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April 4, 2006

Dear Concerned Citizen,

by Jennifer Roback Morse

side bar side bar side bar side bar side bar side bar side bar side bar What is the future of marriage? To answer this question, we have to first know what marriage is. I define marriage as society’s approved and preferred institution for sexual activity and child-rearing. The new trend in marriage law is to claim that there should not be any legal or social preference among sexual and child-rearing arrangements. No one form of relationship should be “privileged” over the others.  This is, by definition, the end of marriage as an institution.

The result of this trend will not be greater individual freedom, contrary to the expectations of its promoters. Instead, the government will have to act as mediator and regulator among more aspects of personal behavior for more individuals than ever before. That is because the social functions performed by the institution of marriage have to be performed by some other institution, usually the government.

This trend is evident in Northern European countries and in Canada. The ideology was on display in Sweden in 2004, when the local youth wing of Sweden’s Social Democrat party endorsed the idea of replacing marriage with a gender-neutral, multi-partner-friendly marriage system. Conspicuously absent, is any discussion of the impact of multi-partner marriages on children.

The subject of children in multi-partner marriages was discussed briefly in a series of reports in Canada. A four study report commissioned by the Status of Women Canada to study Polygamy in Canada: Legal and Social Implications for Women and Children, most of the authors noted that polygamy is often associated with the abuse of women and the neglect of children.  Nonetheless, two of the four reports endorsed the decriminalization of polygamy. These authors concluded that it would be better to legalize polygamy or at least decriminalize it, and then attempt to regulate its excesses.

But regulating the excesses inside a polygamous household is something that Canada has already found extremely difficult to do.  In the renegade Mormon community called Bountiful, reports periodically surface of child brides, child abuse and abandoned teen-age boys. The authorities always have difficulty prosecuting any perpetrators because complaints are notoriously difficult to verify.  Disaffected members of the community complain, but no one within the community will corroborate their stories.  Only much more intrusive interventions by government authorities will make it possible to “regulate the excesses” that are so often associated with polygamy.

The “privilege no relationship” ideology bore fruit last fall in the Netherlands. A man and his wife took advantage of the domestic partner registration law to register a partnership with another woman. This three-way marriage was dismissed as insignificant by American media who favor same sex marriage. But it is quite clear that the blurring of all distinctions among types of families paved the way for this three-way marriage.

In Scandinavia and the Netherlands, registered partnerships have effaced the distinction between cohabitation and marriage. Sweden passed the Homosexual Cohabitation Act in 1987. At the same time, Sweden extended most of the protections of marriage to heterosexual cohabiting couples. In 1997, the Dutch legalized registered partnerships.

A couple can choose to get married, to register a partnership, or simply live together. In the Netherlands, a new informal two-step route to divorce has appeared: “the flash divorce.”  It works like this: a married couple that wants to divorce applies to have their marriage changed to a registered partnership. These partnerships can be dissolved at shorter notice than is required for the dissolution of a formal marriage.

One consequence of all this is the separation of marriage from child-bearing. In the Netherlands, 40% of all first births are out of wedlock. Even the arrival of a second child does not necessarily induce a couple to marry. Of all second and further children born in 2003,  23% were born out of wedlock.

When a Swedish child is born out of wedlock, (as 56% of them are) the couple often lives together initially. Studies from around the world, show that cohabitors break up at two to three times the rate that married couples divorce.  So although children born out of wedlock are initially raised by two cohabiting parents, many of these couples later break up. This means that many children spend all or part of childhood without two parents. 

You might think that the generous welfare state of these northern European countries would offset some of the disadvantages of unmarried parenthood that are so well documented in the U.S. A Swedish study in 2003 examined the impact of living with a single parent compared with living with two parents.  Girls living with a single parent committed suicide at twice the rate, and were three times more likely to die from drug or alcohol addiction as girls living with two parents.  So even with a social safety net far more generous than any likely to be enacted in the U.S., the Swedes still face social pathology as a result of single parenting.

Although marriage takes different forms in different times and places, every known society has had some boundaries marking off acceptable from unacceptable sexual and child-rearing conduct. Every society has had some form of sanctions for deviations from its norms. The modern attempt to create a society in which no one family form is privileged over any other is literally unprecedented in human history. It is, by definition, the abolition of marriage.

And when the family falls, the state expands.

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Responses to Genesis Project - 3rd Day:

Dear Disappointed Readers,

To be fair to Dr. Schroeder's Genesis Project, stick with the series. Otherwise you are presupposing his conclusions. An orthodox Jew, Dr. Schroeder proposes that the universe was indeed created in six 24 hour days from the Creator's point of view. After the creation of Adam's soul, the biblical account is told from the human point of view. Stay tuned to see how 13.7 billion years and six 24 hour days might be the same period of time, depending on your perspective. Shouldn't we at least consider what may in fact be God's view of creation in the biblical account? - Editor

I have been receiving your e-mails for quite some time and I have enjoyed reading them and the research that goes into them. However, your most recent articles concerning the origin of the universe and man does not follow your approach that you have used in your other articles. I would suggest that you look into and do some research in the area of a young earth as given in Scripture and God as the Creator and not the Big Bang. These two are not reconcilable and all you have done is accept the modernist views giving credence to evolution and taking glory and credibility away from the Creator. Please remove me from your e-mail list because I cannot support any organization that does not believe in Biblical creation. Thanks from a very disappointed reader. - Ken

How can you claim that the word of God is not true? – that a day in the sense that the original Hebrew uses it is not a 24 hour day, but rather billions of years? If you want some reasonable theories that actually support the word of God instead of tearing it down, Go to the AIG web site at: www.answersingenesis.org Many world renowned scientists and bible scholars have there input this truth seeking web site. I pray that you will take the time to read and prayerfully consider the information on this site. It has been freeing and encouraging for me as a thinking and logical engineer. Further to my earlier Email – here is an article that gives a different perspective: http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0329inflation_indepth.asp - Doug Guderian

Coming from an evangelical church in the heart of a university city where I have many debates with students on the campus around this very subject, I have found these articles very interesting. I am keen to keep a fair and balanced view of both the dangers and strengths of travelling down any one stance on these issues, without mortgaging the future, nor playing into the atheists hands. I like what Dr Billy Graham once said many years ago on this very subject when he said: “There are many theories about how the world began, but any theory which leaves the creator out of his own universe is a very poor one”. I agree with that and this is why I always turn to Hebrews chapter 11:3 and say that this is my bottom line: “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Faith means that you don’t have ALL the answers, and the danger here is that Christians can be tempted to have to explain the exact processes to match atheism. We don’t! We will have to live by faith on what we are told. Its not blind faith, but reasoned faith on the basis of the evidence available to us. My fear is that we end up having to chase after the latest scientific FACT in order to make them fit the scriptures. But the danger here is that scientific FACT can too quickly be relegated to scientific FICTION. Hence, the danger of pandering to the ‘latest and greatest’ discoveries in atheistic thinking, in terms of evolutionary theories, is that one might claim as a fact something that one latter has to backtrack on. God does not have to back track. He is right all the time. Reasoned faith is not necessarily having all the answers for the things that we don’t understand, but having total trust in the things that we do know, to help us trust in the things that we can’t know. I hope this helps. - Colin Webster, Nottingham UK

Your Dr. Schoreder appears to be a theistic evolutionist, much along the line of Newton who viewed God as the “clock maker” who wound up the universe and then let it go. This is NOT the Biblical account of creation where Genesis tells us very clearly that God created everything after its own kind fully functional – ready to go. - Rohn Ritzema

I cannot subscribe to your theory that the Days in the Genesis account are longer than 24 hour periods of time. The Bible teaches that Jesus kept the Seventh-Day Sabbath holy, the same Seventh-Day that was made at the end of the Creation week. The Seventh-Day Sabbath is not thousands of years long, but comes each week as a 24 hour period. If the God you write of, is not big enough to speak something into existence in a literal 24 hour period of time, then He must not be the same God of the Bible that I worship and follow. I don't care what science says, no one was alive at the creation of the universe - so they have to take their belief on faith, just as I take mine on belief. Jesus' return will set the record straight, which should be very soon. - Tom Rogers

The recent articles on Genesis do not support the Creator Yahweh as described literally in Genesis 1 & 2. These 'long' days have been disproven by many scholars, and these articles pander an evolutionary approach that is not supported by scripture or logic. God himself stated in Dueteronomy that as He rested on the seventh day, so will man. The history of science includes such well known men as Louis Pasteur etc who refuted 'spontaneous generation of organisms' with their work. Your authors may be brilliant in their fields of work, but poor in logic to have a long age earth created and sustained in their model. I will 'unsubscribe' from your email newsletter. - Bill

I would like to say that I have found the recent articles on the days of creation to be insightful and intriguing. As a Christian and a believer that many elements of science, such as the human capacity for curiosity and investigation, are not enemies of religion, but gifts from the Creator Himself, I think it is far more worthwhile to examine and reexamine the perspective from which we should view and study the origins of the Universe than it is to add fuel to a gridlocked battle between dogmatic “pure scientists” and Christian Fundamentalists. I find doctor Schroeder’s depth of knowledge to be very helpful in unearthing a new way of looking at the relationship between the Biblical creation account and evidence produced by scientific research. I am happy to see an intelligent account of how we can subscribe (without compromising intellectual integrity) to the story of God’s creation of the Earth without ignoring facts uncovered by sound science. I look forward to the rest of Dr. Schroeder’s series, and I appreciate the chance to have “golden apples” revealed by way of his layers of knowledge and patient explanation. - J. E. T.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for providing the Genesis Project series. I find it useful, and thought provoking and look forward to the next letter. - J. K.

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We live complex lives. We strive to sort out priorities that sometimes conflict or seem incompatible. A moral framework is needed to help us understand the reality around us. Our Judeo-Christian heritage provides a framework to help us comprehend the choices we make and the conflicts that arise over them. It is not only the main source of our spiritual values, but also many of the secular values we depend on.

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  Jennifer Roback Morse
Jennifer Roback Morse is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. She has appeared on numerous talk radio shows nationwide and is a regular columnist for the National Catholic Register. Her public policy articles have appeared in Policy Review, the American Enterprise, Fortune, Reason, the Wall Street Journal, and Religion and Liberty. From 1980 to 1996, she taught at Yale and George Mason universities. In 1996, she moved with her family to California, where she now pursues her primary vocation as a wife and mother.
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