Man and Woman, Marriage and the Family
Part Three of Three
Those secular humanists, socialists, totalitarians and others who reject God and His law seek to rid society of any reminder of His will so they can do what they will. Almost all of their (sometimes bewildering) governmental policies and initiatives can be understood when we realize they are designed to weaken traditional marriage and the family, to weaken parental and individual rights, and to give more power to those elite leaders in government. They set policies that tend to weaken or destroy the ability of independent small family farms or businesses to survive, rewarding the powerful, the large corporations that make certain to contribute funds to the government leaders, one way or another.
Those leaders recognize that marriage and the family are the foundation for children gaining lifelong values that affirm life, traditional morality, individual responsibility and especially, faith in God ... all of which are obstacles to the creation and stability of a socialist, communist, or totalitarian state. Those who are anti-God simply do not tolerate those who do not blindly accept their worldview or obey. They hate those who stand up for the moral law.
If it were only about not believing in God, as they pretend, they would not become so enraged when any evidence or demonstration of religious faith or God's existence arises.
Those who are naive followers of what seems right do not understand the implications of what they are seeking. Their leaders do. They encourage the people to live according to their desires (their "flesh"), and not according to the moral law. So, they legalize abortion to eliminate the life that is the consequence of living according to one's desires. So, they make it easy for married couples to divorce and marry or live with another they desire. But:
"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Peter Singer, one of the "preference utilitarians" asserts that the moral choice is the one that satisfies the "the most preferences, weighted in accordance with the strength of the preferences," so that abortion, euthanasia and other forms of medical killing are acceptable under these criteria. His style of utilitarianism is just one of many philosophical positions that reject God and the moral law. There is not even the slightest regard for God's will in his worldview.
Singer has suggested that Catholic universities and hospitals simply turn over their facilities to those who do not honor God's law, which obviously results in there being no Catholic universities or hospitals that might honor God's law. And that is the point. The same rationale would apply to Jewish universities or hospitals, or those of any other life-affirming faith. Yet, where can a patient find care that would not possibly threaten his life if all institutions of faith are transferred to those without reverence for life?
Singer's utilitarian line of thought asserts that animals thought to have high level cognitive abilities can be more of a "person" than a cognitively disabled or very young human being, and therefore, such animals should be given "rights of persons," to be protected, while some human beings should be killed, as embryonic or fetal human beings, as infants or children, as severely disabled, or even as adults with dementia.
In other words, the rationale behind utilitarian definitions of "human rights" or rights of "the person," have been used to argue that the killing of thousands or even millions of human beings is "just" and "moral." These utilitarian thinkers have in just this way applauded the medical killing of over 55 million babies in America alone since the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade ruling.
Those who are anti-God, who do not respect His law, actually do prefer that there be no public evidence of His law or of His existence. When they seize complete control of the government, as they have in communist and other nations, they wield it to destroy religious freedom, to persecute and imprison the faithful and to kill those who resist the secular indoctrination. When they seize control of government policy, they demand that actions (like the medical killing of babies) that work to disintegrate respect for marriage and family be legal, and they demand that all approve that policy. They make grotesque "heroes" out of those who kill, or facilitate the killing of, the vulnerable. They label those who are pro-life, pro-marriage and family and who work to protect the vulnerable as "dangerous," even potential "terrorists" to be harassed, arrested and imprisoned.
One of their greatest "heroes," Margaret Sanger, was the founder of the industry specializing in medical baby-killing, Planned Parenthood. Her writings show her opposition to marriage itself, her support for contraception, forced sterilization, abortion, and sexual promiscuity.
Sanger, a racist socialist, was one of America's foremost supporters of eugenics and euthanasia. She, like many today in the abortion industry, sought a "purification" of the race and sought to eliminate black children through "birth control" or "contraception." When birth control did not result in a reduction of births, she promoted medical baby-killing as her "solution." She epitomized the brutal culture of death, and like so many others today, sought to eliminate those she considered "defective!" Adolf Hitler, leader of the National Socialist party ("Nazi") in Germany in the World War II era proudly admitted that he had studied American eugenics literature and laws, and was therefore, clearly familiar with and inspired by the writings of Margaret Sanger.
