Tag Archives: Children

Should government get out of the marriage business?

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse

Here are three articles by Jennifer Roback Morse posted at The Public Discourse. The articles answer the charge from social liberals and libertarians that government should “get the government out of marriage”.

Here’s the first article which talks about how government will still be involved in marriage, even if we get rid of the traditional definition of marriage, because of the need for dispute resolution in private marriage contracts. She uses no-fault divorce as an example showing how it was sold as a way to get government out of the divorce business. But by making divorce easier by making it require no reason, it increased the number of disputes and the need for more government intervention to resolve these disputes.

Here’s the second article which talks about how the government will have to expand to resolve conflicts over decisions about who counts as a parent and who gets parental rights. With traditional marriage, identifying who the parents are is easy. But with private marriage contracts where the parties are not the biological parents, there is a need for the state to step in and assign parental rights. Again, this will require an expansion of government to resolve the disputes.

Here’s the third article which talks about how marriage is necessary in order to defend the needs and rights of the child at a time when they cannot enter into contracts and be parties to legal disputes.

The third article was my favorite, so here is an excerpt from it:

The fact of childhood dependence raises a whole series of questions. How do we get from a position of helpless dependence and complete self-centeredness, to a position of independence and respect for others? Are our views of the child somehow related to the foundations of a free society? And, to ask a question that may sound like heresy to libertarian ears: Do the needs of children place legitimate demands and limitations on the behavior of adults?

I came to the conclusion that a free society needs adults who can control themselves, and who have consciences. A free society needs people who can use their freedom, without bothering other people too much. We need to respect the rights of others, keep our promises, and restrain ourselves from taking advantage of others.

We learn to do these things inside the family, by being in a relationship with our parents. We can see this by looking at attachment- disordered children and failure-to-thrive children from orphanages and foster care. These children have their material needs met, for food, clothing, and medical care. But they are not held, or loved, or looked at. They simply do not develop properly, without mothers and fathers taking personal care of them. Some of them never develop consciences. But a child without a conscience becomes a real problem: this is exactly the type of child who does whatever he can get away with. A free society can’t handle very many people like that, and still function.

In other words I asked, “Do the needs of society place constraints on how we treat children?” But even this analysis still views the child from society’s perspective. It is about time we look at it from the child’s point of view, and ask a different kind of question. What is owed to the child?

Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. They are entitled to know who they are and where they came from. Therefore children have a legitimate interest in the stability of their parents’ union, since that is ordinarily how kids have relationships with both parents. If Mom and Dad are quarreling, or if they live on opposite sides of the country, the child’s connection with one or both of them is seriously impaired.

But children cannot defend their rights themselves. Nor is it adequate to intervene after the fact, after harm already has been done. Children’s relational and identity rights must be protected proactively.

Marriage is society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate rights and interests of children.

I recommend taking a look at all three articles and becoming familiar with the arguments in case you have to explain why marriage matters and why we should not change it. I think it is important to read these articles and to be clear that to be a libertarian doctrine does not protect the right of a child to have a relationship with both his or her parents.  Nor does libertarianism promote the idea that parents ought to stick together for their children. Libertarianism means that adults get to do what they want, and no one speaks for the kids.

The purpose of marriage is to make adults make careful commitments, and restrain their desires and feelings, so that children will have a stable environment with their biological parents nearby. We do make exceptions, but we should not celebrate exceptions and we should not subsidize exceptions. It’s not fair to children to have to grow up without a mother or father just so that adults can pursue fun and thrills.

Public schools implanting IUDs in sixth-grade girls without parent’s knowledge

Political spending by the NEA in 2013
Political spending by the National Education Association in 2013

What does big government really look like? What does it mean for individuals, families, businesses and churches to give their money to the government so that the government can distribute it as they see fit?

Well, Seattle is one of the most liberal cities in America and they embody the idea of big government. Let’s see how they spend the massive amounts of money they extract from individuals, families, businesses and churches.

Life News reports.

Excerpt:

Earlier this month, LifeNews.com reported on a high school in Seattle, Washington that is now implanting intrauterine devices (IUD), as well as other forms of birth control and doing so without parental knowledge or permission.

The IUD is known as a long acting reversible contraception, and may even act as an abortifacient. So, a young teen in Seattle can’t get a coke at her high school, but she can have a device implanted into her uterus, which can unknowingly kill her unborn child immediately after conception. Or, if she uses another method, she can increase her chances of health risks for herself, especially if using a new method.

