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Book Cover
Author Wilde, Melissa J., 1974- author.

Title Birth control battles : how race and class divided American religion / Melissa J. Wilde
Published Oakland, California : University of California Press, [2020]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xii, 285 pages)
Contents American religious activism in the twentieth century -- Mobilizing America's religious elite in the service of eugenics -- The early liberalizers : "the church has a responsibility for the improvement of the human stock" -- The supporters : "God needed the white Anglo-Saxon race" -- The critics : "Atlanta does not believe in race suicide" -- The silent groups : "let the Christian get away from heredity" -- The religious promoters of contraception : remaining focused on other people's fertility -- The forgotten half : America's reluctant contraception converts
Summary "Conservative and progressive religious groups fiercely disagree about issues of sex and gender. But how did we get here? Sociologist Melissa J. Wilde shows us how today's modern divisions began in the 1930s in the earliest public battles over birth control and not for the reasons we might expect today. By examining thirty of America's most prominent religious groups-including Mormons, Methodists, Southern Baptists, Seventh Day Adventists, Quakers, Jews, and more-Wilde contends that fights over birth control were never about sex, women's rights, or privacy but were actually about race, class, and white supremacist concerns about undesirable fertility. Using census and archival data and more than 10,000 articles, statements, and sermons from religious and secular periodicals, Wilde chronicles the religious community's division on contraception. She takes us from the 1930s, when support for the eugenics movement saw birth control as an act of duty for less desirable groups, to the 1960s, when religious identities had crystalized to such an extent that most congregants had forgotten the roots of their stance on birth control. Charting the twists and turns of how reproductive politics were tied to complex views of race, immigration, and manifest destiny, Birth Control Battles shows the enduring importance of race and class for American religion as it rewrites our understandings of what it has meant to be progressive or conservative in America"--Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Description based on online resource; title from digital title page (viewed on December 30, 2019)
Subject Birth control -- Religious aspects -- History
Birth control -- United States -- History
Eugenics -- United States -- History.
Race relations -- Religious aspects.
Social classes -- United States.
Birth control -- Religious aspects.
Birth control.
Race relations -- Religious aspects.
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology of Religion
Social classes.
United States.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2019023216
ISBN 0520972686