PAGING RUSSIA: ARE YOU PREGNANT YET?
It’s been a few weeks since September 12th, so if your early-pregnancy test colors positive, go claim your car, fridge or computer.
Russia’s imploding population has birthed schemes to nudge couples to conceive. September 12th was proclaimed the Day of Conception in the Ulyanovsk region of Russia. Pairs who “give birth to a patriot” nine months later on June 12th, Russia Day, win cash, cars, and other goodies.
Prizes to procreate - how grim. One would think making babies would be reward enough. But Russia’s population dearth reflects negative 21st Century attitudes toward children. Between poverty, immorality, avarice and environment screeds, planet earth is not that kid-friendly.
Russia’s population drops approximately 750,000 a year. Murray Feshbach, a senior scholar at the Smithsonian Institution's Woodrow Wilson Center, points to drugs, alcoholism, cigarettes and sexually transmitted diseases as leading reasons for the decline. These, along with feeble nationalized healthcare and economic systems contribute to the implosion. Romance tanks when you are stressed over food, health and housing.
Other factors include steep suicide rates, abortion, homosexuality, violence and women’s preference for career over kids. No wonder the nation’s corked up.
Only the Cossacks still thrive and value large families where their orthodox Christian faith promotes morality and a steady family structure.
Europe is shrinking too. High tax rates in socialist states prompt birth control and abortion to postpone children – which means fewer kids or none at all. The European Union’s birthrate is down to 1.5 children per woman, well below replacement rate as the elderly die, a rate unable to finance pension and universal healthcare systems. Europe’s rampant consumerism also shoves babies lower on the to-do list.
“After the second world war…” say The Economist (June 2007), “More women got jobs. People sought enjoyment and satisfaction more and more through individual pursuits, rather than in families.”
“Europe has become child-poor,” said Pope Benedict earlier this month. “We want everything for ourselves and place little trust in the future.” Meanwhile, the European Muslim population increases.
China’s notorious one-child policy projects the government’s hatred of children. During the 30-year long regulation, which triggered both forced abortions and infanticide, “The government reckons it has prevented 400 million births,” says English publication The Independent.
“Japan, with a fertility rate stuck at 1.3 births per woman, is on track to lose half its population by 2105,” writes the International Herald Tribune. “Birth rates in Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea are lower than Japan’s.”
South America’s cultural and Catholic traditions encourages large families but birthrates in the United States remain steady only due to family-friendly ethnic minorities. Here, an increased secularism promotes a competitive culture that begs for bigger, better and more. Contagious hedonism draws millions of women into the workforce and causes many an empty womb. Who wants to deal with dirty diapers when that second graduate degree or a sale at Macy’s beckon?
Children’s most vociferous detractors are radical environmentalists - not sensible re-cyclers, mind you, but extreme greens who preach that humanity and earth cannot co-exist.
“Overpopulation is the root of most, if not all, environmental and many economic issues,” says World Population Awareness in their dire and incorrect assessment. The optimum target for such fanatical enviros is not reduced carbon footprints, but no carbon footprints. Undoubtedly, their favorite bumper sticker reads “Save the earth - kill yourself.”
Our eternal adversary must love this recent twist. He tripped up our earliest ancestors with a lie and now his latest con seems to be working. We equate God’s gift of children with drudgery and debt rather than with blessing.
Whether by choice or circumstance, if more and more couples have fewer and fewer children, the dark prince hopes to have the planet all to himself. And what he wanted from the beginning - free reign. Fortunately, he loses.
Byte: “and He said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and
numerous, and I will make you a company of peoples, and will give
this land to your descendants after you for an everlasting possession.’”
© 2007 - Ellen Makkai - All Rights Reserved
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From 1985 to 2002, Ellen Brewster (Makkai) wrote for several major metropolitan editorial pages, a well-known website, Creator's Syndicate and a national Christian publication. Her columns provided a counterpoint to the vast majority of secular writers who frequently discount or insult the faith community. The small feature, "Bible Byte," offset daily horoscopes in one local newspaper.
Russia’s imploding population has birthed schemes to nudge couples to conceive. September 12th was proclaimed the Day of Conception in the Ulyanovsk region of Russia.