A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

Marriage is God’s Justice for the Boundaryless

You could say we live in a relational holocaust. More children than not are subject on a daily basis to porn, various forms of abuse, in general, a violation of what God intended for His human creation: one man for one woman committed to one another for life.

God created marriage to be a kind of boundary, a relationship intended to protect the lives of its offspring. That includes protection from misuses of adult power, all forms of adult sexuality, and violence between men and women. When protected, children are given the chance to grow up normally, to be prepared for an adult world in which they must make wise decisions about relationships and sexuality.

Most kids are not blessed with these boundaries. If just under half of marriages fail, then that many kids are subject to the pain of a single parent who is unhappy and overburdened, often expressly due to the failure of a spouse. The break-up of marriages often results in neglect of the child, a lack of attentiveness to his/her emerging life. That life requires more protection than ever before.

Before the age of 18, 25% of girls will be sexually molested, as will just under 20% of boys. 40% of victims are abused by family members, another 50% by those whom they know and trust.

The Internet plays a huge role in violating young boundaries. 9 out of 10 children between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed Internet porn: 11 being the average age of exposure. The 12-17 year-old age group are the largest consumers of Internet porn. 1 in 5 children receive unwanted sexual solicitations online.

The Justice Department said: “Never before in the history of U.S. telecommunications has so much obscene material been so easily accessible to so many minors in so many homes with so few restrictions.”

Kids who are unattended and without boundaries need whole marriages in their lives. These marriages serve as a sanctuary for them, a living witness of who men and women can be for one another. It raises a standard and a boundary for those living without them.

I remember a young boy living in a boundaryless family across the street from us. His mother had drug problems stoked by a string of boyfriends. He would come over and play with my kids and I; he drank in the attention I gave him. I have never witnessed one as hungry for love and order. He longed for normal and got it through our family.

Whole marriages and families help heal those broken in their boundaries.

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

“Father, set the orphans into families. Restore the broken through whole marriages.”

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Marriage is God’s Justice for Citizens

The state cannot redeem marriage. That is the business of the church. But the state has a responsibility to its citizens concerning marriage. It must uphold what is best for the common good. That means defining marriage clearly for all: one man for one woman, pledged to fidelity and permanence.

That definition establishes something true and enduring that helps shape the morality of its citizens. We are all impressionable, being-formed moral beings. We take our cues from our families, our faith, and our culture. A significant strand of our moral development takes its cues from the laws of that culture.

California has currently removed all gender references on its marriage licenses. Bridegroom and Bride, Husband and Wife, have morphed to Partner 1 and Partner 2.

When gay marriage was legalized, photos of lip-locked gay newlyweds adorned every newspaper in California. Articles about CA gay wedding trends have gone throughout the nation.

Schools will now have to conform to the law of the land. Teachers and other civil servants must adhere to the new truth that homosexuality is now completely on par with heterosexuality. Gay marriage legitimizes homosexuality; it insists that all citizens recognize its moral neutrality, even its moral decency.

Gay marriage is the strongest arm of legitimizing homosexuality in the culture. As such, it will profoundly influence the morality of our youngest citizens. How? Through the media, the schools, and any other body that represents the state. Gay marriage is law. That law has altered the most fundamental institution in our culture.

Its social influence will further erode the fledging morality of many. Kids scour the landscape, trying to make sense of who they are, and what they want to become. Especially kids who don’t have parental guidance.

Youth today face a bewildering array of options as to how to meet their needs for love.

They look for answers about their own sexuality at school, on the Internet, in chat rooms, on TV. Gay marriage guarantees that homosexuality will figure in as a powerful option for youth, another means to resolving a monumental struggle for security.

Let’s get real. Homosexuality is complex, and subject to many variables, including the cues one takes from the culture. Through gay marriage, California legitimizedhomosexuality and said to its youth: “Gay is good. If it feels right to you, marry it.”

Honor marriage for the good of all, especially its young citizens. Vote YES on Prop.8.

“God, we ask that you would open our eyes to the long-range social influence that gay marriage will have. Wake us up so we can act on behalf of generations-to-come.”

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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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