by Kenneth Justice
~ For the better part of a decade throughout the Western World there has been a war waging in the battlegrounds of defining marriage. Self-called “traditionalists” argue that “marriage has been and always will be defined as a union between one man and one woman; anything else would be uncivilized“.
Modernists argue that marriage is about individual choice, responsibility and love; “If two people love each other, regardless of their gender, they should have the right to be legally married”.
The battle lines have been drawn, and with a few exceptions, the modernists are clearly winning the debate. More and more Western countries, states, and provinces have moved toward government sanctioned marriage between any two consenting adults, regardless of gender.
As a bystander amidst this fray, I’ve often wondered why people are so up in arms over the subject. Could it bet that we humans simply like a good fight, or have our personal, political, and religious ideologies blinded us to the truth?
After all, “marriage” as it exists in the modern vernacular is a rather new phenomenon to the annals of human history. The modernists speak of marriage being about “love between two consenting adults” yet, until recently, the overwhelming (and I mean OVERWHELMING) majority of marriages throughout human history had nothing to do with love. Whether you were rich or poor, marriage was a matter of convenience;
—) marriage united families (sometimes warring factions) together
—) marriage meant more bodies to help with labor
“Love” as we think of it in the 21st century was mostly a foreign concept to the vast majority of women involved in marriage. Sure, there were novels by the likes of Jane Austen in which romance and intrigue enveloped the courtship between two couples. But those were the exceptions; in the pre-20th century world, women had almost no legal rights, and were always under the ownership of her father. If she had a benevolent father, he might let her be more involved in the marriage process. But “love” as we know it in our vernacular rarely played a part.
The traditionalists speak of marriage in the “one husband, one wife” concept as if this is a biblical law written in stone by Moses. Unfortunately, the bible is far less supportive of this traditionalist view. Jacob, King David, King Solomon, and a whole host of other “Great Men of the Bible” all had multiple wives (not to mention the plethora of concubines; aka sex slaves) hanging out in their houses. And while it might be a nice thought to think that once Jesus came, the whole polygamy thing died out, but nope; about the only anti-polygamy law the Apostle Paul laid down was that if you were going to be a church leader you could only be married to one woman.
Setting aside the whole polygamy issue (which is what the majority of people practiced throughout history), even within the confines of early Christian marriage; ‘love’ was still a secondary (at best) concept to the whole process. Marriage was viewed as a matter of convenience and pragmatism.
Even stranger to me are my fellow Christian’s who get all up in arms over people living together or as Dr. Laura loves to say, “Shacking up”. Do my fellow Christians have short term memory problems? Have they forgotten that it wasn’t too long ago that two Christians of the opposite sex would have been “in sin” had they merely gone on a date by themselves without a chaperone. Isn’t this and other examples I could list ample reinforcement for the idea that we have progressed beyond the antiquated notions of our overly law-zealous ancestors?
Traditional marriage. Hmmm, what does that truly mean? Throughout history, men of means were most likely to have women on the side (concubines, mistresses, etc) and the peasant men were all vying to get more money so they too could obtain that kind of lifestyle.
In talking about this subject at coffee with my fellow Christians, they often refer me to the biblical book, “The Songs” which chronicles the love between a man and a woman. Oddly enough, the principle character in the book is believed to be King Solomon who is said to have had over 1000 wives, and if we add in the concubines he hooked up with, sheesh, who knows how many his number would have been!
In ancient Greece and Rome, marriage was clearly defined as being between a man and a woman; strict monogamy was the way of the land. However, as with every other society, men of means had mistresses, some men in Rome found loopholes in the law that enabled them to marry boys, and in certain Grecian areas (like Sparta) it was quite common for married men to hook up with their fellow male friends as a matter of releasing all of the sexual energy that their their wives weren’t able to completely satisfy.
In the United States, one of the most troubling elements of legal marriage, is that the whole idea of a marriage license didn’t come around until whites decided they wanted to prevent interracial marriage. Until this abhorrent discriminatory attitude, marriage had nothing to do with the Government. Now all these years later, do we really want the Government involved in marriage?
Tonight on our 30 minute Culture Monk Live Streaming show, we will be discussing marriage, dating, and all of the subjects discussed in today’s post, I hope you’ll join us.
p.s. Culture Monk Live begins at 6pm Central and is available for rebroadcast following the show on my YouTube channel.
Categories: Culture & Society