Sanger not only was opposed to God's law, the family and the moral law, she was directly responsible for the creation of the medical industry that has killed tens of millions of human beings who are not yet born. Sanger, considered the founder of the sexual revolution in America, summed up her position on marriage saying: "the marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order." Yet, when the praises of Margaret Sanger are sung, who considers the millions of people who have died from AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases that can be attributed to the sexual "revolution" and defiance of the moral law that she practiced and inspired?
True human rights can be protected by human law only if that law is in harmony with the divine moral law and those in authority enforce these just laws. Unjust and immoral laws (Isaiah 10), such as those that classify food and water as "medical treatment" and thereby create a legal way to deny food and water to the vulnerable, open the floodgates to the epidemic of stealth euthanasia of the vulnerable occurring within health care settings. These unjust and immoral laws have legalized the abominable practice of medical killing of babies, and not only do not protect human rights, they violate the essence of human rights!
Those in authority who have disdain for the moral law continually violate human rights. They deny the value of life itself. They have no respect for the blessings a loving husband can provide for his wife and children, and they have no respect for the blessings a loving wife can provide for her husband and children. They encourage dependence upon government, rather than upon family and upon God. They have promoted disrespect and distrust for those of the opposite gender, even a hatred, that poisons the relationships between men and women in society, and between husband and wife especially, as so many divorced individuals have found.
Those who seek to impose their theoretical idea of the right upon society, rather than what they know is right from God's law or the natural moral law, ignore their conscience and violate human rights with impunity. Yet, in doing so, they often act to intimidate others with traditional values by protesting, "don't impose your morality on us."
"In 'Rules for Radicals,' [Saul] Alinsky counsels ... [Leftist] revolutionaries that they must be willing to ignore the dictates of their own conscience to advance the Left's agenda." Though anti-God socialists often say they are merely "atheists," Alinsky revealingly dedicated this guide for socialists to Lucifer, the one he followed in rebelling against God and who he encouraged others to follow. Some prominent current governmental leaders are disciples of Saul Alinsky and were trained to use his methods in their work to advance socialist policies and to promote the culture of death in society.
How we can restore harmony to society involves just the opposite, because a war on traditional moral society has been waged for decades. We need to open our hearts to the dear Lord, listen to the dictates of our conscience, follow the divine and natural law, and restore respect for man, for woman, for the individual, for marriage and the family. Each man and woman, each husband and wife, can do much to reaffirm the sanctity of marriage by committing to that marriage. Those who are not married can honor the marriages of others by choosing not to interfere with those marriages.
In the marriage ceremony, the priest or minister asks the man, "will you take ___ to be your wife, that you may live together in the holy bond of marriage? Will you strive to love and honor her, will you comfort her and be faithful to her, so long as you both shall live?" and also asks the woman, the same.
Love is a state of being, but it is also a decision, a decision to act in a way that serves as a blessing to the other and honors the covenant between the two. Feelings may come and go, but love remains if we honor our commitment and "strive to love." It is only when our eyes leave the dear Lord and we forget the love that is the root of our marriage, that we start thinking only of ourselves, looking at the faults of others, rather than thinking of how we could better serve Him and our spouse.
Man by nature is forgetful, fickle and unreliable, prone to go astray, and therefore he needs the guidance of the moral law and reminders of the way that leads to abundant life. Though there is always temptation and a way to go astray, God is not fickle or changeable (Hebrews 13:8), nor is the moral law changeable. The man and the woman entering marriage are like an Adam and Eve to each other. God has given each of them, the other, to live together for life, setting out as one to build a new world, a family, ... their world. And as they build that world together, they too, all of us, are tested in life just as they were.
