Falling birthrates worldwide are impacting the economy of virtually every country in the world. In the United States, Social Security and Medicare depend on having young workers paying in to cover the benefits received by retirees. In 1980, roughly five workers were providing the taxes to support each retired beneficiary. By 2019, that number had dropped to 2.8 workers per retiree.
Countries have responded by paying citizens to have more children. Hungary is spending 5% of GDP on free fertility treatments for women under 40. That country is also giving upfront loans to newlyweds that they can write off with each child born. It even offers a lifetime exclusion from income tax for mothers with three or more kids. Poland is giving $140 per child per month. Russia is providing parents with two or more children one-time payments of $8100. South Korea has spent 130 billion dollars on similar programs. In the U.S., we are now seeing payments to families based on the number of children they have. For years, Alaska has been sharing oil revenues with families based on the number of kids they have.
Children are a blessing from God, but we don’t want to see more people on the planet merely to solve economic issues. Even more important to those who deal with disturbed children is the fear that some families may not be prepared to care for more children properly. Ephesians 6:1-4 talks about fathers not exasperating their children but bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. The qualifications for elders and deacons in 1 Timothy 3:1-12 and Titus 1:5-9 involve a functional nuclear family. Having a baby for economic gain does not fit well with those commands.
With falling birthrates worldwide, perhaps it is time for governments to find new and more creative ways to meet the economic issues. Handing money to people who are not equipped psychologically or spiritually for the challenges of raising a child is not a good answer to the problems.
To remain politically correct in the United States, Disney has gone to great lengths to include LGBT content in their productions, including those designed for children. However, Disney removes LGBT content in the Russian version of children’s movies to meet the government’s demands. They have also done the same for Muslim countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Singapore, where a very brief lesbian kiss was edited out of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
The new children’s film “Onward” contains a scene where a female cyclops police officer named Specter says, “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.” In the Russian version” girlfriend” was changed to “partner.” Russia also required editing out LGBT content in” Rocketman” and “Avengers: Endgame.”
Interestingly, Disney removes LGBT content for Russia and Muslim countries. They have the legal right to adapt their material to different cultures. Still, it seems strange that family values are emphasized by the entertainment industry for children in other countries and ignored in the United States.
One of the great teachings of Jesus Christ is the separation of Church and State. The issue came up many times in His ministry and during the life of Paul. Christ’s enemies raised it directly to Him in Matthew 22:17-21. Jesus’ response was, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” Secular rulers have often tried to use the Church to validate what they did. A classic example of how far astray things can go is blessing nuclear bombs.
Vladimir Putin has made the Russian Orthodox Church an arm of the state, and for some time now, he has had the priests blessing nuclear bombs. They do it by splashing “holy water” on the nukes. Previously the Church was doing the blessing on all arms as well as seeking divine protection for soldiers. A church commission has been set up by the Russian Orthodox Church to investigate whether weapons of mass destruction should be included in the blessings.
The Russian military is building a cathedral in a military park outside Moscow, further emphasizing the close connection between the state and the Church. Jesus did not confront the Roman authorities of His day. Paul taught the importance of Christians being subject in civil life to civil authority (Romans 13). The idea of Christians blessing war and destruction flies in the face of all Jesus taught.
Atheists can justifiably complain about abuses like this one, but we must separate what Jesus taught from what various denominations teach and do. We can defend everything Jesus taught and show its wisdom, but blessing nuclear bombs is not defensible.