The Tragic Results of Marriage Breakdown and Family Fragmentation
After our recent gathering of experts in Canberra for the 2020 Summit, I did not recall seeing any reports about one very pressing social problem having been discussed – the breakdown of marriage and family. This issue certainly deserves our best thoughts and action, yet was conspicuous by its absence at the Summit.
While a family and community group was one of ten groups at the Summit, no reports indicated any discussion of what we can do to curb the growing number of dissolved marriages and broken families. Of course given that the Summit was made up, it appears, of bureaucrats, lobbyists, academics and our cultured elites – and very few ordinary Australians – it is not surprising that our most pressing social problem was barely even mentioned.
Things might have been different if the people at the Summit happened to be the first 1,000 names found in the white pages, instead of all the usual suspects. Then real issues, and perhaps real solutions, might have been forthcoming.
But political correctness and radical social engineering have such a stranglehold on our intelligentsia and cultural/social elites, that talk of family breakdown is routinely ignored or mocked. ‘Good riddance’ is generally how our elites view the news of disappearing families and declining marriage rates.
Yet despite their dislike of the institutions of marriage and family, the social science data continues to inform us that broken families mean broken societies, broken individuals, and broken children. The research on this is as overwhelming as it is alarming.
Consider a recent cry for help from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Britain. Members of this group are demanding that proper recognition be paid to the impact of family breakdown on the education of our children.
English teachers warned that the decline of marriage and family is leading to widespread underachievement and discipline problems in schools. As one press report put it, “Growing numbers [of students] are being brought up in splintered families by mothers with children by different fathers, leading to behaviour and mental health problems including eating disorders and suicidal thoughts, a teachers’ conference heard. They are more likely to lead ‘dysfunctional’ lives themselves, creating a ‘toxic circle’ that no amount of investment or initiatives directed at schools can reverse.”
The reports cite one teacher who argued that “40 to 50 per cent of youngsters born in Britain this year face a greater risk of failing at school because they will be born to unmarried couples or single parents.” He continued, “Family stability, or the lack of it, is an important determinant of a child’s education outcomes. This means that we have a significant problem in Britain because we already have worrying levels of social dysfunction and family breakdown and the situation is getting worse. The great sadness is that the consequences of an unstable family background are felt long into adult life. Those who under-achieve in their education are more likely to go on and live dysfunctional lives and be unable to support a stable family life for their own children. In short, as a society we are in danger of creating an expanding, perpetuating and toxic circle.”
American commentator Charles Colson recently penned two pieces on this issue. He argued that the erosion of marriage in Britain is escalating, with severely damaging results: “According to a new report by Britain’s Office for National Statistics, the proportion of Britons getting married ‘has collapsed to a record low,’ and that is a quote. One critic of the current government called it ‘a disaster for children, families, and society.’ But, unlike natural disasters, this disaster is completely man-made. In 2006, there were approximately 237,000 weddings in Britain – the fewest since 1895, when Victoria was still queen and Britain’s population was about half of what it is today. In fact, ‘the proportion of men and women getting married is below any level found since figures were first kept nearly 150 years ago’.”
This has occurred, says Colson, because of deliberate government policies and ideology. The government has sought to promote the idea that all family structures are equal, and none is better than another. It has even sought to have the word marriage removed from state documents. Marriage-lite substitutes such as heterosexual cohabitation and homosexual civil unions have all been promoted and encouraged.
And this is all bad news “because the links between crime and family breakdown are so well-established nobody could deny them anymore. Likewise, the link between marriage and children’s well-being is not a subject for debate – it is documented. And as marriage declines, so does the birth rate.”
Colson asks, “So, why do societies persist in this?” The answer is clear: “Their worldviews demand it. Their commitment to personal autonomy and sexual freedom will not permit them to make the needed sacrifices to promote healthy families.”
And the situation in the US is much the same: “The Institute for American Values and the Georgia Family Council have just released a sobering study titled ‘The Taxpayer Cost of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing.’ The study notes that while the debate on marriage usually focuses on its social, moral, and religious qualities, marriage is also an ‘economic institution.’ It is a ‘powerful creator of human and social capital.’ In other words, healthy marriages produce the kind of people who are better able to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, as the report documents, there are fewer healthy marriages in America now than there were 25 years ago. Between 1970 and 2005, the percentage of children being raised in two-parent families dropped from 85 to 68 percent.”
He continues, “The principal causes of this drop were the high divorce rate and the increase in the number of out-of-wedlock births. While the number of divorces has declined slightly in recent years, the percentage of children born to unmarried mothers has continued to grow. As I said earlier, the costs of this family fragmentation are not limited to the children. As one expert wrote, ‘Divorce and unwed childbearing create substantial public costs, paid by taxpayers.’ How much? A minimum of $112 billion a year. That is more than a $1 trillion a decade in ‘increased taxpayer expenditures for antipoverty, criminal justice . . . education programs,’ and lost tax revenues. What is more, the ‘human and social capital’ lost from family fragmentation has an economic impact that goes far beyond government expenditures.”
In both the US and Britain “a decline in marriage and an increase in family fragmentation coincided with the introduction of legally sanctioned substitutes for traditional marriage (like civil unions and, now, same-sex marriages).” And the huge social costs of all this are now showing up big time.
Concludes Colson, “Even the best ‘marriage-strengthening’ program cannot compete with the message ‘marriage doesn’t matter.’ That is why, if you want to make a dent in the social and economic costs of family fragmentation, the first order of business is to promote and strengthen traditional marriage and accept no substitutes!”
Ideas have consequences, and bad ideas have bad consequences. When we get the silly idea in our heads that family structure does not matter, and that individual rights trump all other considerations, such as the greater community or our children, then we are asking for, and getting, trouble. The news items presented here simply add to 35 years of social science research on this topic.
The question is, when will our intellectuals, policy makers and social experts wake up to this information, and start turning things around before it really does become too late?
22 Replies to “The Tragic Results of Marriage Breakdown and Family Fragmentation”
When indeed? Never mind the policy makers, I would also like to ask when some of our church leaders are going to wake up to the problem?
As Colson says,
This started with government recognition (and therefore social endorsement) for ‘de-facto’ heterosexual couples – a move that at the time was accepted largely without a murmur from the church. Now even this very day it is reported that the Australian federal government will be proceeding with the amendment of what they term legislation that ‘discriminates’ against same-sex couples, thereby further entrenching social acceptance and approval of homosexuality. As if this isn’t bad enough, such a move has the endorsement of Australia’s peak Christian lobby group and also of the allegedly conservative Anglican Archbishop of Sydney.
Yes it is a real worry. The bizarre thing is these Christian groups that fully embrace these sweeping changes which will grant homosexual relationships special rights argue that they will not approve of anything that mimics marriage. Yet these 100 plus changes will do just that. The institution of marriage involves, among other things, government recognition, approval, sanction, blessing and conferred status – everything these proposed changes will achieve. Thus same-sex couples will end up with every benefit a married couple has, except the right to call their relationships marriage. These Christians are giving the militant homosexual lobby 95 per cent of what they have been demanding on a silver platter. No wonder why we are losing the culture wars, and marriage is nearly finished.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Yes, Rudd government moves on same-sex discrimination. Homosexual activists should give a big round of applause to the Australian Christian Lobby for their tremendous help in getting this moving. Like Chamberlain, they had no intention of enabling evil, but their actions enabled it all the same, and both were too unwilling to listen to warnings.
Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane
The consequence of deconstructing sex so that it has nothing to do with marriage and raising a family and in turn the deconstruction of families that according to the government come can come in all shapes and sizes, of which the parents can be of any sex (and soon possibly any species), any number and whose relationships can endure as long or as short as the participants wish, …. all this added to the power of the government to take over the raising of our children (the Department of Education has now become the Department of children schools and families) can be seen on the streets of Britain and in our schools. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, claims that the figures for crime are coming down. Frankly the attempt to blind the public with statistics is an insult to the ability of the public to see with their own eyes crimes being committed by children that at one time were rare even in adult courts and at a rate never heard of before.
Below is the context into which this hatred bill is being introduced:
Children are more vulnerable in school from bullying, violence and even murder than my generation ever was.
Statistics obtained by the Evening Standard yesterday revealed that on average five children are being injured in gun and knife attacks in London every day. The figures, obtained under Freedom of Information rules, reveal a frightening snapshot of teenage crime in an eight-month period last year. From 1 April to 30 November, a total of 1,273 victims under the age of 20 suffered injuries in gun and knife attacks. Many were victims of gang violence. The figures came amid mounting concern over the number of teenagers murdered in London. 27 were killed in the capital alone, last year, the highest total ever. I am not aware that any of these crimes was motivated by so- called homophobia. They are symptomatic of a generation children raised on evolutionary humanistic nihilism and into which homosexuality is being poured like acid in order to break down all bonds within society.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23425352-details/Boy,+14,+dies+after+being+knifed+outside+empty+police+station/article.do (Jack Large)
So many young people carry weapons for their own defence, parents are beginning to buy body armour for their little children: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1552956.ece
One in ten children suffer from significant mental disorders. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/23/nantidep123.xml ( children use anti- depressants)
We find the number of school-age children needing medical treatment after binge drinking has soared by nearly 40 per cent in just six years. Children being admitted to hospital in England with alcohol-related conditions has risen by about 20% over the last five years.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=440820&in_page_id=1774 (‘400,000 British children’ taking hyperactivity drugs)
It comes as no surprise that according to UNICEF Britain comes bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries.
Even though Meg Munn, Maria Eagles, Peter Hain, Hazel Blears, Alan Johnson, Gordon Brown and almost the entire labour party claim “success,” “significant progress” and “achievement,” Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary came out with this truly astonishing piece
let the last word come from Bobby who was murdered and Councillor Allan Craig from the borough of Newham who spoke at his funeral .
http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2007/11/25/newham_litambola_video_feature.shtml ( death of Bobby)
http://christian-1.cust.host-it.co.uk/newham/?page=news&id=63 (Councillor Allan Craig :Families and schools hold key to teenage violence. He himself is no stranger to threats on his own life and that of his wife and family: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=491977&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true
Listen to voice the Tony Blair’s ministers:
“The Government’s vision is for a fair society founded on equal opportunities for all, respect for the dignity and worth of each person and mutual respect between communities. Significant progress has been made over the past forty years – since the first anti-discrimination legislation was introduced – towards achieving such a society in which everybody can achieve their full potential, unfettered by prejudice or discrimination.
Anti-discrimination legislation has played a crucial role in driving this progress and setting the benchmark for acceptable behaviour in many areas of our everyday lives. We have just celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the Sex (Gender) Discrimination Act and will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the first Race Relations legislation later this year. It is unlikely that British society would be as diverse and successful as it is today without these landmark pieces of legislation.
More recently, we have made significant strides towards achieving equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Since 1997, we have equalised the age of consent, repealed section 28 and outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the workplace. And just three months ago, we witnessed the first civil partnerships taking place across the United Kingdom.”
David Skinner, UK
So what are we all doing about it? Ewan, Bill, Jonathon – what have YOU done about it? If our eyes are open and everybody elses are not, don’t we have a responsibility to take action? What are you going to do? Make a plan. Then execute it. Then make a bigger plan. Ad infinitum. I’m going to write to the Herald right now. Comments welcome on what other steps we can take – big or small.
Good comments Jonathan, and review Bill, it seems Marriage as per the Australian Marriage Act is being undermined very quickly and especially with the Rudd government moves on same-sex ‘discrimination’. They would soon be argue that we have removed discrimination from the practice of same sex relationships so let us move move on the Marriage Act to make things consistent.