Most people only think of Adam and Eve and their temptation by the serpent, or that that they disobeyed God and were thrown out of the Garden of Eden. They forget that they lived a long life together with children and raised them. They do not think about the terrible grief Adam and Eve experienced upon the death of their child, Abel, and the loss of their son Cain, or that they knew suffering just like we do.
Anyone who thinks that mankind's nature has changed and progressed beyond what he was in the past, need only look at Adam and Eve's son, Cain, who killed his brother Abel. Has mankind's nature changed in all of human history? Don't we hear about such killings on a daily basis? Those futurists, transhumanists, progressives and the like, who assert that man has reached the pinnacle of his "evolution," are deluded and are merely repeating the errors of millions before them throughout history.
While the way parents raise their children can provide a good foundation for their lives to come, it doesn't determine their path. Children, like each of us, have free will and choose how to act, and they may accept or reject what they are taught. Because the adult members of society to come are our children, we have a duty to do our best to raise them to honor God and the moral law. What happens later is up to each one of them as they move through life. Each child has the opportunity, just as we do, to contribute to the creation of a just and blessed society. It is a question of that free will and the child's (later adult's) choice: to will to be willing to follow God, the Creator, or not.
Our conduct, much more than our words, determines the impact we have on others in society and especially on our children. Those of faith who have relegated that faith to a fleeting thought once-a-week, or a few moments a day, if that ... have done a disservice to themselves and to all others in need that they could have helped. It is the failure by many of those of faith to act, to serve, and to be involved, that has allowed the further deterioration of faithfulness to the marriage covenant, the breakups of families, the harm to the children and the greater society, and the subsequent complete rejection of divine law and of God by so many in society.
It is the father's and the mother's unfaithfulness, along with many other adults' unfaithfulness, that has allowed the culture of death to seize control of our government, our courts, our health care system and educational facilities. It is easy to point the finger at others who wield power in society, but it is more accurate to point the finger back at ourselves who are parents. While even good parents can have children who go astray, it is the parents who have to a large extent raised those in power today to be what they are. We cannot lay all of the blame on the "culture" or the degradation around us.
Humble man blames no one other than himself for what he has become, or for what has happened in this life. He acknowledges his own error, recognizes that suffering, disappointments, or lost opportunities are part of everyone's life, and takes refuge in the dear Lord, recognizing that his only hope lies within His grace.
Without the proper foundation given to them by their parents, children have great difficulty in finding the way to life, to a culture of life. In many cases today, they have not been given the knowledge and training needed to properly inform their conscience. And these have not witnessed the example of parents who are truly and sincerely filled with great love for God. Without that foundation, the individuals composing society choose to behave in ever more lawless and immoral ways. Without that foundation, many of society's leaders use dishonest means of governing, administering justice, or running businesses.
Consequently, the victimization of the poor, the widowed, the orphaned, and the powerless increase. Moreover, fraud and other vices, as well as the practices of homosexuality, sexual activity outside of marriage, and pornography proliferate. Even pedophilia is being promoted, by those who reject the moral law, as a supposedly "normal" sexual practice! Some promote "marriage" between three or more individuals. There is no end to the perversity embraced when the divine and natural moral law is rejected.
Once the moral law is discarded, anything man wishes to do may be approved, because there are no absolutes, no ultimate standards of right and wrong! Harvey Hay, one of the most famous leaders of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transexual movement (LGBT) was a strong supporter (not member) of NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association and spoke at their conferences several times, as well as having made sure that NAMBLA was included in the "gay-pride" parades. And just like Margaret Sanger who rejected the moral law, he was an ardent socialist.
No matter how much some people may approve of these practices, representing them as wonderful, "normal" or "right," they are not right. No matter how beautiful, famous, likeable or normal some representatives of the gay, lesbian or other movements may seem, their choice is not within the natural order. It is not the individual that we must condemn, but their choice.
The media, government officials and others may prop up those who promote these practices, but they cannot explain away the defiance of the natural moral law and divine law in what they do. Whatever rationale they may give for their behavior, it does not negate the moral law which does not change. The divine law expresses God's will and never changes.
Even then, it is not for us to judge another as a person, whether our wife or husband or others, though all are tempted to do so. Although we must recognize what is the right and what is the wrong thing to do, anyone who would judge or hate other persons for what they have done must first look inside themselves and honestly see what is there. When we honestly do so, compassion for others naturally arises, because we recognize our own failings in them. This human nature is common to us all. The dear Lord said,
"For it is from within, out of a person's heart,
We all have temptations and evil within, but we must choose to be guided by our conscience and do the right. They may say that they have "no choice" in that they find they desire to have sexual relations with members of the same gender, or with children, or to view pornography.
Heterosexuals could also say that they have "no choice" when it comes to having sexual relations with women or men other than their own spouse, because they find they desire them. Those who desire more money could say that they have "no choice" when it comes to stealing from others or committing fraud, because they desire more money. This is where many go astray. However, all of us have temptations of various sorts. What we may impulsively want is not to guide us in how we live our lives! It is right reason, in harmony with the divine and natural moral law that is to rule our lives.
These same practices were mentioned in the time of Abraham thousands of years ago, and the lawlessness of today's society merely mirrors the lawlessness of that time. These are not new inventions of modern society, nor is the attempt to justify that which is wrong. Just as some try to explain away criminal behavior by asserting that the criminal is "insane" and "can't be held responsible for his or her acts" or is "genetically-determined" to do crime, their acts are still wrong. They are not acceptable to God or to individuals who desire a moral and just society.
Their practices result in actual harm to individuals and the moral fabric of society, immediately and later on. While the Creator God has blessed us with life, these practices inspired by a defiant spirit destroy lives and the foundation for a moral society. For this reason, parents make tremendous efforts to guide their children and do have a tremendous influence in helping their teenage children avoid drinking alcohol, taking drugs, smoking, sexual relations outside of marriage, as well as these practices.
The increase in sexually-transmitted diseases, the traumatization of the young, the distortion and destruction of normal relationships, as well as increased depression, violence or suicide are just a few of the many harms arising from these vices. How leaders of the culture of death seek to make these perverse practices the "new normal" has demonstrated their complete intolerance for traditional morality and faith. They demand that their views asserting that the habitual practices of these immoral behaviors that are contrary to nature, these vices,1 are behaviors to be accepted by all members of society. Sadly and unfortunately, any who disagree and publicly give voice to the traditional moral law are angrily denounced by them as engaging in "hate speech."
Pornography, just one of the vices promoted in the culture of death, makes objects out of human beings and degrades the loving sexual relationship intended to be shared between husband and wife within marriage for the creation of children. It is an insidious form of addictive sexual infidelity that enslaves men, women and children, destroys the purity of the loving marriage relationship, results in broken marriages and families, an increased use of prostitution, lost jobs, and destroyed lives. Like all other vices, it can ultimately lead to loss of faith and despair.
Viewing pornography actually changes how the brain functions and often leads to life-long addiction, depression, and sexual dysfunction. It is associated with increased levels of rape and physical aggression. Childhood victims are sexually abused and may acquire sexually-transmitted diseases, be held as sexual slaves, become addicted to drugs, commit suicide or be killed. Clearly, the social costs of pornography are devastating. Not surprisingly, pornography is accepted and promoted in the culture of death. Government and societal leaders who endorse or encourage such practices through their policies and laws (having legalized adult pornography) care little about the destruction and ruin they bring to others, yet God hears the cries of those who suffer so terribly!2
In order to heal society and reduce the suffering of man, we are called to remind others of the way that leads to life. Concerns about individual and societal wrongs other than those that are sexually-related must also be addressed. Financial exploitation, fraud, theft and general dishonesty are terribly damaging to society, to individuals and families, yet the culture of death encourages these vices. Mismanagement of money and possessions is the result of living an unrestrained and lawless life.
It is our presence in the world, demonstrating a sensible and reasonable way of living that is our witness to our children and all others. Practicing moral restraint, fiscal caution and wise living, we enjoy the blessings of our very real and living God in our daily lives. We have a sacred duty to voice respect for the moral law, for the dignity of man and woman, marriage and family, not only in our words, but in all aspects of our lives.
When fathers are so caught up in their quest for material goods in order to "show" others that they have "made it," when they forget to spend time with their children or to speak lovingly to them when they are at home, when they neglect to communicate reverence for God and neglect to teach respect for the moral law to their children, they fail at the main reason that they are called to be fathers.
When mothers are also focused on the things of this world, with themselves and their own achievements, yet choose not to watch their children, not to love them, and not to spend time with them, ... when they neglect to communicate reverence for God and neglect to teach respect for the moral law to their children, they also fail at their reason for being mothers.
However, when both mother and father forget the purpose of their marriage and their family, then the family, rather than being a blessing, becomes a breeding ground for lawlessness, confusion, suffering and sadness. The child feels lost and confused, abandoned and alone, and is wounded experientially.
When those who are married divorce, they further the deterioration of respect for marriage and make a mockery of their vows before each other, before the community, and before God. They do a violence to their children's well-being.
The dear Lord Jesus said, "...anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery." (Matthew 5:32) That also applies to any woman who divorces her husband. We simply give up too easily. And even more, we think of ourselves too much and not enough about our spouse and the dear Lord.
When our hearts are filled with love for Him, how can we be bitterly fighting the one we pledged to love forever? When He sacrificed His life on the cross so that we can be saved from our sin, can we not sacrifice a little bit and bear the ups and downs of living with another person?
No matter who we live with, there will be conflicts of one sort or another, and others will have disagreements with us ... will find fault with us. All of us are imperfect. Yet, some spouses hold onto their own narrow view, forgetting their vows and the Lord, forgetting His command to forgive completely, harboring grudges against their partner that embitter them within and hurt the other, whether those grudges are openly expressed or not. Sometimes, it takes the loss of their spouse for these to awaken from their folly. Instead of feeling bitter about how others have treated us or what has happened, we would do better listening to the advice of the Psalmist:
"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
Instead of feeling bitter, we would be happier and truly blessed if we would practice contentment in our lives and keep our heart and mind focused so we can "... ponder the loving deeds of the Lord." (Psalm 107:43)
The traditional marriage and family is the foundation for a stable, blessed community and society composed of responsible and loving adults. It is also good for society economically. The "long-term fortunes of the modern economy rise and fall with the family,"
Why? Individuals who are motivated and inspired to do good use every opportunity to accomplish their goals. Because they have a family to think about, fathers and mothers are truly motivated. Everything they do in the world is considered in light of how it will benefit their family. This is just one reason that a child who has a father and mother who are married is 82% less likely to live in poverty. In other words, God got it right and has had it right all along!
A young man or woman raised from childhood in such a family enjoys the benefits of dedicated, loving married parents and knows that how he behaves affects the entire family. He knows what is right and wrong, good or bad, for himself and for society. Because his parents demonstrated these values in their lives and trained him, he knows how to apply himself and work independently, reliably and provide goods or services that truly contribute to the society. He or she works hard to excel, to make both mother and father proud of their accomplishments and to win their approval.
Having been raised properly, to know right from wrong, moral from immoral, good from bad, and being receptive to receive his parents' wisdom in all things, he has formed a habitual tendency to actually choose to do the right, moral and good, and to avoid the wrong, immoral and bad. This habitual tendency to choose to do what is right and moral is called virtue, so the family is the first setting in which the child learns to act in a virtuous way, to have a natural disposition to do the right.
Raised in such a way, with a family whose members love God and the way that affirms life and morality, and living within a blessed community whose members also love God and the way that affirms life and morality, adults as well as children find their efforts to choose the good reinforced by all around them. Within this mutually reinforcing interplay between the family and society is found the greatest probability that children and later adults will remain on the path that leads to the way of life and that they will choose the good throughout life. Those adults-to-be are the hope for those who will need care in the future. They are the future leaders of our people, so we must raise them well.