The high school, Chief Sealth International, a public school, began offering the devices in 2010, made possible by a Medicaid program known as Take Charge and a non-profit, Neighborcare. Students can receive the device or other method free of cost and without their parent’s insurance. And while it’s lauded that the contraception is confidential, how can it be beneficial for a parent-child relationship when the parents don’t even know the devices or medication their daughter is using?

As it turns out, Chief Sealth isn’t the only school in Seattle doing this. As CNS News reports, more schools are fitting young girls — as young as 6th grade — with the devices and doing so without their parents knowing.

Now how did this happen? Where did the public schools get the authority to have control of these children? And where did the money come from to pay for these schools?

The answer is that the money was taken from individuals, families, businesses and churches and given to the government. And how does a secular government spend this money? Do they spend it the same way that individuals, families, businesses and churches spend this money? No. They spend the money advancing their secular agenda, which, in this case, is to advance feminism and the sexual revolution. They want young girls to be available for sex, because they helps them to be less capable of life-long married love. A woman who has had a large number of break-ups, abortions, etc. at a young age is more likely to look to government, not to a husband, for support.  Undermining her father’s authority in the area of sexuality is exactly what they are trying to achieve. And the father is paying to be undermined with his tax dollars.

Survey: women explain why they avoid having children

Is it OK to tell women they are wrong?
Are women today genuinely interested in marriage and children, or do they have other plans?

This article comes from the leftist Huffington Post.

They write:

The Huffington Post and YouGov asked 124 women why they choose to be childfree. Their motivations ranged from preferring their current lifestyles (64 percent) to prioritizing their careers (9 percent) — a.k.a. fairly universal things that have motivated men not to have children for centuries. To give insight into the complex, layered decisions women make, HuffPost asked childfree readers to discuss the reasons they have chosen not to have kids and gathered 270 responses here.

They grouped the responses into 5 categories:

  1. I want to prioritize my career
  2. I don’t like children
  3. I had a bad relationship with my parents
  4. I don’t want the financial responsibility
  5. I like my life as it is

And here are some of the ones that I thought were the most interesting, and pay attention to the ones that include fear-of-missing-out travel, which I blogged about before:

Category 1:

I am a first-generation college graduate in my family. My mother was a single mom my entire childhood, and I was there to see that struggle. Being a parent, for a woman, means for life. Being a parent, for men, seems to be something very different. I understand raising children is a big life change and I don’t want to sell myself short on my potential to become something more and maybe even create change. I am childfree because I want to travel, move, pursue my career wholly and be able to push myself to be an inspiration to other women. If a child comes into my life, it won’t be until I am happy and successful in my work life, and not until I am secure with my finances and a marriage. I don’t want to one day wake up as an old woman wishing I had waited to have children so I could live my own life first, make mistakes, learn new things and find myself. Today kids are not for me.

Category 2:

I’m nearly 47; my boyfriend (domestic partner) of 17 years is nearly 50. I’ve never been pregnant and have taken every precaution to remain childfree. I tolerate other people’s children when I have to. I’m happiest when there are NO children around. I definitely don’t want them in my home. I like my life as it is. My boyfriend and I are both scientists. We also raise snakes and spiders! We like to travel. We travel to ride roller coasters (members of ACE — American Coaster Enthusiasts) and to attend rock concerts. I am also a performer in a senior winter guard. My plate overfloweth! I see no reason to procreate. I would be unhappy. Why be unhappy?

Category 3:

I have a great relationship with my husband. We have the time and money to travel, and that gives us precious memories. I had a bad relationship with my dad, and maybe I’m scared to treat my children like that. I’m very happy with my decision. I have a great relationship with myself too.

Category 4:

My spouse and I have talked in depth about having children. However, we both decided that our desire to travel the world is a financial burden in itself. If we have kids, we will never have the means to travel, and at the end of our life, we would rather be 100 percent committed to fulfilling our own realistic dreams rather than only able to provide a subpar life for a child. Comes down to the fact we are selfish, but at least we recognize this and made the choice early enough to avoid damaging a kid

Category 5:

The thought of having to do kiddie crap every weekend makes me want to shoot myself. I like having the extra money to save for retirement and not worry about braces, summer camp or college tuition. I can travel on a moment’s notice. I can give my all to my job and not have to worry about daycare, sick days, or having to leave my co workers to pick up my slack. I’m the “cool aunt” to all my nieces and nephews. I have more time to do the things that make me happy and productive. My relationship with my guy is not strained due to the constant neediness of children. I don’t want to put my body through pregnancy and childbirth. I can give my dog all the attention he needs and deserves.

If I had to choose one comment to represent the entire survey, it would be this one:

The moment you have children, you’re life ceases to be about yourself. Kids always take priority and I feel like I can do more for this world than just generate offspring.

Or maybe this one:

I honestly feel too lazy. I haven’t achieved enough, and if I had a child I would “just be a mom,” which isn’t enough for me or what I want out of life.

I think this is the real reason why young, unmarried women choose not to prepare or plan for marriage and children . Marriage and children “some day” is like planning for your retirement by winning the lottery. Marriage and children “some day” is an excuse to signal to family and friends that you will eventually want the responsibility of a husband and kids, but that you are justified in being self-centered right now.

We need to move beyond a survey to quantify this, and this U.S. Census data does that:

Childless by choice, not because of men
Childless by choice, not because of men failing to “man up”

These quotations are very troubling if you are a young man who has been serious about obtaining STEM degrees, saving money by not traveling, and making a plan to have a marriage and family that will serve God. I am seeing real hostility in young, unmarried Christian women to the idea that marriage will impose responsibilities, expectations and obligations on them. And their parents, relatives, friends and co-workers are doing nothing to detect and counter this attitude. As Lindsay argued on this blog before, the marriage / children plan is an excellent way for Christians to make a difference. It will take a lot of work, but it makes much more of a difference for the kingdom than just doing whatever makes you feel happy.

UPDATE: Commenter Bee comments below:

Sad to say this but many Christian voices are encouraging Christian women to travel, date around and delay marriage and childbirth. Here are several negative voices:

Mandy Hale is a Christian woman who is mid 30’s, never married and has wasted years in travel and bad relationships. She has a large twitter following. She promotes her travel oriented, feelings oriented lifestyle.

http://thesinglewoman.net/about/

Christian counselor Stephen Arteburn tells of encouraging his daughter to travel and date around and not think about marriage until her late 20’s. Unfortunately, no one can flip a switch on their 28th birthday and quickly get married to a quality guy. Also, late marriage for women means having more than 1 or 2 children is risky.

http://www.amazon.com/This-One-Simple-Dates-Finding-ebook/dp/B006BEETVK/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1436189794&sr=8-5&keywords=steve+arterburn&pebp=1436189798009&perid=07F1AJ7WTWBV04G0N41V

Bskillet81 found evangelical american princesses (EAP) obsessed with travel, entitlement, feelings, and personal fulfillment.

https://societyofphineas.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/evangelical-american-princess/

I just read some of Mandy’s quotes from GoodReads and she is certifiably nuts.

First openly gay Episcopal bishop to divorce same-sex partner

This is an Associated Press article, so it is extremely liberal and sympathetic to the gay bishop. (H/T Tom)

Excerpt:

The first openly gay Episcopal bishop, who became a symbol for gay rights far beyond the church while deeply dividing the world’s Anglicans, plans to divorce his husband.

[…]Robinson, 66, had been married to a woman and had two children before he and his wife divorced. He and Andrew had been partners for more than a decade when Robinson was elected to lead the New Hampshire Diocese. The two men were joined in a 2008 civil union in New Hampshire, which became a legal marriage when the state recognized gay marriage two years later.

[…]Robinson was… widely celebrated as a pioneer for gay rights, became an advocate for gay marriage and was the subject of several books and a documentary about Christianity, the Bible and same-sex relationships. He delivered the benediction at the opening 2009 inaugural event for President Barack Obama and, after retirement, became a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank with close ties to the White House.

The interesting thing about this is that although Americans have been fed a steady diet of propaganda from Hollywood to make us think that gay relationships are stable, the reality is that they are NOT stable.

Let’s take a look at the data

Consider this post from The Public Discourse which explains that there are few stable, long-lived gay relationships – even the ones with children.

Excerpt:

The [NFSS] study found that the children who were raised by a gay or lesbian parent as little as 15 years ago were usually conceived within a heterosexual marriage, which then underwent divorce or separation, leaving the child with a single parent. That parent then had at least one same-sex romantic relationship, sometimes outside of the child’s home, sometimes within it. To be more specific, among the respondents who said their mother had a same-sex romantic relationship, a minority, 23%, said they had spent at least three years living in the same household with both their mother and her romantic partner. Only 2 out of the 15,000 screened spent a span of 18 years with the same two mothers. Among those who said their father had had a same-sex relationship, 1.1% of children reported spending at least three years together with both men.

