Word from the Center: Friday, June 15, 2018
Welcome to “Word from The Center” FRIDAY, a Two-Kingdom, practical reflection on the issues of the day from the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty. I’m Gregory Seltz. Today’s issue…
There is so much debate today about marriage and family. All kinds of things are discussed. Those discussions tend to focus on the particulars of people’s happiness in their relationships though and not much else. Almost never discussed is the radical disconnect between marriage, family, sex, and having children, hoisted on American society in the 1960s, and the problems that have resulted from this radically new way of thinking. Virtually absent from these discussions is the potential relationship of this cultural shift to the troubling consequences of ramped up? divorce , STD’s, single-parent homes, abortion as birth control, and the new confusion about how men and women are to relate to one another at all. But there’s a problem looming that is even greater than these. It’s the implosion of society and culture itself as a result.
In the article titled, “Demographics Are Destiny,” John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera share a sobering reality, “Denying the inherent connection between sex, marriage, and babies is like denying gravity. We may choose to step off the roof, but we can’t choose not to hit the ground.” What they are saying is that marriage is more than a relationship; it is an institution. And what makes that institution fundamental is that marriage is the foundation of society itself. “Father-Mother-Children” is more than a relationship, it is the past-present-future of society. The cultural shift to minimize the uniqueness of this relationship has societal implications that are ultimately destructive and impossible to overturn once the shift is complete.
LCRL argues for traditional marriage in the public square, societally, not as a religious issue per se (Though of course it is to those of us who believe), but as an institutional issue upon which society itself depends. What makes the traditional male/female marriage unique is the potential for children, the pregnant-possibility of the next phase of society and the need for those parents to take that responsibility seriously. To dismiss this uniqueness as merely one choice among many is to diminish this vital institution’s impact with respect to society’s long-term health and well-being.
Too many people today view the marriage debate as a “civil rights issue” as if the government’s role is to “grant civil rights and societal acceptance” to people. This idea misunderstands government’s basic role in a free society. Our founders noted that our rights were “inalienable” given to us as individuals by our Creator. The government’s role was and is to protect those “individual” rights before the law. The Federal Government oversteps its bounds when it tries to protect certain person’s rights over those of others, and when it dictates to the whole the notion of a “healthy relationship.” Its role is the business of protecting rights we already have via our Creator. When government does “interfere” into our lives, it is always a “limiting of our rights” not a “granting of rights” issue. So, the real question should be, “Why should they care about marriage at all, traditional, or otherwise?” Answer: The government limits the rights of a male and a female by making them sign a contract called “marriage”(from the government’s perspective), so that they, the government, doesn’t have to raise the next wave of society. To those who have the relationship possibility of children on any given day, the Government makes them take that “relationship” more seriously because society’s creation and maintenance depends on it. The LCRL view of government intervention into the marriage debate is that governments have a vested interested in keeping male/female marriages together. Why? Because inherent in that relationship is the possibility of children, and no government or community can ultimately raise children better than the father and mother whose loving brings or who lovingly bring those children into this world.