I found this little gem at the footer of the Patheos Atheist blogs and out of curiosity, I decided to give it a read.
We’ll call that “mistake number one”. Wow. Just wow.
There is so much wrong with this and I don’t think I’ll be able to cover it all. So I’ll just concentrate on a few of the ideas in question. Let’s get started, shall we?
But marriage rate decline (from 70% of US adults to 50% drop in four decades) also means that cohabitation or single parenting is replacing marriage, and ultimately this is not good for raising children. We also have 41% of US babies today born outside of marriage—50% of babies born to women under age 30 are now born outside of marriage. In 1960, even prior to legal abortion, less than 5% of U.S. babies were born out-of-wedlock.
First of all: STOP. That is not true. The Baby Scoop Era was in full swing during 1960; if a teenaged girl got pregnant–and was lucky enough not to be forced into a shotgun marriage–she was shuttled off to a maternity home where her child was taken from her and adopted out. Teenagers were getting pregnant back then. It was just hidden and the baby was disappeared so that the girl didn’t have to live with the “shame” she had brought to her family.
If that wasn’t the desired course of action, some of these girls were forced to marry the man that impregnated them, even if it meant marrying someone who had raped them. That’s a nightmare I can’t even begin to comprehend. Again, girls were getting pregnant, but this wasn’t something that was spoken about in mixed or polite company.
Research [sic] Brad Wilcox says that boys are half as likely to have trouble with law if they are raised by their father. Boys apart from their dad are twice areas likely to be in prison before age 32.
One problem here: the research was done by Brad Wilcox, who was known for being involved in the flawed Regnerus study of gay parenting. To say it’s hard to trust his statistics is putting it gently. Not only that, stats can be manipulated; I discovered that while in college. Don’t believe me? According to one report, over 50% of inmates identify as Christian. Does that mean that if you’re a practicing Christian, you’re bound for jail?
No, it does not. There are other factors. I’m willing to bet that there are other factors involved with Wilcox’s statistics as well. Poverty, lack of education, lack of good employment opportunities, among others.
Girls also thrive – if reared by their dad, girls are 7 times less likely to be pregnant as teens. The presence of their fathers encourages daughters to save themselves for a man who is worthy of their time and attention.
Again: STOP. My mother was born and spent her formative years in a two parent household. She got pregnant–out of wedlock, mind you–at seventeen. She had a father in her life but she still got pregnant. It happened. It happens in other families too.
As for the idea of “saving oneself” for marriage? It doesn’t often happen. We can stop with the purity protection now, if not sooner.
Physical and sexual abuse show extremely higher statistics in a cohabiting household, says Wilcox.
For the third time: STOP.
My mother’s parents were married. My mother dealt with abuse on a constant basis from her father. My own parents were married. I dealt with abuse from my mother. You get the base idea here.
Domestic abuse happens. It happens in married households. It has happened for many years in married households. Having a ring on the left ring finger of your hand does not magically protect you from your partner’s fists or any objects thrown at you. Abuse can happen in any relationship, whether or not you have a license from the state that legalizes the union.
Over and over again, marriage ministries and conferences report the rescuing of marriages that seemed on the brink of divorce. Researcher Bill Doherty says that 35% of couples going through the divorce courts said they were open to reconciliation. That represents a huge number of children in this country who could be saved the devastating effects and trauma of divorce.
I’m sorry but I just had to post it.
Excuse me, but what of the children who have to deal with the trauma of being stuck in a dysfunctional family? What of the children who are forced to hide in a closet because Daddy came home drunk and in a bad mood and wants to hit someone? What about the children who hide from Mommy because she’s angry and wants to hurt someone? Sometimes, remaining married “for the sake of the children” is a horrible idea. Sometimes, the best answer to a terrible marriage is a divorce.
It can also be the best answer to a terrible relationship. Although I wasn’t married to my ex, we had been together for five years when he cheated on me. My reaction when he admitted it? I forgave him. I wanted reconciliation. He was all I knew and that relationship was the entirety of my world. So for a year, I broke myself trying to win him back. Thankfully, it didn’t work and I met Prime.
The rest of the article is pretty much a plug for Marriage Week, which actually means marriage for Christian heterosexual couples and not the “godless” gays. I wish I could say I was joking. (On the website itself there’s a plug for Love and Respect, as well as one for Fireproof and No Greater Love; I do not kid. I’m surprised that my head didn’t explode seeing that.) Because our nation is going straight down the crapper since people aren’t getting married anymore. Or rather, straight people aren’t getting married anymore.
Marriage is great. Between the right couple, it’s wonderful. (If I had it to do all over again, I’d marry Prime again in a second.) But it isn’t a panacea; it will not magically cure poverty or domestic abuse. It does not have that power and it is foolish to believe that it does. It takes more than marriage to help with these problems. I think the author needs to realize that.
It’s not only that, but Christians are pushing gender roles in marriage these days – Love and Respect is a prime example, a husband is instructed to love his wife, a wife is instructed to respect her husband in the household codes – it doesn’t say that a husband is supposed to respect his wife anymore than a wife is supposed to love her husband. It’s all about a husband’s supposed authority and his wife’s duty to submit to him.
As a single believer in pro-marriage churches, I often got the feeling that I was nothing. I wasn’t important until I was married so that I could start fulfilling my gender role. They really do believe that marriage is a cure-all for what ails our nation; but they haven’t realized that they’ve infected it with horrible theology – teaching men that they get to rule over their household just feeds into the nature of guys who would be abusive. Teaching women they have to submit – especially for the sake of the children – takes away the exit door and traps them in a bad situation. There’s really not any instruction given in the situation where women are abusive about what to do. Most church elders don’t have a plan in place other than telling men to lead more gently and women to submit more and more.
So whatever these Christians are saying, you have to read between the lines and see what they’re really upset about … men are no longer in charge, fewer people are getting married so that fewer men are in charge, and fewer sons are being born and raised in a context that primes them for marriage and the leadership that goes along with it and there are fewer daughters for them to marry and have authority over as they raise the next generation of children.
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I tried getting through Love and Respect but I couldn’t; multiple times I felt like pitching the book against a wall and I don’t like the idea of ruining a book!
But you are so right: it’s all about the gender roles and that is just tragic.
I had the same problem with Captivating and its complement Wild At Heart (same idea, different authors.) I actually threw it across the room a few times.
Ugh, remind me to never pick that one up. Well, unless I want to frustrate myself.
The crazy thing is that Wild at Heart found a serious fan the leader of a Mexican drug cartel. He organized his people according to his interpretation of the ideas he found in that book and used it as he saw fit:
To me, the problem is that it’s easy to latch on to cultural ideas of masculinity, femininity, and marriage, but when we look at Christianity Jesus didn’t talk all that much about marriage and even less about masculinity and marriage. So in a big way the Church has taken it’s eyes off of Jesus and set its sights on other things, leading people astray in the process.
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That is crazy. Now I kinda want to read this. Kinda.
Ironic how the people railing to save marriage from the gays and impose their values on the rest of society have next to no credibility on that matter. The following article is old but delves into that hippocrisy –
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Yeah, I do not get it. Then there is the biblical definition of marriage which really isn’t “One man, one woman”. It’s way more complicated than that.
But don’t tell these guys that; they never read their holy book anyway.