Until recently, women who married later than average had higher rates of divorce. Today, with every year a woman delays marriage, up to her early 30s, her chance of divorce decreases, and it does not rise again thereafter. If an American woman wanted a lasting marriage in the 1950s, she was well advised to choose a man who believed firmly in traditional values and male breadwinning. Unconventional men — think beatniks — were a bad risk. Today, however, traditionally minded men are actually more likely to divorce — or to be divorced — than their counterparts with more egalitarian ideas about gender roles.
(Stephanie Coontz in a New York Times column) From what I hear, this is true and should be sobering to those who think that all we need to turn the cosmos right-side-up again is restoration of “traditional values.” Blue States in some ways realize Red State values better than Red States do, even as Red States trash-talk them.
The historian Nancy F. Cott suggests that recent changes in marriage could produce shifts similar to those that accompanied the disestablishment of religion. Most American colonies, following the British model, had an official church that bestowed special privileges on its members and penalized those who did not join it. Residents were sometimes fined or whipped if they failed to attend the established church. After the American Revolution, states repealed laws requiring people to belong to a particular church or religion to qualify for public rights. When the official churches were disestablished, new religions and sects were able to function openly and compete for followers. And the old church had to recruit members in new ways.
An analogous process is taking place with marriage …
(Stephanie Coontz earlier in the same New York Times column) The more I reflect on some of the unintended consequence of the Protestant Reformation (for instance), the precursor of explosive schism and the catalyst of disestablishment, the more the comparison between disestablishment and redefining marriage fills me not with equanimity, but with dread of premises our elites are reflexively swallowing and the calamity they accordingly are leading us into.
The Reformation eventually increased the power of Leviathan, precisely to impose order where there were no longer shared values. Marriage redefinition will if nothing else further dissociate parenting from procreation, leading to still more single moms dependent on sugar daddy in D.C. Oh: not to mention coercing everyone to accept the new scheme, all in the name of diversity.
It occurs to me that there is some real comedic potential in many Evangelicals’ simultaneous insistence that:
- When God “justifies” a person, God’s anger problem goes away but nothing about that person changes. Justification is entirely forensic and external.
- Reparative Therapy can eliminate and even reverse same-sex attraction and turn a gay man into a “real man.”
I guess pseudo-secular therapy is more powerful than God, or cares more than God does.
I know that Exodus International is backing off or even abandoning point 2, but that’s a major reason why they’re at risk of being read out of Evangelicalism.
(I’m getting mixed signals, though; is Exodus shutting down, as popular press summaries have it, or is it going into a chrysalis to emerge a rainbow-hued Evangelical version of PFLAG? Smart money’s on the latter, especially if there’s a buck in being an Evangelical PFLAG.)
Sometimes when my daughter, who is 7, is nicely cuddled up in her bed and I snuggle her, she calls me Mommy. I am a stay-at-home dad. My male partner and I adopted both of our children at birth in open domestic adoptions. We could fill our home with nannies, sisters, grandmothers, female friends, but no mothers.
My daughter says “Mommy” in a funny way, in a high-pitched voice. Although I refer the honors immediately to her birth mom, I am flattered. But saddened as well, because she expresses herself in a voice that is not her own. It is her stuffed-animal voice. She expresses not only love; she also expresses alienation. She can role-play the mother-daughter relationship, but she cannot use her real voice, nor have the real thing.
(Frank Ligtvoet in the New York Times) In the end, the author does not try to argue away the real deprivation of one parent of both sexes in lives of children adopted by gay or lesbian couples. But he quotes in passing another voice that really doesn’t care about children, and notes (not mordantly enough for my taste) the perversity of that:
“If coming out was the first step and forming a movement the second, then perhaps asserting our fundamental right to be parents is the third step in our evolution as a community.” The argument is not so much about the voices or feelings of the children but about those of their dads.
“Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.” Susan Cain, A Manifesto for Introverts, from Quiet.
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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)