How do we define ‘marriage?’ Is it primarily about the emotional commitment two people have for each other? Or is it about children and the larger society?
U.S. law reflects the latter, and for good reason. Truism: If you change the definition of words, you better be prepared to live the with the realities that creates.
In the recent case regarding same-sex marriage, before the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Samuel Alito asked: “How do you account for the fact that, as far as I’m aware, until the end of the 20th century, there never was a nation or culture that recognized marriage between two people of the same sex?” [Speaking of The Netherlands]
“Now, can we infer from that that those nations and those cultures all thought that there was some rational, practical purpose for defining marriage in that way or is it your argument that they were all operating independently based solely on irrational stereotypes and prejudice?”
Justice Stephen Beyer noted that marriage understood as the union of a man and a woman “has been the law everywhere for thousands of years among people who were not discriminating even against gay people, and suddenly you want nine people outside the ballot box to require states that don’t want to do it to change…what marriage is.”
The Justices were asked to consider two married couples with a 3-year old child:
‘One grows up believing that marriage is about keeping that couple bound to that child forever. The other couple believes that marriage is more about their emotional commitment to each other, and if that commitment fades, they they may not stay together.
A reasonable voter, which is what we’re talking about here, could believe that there would be a different outcome if those two marriages were influenced by those two different belief systems. Ideas Matter!”
With Same-Sex Marriages the Law of the Land, what else would change?
– The debate would be over with a populous deeply divided
– Churches would not be permitted to refuse a same-sex couple
– Religious schools may lose their non-profit tax status
– There will be no exceptions once it is a constitutional proscription
– If ‘equality’ is the measure for this law, what other laws need to be changed to effect ‘equality?’
– If the measure is ‘consenting adults,’ what about two men and two women?
– What about siblings? [Asked by Alito]
Justice Kennedy said this is why giving states time to settle the question is important. With States, exceptions can be accommodated. With a Federal Law it’s a one-size-fits-all and Nobody Is Happy!
The concern, from the court, is creating another culture war as with Roe v. Wade.
The push for same-sex marriage is nothing more than a war against Christianity, which is to say: God. Dostoyevsky once wrote: “If there is no God, everything is permitted.” [Brothers Karamazov, 1880] This truism drives every effort to undermine absolute standards of morality. That they are often Best for a society never enters the equation, only that I WANT WHAT I WANT!
The homosexual issue is of this same sort. Christians who stand for divine standards of morality are the same ones who don’t want to see anyone go to Hell! In our twisted logic, this comports with hate. Some of us see ‘hate’ in the life these people are forcing on children. To live without a father or without a mother. To never have that balance. To live with a floating value system. To live with a divorce rate double that of traditional couples? How is any of this ‘love?’
I fully expect the High Court to make Same-Sex Marriage a Constitutional Right. Even Hillary is advocating for Christianity to change in order to accept it. And, if Hillary wants it, who am I to say no?
The High Court heard arguments yesterday (April, 28, 2015) for and against making Same-Sex Unions equal to Marriage in all 50 States. Currently 11 States have voted to allow this, while another 25 have had the measure forced on them by courts. The issue in the High Court seemed to revolve around the 14th Amendment: Equal Protection Under The Law.
Bill and John want to be considered a married couple, in the eyes of the law. Why? So they can take advantage of the taxation, inheritance and family laws that marriage affords. So they can adopt children and pass their heritage down to the next generation. So they can be viewed as ‘normal’ in a pluralistic society.
The question is: Should they be lawfully permitted to do so?
The questioning on Tuesday seemed to revolve around the long-term effect of such a situation, in terms of the society at large. Justice Scalia asked and attorney Mary Bonauto, arguing for the plaintives (Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio & Kentucky), confirmed that no society had ever sanctioned homosexual marriages, despite the prevalence of homosexuality in the culture.
Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer then asked why can’t these States ‘wait and see’ if the other states’ experiments in gay marriage leads to harm? Bonauto replied, ‘they should not have to,’ pointing to Civil Rights laws.
Clearly the effort is to equate Civil Rights to homosexual behavior. Just because a majority of citizens may not have approved or did not understand why people of differing color wanted to marry, did not make it wrong. The result did not collapse the society.
The weight of the argument is on the side of history and current practice, given the medical and emotional problems associated with homosexual behavior. Ancient societies were not guided by biblical principles, as is The U.S., and still they did not permit such marriages. The logical conclusion is that rational, intelligent, thinking people have serious reservations, regardless of their religious orientation.
A protester shouted: “Gay marriage is an abomination to God!” The Bible clearly declares it is, but the High Court is concerned with legal arguments not religious arguments. Justice Scalia quipped, “That was refreshing, actually.” Refreshing because the issue transcends law. If this issue is given the force of law, what will it create? The unnatural situation produced by this behavior may bring all sorts of hidden perils to the society. It may be The God of the Bible knows something we do not.
