Saturday, January 15, 2011

Marriage, Church and State

Marriage was traditionally an "institute of family". It was a union of husband and wife with the intent of sexual congress for the sake of creating children for the community. It was a community based recognition of the biological coupling of families and designated who would be responsible for children.
Children were appreciated by families and communities until very very recently in the history of humanity. Children were proto adults who were the principle workforce and the ingredients of armies and numbers and health and well being of these children defined the futures of the communities. Marriages were almost entirely arranged by adults and families who had long understood the importance of 'breeding' biologically since the early days of herding and politically as the stuff of alliance.
Marriage was monogamous or polygamist. If monogamous and no children, the lack of children could be grounds for dissolution of the marriage as 'barreness', initially of women and later men, was considered a grave disadvantage. In the history of the aristocracy how one pleasured oneself sexually, whether with males, females, animals or otherwise was nobody's business really, as long as children were produced as heirs. Marriage and family were essentially synonymous. If there were no children the marriage was accepted but it was not considered healthy, successful or enviable. Childless marriages were 'cursed' marriages.
In times of poverty and starvation, children, considered the future, might well be sacrificed (even eaten) by the adults who considered themselves by brute strength alone to be the rulers of the present.
Post industrial age, ie post "the age of the machine", the need for human labour for production of food, clothing, shelter,transportation and war was reduced. Children lost value as did all humans. Today one might say that with one button attached to enough warheads to annihilate all men, women and children and the planet itself children and humans in general are at an all time nadir. Certainly the very few at the very top of the food chain have more power than any tyrant of any age previously. The tolerance of these super humans for the rest of us is perhaps the same as the French Queen who said "give them cake" if only to shut them up and stop them riotting.
Mass annihilation of sub groups such as Scots, Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Rwandas, and Aboriginals in general, and mass abortions of undesirable races such as Canadians and now the hope of euthanasia might reduce the numbers of those ruled by those ruling to a much more congenial equation in time. Right now humans and children aren't particularly desirable. Fortunately, Afghans and Vietnamese before them have demonstrated that drones and bombs are not yet as efficient in war as individual human soldiers. Thanks to the success, albeit little, of these horrible rebels, the armies of the right and good are still necessary. Therefore the ruling class continue to have need for the occasional babies.
A time in the not too distant future may come when the planetary rulers could get along with say a million servants and things would be much better all round for everyone especially the lakes and dung beetles, to say nothing of the spotted owl.
It's been only a half century that predictable and readily available birth control has been available for most. Marriage is no longer the dangerous leap into child rearing it once was. Condoms at the turn of the last century were not found in dispensers in outhouses, were highly unreliable and far more undesirable than the modern day Trojan or Sheik condom that claims to be not only secure but hardly noticeable when worn. The birth control pill for women is this generations contribution to the future and the male birth control pill is finally ready for marketing.
Gays, homosexuals or lesbians, who have entered into sexual unions never had the terrifying potential and leap of faith that young women and men did when their community approved sexual relations could saddle them with a toddler and later a teen ager at any moment. Gay sex, like adultery or adolescent sex or any non community sanctioned sex had it's illicit risks but by comparison to illicit heterosexual sex was incredibly safe in comparison. Only very recently has gay homosexual sex been a 'risky business' as a result of biological disease. Lesbian sex both biologically and socially has by many standards been the safest of all sexual unions. Pregnancy and childbirth today are however safer for women than in any other time in all of history. Acute pain therapy for childbirth is one of the miracles of modern science. Despite this childbirth's popularity with women has so decreased that scientists are desperately working all hours to develop extrauterine in vitro birth in case women completely forfeit this role which men, even those who do dishes and floss, have shown no interest in taking over.
Children have not only brought benefit to the family but also grave risk. The behavior of children has for millennia reflected poorly or positively on parents. Increasingly though children have been co-opted by the state, especially totalitarian states, as monitors and police of the parents. Countless adults now have died as a consequence of the intentional or unintentional statements of children.
With the age of machines children became less desirable. Only with the advent of the 19th Century hospitals before Lister was childbirth en mass truly dangerous. When it's dangers were addressed women gained 10 years life expectancy over men who continued to bear the brunt of the dangerous work place and wars that enriched the shrinking numbers but increasingly potent rulers. . Naturally women might opt for more life than more children in contrast with their grandmothers whose experience was 'many hands made a chore less burdensome". In contrast 'many mouths' became the post machine age nightmare.
It's been said that modern times, the last 200 years are best understood as a paragraph, less than a page, in the 200 page book of human life on this planet.
Marriage as an institution of family has been present for a goodly bit of those 200 pages whereas marriage as the term is used today is at best a line in the book of life in the present age of divorce.
Marriage until very recently for most was a lifelong institution, adult life lasting 20 to 30 and at most 40 years beyond childhood. Except in the numerology of Biblical accounting a 50 year marriage was rare indeed. There are countless 50 year heterosexual marriages, and 2/3's of the monogamous ones have not known adultery. The polygamous marriages have probably even more abiding statistics.
Kinsey first looked for Gay long term unions and found very few with supreme effort just a few decades or less than a line of history ago. Today gay unions are a terrific experiment in human relations a kin to the development of the space shuttle and as admirable givens the forces against them.
