"Avoiding Rags and Misery: The Christian Justification of Malthusianism in Twentieth-Century England"
I am largely interested in the engagement of religious leaders with social initiatives that seemed to be at odds with historic religious teachings. My current research focuses on the moral justification employed by Church of England clergymen to support Malthusian-related policies from the time of the founding of the Malthusian League in 1877, through the legalization of oral contraceptives in the early 1960s. This includes an examination of clergy engagement with topics like eugenics, birth control, colonialization, and anti-social welfare campaigns.
My interest lies in uncovering the moral reasoning behind clergy support for such initiatives, which in turn has broad significance for English historians interested in the role of religion in society during the twentieth century. For example, my work can shed light on how clergymen sought to maintain influence and/or relevance in society as the overall influence of Christianity waned. This study can also illuminate the origins of, and justifications for, clergy involvement with matters long-considered to be inappropriate for public discussion, such as birth control and sexual pleasure.