Sometimes reading the morning paper is a remarkable dunk into the absurd.
It was reported that presidential candidate and US House of Representatives member (from MN) Michelle Bachman has signed an Iowa Christian group’s “Marriage Vow”. Part of the rhetoric to which she joined her name includes a statement that has me head waggling yet. Offensive is an understatement:
“Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American president.”
The document also calls for banning same-sex marriage and pornography, as well as maintaining that women and children’s safety hinges on (and only on? my question) heterosexual marriage.
Hmmmm, where to begin?
We are to know, according to the document and according to the rhetoric washing over us relentlessly is that the answers to our considerable social problems are best handled sans government. Which is befuddling, given that considerable time and effort was taken by our government (with an impending and eventual shut-down of our state government hugely real) to maneuver an amendment calling for marriage as available to only a man and a woman.
What the document signed in Iowa seems to imply is the reason for the crumblings of the American dream is the erosion of a one man one woman family.
The quote above seems to imply that if only we were back in the days of slavery, well then children would have two parents (never mind that they were owned as property and could be sold at the whim of the “property” owner).
If only one man and one woman were married women and children would be safe! Never mind that women continue to make nearly 1/4 the salary of men. Never mind that the realities of physical violence against women are real both within and without the bonds of marriage. Never mind that nearly 1/5 of the children in our state live in poverty and that the guidelines for what makes for poverty is $22,000 for a family of four. 1/5!
I don’t know if the 1/5 have a man and a woman present in their home. What I know is that we are an increasingly broken people. What I know is that while our children go without food and early childhood education and live with the stress that is the daily reality of poverty, the issue, it seems to me, is not mandating what gender their care givers are.
The “Marriage Vow” is a dodge. My opinion.
The issue, it seems to me, is who are we as followers of the Way? Who are we?
I’m reading a great book: How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. In it, he speaks of how it was St Patrick was able to share the good news of the gospel by way of how he lived, how he spoke to others, how he stressed the inclusive and expansive grandeur of God evidenced in the good of earth and humanity and when oh when have we heard that voicing of what it means to be a follower of Jesus from our political “Christians”?
We live in a time when a barrage of rhetoric is meant to shut down the asking of questions, the naming of pain, the noting of increasing disparity, the mining of the teachings of our faith that would have us to know that the kingdom of God is not created based upon the one sure foundation of one man and one woman joined in holy matrimony.
The kingdom of God is created when we each; each of us different, each of us passionate about the vision preached by Jesus, each of us willing to claim a common desire to cease this nutsy-making rhetorical mud fight (gee, am I mud fighting here???), each of us willing to look around us at the faces and lives of the neighbors who are children of God and see what is real and respond in the ways taught by Jesus. Those teachings are pretty clear.
Marriage is based upon living partnership in such a way that the fragile is tended.
Our “Marriage Vow” ought consider the fragile family of God’s beloveds.
What is needed, it seems, is a “Humanity Vow”. It is the vow we claim as our own when we claim kinship with the Christ.
God grant us the courage and the heart for the living of these days.