fact. There is no spiritual perspective to that, nor for that matter there is no spiritual perspective to anything, Period. We do not need on this good earth any more Spiritually evolved ofsprings. We already have too many of them.

    I did go to silly website it is full of speculation and nothing else. It favorite device is science has no answer for this, this, and this and so take my answer that i got out of teh east end of my favorite west bound mule. This is naturally nothing more than Mule Manure.

  • CommonTater

    Many Christians seem deeply afraid of, or put off, by adults, even Christian adults, who never marry or have children, who remain chaste (especially the ones who remain single into their late 30s and older), even though the Bible says in the New Testament that remaining single and childless are perfectly fine life choices.

    God does not call anyone to get married or have children – check out how the New Testament presents marriage and having children as being optional for believers, not mandatory – but you wouldn’t know this from how the church either neglects older singles, or treats them like losers or failures when they bother to note their existence.

    Christians such as Driscoll have turned marriage, having children, and the nuclear family into a big old idol they worship. Anyone who does not fit the “Married with children” template is treated like a second class citizen in many churches as a result. Driscoll and Christians such as him should repent of idolizing marriage and the role of parenting. Jesus actually taught Christians it is wrong to put nuclear family (getting married, having kids, etc) above spiritual family, see Matthew chapter 10: 34-37.


    Traditional marriage and family is the foundation of a proper functioning society I would argue. Kids or no kids-fine with the Christians where I come from. I’m a baby boomer happily married with 1 child. I do know what you mean however and it’s wrong.

  • compchiro


    “Traditional marriage” is not the foundation of a “proper functioning society”. A family might be but marriage is not needed for a family and a familial unit can mean a lot of things.

  • compchiro


    What you espoused is NOT the “liberal viewpoint”. It is the viewpoint of a fool like you.