What we are watching is the ‘children’ of this society yelling at the ‘parents’ in favor of self-gratifying behavior the ‘parents’ instinctively know is dangerous and destructive. It’s a kind of I-Want-What-I-Want-And-You-Can’t-Stop-Me tantrum. The behavior is entirely self-gratifying, with no social advantage. It is not much different than drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking tobacco or shooting heroin. It feels good but it does not benefit anyone, and it wreaks havoc in the physical and social systems.
There are those who will disagree and write all sorts of ugly things in protest. They prove my point. This is a ‘marriage’ that does not produce offspring. This is a ‘marriage’ that is one-sided, absent the balance a traditional marriage affords. This is a behavior that destroys the very parts of the body from which comes their pleasure. It is not ‘two becoming one,’ rather ‘one becoming two.’
Self-Serving, Immature, Ungodly America will recognize homosexual unions as marriage. “Christian” America will be the First society in the history of mankind to embrace a behavior pagans disdained. It will be a Land Mark Decision.
In the Press and on the Street it will be hailed a Victory over Gay-Hating Christians. It will be presented as further (or final) proof that Christians simply hate people who are not like them. Couples will be paraded through our living rooms and in our Institutions who are living illustrations that Christians are Wrong!
But the Real Jury is Still Out!
Young people in America are growing up Over Stimulated and Under Motivated. The majority are NOT turning to God, in the biblical sense. If they are interested in God, at all, it is in a superficial, ‘what can He give me I don’t already have,’ sort of way. The exceptions are those who gravitate toward the ‘Seeker-Sensitive,’ ‘Contemporary Worship,’ sort of churches, where they find more entertainment than conviction.
Not all children fall into this pattern. The culture, however, is not being influenced heavily by the exceptions. What we see are young people NOT getting a good education; NOT focused on biblical morality; NOT thinking in terms of starting their own family; NOT thinking much about the future; NOT focused on building a decent / productive life; NOT careful what they fill their minds with, nor what they drink, smoke, do or say. A sizable percentage of young adults are still living at home — up to age 35 years.
Today, living together is viewed as a ‘committed relationship.’ Birth Control systems give young people options as to WHEN they will have children, if at all. The reproduction rate among white Americans is less than it takes to maintain the population levels. Divorce [if they are married at all] is viewed as simply another life-choice. ‘This one’s not working (for a variety of reasons), perhaps the next one will’
Any objective observer (with half a brain) will look at these patterns and conclude this is NOT a recipe for satisfaction, fulfillment, stability, emotional balance or good health. Perhaps this is why the psychological community has such influence and growth. There’s a pill or a technique for every human foilble.
WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
The solution is good training at home….something in short supply for the last 50 years. There are a number of reasons for the dysfunction of the American Family: affluence, technology, divorce, working Moms, distracted Dads, religious apostasy, government educational system, the psychological community, and just plain foolishness.
However, none of these are good reasons, only excuses. Excuses either for parents who don’t want to parent their children or those who don’t know how. It is a sad commentary to consider parents who don’t know how to parent a child, but this is far more common than we should expect.
1. Children are ignorant and vulnerable: They need constant attention, instruction and patterning if they are to develop good / productive life-skills and patterns.
2. Children are human beings and will run amuck more often than not. The Bible says they come into this world with a deficient moral code: It’s all about them!
3. Parents cannot EXPECT what they do not INSPECT. The training of a child takes constant vigilance and correction.
4. The Two-Parent Pattern, taught in The Bible, is The Only Solution for developing a well-balanced adult.
5. Irrational desires and/or expectations breed insecurity and fear. The parents’ responsibility is to dispel selfish or foolish notions and replace them with cold, hard facts: Life is Hard and Then you Die! Get used to it. [exaggeration-for-effect] The reality, however, is no one can expect to have everything they want without creating serious emotional or psychological problems.
6. Fear is designed to protect, not define our lives. Children need to know the difference between legitimate and Irrational fear. Parents exist to do this! You have an irrational fear? Work to get over it! At least don’t transfer it to your children.
When you see a ‘Problem-Child,’ you are looking at the effect of wrong parenting or no parenting. The Bible teaches us to ‘train up a child in the way he should go…’ [Pro. 22:6] If you don’t know the way in which he ‘should go,’ it is your responsibility to learn, not reproduce what your parents did to you.
There should be more peace in the home than chaos. Chaos breeds irrational energy, which can dominate a family and stunt a child’s development. There should be more discipline and order in a home than chaos. Children don’t do well in a disordered environment, whether it’s clutter or constant, random energy. Your leadership style consists of yelling at everyone? Learn to keep quiet until you have something constructive to communicate.
