Just a Mama Bear Protecting Her Children

In case you haven’t noticed, Sassy Victoria has come around for a visit, and I have a feeling she is here to stay.  You know what gets her britches in a bunch more than anything?  Blatant affronts to the Truth.

Recently I posted this article on facebook, prefacing it with “Before you attack the Catholic Church once again for hating on homosexuals, please read up and think about the anthropological, philosophical, and sociological reasons for marriage to remain between one man and one woman.”

Without ample time to do the suggested research, there were of course comments immediately, pointing out why I am a complete idiot for holding my beliefs about marriage.  I told you I would be writing more about this…

Now, when trying to have a reasonable conversation with my peers about this, it turns out, I can’t.  The educational system has epically failed us.  Most of us aren’t able to construct solid, reasonable, moral arguments.  I know that I am lacking in this and try to remedy it through self-education.

You can check out the ensuing comments on facebook(it went on for quite a while) and see that some of the rebuttals were, well, lacking.

So I was muddling through this conversation, attempting to put forth questions and well constructed responses, when someone dared to say “Marriage ≠ Children.”  And with that, Mama bear was unleashed.  She is not okay with the terrible lives children all over the world are being forced to suffer through.

Maybe this is a little extreme, but I couldn't resist...
Maybe this is a little extreme, but I couldn’t resist…

When did we become so selfish?  When did we start thinking that marriage is about making us feel good and exists for the fulfillment of our pleasure?  And when, oh when, did we separate marriage and reproduction?

No one thinks it’s a good thing that there are thousands of single mothers struggling to get by because their husbands, boyfriends, etc abdicated their roles as fathers.  It is hard to argue against the fact that the ideal is for a child to grow up with his or her biological mother and father, who are in a committed, stable, loving relationship.  Marriage is that commitment which builds the foundation for a nurturing home.

inconceivable-content-marriage

I mentioned before that marriage is meant to be a conjugal union – the two become one flesh.  We have degraded it to a merely emotional union in which physical consummation is not necessary.  Marriage is meant to be a contract in which blood is spilled.  Wait, we’re downplaying the physical components of marriage?  That sounds like….noooooo!!!!  Gnosticism has struck again! And now we find ourselves in a sticky situation.  Husband and Wife must be united body and soul, so much so that their unity is fruitful and produces little people.  Two people of the same sex cannot reach this level of unity.

To compound this problem, we have forgotten how to make gifts of our selves.  Spouses are “protected” from one another by birth control and destroy the very fruit of their intimate union through abortion.  We no longer value our children, and this is a serious problem.

So if marriage has nothing to do with children, and it also is not contingent on the gender of the partners, what, I dare to ask, is marriage?  And my friendly debating partner asked “why does it matter?”  Because the family is the foundation of our society and the wellbeing of children is involved, it matters a great deal.  She then posted a dictionary definition that shows how incredibly much it matters.

mar·riage noun \ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\
a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage
b : the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock
c : the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage

I keep talking about the danger of redefining marriage, well it has been done.  Gay marriage can never be the same as a traditional marriage – it is not the same level of unity.  To top it off, I can’t say stuff like that without getting my head chopped off, because it is taken personally.  To even think of marriage as something other than the conjugal union between a man and woman that produces offspring is a brand new concept.  Some claim that this is the way of progress, of throwing off archaic ideas to make way for the modern.  And yet those who claim science as their god seem to think there are provable, objective truths…

As the article linked above states, redefining marriage means that people can make it whatever they want – a classic example of the relativism which is running rampant these days.  Some people hope that marriage will altogether cease to exist.  And like a broken record, I once again ask: what about the precious, innocent children who suffer the most from our unrelenting pursuit of pleasure?

Here is a great video of Fr. Barron speaking on the breakdown of the moral argument, specifically in relation to gay marriage.

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27 thoughts on “Just a Mama Bear Protecting Her Children

  1. “And when, oh when, did we separate marriage and reproduction?”

    When the federal government decided to give out marriage licences to couples, whether or not they wanted to have children or could have children.

    That’s when.

    1. Writer With a Cause

      Thanks for commenting! The government getting involved in marriage has certainly had negative consequences – it would be interesting to research the history of that. But there is also something deeper going on here, that has to do with our attitudes about sex as something simply for pleasure and how we view children.

      1. “The government getting involved in marriage has certainly had negative consequences ”

        I don’t necessarily see it as a negative.

        “But there is also something deeper going on here, that has to do with our attitudes about sex as something simply for pleasure and how we view children.”

        I suppose.

        I always viewed a gay couple as more likely to be good parents. Simply due to the fact that they can’t have a child unplanned.

      2. Writer With a Cause

        So any couple that adopts, fosters, etc. are better parents?

        The fact that every child is not welcomed as a blessing is a serious problem.

      3. “So any couple that adopts, fosters, etc. are better parents?”

        No.

        A couple that plans having a child is more likely to be better parents.

        Parents who adopt or foster pretty much have to plan for it.

        It’s not a 100% thing. It’s just more likely.

      4. Writer With a Cause

        This is absolutely true. So maybe we shouldn’t be engaging in the activity that produces children so casually?

        Every couple that desires (plan doesn’t quite cut it – we have a lot less control than we think we do) children and is open to new life, are much more likely to be better parents. That way, if there are “surprises” they will bring joy, not anxiety.

  2. “So maybe we shouldn’t be engaging in the activity that produces children so casually?”

    Sure.

    But as children who are biologically capable of having children of their own tend to ignore that advice, giving them knowledge and access to the best in birth control is also highly recommended.

    1. Writer With a Cause

      I’m sure you can guess how I feel about birth control so I won’t open that can of worms.

      What if we educated our children and expected self-control and responsibility from them? I think they would rise to the challenge.

      1. Depends what you mean by ‘educate’.

        The fact that the areas with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy happen to correlate with the areas that teach abstinence only suggests that children may not be mature enough to have that kind of absolute self-control.

      2. Writer With a Cause

        Good education should engage students in critical thinking by way of questioning and discussing in order to reveal the Truth. I’m not sure most abstinence only education succeeds in doing this. If we agree that marriage and reproduction need to be related, and that reproduction is achieved by sexual intercourse, then it makes sense to abstain until marriage. People make mistakes, but on the whole, when raised properly, children can be expected to have self-control.

      3. ” If we agree that marriage and reproduction need to be related”

        I don’t think we agree on this, though. Both the specific ‘we’ and the general, societal ‘we’.

        And having looked at children, I really don’t think they have that self-control. Their hormones are just, sadly, too strong.

      4. Writer With a Cause

        I am not sure what “we” agree on because it’s difficult for me to tell where you are coming from. I’d like to have a discussion about this, but we are clearly not on the same page. May I ask, what is marriage?

        I’m not going to address the statement about children, because, no offense, it is ridiculous.

  3. “no offense, it is ridiculous.”

    Well, it’s biology. Biology is sometimes ridiculous, agree. But it’s what we have to work with.

    “May I ask, what is marriage?”

    That’s a big question. And like most big questions, or so I’ve found, the answer is ‘it depends’.

    What is it to me? What is it to the government? What is it to you? What is it to various religions? What was it in the past?

    These could all potentially give us different and conflicting answers.

    As far as I understand it, marriage is the public or semi-public bonding of a pair of adults for the purpose of forming a family. And when I say ‘forming a family’, that family may just involve the two adults who are involved in the marriage.

    At least, that’s what it is for my wife and me.

    We were living together already. We love each other. We intend to be with only each other for the rest of our lives.

    Our marriage was partly a way to declare that publicly, partly a way to gain access to government benefits conferred on married couples, and partly an excuse to have a party with family and friends to celebrate our love.

    Marriage is almost certainly something different to you. And that’s why I answered with ‘it depends’.

    1. Writer With a Cause

      We are not slaves to our instincts and desires, like animals. There are plenty of people (including teenagers) abstaining from sex who have perfectly happy and healthy lives. Birth control is a band-aid, not a solution to a problem.

      How might problems arise with having different definitions of marriage, especially when it is something that is legally recognized?

      1. “We are not slaves to our instincts and desires, like animals”

        First, humans are animals.

        Second, I never said we were slaves to instincts and desires. But as children we are more likely to let them rule us.

        “There are plenty of people (including teenagers) abstaining from sex who have perfectly happy and healthy lives”

        I never said there weren’t.

        “Birth control is a band-aid, not a solution to a problem.”

        If I were to take this as fact, then for those with ‘wounds’ that require a ‘band-aid’, would you suggest we just allow them to bleed out and die?

        “How might problems arise with having different definitions of marriage”

        Not at all, provided we recognize that what the government recognizes as marriage may not be what we recognize as marriage, and that’s okay.

      2. Writer With a Cause

        “First, humans are animals.”

        We have the ability to reason and make moral judgments. I was getting at the fact that we don’t have to follow those hormones. Children should be taught to control themselves, not given “protection” so they never have to learn how to.

        “If I were to take this as fact, then for those with ‘wounds’ that require a ‘band-aid’, would you suggest we just allow them to bleed out and die?”

        If you are referring to the use of birth control for medicinal purposes, there are much better natural methods that solve the root of the problem, and don’t cause cancer. I would suggest surgery and prevention for those with serious wounds, not band-aids. Look up NaProTechnology if you’re interested.

        “Not at all, provided we recognize that what the government recognizes as marriage may not be what we recognize as marriage, and that’s okay.”

        I think the current gay marriage debate shows that people are not okay with this.

  4. “We have the ability to reason and make moral judgments.”

    So do some animals. I think we’re better at it, but it happens in other species too.

    “Children should be taught to control themselves, not given “protection” so they never have to learn how to.”

    I agree that children should be taught to control themselves.

    I, however, also don’t view sex as an inherently bad or shameful thing.

    When I have children, I will teach them about abstinence when I teach them about sex and pregnancy and STDs. I will tell them that the only way to make 100% sure that you won’t get pregnant or a disease is to stay abstinent. However, if you choose to ignore that (and many children do), I would rather you use protection that works 98% of the time (approximately) then ignore that and use no protection.

    “and don’t cause cancer.”

    I’m wondering where this comes from. My wife is a pediatrician, and last I checked, she hasn’t told me birth control causes cancer. If it did, I imagine she wouldn’t use it herself.

    “I think the current gay marriage debate shows that people are not okay with this.”

    I know they’re not.

    My blunt response would be ‘too bad’.

    My less blunt response would be ‘the government need not follow the rules of your religion. But your religion can continue to have its own opinion.’

    1. Writer With a Cause

      “I, however, also don’t view sex as an inherently bad or shameful thing.”

      I don’t either, I’m sorry if it came off that way. In fact I think sex is so special that it needs to protected by the commitment of marriage and needs to be put back in its proper, important place. Rather than focusing on why we shouldn’t have sex, let’s talk about what it’s purpose is, why it’s important. Teaching virtue is always more effective than condemning vice. A person’s motivation for abstinence is going to determine their commitment to it.

      There is convincing evidence that some oral contraceptives cause breast cancer. There is one on the FDA’s known carcinogen list: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/generalinformationaboutcarcinogens/known-and-probable-human-carcinogens

      Besides this, oral contraceptives are chemicals that alter the natural processes of the body and change the hormone balance. I am sure you wife is a very intelligent person (especially since she is a doctor) but this is just not widely known. There are natural, effective ways of preventing pregnancy.

      1. “There are natural, effective ways of preventing pregnancy.”

        But not as good at preventing pregnancy as chemicals. Which I don’t view as inherently bad or harmful, as we happen to be made of chemicals.

      2. Writer With a Cause

        When used properly, methods of natural family planning are just as effective. Check this out:

        The Creighton model and NaProTechnology aren’t religious things, they are better methods of gynecological care.

        Oral contraceptives can have long lasting and damaging effects on the body. There are certainly chemicals that are harmful to the human body, no one would deny that. The fact is it introduces extra hormones into the body and that can have negative side effects. Here’s some info about cancer specifically:

    2. i’m new to this thing, so i really dont know where to post my two sense in. but i clicked on this spot.
      Mr. notascientist,
      1) your comment about children isn’t ridiculous because you mentioned the new found craziness of hormones that enters into the lives of the young, but because you assume that the young are incapable of having control over them. They will rise to the challenge; they need only to be challenged by the adults in their lives. They are stronger than modern society would have us, or even them, believe they are.

      2) are you more worried about protecting the young from having a hard life, or a bad life?

      1. “but because you assume that the young are incapable of having control over them.”

        Incapable? No. Do they have the odds stacked against them? Yes.

        “They will rise to the challenge; they need only to be challenged by the adults in their lives.”

        And yet it’s been shown that this doesn’t work. Places where only abstinence is taught are the places with the highest teen pregnancy.

        “are you more worried about protecting the young from having a hard life, or a bad life?”

        I’d have to know what your definitions of ‘hard’ and ‘bad’ were to answer that question.

        As far as I can tell, same sex couples raise children in environments no more ‘hard’ or ‘bad’ than straight couples. And they are significantly better at raising children than unprepared teenagers who got pregnant by accident.

  5. Okay, so Not A Scientist has already said a lot of what I wanted to say, but I wrote this all out and so I will say it.
    First: You say “She is not okay with the terrible lives children all over the world are being forced to suffer through.” Is anyone? And the suffering of children around the world has a lot more factors than the marital situation of their parents. Even children who live with both their biological parents live ‘terrible lives’ due to their socio-economic status or because they are bullied. Are you trying to make the point that all children who live with gay parents lead terrible lives? Because if that is the case, I am sorry, you are just wrong.
    Also, I read the article you posted and this quote from Obama: “We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.” I agree, lives are difficult for single mothers, but what does this have to do with gay marriage? Children of two gay dads have a father. Please point me to the statistics that actually say children raised by same-sex parents are likely to do/have all the things mentioned above.
    Along with that, I disagree with your comment about the ideal situation for a child (“the ideal is for a child to grow up with his or her biological mother and father, who are in a committed, stable, loving relationship“). Why does there need to be that condition of biological parents? I think the ideal situation for a child is one where he or she is loved unconditionally, and you don’t need to be biologically related to do that.
    I support gay marriage, and I too, wish every child had a healthy and happy home. I don’t see these two ideas as mutually exclusive. Same-sex couples can provide loving, caring homes for children who are not their own. So can traditional couples who adopt. You’ve already discussed this with Not A Scientist a bit, so I won’t talk about it too much.
    Look, I understand your definition of marriage. You are certainly entitled to that understanding. But this and other governments have a certain understanding of what marriage is, and that requires more than the physical union. It includes sharing property, setting up a joint fund for children, and providing a secondary legal guardian, among other things. In the government’s understanding of marriage, the gender of the couple doesn’t really enter into it. If a child has two fathers or mothers, who are not married because society has not allowed them to, and the parent who is the legal guardian dies, that could significantly impact that child’s access to a loving home. The parent who has raised them might not get first custody rights if they were not married.
    Sure, there are gay couples who abuse, abandon, and neglect their children. But there are traditional parents who do this too. How a parent treats his or her child (whether biological or adopted) has nothing to do with their sexual orientation, but their morals and values and relationship with their partner. I think to truly protect the children, we should work to give them every opportunity to have a loving and supportive home. Allowing same-sex couples to get married us not a deterrent to this, but in fact provides more opportunities.

    1. Christian

      Imagine a husband and wife have a child. Shortly after, the mother passes away. The father’s brother moves in to help raise the child. The father and uncle can certainly provide a very loving atmosphere for the child, but no one would say that this is optimal, that this is as good as if the mother was alive. Now imagine if the two men weren’t brothers and happened to have an erotic relationship. Nothing changes, the child would still not be getting the upbringing that it needs from both a male and female parent.

      Kathryn, I don’t think Victoria or Obama were saying that the children of gay couples are going to drop out of school, run away from home, etc. They were pointing out the very real statistic that children suffer consequences when they are not raised by both a mother and father figure.

      Before the vote for national same-sex marriage legislation in France, many gays, lesbians and people raised by same-sex couples spoke out against redefining marriage, particularly because of the effect it would have on adopted children. The author Jean-Dominique Bunel, who was raised by a lesbian couple, said, “I oppose this bill because in the name of a fight against inequalities and discrimination, we would refuse a child one of its most sacred rights, upon which a universal, millennia-old tradition rests, that of being raised by a father and a mother.” Many other homosexuals voiced the same thing… you can read more here: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/01/7601/

  6. I’m not sure having two same-sex parents and not having both a mother and father figure are the same thing. There are often other people in a child’s life: teacher, sister, family friend, etc who can fill in the role of a mother or father figure. What is your understanding of a father or mother other than the biological issue, and why does this need to be filled by someone who is a biological parent? Would it be nice if every child was raised by their biological parents? Sure. But the world isn’t perfect. And in this imperfect world, we have to do our best to give children the best possible opportunity to succeed.
    While I appreciate that you have done research into how homosexuals feel on the topic of same sex marriage, I don’t think it’s really an argument. There are heterosexual people who are for gay marriage, so why shouldn’t it be the other way around as well?
    I would also say that for you (or at least for Victoria, who it seems like you agree with), it seems like your reasoning for why a child needs to be raised by a mother and father comes from an understanding of who God has created us to be. And as I said before, it is fine to believe that way. But again, marriage is more (to society, if not to you) than simply raising a child. There are others in the country who do not have the same understanding of what marriage is, and you should not require the government to conform to your way of thinking on what is a social institution.

    1. Christian

      Hey Kathryn,

      I wanted to respond to something you said, that other figures in a child’s life fill the role of a mother and father. I really don’t agree with that. Those people can certainly help, but they are not replacements. The research says again and again that both a mother figure and a father figure are optimal for a child’s development, which is why I agree with Jean-Dominique Bunel when he says, “…we would refuse a child one of its most sacred rights, upon which a universal, millennia-old tradition rests, that of being raised by a father and a mother.”

      You also mentioned God. I, in fact, did not. But you make the connection because practicing Christians, Jews and Muslims are some of the most outspoken opponents to same-sex marriage, and you say they should not require the government to conform to their way of thinking. Well, DOMA is the current law of the land, for now, and so it is the supporters of SSM that are requiring anyone to conform to their beliefs. To WHOSE beliefs should government conform? I don’t know, but most states that have had referendums on SSM voted it down. At any rate, you said that marriage doesn’t equal children. But the only reason why the government originally provided benefits to married couples – and willingly gave up tons of revenue – was to create an incentive for people to make more citizens. A man and a man, or a woman and a woman, cannot create new life, but you’re basically saying we should subsidize their sexual relationship for this reason.

      1. Matt

        Well Christian, I’d like to talk about the points you raise here.

        You mention that a child being raised by individuals that are not it’s biological parents is not as beneficial to them as if they were being raised by their biological parents. You also included the example of the dead mother and the two brothers acting as substandard replacements. However, this situation, where one parent is unavailable or unfit to raise a child is not an uncommon one.

        There are plenty of situations in today’s world where one or more parents are unfit to raise a child. They may be dead, or unknown (due to sperm bank, promiscuity, or some other factor), or actually legitimately unfit (abusive or drug addicted, or some other malady). Or, it may simply be that the parents of the child are no longer together because they simply no longer love each other. Are any of these ideal situations? No. But they are very real ones. Not every child has the chance to be raised by their parents, and so these children enter the system in the hopes that they do find a good home.

        We have a surplus of children waiting to be adopted, and for better or worse, there aren’t enough same sex couples willing to adopt these kids. I’m just throwing out random numbers here, but lets say (and this is being laughably optimistic), that suddenly 60 or 70 percent of children in foster homes and orphanages are adopted by straight couples. would you really be willing to let the other 30 or 40% of those kids stay in a worse situation than being adopted by a homosexual couple? Probably not.

        If these couples are more able to support their adopted child by falling under the protective umbrella that is marriage benefits, should they not be granted such? Surely the child would be better off in a house where the love between their surrogate parents is recognized and supported.

        Really, I would ask if the science evaluating same sex parenting is not too new, too untested to provide meaningful data. We have as many years research from evaluating the children of male female marriages as there has been research on the subject. In contrast, same sex households have only been allowed since 2004.

        Additionally, calling back to sperm/ egg banks, what of the children that Are biologically given to homosexual couples through artificial insemination? Surely it would be better to have the child remain with the biological parent that actually wished for it, as opposed to attempting to track down the other individual and fake their way through some loveless and incredibly awkward union.

        The fact is, in the world that we live in now, not only do a number of children not have the option of being raised by biological parents, but it would in fact be a idea. We can bemoan this all we want, but that won’t make any difference to the reality of the situation.

        Next, the question of to who’s ideas should the government acquiesce to?

        If marriage is a matter of religion, as some would argue, then what of those sects of religions that do believe in Same Sex Marriage? Plenty of the major faiths have members that are just as ok with the idea as they are against it, and in that case, it seems as though those members should be able to follow their own ideologies. And what of those that are not religious, the agnostics and atheists? If marriage is a purely religious concept, then that would mean that all (including same sex couples of those views) should be unable to marry, essentially relegating them to a somewhat second class citizen status. I can’t see a reasonable person like yourself considering that rational or fair, especially not if it would allow any children of that union to be denied married parents.

        If however, marriage is not a religious concept and is instead a matter of state belief, then what of the states which have Not overturned SSM? Logically, the matter would be closed in those regions, and same sex couples could marry or not marry as they choose. Furthermore, in the event that the movement becomes popular enough that the entire country adopts it, then any discussion of whether it was good or right should be similarly closed, shouldn’t it? In fact, if marriage is a purely legal affair, then there should be considerably less friction over the updating of the concept. Our laws as humans are far from static things and have been updated a number of times over the years to include such providences as not considering women property, not considering any person property, and considering that smoking is not allowed in some sections of restaurants.

        And finally, the debate surrounding marriage not equaling children. You say that the only reason that the government originally provided benefits to married couples is with the intent of incentivising children. Can you provide as source for that? I’m not saying that you’re right or wrong there, I just hadn’t heard that before.

        But if that is true, then what of the couples that are unable to have children (due to one or more persons being infertile), or are unwilling to have children? Should their marriage be stripped of them? Should there be a procedure to determine procreational viability before a marriage certificate is issued? And beyond this, again I would ask after the children waiting to be adopted. They may not be able to have children of their own, but surely they could be tasked (or rather, gifted!) with raising a child that others would neglect. Since I can forsee no immediate death of uncared for children (sad though that is), surely this is not unreasonable.

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