A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Marriage is God’s Justice for Children

Marriage is the only institution on earth that rewards and supports couples who raise the children they created. If they honor that commitment, the man and woman provide stability and a source of clarity and confirmation for the identities of both sons and daughters.

The state is wise to honor that attempt. We are all aware that many couples falter in it. At the same time, any legal effort made to increase the chance that a man and woman are going to make good their vows serves justice to children. It declares that the legally binding union of one man and one woman, pledged to commitment and fidelity, is in the best interests of children.

State-honored marriage is an act of justice for children. Any act of the state to alter that definition, and so extend support and reward to other definitions of marriage, is not in the best interest of children. In truth, these reconfigurations are unjust.

For example, children subject to same-sex couples are immediately deprived of both biological parents. These children were either adopted or conceived in one partner’s previous marriage. Many were created through a sexual surrogate, artificial insemination, or complicated in-vitro process.

These children will not have adequate exposure to both genders as they seek to emerge up the developmental ladder and into secure enough men and women. They simply will not be exposed to the whole image of God. In order to survive, gay couples must downplay the necessity of both genders in the parenting process; to uphold ‘the whole image’ as essential to wholeness would undermine their very lives together!

To further defend themselves, gay couples will land on the side that homosexuality is inborn, encoded in one’s being before birth. Thus, they reason, their unusual pairing will not impact the child in the least. In truth, their same-gendered approach to parenting will have a huge impact upon an impressionable life. Every single child subject to homosexual couples will bear an extraordinary burden.

I have walked with many adult-children who bear the pain and shame of having homosexual parents. These parents battled between wanting the best for themselves and their kids. In opting for same-sex partnership, they invited children into households charged with their own painful conflicts.An unstable, emotionally volatile, and often sexually unfaithful environment failed to satisfy the child’s need for ‘normal’. And saddled him/her with shame due to the peculiar configuration of parenting over which the child had no control.

‘Gay marriage’ is unjust to kids. Many claim that ceding marriage to gays is just. Just for who? Not for children. Be their voice. Honor marriage for the good of ALL. Vote Yes on Prop. 8.

“Reveal true justice, O God. Expose the injustice foisted upon kids via gay marriage.”

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Reclaiming Marriage as an Arm of God’s Justice

The state rewards a man and woman for their commitment to each other and the children they may bear. Government provides limited legal guidelines and benefits that encourage marital commitment.

But in order for marriage to become what God wants it to be, we must realize the limitations of the state to create strong marriages. That task belongs to communities of faith that can help reclaim marriage from the mess we have made of it.

‘Gay marriage’ is founded, in part, upon the failure of marriage in our day. 50% of marriages fail. The vows of both pagans and Christians hinge more upon the pursuit of personal well-being than upon a commitment to one’s spouse and one’s children.

One prayer warrior wept as we prayed for the good of marriage in California and beyond. Her pain lay in her limited exposure to that goodness–the lack of committed and whole marriages she had encountered in her 50-year-old life.

Internet porn now plays a major role in divorce. Matrimonial lawyers claim that “an excessive interest in Internet porn’’ contributed to more than half of their cases. A gay writer noted that among his generation, the institution of divorce prevailed over marriage. The cycle intensifies. Among other consequences, children of divorce are 3X more likely to replay the failure of their parents.

A wise woman and I discussed ‘gay marriage’ the other day. Amid the talk, she filled me in on two Christian families. It seems the husband of one family, and the wife of the other had cultivated an 8-year affair under everyone’s noses. They then divorced and married each other. Now they wonder why their kids have problems with what they did for ‘love’. “‘Gay marriage’ is a symptom of the failure of marriage in our land,” she said.

Yet marriage still holds power, a power that must be reclaimed through repentance. In spite of marriage being struck down in our day, it is not destroyed. Holy matrimony can still civilize and mature both men and women so that they can leave a legacy of committed love for their children. We must reclaim its power as an arm of God’s justice.

“Marriage is being asked to stand alone as a union of man and woman in which the single value of love transcends all others…The very crisis in contemporary marriage may function to bring marriage closer to into line with God’s highest purposes for it.” Mike Mason Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“O God, we see the mess we are in. Like Nehemiah, we are in disgrace as we survey the rubble of failed marriages around us. Come let us rebuild the walls, O God. We ask for grace to see our wickedness and to turn from it. As we arise, fortify the vows we have made to You and to one another. Let Your grace be greater than our failures.

Redeem our lives, O God, for the sake of love; let love be as justice to our children.”

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Raising Kids Requires the Grace of Marriage

The most rewarding and difficult task Annette and I have undertaken is raising children.

Without each other’s support, and the unique grace God gives to man and woman who yield to each other in the heartache of parenting, we might not have made it. And had we not, our kids would have lost the witness that in spite of their extremes, love prevails.

One cannot grasp this until (s)he lives it. I recall family photos when my siblings and I were teen-agers. My brother and I put my parents through hell. Just as heaven came to earth in Jesus, hell visits the families of renegade teens. We kids sneered into the photograph, while my mother smiled wanly, her eyes dark and wearied by the hard season of parenting Dad and she were enduring together.

