I’ve been fasting from creating new blog posts throughout Lent to focus on other writing and pursuits. It’s been a productive, healthy break, but an issue has come up now that I feel important enough to merit breaking my fast a few days early.
It surrounds a topic that will be discussed today before the U.S. Supreme Court: California’s Proposition 8 (the ban on redefining marriage) and arguments on the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage for federal government benefits.
There are many words that could help complete the picture of what is at stake, but a real visual is worth a thousand of them.
This…is what’s at stake:
Namely, marriage as we have known it throughout many ages, cultures, societies and religions; marriage as it is in truth — the union of one man and one woman and any children born from that union.
We are, through these decisions, facing the possible demise of the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers. And most of us are completely unaware of this fact.
Many erroneously believe it is about something else — adoption or homosexual unions or who is most fit to parent or who has the greatest capacity to love, or any number of related topics. But it is not. It is about the possible ending of the only civil institution that unites kids with their moms and dads.
And that’s serious; serious enough for me to come out of the closet of safety and say, “Take another look at this issue. Let’s have a discussion. Let’s talk respectfully, if you feel you can.” This is important. Our richest treasure and resource — our children — stand to lose if we don’t wake up.
Back in November I first broached the topic after reading a booklet that had come across my desk. You can read about that here.
The book I introduced, “Getting the Marriage Conversation Right: A Guide for Effective Dialogue,” by Bill May would be worth the brief read. In simple, clear terms it educates and offers tools.
Everyone, I would hope, can at least agree on this: the family in our society is in crisis.
Consider just a few related statistics:
- 71 percent of poor families with children are unmarried.
- A child is 11 times more likely to be abused in a home with a mother and boyfriend, and 4 times more likely in one that includes a co-habitating mother and father, compared to those who live in a home with both a mother and father.
- In fatherless homes, children are twice as likely to be arrested for a juvenile crime, treated for emotional and behavioral problems, and suspended or expelled from school.
Our children are paying the price, as will their children next.
So the question is, can we afford to eliminate the only civil institution that unites children with their mothers and fathers?
I have heard this issue being referred to as a civil rights or human rights issue, and I would agree. But marriage isn’t the right of anyone. Children, however, have a right to be brought up in a marriage between their mother and father. Children are not rights, either. They are gifts.
As Roger Scruton said in his essay from “The Meaning of Marriage,” “Take away marriage and you expose children to the risk of coming into the world as strangers, untutored by fathers or abandoned by mothers; a condition of abandonment in which they may remain for the rest of their lives.”
Are we ready for that kind of world? We’re already close. But there’s still time to wake up and make the right choice; the choice for the common good of all.
I know I’ve been awaken. I hope others will be, too.
May God be with us we look at the reality of this issue, and the consequences of possibly redefining marriage in the coming days, and may light prevail over all men and women of good will.