Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Why "Family" Matters

Recently someone heard me express concerns about recent "domestic partner" legistlation in various states and asked me what "was I afraid of" concerning a loosening of our sociopolitical definition of family. I was indirectly accused of homophobia and intolerance. My "enlightened" friend told me to step out of the "Dark Ages" and accept "progress".

In my first article on Social Morality I argue that a society must have tacit agreement on what is prohibited, permitted and promoted in order to prosper. These same terms apply to the issue of what we will affirm regarding the family.

A little anthropology and history may enlighten us.

Most great civilizations have had some social order regarding family. Often these were economic and political agreements for the clan to survive and thrive. In many cultures, extramarital sexuality, polygamy and even homosexual behavior were tolerated or even promoted as religiously significant.

The Jewish belief in lifelong heterosexual monogamy was a revolutionary idea in a world awash with sexual experimentation. The Christian faith reaffirmed the Torah and intensified it with the sanctification of marriage and celibate singleness.

Speaking historically, it is the Judeo-Christian belief that is "non-traditional" or "radical"!

The discipline and fidelity required for such a moral standard redirected the energies of millions toward productive, transforming labor that has made the West the envy of the world.

Please pause with me and catch what I am NOT saying so far. Yes, I am arguing for heterosexual monogamy as the best choice for the foundation of family and society. I am NOT prohibiting private activity between adults or squelching public debate. My only request is that we be honest with the evidence.

So, where do we go from here with social policy? I suggest three thoughts to guide our search:

1) There is considerable research that promotes the importance of healthy female and male input for a child to be healthy. Let's look at the implications...

2) There is a difference between permitting certain relationships and promoting all domestic arrangements as the basic unit of our culture. What will we choose?

3) Any forward course involves a recommitment to personal responsibility. The decisions to marry and have children must be positioned as positive but sobering wake-up calls to integrity and life-long commitment. Domestic failures create new generations of broken lives.

Next week - Is there hope for the Middle East?

No comments: