Unification News for August 2004
Getting Hitched - Part One
July 25, 2004
This article is about marriage. It’s something we Unificationists are famous for, and justly so. Our success rate is high, and my own 1982 mass wedding was covered on the front page of the New York Times.
Please note that my discussion becomes rather gritty. We’ll get into further detail next month, in part two.
People marry for all sorts of reasons, personal and otherwise. Marrying for love is a fine tradition, and some claim it’s a newer one, stemming from the Romantic period of enlightenment France. I’d say it’s as ancient as humanity itself. No one can read the Bible’s Song of Solomon and imagine it describes some dry, arranged-for-convenience match-up.
We Unificationists perform a lot of arranged marriages, but we don’t base them upon selfish economic or political concerns. It’s really about heart, for this and future generations.
Getting hitched ain’t easy. Building serious, lasting relationships is a terrific challenge. As the old timers say: "Women! Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em."
These days, selfish guys can easily "get the milk for free," so they don’t even bother with marriage. Sure, they’ll say enough to keep her hopeful, but never quite get around to real commitment. And yet, guys do recognize marriage as a better, more ideal, possibility. So does society at large. Everyone dreams of finding a soulmate.
America does everything big, and supports a gigantic wedding industry, to the tune of about $70 billion per year. Traditional ceremonies involve ornate settings, and expensive caterers, florists, gown makers, musicians, card printers, and more. Wedding photographers, harried as they often are, usually deserve the money. Japan’s modern style is, if anything, even more extravagant.
These days, couples often write their own vows, and find liberal ministers happy to recite them. This can be a wonderful thing, especially when they don’t leave out any important parts . . .
So is it ‘equally yoked,’ as the Bible says, or the feminist’s ‘chained by oppressive tradition?’ Marriage does have its down side. Older laws made wives themselves into property (still true within Islam); not to mention, whatever the bride owned or earned came under exclusive control of the man.
For a very long time, many priests and rabbis told battered wives to "just take it." This was (supposedly) allowed in order to correct feminine disrespect or incompetence. Pastors would say it’s something to be endured, in the same way Jesus allowed Himself to be wounded.
Nowadays, plenty of women are expected to wear awkward fashions (such as high heels), and to have (or obtain) large bosoms, all to satisfy their husband’s Freudian whims.
In past decades, millions of poor Americans (including mothers) remained single, encouraged by welfare policies and lax social norms. Over the years, this disastrous practice has spread throughout society.
President Bush has established government programs to encourage young people, and unwed couples, to get and stay married. Noble as this effort sounds, it’s getting opposition, mostly from activists who claim it isn’t realistic.
The poor do face serious obstacles to marriage, such as addiction, debt, and incarceration. The blame, and possible solutions, are all over the map. Recent studies, in a very un-politically correct finding, indicate that a person’s health and wealth closely matches their IQ level. Apparently this has to do with the growing complexity of medical advice and treatment, and of modern jobs and finances, plus a generational cycle of childhood deprivation.
Of course, anyone can learn and practice God’s truth, and healthy living habits, but for some it’s an awfully big challenge . . .
In Third World countries such as India, weddings require a huge dowry plus a lavish party, which places extreme pressure upon families with girls. As they grow up, these women face terrible hazards, like (so-called) ‘honor killings,’ as when a rape victim gets punished far more severely than the perpetrator.
As every nation advances into modernity, and learns of the Divine Principle, their marriages will become fairer and more loving.
Even as modern marriage spreads worldwide, it faces trouble at home. Since Marx’s time, it’s been under attack. Lenin tried to abolish marriage in Russia, but he couldn’t pull it off.
Later, feminists did their best to scorn and devalue marriage. In an ironic twist, now they don’t have many children, and so lack an instrument to pass along their radical ethos. (As college professors, they sure do try!)
Today it’s the homosexual activists, who’ve switched tactics by embracing marriage. Therefore, much of this article will focus on that issue. (Please note that your author has had gay friends and coworkers for thirty-four years, and we get along fine, thank you.)
"How can you oppose love?" the gays say to conservatives, and then toss back accusations of promiscuity: "Allow us to form solid legal bonds and maybe we won’t play around so much."
Previously, most gays derided marriage as a constricting, bourgeois institution. Now it’s touted, for the most part quite sincerely, as a means of personal fulfillment and wider social acceptance. "See our happy couples and you’ll stop worrying," they assure us. (Surveys back their idea, with acceptance much greater among America’s youth.)
One oft-heard proposal is to let the government simply license consenting adults to marry, and let the churches pick and choose, offering sacred ceremonies to whomever they will -- or won’t. Activists ask, "How does gay marriage threaten the traditional kind, anyway?"
The answer is a long one. Gay marriage would be included in children’s books and school curriculums, plus it’ll infuse the popular culture more than ever. Related laws will create a new, prosecutable form of discrimination.
Many gay men admit that their marrying wouldn’t entail sexual monogamy. The lifestyle omits chastity and fidelity, almost by definition. Such men, with their definitive act, engage in dangerous sex (medically speaking). Lesbians have a 100% infertility rate, and obtaining sperm can be an emotional and legal risk.
This isn’t a ‘homophobic attack’ (as the knee-jerk reaction would have it) but, sorry to say, a plain recitation of fact. On the whole, gays live twenty years less than average. This was true before the AIDS epidemic, and remains so in places like San Francisco, where discrimination can hardly be blamed.
By now, most conservatives are willing to compromise, with laws for domestic partnerships and such. This ‘live and let live’ attitude is a fine American tradition. Too bad it’s not reciprocated! In The Nation magazine, activist gays (and their radical allies) have already promised a "long, church by church fight" to force gay clergy and weddings upon everyone.
Activists have been careful to label ‘domino theory’ objections a "right wing canard," and keep the discussion focused on gays alone. Yet, they also promote ideas like ‘polyamory.’ As we speak, incestuous and polygamist adults are eager to get on the marriage bandwagon.
On their heels is the BDSM crowd, with their newly renamed ‘dominant and submissive’ couples. (This was to stay politically correct, as it used to be ‘master and slave!’) Imagine: this is a relationship in which degradation and painful abuse are not only acceptable, but expected. Its advocates love to hint at the number of ‘closeted’ ministers, politicians, etc., who practice that lifestyle. (As if that supposedly impressive number becomes an extra justification.)
To a non-lawyer like me, San Francisco Mayor Newsom’s legal argument, in favor of gay marriage, is obviously inclusive. If every adult, and couple, has equal civil rights, then how can you possibly exclude anyone?
In the end, marriage could become so diluted as to obscure its meaning entirely. (And then there’s the ongoing lower-the-age-of-consent movement . . . )
Marriage is in trouble. It needs to be strengthened, not excused or confused. Teenaged pregnancy is down, while the first gay divorces have already been filed. Can an afternoon TV show called Gay Divorce Court be far behind? Medical science, with cloned babies soon to arrive, is only going to make things more complicated.
State and Federal marriage laws are under to ferocious assault, with both sides calling the future of liberty, and of civilization itself, into question. This time, they’re likely correct.
All people, of whatever culture, economic status, or proclivity, need to be supported and healed -- not scorned or derided. The Principle, whether in book form or shown by PowerPoint, can illuminate these issues better than anything else around.
Next month, we’ll talk about the biology and psychology of couples. Also, illustrate the Ideal in several ways.
by Paul Carlson
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