This strongly suggests that the parents’ same-sex relationships were often short-lived, a finding consistent with the broader research on elevated levels of instability among same-sex romantic partners. For example, a recent 2012 study of same-sex couples in Great Britain finds that gay and lesbian cohabiting couples are more likely to separate than heterosexual couples. A 2006 study of same sex marriages in Norway and Sweden found that “divorce risk levels are considerably higher in same-sex marriages” such that Swedish lesbian couples are more than three times as likely to divorce as heterosexual couples, and Swedish gay couples are 1.35 times more likely to divorce (net of controls). Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey, two of the most outspoken advocates for same-sex marriage in the U.S. academy, acknowledge that there is more instability among lesbian parents.

Therefore, while critics of the NFSS have faulted it for lacking comparisons between children of IBFs and the children of committed and intact gay or lesbian couples, this was attempted, but was not feasible. Despite drawing from a large, representative sample of the U.S. population, and despite using screening tactics designed to boost the number of respondents who reported having had a parent in a same-sex relationship, a very small segment reported having been parented by the same two women or two men for a minimum of three years. Although there is much speculation that today there are large numbers of same-sex couples in the U.S. who are providing a stable, long-term parenting relationship for their children, no studies based upon large, random samples of the U.S. population have been published that show this to be true, and the above-cited studies of different nations show that on average, same-sex couple relationships are more short-lived than those of opposite-sex couples.

I think this is an important point to make – and it’s consistent with the research from previous studies. The bottom line is that gay marriage is another step on the path towards making marriage about the needs and feelings of adults. In natural marriage, parents are concerned about how breaking up will affect their children – so thy have a reason to stay together and work conflicts out. The needs of the adults are secondary to the needs of the children. But in gay marriage, there is no such constraint. The children are not related biologically to both partners, and so that protection is not in place. Now that gay marriage is legalized, we should understand that children will be getting a lot less stability, and that’s in addition to being deprived of their biological mother and father.

How will gay marriage affect my marriage?

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

In this post, I will get 500 words to summarize why pro-marriage men will be less likely to marry because of the successes of the gay rights movement. Then super-wife Lindsay from Lindsay’s Logic gets 500 words to respond to me.

First, I’ll quote from Robert Gagnon to set up the problem:

Unless this decision can be reversed soon through the next two presidential elections and the retirement/replacement of renegade SCOTUS judges (Ginsburg, Kennedy, and Breyer are the first up), this will turn out to be the greatest American tragedy for the civil liberties of persons of faith, for the cause of sexual purity in the United States, and for the lives of persons struggling with same-sex attraction. Prepare for a reign of persecution and abuse of people of faith as hateful, ignorant, and discriminatory “bigots” and the moral equivalent of racists in every area of life in which people of faith intersect with the secular realm, individually and in their religious institutions, with a profound negative impact as well within most mainline denominations.

As individuals, people of faith will be aggressively indoctrinated, fined, denied advancement, fired, intimidated, and subjected to ceaseless verbal abuse in public and private schools, at institutions of higher learning, at places of employment in public and private sectors, and throughout the main communication organs of the media and entertainment industry. Their institutions and businesses will be set on a collision course with the state: denied government funding, contracts, and loans; denied accreditation and tax-exempt status; and subjected to government harassment.

Here’s why Christian men should be cautious about marrying after the SCOTUS ruling:

  1. Qualified professionals are losing their jobs, and are unable to find work, after being “outed” to their employers for making pro-marriage donations or by writing pro-marriage books, or by just expressing disagreement with homosexuality, even with NO evidence of any actual discrimination in the workplace.
  2. Donation records are being used to punish pro-marriage people. Remember how a gay activist within the IRS leaked all the names of pro-marriage donors to the Huffington Post? The IRS admitted fault, but pro-marriage donors could be exposed to severe consequences, including boycotts, coercion, business closures, death threatsvandalism, beatings and even domestic terrorism. Mark Steyn is not accepting donations for his own legal defense because of the IRS leak of pro-marriage donors. Maine is also seeking the names of pro-marriage donors. There’s a definite effort to punish people who donate to pro-marriage causes.
  3. Christian-owned businesses who decline to participate in same-sex weddings are being punished by state attorney generals with lengthy trials and six-figure fines.
  4. Powerful gay rights organizations continue to attack people who support marriage, e.g. – Human Rights Campaign, ACLU, etc. The arrest of the co-founder of the HRC shows where these groups might be headed next.
  5. According to exit polls, unmarried women voted for Obama by a margin of 70%-29% in 2008. Young, unmarried women were 77% in favor of Obama, according to exit polls. This indicates support for Democrat positions like no-fault divorce and gay marriage. It indicates opposition to free speech, conscience protections and religious liberty. Men see traditional marriage as an exclusive commitment with obligations, and favor moral boundaries to protect children, so they vote Republican.
  6. Most young, unmarried Christian women I talk to are not studying to learn how to defend marriage on their own, or speaking out about it. They are not able to help you defend marriage, it’s not important to them.
  7. Young, unmarried women do not want the responsibility of having to produce children who will grow up to be ADF lawyers or Supreme Court Justices, who could do something about gay marriage. They want the marriage to be fun and to make them feel happy.
  8. I am actually seeing young, unmarried Christian women dating non-Christians, having premarital sex with non-Christians, co-habitating with non-Christians, marrying non-Christians, having abortions from non-Christians, and even having out-of-wedlock children with non-Christians. If a woman cannot control her own feelings, she will not be able to help you defend marriage as a permanent commitment that overrides ever-changing feelings.
  9. The national debt has more than doubled since the Democrats took over the House and Senate in 2007 – from 8 to 18.5 trillion. Debt means higher taxes, inflation, or both. Either way, marriage and children are going to be much harder to support financially in the future. You can do more to defend marriage by concentrating your money on defending marriage, rather than splitting  your money between marriage expenses and defending marriage.
  10. Bigger government undermines men as leaders of the home. For example, a judge overruled a father for grounding his daughter for posting sexy photos online. And again, another judge ruled a man as an unfit parent for denying his son fast food. Bigger government means more intrusion into the home, which undermines the transmission of Christian values and disciplining of children.  You won’t have the freedom to lead your family to do pro-marriage things. It’s better to just defend marriage on your own, instead of getting married and having kids to model marriage to others.