Here’s God’s Training Program: II Tim. 3:16
1. Show the child what you want done….and how you want it done [doctrine]
2. Teach the child how to do it….how to be successful at this project [training]
3. When they demonstrate proficiency….hold them accountable [training]
4. When they fail [knowing it’s deliberate because they CAN do it] apply a penalty [reproof]
5. Start over….and keep doing it until they realize there is NO alternative. [correction]
I know what you’re thinking! Yes. This is more about YOUR discipline and character than it is about their’s. But, your the parent! You volunteered for this! You brought them into this! You are responsible for what they do and say. Train them up properly — in the the way they should go — and when they are old they will not depart from it [Pro. 22:6] You’re grandchildren will appreciate it.
Personalities differ. Intellects differ. Cultures differ. God’s Principles Do Not! If those principles are built into a child, when they have problems, a) they will have resource for a solution, and b) they will know what that solution is!
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The National Institute of Mental Health declares you may have ADhD if 6 or more symptoms appear in three categories of behavior:
1. hyperactivity, which they describe as impulsivity
3. hyperactivity AND inattentiveness
Understanding that this describes most children, there are those who’s brains are wired to be very active and easily distracted.
We are being given two options: medication and/or diet. The medications are troublesome, over time, and diet is difficult when both parents work outside the home.
There is another statistic that must be factored in: The fact that 54% of America’s teenagers do not live with married parents, while many younger children are in “broken homes,’ and most children, of all ages, do not have a fully functioning family. You may be saying to yourself that this isn’t important.
Consider: For years I had a book on my shelf, written in the early 1960’s. It was a Psychological book written to help those in the field understand and identify a wide range of what they call Mental Disorders and/or Behavioral Problems. This book listed every symptom we now understand to be associated with ADhD. However, this diagnoses did not exist in those days. What they discovered was that children acting out in these ways, was attributed to ‘the loss of a parent or close relative.’
You’re asking the same questions I did. But think about it. When a child loses his / her Mom, what happens to them, inside? The introspection, guilt, sense of loss, despair, anger, frustration, etc. What if this happens when Mom goes to work? What if children respond to this loss the way they would to a death in the family?
Now, add to this the almost dysfunctional way in which people live today. No routines. No standards. No enforced rules. No authority structures. No communal values. Not living near Granma or cousins. Having a great deal of stimulation (TV, Video Games, iPods, iPads, Smart Phones, Computers), with very little controls. Being given almost everything they see or want. Addressing adults by their given names. Interacting with adults as equals. The list is long.
What would be the reasonable result of all this on a young child? I’m thinking emotional chaos. Just what this 50 year old text book indicated. That parents don’t understand, or don’t see all this as causative makes my point: Our society is dysfunctional!
Ques: Do you make your bed? Do you require your children to make their beds? Do you have an eat, sleep, work routine that is healthy? Do you work to pattern your children in this way? The old proverb says, “Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder.” The same is true with self-denial. Do you deny yourself the things you can’t really afford? …the things you don’t really need? Do you deny your children most of what they ask for and ALL of what they demand?
The Bible talks about raising children in terms of discipline and structure. If you raise up a child in the way he/she SHOULD go, he will not depart from it. When he is older, he/she will realize the wisdom of that pattern and adopt it with his/her family. The same is true where there are no standards as the child is growing.
The Debate will continue to rage over whether or not ADhD is a Mental Disorder or a response to various external stimulae, but The Bible doesn’t understand the brain to be our Mind [as in Mental Disorder]. The brain is a physical organ that is either broken or simply patterned wrong, when these variations occur. If it’s broken, we need a doctor. If it’s been patterned wrongly, we need to get back to what’s right and good, restructuring the way we think, evaluate, feel and respond.
We’ve seen young people commit heinous crimes, having been diagnosed with one Mental Disorder or another. The Disorder is often blamed. The parents are sometimes blamed. But, have you noticed how many were on Psychiatric Drugs?
It behooves us to rule out environmental and behavior issues BEFORE we set these children the road to a lifetime of drugs. Keep in mind the drugs work! The indicated problems are assuaged, but at what cost? Often the drugs bring other issues parents don’t notice or the child doesn’t expose….until the damage is done.
It would be good to read through The Proverbs, looking for God’s Wisdom for Life and applying them before we start medicating.
Prov. 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
A Christian Organization, called G.R.A.C.E. [Godly Response To Abuse In The Christian Environment] finished their long-awaited Review of allegations from sexually-abused students at Bob Jones University [Greenville, SC].