Raised in such a family and society, these children will become conscientious caregivers, ... future nurses, physicians, dentists, social workers, attorneys and judges, as well as all others involved in the care of those in need. They will recognize the miracle that is life and practice reverence for life in the health care setting.
These children will become the vehicles for God's love! Oh, what a great responsibility we have to the dear Lord and to them, to raise them in the ways that lead to life! When we have done our job, our children will revere the life He gives and serve those who are before them, as if they were their own ... for they are. We are all our brothers' and sisters' keepers.
Mother and father, son and daughter, grow older. The parents' Spring turns into Summer, and the Fall of life arrives. Adult children no longer children go out into the world, and we must remember that our children are truly His children. We do not own them, and they, as we do, have their own free will to create their lives as they see fit. We must let them fly free, like young birds who grow and leave the nest. The poet, Kahlil Gibran, writing of children reminds us:
"Your children are not your children,
Finally, the Winter of our lives arrives. The story of man and woman does not end when grown children go off on their own. Man and woman, once boy and girl, brought together by the hand of God have lived together as husband and wife for life ... friends for life. Each still has the other, their family and extended family, and the blessed community all around. Living yet as He intends, they remain helpmates to each other, loving, caring and growing in their love for each other and for the dear Lord. This is as it should be. Looking beyond this day, man and woman are not afraid. They are ready to take the next step in their journey, holding His hand as they move on.
In the twinkling of an eye, a lifetime together, with all its "ups and downs," has passed by. It seems like just yesterday they married, the elderly man thinks ... he sees within his wife the same beautiful bride once dressed in white with pink, purple and blue flowers strung through her long shining hair, her eyes sparkling looking up into his, as they say their vows before God, family and friends beneath a weeping willow tree outside a church years ago.
The now elderly woman looks at her husband, remembering the same young, strong, vibrant and enthusiastic man she married decades ago on that bright and sunny day. Their bodies have aged, hair turned gray and white, but the love remains. They watch happily as their children and grandchildren go on about their lives, and they pray that those they raised will follow the way of life and lead blessed lives.
Adult children grow into men and women; they marry, have, and care for their own children, in the Spring and Summer of their lives, as well as help their now elderly father and mother, "grandpa and grandma." The circle of giving comes around.
Loving never ends within the culture of life. All creation speaks to us of this truth. Everything we are to do is based upon this never-ending sacrificial love. This is the heart of the moral law.
The culture of life is based upon reverence for God and the life He gives. A political solution alone can never resolve the problems that proliferate within the culture of death. The culture of life cannot be "created" through government or any law. Mandates by government leaders cannot remove the darkness of the night.
When the light of God shines brightly within the hearts of each man and woman, within each husband and wife, within all individuals who make up the family and all of society, within you and me, we will see that the darkness simply is no longer there. We will see only light, ... real light. The culture of life manifests itself as the natural order of life in human society that He intended.
We must simply recognize the great goodness of the moral law and the law's great Author and follow His way. As we have seen, the culture of life is planted as a seed within the covenant of marriage between a man and woman. It grows within the family whose faithful members practice sacrificial love and the ethics of life embodied in the moral law. It grows within the hearts of those who create a world that honors life.
"... What does the one God seek? Godly offspring...." (Malachi 2:15)
The culture of life, which many of us long for, begins when we embrace His love and share with others the blessings that He richly gives to each of us.
The culture of life begins within the marriage covenant between man and woman, is cultivated within the family, and is renewed in the children raised in such loving family environments.
In essence, the culture of life begins when each one of us chooses to live as His child, as His Godly offspring.
3. Social Trends Institute's study, "The Sustainable Demographic Dividend," An International Report
Note: All photos by Ron Panzer except photo of baby in womb at 4 months courtesy of Priests for Life.
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