The Marriage Act of Australia 2004 reflects a Biblical absolute and yet the law has been allowed to be undermined.
The church in Australia should be strong and united on absolutes such as traditional marriage, because things like the National Curriculum will become a vehicle to cause Christian Schools to teach against this absolute and others. It would be a good thought for a peak Christian body to put together a curriculum on Marriage and relationsips that could be used in all schools in Australia.
I can only echo your sentiments Bill. The warning bells went off a long time ago but only a few of us heard them. I am staggered at the breathtaking speed in which many of our societal cancers are spreading. It’s a depressing situation we find ourselves in and I can’t help wondering if we have “hit the bottom” yet. Still, I will do my best to promote the values I was lucky enough to be taught growing up and I will pass these onto my children.
Between 1970 and 74, I taught at at a country school, in New South Wales. The boys were strong and healthy, mostlly from stable farming families.They were full of larakin spirit but kept in check by masters with big knees and big sticks.
Twenty seven years later I returned from the UK on a teacher exchange to the same school and was struck by the number of kids who were either rootless and just passing through, or living in family like outfits that “come in all shapes and sizes.”
I was also struck by the numbers of disturbed and schizophrenice children for the whom the world must be a mad and incomprehensible place. Although sociologists would point to the influence of drugs, alcohol, social deprivation and all the rest of it as the cause for their dysfunctional behaviour, not one would risk their professionals reputations by daring to suggest that the main cause was the absence of a permanent mother and father.
David Skinner, UK
In listening to “talkback” on ABC radio 774 in Melbourne yesterday, I was struck by a number of elements which were apparent in the comments being put to air about the changes proposed to treatment of same-sex relationships.
Firstly, the whole talkback was based on the premise that objections to the changes constituted “homophobia”. Excuse me? At various times over the years I’ve worked in close proximity with homosexual people. At no stage was I afraid of them then, nor am I afraid of them now. How did any objection to behaviour come to be classified as fear? Oh, I get it, what’s being portrayed is that “we” are guilty of holding an irrational fear that is motivating our objections. I see. Well, off to the re-education gulag for me then.
The second thing I noted was related … that people want to change the meanings of words … like marriage. C.S.Lewis would have felt so vindicated. He once wrote:
Ditto today with marriage. The argument goes something like: “Surely what’s REALLY important about marriage is that its a loving relationship, therefore you shouldn’t exclude same-sex couples from all the benefits of marriage such as favoured tax treatment, superannuation treatment, etc”.
Well, sorry, I’m not buying that bill of goods. Changing the meaning of words in that way, for that motivation, is a slippery slope. My question is therefore “Where does one draw the line”? Same-sex couples today. What tomorrow? I dare not opine where this slippery slope logically leads for fear of offending gentle readers.
Thirdly, comments were being thrown around on the radio such as “Well they [homosexuals] are just born that way, its in their genes”. Sorry, I must have missed that one. I do recall one quite controversial study (I think with genetically identical twins) which concluded that there might be a genetic link. But its my understanding that follow-up studies done by different research groups failed to demonstrate such a link. So such conclusions are highly questionable (someone please correct me if I am wrong and direct me to a source to read up on this).
But the point is that such beliefs (homosexual behaviour is genetically derived) are now apparently commonplace in our society. So perhaps any old behaviour is genetic. Rage? Violence? Where will that slippery slope end? I’ll leave that to your imagination.
It seems there is social experimentation going on, perhaps even a form of social engineering. Where that will lead is anyone’s guess, but if I have a phobia, its not homophobia, it would be a fear of atheistic evolutionary sociobiological experimentation on our society.
Stephen Frost, Melbourne, Australia
I am doing a lot about it actually. The obvious things to do are to alert others, to be well-informed on the issue, to contact local MPs, to write to newspapers (as you are doing), get on talk back radio, and many other activities. So rest assured of my involvement in all this. We all need to be active here.
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Hi Stephen, like you, for years I have worked alongside homosexuals and I have never felt any ‘phobia’ or any such thing. And I’d be pretty confident that none of them would ever be able to say of me that I ever acted irrationally or hateful against any of them even once. (However, one of them once took exception to a short letter I sent to The Age, but that’s another matter) But, apparently, I must still be ‘homophobic’ because I think that the sin is particularly destructive because it is deeply connected to that person’s being, human history speaks against it, biology speaks against it, and of course, most importantly, God speaks against it in very strong terms.
One thing that I find particularly irritating is the idea that you cannot separate the sin from the sinner. Apart from the fact that we have different words to describe different things (duh!), it seems to me that those who spout such nonsense don’t have even the most basic understanding of the Gospel. John 3:16-21 makes it clear that God loves the world, but still paid the ultimate price to redeem us. For what did He pay the price? Our sin, because without Him we are stuck in darkness and stand condemned. We loved our evil deeds, but God still loved us and sent light into the world through His Son Jesus. I don’t know how it could be any clearer from one of the most well-known parts of the Bible – God loves the sinner but hates the sin. And we are called to follow Him.
And you mentioned that prevalent idea that homosexuals are ‘born that way’. Apart from the obvious absurdity of relying on a heterosexual relationship first to create anyone born anyway and the fact that an exclusive homosexual relationship cannot pass this assumed genetic information on either, I thought that when babies are born, people generally ask what sex they are, not what their sexual preference is. It’s either a boy or a girl. Not homosexual (or even heterosexual for that matter) But if it isn’t obvious to an adult what the natural and normal expression of the two genders are in terms of the overall potential of reproduction when they mature some years later, then I have to seriously wonder about some people’s ability for rational thought. (But Jesus did say we loved the darkness, and darkness is blinding) The total potential of reproduction of all the exclusive ‘loving’ homosexual relationships in the world is zero. Gays can’t even exist without heterosexual relationships, and yet I am supposed to consider their relationships as equal value to society?
I have a suspicion that people who advocate gay relationships as equivalent to heterosexual relationships won’t blink at the need to specify the gender of most connectors to virtually any electronic device for the purpose of the cable to be fulfilled. Sometimes I feel like holding up two male plugs and try to connect them to prove an obvious point, but I suspect people would just take offense, such is the level of darkness in the world now.
It puts lie to the idea of “do what you like so long as it doesn’t hurt me”. Well, apparently, it does.
I find it sardonic that everything that the Bible tells us about behavour and human relationship when ignored always causes a catastrophe down the track. I think cancer is the appropriate terminology – slow, insidious but sure and steady.
Should we be granting practicing homosexuals ‘equal rights’ and immunity from ‘discrimination’? I submit, No!
As it has been in the past, perhaps it should be a criminal offense – just like theft, murder, and incest. A criminal offense orders that certain rights and privileges be taken away from the perpetrator for a time, in order for justice and protection for society. I would also like to add that the perpetrators should be given the opportunity to reform. Homosexuality is severly detrimental to society as many studies have confirmed, and its criminal status should be returned.
David Clay, Melbourne
Thank you Mark for that further piece of armoury of C.S. Lewis.
That homosexuality, trans-sexuality, bisexuality, incest and paedophilia are genetic and therefore, like race, immutable is no more true than heterosexuality being so. What is true is that gender is complementary and that is a part of the natural order. We are made male and female and this is foundational to all living creatures. Anything deviating from his violates the natural order. As for our sexual orientations none of them are fixed but are as a consequence of many interrelated factors: biological psychological and social. What is true is that if these are imprinted at an early age they are extremely difficult to change; but also true is that there have been some notable examples of high profile homosexuals and lesbians who have changed to heterosexuality or to celibacy which can also be classed as an orientation. Even if the nature rather than nurture theory were true this is not a good basis for determining human behaviour; a lot of what goes on in the natural world such as cannibalism, infanticide and promiscuity is not a suitable model for our behaviour. When civilisations are governed by natural instinct they invariably collapse.
