Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Girl Left Behind: some initial thoughts

Ok guys, so I'm gullible. It's one of my lesser, but more dangerous delinquencies. Earlier today, I was directed to this website and being the aforementioned gullible person, took it mostly seriously, and seriously engaged it in a blogwritten argument. About 10 minutes from completion of this 2 hour blogpost, I found I was sticking pins in a chimera: it melted, leaving a pile of pins. Having spent two hours on it, I figured I'd let you see the pins, before I sweep them up.

I'll admit, when I first read it, it struck me as a tad incredible, but I believe in taking people seriously, when they appear serious. If they turn out to be joking, I've only enlarged the joke. Hence what follows.

What I write here is preliminary: some quick reactionary thoughts after skimming this website. But I think there is more in this topic worth discussing.

Will the reader be pleased to peruse the writing upon this site as the discussion below doth pertain thereto: http://nogirlleftbehind.99k.org/

Many of the statements and lines of reasoning followed on this site make me nod and say, "I know exactly what you are talking about. I can see it. I watch it regularly in friends I love."

More than half of my close personal friends who are greater than 5 years my senior are unmarried - none of them from choice. Male and female. I know the females more intimately and have heard their longing for love, for a family, for children. (Almost every girl experiences these feelings for some period, age aside. I am no stranger to these.) Some of us have talked at length about how this comes about - that a number of Christian women are waiting for husbands who never come, while a number of young Christian men fool about or wait for the "perfect woman" who doesn't exist.

I've wondered to myself - what is the answer? Is there one in this earth? Shall we "leave the matter" to the hands of God? But are not His hands on earth, human hands? The hands of fathers, pastors, family, friends?

So, I am sympathetic, yea, even tentatively in favor of proposed arrangements as I read down the list of "Things You Can Do". But a few notes of the site strike a discord in my soul and unease in my mind.

1st. The treating of marriage as a "right".

No one has a "right" to marriage. If there is any such thing as a "right" (I admit to conflicting thoughts about "rights", not to be discussed here), then surely it is something that is universal to all in a set (eg, a human right is universal to the set of all humans)and the absence of it (the right) is an evil which denies the member of the set a part of her nature. To say that all humans ought to be free from ownership by another human is one thing: to say that all women ought to be married is another. God gives some to be eunuchs for the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:12) The one who can accept marriage, should, Christ says; yet Paul apparently did not marry and speaks to the Corinthians of the ways in which the celibate may serve the church even more vigorously. To say that all women have a right to marriage is to say that to live singly as a women is to be less of a woman, to which all Christians must cry, "error".

Further, marriage is a gift, not a right. Yes, first it is a gift of God. But it is also a mutual gift between husband and wife. It is beautiful because it is grace, undeserved love, promise. Now, if it is by right (or merit) it is no longer by promise (or grace). Where would the tenderness be if a woman could say to a man, "It is my right that you love me. By right, I require you to die for me everyday in everyway." It is absurd, but when one says, "all young women are naturally entitled to marriage" (I quote from the site linked above) that is what they are saying. It could as well be rendered, "all young women are naturally entitled to have a fellow human being lay down his life for them". But the reality is more like the reverse: It is the precious responsibility of every young man to lay down his life for the neighbor Christ gives him, and the closest neighbor is his wife, whom God gives him because it is not good for him to be alone. No human deserves love of himself or herself, but is made lovable and loved by God as a gift; loved through humans and by humans as a precious gift of God and man. God grants us to be like himself in the giving of this love. To treat marriage as a "right" of a young woman robs the young woman of the astounding joy of unmerited love. And it robs young men of the only truly God-like gift they can give their wife (other than forgiveness).

2. Where did the chain of command fly off to? Hello! When it comes to "what you can do" to help solve the problem of unwedded matrimonially aspiring maids, we see an array of advice bewilderingly out of keeping with biblical precedent. Sure, talk to your friends if you want. Blog if you want. Raise awareness if you have time, energy, and an iron to burn. But please, please, don't get the government involved. The bill mentioned just about makes me ill. Why are we going to the Gentile courts? Have we not competency to judge these matters in the church of God? The only truly sensible piece of advice on this 'action' page is communication with your pastor - but in the misguided form of "harangue".

If anyone should be consulted, any external body employed in correcting a problem of unweddedness, it should be parents and the church. Parents are given the governance of their children till they reach adulthood. Even after majority, a father who carries out his vocation will remain a protecting, guiding head for his unmarried daughter. This includes helping her to find a spouse if marriage is what daughter and father discern is her vocation. If a girl's father has died, a mother or brother may well facilitate this process. Failing this, or if family is uninvolved, or in addition to family, a girl should have recourse to her church in matters of marriage. In a more hierarchical church structure (by which I intend the type of liturgical/sacramental church in which a girl's clergy is [or should be] a close spiritual father to her, this can be a matter of personal guidance, advice, and activism by that father. In a less hierarchical setting (for example, numerous nondenominational churches)there are plenty of mature Christian couples who could take a girl under their wing and seek a husband for her if necessary. Mayhap church leadership would need to assign a fostering parent set to a girl, but there are ways these things could be arranged within any church.

3. Rights become Force.

But the idea of "external pressure" (I quote) to "force marriages" (I quote again) is a more grievous violation of human rights than any so-called "right to marriage". These phrases show clearly how warped the American idea of "rights" has become: If you have a right, we will force you to claim it. You must be married, whether you like it or not. It is like as to saying, "You have a right to freedom of speech. Therefore, if you will not express your political opinions, we will put you in jail."

4. The Government as Enforcer

To place the enforcement of rules coercing matrimony in the hands of the state is a recipe for disaster as well as a travesty. I'm sorry, the Bill is stupid from start to finish. Those of you who know me know that I never use the word "stupid", because it indicates a sort of brainlessness. But I do believe this whole thing demonstrates a remarkable failure of the speculative intellect. I sense that a point by point rebuttal would be a slap in the face to my readers' intelligences.

Indeed, it is at this point that I felt a bit mocked myself, just reading the piece.


I realize that this website may be satirical, a farce, or a joke. Nevertheless, the satire is so perfect and comical because the topic is serious. So, I don't consider the exercise of writing this post wasted, though I critique a paper man. The paper man is a caricature of a real one, and like all caricatures, the features are exaggerated, but not fabricated. Thus, there are real concerns which I could only think about clearly by meeting their ultimate hyperbolic incarnations. But my reasoning is the better for encountering them, fencing with them, and being humiliated by their vaporization.

Be gentle: I'm gullible.

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