Thursday, June 27, 2013

Attacks on the family

About 15 hours ago I came across this gem:

"I'm as pro-traditional marriage as they come...but conservatives are fighting the wrong battle. Gay marriage is a symptom, not the problem. The real problem is that marriage has become meaningless, and it all started with no-fault divorce. No-fault divorces turned a once sacred institution into a union of convenience based solely on the romantic feelings of the participants. Once those feelings diminish, the union can be dissolved *poof* like that. When marriage means little more than an expression of love (instead of the divine ordinance that it is) what's to stop us from redefining it to mean whatever we want?" - Mike Garner

Mike is one of the most accurately conservative (opposed to stereotypically conservative) friends I have. We met as missionaries on Borneo Island and I'll never forget running into him months later in the mission home in Singapore. "So you're a democrat?" he asked with a surprised smile.  Immediately I knew he and Greg McFarlane had been talking politics. The three of us seemed to have this understanding that though we couldn't get into all the details as missionaries, we'd love to sit around and sort out all the details of our political beliefs one day in the future. Thanks to facebook we pretty much get to do that, which is really awesome when you think about it. Pre social media days we would have quickly lost contact with one another.

As with most of Mike's posts, there are parts of his statement I tend to disagree with (I'd bet marriage was under attack long before no-fault divorces ... like I'd at least go back to King George ... and just as the value of life was mocked as anciently as the first family (Cain and Able) I'd bet trampling on the sanctity of marriage only took a couple of generations to figure out -- opposition in all things).  What it is I love about Mike's comment, is the level of thought it shoved down my throat.

This was my response on facebook:

Thanks for posting this; I've been thinking about it almost non-stop since I read it 12 hours ago. Like Jenny said, I could write and write and never shut up about it, but suffice it to say I am grateful for the many people who do still believe in the sanctity of marriage and the importance of raising kids in a home with a loving mother and father. And I'm in awe of those who believe in those principles but because of the poor choices of others (or because of heartbreaking loss) have to go it alone.

Had I been willing to write and never shut up I'd have mentioned that I've felt all along that conservatives are fighting the wrong battle. Or at least that they should be fighting other symptoms along side it. I've often wondered why there aren't nation wide, hateful demonstrations against adultery? pornography? spousal abuse? child abuse? low wages? teen pregnancy? and more!

It wasn't hard to spot society's downfalls as a teacher in Washington DC's roughest schools. If I were to construct a long list of symptoms, the two loving, responsible mothers of an orphaned teen wouldn't even make my top ten. I haven't tried to make that list yet, but I'd be surprised if homosexuality in its exclusive form broke the top twenty.

To be clear, I, like Mike, firmly believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe that marriage functions best when it is between one man and one woman. I know that as children of God we cannot progress to our fullest capacity without the sacred unity of one man and one woman.

But as a woman married to a man, I don't feel threatened by homosexual couples. And the line that homosexuality is a threat to the family has never sat well with me. How about pornography is a threat to the family? Why not, hot tempers are a threat to the family? substance abuse? poverty? extreme wealth? and more!

Speaking of pornography ... why is everyone talking about whether or not Paula Deen is racist? Has no one else read the court disposition? The woman admits to letting her male employees view pornography while on the job!!! Have we really become so desensitized to purity that publicly viewing pornography, and geting paid while doing so, is not a big deal? (See, when I told Mike I could write and write and not shut-up about it I wasn't joking -- I can even bring Paula Deen into this thought strand.)

I will gladly stand up and defend the sanctity of marriage and the importance of every child being raised in a safe home, by a loving father and mother. But I don't have to act as though homosexuality is the single greatest threat to humanity. I don't plan on idly tolerating homosexuality, and I'm tired of the conservative christian movement idly tolerating adultery, pornography, teen sex, and the insane incarceration statistics of black men.

Yeah, my top ten list might be really interesting to compile. 


Anonymous said...

Great comments. I am not threatened by the Supreme Court's action, in fact I endorse it. I am afraid however of the great divide such decisions make in our country. We seem to becoming more and more polarized and less willing to listen to a different opinion. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

BTW, what did you think of the Supreme Court's decision regarding Voting Rights? Interesting they can come out with two such radical opinions in two days. You love their Voting decision and hate their pro-Gay vote or you loathe the Voting decision and champion their Gay Rights thinking.

I wish we would all just be nice to each other and we wouldn't even need politicians and Supreme Courts, but like you said in your e-mail -- it all goes back to Cain and Abel. In my world there will be NO choice. It creates nothing but heartache and trouble!!!

Love, Pa

Claudia said...

In Pa's world, if there were no choice, there would be no sorrow along with no joy, you get my jest. As for Paula Deen I agree. I was more disturbed that she condoned pornography in the work place. She lost my vote, then and there. Mom

p.s. In my world you can choose to read this, not read this, like this comment, not like this comment, blah, blah, blah.

Megan said...

Random thoughts, here we go: Personally, I'm sad about the Supreme Court ruling, but I don't think public views on marriage will be all that different because of the Supreme Court ruling. Had they ruled the other way in both cases eventually the definition of marriage would have changed any way (and in most states marriage still is between a man and a woman). What really concerns me about the Supreme Court's decisions is the impact on democracy and what it says about our process. My thoughts are summarized for the most part here: I think it's interesting and telling that you have Justice Sotomayor siding with the dissent in Hollingsworth v. Perry saying that there was standing to bring the case under California law. Sure, I'm disturbed at the attacks on the family, but I am incredibly disturbed that we're throwing the fundamentals of democracy under the bus. If the nation wants to redefine marriage, then at least do it legally like they did in Maine and Maryland.

I can see why the Church got involved in the Prop 8 vote and has been really pretty quiet about the Supreme Court cases. Part of protecting the family is getting involved when the public has the ability to voice their opinions on what we as a democracy believe, whereas with the SCOTUS decisions, what are you going to do? The Prop 8 campaign was an opportunity to inform and encourage the public, but at this point protests really aren't going to do much good.

Here's where I may really start to ramble. I've been watching the Ken Burns special on Prohibition and over and over again they keep saying "you can't legislate morality." When I was at Georgetown one of the law professors published a paper that basically said to a certain extent we need to legislate morality because whatever we legislate becomes our morals. She wasn't calling for overreaching government intervention into every aspect of our lives, but to the extent that the government is involved in any questions of morality the views of the majority of society will eventually conform to the minimum requirements of the law. A good example would be age limits for statutory rape. If we said it's only statutory rape if a girl (or boy) is under the age of 8, then eventually people are going to start thinking it's okay for 9 year olds to have sex. So that's one reason to have an interest in the definition of marriage. We aren't going to get closer to restoring or creating a sacred view of marriage relationships if we say in our laws that "anything goes."

I agree with all your other points. We need to work against all of the threats to marriage and because there are so many, I think the easiest way to do that is by teaching what is true instead of focusing on all of the things that aren't true. That's why on Wednesday evening Matthew (my baby) and I looked at pictures of the temple and talking about mommies and daddies going to the temple to get married and be sealed so they could have kids and be families forever. No need to go through a list of all the bad things that break up marriages. We all need something to hope for because the absence of evil by itself is not good. Something has to fill the void.

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