The nature argument may also be irrelevant because I believe the avant garde homosexuals no longer use this for justifying their behaviour. They fiercely resent being pigeon holed and claim the right to practice whatever sexual preference they choose. I also believe that shortly their will be no difference in the sexual behaviour of either heterosexual and homosexuals. Sex will become like a dim sims menu. Perhaps this is what happened to Sodom, Gomorrah and ancient Greece.
If sex has no intrinsic purpose; it is merely an opportunity for pleasure and intimacy, the message will be built into the law itself that there is no objective moral order, that marriage is a human invention. And if people believe marriage is just an invention, then they will feel free to change it, redefine it, or even discard it. Clearly the ultimate aim of the Sexual Orientation legislation is to destroy marriage completely.
In Britain, Lady Hale (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.” And yet apparently denying that she said this, she was only too ready to extend the rights of civil partnerships to homosexuals.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=563303&in_page_id=1770 (Transsexual husband annuls marriage and enters into civil partnership with wife to keep pension benefits)
http://www.christian.org.uk/issues/2008/family/sisters_29apr08.htm (Elderly sisters told they can’t have same tax rights as gays)
David Skinner, UK
Peter Coventry wrote: [The warning bells went off a long time ago but only a few of us heard them. I am staggered at the breathtaking speed in which many of our societal cancers are spreading. It’s a depressing situation we find ourselves in and I can’t help wondering if we have “hit the bottom” yet]
Matthew 24:37-39 (NIV):
“As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Genesis 6:5 (NIV):
“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.”
What is said in Genesis 6:5 is as low as our society can get. Every time I read Genesis 6 I wonder at how evil society must have become.
I don’t think we’ve hit the bottom yet, but God knows the future. Our society may not go as low as it was in Noah’s day anytime soon, God knows what will happen.
God has called us to be the light of the world and so we should pray for the world we live in and listen to God’s voice. We need to place our trust in the Lord, no matter what happens, whether our society continues to go downhill or recovers for a period of time.
I wish to comment on Stephen Frost’s quote from C.S. Lewis which I mistakenly accredited to Mark Rabich – not that I don’t appreciate what the latter said.
The issue that he raised I think lies at the very heart of this debate. As when Christ was tempted to turn stones into bread, we are tempted to change the essential meaning of words, like “Christian,” “love,” and “marriage,” into something non- threatening, something with which we can live comfortably.
Recently Rowan Williams was a living example of Mark’s quote from C.S. Lewis :http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/02/12/do1201.xml
As soon as we appeal to our human experience, as opposed to scripture, we are doomed. The Rev Dr. William Strange of St. Peter’s Carmarthen, Wales. Put it like this:
… “most heterosexual Christians will know lesbian and gay people whom they like and respect. One of the consequences of the increased openness of lesbian and gay people in the past generation or so is that the discussion is no longer about a faceless and anonymous ‘them’. It concerns a person with a face, a story and perhaps a pain. The introduction of a human element into reflection about homosexuality …. makes discussion more complex. …….. The secular world seems to be a good deal more accepting and tolerant on this issue than parts of the Christian church, and that also is an uncomfortable feeling…………Most Christian arguments in favour of recognition and celebration of same-sex unions build up to proposals which alleviate this discomfort by arguing for something reassuringly familiar, something comparable to same-sex marriage: stable monogamous unions which apparently preserve the social landscape by doing no more than to ask us to extend the existing concept of marriage to include a hitherto excluded group.”