Still, I did not grasp the cost of parenting until Annette and I faced one hard fact–our kids were very capable of blowing off ‘family values’ for a ride in the fast lane. We recall waited in agony, and in vain, for the teen son in the early morning hours: drug-induced chaos, the smashed up car, weird friends (raised by wolves?), the sincere kid who became completely implausible, suspicions that went nowhere, the discernment that came true, the truth that kids must work out their lives outside your control while still under your watchful, tearful eye.

Perhaps here more than in any other task, Annette and I found one another. Instead of blaming or shaming the other for the misery at hand, we have found solace in our love. We somehow strengthened each other in our mutual helplessness. We have a rock; our commitment forged in difference and in fire. When the kids rock our world, we share a united front that serves as a kind of fortress against the unpredictability of raising children.

Kids need that steadfastness. As they travel the breadth of extremities, they need to know their parents don’t, and that two await them in love and with boundaries that help them face the limits they are imposing on themselves.

Maybe that is what the Catholics mean when they speak of marriage as a sacrament. A sacrament is a means of grace. Through marriage, God gives grace to the one man and one woman who dare to bring kids into this chaotic world.

That world gives no guarantee that earnest parents will produce seamless kids. In the uncertainty and pain of parenting, the Creator consoles and empowers His ‘co-creators’. We give grace to one another. God honors that offering of grace and enhances it as we seek to love well the fruit of our lovemaking.

Honor marriage for the good of all, especially kids. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“Father, we thank you for the grace You give parents as they stand together in the hard task of raising children. Unify and empower them; let kids be the first fruit of that grace.”

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Raising Kids Requires a United Front

Conceiving a child is easy; raising a child is hard work. Over the course of his or her development, a child demands the attentiveness of two caregivers with complementary vision and gifts.

Annette and I are different in the way we view our kids. My view is essentially masculine: I tend toward wanting to release my kids to the adventure of life and to let them face the consequences, good and bad. Annette wants to shelter them from the cold of the negative consequences; her relational strengths here require the complement of my objectivity.

She is the open-ended one with the kids; they like her more, and readily draw from her deep well of wisdom and kindness. I tend to provoke the kids a bit more, to generate movement and bring closure where it is needed. They probably respect me more than they like me.

I don’t know how we could have raised four young adults without the other. Parenting is complicated. Each kid is different: diverse strengths and weaknesses, subject to their own unique temptations. To give a child his/her due requires the whole image—human parent as male and female.

My mother recounted a car wreck my older brother got in, which involved a stubborn old man who refused to settle the damages. My brother’s repeated phone calls were pointless. She marveled at my father who simply got the man’s address, drove to his home, and quietly reasoned with him until they agreed upon a price. She realized then how fortunate she was to partner with this other!

Similarly, I marvel at Annette’s capacity to enter unselfishly into the unique worlds of each of my children. She informs the decisions we make together about them with sensitivity and an awareness that I do not have.

We refine each other as parents; in our differences, we hold each other accountable to the children’s best interests. Annette tends to sensitize me to their needs; I tend to help Annette release the kids to assume necessary responsibility.

David Blankenhorn writes: “Marriage says to a child: The man and woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and father, accountable to the child and to each other.”

Honor marriage for the good of all. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

”Father, thank you for the different ways that men and women approach parenting. Thank you that marriage supports and unifies those differences for the good of the child.”

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Children Need Male and Female Parents

Marriage unites the biological requirement of procreation with what matters most to kids: the social and legal dimensions. Marriage makes parents responsible for children. Both God and state demand that the fruit of love be given form and protection by those who made love.

In that way, the state protects its most vulnerable. Children cannot vote or even weigh in on the gay marriage issue. And yet they are the ones most impacted by how we as a society define marriage. What we do know: the best possible equation for kids is to possess two parents, one male and one female who can meet their basic needs of their children.

Two sociologists weighed in on the question of what children need. They concluded: “If you were asked to design a system to make sure that children’s basic needs were met, you would probably come up with something like the two-parent ideal. Such a system would provide a system of checks and balances that promote quality parenting.”

The marriage contract commands that both parents hold each other accountable to provide for their children.

These needs include physical provision (food, shelter, etc.) Less concrete but no less important is a child’s need for a clear depiction of the good of male and female together. As one cooperative unit, male and female together provide a lifeline of identification with who (s)he is becoming, as well as who (s)he will be in relation to the other. Marriage is the first and most important glimpse of God’s image that adults grant their offspring.

Children are created to realize that image in whole heterosexual-relating. It is written on their hearts by their Creator. It is called forth and activated by their co-creators.

A child secures gender clarity from the parent of the same-sex; sons and daughters alike secure a living witness of gender cooperation through both parents. When that vision is blocked or obscured because of deficient parenting, the child will continue to seek it out..

A teacher in San Francisco recounted to me the yearning of one of her students, an 8-year-old boy who had been adopted by a lesbian couple. The child was relentless in his effort to secure a male partner for one of his mothers. Almost daily, as he and his peers would await their caregivers, he would point out to Mom those whom he hoped might one day be his father.

Kids need male and female together.

Honor Marriage. Vote YES on Proposition 8.

“O God, thank you for the power of male and female together to give account for the well-being of their children. Thank you for the power of Your image as a gift to kids.”

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