The allegations [50 / 60 of them] date back to the 1960’s and seem to be focused on the response of Faculty Members, when presented by a student with either a case of sexual abuse prior to enrolling or while enrolled. The Report indicates a pattern of ‘counsel’ that was more detrimental than reparative: Students who were made to feel it was their fault; Students who were apparently encouraged NOT to report them as crimes; Students who were made to feel less than acceptable, in the larger Christian community.
The Report cited the pervasive philosophy of the school, which is reported to be ‘harmful’ to sexual abuse victims. A philosophy largely laid at the feet of a previous President, Dr. Bob Jones III. Several men were named as those who’s material should be removed from the school. In addition, G.R.A.C.E. recommends BJU reimburse students who felt they had to leave the school, for whatever it cost them to finish their degree program.
There will be an undercurrent of bias among the more loyal alumni, given that G.R.A.C.E. is founded by a grandson of Billy Graham. As a student, Billy Graham left BJU over a the school’s more strident fundamentalism. Fundamentalists have a reputation of being more ‘black-and-white’ than understanding. A reputation well-earned by many of the more vocal proponents, but not necessarily a philosophy shared by all who consider themselves fundamentalists.
It sounds like a University setting that has not kept pace with contemporary philosophies regarding sin and counseling. Of course, this is generally why parents send their children there. The world has evolved very much downward, over the last 50 years or so, nowhere more than in the realm of psychology and counseling. Everyone has a ‘Mental Disorder,’ and Feelings are more important than Responsibilities.
That being said, the School is wrong! The implication in the Report is that counselors at the school dealt with students as people who had broken the rules, not as victims of a crime. Case In Point: If a woman [or, these days, a man] is raped, the first thing a counselor does is tell them to report it as a crime! No Counselor can sit and listen to someone admit to a crime without being an accessory [after the fact] to that crime. If the victim doesn’t do so, in a reasonable time-frame, YOU DO! In the same way, No Counselor should be in a position of excusing the reality of criminal behavior, especially in the mind of one who has been the victim. That sort of counseling is doomed before it starts.
On The Other Hand: The world has changed! Sex has become normalized as recreation. Boys and girls are much more comfortable with overt sexual stimulation, in their everyday life. Fashions reflect this reality. Conversations reflect this reality. Behaviors reflect this reality. Young people are genuinely shocked when the ‘game’ gets real…especially girls. Our un-wed pregnancy rates speak for themselves, not to mention the rise in all sorts of abortive pills, devices and surgical techniques.
Bob Jones University has taken a lot of criticism, over the years, for their Social Standards. Boys and Girls were not to be alone, together, on campus; not permitted to be within 6 inches of each other when together, nor were they to hold hands, nor touch any part of each other’s bodies. Archaic? No! Safe!!! The Bible understands human nature to be depraved, sinful, dangerous. These rules reflected that evaluation and most of the graduates appreciated it….later.
But, times change. The culture has changed. Young people’s mores have changed. Parents have changed. It is rare to see a parent who is actively protecting their child against the dangers of societal decadence. We let our children do whatever they want [within some boundaries] and are then shocked when something happens. We communicate an acceptance of the world’s philosophy and are shocked when our children accept it.
Here’s The Sage Advice: “What You Allow In Moderation, Your Children Will Excuse In Excess!”
The Church [indeed The Christian Community] has transferred their responsibility to help people with social and behavior problems, to the world. The world is happy to pick up that slack, using it as another tool to re-craft our society and make us dependent upon medications or therapies. The reality is that a person can have the best [read: most expensive] professional therapy in the world, or simply share with a neighbor, or do nothing, and statistically the result will be largely the same.
The G.R.A.C.E. Report uses the words ‘hurtful,’ ‘insensitive,’ ‘abuse,’ ‘victim,’ and other often useful terms to describe what these women went through. However, there is danger in being too mushy and squishy. People who have been misused need others who are strong, not down in the hole with them. People who do counseling need to avoid the worldly idea that everyone is a victim. You may have been victimized, but you are NOT a victim! G.R.A.C.E. recommends a Memorial on campus to all who have suffered. This is a little Over The Top!
So, am I like those at Bob Jones? No! If anything, I am too sympathetic. I struggle with it all the time. People who are hurting need support, not a warm puppy. They need positive, practical, workable steps to get back on their feet, so to speak. They need someone standing on firm ground with a life-preserver, not someone in the pool thrashing around just like them…to make them feel understood.
BJU will get this straightened out, because…. Well, because they WANT TO. And all these victims will get their lives straightened out too! How? Because they WANT TO. Or Not! They need to know that God has The Answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Those answers start Inside, where they hurt the most, but they also extend to the Outside where things can be seen and handled. I wish them God Speed!