But this is surely exactly the same argument Christians, including John Stott, are using today for changing the meaning of “hell” into a less disturbing and uncomfortable place called “separation from God“. We all have family, friends and neighbours whose lives may appear to be more Christian than our own and yet, through rejecting what Jesus Christ has done for them, can we really be are saying that they are condemned to eternal torment? How can this be? The psalmist in psalm 73 said,” When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” Isaiah 55 :8 also says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
What Gene Robinson, Katherine Jefferts Schori and Rowan Williams are saying is that as long as the partners are married or living in a civil partnership, then it does not matter whether the relationship is heterosexual, homosexual, incestuous, polygamous or paedophile – just so long as the partners are “ imaging in their personal and sexual life the love and justice of Christ.” (1997 ‘Knowing Myself in Christ’: Rowan Williams)
The Bible makes no mention of other configurations of marriage apart from male and female, nor is there any mention of the two waiting until their personal lives ”image the love and justice of Christ.” in order to become one flesh. There have been marriages created for all manner of reasons, apart from love, such as those of economy, politics and plain convenience, as with the case, not only of that between Ruth and Boaz, but of C.S Lewis’ marriage to Joy Davidman. Theirs was a marriage of convenience which they allowed to bloom into a loving relationship.
C.S. Lewis in “ The Four Loves” says:
“Most of our ancestors were married off in the early in youth to partners chosen by their parents on grounds that had nothing to with Eros. They went to the (sexual) act with no other “fuel”, to speak, than plain animal desire. And they did right; honest Christian husbands and wives, obeying their fathers and mothers, discharging to one another their “marriage debt”, and bringing up families in the fear of the Lord. Conversely, this act, done under the influence of a soaring and iridescent Eros which reduces the role of the senses to a minor consideration, may yet be plain adultery, may involve breaking a wife’s heart, deceiving a husband, betraying a friend, polluting hospitality and deserting your children.”
Frances Schaeffer, talking about Dante, the Italian poet who fell in love with a young girl called, Beatrice at first sight, said that he loved her with a spiritual passion all his life. Then he married another woman who bore his children and washed his dishes but he never forsook his love for Beatrice. Schaeffer said that It has not pleased God that the distinction between a sin and a duty should turn on fine feelings. This act, like any other, is justified (or not) by far more prosaic and definable criteria; by the keeping or breaking of promises, by justice or injustice, by charity or selfishness, by obedience or disobedience.
Again to loosely borrow from C.S. Lewis, Gene Robinson and his “June bride” could say to one another in an almost sacrificial spirit, “It is for love’s sake that we have led astray young people in the church and those weak in their faith.” They may even feel a particular merit in such sacrifices to the idol of such love; what costlier offering can be laid on the love’s altar than one’s conscience?
David Skinner, UK
You said: “The obvious things to do are to alert others, to be well-informed on the issue, to contact local MPs, to write to newspapers (as you are doing), get on talk back radio, and many other activities”
I passionately agree and believe that something needs to be done. I believe that we Christians SHOULD be speaking out about the state of our society. But I have a problem. I am 33 yrs old, and my wife is 29, and we have a family of four young children. We don’t practically have the TIME to do what you are suggesting. As my wife will attest to, bringing up children is a full-time task, and I can attest that financially supporting such a family is also a full-time task. That makes for a full-time job for each of us. My wife has no time for reading barely anything at all, let alone read your blog! I find the time to read your blog before I begin work each morning, but rarely have the time to make a comment. I definitely don’t have the time to write letters to the editor etc.
Our weekends are (rightly) taken up with spending time as a family, going to church, chores around the house etc. At the risk of sounding like passing the buck, I submit the idea that there is a whole section of the Christian community like us – ie young couples with children who are just keeping up with the demands of bringing up their wonderful young children, and that such people are not in a position to make a positive contribution to the debates that go on in our wider society. I’m sure it is also true that many such Christians are not even aware of the issues you constantly raise, but even if they were, I am not sure that many would be able to do what you suggest.
The only conclusion I can make from this is that the people who need to be standing up on behalf of those of us presently raising families are those older Christians whose children have already grown up and (maybe) left home, who should be able to find the time to make this a priority. And perhaps those Christians who are either single, or have not yet started a family. What are your thoughts on this?
Sometimes I have wondered if this is why disastrous anti-family laws such as no-fault divorce and the recognition of defacto relationships slipped in under the radar years ago. Is it because the bulk of Christians at the time were too busy focussing on the upbringing of their children, while the older Christians remained silent? Again, what are your thoughts on this?
I hope people don’t think I am trying to shirk my responsibilities here – I just don’t see what other options I have at the moment.
Regards, Mathew Markey
The section entitled “Homosexuality: What are the biblical and scientific issues?” touches a lot of what has been discussed here, inlcuding the science of it.
Gay activists are very good at equivocating terms. Almost as good as evolutionists with their bait and switch tactics.
Fair enough. And perhaps the best thing to help fight the erosion of family and values is to keep doing what you are doing: being a good husband and father, and providing an example to a mixed up world what good family life is all about. Simply being a role model in a confused society can be doing a lot of good.
Not everyone has the time or the expertise to be lobbyists. It is not everyone’s calling or cup of tea. I do not expect everyone to be doing what I am doing.
Having said all that, I have three children at home also, but a bit older. Writing at least one letter a month may be possible for people with a busy family life. But again, you can only do what you can, so do not feel guilty about it. And you are right, there are a lot of people who do have a lot of free time who should be more involved. We all have a role to play in different ways. I am doing this pretty much full time, but others can only do what they feel called to do, and have the time for.
And if a person is a believer, they can always pray a lot. This is vitally important, and can be done while washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, and so on. So we all can contribute in one way or another.
Perhaps the main thing is to be concerned and not apathetic. Too many people could not care less. So take heart, at least you are concerned about all this. That puts you ten miles ahead of most people!
Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch
Some things that have been crying for attention are to be found and well discussed in Dr. Stephen Baskerville’s new book, “Taken Into Custody” .
Many females know how the system works and the system formerly known as ‘welfare’ has not changed very much. Then there is the large sword known as monetary child support. States Attorney General’s get a federal kick back for every dollar collected. Therefore the State has every intrest in commodifying the child and turning its father (mostly) into nothing but a wage slave. A full 40 % of single female mothers admit to subversion of the any continuing relationship a child might have with its father after the money starts rolling in.
What we have says Baskerville are taxpayer supported systems that create the need for more taxpayer money!
The other thing to remember is that there seems to be some sort of connection between paedophilia and homosexuality. As homosexuals have become more recognised and accepted in society, so too has paedophilia increased.
Bill, a couple of years ago you wrote an article titled “Marriage Takes a Beating” https://billmuehlenberg.com/2006/10/31/marriage-takes-a-beating/ in which you highlighted the disastrous results of support for same-sex marriage and the massive drop in marriages and resulting social destruction and pointed to it as a warning of what could happen here. Well you are being proven correct.
Marriage does seem to be doomed. Too dramatic? Well, all of the signs are there. Governments at federal and state are [I’d say whittling but it’s gone beyond that now] chopping away at it, homosexual and feminist lobbies are successfully undermining it and the movement has gained critical mass in England and now here. With Obama as president you can be assured that the US will follow over the next 4 years. And on top of that, there are fewer and fewer western Christian churches who hold to the ‘until death do us part’ concept of marriage and re-marriage being, except in certain circumstances, adultery. The scriptures talk about ‘an adulterous generation’ – I’d say we’re living in one.
At the marriage conference a few years back, I was so hopeful that Aussie Christians would get behind the drive to maintain the point, purpose and sanctity of marriage. Since then I have experienced just how ambivalent Christians, the churches they attend, and the pastors that run them, are toward the sacredness, sanctity and importance of marriage to God and to our society. Being and staying married is a ‘nice concept’ but one easily and readily dropped when it doesn’t suit.
Since evil will always gain a foothold unless good men stand against it and some times give their lives to fight it, until the Christian church turns from it’s liberalism and there’s a move toward holiness, [a Holy Spirit revival if you will] not away from it, I can’t see the ‘world’ being influenced from this path. And since most modern Christians seem too busy with, or are more interested in, ‘getting ahead’, their church, and the next feel good conference I’d say that the importance of standing against evil and shining our light really has taken a back seat.