Saturday, February 16, 2008

Positively Pernicious

During 1916, District Attorney Pelletier prosecuted a man for advocating birth control and sex education as part of a national movement of the time. Since he considered the subject as discussed to be obscene, he wanted women to be barred from the courtroom to protect their modesty. Here we have Rev Chauncey Hawkins of Central Congregational church speaking his mind on the subject.

Boston Daily Globe December 4, 1916

Birth Control Is Pernicious, He Says

Rev Mr Hawkins Flays "Pink Tea Reformers"

Praises Dist Atty Pelletier For His Action on Propaganda

Declaring that the propaganda for birth control is pernicious and constitutes a blow at morality, Rev Chauncey J. Hawkins of the Central Congregational Church of Jamaica Plain flayed the "pink tea society set of social reformers" at the church last evening.

"Enthusiasm for social betterment is good," he said, "but when it is ignorantly directed it is as destructive to our institutions as though it were premeditated crime or vice, and I for one am with the district attorney of Boston. I believe he was right in trying to stop this hodge podge of nonsense, and in arresting one who tried to scatter it.

"Enough knowledge is circulated without thrusting it into the faces of those who ought not to know it, and to the district attorney I would say, the mass of the community are with you. Stamp out this movement, and we will stand behind you.

"Any man familiar with the facts knows that the birth rate is regulated by economic factors, if it is not artificially stopped. There is no reason for alarm when the United STates stands with France and Sweden as having the lowest birth rate in the world. It would seem that, instead of getting up a movement for the control of or reduction of the birth rate, we should be get up a movement for the increase of births.

"The weakness of the American home is not big families, but the lack of the old-fashioned American moralities, and the lack of religion about the family circles. The useful ones in the world have almost without exception, come up from poverty.

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