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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Home Truths on Family

Dec 13, 2014

We know that as the family goes, so goes the nation. No society can survive without strong families. That is why the enemies of society in the West have always worked so hard, targeting families. Once the family is weakened or destroyed, so will be the nation.

All the radicals have known this. Vladimir Lenin said, “Destroy the family, destroy the nation.” The family is an “obscene bourgeois institution” said Simone de Beauvoir. All these radicals worked overtime to see the family undermined and decimated.

sacks, lordThus the defence of the family is always a fundamental task of the rest of us. A recent speech by Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, offers just such a stirring defence, and is worth quoting from at length:

What made the traditional family remarkable, a work of high religious art, is what it brought together: sexual drive, physical desire, friendship, companionship, emotional kinship and love, the begetting of children and their protection and care, their early education and induction into an identity and a history. Seldom has any institution woven together so many different drives and desires, roles and responsibilities. It made sense of the world and gave it a human face, the face of love.
For a whole variety of reasons, some to do with medical developments like birth control, in vitro fertilisation and other genetic interventions, some to do with moral change like the idea that we are free to do whatever we like so long as it does not harm others, some to do with a transfer of responsibilities from the individual to the state, and other and more profound changes in the culture of the West, almost everything that marriage once brought together has now been split apart. Sex has been divorced from love, love from commitment, marriage from having children, and having children from responsibility for their care.
The result is that in Britain in 2012, 47.5 per cent of children were born outside marriage, expected to become a majority in 2016. Fewer people are marrying, those who are, are marrying later, and 42 per cent of marriages end in divorce. Nor is cohabitation a substitute for marriage. The average length of cohabitation in Britain and the United
States is less than two years. The result is a sharp increase among young people of eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, stress related syndromes, depression and actual and attempted suicides. The collapse of marriage has created a new form of poverty concentrated among single parent families, and of these, the main burden is borne by women, who in 2011 headed 92 per cent of single parent households. In Britain today more than a million children will grow up with no contact whatsoever with their fathers.
This is creating a divide within societies the like of which has not been seen since Disraeli spoke of “two nations” a century and a half ago. Those who are privileged to grow up in stable loving association with the two people who brought them into being will, on average, be healthier physically and emotionally. They will do better at school and at work. They will have more successful relationships, be happier and live longer.
And yes, there are many exceptions. But the injustice of it all cries out to heaven. It will go down in history as one of the tragic instances of what Friedrich Hayek called “the fatal conceit” that somehow we know better than the wisdom of the ages, and can defy the lessons of biology and history. No one surely wants to go back to the narrow prejudices of the past.
This week, in Britain, a new film opens, telling the story of one of the great minds of the twentieth century, Alan Turing, the Cambridge mathematician who laid the philosophical foundations of computing and artificial intelligence, and helped win the war by breaking the German naval code Enigma. After the war, Turing was arrested and tried for homosexual behaviour, underwent chemically induced castration, and died at the age of 41 by cyanide poisoning, thought by many to have committed suicide. That is a world to which we should never return.
But our compassion for those who choose to live differently should not inhibit us from being advocates for the single most humanising institution in history. The family, man, woman, and child, is not one lifestyle choice among many. It is the best means we have yet discovered for nurturing future generations and enabling children to grow in a matrix of stability and love. It is where we learn the delicate choreography of relationship and how to handle the inevitable conflicts within any human group. It is where we first take the risk of giving and receiving love. It is where one generation passes on its values to the next, ensuring the continuity of a civilization. For any society, the family is the crucible of its future, and for the sake of our children’s future, we must be its defenders.

Yes most certainly. At a time when the institutions of marriage and family are under unprecedented attack, our first duty is to protect and promote the most enduring, the most valuable, and the most child-friendly institutions known to man.

cvcomment.org/2014/11/18/in-full-the-lord-sacks-speech-that-brought-the-vatican-conference-to-its-feet/

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10 Responses to Home Truths on Family

  • Some good news on the divorce front released today – Australian divorce rate lowest since 1976 when `no fault’ splits introduced…”And still, though many of the benefits once reserved for marriage can be got without the wedding, there remains a pull. Unmarried relationships are simply not as strong as married ones, Dr Hewitt’s research says.”http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/australian-divorce-rate-lowest-since-1976-when-no-fault-splits-introduced-20141212-1257qc.html

  • Family is about children and their welfare. An attack on family is an attack on children for family is the fortress and well being of children. For those who doubt that family is children and children are family, listen to newly wed couple say: “we are going to start a family” meaning – we are going to have start having children.
    As such, marriage is for the sake of children and any attack on marriage is an attack on children and anyone who accepts divorce also accepts an attack on children!

  • Very true.

  • I went and read the entire speech. Wonderful. Thanks for pointing me to the link.

  • A very powerful and timely article. I think the sentence “Sex has been divorced from love, love from commitment, marriage from having children, and having children from responsibility for their care.” says it all.

    I have wondered for a long time about how childcare now seems to be obligatory – especially now with the new maternity/paternity provisions. What ever happened to people bringing up their own children rather than farming them out to institutional care?

    The “right” to pursue a career or to earn lots of money seems to have become a new sacred cow. There has been a values shift away from actively parenting children.

  • I just finished reading William Tucker’s “Marriage and Civilization: how monogamy made us human”, he argues that hetero-monogamous marriage was a civilising and advancing institution essential for the west. Well worth checking out.

    Minor correction with Sacks’ excellent speech. Alan Turing most likely died by accident, not suicide.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-18561092

  • Good speaker is Lord Sacks. We could do with thousands of him. It still beggars belief how we’ve reached a point where the family is considered “traditional” or “old-fashioned” when it consists of a married mum, dad and their natural children.

    Regarding Turin, if you ever get the chance to visit Bletchley Park (maybe you have) in England, there’s a huge amount of info and displays on all the codebreaking, and Turin’s own input.

  • This is a great article. Children become adults and too many are damaged by family members who were themselves damaged by family members who are all part of the human family.
    Having children is the closest we come to the creation powers of Almighty God. That He entrusted this to us is extraordinary grace. Mind-blowing, given the horrors that have and continue to occur.
    From my own experience growing up through the 1960s’ concept of promiscuity without responsibility, i.e., so-called ‘free love’ and reading about the level of child abuse in other societies, it is mind-numbing to have accepted the forgiveness that Christ offers through his Blood shed at Calvary and be accepted as a child of God.
    I now know that the sin of the world that He took upon Himself is incomprehensible and that without His daily presence in my life, I would not be able to stand under what has been done in departing from His commandments given as law unto Moses and fulfilled through the ministry of Jesus in the New Testament. I thank you, Lord and I praise you.

  • In last Saturday’s The Australian somebody called Kevin McCann revealed there is an entity called Male Champions of Change (MCC) which is a group of pussy-whipped (sorry for the vulgarism, Bill, but it’s deserved) Australian business and government leaders which was convened by Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick in 2011 to advance gender equality in Australia. It wants to boost female participation in the workforce.

    McCann lamented that in Japan 70 per cent of women leave paid work for a decade after having a child while in the US just 30 per cent do. Full marks to Japanese mothers I say for putting their maternal duties above paid work and leaving their children to the ‘care’ of low-paid rostered staff.

    Increasingly in Australia we’re seeing the results of institutionalized infancy and childhood: insensitive rude brats – and it’s not the children’s fault.

    McCann also trotted out the idea that all people now have ‘careers’ that are far more important than family responsibilities. Actually most people don’t have careers though they are brainwashed to think so. Most people of both sexes have jobs. And they have jobs to put bread on the table.

    People like McCann never consider that maybe, given a choice, mothers and fathers might actually prefer to raise their own children as our grandparents did.

  • As a homeschooling mother, I consistently meet other mothers whose children. prior to homeschooling, were riddled with diseases, stresses and psychological problems requiring medication. Generally speaking, within a year of good nutritional home cooked food, a loving home environment and homeschooling, these children are completely medication free and flourishing with none of the previous problems present.

    I find it interesting that usually in countries where you see an attack on the family you see an attack on homeschooling and this way of life.

    Jesus knew what he was doing when he advocated for family and mothers staying home, being busy in the home and teaching the children!

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