In a recent speech to the Royal Society of Arts in London, Sir David Attenborough said there’s a “strange silence” about overpopulation. Journalist Bonnie Erbe apparently believes Attenborough statements should be shouted from the rooftops, so she wrote an opinion piece for Scripps Howard News Service about it:
Sir David said there needed to be a change in our culture so that while everyone retained the right to have as many children as they liked, they understood that having large families meant compounding the problems their children and everyone else’s children would face in the future…. As Attenborough notes, no one but “flat earthers” deny in private that population is an issue.
Erbe then goes on to blame all of her annoyances — smog, water pollution, rush-hour traffic, competition for good jobs, admission to the best colleges — on overpopulation, which she blames in large part on the Catholic Church:
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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I blame several factors, but Attenborough gets quickly to the point. He compares population growth rates in several developing nations and compares rates in Catholic versus non-Catholic nations and in Catholic countries fertility rates are almost twice as high as in non-Catholic countries. He adds, “If you belong to a church — and especially if you are a Catholic because its doctrine on contraception is a major factor in this problem — suggest they consider the ethical issues involved.” True, anti-birth control and anti-abortion Catholic rhetoric have talked women into having more children, even in developed nations such as ours where access to contraception is fairly easy. But just about all organized religious groups urge large families on their followers and it’s for one simple reason: they want to keep increasing the number of followers.
Once again I’m left wondering how it’s possible for any professional journalist to be so ignorant. In addition to being contributing editor for U.S. News & World Report, Erbe happens hosts a weekly news analysis show for PBS. I’m thrilled to know that my tax dollars pay for such biased and uninformed opinions.
(Hat tip: Marie S.)