So for these reasons, it’s best for a man to not marry, and remain free to defend marriage on his own instead. Being responsible for a wife and children puts pressure on a man to keep silent, because he is always thinking that he could lose his job, his business, or worse. Better to stay single, and be free to speak out without fear of failing to provide for his family.

Here is Lindsay’s response:

If all a man can find are the kind of women that Wintery Knight describes – self-focused, voting for liberals, thinking marriage places no obligations upon them, wishing to pursue fun and thrills, etc. – then men should not marry them. However, not all women are like that. With churches becoming ever more feelings-based and feminized, it is difficult to find a good woman (or man) to marry. I do not contest that. But difficult and impossible are not the same thing.

Marriage, even in our evil times, remains a wonderful gift from God and one of the best ways to influence our culture through the ability to work as a team for the kingdom of God and through having and raising children who will make a difference. One of the main ways we are called to grow the church is through biological growth. Christians should be having and raising children in the faith. We cannot let the evils in our culture make us retreat from the work of raising godly children to further the kingdom of God and to move Christianity forward into the next generation. If we stop marrying and having children, we will seriously hinder God’s work here on earth and Christianity will die out apart from the converts we can make. But making converts, though important, is often far more difficult than raising one’s own children to know what is right from the start.

I think a lot of people underestimate the difference that can be made by having children and raising them in one’s faith. Take a look at the Muslims to see how effective this can be. Muslims do make converts, but the bulk of Islam’s political and religious influence is made by Muslims outbreeding their opponents and raising children who firmly adhere to Islamic faith. Europeans are suffering a dearth of babies, with fertility well below replacement value. Meanwhile, Muslims are rapidly multiplying. The Muslims in Europe are quickly taking over the culture – primarily by having at least double the number of children that native Europeans do.

What if Christians would stop falling for the lies of the world that children are a burden and a liability and see children as the blessings and assets that the Bible teaches they are? What if Christians would have twice as many children as the godless liberals and raise them with a rigorous and comprehensive Biblical worldview that they could defend with reason and evidence? If we did that, we would change our culture and the world.

The church has gotten too soft. We’ve let a little opposition shut us up. We’ve allowed the values of the world for money and power and convenience and fitting in to strip us of our influence and voice. We’ve tried to be like the world, just with Jesus added in. And that’s precisely why we are failing to make a difference. We need a renewal of our thinking to value what God values and to live counter-culturally. Seeking a good marriage and raising godly children is an important part of making a difference for Christ, and one we cannot neglect if we hope to spread Christianity and influence our culture.

Of course, it is vitally important that, if we marry, we marry well. If a Christian marries someone who cares more for the world and its values than pleasing God and advancing the Christian faith, that is a bad choice. If there are no good spousal candidates available, the best choice is serving God through celibacy and making a difference in other ways. But we should not give up on God’s institution of marriage simply because it is difficult and because the world is now against us. It has been far harder on Christians in the past and they still managed to marry and raise children, even in the face of dire persecution and sometimes death. If we give up at the mere threat of losing a job or being mocked, we let the opposition win without even a fight.

Let us know who is more convincing in the comments.