Nearing and after the turn of the 20th century, advocacy of eugenics was starting to take shape in Europe and the United States. Controlled selective breeding was regarded by many as a way to improve humanity. A religious debate ensued in the public square as Darwin’s theory of evolution was being applauded by those religious who saw eugenics as a way to perfect humanity in preparation for the second coming of Christ.
By eliminating offspring of selected seemingly defective human beings, God’s plan of natural law could be assisted and the world could theoretically be purged of people who were deemed physically and mentally unfit.
The natural law was everywhere strong enough to maintain itself so long as no particular care and trouble were taken to preserve the lives of the mentally and physically inferior from the conditions which tend to eliminate them. (James Hamilton Francis Peile, Eugenics and the Church, 1909)
By the 1920s, preachers, such as Kenneth MacArthur, were giving sermons touting the benefits of removing a large portion of the infirm, criminal and feeble minded from the earth on a matter of generations, while never mentioning how the defective humans would be determined. The ills of the world, some preachers contended, were the result of low grade human beings, who should be eliminated so as to prepare the kingdom of God on earth.