DINK'S - Dual Income No Kids marriages are another truly recent phenomena, at most a generation in the countless generations of life on earth. Women can safely enter that once dangerous union called marriage knowing they will never have to have children, never take the risk of childbirth, never raise toddlers and teenagers and have all the benefits of marriage without their partners knowing they never ever planned to have children. Men can themselves get vasectomies and marry without ever having to fear one day holding a vulnerable screeching baby in their arms or having a teen ager begging for the keys to Dad's car.
The hard political work of families on behalf of marriages in these recent years of political and economic entitlements have acknowledged the greater cost and obligations that married people, ie parents had over single people, ie unmarried people. There is a desire today for those who aren't parents to have those benefits and given the rapidity of the change in circumstance and naming of things in the last lines of the history the very meaning of marriage and family and sexuality are at stake. The rise of the singles and DINKS also has already gained them many credits over the former majority the married parents. It's no surprise that Gays want what DINKS already have.
It is only very very recently that any sexuality was open to discussion thanks to the pioneering work of Kinsey. Married sex was as much a taboo as unmarried sex. Today Gays are facing the same persecution that unmarried heterosexuals living together only mere decades ago faced. Today the children of interracial marriages are still being persecuted as seen with the colored children in today's Vietnam.
However as a community what will we give to children since all the advantages of 'marriage' given by community were specifically regarding the future of the community, ie the children.
As we define marriage as just two adults, and really whether they're female, male or two eunuchs isn't at issue here, what will we say for families especially families where there are only one adult and children or even adopted children with any number of adults. Can we seriously change the nature of marriage without really addressing the whole antequated graveyard of family legislation especially when for far two long decisions have been made by white privileged upper class old wig wearing men whose traditional servile wives have raised the children.
There would be no dispute about marriage in churches today if the law courts would have done their job of getting in touch with 21st century long before the churches and communities had to attend to the messes left them by the self serving "social courts'.
Given that the average length of marriage in north american between childless of any arrangement is commonly 5 years or less and those with children seem to be divorcing in this culture of divorce earlier and earlier, what does marriage say about 'stability' and 'commitment'. Indeed only one generation ago marriage reflected maturity and responsibility whereas today marriage may be a name associated with stupidity and immaturity. Indeed being married might mean you are gay or childless or only able to commit for 5 years. Given the 50% divorce rate maybe only bad marriages succeed and good marriages divorce. The entertainment and marketting industry responding to the decline of the wedding party began to make profits by promoting divorce parties definitely competing in popularity with he declining baby showers. Black gowns are in and white gowns are out.
The fact remains, what about the children?
All the 'domestic laws' of family and cohabitation need to be rewritten in this post machine age to stop lawyers and judges and the state from disenfranchising children in marriages with children. The divorce courts will be required shortly to pay back the children of divorce for the wholly unnacceptable cut they took from these children's heritage. Gay marriage is truly just an opening gambit in this long overdue process.
DINK's and GAYs ,who don't adopt, really don't deserve the privileges that were sought for families on behalf of the state and community.
Gays however should have every right that heterosexual DINK's have until either have children, adopted or procreated.
Love and lust matches of individuals either gay or heterosexual shouldn't be called called marriage 'retrospectively' as in the term 'common law' marriage. Marriage was and should remain a 'prospective' consensual agreement that two adults enter into and contract to do. The rights of 'squatters' should not be the same as 'homeowners' or the very courts themselves are rewarding the lawless as they have done now for decades. Parliaments and congress need to reel in the self serving courts which are by their actions not interpretting laws but actually making them for their own benefits to the detriment of the community at large. Shacking up is not marriage. Anyone who shacks up should not be seen legally as worthy of the rewards, benefits and rights of the proposed lawful gay, heteroseuxal or eunuch marriages or eunuch marriages.
Sexuality should no longer be punished by the courts who have never been sanctioned to be in the bedrooms of the nations in the first place. Individuals who live together don't get to have the others pensions and judges should stick to what they know which is contractual law, prenuptial agreements or marriage contracts. Increasingly today couples gay or heterosexuals are forced by housing costs to be roommates. Retrospectively any roommate can risk all future income if their roomy gets a slick lawyer and claims there was sexual congress whether there was or wasn't. As Gays today are wanting to have legal unions that is admirable indeed. Legal unions are to be admired by community. The problem remains that the courts don't even uphold their own laws and the consequence is the destruction of all community as we know it.
The state has always increasingly been against families and has demonstrated their penchant for divide and conquer in their unwillingness to recognize the world re live in today. No judge in social courts should be allowed to wear a wig today as it causes them to think like dinosaurs. Perhaps church leadership should consider discussing issues of marriage and family wearing sweats and having only milk with cookies for refreshments. There appears too much evidence of too much alcohol or pot in some of the decisions in this domain.
Finally, what of the rights of children? All of the rights of marriage were there to protect children and family. Should not the marriage laws be changed in the context of family laws and why is polygamy, either male or female, outlawed in a supposedly 'multi cultured' society. Really.

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