Redefining The Family

Cutting Edge Magazine
April 1991
Tom Terry

What is a family anyway? It used to be that a family consisted of at least a husband and wife, and then progressed with children. Extended family referred to grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. Though whether immediate or extended, pretty much everyone knew what a family was. “Was” is the operative word here. What was, and what is, are two different things. Today, family refers to the 49% plus divorced families. A child’s family consist of a father and mother who don’t live together. A stepparent may be on the scene. A man’s family may consist of his wife and possible stepchildren, and his own children who live with his ex-wife. That’s his family. 

Divorce has effectively caused our society to do a double take on what a family is. There are enormous legal consequences to divorce. Aside from problems with alimony and child payments, there are insurance questions. Should an ex-wife be allowed to collect on a policy if her ex-husband dies?

In an attempt to keep children from being to psychologically hurt by divorce, courts now have child sharing plans. If both parents live in the same town, Johnny stays with mom one week, and dad the next. Sometimes its months, mom gets six months, dad gets six. Johnny gets a severe case of identity crisis.

The reshaping of what the modem family is because of divorce did not happen on purpose. It comes with the territory, after all, who marries planning to divorce? Some of the reshaping is taking place intentionally. It seems these things don’t appear to affect the family. Upon closer examination, however, it is clear they not only affect the family, they say what a family is, and cannot be. If a man and a woman can marry and have a family, why can’t a man and a man marry and have a family? The attempts of the homosexual movement to acquire rights as a family pose one of the most dangerous threats to families in America today.

This year, San Francisco took steps to “normalize” homosexuality by giving type of marital status to homosexual couples seeking a legal union. In effect, what San Francisco authorities have said, is that though homosexuals engage in a behavior that most Americans consider morally abhorrent, and medical science has proven unhealthy and abnormal, homosexual couples are on the same legal and moral level as other heterosexual couples. Now, if such a status is granted to homosexual couples, will they need divorces like other couples? Can they sue for alimony or child support? Imagine, one gay man suing another gay man for alimony. Of course, child support assumes that homosexual couples will have children. Indeed, they will. What gays and lesbians cannot acquire through reversing the biological function, may soon be acquired through legal means.

The homosexual political movement has long had on its agenda the right for gays to raise adopted children. [Adoption is the only natural means whereby homosexuals may reproduce.) That means the state, or a state agency must approve of the home of a homosexual couple for the child. Now, what if a homosexual couple and a heterosexual couple wanted to adopt the same child? Ask most Americans who could provide a better atmosphere for a growing child, a homosexual couple, or the traditional family, and most will opt to put the child with a normal family. Homosexual activists, however, would fight such “discrimination” like angry cats. The identity of the homosexual is found in who the homosexual sleeps with. Sanctioning a homosexual “family” with obvious dysfunctions is an error society will long regret.

There are other means of redefining the family that are not as obvious. Educational insiders view educators as the only qualified people to teach children. In fact, the current educational system is predicated upon more administrative control over how, who, and why we educate than on the basics of education itself. Education in the 1990’s focuses on affecting students socially and not in academics. Social issues are prevalent in high school classrooms. While often an effective way of making the day’s lesson relevant and interesting to students, it also provides a platform for liberal educators and the education unions to further their own agenda on the family. For instance, education unions politically support abortion on demand, the use of pornographic materials in the classroom, explicit sex education courses and more. What do abortion on demand and pornographic sex ed materials have to do with teaching children skills? Obviously, nothing, but teachers’ unions are actively involved in many issues unrelated to education.

Reshaping the family is also a media event. While the Cosby show, and Family Matters have been refreshing changes in family portrayal, family betrayal is still the media noon. While a lot of us may want J.R. Ewing’s money, how many of us would like his family problems? In reality, many of us do have them. Affairs, fights and friction are not just the TV norm. My Two Dads was a warm show about two men raising a teenage girl. Often a cute show, but it also lent support to the idea of homosexual families. The characters played on My Two Dads were not homosexual, but the idea that two uncommitted men living under one roof could successfully raise a teenage girl without a mother’s influence was one of the most subtle ways the media has lent support to the concept of homosexual families in a long time.

Legally, common law marriages and even “domestic partnerships” between an unmarried man and woman have hurt the family. Why bother to get married at all. Just live together and split when your partner gets ugly, bored, or loses his or her interest or job. After all, “domestic partners” can sue for many of the same things as those who divorce do. It seems that in actuality, we’re getting married and divorced without getting married and divorced. It’s all the same, and yet, its confusingly different.

Many churches are sanctioning homosexual marriages, recognizing common law marriages, and even domestic partnerships. When the institution that is supposed to uphold the differences between right and wrong and teach the absolutes of morality lowers its guard and accepts definitions for the family and morality foreign to its nature and existence, it ceases to be a church. It becomes a popular social club.

Hold onto the family. Husbands, hold onto your wives. Wives, hold onto your husbands. While you’re at it, reach out and hold onto your kids. Teach them right and wrong, and that nothing changes what is right and wrong. Teach them the standards they can use to make decisions by. If we give up those we love the most, and the values that can keep them together, what are we left with? Try divorce, domestic partnerships, media fantasies and stale sermons.

The Bible describes the relationship of a husband and wife as that of Jesus Christ and the Church. Jesus Christ loved us so much He willingly gave up all and was crucified for us. After He rose from the dead, He declared He was coming back for us. That’s commitment. It’s been 1900 plus years and He hasn’t returned yet, but He will. That’s patience. That’s the kind of commitment we need for our families, the kind of patience we need within our families, and the kind He commanded us to have.