Monday, June 09, 2014
Why Kids Today Can't Define Marriage
This image showed up in my Facebook feed today, posted by one of my super-sweet "kids" whom I love dearly. But every time one of my friends shares these kinds of images, Duty Calls... not because I want to start a shouting match on Facebook, but because, as my friend, I feel like this person deserves to have a chance to at least think about these things for more than the time it takes to click "like."
Let's run through this, shall we?
1. What is love? (by the way, greatest proto-techno song ever <smile>) Or, to be more precise, how is marriage-oriented love different and distinct from the many other loves we have in life (family, friends, pets, technology [like for your iPhone or the near-future presented in the film "Her"], lovers, sweethearts, crushes, etc)?
2. Assuming we have a workable definition of what "LOVE" -- as mentioned in the photo above -- means, what is wrong with polygamy, polyandry, or marrying your children once they are of age? Is there? Or does Equal not mean Equal?
3. What is marriage? Marriage should certainly be about love ... but the thing something is about does not, in any way, define what it is. I know that may not be very clear, so an example: A television show can be about gay weddings, but it is not -- itself -- a gay wedding. So what is marriage?
4. Assuming we have a working definition of marriage, let us not forget the very insightful words of Jay Michaelson: "'Marriage will never set us free,' wrote academics Dean Spade and Craig Wilse last September, ... same-sex marriage is a step backward for LGBTQ people and others whose agenda is liberation rather than assimilation." [Hat Tip: Brian Sandifer]
Love is beautiful. Marriage is beautiful. Marriage is also (as rightly pointed out in the image above) more than a religious thing (though religion is there); it is more than a baby thing (though, as we know, that's there too); it's more than about money (though that's a big part of it, and the major reason why the government is involved at all). So, as it stands, marriage is a cultural phenomenon highly influenced by religious thought and political pressures. It also, depending on the history you read, has a strong basis in religious symbolism and ideals. We, as a society (especially within the church) have allowed it to stop being everything it is and instead joined the masses in believing marriage is about "being happy" and "love." But what it is, at its heart, that we have lost. And so, given that, I'm fine if our society wants to make marriage about "LOVE" of whomever or however many. That doesn't bother me. But the loss of what traditional marriage is and means, that is a significant loss indeed. Especially in light of the fact that most kids I talk to today can't even define marriage or why someone would want to get into it other than that they are "in love" and want to "be happy" ...whatever that means.
I'm not trying to stir up any heated arguments, I just want to point out -- again -- the silliness of these kinds of sentiments and how little thought there is behind them.
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian