CultureWatch

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

As Marriage Goes, So Goes the Nation

Sep 16, 2007

Up until quite recently, societies benefited greatly by certain institutions which in fact predated the state. Marriage and family are two institutions which have been around for a very long time, and have offered social glue and moral stability to almost every human society.

Most great minds throughout history recognised the fundamental importance of marriage and family, and their vital role in preserving society. Consider a few ancient voices. Aristotle put it this way: “Man is by nature more inclined to live as a couple than to associate politically, since the family is something that precedes and is more necessary than the State”.

Homer said this, “There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye-to-eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends”. And 2000 years ago the Roman statesman and orator Cicero said: “Marriage is the first bond of society.”

Much more recent thinkers have reiterated such high praise for marriage and family. Edmund Burke once remarked, “The Christian religion, by confining marriage to pairs, and rendering the relation indissoluble, has by these two things done more toward the peace, happiness, settlement, and civilization of the world, than any other part in this whole scheme of divine wisdom.”

John Locke said that marriage is humankind’s “first Society”. D. H. Lawrence argued that Christian marriage is the “greatest” contribution of Christianity to civilization.

And J D Unwin of Cambridge University, marriage is seen as the crucial element in the development and maintenance of healthy societies: “The whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilised unless it has been completely monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs. Marriage as a life-long association has been an attendant circumstance of all human achievement, and its adoption has preceded all manifestations of social energy. . . . Indissoluble monogamy must be regarded as the mainspring of all social activity, a necessary condition of human development.”

Yet the wisdom of the ages and the accumulated traditions of millennia are all being dashed on the rocks of modern political correctness and social engineering. The idea that marriage is important and that family structure matters is now seen as intolerant and judgemental.

Most Western societies are embarking on a path to national suicide as they jettison marriage and family in wholesale fashion. Consider just one example: Britain. With the passage in April of its Sexual Orientation Regulations, it has effectively declared war on these two institutions, and the implications are yet to be fully felt.

Journalist Joanna Bogle, writing in the July/August issue of Crisis seeks to lay out some of the ramifications of this nefarious legislation. She begins, “There’s a problem at the moment in Britain with our sense of national identity. The problem is a compound of many things, of course: an all-pervasive culture of pop music and TV soaps, muddle about the way history is (or isn’t) taught in schools, a substantial and growing Islamic presence, confusion about our role in the world, an obsession with denouncing the (real and imagined) mistakes and evils of our past. But probably the single most important component is the one that most debates and discussions on the subject overlook: the collapse of marriage and family structures. And new laws that took effect in April this year are going to have a marked impact on all of this.”

She offers a bit of background information: “New textbooks on ‘citizenship’ for use in our schools – very much a project of the moment – emphasize sexual options as a fundamental part of ‘Britishness.’ We are meant to assume that having various sexual leanings – heterosexual, bisexual, homosexual – is all part of the culture of ‘choice’ that is our birthright. The idea that a nation is built on families, and that the passing on of family names, along with traditions and history, culture and folklore, is central to the concept of nationhood would be regarded as anathema. I say ‘would be’ because, as far as I know, no one has actually dared to announce it even as a suggestion. Sexual relationships are, in the current parlance, ‘all about choices,’ and it seems now to be regarded as quite wrong to suggest otherwise.”

Consider the new legislation: “Under the new Sexual Orientation Regulations just passed by Parliament, anyone who challenges this notion of ‘choices’ and appears in any way whatsoever to criticize the homosexual lifestyle will be criminalized. And I do mean criminalized: There are to be fines and possibly even custodial sentences for anyone who fails to deliver ‘goods and services’ to people who are actively homosexual – ‘goods and services’ in this instance including, for example, children who must be offered to homosexual couples for adoption from now on. ‘Britishness,’ you see, is all about freedom to choose – not freedom for the child, of course, or for the natural mother giving up her baby for adoption, who might have wanted to specify a male/female married couple. No, ‘freedom’ today is defined by political correctness.”

The coercive nature of such laws are apparent: “Under the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which were passed with minimal parliamentary debate (despite a valiant attempt in the House of Lords to tackle them properly), it is going to be difficult for me to talk about marriage in schools anymore, or even be of much use as a visiting Catholic journalist. The new regulations expressly ban my doing anything that might make pupils of homosexual inclinations uncomfortable.”

“So what am I to do? I’m probably not going to be asked to speak about marriage or relationships much anymore. I have benefited from some – though not many – schools’ attempts to present ‘both sides’ of the debate on relationships, which does offer a little more than the usual school-nurse-with-contraceptives deal. But it now seems likely that this will slowly dry up or cease altogether.”

After looking at the wider ramifications of such legislation, such as how it will affect religious schools and institutions, she concludes: “In teaching children about ‘Britishness,’ I suppose schools will emphasize freedom, rights, the idea that ours is a country where we can make choices and live by them. I am not at all sure that this is an adequate summary of what being British is all about, but even if it were, it is not the case. The most profoundly important decisions are, and always have been, about things that matter not only to us but to others, and therefore include community responsibilities and obligations that sometimes (and correctly) involve the law of the land.”

“But that law no longer affirms marriage between a man and a woman as the fundamental and irreplaceable basis for our society, and hence for our nation. There can be no ‘Britishness’ now that this has occurred, and none will return until it is corrected. Only then will we be able to face our very considerable social problems – our sense of isolation from our own history, our loss of community and neighborly spirit, the recent and rapidly growing presence of Islam in what was once a Christian nation, and more – and regain some sort of confidence in our future.”

Such is the state of affairs in much of the West. Individual choice has trumped all other considerations, including the social good and the well-being of children. The West in many ways developed out of the Judeo-Christian worldview which has always stressed the importance of others, and of keeping self in check. But we have reversed all that today: self is number one, and to hell with others. Such attitudes are antithetical to social cohesion and stability, and the important question to now ask is, how long can the West survive under such conditions?

www.crisismagazine.com/julaug2007/bogle.htm

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7 Responses to As Marriage Goes, So Goes the Nation

  • How long can the West survive under such conditions? Probably not long, that is until the Muslims take over. While I certainly don’t advocate Islam, at least there some outward or verbal appreciation of family values. Unfortunately, many Muslim families put to shame many in Christian circles. Yes I know about all the abuse in Muslim circles etc. (check here), but they do hold to the form of the family much better than many Christians, and of course the rest of Western society.

    Marriage and the family was the first institution ordaned by God. We tamper with it to our detriment. Timely article Bill.

    David Clay, Melbourne

  • All I can say is what many are now saying, even non-Christians: this is the death of Britain, and of Western civilization in general. One should read this report in conjunction with Peter Hitchens book, “The Abolition of Briatin”, 2001. The Britain which built an empire, produced so many great people and great institutions, authored great literature, and from which came spiritual giants such as William Tyndale, John Bunyan, George Whitefield, the Wesleys, has now sunk into a sewer of corruption and degradation. Indeed more, for it is one thing to tolerate such debased lifestyles; it is quite another to pass laws forbidding anyone to call it sin, and give it equal status in law along with legitimate marriage.
    Murray Adamthwaite

  • So important was marriage to Jewish life that the prophets continually linked it to the divine covenant. The family was more important than the nation. The backsliding of the Jewish nation was often described in terms of adultery. For the last forty or fifty years western European civilization has accommodated, as easily as a pair of well -worn slippers (facilitated by the free supply of contraception to school children) adultery, either in the mind or in deed.

    The acceptance of homosexuality follows as night follows day. And why shouldn’t homosexual relationships be socially acceptable? After all, the heterosexual community is no longer concerned about purity.They have been free, ever since Alfred Kinsey produced his bogus report on sexuality in the 60s, to pour contempt on marriage by normalising adultery. If heterosexuals have been free to give full expression to their sexual appetites, making their bodies simply instruments of consumption and pleasure, to reduce marriage to the means to companionship, the means to taxation privileges, medical aid benefits, adoption rights, but more strategically, the pathway to social standing and seal of approval that it carries – to respectability, why should not the homosexual have a piece of the pie, especially if some gay marriages relationship can make many heterosexual relationships look shallow, shabby, selfish affairs by comparison. Surely they too have a right to happiness?

    But the question arises, if the heterosexual community has failed to honour the marriage bed, why should we believe that the gay community is going to fair any better, especially in the absence of the calming effect off the female on testosterone-charged males?

    The reality is that gay community does not really want to replicate traditional marriage. When the gay community are offered marriage there is not exactly a stampede. The evidence shows that marriage does not suit the gay life-style. What they want is the acceptance and recognition, the goods and services associated with marriage – but not the essential nature of it. But it is heterosexual-like marriage which is easiest to sell to the wider heterosexual community – albeit with female ‘man-maids’, or Cinderella ‘pumpkin’ carriages pulled by white horses with pink feathered plumes.

    If sexuality has no intrinsic purpose, as defined by the Jews, in giving a nation stability, cohesion, growth, and the opportunity to demonstrate sacrificial love, as demonstrated for two thousand years through Christian marriage, the message will be built into the law itself that there is no objective moral order and that it is merely a human invention that one is free to redefine and change like playdo, or even to discard altogether.

    Lady Hale , a British Law Lord (who, for many years, was the key person driving the Law Commission’s anti-marriage agenda) said back in 1980: “‘Logically, we have already reached a point at which…we should be considering whether the legal institution of marriage continues to serve any useful purpose.”

    Finally, heterosexual families who might have unwittingly visited London Zoo with their unsuspecting children, yesterday, Sunday 16th, and who would have paid no small entry free, would have not only have had the privilege of viewing a new and exotic species but also of being discriminated against in the delivery of goods and services on the grounds of their heterosexual orientation. But it is all towards creating equality. Isn’t it?
    http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo/whats-on/gay-sunday,213,EV.html

    David Skinner, UK

  • I’m amazed that DH Lawrence had a high view of marriage…my superficial understanding is that he was hedonistic and rebellious, the writer of almost pornographic novels. A quick scan of his biography on Wikipedia (for what it’s worth) doesn’t alter that by much…
    John Angelico

  • Joanna Bogle’s statement, ‘Sexual relationships are, in the current parlance, ‘”all about choices,” raises obvious contradictions. The gay lobby claim that they do not have a choice, with regard to their orientation – due to evolution they are immutably programmed to be what they are. At the end of 2006, in Brighton, UK, local taxpayers footed a bill of £901.50 for a Christmas party for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers of the city council and to which heterosexuals were banned from attending. Under the new Sexual Orientation Regulations special events like this from which heterosexuals are barred are probably covered by an exemption. Government guidance says:
    “The Regulations do not make it unlawful to do anything by way of meeting people’s special needs for education, training or welfare on grounds of their sexual orientation, or providing ancillary benefits in connection with meeting such needs.”
    Special needs, in English education, has always referred to those with disabilities. So is homosexuality a disability, for which there are indeed cures?
    But then the next moment this argument, that homosexuals are born that way, is jettisoned in favour of the human right to have absolute freedom of choice to be whatever one wants to be. Are we then soon to see, due to scientific advances, the choice of changing into chimeras, parahumans and transhumans, or even into cuckoo clocks and chest of drawers? The only choice I see here is the choice to turn lies into truth and truth into lies.

    As I have previously indicated, London Zoo, this last Sunday, discriminated against heterosexual families by charging them the full entry fee (gays were given a 20% reduction) and denied special areas of the zoo, that had been given over entirely to the gays.
    http://www.sundaymirror.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=17350051&method=full&siteid=62484&headline=pink-panthers–name_page.html

    DS

  • So true, David Clay & David Skinner.

    I would add that the onslaught within supposedly Christian churches on the covenant of marriage through support for no-fault divorce (“well, if it really isn’t working for you, we’ll support you if you want to leave”) and political correctness in encouraging all forms of families (“we’ll you really shouldn’t but if you feel that way then we don’t want to judge you”) to be acceptable is in itself the single main reason why Islam will prosper in the Western world while ‘modern’ Western-style self-focused Christianity, being rotten from within, will suffer its demise.

    God often referred to his chosen people Israel as an adulterous nation when he was angered by their blatant disregard for his commandments, and brought them low until they turned from their selfish ways to him again. The New Testament also laments/warns against the rise of the ‘adulterous generation’ saying that such like had no place in His Kingdom.

    Christians are supposed to be the defenders of morality against the onslaught of the world and its wickedness. Unless we again learn the importance of ‘indissoluble monogamy’ (J D Unwin of Cambridge University) within the family – as David Clay says “the first institution ordained by God” – established as a direct example to God’s love for his people, then godless liberal Christianity will hurry the internal destruction of our society.

    From the world’s perspective, what have Christians to offer when they look so much like us? Where’s the salt and the light? All I see is “sugar and spice and all thing nice”.

    As marriage goes, so goes the nation… our nation, like so many other western nations is going down the spiritual toilet.

    Garth Penglase

  • Exactly Garth. One might also say – as the church goes, so goes the nation.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

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